Subject: Big news! I gave up monogamy.

Hi mom and dad,

No, I’m not pregnant, I’m not getting married, I didn’t just buy a house, and I didn’t win the lottery. No one is sick or has cancer either. We’re fine, happy, and healthy. But I’m warning you… This is a long email, so you better get comfortable. There’s something I have to tell you.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of things you don’t know about me. Today, I’m going to make that statement a little less true. But before you read this email, I want you to know that the only reason I didn’t open up to you about this before was because I was afraid of your judgment. After all, it’s the judgment of those we love that hurts us the most. That said, I have finally reached a point in my life where I tell myself that if you love me, it’s because you love all of me and not only the parts you can see. I am not writing you this email because I’m seeking your opinion or advice. The sole purpose of this email is simply to inform. I no longer want to hide this part of my life, a part that now takes up such a big and important place in it.

About six years ago, I abandoned the idea of monogamy. I was still with Max at the time, but I never cheated on him. When I made the decision to leave him, it was partly because he didn’t want to open up our relationship, but it wasn’t the only reason, nor even the biggest. It was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. I had talked to him about it several months before finally leaving him. We had talked about it lots of times, but it just wasn’t something he was willing to try and he didn’t see it as a real possibility for us. I respected his boundaries, his emotions, and his choice, and eventually left him before things got out of hand and we did or said things we would later regret.

Before I go on, I want to take the time to fully describe what non-monogamy means to me. I want you to understand my point of view as much as possible.

The first time I started to question monogamy was at the age of 19 when I fell in love with Max while I was still in a relationship with Martin.

I loved Martin, but I was developing romantic feelings for another person at the same time. From a monogamous perspective, this experience is either impossible (because you can only “truly” love one person at a time, having romantic feelings for another person means you don’t “really” love your partner), or possible, but then one owes it to oneself and their partner not to act on their feelings, otherwise they’re irresponsible, disrespectful, and selfish.

To me, however, neither of those two scenarios made sense and I couldn’t understand why I had to choose between Max and Martin. Why couldn’t I love them both? If each knew with certainty that I loved them and wasn’t going to leave one for the other, didn’t see them as opponents, and didn’t compare them to each other, then why would it be impossible to have them both in my life?

Jealousy and feelings of insecurity in this situation are normal, especially in the sociocultural context in which we all grew up and in which we still live – a context that idealizes monogamy and demonizes any form of non-monogamy. However, we have the ability to reflect on these emotions in order to better understand them. We can talk about and discuss them calmly. We can learn a lot about ourselves and others by examining our emotional reactions. We can also change, with time and experience, the way we deal with these emotions (how to react, how to talk about them, what decisions and compromises can come from them, etc.). In short, these are not emotions that should control our lives and our partners, but rather that can stimulate conversations, introspection, and personal growth.

Non-monogamy can take many forms, but for me it’s about having the freedom to love more than one person at a time, openly; not in secret, with shame, or guilt.

For me, it’s also about the possibility of building several long-term relationships with all that they imply (love, commitment, companionship, attachment, future projects, being present and involved in each other’s families, etc.). Moreover, this freedom isn’t only mine; it’s for everyone I love. The way I see it, Antoine is worthy of the same freedom and autonomy as I am. He doesn’t belong to me. He’s in a relationship with me and spends time with me because he chooses so every day. He chooses to share his time with me. It’s a privilege, not a right. He owes me neither his time nor his body. Generally speaking, this form of non-monogamy is called “polyamory”.

I believe that, unlike time and money, love is unlimited. We don’t run out of love. Usually, we have more than one friend and we love them all. Many people have more than one child and they love each of them. I don’t see why we have the “right” to love more than one person in these contexts, but not in a romantic context. To me, that seems arbitrary. That said, I want to be clear: I have nothing against people who choose monogamy. It’s a personal choice that I respect. It’s just not for me. Similar to my feelings about marriage, monogamy is inconsistent with my beliefs and values.

