This is part one of a two-part series in which I will explore both polyamory and monogamy, and the problems I see within each model. I’ll first start with polyamory. These are my opinions only and I am not an “expert”.
One Foot Out the Door
The typical polyamorous model is having guidelines and agreements with your partner on what are acceptable and non-acceptable encounters and interactions. Whether you are in a monogamous or polyamorous/open relationship, it is important to talk to eachother honestly about what you’re comfortable with and what you aren’t. No two polyamourous or monogamous relationships are alike and it’s great to have a conscious coupling, to get past expectations and specific roles you automatically feel you need to portray as “boyfriend”, “girlfriend”, “husband” or “wife”. Rather than let society define it, you define your own. In honest conversations, you can make up your own rules and get a feel for your partner’s comfort levels and requests, so as to honor him/her.
In polyamorous couplings, you typically have a ‘primary’ partner, whether a husband or wife, or something similar to the tune of boyfriend or girlfriend in a romantic relationship. Even if your guidelines are not to get romantically involved with other people (i.e. hook-ups only, travel relationships, etc.), there is still an element of feeling you’ve got “one foot out the door”. There is a danger of finding another partner and leaving the primary partner for the other, flowing in and out of what’s “primary” and what isn’t.
The feeling of one foot out the door or “always looking” keeps you unrooted. In a monogamous relationship, you have both feet in the relationship that keeps you grounded. People describe their partners as feeling like ‘home’, like their ‘rock’ or ‘anchor’, but in an open relationship, you may or may not have the same experience because of all the deviations away from the primary partnership.
This is not to say ALL polyamorous relationships have one foot out the door. As I’ve mentioned, each relationship is different and no two are alike. If choosing a more polyamorous/open relationship model, it’s good to share and talk about eachother’s outside experience to feel connected, grounded, and maybe even turned on, to enhance your primary sexual companionship!
Interacting with people is all about energy. Interacting sexually with another person is the utmost act of energetic exchange.
In a good match, whether in conversation, or in the bedroom, both people should feel their energy is uplifted. Their energy cycles back to each other in a circular pattern, each giving energy to the other. If both people feel their energy is depleted, each taking energy away from eachother, you may have to question the relationship and whether or not it is worth it to keep that person in your life. The third, middleground option is when one person gives energy to the other person, but does not receive energy back. This is unrequited love or any interaction that doesn’t feel reciprocation.
In an open relationship, you will be open and “on the lookout” for outside coupling, as if you were still in the single life. With this openness, you will also get more scenarios for potential energy drains. Simply put, finding the right partner is draining, especially for introverts like me. If there is no initial “click” it’s hard to feel good about the sex. Mixing energies with more than one person starts to feel less sacred, as you are doing less to protect yourself from energy drain and potential mismatched energies. Mixing multiple partners also means scattering the energy to more than one person, and in my opinion, feels less sacred than keeping your energy to one special person. Subconsciously or not, people are affected by each other’s energy. This is why women have spidey senses when a man is cheating on her. They can feel the energy on some level, even if they are not conscious.
Dating is often a huge waste of time, and a liability. For someone who enjoys meeting new people and having conversations, I don’t enjoy the expectation and agenda that men have who are interested in me for sex. If open relationships keep you in the game like a single person, I personally find it exhausting. I would rather be in a monogamous relationship, or at the very least, exclusively dating someone, or have no sex at all than the often in-between, in limbo stages of dating and hooking up. The idea of continuing this stage while I’m already in a relationship feels nuts and depletes my energy just thinking about it.
Jealousy is a natural human emotion, especially when faced with sexual and possible emotional interactions with people outside of your primary partnership. It’s natural to get jealous, even for polyamorous lovers who have made conscious guidelines and rules that give them permission to deviate from the norm. Testing these human emotions of jealousy feels like testing the relationship and unnecessarily rocking the boat, seeing how much each of you can handle. Is it really so smart to deliberately test the waters? Doing so feels like adding in more drama, and makes me wonder if open relationships are for people who like having drama in their life. For me, I value simplicity and minimalism and this is reflected in my wanting only one partner. One at a time is the best way I can handle.
I have been curious about the open relationship model and genuinely felt it was something I wanted for a long time. As I explore further, I realize I want a more monogamous model all along. It was the demise of a failed monogamous relationship that got me thinking about the opposite extreme of the spectrum: polyamory. I got so jealous and insecure in my monogamous relationship (since monogamy is not immune to feelings of jealousy but keeps it a little bit simpler, in theory), that I decided to learn all I could about polyamory so that I could overcome jealousy by facing it head on; a relationship model that stares jealousy in the face. I adapted the non-attached sense of polyamory and learned to become less jealous in theory, but in practice have yet to manage. In conclusion, I realized that while I learned a lot from polyamory and jealousy, and learned to keep jealousy at bay, I still wanted the commitment of one special partnership, and no other variations.
Models aren’t perfect. Despite deciding that I prefer a more monogamous relationship model, or even monogam”ish”, there are a lot of problems I see with monogamy which I will address in my next post.