Call me jaded, but my faith in traditional relationships has pretty much gone out the window. According to the majority of society, loving partnerships are about committing to one person, forever. In other words, finding a partner to love monogamously, for the rest of my life. Here’s the problem I have with that. The majority of my monogamous relationships have failed. Ninety percent of my families’ monogamous relationships have failed. Did they end based on the simple fact that each partner insisted on exclusivity? Maybe yes, and maybe no. Regardless of why they didn’t work, there are a few things I know to be truths in my life, that have labeled me into the “Alternative, Non-Monogamous Lifestyle” category. Being in this category is based on the fact that I no longer wish to make the point of my dating life to be to find one person, to fulfill all of my desires, and to meet all of my needs.
Does a Non-Monogamous Lifestyle Allow for Love?
Multiple People to Fulfill My Needs
If you think about it, there’s a reason we have a variety of friends, family and lovers in our lives. Because they each fulfill different parts of us. For example, my friend Erin brings out my creative side. He loves to write stories together, go to museums, take a glass blowing class, or spend the afternoon at a “paint your own pottery” studio. My dear friend Cori, who I’ve been best friends with since I was ten, knows me better than many people. Together we gossip about celebrities, and share stories about navigating the single parent dating scene. Then there are the men that I date. Of course they vary personality wise, but typically they fulfill my sexual desires, my need for companionship, emotional support, and frequently intellectual stimulation. Those qualities aren’t a guarantee in all of the people I date. Sometimes I want to be with a man simply for his amazing abs while I’m vacationing on the beach of Florida. Other times, I want to have a sensual weekend with a woman I met at a coffee shop in France while traveling solo. The bottom line is that the traditional marriage model suggests that one partner should be the “love of my life” “the one”, “my better half”, “my missing puzzle piece”, or someone to “complete me”. The truth of the matter is that no one person can possibly fulfill all of my needs, and therefore, I don’t expect my life partner to either.
I Still Want a Life Partner
Yes, I said life partner. Just because I don’t completely buy into the idea of monogamy as the end all, be all, doesn’t mean I don’t want a life partner. I’d like a “primary partner” to quote a term from two of my favorite authors, Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton from their book “The Ethical Slut“. My primary partner would be a husband, (if we chose to get married), or a life partner. I’d love to commit to someone and share a life of traveling the world, cuddling on the couch watching movies, starting a business together, continuing on our personal journey’s of self and spiritual growth, and having someone to go on this adventure of life with. When I say commit to, I mean be each other’s “primary partners”, in other words, the person I’d go through the thick and thin of life with, the person I’d live with, and come home to at the end of the day. We would also have “outside partners” throughout our relationship potentially at different times, and we’d talk about it, and be open to a variety of possibilities.
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Currently, my boyfriend and I are practicing this type of relationship, and navigating our way through it. It’s new for me, and we’re sort of learning as we go along. We haven’t been dating that long, but we continue to reassure each other of our love for one another. The biggest surprise for me was discovering that being with “outside partners” has brought us closer together. I’ll go into more detail about that in a future post, but to sum it up, it’s really amazing what an open mind can do for a relationship!
I’m well aware that this type of lifestyle is not for everyone. It’s unconventional, hard for many people to understand. Jealousy is what comes up on everyone’s minds as the biggest obstacle to overcome. For me, I’m not going to pretend that when my boyfriend talks about having sex with another woman I feel no sense of jealousy at all. That’s just not true. Of course I feel it, but at the same time, we reassure each other of our love for one another through our actions and words. Therefore, in my opinion, an alternative, non-monogamous lifestyle does allow for love, in a deeper way than I could have ever imagined!