I'd like to try polyamory, but I'm worried about the impact on other partners if I decide to stick with monogamy

I really like the idea and concept of polyamory but I'm scared that if I try it and decide I'd rather go back to being exclusive with my original partner that it'll be too unfair. Is that normal or is that being selfish?

You’ve set up a false dichotomy in your question, there - that is both normal and selfish. It is really common for monogamous couples to try “opening up” their relationship, decide that didn’t work for them, and “close it back up.”

In theory, this is fine - it’s totally okay to try things and decide you don’t like them. That is, in fact, the point of trying things. You’re not obligated to do something forever just because you wanted to try it.

But in reality, this creates a lot of pain and heartbreak for the other people involved. Imagine if someone started dating you, and then, for a reason that you have zero control over, on the whims of someone else, just dropped you. It hurts! This pattern is often referred to as “couples privilege” in the polyamorous community. 

That’s not to say that it can’t or shouldn’t be done. Just that you should be careful, self-aware, and go into it with very clear, honest, open terms and expectations. Do as much self-work as possible in the beginning, unpack your own baggage, get your own house in order. Talk with your partner about best and worse case scenarios. Daydream together about what you’d like. Strategize together about meeting needs.

If you do decide to take this step, make sure anyone you date knows that your relationship with your partner takes priority and may ultimately be a threat. Be patient about the fact that you’ll have a hard time finding someone to date on those terms. Consider starting out with something casual, identified as a fling or no-strings-attached arrangement. Be as gentle and giving as possible with any other person you date or sleep with. Keep them informed about where you are emotionally, and give them space to express where they are.

Or, you could realize that you’re just not at a point yet where you trust yourself to be healthy in any potential polyamorous relationship. If you feel that your concern about protecting your existing relationship will overshadow your ability to be flexible and healthy in another relationship, it’s totally okay to decide that that takes priority, and you’re not ready to try polyamory right now.

Hey. My boyfriend and I were in an open relationship which turned into a triad and we’re still open. There has been a lot of upsetness and jealousy in the past but right now we’re pretty good. It’s just that I feel like it’s unfair to our 3rd person bc he and I have future plans that don’t involve her. Also even though I have this security and I know he loves me more I still get jealous and have upsetting thoughts. Am I allowed to? It just feels so pathetic sometimes.

There are two issues here, so I’ll address them separately.

The first issue is that you feel like you and your boyfriend aren’t being fair to the third person. That’s a really valid concern and it’s really good that you’re thinking through this. “Couples privilege” is a big problem in the poly world, and lots of “unicorns” (thirds dating a couple) have been badly burned in this type of situation.

The key issue here is consent. Does she know that you two have future plans that don’t involve her? Is she aware that you two never intend to make the commitment to her that you’ve made to each other? Have you been clear with her that her role in this is not as an equal partner and never will be? If not, then what you’re doing is not okay, and you need to be open with her immediately.

If so - if she really is okay being seen as a fling by you two, and that you find your security in the fact that she is not an equal in this “triad” - then that’s her choice to stay in the relationship. Maybe what she wants now really is just a fling with a couple, in which case, you’re not being unfair, she’s made the choice she feels is working for her. 

The second issue is whether you’re “allowed” to get jealous and be upset. And the answer to that is sure, you’re allowed to feel whatever feelings you have. Certain behaviors in reaction to your feelings might be inappropriate, but no feeling is ever forbidden. Anyone who makes you feel otherwise is toxic. 

But only you know whether these feelings are something you can live with in the longer term. If you need to know your boyfriend loves you more in order to have security, and it you consistently feel pathetic and jealous, a poly/triad arrangement might not be the healthiest thing for you.

If you feel like things are moving in a positive direction - if you’re learning more about yourself and developing new perspectives and strategies such that you have these jealous and upset feelings less and less, and they’re getting less and less disruptive to your well being and relationships, great. If not - if they just keep happening with no sign of growth - you need to reconsider whether this arrangement is working.