My girlfriend practiced polyamory

After 20 years of strictly monogamous marriage, my wife passed away. Our relationship had many ups and downs, but we were always in love. After getting tired of being alone, I decided to get back into the dating scene, though not really knowing what I wanted. I'm past the "making a family" stage, so I was torn between just wanting a girlfriend(s) and wanting, once again, that feeling of having a close relationship with one woman.

Eventually, I met a wonderful, free-spirited woman. 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." We've dated steadily since our first meeting three months ago. In that time, we've fallen in love.

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). She has not lied to me (as far as I know) and has always been forthright and upfront in advance about her meet-ups (as far as I know). She has done nothing (as far as I know) to cause me to feel doubt about her actions. In the back of my mind, 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 do not want to be controlling or overbearing and demand that she no longer have male friends. I have no doubts about her feelings about me. 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? Is there some way I can assure myself about our relationship while at the same time not be a cad about it.

– 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. Things are working now, but does she intend to remain a one-man woman? Is that the goal? She doesn't have to commit to a lifetime with you right this second, but she should be able to talk about her hopes.

Based on what you've told us, it all looks good for the future (as far as I know). 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. And it does sound like these people are friends, by the way (as far as I know). Sure, she was sleeping with them, but there was emotional intimacy, too.

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. You just have to stay honest and hope for the best.

Readers? Can this woman maintain a monogamous lifestyle? Are there ever any guarantees?

- Meredith