Non-Monogamistakes: A Guide to Fucking Up

I’ve made the same mistake three times in the last couple of months:

Person misguidedly interested in my life: So you’re monogamous, right? Why aren’t you in an open relationship?

Myself, being an asshole: Because, y’know, I’m just really satisfied in my relationship.

On behalf of decent, well-articulate humans everywhere, I apologize.

See, what people are interested in is how someone could be in an open relationship and then, later, be monogamous again. This is a fair curiosity. For many people, open relationships spring from a real sense of community within polyamory. More simply put: they believe that not being monogamous is a part of who they are and seek others who believe the same thing. If you want to get even deeper, they believe that monogamy is simply not a natural way to be. A system constructed by people who want to sell diamonds, or something.

So when I go off for a few years and talk about nothing except non-monogamy, it can be a little weird when I’m like yeah so monogamy is cool and awesome and here’s how to do it. That’s because I write about what I’m doing in my life, and am capable of holding multiple, contrary opinions all at the same time. Boom.

When I say “I’m satisfied in my relationship” I don’t mean to say “If you are in an open relationship you are unhappy with your primary relationship.” That would be silly. 

What I mean to say is “I’m satisfied in my relationship” like “I’m happy with the way things are going right now and am interested in maintaining this.” 

Big difference.

We had this whole talk when we started dating where I asked him if he would be uncomfortable dating someone who had been in an open relationship… and at the time I think I felt a little bit like I was in a motorcycle gang. I’M ON THE ROAD A LOT, ARE YOU SURE YOU CAN HANDLE THIS, I’LL BE TRYIN’ TA SETTLE DOWN FOR YOU LOVE, BUT I’VE SEEN THE SWEET BREATH OF THE HIGHWAY AND… turned out, not a big deal. He shrugged, we started dating, never really thought about it again. We found a rhythm that just worked for us.

For other people it’s not so simple. They experienced an open relationship and enjoy the freedom so much that going back to monogamy would be suffocating. The very fiber of who they are is stitched into the very scripts of non-monogamy. They want life to take them wherever it takes them without necessarily relying on the stability and routine of one partnership.

Others have never tried non-monogamy, but like myself, read something somewhere that really clicked with them. And now they have to try it. They have to know. Because it makes sense. And it’s not that they’re not happy with their relationship. It’s that they’re comfortable in their relationship and feel comfortable trying this thing with their partner because they feel safe, secure, and able.

If that’s all very difficult to wrap your brain around, don’t worry. Like any relationship, people struggle with the beginning, middle, and end bits. The difference in non-monogamy is we’re not born with the rules and have to figure them out along the way. Which, for a lot of people, just isn’t worth the effort.

Have a question about monogamy? Non-Monogamy? Sexuality? Sex? Gender? Submit at http://www.suggestivetongue.com/ask and I’ll answer it on my blog.

 

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2 Comments

  1. “Others have never tried non-monogamy, but like myself, read something somewhere that really clicked with them. And now they have to try it. They have to know. Because it makes sense.”

    Just out of curiosity, what did you read that clicked with you that made you want to try non-monogamy? Through your experience, did you find that what initially clicked with you was at odds with how you actually felt about the experience? Or does what you read still make sense to you, and your monogamous relationship is simply more desirable than the alternative?

    1. I think the first thing that I read was Sex at Dawn. It approached it from an evolutionary psych perspective, as in… we may not be predisposed to monogamy and that’s why it feels nice to do these other things. It was probably other things along the way too. Statements like “why choose one forever?” or “flirting is fun” or “what if you’re bi?” Things that made non-monogamy make sense.

      I definitely found that what I read was at odds with how I was able to function. While some things were fun – others were difficult in practice. For instance, when I was in coffee shops, I went from blocking out other people, to SEEING everyone. The difference between “I need my latte” and “wow, there are some attractive people here, I could talk to all of them openly and maybe meet later.” Connections were easier to make because there were no limitations. But: between three people (at least) its hard to get everyone on the same page. Flirting was easy, but creating something functional was near impossible (for me.) Your partner needs to be on the same page and the third needs to be on the same page and everyone needs to communicate openly and be completely honest about what is OK.

      What I read still makes sense to me, but I’m not entirely sure that its a LIFESTYLE that suits me. Bits and pieces of it still apply to me and my relationship (flirting) and I may extend those things in the future to “monogamish” experiences (threesomes.) I don’t think I’m poly. I think that I love many people, but that love extends closer to friendships than other loving relationships.

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