9 red flags your partner is struggling to give up their previous polyamorous life

Many dream of meeting their soulmate, settling down, and living happily ever after. 

Meanwhile, others might enjoy the idea in theory–but when it comes down to it; when it comes to real life, they tend to struggle. 

Maybe they’ve become too accustomed to dating around and living a promiscuous life. 

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with the latter, when you decide to pursue a monogamous relationship, you have to make sacrifices. 

And one of the first things that need to go is a non-monogamous lifestyle. 

In this article, I’ll take you through some of the red flags your partner is struggling to give up their polyamorous life. 

Once you recognize the signs, you can deal with the situation accordingly. Let’s get to it! 

1) Continued pursuit of multiple connections 

Here’s an obvious one. 

If your partner shows a persistent desire to maintain and seek new associations outside of your arrangement, this could be a red flag. 

Sure, they’ll brush this behavior off as just them looking for “new” friends–but if those said friends are objectively attractive and/or flirty, something’s definitely up. 

Perhaps, they want to keep them around, on file, for “safekeeping.” 

You’re not crazy. In fact, you have every right to be upset. 

It’s time you establish firm boundaries–or start heading towards the exit sign. You call. 

2) Emotional distance or secrecy

Maybe they’re regularly on their phone, ominously giggling or smiling. 

Naturally, you’ll wonder what all the fuss is about, so you decide to inquire.

If they seem emotionally unavailable, secretive, or even irritated that you’re ‘probing’ them about supposedly innocuous phone interactions, this could be cause for concern. 

Relationships should be about openness and transparency, about give and take. 

When they’re overly secretive about their outside interactions, it becomes challenging to trust their commitment to the relationship. 

I’ve been there before; so believe me when I say, it’s not you, it’s them. 

3) Difficulty establishing boundaries

Boundaries are an essential part of any functioning relationship. 

So if you can’t effectively set boundaries, your chances as a thriving union will sadly be quite limited. 

If your partner tries to change the topic or suddenly becomes “busy” when you bring up the topic of boundaries, tread cautiously. 

Or, if they refuse to put a halt to their ambiguously friendly, “harmless” friendships you’re skeptical over, they might value those things over the relationship. 

Stay wary. 

4) Comparison and nostalgia

They may say they’re happily settled with you. 

But if their conversations often veer towards past relationships of their polyamorous days, this means they miss it, whether consciously or not. 

The thing is, nostalgia is a powerful feeling. 

Longing or romanticizing aspects of a past lifestyle can make them liable to re-indulge themselves eventually, given the opportunity.  

5) Reluctance to commit

There’s value in taking things slow, particularly if you’re both still tender from past trauma. 

But when your partner wants things to move at a snail’s pace, keeping things excessively casual, it may be time to question things. 

They may want to have their cake and eat it too… at your expense. 

They don’t want to give up the variety of their previous freedom, as they string you along, occasionally giving you a glimpse of hope and tenderness. 

This cycle of hesitation, resistance, and avoidance is extremely telling. 

And when the topic of exclusivity comes up? 

They’ll avoid it like the plague. 

They want to remain technically “single” and unattached as long as they can. 

They’ll push the envelope–keeping their options open and remaining non-committal, hoping you put up with it. 

6) Difficulty with jealousy or insecurity

You’ve seen it before, a cheating partner getting overly jealous and paranoid that their other half could be engaging in “extracurricular activities.” 

It doesn’t fully make sense, and it’s deeply unfair to feel this way–but such is the weirdness of human emotion. 

We’re a complicated bunch. 

Hence, a partner who has a foot out the door might struggle with feelings of jealousy and insecurity regarding their own relationship. 

They know from experience that things can easily go awry. Classic projection. 

7) Secretive communication

This is a clear red flag. 

When your partner suddenly becomes erratically secretive, this often points to a third party (or worse, parties.) 

Maybe they feel bogged down by monogamy, so to feel normal again they engage in inappropriate, non-transparent communication with other people, both new and old. 

Perhaps they’ll be extra paranoid about leaving their phone around (i.e. regularly bringing their phone to the shower.) 

Maybe you’ll notice them deleting messages, or hiding interactions. 

Maybe when you walk into the room, they’ll put their phone away like the Flash. 

Hiding their phone around doesn’t mean they’re extra courteous in your presence, they’re likely hiding something (or someone) too.

8) Inconsistent boundaries

Sure, they’ll agree to a monogamous relationship in theory. 

But a lot of things sound good on paper, like communism… but in terms of real-world circumstances? 

That’s another ballgame altogether. 

Hence your partner might’ve once agreed to a loyal, monogamous relationship, swept away in the moment–but after the dust settles, the proof is in the pudding. 

If they consistently push the boundaries of what it means to be in a relationship, constantly testing your limits, this indicates an internal struggle to fully embrace commitment

9) They’ve maintained ties with their past

When committed people enter a relationship, they almost instinctively close themselves off from everyone else romantically. 

They’ll set their own boundaries, giving the new partner and relationship their full respect. 

If your partner struggles to give up their past, however, they might still maintain connections and behaviors that align with their “old” lifestyle. 

They might dismiss them as “just friends” and maybe even accuse you of being overly possessive. 

Go with your gut. Where there’s smoke, a lot of the time, there’s fire too. 

Final words 

If you’re dating someone who is struggling to give up their, well, less-than-savory, past, I have one word for you: boundaries. 

Establishing boundaries takes effective communication.

So it’s time to make that voice heard. Let them know what you will and won’t put up with. 

Perhaps they’re new to relationships and aren’t quite sure how to navigate them. 

So put your foot down.

If they change, you’re in good shape. 

And if they don’t, you know what to do. 

Life is too short to waste on partners who don’t respect you. You deserve better. You got this. 

Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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