From Monogamy to Elsewhere

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

The past few years have been anything but what I thought they would be. If you asked me two years ago where I would be now, I’d probably say something along the lines of, working at an ad agency and hopefully getting married soon. Well luckily, neither of those things are happening.

I still have the education requirements to work at an agency, but the truth is, it’s not what I want to do. Hell, I don’t know what I want to do, and for now, I prefer that. It’s a lot harder to figure out what you’re passionate about than one might think. And if there’s no passion in your work, what’s the point?

Now, I will say that I still want to get married. It’s scary as hell to think about something like that, considering the nightmarish relationships I’ve found myself in, but I think I’ve at least found the person I could see myself living with for eternity without resulting to murder. Let’s call that a start. However, the way my relationship looks and in turn what that marriage would look like are not even remotely the kind of things I had in mind two years ago. Let me explain.

Two years ago I was in a relationship that wasn’t what either party wanted it to be. I thought I wanted to explore other people and be in an open relationship. Yet the thought of my partner at the time being with anyone else was crippling. Looking back on it now, I would say it’s because our relationship was already heading down a slippery slope, and dating other people would have been just the thing to send us crashing into oblivion.

We crashed either way. No one’s help was needed. So from there I spent a couple months trying to convince myself that this relationship was still what I wanted. It felt safe even though it was completely toxic, but it felt like home, as that’s all I had known. Well now I had nothing cos he was not coming back, and I don’t blame him. So now what? That was always the question.

I was celibate for awhile, but it didn’t last because I craved connection from other people. So I reopened my online dating profiles and said something along the lines of “newly single, just looking to see what’s out there”. Knowing good and well that my intention was to find someone cute, bang it out for a bit, then never speak to them again. Rinse, repeat until.. what?

Never did find out. The first person I met happens to be the same person that I am still with now, who has changed the way I see relationships. He was in a polyamorous relationship when we met, and I was so curious about what this could mean. I’d unsuccessfully tried it before. Perhaps with someone more seasoned I’d have better luck, and I did, sorta..

So I start dating this person, let’s call him Jim, and my intention was still the same as when I decided to put myself out there. We would go on a few dates, bang it out for a while, and then I would never speak to him again. My feelings had other plans.

After dating for about a month I started to notice myself basically counting down the days till I would see Jim again. My friends knew all about him. I was so proud to be seeing such a complex and exciting person, and before I knew it, I was in love. Not just in the “we have great sex and you’re comfortable” in love cos it was more than that. It was the “I’m not even remotely polyamorous, but I’m going to try to make it work because having you in my life is worth the discomfort” kind of love.

From the beginning, I had trouble relating to his other partner. Something about her just didn’t vibe no matter how hard I tried to cultivate a friendship. For these reasons their relationship was hard on me because I never felt like she appreciated him the way I did, so it felt like I was chasing him, he was chasing her, and she was chasing the next new relationship. It was hard. Deep down I knew he loved and cared about me, but he wanted his other relationship to work more. This was not an ideal or healthy relationship for any of us, and over time the cracks started to show.

I kept an exit strategy in my back pocket, which is never a good sign, even after we all lived together I was still always ready to run for the hills if I ever needed to. It often felt like playing tug of war with myself. In the end, I stayed. Even if I didn’t feel like I was getting enough of his energy and attention, our relationship was working. I just wanted more of it because at the end of the day, I was still monogamous and wanted all of everything, and for just a second I would have it.

The cracks became chips until we were all standing in a pile of rubble, and when the dust cleared, it was Jim and me on one side and his other partner on the other. Their relationship was ending, and it’s safe to say we’re all still picking up the pieces and trying to get on with our lives as best we can.

Jim and I are getting a new apartment, and aside from the month or so that’s it’s only been the two of us at the old place, it will be the first time we’ve lived together, alone. And my monogamous heart jumped for joy, only to be jolted back into reality.

My partner is still non monogamous. And why wouldn’t he be? He was non monogamous before I met him and likely will be for the rest of existence. Just like I’m still monogamous. A rather large detail of our relationship that we both casually overlooked as we thought that nothing would change of the dynamic we were previously apart.

If we were anyone else I would say, now is a good time to call it. We could probably carry on being friends with time and live happily with other people who better suited our relationship orientations. But neither of us wanted that. So instead we have decided to walk hand in hand down the scariest path possible to make our relationship work because at the end of the day we make an incredible team. We find a lot of qualities in each other that make for an ideal partnership. Only he needs to be able to explore his sexuality with others and I need to have someone to come home to every night. Someone to build a life with, luckily he wants the same.

So where do we go from here? Much easier said than done, we’ll define our own rules for our relationship because understanding each other and our individual needs is an important part of a relationship. We’ll make compromises and have many many many more long long talks until we figure out what makes us both comfortable, safe, and ultimately happy.

If you asked me today what my relationship orientation was I’d say it’s a mix of romantic monogamy and sexual non monogamy. Though I’m not entirely sure what that means right now in this moment. I know that when we figure this out we’ll be stronger than we have ever been and well on our way to a happy and successful relationship.