The Poly Monster is a term I coined back when I was open to dating men who didn't identify as non-monogamous themselves but were open to try it.
I am no longer open to men who are open to try it. But I learned a lot by dating those men.
One of the things I learned is the various ways that one's imagination can run on fear, completely absent of logic or context.
My partner would say something to me like, "but what if you meet someone you want to move in with??"
And I would be like, "in one day? I think you'd have a lot of time to get used to that idea, if it were going to happen. I think there would be a lot of conversations and exit opportunities. I would expect by the time I was ready to move in with someone else, you'd have something of a relationship with them..."
But he would ask, wanting reassurance that it would never happen.
I couldn't say that. Like I couldn't say we would never break up or I would never want to move to the moon.
It was never really in my desire to have two live-in partners, but I was still in the beginning of my ENM journey, and I didn't have a clue where it was going or what might end up happening. I even fantasized often about what it would be like to have more than one partner. It could be cool, right? Three adults in a house, so much income, so many hands to do the work... I was not ready to say never.
If I had said never, I would still be preserving the idea that the monster was based on--the idea that one relationship could threaten another.
The Poly Monster is just a very specific type of intrusive thought that follows the old familiar pattern: I have a fear-based-belief, which is a system of thought, and when I run that system of thought, I can completely exit reality without noticing it.
The belief itself is the false part. But the intrusive thoughts are the small bosses you have to fight before you can get to the big boss of the belief. They seem to pop up endlessly, all pretending to be the thing, and none of them are the actual thing. It's exhausting, for you and for your partner, because you are fighting unreality--fighting something that isn't happening and could never happen.
The Poly Monster is an amalgam of many beliefs, such as:
--I am in competition with others for love
--External circumstances can prevent me from getting the love I want
--I am only safe if my partner belongs to me
The Poly Monster is actually made of the central beliefs of toxic monogamy. Whether my former partners ended up mono or not, their future relationships are certainly better for having fought the Poly Monster.
This is why privileged people are so fucking trapped.
When what you want is the default of society, when society is "built for" you, you can have things that look almost exactly like what you really want, but are in fact the farthest thing from it.
Only when you have to scrap for what's right for you can you be completely clear that what you have is the thing you really want.
Only when you're willing to turn away from anything that isn't exactly what you want (and turning away does not just mean in the external, it's MOST important in the internal) can you know for sure that you have exactly what you want.
I have shredded myself, over and over, trying to be in the relationship I wanted, learning what it was as I went.
I thought it was one thing, and when I got that thing--NOPE! It wasn't that! I moved closer and closer, internally and externally, to exactly what I wanted, and now I have it.
Not only that, but I have the nuanced discernment to know HOW that happens. The difference between what I think I want and what I actually want, the small-bosses of my intrusive thoughts and the big bosses of my nefarious beliefs, and the heroes of my true integrity, which could not rest until my nefarious beliefs about relationships were all vanquished.