Intimacies, trials & tribulations of non-monogamy

Intimacies, trials and tribulations of non-monogamy

I recently got to spend some quality time with my eldest daughter, Darling Near Miss.

She is twenty four and very much an individual. Which is refreshing to see in these times where youth seems to follow mer leader!

Let me tell you a story

(The song lyrics peppering the post is one of my favourites. Eurythmics I Remember You from 1986.)

Anyway, my daughter kind of had her heart broken about a year or so ago by a young man who was very important to her. In fact he was one of only two she has brought home to dinner. My man and I were quite impressed with him at the time. He’s highly intelligent and somewhat older than her. She is emotionally mature so guys of her own age seem very childish.

However, I was quite surprised to find her on the phone to me a few months later in tears. It was over. He had explained to her that she was too insecure and needed some time to be alone. Also he expressed his love for her and said maybe in a few years it would work out.

I wasn’t happy about the last bit as to me it felt as if he was just attempting to keep her hanging on. So my advice was to lock that thought of the future in her heart if it helped her recover, but … not to live by it.

And recover she did.

So when she visited recently at one point this chap, Ben, was one of the topics of conversation.

Trials and tribulations of ethical non-monogamy

Darling Near Miss explained she had left one thing out – her and Ben were non-monogamous. I understood that she had been involved in this type of relationship dynamic before but not as – what would be considered – the main partner. She is also bi-sexual, but I knew that.

Here is the full story that lead to our discussion about the trials and tribulations of non-monogamy.

Ben had heavily pursued my daughter and wanted a serious relationship from the start. They fell for each other heavily. Those heady days when you can not get enough of the other person. After a few months Darling Near Miss told him that she really wanted their partnership to work but she felt non- monogamy was the way forward. Apparently he was a little hesitant at first but agreed and then they put down some ground rules.

  • They were each others main partners.
  • Transparency and openness was imperative.
  • They were not to do the deed in the home space they shared.
  • Communication would be vital as it was inevitable each would have questions and would need to reassure the other.

Dating

Darling Near Miss met a girl she liked and they had a few dates. She told Ben and he was positive about it. Still Ben had not had any other relationships. Then another chick for my daughter and her and Ben continued – apparently in love.

Around this time Darling Near Miss was out with her friends after work and a women told her she had been seeing Ben. My daughter was shocked. Ben had not mentioned anything. Naturally she questioned him. He defended himself. Saying to her,

“It was you who wanted this anyhow, so don’t start getting jealous and insecure”

Oh - we were so young.
We didn't realise
Just what we'd done.
Oh - we were too young.

She explained that was why they had agreed to being open and to communicate often. So that secondary relationships were not carried out in an underhand manner. Creating a supportive atmosphere that would not necessarily breed jealousy.

Anxious and insecure by the trials and tribulations of non-monogamy

They managed to move forward and he carried on seeing the other women. My daughter began to feel insecure as a lot of the time he still didn’t tell her. Then one day she found out he had shagged her in their home space.

And all the sweetness
Has been taken out of this place.
So many memories
Are knocked down or replaced.

She began to feel anxious and upset. It was then Ben said – even though he loved her – it was best for them to break.

Looking back she could not understand why he had not told her in the first place he was seeing someone. After all non-monogamy was her idea. By keeping the other girl a secret he made it illicit so naturally Darling Near Miss began to start second guessing herself and wondering if there were others she was not being told about.

We agreed that Ben enjoyed the secrecy. It probably made the liaison more exciting by not telling my daughter. Although when she was out on her “girl dates” he encouraged her. I do wonder how that would have gone if she had been dating other men.

The Intimacy of honesty

When you fall in love it is often sharing secrets and fantasies that bind you further. This intimate honesty is one of the things that helps you to trust each other. In my opinion deciding to be non-monogamous takes this one step further. You both decide that you want to continue with the openness you have created at the start. That idea provides a type of security. The thought that you won’t be lied to, or cheated on. And not be made a fool of. The non-monogamy agreement being the backbone.

Monogamy is far from a perfect dynamic. The ideal of non-monogamy looks better on paper. But of course then you have to factor in human nature of both sides of the partnership. I don’t expect Ben’s behaviour is uncommon. And talking to my friend – Jae Lynn – she explains that coming to terms with pet having another relationship has not been easy…

I’m unhappy because I have to share him. Totally selfish reasons and I can admit to that. We agreed at the beginning that it would happen, I just didn’t think it would in the middle of my epic meltdown.

