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-   -   temporary monogamy? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3144)

Irena 07-06-2010 02:55 AM

temporary monogamy?
 
Here's my big question of the day: is it a good idea for a poly couple to try to be monogamous for a while when they're just starting to date?

I've read in a few places that this is recommended (including from my bf in an old blog post, written before he met me). The idea is to get to know each other really well and build up a strong bond before introducing the potential stress of other relationships. When I started dating my bf (he'd been poly for years, I never had before) I was dismissive of the idea for several reasons:

1) One of the points of being poly, it seems to me, is not restricting the potential of different people that could come into our lives. If we had this "rule" in place about being monogamous for a while, then one of us met somebody really great, should we really have to dismiss that potential?

2) The pressure of monogamy, for a seriously poly-inclined person, isn't necessarily any less than the pressure of polyamory. Why should I inflict that on him?

3) Since I've never been in any kind of open relationship before, I wanted to make sure I was really and practically comfortable with it, not just theoretically comfortable. And I wanted to make sure of that before we got so emotionally invested in each other that walking away would be difficult.

4) He and his last gf (who broke up with him right around the time we met) were trying that "monogamous for a while to strengthen our relationship" thing. Clearly it didn't go so well for them.

So for the six months we've been dating, we've both been open to seeing other people. He's been in one short-lived relationship and one almost-relationship. From these, I feel pretty confident that poly is going to work for me (at least on his side; I haven't tried dating anyone else yet, nor do I particularly want to right now).

These relationships have generally brought us closer together rather than pushing us apart, but I'm also starting to feel the need for a little more focus on me. Particularly since his last near-miss relationship (with Athena, for those who have been following my other posts) took up a LOT of his energy and attention, and losing her has left him pretty depressed. I feel like he's been emotionally distracted from me for the better part of a month, and while I can deal with it for now, I don't know how I'll cope if he starts something with another girl within a couple of months.

So, short-term monogamy agreements: a good idea in some cases or not? A good idea in my case or not? I'm going to talk with him about my worries regardless, but I'd like to hear some input.

AutumnalTone 07-06-2010 03:40 AM

That's one of those things that will vary from case to case. Some folks will operate best by spending a bunch of time focusing on simply one relationship. Others won't have any trouble with multiple relationships starting up around the same time.

The thing is, that's an individual decision, for the most part. If one person requires the space to focus on just one relationship for a while when it begins, that person can do so and simply not date anybody else. That, in no fashion, obligates the other person to also abstain from dating other people; it certainly can be a topic of discussion and negotiation, though.

Quath 07-07-2010 05:51 AM

I think it can help some couples. But I have tried the "let's be monogamous until our relationship is very stable" and it took years and still failed. Looking back, I think it would have been the same whether we were monogamous or poly.

jkelly 07-07-2010 08:11 PM

Great question!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Irena (Post 34741)
1) One of the points of being poly, it seems to me, is not restricting the potential of different people that could come into our lives. If we had this "rule" in place about being monogamous for a while, then one of us met somebody really great, should we really have to dismiss that potential?

Yep! I imagine that if that person got met, you'd suddenly be in an unfortunate position of someone wanting to renegotiate the rule and the other person having to play rule enforcer. Why go there?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Irena (Post 34741)
2) The pressure of monogamy, for a seriously poly-inclined person, isn't necessarily any less than the pressure of polyamory. Why should I inflict that on him?

I don't think anybody should be "inflicting" anything on their partners. That said, I think that there might be a better way of looking at this. Imagine that the two of you decided to take a two week vacation to a cabin in the woods. You'd be de facto monogamous, but it wouldn't feel like an imposition, right?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Irena (Post 34741)
3) Since I've never been in any kind of open relationship before, I wanted to make sure I was really and practically comfortable with it, not just theoretically comfortable. And I wanted to make sure of that before we got so emotionally invested in each other that walking away would be difficult.

This is very smart.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Irena (Post 34741)
So, short-term monogamy agreements: a good idea in some cases or not? A good idea in my case or not? I'm going to talk with him about my worries regardless, but I'd like to hear some input.

I suppose I could imagine scenarios where it might be a good idea, if there aren't any other already existing relationships involved. I think that, from what I understand of your case, what you need is not monogamy with an expiration date, but some time to focus on your relationship (that cabin in the woods, perhaps?). Do a lot of couple stuff together doing things you both enjoy, spend time together that might otherwise be spent being out and social, whatever works for you.

otter 07-08-2010 12:42 AM

My husband wanted a relationship with another lady, but at that time we where not strong in our relationship. He completely shut me out for this shinny new love of his. To make maters worse the only way they could be together was if I baby sat her kids. I told him until we had fix our relationship he needed to step back from his second. (We where having problems before he met her) we have gone to consoling and work out a lot of what was wrong on both sides. (Yup we both had issues , its never one sided)
Now we are in a much stronger bond and he would like to find some one else. (With out needing me to babysit).

So I can see where backing off and working on one bond at a time can be huge. If this is a second you need to work on just that one plus your primary.( Never forget your primary, they need your attention just as much as the new one) If you move to fast and add to many at one time there is no way to juggle that many plates with out them crashing down hurting every one.


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