So, I’m poly, but I’ve been in a mono relationship for 5years. We agreed to be monogamous because the thought of either of us being with other people makes her uncomfortable, but I’m realizing that I want an open relationship. Every time I breach the subject she asks why she’s not enough for me. I don’t know how to help her understand, I would rather be mono with her than poly without her, but I really want to explore outside relationships. How do I help her understand that this isn’t about her?

One of the most agonizing things about other people is the fact that you can’t ever see or tinker with their inner thoughts and perceptions. No matter what, you can’t beam a thought or an understanding into someone else’s head. So it might not be possible to help your partner see that your polyamory doesn’t mean she isn’t enough - she might never get there.

I find it’s easier to be patient, gentle, and validating with other people when we remember the fact that it’s not a matter of saying the right words to rearrange their thoughts to agree with ours.

But there are ways you can talk to her about this, if she’s receptive. The way I describe it is by asking people which they like more: their car, or their bed? It’s a nonsense question; cars are awful to sleep in, but beds won’t get you anywhere. It’s not that my car isn’t a good enough bed for me, or that my bed is a bad car. My bed can be a completely awesome bed and meet all my sleeping needs, but I still also like my car! I can appreciate my car and my bed on their own, awesome terms.

You can also encourage her to do her own reading - find articles online that you think capture your perspective accurately, or read The Ethical Slut and More Than Two together.

But in the end, you might not be able to change her mind. And if it’s true that you’d rather be mono with her than poly without her, there’s a point at which you should drop this issue if it starts to upset her or erode her trust and security in the relationship. 

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