So Naïve! The Couples Quest

I’m sure I have touched on this topic before, but in light of a recent conversation on the Hunter Gash and Alley Cat show (Which you should check out at GTFO if you’re 18 or older) I feel it deserves another look.  When E and I decided to look for couples to date together, I went into it with rose coloured glasses.  In short, I was optimistic and naive.  I honestly thought that amazing people would attract each other and that finding couples would be easier than finding new singles as a result.  I thought that all you would need to do was vet one person, and then naturally they would bring to the table their equally amazing partner, just as I was doing.  We would all get together for drinks, and laugh, share stories, and sexy times would inevitably be the result.

Yes, I went into this whole thing believing that finding couples would be simple.  I never considered opposites attract.  Nor did I ponder just how one sided many relationships are when it comes to entering into non monogamy.  I foolishly assumed that if two people were ready to head out on a date, that they would have put the same level of work into their relationship that my partner and I had.  That they would be confident (after the nerves of the first meeting wore off), and sure of what they wanted.  Oh, and I thought that as couples this would eliminate all the ghosting, bread-crumbing and they would be serious, AKA not time wasters.  It after all takes work to schedule 4 people, and that investment alone should mean that we are all willing and able.  Hence, when we finally meet, everyone would have the same goal, which is to have fun, and see if we all get along to determine if we would become friends or something more.  Oh my poor little naive and optimistic heart…

I also, very foolishly thought that because I already have a partner, and was not looking for perfection, that the couples we interacted with would be on that same wavelength too.  You know, looking for fun, willing to overlook a thing or two, and just enjoy the experience of meeting new people.  But oh no!  That has not been the case at all.  In fact, just recently I was chatting to a couple that I thought would be a lot of fun, and was just about to start scheduling a meeting between the four of us, when they dropped the bombshell.  They wanted to find a couple to help them raise their family.  I replied that we weren’t quite at that point yet in our lives with family, but why don’t we meet to see if we even click and go from there.  Not only did they not respond but I got deleted and blocked!  I mean I get that we weren’t quite on the same page, however, what’s the harm in meeting or at least getting to know a couple before you start a family with them?

And did I mention that we are looking for a stable couple?  And by stable, I do mean a couple who love each other, and have a good solid foundation.  A couple that leaves the majority of their drama at the door.  Yes, we all have issues in our primary relationships, but we have come across two couples in particular who used opening up to try and save their troubled relationships.  And guess what, it didn’t work!  And it really sucked for us, as the couple coming into it.  For you see, I begin to care about the people I’m dating, and then when the relationship deteriorates I get upset too, and there are tears and then pretty much everyone breaks up!  It’s a crappy feeling!

So now I go into these first meetings a little guarded and I make a point of asking how long the couple has been together to potentially avoid that particular pain.  And while I can weed out the FWB or new partners very quickly it’s still time consuming business.  I tend to gravitate towards couples who have been together 5 plus years.  I find couples who are in love and stable to be much more attractive than just a couple of hot FWB who only have amazing sex together and no real intimacy.  Why?  Because I am not looking for one time hookups.  Scheduling is tough.  My life is very busy.  Finding partners who are in the same boat makes life much more relaxed and easy going, as you can accept everyone’s priorities and really value the moments the four get together.  For me, it is more intimate and special.

I hope in the next few years, I can lower my guard a little and go with the flow again.  But right now I feel stuck in this weird zone of too many red flags from everyone I talk to.  And I suppose part of the reason is in that open relationships, swinging, etc are becoming a little less taboo.  So the pool is getting a little fuller around the edges.  Many couples are dipping a toe in here and there.  Or testing the water, so to speak.  While exciting, it’s a little tricky when your ready to start swimming laps, and leave the water wings behind.  But hey, at least a few of those toe dippers will stick around to experience the full pool soon right?

