Advice column: "My girlfriend practiced polyamory"
For her "Love Letters" column in the Boston Globe, Meredith Goldstein posts questions and her answers to them on the paper's website, then adds reader comments in the version that goes to print. This showed up on the site today:
My girlfriend practiced polyamory
...She's a 9 or a 10 in every way. But her past lifestyle experience is vastly different from mine. She left an abusive husband five years ago and began a polyamorous lifestyle with "friends."...
I am not judgmental in any way, nor am I ever jealous. At the same time, in a love affair, I do not share my intimacy, so her lifestyle is in contrast to mine. Simply, if she wishes other men to be intimate with her, I cannot be involved with her. I made my feelings clear, and after a few days she committed herself to our monogamous relationship. Since then, the relationship has intensified wonderfully.
She still remains in contact with some of her "friends," and occasionally goes to lunch or dinner with them – but only as a friend and not a lover (as far as I know).... However, I have not been able to relieve my concern about the situation. I have not had to change my lifestyle for this relationship, whereas she has. And in conversation about this, she freely admits that this is a vast change for her.
...I am about to bring her deeper into my life (financially and emotionally) but I could not stand for her to fall back into her past lifestyle, even briefly, as I would end the relationship over it. Am I setting myself up for an emotional disaster?...
— As far as I know
"She freely admits that this is a vast change for her." Your follow-up question for her should be, "Is this a change you can live with?" That's what you need to discuss before you combine your lives.... She's been transparent about her past and open about her present. She tells you when she sees these "friends," making it clear that she has nothing to hide....
All you can do is listen to your girlfriend and go with your gut. Also remember that a different woman – someone who's only dated one guy at a time – could break your heart and leave you in emotional ruins. Relationships have no guarantee....
Readers? Can this woman maintain a monogamous lifestyle? Are there ever any guarantees?
Read the whole piece (Dec. 8, 2015). As of this afternoon it was the third most-read item on the Globe's local site, boston.com. Already it has 814 comments. Mine is buried in there somewhere.
Update Dec. 11: And here it is in today's print edition.