Monogamy? Polyamory? Open Relationship?

If I don’t believe in the fairytale ending, what do I believe in?

Another thing – in recognising there is no fairytale ending, how do I set up my life & ensure my own happiness? I still need (we all need) intimacy, companionship, validation, rewarding relationships. So how do I achieve these if it is not through a traditional (for me) man & woman monogamous relationship?

MONOGAMY

I really don’t know where I stand on monogamy. I have always been monogamous in my relationships, but now I can’t see a time where that would work for me anymore – simply because it feels just too risky to put all your eggs in one basket; counting on one person to be your everything & meet all your needs. I’m much happier now because I realise what relationships can’t offer me – so I don’t demand them anymore, and get many of my needs met elsewhere instead.

POLYAMORY

It seems much more sensible to have several partners (not that I have done this in a relationship sense) so where one can’t provide something you need, you always have one or more you can turn to for this. Having said that, this sounds like a description of polyamory to me and I’m not sure that is something I am interested in. I don’t think I could handle the thought of my ‘primary’ partner also having other partners, that I knew about, had to meet and maybe even hang out with – and to be cool with that. I’m afraid my ego is just far too big for that kind of scenario!

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OPEN RELATIONSHIP

I can maybe (??) envisage however, a situation where I have a primary partner and we are allowed to occasionally fool around with other people without severe consequences or guilt. But where are the boundaries with this? Personally I think I would prefer not to know, so it wasn’t discussed. I suppose a fear is that your partner could then fall for one of these other people…but I think I would want the set up to be so that even if they did, the two of you could stay together also (as long as they were still into you too of course). And also, who is to say because it’s allowed, you wouldn’t feel guilt anyway?

In this scenario, one partner could decide they are leaving to be with one of the ‘flings’ – but that could happen (and does frequently) in a traditional relationship anyway! I wonder if adding this kind of flexibility to the set-up is any protection against the breakdown of a relationship. Surely, diversifying in this way makes you more adaptable in your relationship life?

I just looked it up – this is what is indeed known as an open relationship; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_relationship#Types_of_open_relationships

And having read this page it makes me more intrigued as to whether this could work for me… crucially;

‘No two open relationships will be the same, and the relationship will change due to the current circumstances at each specific moment.’

However, it looks like I have a lot to learn – in an open relationship it seems you fully discuss (and even get permission) for who you are going to have sex with. I suppose this feels scarier in one way but more comfortable in another – in that you are taking due care and attention to your primary partners needs and feelings, and they of yours, which I suppose is how a relationship like this can be successful rather than collapsing due to mistrust and jealousy.

…Or maybe it makes it worse; the fact they can create an intimate bond through sex which they otherwise wouldn’t have. But I have slept with people I didn’t have an intimate bond with – there was no danger of me falling for them. Hmm….

Also would this kind of freedom mean each partner would be happier? I feel for me I would really want this kind of freedom, as this is the main amazing thing I have in my life at the moment, and – not trusting a relationship to necessarily go well longer term/make me happy as I had believed it would – is something I really want to hang onto. Though of course it’s a harder thing to give to someone else – but I believe (I hope) I would if I found someone I was comfortable reaching this kind of arrangement with.

It’s a scary prospect. But for me, less scary than the idea of a traditional ‘one person for everything’ false fairytale ideal which in my experience frequently causes unhappiness on one or both sides (plus collateral damage…).

I’m not endorsing any of this or suggesting certain lifestyles – I’m exploring it because I really don’t know what the answer is.

Here is an interesting discussion of open marriage from an article a few years ago which seems largely supportive of the idea:  http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a400/open-marriages-0809/

‘It is an act of imagination to live differently from everyone else, and maybe, in rare and magnificent moments, it works’.

I think for me one of the things to work through would be fear – fear of losing a relationship with someone I liked. Ironically though I feel a more flexible, open romantic relationship (depending of course how it is conducted/the particular people and circumstances) might just be something that could allow you to have a longer, more fulfilling relationship with someone than in a monogamous arrangement.

But who knows? I’m yet to try it. And who knows if I’ll have the courage (or even still the desire) when I do next meet someone I consider having a relationship with.

As you can see I’m pretty wet behind the ears with this stuff so would love to hear from people who have already had/are living these experiences…What do you think? Does it work for you? What are the benefits? What are the pitfalls to look out for?

5 thoughts on “Monogamy? Polyamory? Open Relationship?

  1. I am currently struggling with the same feelings about relationships. It seems like none of these would work for me. Like you, the traditional relationship is nothing but heartbreak for me. I feel I’m too territorial for the others, especially if it’s with someone that I truly like/love.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First: Thank you so much for this great post!!

    When I was 19 years old I was living with a boyfriend whom I loved very much. There were things about the relationship that never felt fulfilled and I expressed my desire to explore those feelings and meet other men. I was young and did not approach it the correct way and he was very hurt and the relationship ended shortly after. Several years later I learned about polyamory. It is the perfect word for what I was feeling and who I am. I am poly and I am happy. I am currently 23 and I was single for many years because I decided I would no longer compromise on my happiness. I met my (now) boyfriend in January of this year, we got to know each other for 6 months before he asked me to be in a committed relationship. He knows that I am poly, we had many long discussions about this before we became official. I am the most content in life I have ever been. I can come home to my boyfriend, feel very loved, make plans for vacations, do all the normal ‘couple” activities, and am still able to have the freedom to meet other people. I think of my life goal as personal growth, I want to meet and learn about as many people, and myself, as much as I can. Not confining myself to monogamy was the best decision. My boyfriend has yet to branch out and meet other women, maybe that will come in time. It is all about clear communication. I hope that he feels as loved as I feel loved by him. That is the ultimate goal of the poly life style, everyone is able to fulfill their needs. To me love is not about possession, it is about freedom, and if I love my boyfriend (and myself) then I should not want to possess him, I should (and do) want him to have everything his heart desires. Relationships don’t work out for so many different reasons, having sex/emotional intimacy with other people does not diminish my feeling for my boyfriend. For me it is about being secure with who I am and knowing what page my boyfriend is on.

    Sorry this is so long….I have even more to say if you are truly interested in my experiences. I wish you happiness on your journey to self discovery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, thank you so much for your comments! Its great to hear its working out so well for you. I’m interested in how I can make it work in my own life. I’m beginning to have what may be an open relationship but, well its not really a relationship. What Im unsure of at the moment is how you approach what your boundaries are/arent when there seems no rules in place anymore! Am on a path of working it out I suppose. At the moment am taking it as it comes which seems the right thing for now.

      Liked by 1 person

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