I’m a mono man and have been in a mono relationship with my boyfriend for 6 months. 2 months ago I moved in with him. I am demisexual but also have a very low sex drive. At first this wasn’t an issue, but recently it has been brought to my attention that it bothers my boyfriend. Last week he told me that he is polyamorous, and would like to have sex with other people when I can’t perform. I have very bad paranoia and anxiety, and am mentally ill. I am terrified that if he gets into a romantic relationship with someone else, he will leave me. I have a fear of abandonment and its hurting me deep down. He’s already started talking to other people, but hides it from me, like its a bad thing. He keeps telling me I “just need to be poly too” but it doesn’t work in my head like that. I can’t expect him to just be okay with my low sex drive, but I just want him to be happy and us to have a healthy relationship. What should I do?

You need to talk to your mental health care provider - whoever diagnosed you with your mental illness or whoever you are working on it with - about this situation as soon as possible. If you don’t have one, you need to find one asap. Having very bad paranoia and anxiety really sucks and can make navigating relationships extra hard, and it means you need to do extra work to manage your illnesses in the context of a relationship. There may be strategies you can use to help minimize the paranoid and anxious thoughts and help you cope with the fear of abandonment.

You need to consider what you are and are not willing to do, and then set those boundaries, and then accept the consequences of those boundaries. Maybe you, being mono, simply cannot date someone who is poly. That is totally fine, and totally fair, and it means you need to leave this relationship. You always have the right to leave a relationship once you realize it’s not working out for you - that is the entire point of dating.

Maybe you are okay with your partner having sex with other people, but you need certain things from him to be okay with it. Figure out what those things are, then let him know. If he agrees to those things, great! If he cannot or will not agree to those things, then you have collected the information you need to recognize that this relationship isn’t working for you - again, the entire point of dating, learning your needs, and articulating them. 

I would caution you about a few red flags in your letter: the fact that he wants to see other people “when you can’t perform” makes it sound like he’s framing it as a failure on your part and like he needs to have other people “make up for” something lacking in your relationship. That is not a healthy framing of it - consider talking to him and your therapist about some more positive, healthy ways to think and talk about polyamorous arrangement between you two. Let him know that how he talks about this can go a long way toward alleviating or exacerbating your paranoia, anxiety, and fears. 

Another red flag: that he is talking to other people but hiding it from you. That blurs the line of consent, which brings it closer to cheating than an open relationship. You two need to start this journey from a place of openness and trust, and if he refuses to do that, or if you cannot safely hear him out about his needs and desires, you two need to end this relationship. 

Another red flag: that he tells you you “just need to be poly too.” That is dismissive of your mono self and overly demanding on his part. If you don’t feel like he’s respectfully and openly hearing you out, if you feel like he’s just insisting that you stop feeling your feelings so he doesn’t have to attend to them, he is not healthy to be dating and you need to end this relationship.

Finally, I do not know your circumstances and I can certainly say that moving quickly has worked for plenty of relationships in the past - but moving in with someone after dating someone for 4 months is a pretty big risk. Consider thinking about, and talking with your therapist about, the reasons you made that choice, whether you feel that choice was made from a healthy place, and how you can break patterns that have gotten you into hard situations in the past. Do not let yourself believe that you are stuck with this relationship or owe it to him to work things out on his terms just because you live together now. Moving sucks, but staying in a relationship that isn’t working sucks way worse and sucks for way longer.