A Letter To My Newly Non-Monogamous Self

Dear Megan,

You’ve grown up mainlining romantic comedy meet-cutes, reality TV love triangle tribulations and pop song soulmates. Everything you’ve been taught about love has preached exclusivity and held up the “’til death do us part” marriage vows as the ultimate prize.

But you know that love isn’t a straight road: it’s a flowing river. It’s a powerful current of feeling, one that ebbs and flows. Like water, its strength is found in fluidity: it’s amorphous, indefinable and able to take many shapes. And as much as you’ve been told that you should aspire to a traditional relationship that take you from A to Z – with a short detour via marriage and kids, and the inevitable bumps of workplace flirtations and stag do misbehavior — you’ll find that the confined space of monogamy will deaden your spirit. It will rob the world around you of the joy and wonder that comes from knowing the potential for romance lies behind every new encounter or adventure.

At times, you’ll feel selfish for this predisposition and you’ll push these feelings from the surface, stuff them down as far as they will go. You will go through the motions of monogamy, and will allow someone else – a partner, or society – to set the terms of your love life. There will be relationship escalators that will take you from first dates and playful weekends in the sheets to unpacking the boxes that contain twenty-something years of your life into a small, cramped space that just you and one other share.

No matter how wrong it feels to limit yourself in this way, to share your life with someone who can’t accept your expansiveness and who will tell you non-monogamy is just a phase, you will forsake this facet of who you are and try your very best to conform. You will drown in domesticity and routine, will change yourself in every way possible in order to prove you are “normal” and to create the kind of partnership that society recognises and views as valid and worthy. You will shut yourself off from the world, cocooned in your couple and try and try and try to keep it going – even when the leaks begin to show, even when you can’t stave off the flood.

But regardless of how truly someone loves you and how desperately you want to make monogamy work for you, none of it is enough. It’s never going to make you happy in the long-term if you sacrifice the fundamental part of you which wants to be open to many lovers and partners throughout your life. And a real match for you – someone who truly sees you as you are – will never ask you, influence you or try to manipulate you to be any different.

To continue the aquatic metaphor, humans are made of 80% water and you’re made of at least as much love – so much so that your experience of romance can’t be limited to one partner at one time. You’re brimming, overflowing with potential for warmth, connection and tender moments with others. It’s a beautiful thing, and not a failing or something you should feel ashamed for.

Even if it doesn’t feel like it right now, if the weight of being queer and wanting to love in a way that goes against the grain is too much, know that things will work out. There are people you will want to commit to and who will commit to you, just as you are – accepting each other and the others that come with us. 

Over time, poly will feel natural – not like something you chose or something you fought for, but something you are. You will feel joy for the girlfriend of your girlfriend when they tell you about a promotion at work, help pick out your boyfriend’s outfit for a first date with someone else, introduce your new partners to the exes you love and hold dear. 

There’s the responsibility which comes with non-monogamy, too, and it’s a challenge you will happily rise to. There will be regular trips to the STI screening clinic and the protection you always carry – just in case. There will be the times you head to the pharmacy to pick up the morning after pill for your girlfriend, after the condom broke at the sex party she attended solo the night before. And there will be all the heartbreak and ups and downs and uncertainties that come from loving multiple humans at once in relationships that carry no certainties, that aren’t “forever”, but which are always in flux.

But never forget that this is you, flawed and complex and a work-in-progress – but always free.

With love and understanding,


Megan does not endorse any products or brands