It has now been almost 500 days of monogamy folks. I know I have a lot of polyamorous/swinger/open folks out there reading along and so I thought I would do a little update post on what exactly it’s been like to be in a monogamous relationship.
Let’s start here: Last night I was in my night class and I was really caffeinated. I do this to stay awake. It also helps me to keep my brain busy which often lends itself to working the deep thought mill. Well, last night I had this thought. There are so many things to explore. Sexy things, not sexy things, totally unsexy things. That’s a question that I get asked a lot.
Don’t you miss exploring/trying new things/experimentation?
I try to imagine how I would have answered this question before. In truth, probably something like this. I can’t imagine only being with one person. I can’t imagine never getting to feel something new. In my own scientific discovery, my own case study, I can now report that I can imagine being with only one person. I also don’t miss exploring or trying new things or experimentation because I still am exploring, and trying new things, and experimenting.
It’s so easy to speak from whatever current situation you find yourself in as though there were no other way to live. I guess I’ve found myself back in that same position. When I think about him there are endless possibilities and I can’t imagine ever having enough time to feel and see and do every single thing I want to do with him.
Monogamy has turned me into a softy, effectively.
I’ve also given a real effort, I’ve tried, to fall into all of the various bits and pieces that come with being monogamous. Much in the same way that I tried to fall into non-monogamy. For me that has meant making a concerted effort to spend time with other happy and successful monogamous couples. I think this is a good plan for non-monogamy as well, or whatever relationship style you’re in. Whatever you’re doing, find a community that is doing it too, and do it together.
In earlier posts about this subject I wrote a lot about how I’d taken lessons from non-monogamy (re: jealousy, autonomy, etc) and pulled them into monogamy. I still believe that to be true. Monogamy can benefit from non-monogamy by borrowing ideas of “designing your own relationship” and growing together in ways that go beyond the normative relationship guidelines.
However: I have slightly shifted on the subject of jealousy.
Previously I said that in an open relationship, you were more likely to have your jealousy triggered because you were involved in more situations where you would feel a lack of control. I am not necessarily sure that is true anymore.
In a monogamous relationship you might have a certain imposed criteria for what kinds of behaviors you’re going to expect your partner to have. That means that when they do trigger your jealousy, the baseline for that action might be much lower than if you were in a non-monogamous relationship.
As with many other things in relationships, its about expectation. Your expectations often guide your happiness. It is important to be critical of how you are raising or lowering your expectations in order to be as happy as you can be. Sometimes you ought to ask yourself, and your partner: am I unhappy because I have too high expectations, or am I unhappy because you’re an asshole?
Because I’m now in it, it’s hard for me to think about monogamy as something unusual (which of course, its not) but I’m happy to answer any other questions about the transition (from monogamy to non-monogamy, or vice versa) if anyone has any. Feel free to submit via the form at the top of the page (ask advice) or in the comments below.
Otherwise, I’ll try to check back in another 500 days.