Guest Post – A Non-Monogamous Origins Story

Every so often I read an origins story that is raw, real and touches on the true spirit of the non-monogamous journey.  And today, I was lucky enough that the person who wrote it, is not only a friend, but granted me permission to share his series of Tweets on my blog.  Every non-monogamous journey is unique and what struck me about his, is that it is so different from my own.  I don’t want to give too many spoilers, but as many of my readers know, my relationship was non-monogamous from the beginning, whereas his was completely monogamous, and yet, years later, we find ourselves with many more similarities than differences.   

@LustinForya thank you for allowing me to share your series of tweets in the original form, as I feel there is much to be gained by your journey exactly as you shared it!

First off let me preface with the fact that I am 35, have been in a relationship since high school with my best friend. 18 years and 4 kids, and we still have sex daily/multiple times daily. Never thought there was anything “missing” and in the normal sense there still isn’t.

We had both always considered ourselves strictly monogamous. About 6 years ago, we decided to start a dirty anonymous Twitter account up to explore a little of our kinkier sides her being an exhibitionist and me a bit of a voyeur, it seemed like a safe place to begin.

We had YYC in our @ so it didn’t take long till we were chatting with local folks from the naughty side if Twitter Very shortly after that we discovered @capcyyc and were intrigued, a little research, and a few chats with Twitter locals that had been and away we went.

We suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a place where, at the time we didn’t feel like we belonged, we were intimidated and almost bolted Luckily one of our Twitter followers happened to be there that night, we chatted and they were similar to us and really put us at ease.

We ended up having sex for the first time in “public” and it was game changing… the sexual energy it introduced to our already very satisfying sex life was amazing. She was able to be seen, and I was able to enjoy her, and watch others play. It was like the perfect result.

We started making “the club” a regular thing. We met a few cool people but but were still fully monogamous. Fantasy, time and understanding slowly weakened our desire to stay that way. We both expressed a curiosity, and started looking for other couples who were interested.

The lessons we learned weren’t easy ones to handle… communicating needs, wants, and boundaries being foremost But then there’s the rejection… and here’s s a couple posts by @K_Ghislaine I wish I had read back then.

Part I: Rejection in the World of Monogamy

Part II: Rejection in the World of Non-Monogamy

Fast forward through some trials, and we found ourselves out at a different local club and we were invited in to an orgy. This on its own was amazing, but in the middle of a pile of people, we were still just having sex with each other. Not really sure what else to do.

Thankfully, at least for shy inexperienced us, the opportunity for the Mrs. to give another guy oral arose ( yes bad pun I know) And after a quick silent conversation with me, she indulged. All the fear of the unknown that held us back melted away after that moment.

And baby step after baby step over the course of nearly 6 years, we went from monogamy to “full swap” swinging. But that doesn’t make things easier, finding couples that all jive together is so beyond difficult it’s hard to put to words.

The closest thing I can think of… is the difference between our eyes, and the eyes of a mantis shrimp Here is a great video if you don’t get that reference https://youtu.be/F5FEj9U-CJM  Needless to say 99% of the time we went home without any “extra” action.

That 1% though… We ended up making connections with a few pretty amazing people, some of which are probably reading this as I write it. And you can out yourselves if you want you sexy fuckers. Aside from them, for us, the swinging scene just didn’t quite fit

It started to feel like a 5 hour race; Show up, drink, socialize, drink, try to find a couple we are interested in, drink, small talk, drink, chat to see if things click, drink, find a space, and then play All in the span of about 5 hours. Getting too drunk is a easy issue.

Now, I think it’s important to mention, I’m sapiosexual, introverted, and have social anxiety… and I drink very little, 1 or 2 tops. So these “5h races” didn’t sit well with me. The Mrs clung to liquor to calm herself, but it’s a double edged sword, and too drunk was often.

Something needed to change, but returning to monogamy wasn’t in the cards. We looked at our relationship and started talking about casual solo play. We both decided it was something to give a chance and explore.

The Mrs, being the sweet, bubbly, extroverted, drop dead gorgeous, social butterfly. Has always had men tripping over themselves for a chance to take her out. She found a guy she was interested in immediately and started seeing him regularly. Me, no such luck…

I’m glad things played out that way, as I was able to stay objective and and got a chance to explore my feelings, expectations, and projections as they came up, unencumbered by my feelings for another human in the mix

That brings us to our most current relationship evolution. Turns out that the guy the Mrs is seeing is a cool cat, and she’s developed some feelings for him, and him for her She still meets all my needs, and when some aren’t met, we talk, things adjust, and we get closer.

