Woe Is Me! “Should I Break up With Someone Because They Don’t Want Monogamy?”
Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.
“I’m deeply in love with a person who likes me back, but also wants to be with multiple other women. They’re content, but I want so much more, and this imbalance is hurting my mental health and well-being. How do I gracefully exit a situation-ship like this?”
RD: Sit them down, and tell them how you’re feeling. Tell them your version of a relationship, or the lifestyle you envision for yourself with a partner, is different from what they envision for themselves. I think the important thing here would be to stay away from making this sound like an ultimatum, but otherwise I think it’s a simple matter of asserting your opinion. You asked us how to gracefully exit this situation, which I think is easy, once you’ve gone through the difficult part, of deciding to leave. You’re already through the hard part. But I’m glad to hear you decided to do what’s best for you.
LG: The graceful thing to do is to explain it exactly as you have here. You deserve the kind of relationship you want, and the other person deserves the open and multiple relationships they want. Just be honest – valuing yourself and your needs while respecting someone else’s is always classy, even if it’s not easy to quit a person you love.
KB: Well, it all depends how much you value monogamy. Loving a person who wants to have multiple partners isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. Similarly, having a long term partnership with someone who has different needs or goals than you is not a deal-breaker. But, if there is a fundamental disconnect in the things you value and think are important in a relationship, that disconnect can be a fatal flaw. If the way you will draw fulfillment and comfort from the relationship is in direct contradiction with what your partner needs and wants, that seems like a fairly fundamental problem. It sounds like your desire for monogamy is already creating a lot of tension and unhappiness, which would lead me to believe that this disconnect is central to the future success of the relationship.
AS: You go, gurrl! You’ve decided to exit a situation that isn’t right for you, and I think you’ve already shown a lot of strength in deciding to put your mental health needs first. In my opinion, the division isn’t between monogamy and polygamy – while there are people that prefer the latter, it’s also totally okay to not want that. Instead, I think the most important thing should be that everyone involved in a relationship, should be happy with what they are getting out of it, and if that’s not the case for you, you should step away.
Be it make-ups or breakups, communication is key. So I think you should be open about what you’re feeling and communicate to your partner why you want to leave the situation-ship. By being upfront and honest, you’re doing your due diligence and acknowledging that this experience has been of some value to you. It’s possible that no matter how ‘graceful’ you try to be with the situation, some messiness is inevitable, as it always is with matters of rejection and heart-break. No matter what the outcome, I’m sure this won’t be easy for you. But I hope you can hang in there and, in-time, open yourself up to whatever life has in store for you next.
DR: Open relationships don’t work for everyone. And, if it’s hurting your mental health and well-being to this extent, then I think it’s safe to assume that it isn’t working for you either. So, the best and easiest solution is — quit it! You may be in love with this individual, but that doesn’t mean you must torture yourself by putting up with something that’s bothering you so deeply. You could convince your partner to change their ways, but then, you’d probably be forcing them into an arrangement that they may feel suffocated in — leading to an unhappy partnership. Instead, I would suggest that you part ways with them, for the sake of preserving your own sanity, and find someone else whose views on romantic and/or sexual partnership coincides with yours.
AM: If this is hurting your mental health, and if you’re not happy in this arrangement, you should take a call sooner than later. It’ll hurt you for a bit but if you think long-term, this is going to hurt you constantly and chances are, your mental health may get worse. In my opinion, the only graceful way to do this is to have a very open conversation about how much you love this person but aren’t comfortable with what they want, and hence you’d like to exit this. At least this way, both the parties will have a clearer picture of where this relationship is headed and help you both rethink and realign priorities. It’ll save you both a lot of time. Good luck!