Posts Tagged ‘non monogamy’

Hello, Queermos! Hope you’re all doing well. I know I’ve been out of pocket for a bit, but that’s because I also write for a living, and I’ve been really busy there lately. Thanks to that fact, and, well, just having a life, posts here will definitely be sporadic. That’s okay, though, as this blog is mostly for me to have a place to share my feelings about things for which there seem to be no spaces to share them about. Anyway, today, to discuss an aspect of non- monogamy that can cause things to blow up if not done right: Situational Non-Monogamy vs. Oriented Non-Monogamy.

So What Is Situational  Non-Monogamy Anyway?

Situationally non-monogamous people generally wouldn’t be non-monogamous if there weren’t some situation in their primary relationship that caused one or both partners to be unfulfilled. Now, personally, as someone who is naturally oriented toward non-monogamy, this is a red flag when hooking up with a playmate I plan to see more than once. That doesn’t mean I write her off immediately, but it does mean that I proceed with extreme caution.

Generally, these people are breaking the number one rule of successful non-monogamy, which is using non-monogamy as a way of saving a relationship on the rocks. Generally, the partner who is not fulfilling her partner/wife is only going along with it because she knows that she will find herself in divorce court if she didn’t. This often leads to feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and general all around hurt. This is healthy for no one involved. Couple this with the fact that the lack of experience means that many rookie mistakes (more on those in another post) are made, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Now, are there people who are not naturally oriented to be non-monogamous who simply live the non mono/poly lifestyle just for the sake of it? ?Yes. There certainly are, and these people are the exceptions to the aforementioned general problems that tend to crop up in situationally non monogamous relationships. So, they don’t constitute red flags. The usual situationally non-monogamous folks, though- definitely proceed with extreme caution, and bail if you are not comfortable with their ability to do this successfully, lest it blow up in your face.

What Is Oriented Non-Monogamy?

Those of us who are oriented to be non-monogamous are naturally that way. We seek out primary partners who want the same thing- an open relationship, or a non-hierarchial polyamorous situation. Non-monogamy is as much a natural orientation for us as is being gay, straight, or bisexual. We find the idea of monogamy stifling, and may even be tempted to cheat. The idea of being inm any sort of monogamous union is a deal breaker.

To that end, we are simply much better at being non-monogamouos than those who are simply situationally so. We go the extra mile to find out what it actually means to practice non-monogamy. We go into it armed with the information we need to be successful. We understand that things like making assumptions about the boundaries of any of the other people involved are a recipe for disaster, and we have communication down to a T. We know better than to use opening things up as a way to save a marriage or relationship. In other words, being naturally wired to be this way, most of us make sure we know what we are doing before taking the plunge, and we know better than to try to use opening things up as a way to force-fix a problem or problems in a rocky relationship. We understand a fundamental rule that most situationally non-monogamous people don’t: That relationships should be opened when things are most solid, not the other way around.

All in all, that is a very general explanation between the two types of non-monogamous people. Hopefully, it helps people to understand why someone who is oriented to be non-monogamous might be wary of being an “other” to a situationally non-monogamous person.

In the society in which we live, where relationships are concerned, cheating is the ultimate betrayal. All trust is broken, the spouse who is cheated on is the victim, humiliated and wronged by his or her philandering mate. However, like almost everything in relationships, cheating is not that cut and dried.

Full Disclosure: I have been cheated on, and I have cheated.

It took me a very long time to acknowledge that I am non-monogamous in relationship orientation. It also took me a long time to acknowledge that said relationship orientation, coupled with my damn near unmatched libido, contributed to my ultimate choice to be unfaithful. However, there are types of cheaters who are not automatically terrible people. Hell, there are certain situation in which I’d even argue that cheating is perfectly justifiable.So, without further ado, here are a few different types of cheaters, and how and why they cheat.

1. The Cheater Who Just Likes To Cheat

This is the typical cheater we all think about. This type of cheater doesn’t care how devoted, beautiful, rich, or anything else his or her spouse is. This person gets off on cheating- the thrill, the sneaking, the “getting away with something” right under a primary partner’s nose. This type of cheater is the ultimate scumbag. Happiness will never be met in relationships with this cheater, because, what makes such a cheater happy is, well, cheating. It’s the lies, the sneaking, and, most of all, the power and control held over both the spouse being cheated on as well as the side piece being cheated with.

2. The Cheater Who Is Stuck In A Dead Marriage

This cheater has done everything she can to save the relationship, to no avail. There is no sex, no communication, nothing. The relationship exists in name only. Perhaps this cheater rarely (if ever) even sees his or her spouse anymore. This cheater might be staying because of intertwined finances, kids, or other factors that make separating impractical, or perhaps even impossible. So, to save sanity and humanity, this cheater goes and finds someone who will give what her spouse can’t: Actual companionship that gives a semblance of some kind of life or light at the end of the tunnel in a seemingly impossibly bleak life circumstance.

