Ethical Nonmonogamy | Polyamory, Love & Relationships

Phi on Poly/Non-poly/Non-monogamy

(Originally posted on FetLife 4/22/2015)

I’ve just gotten home from a long-ass day of redundant meetings during which I received a question. They wanted to know if I’d ever written on my opinion of poly/non-poly. I looked through my (vast) library and was surprised I’d never broached the subject before.

I think I started it a bunch of times and just didn’t bother because I felt like it wouldn’t matter to anybody.

See, in my local kink community, monogamous (or monogamish) is the minority. I tried starting a local monogamy group on Fetlife and we have 10 whopping members.

So this is it. This is going to be the one where I talk about my views on relationship structures and I want to make sure a few things come across right off the bat:

1) I do not poly hate. I will poke fun at the lack of non-poly in my community but I do not actually have a problem understanding why poly is a valid, worthwhile, and excellent choice for some people. It’s just not for me in the long term.

2) I reserve the right to change my mind. What I’m writing right now is how I feel on April 22, 2015. My thoughts and feelings on this topic have evolved a few times over the past few years and I don’t suffer under the delusion that they cannot evolve again.

See, I identify as “monogamish,” but in an hour an a half I’m going to go on a date with a poly guy.

How’s that work?

I think monogamish is the heteroflexible of relationship structures. For the most part, I want one person. My person. And I want to be his person. The specific nuances of what the “ish” part means are for myself and my future partner to define together.

But, once in a while I start getting a craving for a girl. Usually a specific one. I don’t have to act on this craving. I mean, sometimes I do. But I don’t have to. Sometimes I just want to, and then a girl’s lips magically end up attached to mine. It’s fun how that works.

Example – I likey the rope stuff. Maybe future partner doesn’t do rope? Maybe while future partner learns rope (because he loves me and wants to make me happy), I get to do the ropey stuff with a play partner. Things like that.

Let’s back up. Tony and I officially became an honest-to-goodness couple in 2005, and he was my one and only (and I his) until he passed away last year.

But for the final three years of his life, there were no sexytimes happening in the bedroom. At one point, I started to consider the idea of asking him to allow me the option of fulfilling that need elsewhere, since it wasn’t something he was feeling the need for anymore.

I knew that asking him would make him feel like a failure as a husband, and for someone who was already suffering from deep, debilitating depression – I couldn’t bear the thought of burdening him with more guilt. So I never asked.

And I never stepped out.

However; clearly, having considered it in the first place shows that I was not averse to it. That I understand that it could have worked if he were in a healthier place emotionally and mentally.

Then again, if that had been the case, he’d have been fucking me.

I digress.

I mentioned that I tried it. It’s possible both the times that I was involved in a poly-type relationship it was just not a good fit for reasons other than the poly of it all. At least in the first instance, it was just not a good fit. In the second instance – it was a complete lack of understanding from both the other people in the relationship on how things like honesty, communication, and consistency work. These are things that are important to me.

These are things that are important to me.

It always strikes me when I see a post about poly here on Fetlife that they stress the tenets of a successful polyamorous relationship as including such things as honesty, communication, reliability, consistency, space for oneself, time for each other, etc. etc.

Guess what? Those are the basic tenets of any successful relationship. At least the healthy ones I’ve been involved in.

You don’t have to be poly to value honesty and communication. Trust me.

You don’t have to be poly to make sure you save time for yourself and your own personal growth.

You don’t have to be poly to make sure you’re actively listening to and communicating with your partner.

It totally works in monogamous relationships, too.

As the person who requested this writing pointed out – it also works in platonic relationships.

So, why am I about to go on a date with a poly guy?

I’m glad you asked. I’ll tell you. It’s because he’s a nice person. It’s because he’s a nice, intelligent, attractive person that I consider a friend, but am not interested in for a full-time, long-term relationship. It’s because he likes me and he wants to spend time with me. And I’m a selfish thing who prefers to be in the company of people who enjoy being in mine.

Without the “feels” I can do non-monogamy. I don’t know if I can go full-on intimacy, but I can date and play and make out with and do other fun stuff with more than one person without feeling needy, clingy, or jealousy that they’re doing it with others.

It’s when I catch a case of the feels that it all falls apart.

Once I have those feelings, I need to feel special. I need to feel secure in our relationship. Perhaps being a primary would be enough down the line, I don’t know. But at the start of any potentially serious relationship with anybody, I need us to work on us – us being two people and not more.

I have read some really interesting and wonderful opinions on poly. I could go find and link them all but I’m a little lazy right now, and I’d want to get permission from the authors before I did so.

There’s a current one on K&P that I’m looking forward to showing my date tonight. The one about not forcing your monogamous partner to get involved in poly just ’cause it soothes your guilt.

See, my date tonight is actually kind of monogamous. But his girlfriend of 3 years isn’t.

And now he’s trying to get out there and make connections because if he doesn’t, the resentment builds and they might fall apart.

I told him I was happy to be his friend. We were clearly getting along.

He told me I’d be a very “cute” friend.

I told him I let some of my friends pull my hair. And, perhaps he might like to be one of those kinds.

I think he might.

But in the spirit of honesty and communication, I also told him what all of my playmates know:

As soon as I find my partner – our friendship goes back to being the non-hair-pulling kind.

And that’s fine with them.

4 thoughts on “Phi on Poly/Non-poly/Non-monogamy”

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