Posts Tagged ‘Situational non monogamy’

This summer, right before Mother’s Day, I received a message from a woman on OKCupid that would really make me re-evaluate the casual flings I have. We’ll call this woman Kate.

Kate was in a monogamous marriage with a woman who was much older than she was. She and her wife had an agreement that Kate could have play partners, because the wife’s lack of libido left Kate feeling unfulfilled, unsatisfied, and unwanted. So, that was their solution to that problem. Well, unfortunately, I didn’t read Kate’s profile prior to returning her message. If I had, I never would have written her back.

It turned out that Kate had a very traditionalist approach to love and marriage. Her wife was, to use her words, her “person,” and marriage was til death do you part. No exceptions. To that end, she didn’t even think of ending her marriage over the issues within. Instead, she used her time with me to “take a break” from being herself. That right there was a HUGE red flag. I wanted to say, “If something is so wrong in your life that you literally need to seek out someone to take you away from it on a regular basis, perhaps you should take a long, hard, look at that life, and make some changes.” But, I never did. Instead, I continued to allow myself to be used as a band-aid, a quick fix, for problems in a life and in a relationship that I had nothing to do with despite the plethora of red flags and alarm bells.

Kate and I got together for sex on multiple occasions. During that time, we texted back and forth several times daily. All the while, there were these nagging concerns that I didn’t dare voice, because Kate had this hang up about being judged for the situation with her wife. I didn’t want to make that worse. Further, she had little (read: no) knowledge and experience of poly life. She just wanted her sex, any sort of consideration for the community she was dipping into be damned.

The turning point came when I took a cat from Kate’s friend, due to the fact that the cat was causing behavior problems in the household. This would turn out to be the last time Kate and I met in person. Kate and her friend delivered the cat, an adorably crazy little black cat. Things went downhill when the friend talked nonstop about how good she is in with the cops.

Now, being a woman of color, this enraged me. She boasted of getting the cops to come to her aid at the drop of a hat, and defends law enforcement at every turn, despite their obvious bias that often turns deadly against certain populations of people.

I expressed my discomfort with this to Kate via text message later. The fact that Kate, who claimed to be a socially aware liberal, was friends with someone like this and even was a total apologist for it wouldn’t leave me alone. I knew I couldn’t, as a proud woman of color and an activist, be involved with someone like this. So, I wrote Kate a Facebook message breaking it off. She exploded, naturally, called me a “fucking child” and blocked me. That was just further proof that I had done the right thing, in my mind. She did apologize later when she sent me the cat’s vet records via OKCupid. However, what Kate didn’t– and still doesn’t– know, is that this particular revelation was just the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. So, without further ado, here is what I should have said to Kate, but didn’t:

Dearest Kate,

I’ve enjoyed our time together. You’re a warm, caring, interesting person. However, there are a few things that bother me about our set-up here. Firstly, the fact that you resent the fact that many poly people wouldn’t give you a chance due to your situation with your wife and your lack of poly experience, that you take that as some kind of judgement or personal affront, is very misguided.

“Polyamory”– as in the word itself– literally means “many loves.” And that is what poly people do. We have loving romantic partnerships with multiple people at the same time. You state clearly and upfront in your profile that you are not looking for a relationship of any kind. Those are your words. So, there’s a fundamental lack of compatibility when it comes to what you are looking for versus what poly people are looking for anyway, right out of the gate.

Secondly, poly people understand that people come into your life at certain points in your life, but that it is human nature to grow and change. Sometimes that growth and change happens at different rates, and even in different directions. We understand that connections and relationships that may have worked at one point in a person’s life may simply not work anymore, and that that’s okay. That is a concept that you clearly don’t understand, considering how you’ve tried to hang on to me even though we just met (I mean you had a sex toy sent to my house after only two dates, and you gave me a cat after three), and how you are clearly unhappy in your marriage, but have no plans to fix that, but instead are using me as a band-aid to fix your problems in a relationship you likely shouldn’t be in anyway. Instead of addressing your lack of fulfillment in your own relationship, you are instead using outside partners– in the current case, me– to fix what ails you.

Thirdly, when I get into a relationship with a primary partner, there just won’t be room for this. I tried to gently warn you of this, but you either didn’t catch on or chose to ignore the implications. There’s no room in a poly life– at least not in my poly life– for catering to an FWB who doesn’t know what she is doing, who isn’t really poly anyway, and who is just using me for a band-aid on issues in an existing marriage.

The fourth point that has been bugging me is that I’ve done all the giving here. It’s exhausting teaching Poly 101 to a newbie who isn’t even really poly. Further, I’m always the one who has to rearrange my schedule to be with you. I’m always catering to whichever days are good for you and your wife. You even selfishly asked if a sternly denied day off could still be reversed. You knew from the beginning that weekends were my time off, yet you refused to ever even attempt to set a date then. You didn’t care about me, or even my livelihood. You just wanted what you wanted.

Lastly, your friendship with [name redacted] really shows that you aren’t as open and liberal as you say. To befriend and defend someone who is a racist cop apologist really is just beyond the pale. Perhaps it is your white privilege that allows you to continue this friendship– I don’t know. But that is beside the point. The company you keep says a lot about you, and that just isn’t something I can abide.

So, to that end, I’m afraid I have to end this. The rest of the stuff maybe could have been worked out, eventually, at some point. However, the thing with your defense of  the cop apologist friend is really just the last straw. There were so many things that I fault myself with not telling you. I take full responsibility for that. But, in short, these are the reasons this just isn’t working for me.

I’m truly sorry. I should have just told you all this before, when it first started bothering me, but I didn’t and that is my fault. I truly wish you the best, and I hope you either repair your marriage or find what you are looking for.

Yours,

Shannon

So, that’s it, folks. Long read, I know, but it was more for me than anyone else. It was very cathartic to write all that out. Hey, maybe she’ll run across it sometime. Either way, it was good for me, and that is what counts. Happy blogging!

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.