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.
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 woman 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 but rather promote trust.
Anxious and insecure by the trials and tribulations of non-monogamy
They managed to move forward and he carried on seeing the other woman. 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
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
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.