I have 2 girlfriends in a polyamorous relationship. I have been dating the first one for a couple of years and I recently started dating the second one for 8 months. They are friends with each other and have we all enjoy each others company and intimacy. I love both of them, and for the last couple of months I've been extremely happy. Unfortunately, both of them want a conventional marriage. I come from East Africa, polyamorous relationships are very out of the norm.

A conventional marriage to either of them would likely hurt and make me lose the other. I'm happy with both, and I don't want to choose between them. Any ideas on how other polyamourous relationships do it?

How do I set a conversation to make a case on how we can all be happy without the conventional marriage in a way that none of them feels less than the other?

  • 7
    Are the three of you in a polyamorous relationship or a polygamous one? Polygamous refers to plural marriages not relationships with more than two partners.
    – sphennings
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 5:11
  • Do you come from East Africa, or do you live in East Africa? Commented May 16, 2018 at 16:44
  • 1
    Consider reframing it to an IPS Acceptable Alternative
    – Jesse
    Commented May 17, 2018 at 7:02
  • I've closed this question for now, since it seems to ask 'What should I do' or 'Which arguments can I use' which are both off-topic on this site now. It's okay to want to be better at convincing someone, but then please make it clear that you have your arguments ready already, and focus on what you want to improve rather than what you want your girlfriends to do.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Commented May 17, 2018 at 14:24
  • I've restructured your question to better reflect the goals of this SE site, @Rufus K.
    – J A
    Commented May 19, 2018 at 5:39

1 Answer 1


Marriage is important symbolically and legally. Convincing someone to give up their long held hopes and dreams of getting married isn't something that's going to happen in one conversation.

Your best bet is to start by understanding what your partners want from a relationship, and from a marriage. Talk about what they want long term. Do they see themselves being poly after marriage? Share your long term relationship goals with them. It's easy to say "I want to get Married." It's much harder to explain what that means to someone. Regardless of whether you are poly or not you should be having this conversation before deciding to marry someone.

Once you have an idea of what your partner's are looking for you can start talking about reconciling differences in long term goals. There may be goals that are just incompatible. If this is the case then you need to decide whether it's time to end the relationship now or wait until the differences start to become a problem.

I can't offer any advice about the cultural/legal specifics of East African polyamory but in the United States many successful long term poly households create a distinction between the legal practice of getting married and whatever rituals and promises they make for each other. What this looks like in practice is incredibly varied based on the resources and needs of a particular family. In general it requires generating legal documents that can provide some of the protections and freedoms that a married couple would have by default.

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