3. The Cheater Who Is Unfulfilled

It takes two to make or break a relationship, in most circumstances. Happy people do not cheat. This is not to victim blame, but that is just the uncomfortable truth. With the exception of the serial cheaters who just get off on cheating, the uncomfortable truth is this: If someone cheats, it is, at least in part, because of a lack of fulfillment at home. The spouse who was cheated on  has to see through her humiliation, hurt, betrayal, and overall pain to understand that she missed something somewhere along the line, that somewhere in there she didn’t listen, she fell short enough of fulfilling her mate to make her stray.

Usually, with this type of cheater, every effort has been made to communicate unhappiness and a lack of fulfillment in the relationship. Generally, these conversations and communications are attempted repeatedly, only to be met with indifference, defensiveness, scorn, or derision. So, after trying repeatedly, this cheater gives up and steps out to find the fulfillment that is clearly not to be had at home.

Another Full Disclosure: I am the third type of cheater.

I have been in relationships that I wanted to end, but with forceful partners who wouldn’t let me go, after repeatedly telling them I was unhappy or unfulfilled. In my estimation, I made the right choice. I refused to allow these women to hold my freedom hostage while insisting that nothing was wrong. To me, life was and is too short to wait for someone to realize their mistakes. Sure, leaving before stepping out might be a better solution, but extracting oneself from a dead relationship is simply not always easy. What are you supposed to do, waste away in the meantime? I don’t think so.

I definitely realize that my views on cheating are a lot different from those of general society. These are certainly not the only three types of cheaters, but they are, to me, the most common. Also, I feel that the last two types are perfectly justified in their infidelity. In those situations, it’s either cheat or go crazy, lose your humanity, become depressed…I could go on, but you get the picture. Cheating in these situations is perfectly understandable, even if not completely right.

The bottom line here, I guess, is that all of the condemnation and scorn is heaped upon the cheater. With the exception of type number one, though, the reality is that the person who gets cheated on is not completely blameless. Remember: It takes two.

Why, yes, that is precisely what I mean. Ladygays, heads up. My relationship orientation is something you will read about here. A lot. I mean like, a whole lot. The reason for this is that I’m non-monogamous in a world where monogamy is worshiped and put on a pedestal, while those of us who live and love in any way that is not strictly monogamous are judged endlessly. So, here it is, queermos- my debunking of just a few of all the ignorant assumptions people have made about me once they find out I have been in open relationships, and now seek said relationships exclusively.

You’re Afraid of Commitment.

Actually, no I am not. Not at all. Just because I sleep with other people does not mean my commitment to my primary partner is any less real. On the contrary, the level of trust, respect, and open communication that it takes to be physically intimate with other people, and allow my partner to do the same is much greater than that I’ve ever felt with any monogamous partner. In fact, I’d say that the commitment I’ve felt with my partners in open relationships has been much greater than that I’ve felt in monogamous ones, because of that heightened level of trust. Also, the ability for a relationship so solid that outside dalliances are in no way a threat is the height of intimacy and trust.

You’re A Greedy Slut.

Again, no. Well, perhaps by many people’s definitions, I am a slut. After all, I’ve known more women in the biblical sense than most men twice my age. If they are shaming me because of this, they are likely simply jealous. Ignorant, misogynist, slut-shaming comments aside, though, it really isn’t just about sex. It is about not putting limits on human connection. The idea of having to give up connecting with other people because I “belong” to someone is really pretty gross to me. I am no one’s property, and connections to other human beings are precious to me. Life is too short to miss out on something potentially great because society says I should. So, yeah, I’m probably a slut. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, though.

It’s Not A Real Relationship!

Sure it is. I alluded to this above, but it bears repeating: My open relationships were a hell of a lot more respectful, trusting, communicative, and just downright happier and more solid than any monogamous relationship I’ve ever been in. There weren’t the underlying unhealthy themes that tend to run through monogamous relationships (more on this in another post where I address the intellectual issues I have with monogamy), and I cared enough about my partner’s fulfillment to allow her to seek what she wanted and needed elsewhere, and she did the same for me. I’d say these relationships felt a whole lot more respectful, and, yes, REAL, than any monogamous union I have ever been a part of.

At any rate, trying to define for other people what is and isn’t a “real” relationship is an astoundingly ignorant position to take anyway. What’s it to you what kind of relationship someone is in, and how  (s)he might define it, just since it isn’t abusive?

 

All in all, those are the top three criticisms I’ve gotten personally with regards to being non-monogamous. Really, it is pretty amazing how much people judge what is none of their business. This is just one of what will likely be many posts on this topic, because people come up with more ignorant, unfounded bullshit on it every day.