When I realized almost 6 years ago that this is what I really wanted for myself and my partners, I stopped looking for monogamy. When I went out on a date, I was always very clear about what I was looking for in a relationship early on. If the person wasn’t interested in polyamory nor open to it, I would end it with them. I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time, including my own. In general, people appreciated my transparency and honesty, and respected my choice. There have been few negative reactions to polyamory; I mostly faced curiosity or indifference. But one day, I met someone who had a very positive reaction.

When we met, Antoine had discovered polyamory for himself about a year before, and he had no one to talk to about it. A mutual friend suggested that he add me on Facebook (with my permission). At the beginning, we mainly had discussions about polyamory (what it meant for us, what life experiences had led us to question monogamy, how we defined love, etc.). But eventually, over the months, our discussions increasingly became more intimate, while maintaining a friendly tone. Then, one day, a more romantic love blossomed; our friendship gradually evolved into a romantic relationship.

Antoine and I have never been monogamous, at least in terms of explicit agreement. What I mean by this is that while there may have been times where neither of us were seeing additional partners, we have always had the freedom to date other people with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved (Antoine, myself, and any other partner). This is our polyamorous agreement. Antoine has had several crushes since we’ve been together and he feels free and comfortable sharing his feelings and experiences with me. It makes me happy to hear him talk about this kind of thing and I feel privileged when it happens. It’s a sign of his trust for me. He feels safe with me. He knows I love him, and I hope that comes through in the way I listen to him and react to what he chooses to share with me. He knows I won’t get angry. He knows his love for others wouldn’t make me love him any less or make me want to leave him.

It makes me happy to see him being happy, even when the source of his happiness is another woman.

The same things can be said about him: I feel free and comfortable telling him about my feelings and experiences I’ve had with other people. It makes him happy to see me happy, even if the source of my happiness is another man. And when fears or insecurities bubble to the surface, we talk about it. We explain, discuss, analyze, and reassure each other, and we come to a better understanding, a compromise, or a solution. We don’t ignore it.

Until now, I didn’t really feel the need to tell you about all of this because neither I nor Antoine had had any lasting relationships with other people since we’ve been together. But that’s no longer the case for me. In October 2017, Ludo and I celebrated our first anniversary (so we’ve been together for over a year now). He’s someone I love deeply and plan to continue to build a future with. Just as with Antoine, Ludo’s a person with whom I see myself growing old. He holds an important place in my daily life and future. He and Antoine first met a little over a year ago. They get along really well and the three of us spend lots of time together. They don’t see each other as opponents, but as friends. Several people in my life have already met Ludo (and knew that when they met him, we were in a romantic relationship).

Most people in my life are also aware that I’m polyamorous and currently have two partners. Antoine’s family also knows that he’s polyamorous and that I have two partners. Ludo also joined us a few times for a family dinner with Antoine’s parents, and the mood was relaxed and very positive. During the holidays, I met some of Ludo’s family. At the moment, Antoine, Ludo and I are planning to move in together.

I don’t expect you to agree with the way Antoine, Ludo, and I choose to live our relationships. I don’t expect you to understand how we define love and romantic relationships either (at least not immediately). On the other hand, all I hope is that you love me despite everything. I will no longer hide Ludo from you or omit him from our discussions. Hiding him would make it feel as though what we’re doing is wrong or shameful when, to me, it’s neither.

I’m open to questions, if you have any. No question is off limits or taboo. If it can help you better understand our situation and my point of view, I will be happy to answer it.

Your daughter who loves you ❤️

Email replies

  • I’ve read your email a few times now, and it’s given me a lot to think about. It will take me some time to fully express myself on this. I think, for now, I just want you to know that we love you and that nothing will change that.


  • When I read your email, I wasn’t surprised, but I was disappointed that you felt you needed to hide this from me, and for so long. You had your reasons, but they shouldn’t be based on fear of not being accepted. I will not love you any less (or any more) according to your life choices and philosophy. It’s not my place to judge, but rather to love you and wish the best for you. We disagree on some things and, out of mutual respect, neither of us should “force” our beliefs on the other. We must respect the other’s choices and convictions. We might have some challenges to overcome in our relationship (or maybe not), but they’ll never become walls when we love each other.

    From your father who loves you very much!