The Mono-Poly Diaries: Introducing Others
I’ve decided to start writing about what it’s like to be in a mono-poly relationship because, quite frankly, anyone I talk to who is mono seems to think I’m being used or under-appreciated, and most poly people I speak to make me feel like I am evil for being in a mono-poly relationship (forgetting that it’s something my partner chose when he chose me!). It’s kind of led to me not really knowing who I can talk to about my relationship and my insecurities.
So, today I’m going to talk about ‘others’.
Lately my partner and I have been working out how to function as a mono-poly couple in a way that will make us both happy in the long run. He’s been pretty much monogamous for the duration of our relationship, for my benefit, and we’ve fallen more and more in love with each other. But lately it’s been hurting me to see him feel so limited by my constant freak-outs and tantrums whenever we start talking, or whenever he starts looking at others.
But here’s why it pains a mono minded soul such as myself to know that their partner is looking for extra curricular fun.
It makes me feel like I’m not quite 10/10. Not quite perfect. Not quite the most that he wants from a partner (more specifically, from a woman!). Like there’s someone special out there who’s going to thrill and delight him more than I ever can. Sounds selfish, no? I know it is, and I wish I could think more poly-mindedly to better understand that it’s not the case.
Not all mono people are insecure control freaks! I guess past experiences have not really helped me with my insecurity. A string of almost relationships with guys who say they’re not looking/ready for a relationship and end up in one with a girl I will undoubtedly compare myself to (finding faults in myself) 5 minutes later.
I think it’s all about balance.
Knowing when the mono partner is feeling secure enough in her/himself and in your relationship to understand when it’s cool to go fishing. Your mono partner isn’t going to put your polyamorous lifestyle in a box, wrap it up in 6 layers of duct tape, hide it in the loft and hope you never find it, but it’s only reasonable to look for that balance that allows you both to be yourselves without putting the lifestyle (either lifestyle) before the love you share. What’s the point in being monogamous or polyamorous (or indeed, in a relationship or in love) if the soul(s) you’re sharing it with are just a playing piece in a board game?
My therapist described it as ‘compartmentalizing’. I’m the girlfriend. That’s my place in his life. But as a mono person I want to be his girlfriend, his sub, his little girl, his slut, his masochist, his shoulder to cry on, his best friend, his life partner, his soul mate, his morning fuck, his personal masseuse after a long day, his midnight snuggle. I want to tick a box that says ‘all of the above’ and not worry about someone coming along and fulfilling one of those roles I so desperately want to fulfil.
The most helpful conversation I’ve ever had with anyone about polyamory and how it can work with a monogamous partner was with a woman I met a few months ago. She told me that she’d been polyamorous for about a decade but takes every relationship for what it is – it’s not about collecting partners and adding notches to the bedpost. So when she was dating a monogamous man who needed more from her – needed more attention, love, time and exclusivity, that’s what they had. For me, the one thing I need (and maybe that’s why I’m starting to discover that I might have little tendencies) is to be able to depend on that one person.
Granted, this might not be ideal in a long term/life long relationship. It’s unfair to the poly partner. He or she might really need others for sexual gratification and self affirmation. So that’s when you need to start thinking: what is it about a relationship that’s more important to me – the emotional and sexual freedom of polyamory, the dependability and exclusivity of monogamy, or the unique connection I have with this person who say they want to be mine and want me to be his/hers?