Not sure if you’ve answered something like this already but - One of biggest issues with possibly being poly is dealing with the idea that my relationships aren’t as strong as the ones that mono people have. Like when people say they love their “one and only” and they only have eyes for their person.. it makes me feel like crap for not being satisfied with just having my girlfriend. Any advice or words of wisdom?

Everything I can say to this falls so annoyingly in the category of “easier said than done,” for which I apologize. It has taken me years of therapy, lots of time, money, effort, reading, self-work, and angst to even get to the point where I know what advice to give here, and I won’t pretend I’m always good at taking said advice. But here goes…

Other people’s opinions do not have to be your reality. If you’re walking down the street eating a chocolate ice cream cone, and someone walks up to you and yells CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM IS DISGUSTING AND EVERYONE HATES IT, the best response is to just ignore them, walk away, and - this is important - keep enjoying your ice cream. So someone else doesn’t like it? That’s their problem.

I used to have a job where I’d get emails from people constantly telling me how to do my job, that I was terrible at my job, etc. I got very good at giving a pleasant “thank you for your feedback” response and shrugging it off. People will share their thoughts with you. You are free to receive those thoughts, decide they aren’t useful or helpful, and let them go.

Again, if you were walking down the street and I came up to you and handed you some garbage and said THIS IS TREASURE! HERE, CHERISH THIS! you are welcome to take the garbage, look at it, decide that it is garbage, and decline to continue carrying it. You can gently hand it back to me, or just toss it once you walk away. Just because I think it’s great doesn’t mean you have to as well.

People out there have one worldview, a monogamous worldview, about what love is. You don’t have to agree with it. You don’t have to live in their perspective. You can hear that and think “hm, yep, that’s your perspective.” And then move on with your life. Someone disagreeing with you or being different from you doesn’t mean you’re wrong. It just means you’re different. 

If you find yourself feeling torn down and invalidated by mono-speak, try finding positive ways to challenge those ideas. Make a playlist of love songs that don’t use only-have-eyes-for-you concepts to express love. Read some blogs, webcomics, fics, etc. that represent polyamorous love in a healthy, normal light. Find a poly meetup near you so you can connect with other people who ‘get it.’

If there is a specific source in your life of these kinds of ideas that make you feel torn down, try and reduce that source’s impact on you. If someone in your life talks like that all the time, gently ask them to try and tone it down: “when you say things like that, it makes me feel like my polyamorous relationships are being portrayed as lesser-than. Can you try to avoid phrases like that?” If it’s a TV show or genre of music or film that contains these ideas, try and branch out from that. 

Above all, practice self-affirmations and self-love: “My relationships are strong and healthy.” “I am full of love and I express it in meaningful ways.” “My love is not inferior to a monogamous person’s love.” Practice that - meditate on it, set it as your phone background, journal about it, whatever -  so you can rest in that truth when the bad feelings rise up. When you know and livenyour truth, you can come into contact with someone else whose truth is different and not feel so threatened.