Lately, I’ve been seeing and reading a lot of pieces here about non-monogamy, whatever form it takes. How it’s a philosophy, a personality trait even an act of feminism. It’s interesting. And I applaud people for thinking about it and sharing those thoughts. I’ve seen some thoughts I used to share for a long time.
I say ‘used to’ because I’ve come to realize something. Whether or not monogamy is practiced, isn’t really tied to a person, or even a relationship (as in a promise or expectation). The urge to be monogamous is driven by emotion and hormones and something inside yourself. Call it infatuation if you wish, but I find myself in a situation where I want only one man. Or rather, only one man will do. Everyone else just….doesn’t measure up, pales, can’t hold my interest. That even includes actors I used to watch because of a mild crush. Movies and TV series have become “meh” because I now realize they were never all that good to start with and the pretty faces and hot bodies that kept me coming back just don’t do it anymore.
It might be a phase, I just cannot tell how long it will last. Could be forever. It certainly feels like this ‘phase’ is something that is going to be measured in decades. So far it’s been 3 years. I used to get mild crushes all the time. Some even as briefly as 5 minutes, like a really cute, friendly waiter. That just doesn’t happen anymore. Maybe this is what they really mean when people are talking about ‘the one’. It’s not that there is only one person you could ever be compatible with, or one person you could ever love or some romantic bullshit like that. It’s just that when you find a ‘the one’ it’s like a switch gets flipped and all the other potentials out there fail to register on the radar. Like a really strong radio signal that interferes with all the other signals in the air.
He says he feels the same, and I believe it. But, and I have thought long and hard about this, it’s kind of irrelevant. My desire to be monogamous is not a arrangement or negotiation or an expectation of him to do the same and it exists independent of his needs or wants. It comes from within me. If he were to have needs that do not include me, I would be open to that discussion. I know I can have a loving, secure relationship that’s not exclusive. I’ve done it before. (That relationship ended for reasons not related to monogamy or the lack there of.) And the thought of him seeing someone else doesn’t induce panic. The thought of him not wanting to see me anymore does.
That’s not to say I don’t have moments of jealousy. Or maybe it should be considered territorial behavior. Women whom I consider friends and good matches for him, do not bother me at all when they flirt. Women who I know but consider out of their depth provoke amusement and “Oh, that’s so cute.” Women I do not know however, provoke a feeling of “And who the hell do you think you are that you consider yourself worth the attention of this man?” -Yeah, I know. It’s possessive. And I’m not sure I like it. Had you told me 5 years ago I would feel this way, I would have dismissed it. Because none of those interactions have anything to do with me. And who am I to make those sort of judgments for him? But that’s the reaction I have and to deny it would be silly. It’s easy to twist it into concern-trolling, that I really am just looking out for the feelings of these women, somehow protecting them. But that’s not correct.
And again I do recognize none of that has anything to do with him or what he does (or doesn’t) do. That comes from within me. There’s a whole lot of emotions going on in me lately I would have judged not to be something I would ever experience, but here they are: loud and proud (oh, so very proud). And some go against what I would have called my personal life philosophy.
It’s fine to consider yourself poly or non-monogamous as part of your identity. Or even as an orientation. But the truth is, as with all of these things, it’s really much more fluid then you’d think. And sometimes people are something, until they are not. That’s not political or philosophical. It’s just personal.