The other person is 10 years younger and a guy – L.

I’m totally fine with pet being bi and I’m all for a person making him happy. Bottom line- I’m just not ready.

They wanted to make things transparent so the 3 of us had a group chat. Many times I felt out of place.

L really is a wonderful person and he treats pet very well. It is my own insecurity of losing pet all over again that really messed with me. Pet has reassured me over and over and I believe him.

Read more about this from Jae Lynn

Moving on

My daughter has moved on – somewhat – and is choosing celibacy at the moment 😉 Yes many of us have been there.

And I can't stand to see
The shifting time
Taking me further -
Leaving you behind.

The thing that bothered her most with what happened was the lies. I think what ever relationship dynamic you are in honesty needs to be at the foundation of the partnership. I am not talking about white lies, saying you only popped into town to pick up some milk when you also went to the pub for a G and T. Another thing we’ve all done ;-). But things that from experience you are sure the other person would rather know about, than not.

In my life

In my life I think a few relationships could have lasted longer if the other person and I had considered non-monogamy.

Well there's a colour picture
In my mind.
Of all the places
That I've left behind.
The broken windows
Where the wind blows through
Empty shells of houses
That have turned to ruin.

Certainly Vic and I would have been secure enough to have withstood each of us having other relationships.

By the time I met my man in 1997 I was well aware that monogamy was far from perfect.

And I remember you.
You were the back yard boy.
Hiding in the wreckage
Of broken dreams.
Standing by the railway line

Recognizing there was a definite connection between us I thew my honesty cards straight on the table and he did the same. We were both casually seeing others. Yet fate pulled us apart at this time.

When we finally got together 6 years ago he said we should vow to respect each other. I agreed. A few months later I asked what would happen if I wanted to “date” someone else as well. He replied that he hoped I’d tell him.

Time has gone on and sometimes I have asked if he would like another – perhaps a kitten I say, tongue in cheek, even though he has never asked.

We somehow made it intact through our peculiar lockdown circumstances, and neither of us are the type to be together just because. So I think I’d definitely let him know if I wanted to go on a date, fuck or just get to know someone else better. Although I am not anticipating this will happen. But one should never, say never. So of course I would prefer him to treat me with the same courtesy – even if something else rather than a kitten becomes his thing. After all, only by talking honestly can a person process and attempt to understand another person’s needs wants.

Concluding

My daughter expected honesty because she was in a non-monogamous relationship. Within any relationship dynamic surely it is the least we should offer and receive, when dealing with those we love?

What are your thoughts?


Thank you to Jae Lynn.

Header image from Pixabay.

tell me about intimacy
Intimacies, trials and tribulations of non-monogamy
trials and tribulations of non-monogamy
trials and tribulations of non-monogamy – I Remember you
trials and tribulations of non-monogamy - I Remember you
trials and tribulations of non-monogamy – I Remember you

14 thoughts on “Intimacies, trials & tribulations of non-monogamy

  1. As soon as you indicated he wasn’t telling her about his “side” girls, I knew it wouldn’t work. He was destroying all trust and not keeping the original agreement. Sad. But I’m glad your daughter moved on. She’ll find someone or more eventually.

    1. I know. It was a shame as in other ways they were good together. Putting aside his behaviour I really liked him. But she deserves so much better.

  2. I agree with you about the last comment of his. It’s so unfair of anyone to say things like that. I guess people do it because they want to let you down a little easier and feel less bad about themselves but really it makes it so much harder.

    I don’t understand why when you decide to have an open relationship and have communicated this to each other why you would hide seeing someone… that makes no sense. I agree that honesty is definitely the least you should offer in a relationship and especially this type of one.

    non monogamy has been on my mind a lot as Roxy has a partner. In a way it feels a little liberating because there’s no pressure or that huge weight (which can be good though) that comes with a monogamous relationship. I guess I feel like my life hasn’t started spinning ‘out of control’ in which all I want to do is see her. I know I would like that kind of relationship again but I appreciate the current. Plus, I’ve realised I quite like playing with and making out with other girls at the same time.

