I think I’ve always been non-monogamous.
Jared is my first boyfriend. Ever. We’ve been together ten years but, even so, our relationship has never been truly exclusive. I’ve always had the option to be with other women – maybe not in a relationship but definitely in a sexual manner. Which is a form of non-monogamy even if it’s not totally poly.
Prior to Jared, I had fuck buddies. Many of these lasted for years but always remained non-exclusive and casual. I never asked anyone to see only me and, quite frankly, never really wanted them to. I also never hid the fact that I saw other people, despite it resulting in many a jealous rage or thinly veiled ultimatum. They’d try and tell me I shouldn’t see anyone else but it never went down well. I wasn’t really interested in commitment – at least not with them.
I remember one conversation I had with a guy I’d been seeing for a while. I was getting ready to leave his house after a sleepover and we’d been talking about other girls he slept with (yes, even then – at 19 or 20 – I was turned on by hearing about people I was seeing’s sexcapades). I said something along the lines of hoping he had good sex with these other women and his parting words to me, as I left his house, were that he hoped I didn’t have good sex with other guys… so I wouldn’t be tempted to stop sleeping with him. What the fuck? How selfish/self-centred/insecure is that?
I don’t know, I just never felt the urge to ‘settle down’ until I met Jared and things literally became so serious that I couldn’t fit anyone else in (he he he). I saw the guy before Jared for maybe a bit over two years. I could tell he was starting to get serious but he was too much of a nice guy to ever say anything. When I broke it off with him to try the boyfriend/girlfriend thing with Jared, he said he’d wanted to do that with me but didn’t want to say anything in case I ran for the hills. Clearly, he spotted my commitment issues but, then again, I never hid them.
I was always fiercely non-committal. I didn’t want anyone to own me. I didn’t want anyone to tame me. I respond very poorly to being told what to do – even when I know I’m probably in the wrong. I could never be with someone that was irrationally jealous or controlling because insecurity is a major turn off for me. I wanted to be free to do as I pleased with whom I pleased until I decided otherwise and, when Jared came along, I made that choice. Although girls quickly came back on the menu (yay!). Still, Jared never tried to stifle any of my wilder qualities. Who knows? After ten years together, perhaps he likes that about me.
And yes, ethical non-monogamy and polyamory aren’t about freedom to do whatever you want when you want it. There are still boundaries and rules – or at least there are in our situation. But to be totally monogamous, totally traditional? No, I can’t imagine that. Yes – there are freedoms I don’t have but I can live without those. The ones I need, I have.
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