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-   -   Monogamous in a Polyamorous relationship (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=175)

MonoVCPHG 04-24-2009 01:40 AM

Monogamous in a Polyamorous relationship
First off let me state that I do not assume to have any great insight or words of wisdom based on years of experience in polyamory. I only want to relay my experience from my perspective as a monogamous person in a polyamorous relationship.

I was in a monogamous relationship and married for 16 years but as a result of my own poor decisions was separated with no option for reconciliation. That is not the issue here but sets the stage. I had reached a point in my life where I felt I could never offer myself to anyone in more than a physical sense. I thought I would be ok with that as a lot of traditionally married men feel they could screw anyone, anywhere, anytime without any thought because it is just sex and that they are being restrained.
Using a popular dating sight I engaged in two casual and very different sexual experiences. One was purely curiosity with a couple that were looking to play and the other was with a woman who was in an open relationship looking for casual sex. Both were good experiences as I was fortunate in finding nice people. Both were also not what I expected in the area of sexual fulfilment. It was not that the people were not adventurous by any means. The energy simply was not there...it was empty, underwhelming and more like a moderately entertaining hobby. I was a huge disappointment to myself because I felt I was not the bed hopping man whore everyone thought I would and should be. I use “man whore” in the most respectful of ways, I am in fact jealous of anyone that can play casually and get enough excitement to be fulfilled. I was, however, still determined to search for a casual sex partner because that’s what I thought single guys should want. I mean we’re talking casual sex here!

I was repeatedly drawn to one woman who talked of much more than an open relationship or casual encounter although obviously a potentially very sexual relationship. I stumbled my way into a meeting with her and bang!..there it was…immediate connection. I opened up and spoke to her about things I never told my closest of friends. She felt it too. She was very clear on her love style, her happy and devoted family life and her approach to relationships. I had never heard of polyamorous relationships before. I understood swinging and open relationships, but not one involving multiple loves. I am not going to drag out the blur of emotions and times spent together that lead to me falling in love with her, getting to know and also love her husband, becoming a friend to her son and parents or how my new circle of friends had full awareness of our relationship. I want to relay the internal struggle that was waged inside me and could only be overcome through honesty and communication.

She has a husband and two other prominent intimate friends. She also had what I thought to be other potential sexual partners she was communicating with. I need to be absolutely clear that I am fundamentally a monogamous person in a polyamorous relationship. I only want to share intimacy with her because it is full of overwhelming energy generated by deep connection. I need that to become truly excited…sigh…such a disappointment. Now I also need to be clear that I fully understand compersion and feel it 100% towards her husband. Her family and marriage is paramount to me. I would reshape my love for her in an instant if I threatened either. I would still love her and she would continue to be my best and most trusted friend, but I would not permit myself to be an intimate sexual partner and reduce the time I spend with her to alleviate the problem if I was indeed the source. I could spend a great deal of time explaining the respect and awe I have in both the depth of her husband’s love for her and in the strength I felt in their connection. Without either I would not have been able to follow this incredible path.

I, at first, had to overcome my fear of her other intimate friends. Although our relationship is much deeper in the sense of being life long partners, they are still intimate parts of her life and very important. Of course there are the usual sexual concerns of inadequacy, penis size and sexual vigour that I got hung up on. I still ask for her to censor the details about those aspects of her other relationships although it differs in intensity depending on the partner. She finds it hard to relate to this because it is no big deal to her. Again we differ here a lot! With a few possible exceptions, I am not the kind of person who gets excited at the prospect or image of someone having sex with my partner. My level of compersion is not anywhere near that developed LOL! In order for me to be more comfortable and certainly less threatened I had to meet them to know that there was a true friendship and caring towards her. I cannot stand the idea of her being used and by meeting both of them I was able to confirm that these were indeed good friendships. I always feel sheepish after these first meetings because I know she brings good people into her life. Some people may say her other relationships are not my business but as a life long committed partner, it is my business and also a requirement for my own healthy involvement in this relationship. I am a protective person..not possessive. I would do what I could to protect her entire family and certainly would not appreciate someone just wanting to get laid.

These meetings were very casual and involved differing levels of comfort. One partner I am completely at ease with and have gone dancing and just hung out with casually. The other I am somewhat less comfortable with only because I am jealous of his casual nature towards sexual play and experiencing that aspect of new people. I don’t want that and find it threatening in the sense that it may leave my partner wanting or feel like she is missing out because of my issue with casual play. I fully understand the possibility of new relationships in her life but expect them to be meaningful and bring something of value to her life. Of course her idea of value and mine don’t have to align! Casual sex with other men would honestly hurt me a lot because I illogically cannot accept that it could be just a fun activity. I know this is based on my own casual experiences, which were disappointing, but regardless that’s how I feel. If I could change it, believe me, I would!!

Open communication between me and her and her husband has made this relationship work. We fully expect it to continue working and develop into a lifelong partnership that is amazing and full of growth, love and excitement. Will there be challenges? You had better believe it! My own nature of monogamy interacting in a polyamorous relationship generates a lingering fear of being replaced, becoming less than I am now, unexciting and will lead to her searching for another…me. For the longest time I asked myself a question constantly; “Am I strong enough to be in this relationship?’ The answer was always yes. I still make a point of asking myself this every day just to keep grounded, but I find myself forgetting lately which is a very good sign.

