This piece by Polly has me thinking.
We happen to be living in a moment when lots of young urbanites believe that open relationships are the way and the light. There’s this very common notion that sex always gets very old with the same person, and once that happens you’re fucked, so why not structure your life differently? Young people regularly talk about monogamy like it’s this trick that the Man plays to get the sheeple in line, or it’s some dying gasp of a conservative, religious world that had yet to be emancipated by the infinite choices and glories of Tinder.
My god is this accurate.
And, you know, to each person their own. Best of luck to them. You do you, I’ll do me.
But I have absolutely zero interest in being part of an open relationship or polyamorous situation.
There are a few reasons for this.
First, my ego and being sensitive. It wouldn’t matter if I was the primary partner or not; I would still feel like I wasn’t enough. I want to be more than enough for my partner to handle. I would compare myself and find myself failing. My anxiety would not be able to handle it.
Second, I don’t want to be constantly looking over my shoulder. I don’t want to deal with “competition,” even if it not meant to be structured that way. I’d be wondering, “What is he looking for he can’t find with me?”
Third, I don’t want to be constantly looking. I hate the dating search. Why would I want to continue that hell once I am in a relationship? Because I could have different experiences and partners…? That’s ok. My sexual tastes are not such that most partners wouldn’t be able to fulfill them.
A huge caveat must be placed here that there is a difference between polyamory and what I call dating around. Dating around – seeing different people and going on different dates to determine if there is relationship potential – is not polyamory. Hooking up may or may not be involved, but there is no relationship. For me, once a relationship starts, the dating around stops. That’s the idea, at least, though I haven’t quite breached the relationship wall yet.
I assume that the guys I date are also going on dates with or seeking out other people until we have the DTR talk. Perhaps that is an unfair assumption to make, especially given that many of the men I’ve been on dates with have been less than, shall we say, suave and/or experienced.
I’d assume that once things progressed to the DTR Talk, if it was serious, I would have already started to “close out my tabs” with other guys. And I would hope he would, too, though I’m not sure I would want to have the conversation of “so, how many tabs were open when we first started seeing each other.” There could be pros and cons to it, I suppose, but I’m leaning more toward my business is my business, past is past. Is it beneficial to know that I had a coffee date with so-and-so around the same time I met so-and-so? Or that I flirted with this person though it went nowhere? Or is it more important to know that I cut ties, closed tabs, and stopped searching once I felt it getting serious? I think it is the latter.
A person’s relationship and sexual history is a sensitive subject. The guy I want to marry? Sure – tell me everything he wants to disclose. I’ll tell him everything I want to disclose. But before that, let’s just make sure we’re each safe and spare me the numbers and details. And please spare me photos of ex-girlfriends and ex-wives.
As always, Polly gives the best advice:
You know what you want. Embrace that and stand up for it without huffing the spray paint that everyone else is huffing.
No huffing for me, thanks. I’ll take a monogamous relationship and I’ll hold out for it rather than becoming someone’s second.