I am going to be honest: I don’t believe in monogamy. Well, for me, anyway. I was married young, have had a few long-term relationships, and always believed in “the one”. But my thinking has changed. Personally, I couldn’t imagine ever just being committed to one person for the rest of my life. I can’t commit to living in one place for longer than a year, really, so this inability to “settle down” applies to pretty much every aspect of my life.
It has heartened me in recent years to see that I am not alone in this free-spirited way of thinking. There has been a growth in the number of digital nomads globally as millions of people move to online work and change their scenery if and when they feel like it. So my “work and wander” way of life is not so unusual now.
Likewise, my attitude to relationships has also become less left of field.
Polyamory (having more than one romantic relationship simultaneously) and ethical non-monogamous relationships are on the rise as people shake off the societal norms that have dictated how people have loved for so long.
Poly This, Mono That; What’s It All About?
While the practice of being married to more than one person (polygamy) has been relatively common in some religions, cultures and societies, it has generally been considered a bit weird in the western world where I grew up.
Ditto polyamory. Terms are incorrectly bandied about, like swingers, wife swappers, or jokes about car keys in a bowl are made. In reality, it is about people choosing to have loving relationships with more than one person with the consent of all partners rather than some fun night at a sex party.
It is somehow seen as deviant behaviour, yet to me, it is just about having more love in your life, and goodness knows, the world could do with much more love right now. I have not experienced a poly relationship, but I have been in an ethically non-monogamous one.
My Open Relationship
I am a flirt. I love the thrill of the chase, and I easily get bored. So, when I met Mr A, I told him that I was only interested in having a relationship with him if I was free to enjoy other encounters without guilt. He was fine with this, and we drew up some boundaries, decided what worked for us, and had a happy, healthy relationship for 3 years. We broke up for other reasons, in case you are wondering.
At home with him, we had a deep connection, a loving bond and fantastic sex. But, if I went out without him and saw a guy I liked, I was free to pursue that connection, knowing that I had a solid, loving relationship to go home to. I had no interest in a new relationship with someone else. I was happy with my boyfriend, but I could play the game of chase and enjoy a fling without remorse. It also kept our relationship fresh and exciting.
Now, I have moved into solo polyamory territory. But what is it, and why does it work for me?
Many people are single and like to mingle, go on dates and try to find a partner. Solo polyamory is similar, but the person (me!) has no intention of finding a relationship because they already have one—with themself.
I spent many years putting other people first: my children, ex-husband and boyfriends. I often “lost” myself in these relationships. Bent to their will. Compromised on things I didn’t want to. While my kids always have my devoted attention and undying, unconditional love, the others have been kicked to the kerb.
I reclaimed myself and, with it, discovered how I could have my cake and eat it by being solo polyamory. I date me. I also date others and have love affairs, flings and longer-lasting emotional, physical and sexual relationships with people who interest me. But I go home to me.
I know, I know, it sounds just like a fancy way of saying I am single and dating, but the difference is I am not looking to settle down. I want to keep the freedom that I have worked hard to gain. I don’t want to share my life with someone who will have needs and wants that may encroach on mine. I want to continue putting myself first, learning about myself and enjoying encounters when I feel like it.
In a world where we can be anything we want and pretty much go anywhere we like, why not choose the type of relationship that suits us?
For me, right now, that is solo polyamory. I play by my rules. And it will take a damn amazing man to change that.