If someone who is monogamous asked me for advice about becoming involved in a polyamorous relationship my advice would be simple. If you feel you could love the person a little – Don’t even consider it. Explain it to them and walk away before they fall in love with you. A polyamorous lover will have a hard time understanding why you feel threatened or inadequate or that you feel you are losing them whenever they mention even the most innocent of friends and certainly a potential lover or playmate. You will most likely be in a constant state of fear or unintentionally try to suppress the person you love. You will definitely feel a level of jealousy that will twist your stomach and make you feel physically ill and trapped. You will get hurt and inevitably hurt them as well. And trust me, a truly polyamorous person loves in a way that is extremely deep. They will get hurt bad. Above all, never feel like the polyamorous person has any less to lose than you. You have to be prepared to feel a little on the outside or even a lot on the outside. You also can feel very special and a little misunderstood or hard to figure out, which I actually like.

If you want me to say “go for it” you had better love that person with all your heart, genuinely care about the other people in their life and understand that you will constantly be challenged, constantly need to be completely open, constantly need to live in your emotions and theirs. You will still feel fear and jealousy. But if you love them enough to accept the differences between monogamous and polyamorous approaches to loving than you will be rewarded with possibly the most open and deep relationship you can imagine. I certainly have. I am happy and full of wonder at what the future holds. I am growing all the time, being challenged and sharing in something that is immense.

I always expect to be in this polyamorous relationship but never expect to be polyamorous. I always expect my partner will love her oddball monogamous boyfriend and never expect her to expect me to be anything other than monogamous. I am truly blessed.

River 04-24-2009 02:06 PM

I find it hard to read large blocks of text with no paragraph breaks. Could you please use the edit button to introduce paragraph breaks? Thanks.

moonstone 05-02-2009 03:58 AM

thank you for sharing that. you are courageous. im not sure what im experiencing but it is new and it is healthy because it is about dealing with honesty. what a great practice. i need to go introduce myself...

MonoVCPHG 05-03-2009 03:49 PM

Thanks for the kind words :)

Jamie 05-23-2009 09:10 AM

Polyamory makes you feel insecure and hurt. If you are not good enough for the man/ woman you are with and they feel the need to sleep with other women then why are you with them at all. Polyamorous relationships are a way to set yourself up to be hurt and badly.

MonoVCPHG 05-23-2009 12:15 PM


You sound like someone who has been hurt deeply and I am truly sorry if that is the case. I don't pretend to see Polyamory as all sunshine and butterflies, especially from the perspective of a monogamous person. Then again, I was married for 16 years in a traditionally monogamous relationship and neither was that.

I found traditional monogamy is governed by relatively clear rules with boundaries that are assumed by both partners and society. This for me and others monogamous couples I know, can have the affect of negating the need for open communication and "checking in" with ones life partner. This lead to disaster for me.

Polyamory is heavily dependant on open communication and boundaries that need to be developed, discussed and at times pushed for the relationship to grow. This obviously has both positive and negative affects. And yes..polyamory involves sex with other people..more to the point, it involves the desire to have sex with other people and I understand the pain there. The desire of your partner to have sex with other people is probably more painful than the actual sex itself. It is also about immense love and sharing however. It is imperative that we realize people work and love in different ways.

Would you share your story so others may learn? There is happiness and love to be found in all manner of love styles. Individuals make relationships work regardless of the nature they are shared in. Admittedly there is also pain in all types of relationships as well. I hope you find happiness no matter where your path takes you. The key here is we all have our own paths.
Take care

MonoVCPHG 05-23-2009 12:42 PM

Just to be clear Jamie,

I do not discount or deny your feelings. I have been there in my own way and will probably return to them periodically. I have also found a love of amazing depth and connection. These fears occur in all relationships no matter what manner they are shared in.

Again I am sorry for your pain and hope it passes as quickly as possible.

Sabishiigarya 05-27-2009 02:13 AM

Thank You
Reading your main post was amazing and scary for me. I am in a marriage now that has become complicated as he is discovering his own polyamory. Meanwhile I am completely convinced I am monogamous. I don't want to keep anything from him but I know it is hurting both of us by me trying to understand my feelings and his feelings with him. Since you have experience dealing with your own monogamy within a polyamorous relationship, would you be willing to talk to me a little bit more about that? Umm....I don't know what else to say because he reads this forum and I don't want him to get his hopes up just because I'm exploring. If you are willing please send me a private message.

Even if you can't do this, I sincerely thank you for your post because I was starting to feel like my own feelings of monogamy were invalid, hateful, and childish. And yet I couldn't stop feeling that way. Just seeing what you had to say helped me to feel just a little bit more grounded.

MonoVCPHG 05-27-2009 02:38 PM

Msg sent

MonoVCPHG 05-27-2009 09:08 PM


Originally Posted by Sabishiigarya (Post 1395)
I was starting to feel like my own feelings of monogamy were invalid, hateful, and childish. And yet I couldn't stop feeling that way.

Just the idea of someone feeling like this makes me rather upset. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a monogamous nature! I hope these thoughts were not generated by anyone other than you. The idea of someone being convinced of this would be inexcusably cruel and self serving in my opinion. These suggestions would certainly not be from a place of love.

Take care, I hope you find happiness and a sense of being true to yourself.

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