Being Non-Monogamous in the Age of Monogamy

I’ve never explicitly described my relationship status since my break up, because I wasn’t writing, and I didn’t find it important. If who I sleep with changes your desire to like me as a person, then good, fuck off.  You can sleep with whoever you want, or not sleep with whoever you want, and I’ll do the same.

I describe my current status as non-monogamous. Simple as that. I do not discriminate based on my partners gender, so I fall under the pansexual umbrella, and I will not be with one partner. I tried to be monogamous, and it ended up not being what I wanted.

So a brief explanation of non-monogamy versus polyamory. Being non-monogamous is really an umbrella status that includes a lot of sub-categories.  The general consensus being that it is someone who has multiple partners, or a single partner but also finds new partners for extended relationships or brief ones.  Polyamory similarly is not being monogamous, but is a group of people who understand and accept that there are multiple partners involved in one relationship.  It’s a collective where partners are all involved in one way or another.  I personally distinguish these folks because they usually have a main partner. I choose to not have that, but rather have multiple partners that have nothing to do with each other, they’re completely separate entities.

When I explain to people about my partners, I’ve gotten mixed reactions. I receive a lot of negative emotions, as do women specifically who choose to be polyamorous or non-monogamous, because people make the leap to say that they’re just sex addicts. Just because a woman feels comfortable enough to take control of her sex life and doesn’t feel obligated to please just one partner, I don’t see what the issue is.  I am not addicted to sex. I enjoy it. I’m an adult who chooses to have a healthy and diverse sex life.

I think exploring non-monogamy and polyamory is such an important step to take before or even after getting married, if you and your partner are interested.  Yes, you love your partner, but I see no issue with taking a lover now and then. It is the consent between the two of you that is necessary.  I will not sleep with a person who has a partner that does not know that they’re having external relations.  I believe sex is something that needs to be discussed, so that everyone involved is on the same page. If only one partner wants to be non-monogamous, then it won’t work out. I know because I tried and failed to do just that.

Everyone is entitled to have their own way of living the non-monogamous lifestyle.  Whether they meet new partners, live with other partners, or simply know that there are other people involved and don’t have anything to do with them, it’s about finding what’s right for you.  There is no “correct” way to be non-monogamous, but I do feel there is an ethical way, and that’s being open, honest, and trusting.

Communication is the key to this lifestyle. Lemme say that one more time: COMMUNICATION IS KEY.

A HUGE and seriously annoying and offensive question I get is “How can you keep them all straight?” They’re fucking people.  I know about as much about my partners as I do about my friends, in varying degrees.  Some of my partners I know their full name, birthday, hopes, dreams, and sibling count.  For others I legitimately know their first name and address.

But before you get all up in arms, how many of your friends do you know everything about them, as opposed to the ones that maybe you know a general amount of information? There are varying degrees of emotional connections with each and every one of my partners, so I think it’s fair to have varying degrees of knowledge about them. It’s one of the great perks of non-monogamy, that each partnership allows for a unique level of emotional intimacy. 

Please, stop asking me this question.

While we’re on the topic of not asking stupid questions, let’s talk about jealousy.  It’s the thing that I think every non-monogamous person I know has gotten and at this point wants to smack the next person who asks. 

Of course there’s jealousy.  Just like in monogamous relationships.  Maybe you’re feeling neglected, or hurt because plans got cancelled last minute because his wife needed support at home.  Or maybe you’re jealous because there’s a new partner in the mix who is getting more time than you.  It’s an emotion, and people who are non-monogamous also deal with it.

I personally, don’t get jealous.  It’s an emotion I have detached myself from because I’ve accepted that I am not the only person in my partners’ lives. For me, this works, but for others how do they get past it?  Oh yeah, by talking about it.

There’s nothing wrong with having a conversation about feelings. I’ve found that when I have had issues with partners, us sitting down and just hashing it out has been the most beneficial. Or texting, I’ll be honest, I come off much more coherent in writing. No one can read minds, so if you have something that’s bothering you, sit down and talk about it.

In the end though, the only reason I’ve been so comfortable in growing and developing is because my best friend Claire is right along side me. She is polyamorous and having someone who is going through the same shit as you is refreshing. It was like we had poor communication and bad partners that broke us, then we tried to have lots of partners and just got overwhelmed. We’ve had good and bad and love and loss. We’re both currently in very different places in terms of the specifics of our love lives, but we’re finally both happy and in healthy relationships. Not everyone lucks out and can go through this kind of emotional growth with their best friend, and I feel blessed, as fucking lame as that sounds. 

When I come to her with my problems or frustrations, there’s never any judgment. It’s just two besties hashing out that relationship drama. If you ever feel like you need support in your non-monogamous lifestyle, you can always message me! All relationships have issues, and advice tainted by discrimination isn’t advice, it’s a sermon. 

I genuinely love being non-monogamous.  It has it’s shitty moments, like partners who you were rooting for, who ended up being trash humans. 

Or even them moving away when you wanted things to get more serious. But the positive significantly outweighs the negative.

I get to go on dates and adventures to do things I would sometimes never consider. I’m constantly pushed to be my best self because of their encouragement. I get to have so many snuggles it’s like a cocoon of affection. I get to have sex ranging from the most vanilla and sweet to the nastiest, kinkiest, “Oh-My-Lanta” level filth.

There is so much I have to say on this topic, but I’ll stop myself here for today. I feel like half of ya’ll came here to get the sex deets, you don’t have to lie to me.  I know it’s fun.  What are some of your questions about non-monogamy? Is there anything in particular you’d like me to talk about? Drop your comments down below!

 

4 Comment

  1. Your friendship with Claire is so fucking beautiful! SO pleased that both of you majestic lady wolves are feeling great in your relationships.

    1. Thank you! It’s wonderful to finally be moving in a healthy direction.

  2. Fascinating post – I dealt with this situation from the opposite side, as a monogamous person with a long term partner who would have preferred non-monogamy. There is really no good way around those situations other than to be up-front and honest about your preferences. However, I don’t know if I agree with your characterization of this as ‘The Age of Monogamy’. It has gotten a lot more common to see non-monogamy discussed as an acceptable option. Also, I’d be curious to hear your views on if/how attitudes towards non-monogamy are gendered. Consider your statement:

    “I receive a lot of negative emotions, as do women specifically who choose to be polyamorous or non-monogamous, because people make the leap to say that they’re just sex addicts.”

    As a man, I’ve often found that people view a man in a non-monogamous straight relationship as cuckolded, a loser unable to maintain a woman’s interest but too weak or whipped to leave. Alternatively, a man in a non monogamous straight relationship who gets a lot of female attention is seen as a player while his partner is overlooked or seen as weak-willed.

    Personally, I feel like internalization of some of those stereotypes accounts for some of why I’m too jealous to be in a non-monogamous relationship. Enjoyed the frank humor and pithiness of your post!

    1. Hey! Thanks for the comment. I mostly chose the title of the post because though I’ve found a community of non-monogamous humans, monogamy statistically is higher. I actually read an interesting article that monogamous relationships in this generation are less likely to divorce, so not only are they still going strong, but they’re healthier.

      I also chose to not include the differences between those who identify as male or female and focus on my own experience in terms of how my sexuality is viewed. My male friends and partners really end to be idolized for having partners rather than sex shamed, but that’s only a small fraction.

      Thanks again for reading!

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