When I’m talking to someone who has just met me and my non-monogamous lifestyle is brought up the usual response is “Oh man, I could NEVER do that” followed by whatever reason they come up with. I’d like to attack some of these usual reasons below and break it down for you: if you are unwilling to at the very least try non-monogamy at one point in your life it all boils down to one thing: fear. Fear is a slippery slope…it can be good at deterring you from jumping off cliffs, committing crimes, doing drugs, etc., but it can also be bad by deterring you from trying new things, accepting different lifestyles and choices other people make, and sometimes even accepting what’s true and what’s false. Fear is important, yes, but you must own your fear and not let it own you. So let’s break out these reasons here and show you how fear is what’s behind them all:
“I am too jealous of a person.”
This is probably the most common one. It sounds pretty harmless, right? They know that they have a lot of jealousy which would make non-monogamy difficult, and knowing oneself is important, right? Well…yes and no. Knowing that you’re a jealous person is one thing, but accepting it is another. If you have serious jealousy issues just knowing that you have them is not good enough, you have to attack those issues and overcome them. A person who is very jealous of their partner could ruin their relationship simply based off this fact. How many friends do you have that have sabotaged a relationship simply out of jealousy? They flirted too much with that waitress, they talk too much to their ex-boyfriend, they spend too much time with their other friends…the list goes on. Jealousy, despite what people may think, is a terrible thing and needs to be attacked and overcome. When someone says “I am too jealous of a person” what they are actually saying is “I have jealousy issues and I’m too afraid to try to overcome them.” They stick with monogamy because it is what works for their jealousy issues, not necessarily what works for them as a person. Fear dominates this reasoning.
“I need to be the only one.”
This one is so blatantly about fear that it’s silly. The first thing I want to say to anyone who tries to use this excuse is, “Honey, you aren’t the only one…you never have been and you never will be.” And it’s true. Think about how many relationships you’ve had over your life and how many people THOSE people have been in relationships with. Emotionally you’re part of a web of people that any one person has been with that could number in the dozens, and sexually you’re part of an even larger web. There’s no such thing as the “only one” and if you think you are the only one you’re living in a fantasy land. What you really are doing is being afraid that you are not special, that you are not the focus. Monogamy creates this safety net for you where you obviously HAVE to be the only one because you’re only in that relationship with eachother. But your partner has had other relationships, and chances are good that eventually you and them will break up and they’ll have another one, and so will you. You are merely temporarily “the one” until life gets in the way and there’s another one. The “I need to be the only one” person is scared shitless of this fact and, rather than attack the fear and overcome it, they just wallow in it.
“Monogamy works for me.”
This may be true, monogamy might work for you. But what is monogamy? I would bet quite a bit of cash on the fact that you’ve never been in a monogamous relationship that works for you. The second that you or your partner sexually fantasize about having sex with someone else the relationship is no longer “working for you” because with that fantasy proof is laid out that the desire for something that your partner cannot (or will not) give you exists. Now you may not ACT on that fantasy; you probably will prevent yourself from seeking it out for the sake of preserving your “monogamous” relationship. But the desire is there proving that monogamy doesn’t work for you at all, it is in fact prohibiting you from getting what you want. The retort to this is usually along the lines of, “Well you can’t always get what you want.” But I’m living proof that you CAN. You just are too afraid to take that plunge and accept that monogamy, the tried-and-true method of relationship structure that everyone who has any modicum of intelligence accepts and loves, doesn’t work for you. There’s nothing at all wrong with not wanting monogamy, but your parents, politicians, doctors, therapists, Dr. Phil, and a million other “knowledgeable” folks tell you that not wanting monogamy is wrong, wrong, WRONG. Bullshit. Now if you are honestly a person who says that they have only been with one person in their whole lives and they have only sexually wanted that one person ever then there’s a different word for you: boring.
“It sounds cool but also sounds like too much work.”
This one just makes me laugh. First off, every relationship is work. Get used to it, if you want to be with someone in any kind of capacity, monogamous or not, it’s going to be work. If you don’t want to put work into your relationships then I feel bad for whoever you end up partnering up with because they’re going to be pretty fucking miserable. But how does this relate to fear? Well, work denotes responsibility, and responsibility denotes dedication, and dedication is what makes a relationship work in the first place. If you don’t want to put the dedication and work into a relationship and to your own needs and desires that means you’re afraid of the responsibility! It’s way easier to say, “My girlfriend is a bitch which is why I’m miserable” rather than “I won’t leave my bitch of a girlfriend so I am making myself miserable”, which is actually what’s happening. If you say “I want to have _________ in my life” you have to be responsible for that statement and understand that if ________ doesn’t end up in your life it’s because of you. Don’t be afraid of responsibility, accept it, embrace it…you’ll be miserable if you don’t.
“I would love an open relationship but my significant other would never go for it.”
This one is pretty clear, right? Please tell me it is. The person who says this is afraid to end their current relationship because they feel a little tiny thing like being prevented from getting what they want out of life is not a good enough reason to end it. I hear this similar thing when it comes down just to sex…”My boyfriend is no good in bed but everything else about the relationship is fine so I suck it up and deal.” If sex isn’t important to you then yeah, I guess that’s fine, but come on…sex is important to pretty much everyone. If you’re with someone who doesn’t do it for you sexually you’re on a fast-track to misery and breaking up with them is not at ALL a bad thing. Sure, try to work it out with them first: explain what you need and how you’re not getting it and tell them they need to meet your needs. Give them the chance to try to make it work. But if they don’t/can’t? Fuck them, dump them and move on to someone who does.
There are probably other reasons that I have heard but have forgotten about but these are the biggest ones. So…which one do YOU fall under?