  3. The moment I read Ben had a girlfriend, and he didn’t tell your daughter, all alarm bells went off. That’s just not right, and in my book cheating, despite their agreement to do non-monogamy. And breaking the rules that they have put down… well, that just doesn’t work in my book. Your daughter seems to be a great individual, and I hope she finds someone eventually (once she breaks her celibacy) who will be as honest and open about everything as she is. Thanks for sharing, May!
    ~ Marie xox

  4. I think that there is a difference between consensual non-monogamy and an open relationship. There is a difference again with polyamory and the whole thing can get quite confusing. I totally agree with what has been expressed here that communication has to be at the heart. You have to be able to trust and that should be at centre of what you do in terms of boundaries and limits. I hope your daughter is ok and that this doesn’t put her off exploring the sort of dynamic which will work for her. missy x

  5. I think there may have been some tears in her saga. <3 I hope she is ok.

    I learnt a lot about myself when I was going out with Simon. He was the first man I had ever been with that did not want monogamy. It was strange for me because even in casual relationships I had been a "one-at-a-time" kind of person. I think monogamy is just the way my brain is wired, and I could not comprehend why he would not think that way. Even when I was still just going for coffee-dates with a guy, I would automatically give him exclusivity and not think about dating someone else at the same time.

    Simon and I had an intense sexual relationship from the start. I could not understand how after the kind of passion and sex between us, he could think about having sex with another woman. Simon and I spent 3 out of every 4 weekends together. But when I did not see him, I found I was upset by imagining what he might be doing, who he might be with. I loved him. I loved him and it hurt that he could be kissing another woman…and doing other things to her. Whenever we discussed it, I tried my best to accept Simon for who he was, but it became more painful the more deeply I felt for him. I would never have ended our relationship, I would have just gone on suffering that agony. Him moving abroad released me.

    I was not ready to let go of Simon, but he told me to try dating someone else. So around four months after he left, I went on a coffee date with another guy (a man I had known since I was a teenager). He was lonely and simply wanted someone sweet to cuddle up to. He and I shared a very sweet fling…that mainly centered of his love of ABF. It was very sweet and pleasurable for us both. But I knew it was not love. We were comforting each other more than anything. It was nice to be held. He found the distance he was travelling to see me harder and harder. So we agreed to stay friends but because we were seeing less and less of each other, it did not seem fair to try to maintain the relationship over the long distance. We are still in touch. I was so glad when Ben finally told me how he felt. It was such a relief to me to know he wanted the kind of relationship I wanted.

    I think that if two people do have expectations that are different, there may be challenges. As for the element of secrecy…I don't quite understand it myself, but I do know some men who just love the feeling of being a bit of a rogue. One guy I know finds anything normal does not excite him. He loves having sex with married women. Loves having sex outdoors in public places. He gets a buzz out of it. It made me realize how different we can be when it comes to excitement. I love security. I love warmth and trust and love. I can get excited by seeing Ben in his work clothes tired and irritable after a bad day at work. I just love the sense of purpose and belonging that a monogamous relationship brings. But we are all different.

    1. thank you for commenting. I am glad you have Ben it does sound as if you are suited. I did feel very proud of my daughter that she was laying her cards on the table and feel it is Ben;s loss. However, I did like him. But not his behaviour. Relationships are difficult, because people evolve – that is natural. And hopefully the changes that occur work for you both x

  6. Great interweaving of very relevant song lyrics May. Poor DN Miss – she put her cards on the table, who knew he would be shifty?
    I find honesty very necessary in relationships of value. I hadn’t realised about Jae and Pet, that’s a tough one to negotiate when it’s all been done openly but it’s still painful. I like how you’ve discussed this and set it out for further thought.

  7. Hmmm… I just wrote a comment and then my screen blanked out and it disappeared. I’m not sure if I bumped ‘send’ by accident (I wasn’t finished) or a gremlins ate it.

    A n y w a y

    Cheating basically boils down to lying.

    There are a lot of people who think it’s “not possible” to cheat in a non-mono relationship structure. But when you say up front, “We’re going to be intentional and open about this,” and then you lie… That’s cheating. And the expectation of open-ness somehow makes that lie worse.

    And you’re right to wonder how things would’ve gone if she’d been openly dating men instead of women. A lot of het men cannot handle the idea that their wife/girlfriend would find sexual pleasure with another man. (Though he, of course, being the superstud that he is, would be more than happy to fuck a gazillion females and expect his primary partner to be fine with it. It’s a massive double standard and it’s all too common.)

    1. You are so right! Cheating is lying. And yes when there is an openness – that is suddenly closed by the other – that is worse. x

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