1+1=3? Mono/Poly Relationships Can Work!

Existing relationships are hard to transition from monogamous to poly. We talk a lot about how to move ahead when both partners are poly (or at least trying it out) but little is said when the pair has only one partner.

Almost every Discussion Group I held about polyamory inevitably had at least one question of "can you still be monogamous if your partner is poly? How?"

As the mono in a poly/mono relationship, it will be more important than ever to ensure healthy, open communication. Mono partners tend to feel overlooked, not good enough, or just flat-out rejected. On the poly side, we tend to ignore this, and the mono partner doesn't want to control or interfere, so they tend to suppress. They want to appear supportive, but they actually end up not self-advocating for their own Needs, Wants, and Expectations.

One of the hardest things to remember is that we do not have the right to influence a relationship that we are not directly involved in. As an M-partner, you can only affect or influence your relationship with your partner. This relinquishing of control is extremely difficult, particularly when working through all the toxic mono-programming society has thrown at us for our lifetimes. We can be "enough" and still have a poly partner. We can be "soulmates" and still be poly.

Not to sound like a broken record, but this is a time when effective, regular Poly Processing is more important than ever. The mono (M) partner needs to feel seen, to feel worthy, and "enough". But they also need some good, healthy introspection as to what their core, base Needs are, and who is able to fulfill them. This leads back to My stance on Relationships, wherein relationships are not always sexual. In this regard, perhaps the "monogamous" partner reassesses and sees that their weekly night out with friends is actually an important relationship that sates a core Need. Healthy poly is, after all, drawing on a variety of people/entities to meet Needs. Maybe we can say that, in our scenario, the M-partner is sexually and romantically monogamous. This allows them the freedom to seek non-sexual, non-romantic partners (or groups, etc) to meet Needs.

As always, the key is healthy, open, honest, and safe communication. Because the M-partner will not have anyone in attendance for poly processing (unless the friends/platonic life partners are willing to come!) the Needs, Wants, and Expectations are still vocalized, but there is more onus on them to self-advocate. They aren't as able to blindly trust that their Needs are met. This makes it especially hard to incorporate because effective poly is where everyone abandons being self-focussed outside of scheduled poly processing. Chances are that the budding poly (P) partner doesn't have a strong net of support yet, and each relies heavily on the other. When the P-partner has the ups and highs of New Relationship Energy, the M-partner inevitably suffers from envy. Having everyone involved in poly processing early on can help ameliorate those feelings. Maybe there are even Needs that the M-partner has that can be met by the P-partner's new beau! Again, not everything is sexual and/or romantic. And yes, poly people can be ace/aro too!

Mono/Poly couples are not new, definitely not unique, and are very much okay. They are doable, and can be super healthy when approached with respect, understanding, and effective self-advocacy!

*if you need help navigating a new poly relationship, or an existing one where communication lacks, a Poly Relationship Guide might be an answer! Check out my Services tab!*

Minimal Office


Miss Kelicious is an author, lifestyle Domina, Professional Dominatrix and relationship/life coach currently located in Calgary, Alberta. Polyamorous, kinky and queer, Miss K is an author, educator and facilitator.

Her kink skills have been honed across North America through workshops, Mentorships and personal training by many well-known Dominatrices and Masters. She seeks excellence in all She does, and favors the edgier side of play.

Born poly, it took a few relationships to tease out society's training of who you "should be" to arrive at who She Is. Skills learned at the feet of masters in Energy Healing, therapists, educators and communication specialists, if you open yourself to Her, you will succeed.

Identifying as Non-Binary Femme, pronouns are She/Her or They/Them.