Polyamory, the practice of having multiple consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships simultaneously, has grown in visibility and acceptance over the years. Just as with any relationship style, it’s not for everyone. After experiencing polyamory, some people decide to transition back to monogamy. I didn’t decide it per se, but that’s what happened in my case.
I thought transitioning back to monogamy would be a lot easier than opening up the relationship. And maybe it was to some degree, but there were still a few insights I wish I had known before making the switch.
Fewer relationships don’t mean less effort One might assume that transitioning from polyamory to monogamy is a return to ‘simplicity.’ But the truth is, both relationship structures have their unique challenges. Just because you’re focusing on one partner doesn’t mean things get straightforward, and you can relax and just coast. We had to redefine our relationship model, re-learn our comfort levels with various degrees of freedom, and be mindful of each other’s traumas and triggers. Unresolved emotional baggage needed to be resolved before we could be fully present with each other.
Clear communication is key Being polyamorous often demands a high level of communication with partners about feelings, boundaries, and concerns. This skill is equally essential in monogamous relationships. The need for transparency doesn’t disappear when you have just one partner. It is just as important to be open and talk about anything that is bothering you. This was something we both learned during our open days and brought back to our monogamous relationship.
Missing the community One of the beautiful aspects of polyamory is the supportive community that comes with it. When switching to monogamy, I felt a bit disconnected from this group. I could no longer share poly stories with my poly friends or relate to the experience of going on dates with new people. Staying connected with friends who understood and respected my journey, irrespective of my relationship status, helped.
Defining boundaries is still crucial In poly relationships, defining and redefining boundaries is a regular occurrence. In monogamy, people don’t think about setting clear boundaries as much. But it is still essential. We discussed what each of us was comfortable with regarding ex-partners, friends, and even workplace relationships. We even had to talk about porn because of some old traumas.
Jealousy doesn’t just disappear I thought jealousy would disappear once we closed back up. Well, I was wrong. Jealousy is a human emotion that can surface irrespective of the relationship structure. It reared its ugly head at very random times, completely unexpected and illogical. Having a habit of talking about hard feelings helps us address it.
It’s Okay to change your mind… again. Relationship structures aren’t set in stone. My husband and I agreed that it’s okay if, after some time, we realize that monogamy doesn’t work for us anymore. If one of us wants to start a conversation about exploring some form of an open relationship again — the other one promised to consider it at least. We will make sure to find the kind of relationship that is best for both of us at any given point in life. And if we can’t agree — we will talk about that too and decide what to do next.
Support can be very helpful Making any transition can be emotionally taxing. Evolving relationship structure in any direction is a major change. It helped to have had a therapist throughout this transition.
Transitioning from polyamory back to monogamy isn’t about stepping from a ‘complex’ structure to a ‘simple’ one; it’s about aligning with what feels right for you at this stage of your journey. Embrace the lessons from both worlds and continue building relationships that fulfill and uplift you, poly, mono, or any other shape or structure.
Check out my author page on Amazon and read my book — “My Journey To Polyamory And Back: How I Fell In Love With Myself By Experimenting With Non-monogamy, Healing Ceremonies, and Psychedelics” to learn more about my growth path.