Tuesday, January 26, 2010


"I could never be in an open relationship," is something I hear quite often from my friends and acquaintances. Strangely, most of these people have cheated, have been cheated on, are currently cheating, or are actively contemplating cheating on their significant other. Hell, I was one of those people myself. I was a Cheating Piece of Shit in every single monogamous relationship I attempted. That was part of what lead me to try being an Honest Non-monogamous Gal.

"I would be too jealous. I couldn't stand the thought of my significant other being with someone else." Jealousy is actually another big reason why I chose to be non-monogamous. In a strange way, I trace most of my cheating back to my own jealousy. Here's the script: Significant Other is currently having a life- hanging out with people of both sexes, doing things that I'm not particularly interested it, working, going to school. During this time when SO is not with me, my big imagination is writing stories about a BJ from a waitress at the restaurant SO's friends hang at or a passionate but as yet unconsummated love affair with the nerd chick in SO's robotics class. These imaginings lead to me starting fights, making accusations, being cold, and generally pushing my partner away. Now I begin to feel a distance, not realizing that I created it, but it still leads me to feel unloved, uncared for, etc, which means that I'm unworthy. Then, when someone, anyone, starts to show me attention, affection, well, I jump at the chance to feel good again. What's worse is that the guilt about the cheating makes me feel even worse about being around my SO, the one person I actually do want to work it all out with, so I'm left with the only person who still makes me feel good, the person I cheated with.

So why not flip the script? If I'm always dreaming imaginary liasons for my SO, why not let hir have real ones, safely, honestly, and openly? If I'm always worried that my SO wants someone else more than me, won't I feel more secure when zi comes home to me? If I don't push my SO away with the things I only imagine, because I now know exactly what is happening, won't that be one less thing to come between us? And a fresh injection of new attention on my side, without the guilt, could be enough to keep things fresh and new. Also, I think that it helps to break the cycle in which I cling on for dear life to my SO, even when the relationship should have ended long ago, even when we are not good for each other, even when we are emotionally abusing each other, just because I feel like I will have nothing left without that person. Don't get me wrong: That break-up is still gonna hurt like hell. But it makes it easier to know that you have at least one person who's bed you can find comfort in, even if that person isn't ever going to be the next love of your life. Especially because you've hopefully also chosen a person who can be a friend and can understand the grief you're feeling. Maybe you also helped them through theirs.

When I try to explain any part of this to most people, anyone not in the choir, I get the feeling that I'm talking past them. I think some people think I'm a slutty party girl with daddy issues who is sleeping around until she finds her Prince/Princess Charming. I think other people think I'm jaded, had one too many bad relationships, but that it will all change when I meet the right person. The rest just think I'm a weirdo. None of them think that it will ever work. That someone will get hurt, that someone is bound to get jealous, that no one will ever be happy in this situation. That is true. But do you know what else is true? That people in monogamous relationships get hurt, get jealous, and very few, if any, are happy. I can't say that this take on relationships has worked spectacularly, but my previous take didn't either. But I can say that it leaves me feeling more in control of my own life and more honest, both with other people and myself. As with anything, it's for now. And, for now, it works.

After my rather long silence on my blogs, I was driven to write this after reading this blog post on the marriages of other people. (I might write another post later dealing more directly with the post but not tonight. I'm almost tired.) But it reminded me that the systems we are given and that we are supposed to accept without question are often very flawed and work for very few people. Everyone has to build their own lives and their own relationships. There is no one way. And I guess that's what I should start telling my friends.


Maria said...

Nicely written, I understand your logic, though it might not be the best choice for me personally it does make alot of sense, as your friend the only thing that I ask is that you also keep your mind open to the type of love that could make you a HMLG.

Ava said...

I would also point you to sex/love advice columnist Dan Savage. He and his husband have been very happily together for over a decade, I think, and he describes their non-monogamy as more theoretical than active at this time. I am more than open to a situation where I am monogamous by default, so to speak, where I love and value my current one-on-one relationship and neither of us have met anyone worth the complication.

But, for me, I think the biggest thing is not demanding that my very human relationships meet some inhuman expectation of monogamy or even just only being attracted to one person. I'd rather be open about my flaws, my partners flaws, and the flaws of our relationship, than ignore them and this is the best way I've found to do it. That is not to say that I don't think there are other ways of achieving that same goal though.