I’ve recently come to terms with my polyamory which is great, but I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for almost three years and we’ve suffered trust issues in the past due to my interest in others. He is very protective of me and believes firmly that two people should exclusively belong to one another. I can’t continue to live a lifestyle that I simply don’t agree with, but at the same time, he means a great great deal to me, and I don’t know if I could bear to hurt him by asking for change

There are some problems that an online advice columnist can’t solve, and this may be one of them. I get a lot of questions along these lines - “I don’t want to lose my partner, but I know they wouldn’t be okay with being poly, and I don’t want to keep being mono.” As much as I hate cliches, it is true that one cannot keep a beautiful cake on display forever, and also enjoy its deliciousness by eating it.

We all face choices in life that require compromise and sacrifice: I hate living in cold weather, but I also want to go to school in Boston. I want to make enough to pay off my loans, but I also can’t keep working a soul crushing job. Sometimes we can’t have it all. If you truly don’t think your partner could handle opening up the relationship, but you also truly can’t continue being in a monogamous relationship, the choice, though difficult and painful, is clear. You either need to let go of your desire for this relationship, or let go of your desire for polyamory. 

I wish I could end this with a chipper “good luck!” - and I know I might get criticism from other readers that people can always change, and that she hasn’t even tried suggesting polyamory to the partner yet - but language in this letter indicates pretty strongly that trying to steer this partner down the path of nonmonogamy would not prove successful. Sometimes, mismatches in needs or personality mean people have to leave otherwise wonderful relationships, and sometimes wonderful relationships mean people are willing to make sacrifices and go without something they badly want. This sounds like one of those times.