Have you ever had such a swirl of emotions that you don’t know how to take the next step, or what to say? That’s where I find myself now, contradictory feelings battling it out. I’m excited and afraid, proud and full of doubt, brave one minute and whimpering the next. I’m standing on the diving board, stalling, and the time has come to jump.
I’ll tell you the easy and exciting part first. I have spent my pandemic so far writing a book, and I’m putting it out into the world today.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to try publishing a book on Kindle Direct and see what that’s like. Self-publishing has always appealed to me, and I know that authors earn a 70% royalty on books in a certain price point in Kindle. I’m so curious about the whole process– promoting and selling my book, learning the ins and outs of how to do that well, how to design the cover and format the book. I’m very proud of myself for working towards this goal, step by step, and now it is here! I am putting the book up for pre-sale orders today.
And now comes the vulnerability part. This is a book I have felt compelled to write, but the subject matter is not an easy topic for me to talk about. I believe it’s important and needs to be written about.
My book is called Mono in a Poly World: What to Do When Your Partner Is Polyamorous and You Aren’t. It may come as a surprise to you that this is what I’m writing about. I have shared a lot about my relationship with Bob over the last few years, about our almost-divorce 6 years ago, how I was handling that change, how we stayed together, and this year, about our recent separation and impending divorce. What I haven’t shared is that in the almost-divorce phase in 2014, after 25 years of marriage, Bob told me he was polyamorous and needed to be free to have multiple relationships. This was one of the reasons he wanted a divorce.
Some of you may not be familiar with this concept. The word “polyamory” means “many loves.” Folks who are polyamorous desire to, or have, multiple ongoing intimate relationships, whether sexual or romantic. It is considered ethical non-monogamy because all parties commit to having relationships that are honest, open and consensual among those involved.
Back to Bob and me— 6 years ago, as we were working towards our divorce and going to therapy to “consciously uncouple” (i.e., end our relationship in the healthiest way possible), things shifted for us. After several months we reached a point where we decided to stay together in a new kind of relationship. I had been unfamiliar with polyamory, so I did a lot of research and reading on it, and eventually I suggested that I could be polyamorous too and we could stay together. I was curious, some aspects of it appealed to me, and so this was the path we embarked on.
After awhile (and some experimentation), I determined that I really didn’t want to be dating other people. I only wanted one partner. I was monogamous. We loved each other and still saw so many good things in our relationship that we wanted to continue. We stayed together in what’s called a monogamous-polyamorous (or mono-poly) relationship. I would be monogamous and Bob would be polyamorous.
It is arguably one of the most challenging relationship styles out there, as each partner can have such different relationship needs and wants, and compromise is necessary. It is also not very common, even in the poly community, so it can be isolating for the monogamous partner, to find others who can relate to the challenges. I was grateful to find several Facebook groups out there for people in mono-poly relationships.
There are many factors as to why our relationship ultimately broke up this year. Issues related to our mono-poly relationship were certainly a factor. However, some people do make it work and find a happy medium that is satisfying to all parties.
When Bob and I separated last May after almost 31 years of marriage and I was no longer in the mono-poly dynamic, I started gaining a lot of perspective on what we’d been through. Many painful mistakes had been made by both of us, and I started to see what had been missing in our consensual non-monogamy, what should have been done, what would have helped.
Thus far, there are no books out there on monogamous-polyamorous relationships. There are plenty of books on polyamory, and some of them give a few paragraphs to mono-poly relationships, but they are all written from a poly perspective. Monogamous people in this dynamic have nowhere to turn for books that speak to them.
To be honest, I suffered a lot in the last few years of my relationship. I stayed because I loved Bob and wanted to make it work, but we missed essential steps and floundered. I am still in those Facebook groups and see others in similar relationships suffering and floundering. I know how painful that is.
I wrote this book because I wanted to share what I’ve learned, and to give a voice to the monogamous perspective in mono-poly relationships. I want to help, and I hope my words will do so.
Of course, this book is not for everyone— it’s a rather niche topic. I hope it will be a useful resource to monos, and to their poly partners as well. If you’re just curious about this unusual topic, perhaps you’ll have an interest in reading it as well.
I’ve tried to explain the what, how and why of this complicated topic as succinctly as I can. I know the topic of polyamory is a hot button one — people can have very strong opinions or even judgments about it, and I’ve been on the receiving end of some harsh ones a few times when I’ve chosen to share about my circumstances. Putting this book out and writing about it here feels very vulnerable to me, and yet, my desire to have a voice and help others compels me to do it anyway.
One more note: I’ve written this book under the pen name Tazmyn Ozga. I’ve chosen to use a pen name for professional reasons, to separate my existing and future writing from this topic. I am still claiming this book as my own and promoting it, but the pen name will be used for any writing about mono-poly relationships.
Thank you to all who’ve read this far. I so appreciate my community, and I know there will be some who shrug and think what I’ve shared is no big deal, and it may be uncomfortable for others. I understand.
Finally, I just want to do a celebratory dance that I wrote a book! And it’s getting launched into the world! If your are interested in checking it out, please click here to see more about it. I also have a website for my pen name at tazmynozga.com where you can read an excerpt of the book.
One thing I’ve learned in this author journey is that pre-sale orders are so important to the success of a book. If you’re interested in buying this book at some point, please consider ordering it during the pre-sale (it’s pretty cheap). With online algorithms, it’s a game of sales numbers and clicks to have a book get suggested to more people by Amazon or other online sellers. Thank you!
Book cover designed by Genevieve Alberti and me.
Photos by Renee Fisher, Amy Shamblen, Aung Soe Min, and Steve Halama, courtesy of Unsplash.com