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Part II: Rejection in the World of Non-Monogamy

In Part I, I talked about how in a monogamous driven society, rejection is something that we try to avoid.  It is not something that is viewed as a necessary skill-set to have.  Instead, it is something that we accept as part of our adolescence but strive to avoid it in adulthood.  We do not regard it as a very important piece of the adult emotional repertoire.  But, as I mentioned at the end of the piece, in the world if non-monogamy things are very different, because not only is rejection unavoidable, but it is a skill-set that you have to be more than proficient at using.  Rejection becomes a natural part of your relationships, and you must be ethical in how you reject others, and emotionally stable enough to handle rejection in return.

At this point, I am going to make a bold statement.  That being non-monogamous is far more intense for your emotional spectrum than monogamy is.  And further, to actually flourish in non-monogamy, you need an emotional IQ that is far more developed, especially comparison to the requirements of monogamy.  And why do I feel this way?  Because, the road traveled in non-monogamy is filled with heartbreak, rejection and requires a heightened awareness of your wants and needs and of all those you want to interact with.  And quite honestly, if you cannot handle that, you are not ready to explore the amazing world of multiple people, even if it is just for sex.  While I am not specifically trying to scare people off, I hope that those who cannot handle their own emotions, take a moment here for some serious reflection.  Even if you have the ability to turn off your emotions when it comes to sex, there is zero guarantee that your partner or the people you are intimate with are doing the same.  And if you cannot handle that fact, then you have zero business opening up your body or mind to others.

I recall reading on a swingers forum a few weeks ago, a post from a guy who said that he could no longer swing because he had just been ghosted by a woman he and his wife were seeing.  The rejection was just too much for him and his marriage, so they were quitting the lifestyle.  He made a choice to avoid negative emotions and the only way to actually accomplish that was to walk away.  And when I read that initially I judged him pretty harshly.  Don’t worry it was only in my head.  But then I realized, it takes a huge amount of emotional intelligence to understand what he could and could not handle in his life.  And rather than trying to pretend that non-monogamy could be a perfect little world free of heartache, he took the more realistic and quite pragmatic view.

And for many when entering a lifestyle filled with more than one person, you become attracted to the shiny and new, and forget to take into consideration all the bad or negative, with rejection being incredibly high on that list.  Just think about the singles dating pool, and how many people you just were not attracted to.  I dare say that you had a connection with 1 – 5 % of the people you met?  Now shrink that pool almost infinitesimally, and try to make a connection, physical attraction or even an emotional spark.  There is a very slim chance that things are actually going be 100% great right from the get go.  And thus, you need to be mature enough for both you and your partner to politely decline people.  While at the same time remembering that it is a small pool, so you do not want to be an ass about it and get a bad reputation.  Nor do you want to be in a position of taking one for the team, or doing anything you are not absolutely on board with.  It’s difficult to navigate.  And for those who hate rejection or try to avoid confrontation at all costs, will find this part of the lifestyle incredibly challenging.  And let’s face it, ghosting is never OK, so there is no way to avoid this.  You just cannot sleep or engage with everyone just because you cannot say a polite, “no thanks”, that would be pretty unreasonable.  So guess what?  You have to toughen up a bit and both accept a “no thanks” with grace, and learn to give the same with courtesy and compassion.  It’s important to dig deep and develop those skills that we often wish we could just avoid.

After reading this, you may ask why in the world would you ever subject yourself to a lifestyle where you are constantly setting yourself up for heartbreak.  Honestly, because the highs are so amazing, it supersedes the pain.  Most people would agree, that the joys of falling in love far outweigh the heartache in trying to find love.  You would be missing out on amazing things if you tried to just avoid being in pain or causing pain, and thus the brave among us, rip off the Band-aid and put ourselves out there.  We open up to the possibilities, despite the potential downfall.  Non-Monogamy is a high, a rush and a bliss that while I could always remember my life in monogamy as sacred with my partner, I instead chose a life where I live to put myself out there, pain and all, for the chance of butterflies or a new connection, and I do it with my partner lovingly by my side.  I accept that in non-monogamy rejection is unavoidable and I take great pride in handling it, and being kind when I have to flex that skill and I hope you do the same.

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