Non-monogamy and me

Peroxide over at Submissive in Seattle wrote an introspective post about polyamory for the mono-amorous where he talks about what it was like to be in a poly relationship when he’s mono-amorous. Short version: it’s tough. Long version: go read it.

I’ve been meaning to write something about non-monogamy (really, non-monoamory, but god, what an awkward word!) for a while.

Partly because my First now identifies as non-monogamous so it’s come a little closer to home. There are multiple reasons why he’s ‘complicated’, that catch-all euphemism that can mean anything, but the term covers the overall state of him well. Among the complicated things, he has a partner with whom he has an open relationship, and in our gentle explorations and mutual curiosity, that makes him a non-starter for anything significant for me. But it has had me thinking.

I identify as monogamous. Fiercely so. Not because it’s a label I’m attached to, nor because I’m particularly good at it, to be honest.

I identify that way because when I’m in, I’m ALL IN. With every fibre of my heart, body, and soul. I’m in. And that simply leaves no room for anyone else. I have no interest in anyone else. I have no time for anyone else. I have no energy for anyone else. There’s just him. And he gets everything I have to give. There’s nothing left. And I need him to be the same. I want everything, it’s mine. All of it. And if he thinks he has anything left for someone else, then he hasn’t given me enough. Because I want THAT too.

And if I can’t have that, I fall into ‘Eh, whatever…’ and obviously there’s nothing in ‘Eh, whatever’ upon which to build.

But then there have been some very few exceptions that have slipped in sideways with ‘something else’. Those where I’m not ‘all in’, but there is enough interest to fire up *something*. It happens rarely, so rarely that I don’t even consider it a thing.

But when I think back on bambi, our time together was exactly that. We thought and hoped that we were heading into ‘happily ever after’ before he came out here, but it quickly became clear that we weren’t. Not at all. And that fact would normally kill the possibility of anything for me (for him too, he said). But despite our relationship mismatch, the D/s, the play, the kissing… that all worked. Nothing ELSE worked, and normally that would be like an ‘off switch’ for attraction for me. But in his case, it wasn’t. I was still wildly attracted to him *despite* our connection outside of that bubble being pretty much nil.

There were a number of factors at play there. We’d done a lot of the emotional work to suss each other out before meeting. We genuinely liked and respected each other. We had each invested. So we had groundwork upon which we could discard the hopes for a relationship and still have the D/s, play, sex, kissing, all that. Our mutual attraction was fierce and sweet. Also it was time-boxed because he was only here for a short while. I don’t think it could have worked for longer than the few weeks that he was here.

That’s not anything to do with non-monogamy, obviously. I hark back to it because that’s pretty much EXACTLY the connection I would need to have to do some kind of non-monogamy: Where I like him enough to still be attracted and want ‘something’ with him, but there are clear reasons why my emotions won’t get further engaged, why I won’t want more. And he would have to feel the same. And wow, is that ever a tricky balance.

In theory, if bambi had had a primary partner, I’d have been fine with it. Because we didn’t fit together. And not only did I *know* that, my heart knew it, and didn’t want more. I didn’t have to work at closing that part of myself down: it just didn’t exist.

So in thinking about my First and ‘where to from here’, I’m trying to mentally map a path for myself where ‘some kind of something’ might be workable: engaging and fun and hot enough to be worthwhile, but casual enough not to have to work too hard to pull back from wanting more. There is a mutual attraction and a desire to explore, which we both acknowledge but we haven’t explicitly discussed what that means in a practical sense. Not least because I really don’t know right now.

He’s casually mentioned another visit, nothing concrete. “For the conversation,” he says. Which makes me laugh. My conversation isn’t that good. My kissing, though, is awesome.

Loves: 13
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  1. I wonder if introverts tend to find monogamy a better fit, while extroverts tend to find polyamory a better fit….

    Thought provoking post. But I need some time to process…

    1. That’s an interesting question. I have no idea.

      Certainly I can imagine that building multiple relationships could feel a lot more like ‘work’ to some introverts, but I can also imagine that once it was established, it could work just fine.

      If I can bring someone into my ‘inner circle’, they are no longer an ‘other’ that I have to cycle up social energy to spend time with. I can imagine (for another introvert) that once relationships were established, they’d have that same kind of comfort level with their partners.

      There are different types of non-monogamy though. I’d think polyamory (i.e. ongoing loving relationships with multiple people) requires a lot more work than open (i.e. a primary relationship with other more casual liaisons).

      I have no experience with it though, so I’m guessing.


  2. I have tried many times to explain why I have chosen monogamy . Too many times, it came across as arrogant and condescending to others. Some times, it was a miserable failure that really said nothing. All I know is this: The minute I saw Bonnie, I smiled. In 34 years, that smile has never faded. respectfully stan

  3. I have that same “all in” reaction when I have an interest in someone that I want to explore. I want to give my all and I expect their all as well. But…

    Apparently my “all” can be a bit much when focused on only one person. :/

    That actually works for me since I like a few things which require 3 people. But basically the only way I can do a poly relationship is a non-heirarchical closed V. I’ve tried more than 2 submissives. That is too many. Then I start to feel pulled in too many directions. But I can’t manage casual either. So a primary partner and then some other people we interact sexually with?

    No thanks.

    But neither do I share well. I also start to lose interest if I am not getting their all. I know it sounds horribly selfish. But I never claim otherwise. I am honest right up front about how things need to work. And I think all of the above is largely due to my extreme introverted nature. (In answer to the post up there ^^)

    1. “Apparently my “all” can be a bit much when focused on only one person. :/”

      Ahh… interesting. I actually find the route to non-monogamy quite fascinating because it’s so individual.

      I suspect that for many non-monogamous folks working out *what kind of non-monogamy* works can be a long and difficult process. THEN finding the partners that want exactly that, and you: Phew. I get exhausted just thinking about it.

      I know from your blog that you have been in a relationship with your husband and the Wild Thing for a while now, so you obviously worked out how to get there. Congratulations *smile*.


  4. “And he gets everything I have to give. There’s nothing left. And I need him to be the same. I want everything, it’s mine. All of it. And if he thinks he has anything left for someone else, then he hasn’t given me enough. Because I want THAT too.”

    This is so alive, such a beautifully call to live fully into your relationship. Rare is the couple who can look into each other’s eyes content and exhausted from living.

    Thank you Ferns!

  5. I just caught this post. It took me awhile because, hey, complicated!

    A few thoughts swim through my mind, none of which I will share here.

    Except two.

    Your kissing truly is awesome. And don’t underestimate your conversation.

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