And, even socially anxious, introverted Me, has been able to use online dating (OKC), to make a couple really awesome connections, with some amazing women, who are so incredibly different than my wife, and have been able to satisfy needs that I didn’t even know I had!

I guess that’s the end for tonight, as it’s closing in on midnight and I’ve got to be up at 6, and my thoughts are taking a little longer to make coherent statements Next time… trials of jumping into the dating pool for the first time EVER as a 35yo man.

 

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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Part I: Rejection in the World of Monogamy

Remember that first crush you had as a kid?  And remember that gut wrenching feeling when you discovered they didn’t actually like you the same way you liked them?  It felt like your young heart was broken into a million pieces.  And for a moment you wondered what the point of having feelings for anyone really was, especially when the heartache hurt so badly.  The devastation of putting yourself out there for the first time, and not having the feelings reciprocated sticks with us.  In our monogamous driving society we learn, to avoid or prevent those feelings.  And we do so by putting up barriers, or learning to vet out a person before getting hurt.  We rally our friends to feel out our next love interest, to spare us the face to face humiliation of a “just not interested”, being ignored or worse, laughter!  And if you are anything like me, when you fell in love for the first time, and had that love finally returned you vowed that you would do whatever it took to make it work.  Because you had a glimpse of what rejection felt like, and that was more than enough to make you realize that it should be avoided wherever possible.

There is just no denying that getting rejected sucks!  But the reality is, that no one has the time, resources, attraction or even inclination to give every single person a chance.  And thus, we reject people, avoid the whole situation outright, or the latest fad, we ghost a person.  I could spend an entire post talking or rationalizing all the why’s a person rejects someone else, but the thing is, we have all done it at some point.  It would be impossible to like every single human on the planet, so part of growing up is rejection trial and error.  And for me, I had so many errors early on that I decided not to date until I was out of high school.  Which I attributed to the understanding that no one marries their high school sweetheart and stays happy, so why even bother wasting my time.  Let the e-mails from happily married high school sweethearts flood my inbox as I know there are a few of you out there.  I’m just a realist by nature and figured the chances for me were slim! 

Now once I actually started dating as an adult, I, like so many out there, had my fair share of total and absolute let downs that when that first guy that I could stand to both look at and talk to popped into my life, I clung on!  I had serious illusions that I would be the first monogamous person to fall in love and never experience the pain of heartbreak or rejection.  Blood, sweat and a lot of tears were shed in the quest to ensure that we were going to be married and live happily ever after.  And it was a close call.  A very, scary, close call to the I do’s.  I was fearful of being alone, and I was competitively inclined to make that first relationship succeed.  A life without heartbreak, was an opportunity too tantalizing to ignore.  And then, we broke up.  And I don’t have to relate to any of you just what that feels like.  The tightness in your chest, the inability to get out of bed, and the hiding from the sunlight because that represents the whole world seeing your pain and your failures.  It’s agonizing.  But I survived day by day, and then got back together with the same man.  Only to experience heartbreak again a few years later and finally walk away from him forever.  I had failed. I couldn’t avoid rejection or a broken heart, no matter how hard I tried.

The thing was, back then, I would have done anything to avoid that pain.  Hindsight shows me plainly that I was leaning eerily close to marring the devil I knew, rather than explore my options, to protect myself.  And I know I am not alone.  I guarantee that you know a person, perhaps even well, who got married to someone simply because they were tired and emotionally exhausted from getting their heartbroken.  That person decided to make things work with the next person they dated, simply to prevent any more pain.  It’s self preservation.  We want to be with someone far more than we want to be hurt, so sometimes we sacrifice perfection, in exchange for our mental and emotional well being, and just take what’s there.  Is the relationship perfect?  Of course not, but compatible is the next best thing.  And we humans have survived because once we experience pain we learn and adapt to avoid that same negative stimulus in the future.

And that is a huge benefit to living in the monogamous community and one that I never recognized until becoming non monogamous.  For you see, pair bonding for life, within the comfort of monogamy gives you a real chance to never feel that pain again.  We are told after our first heartache, not to fret, because someday, you will find someone amazing.  And you will fall in love, live happily ever after and you will never feel that loneliness again.  I bought into it, hook line and almost sinker.  I desperately wanted rejection to be something of a trial of youth.  But, here I am to tell you, that things are a little different on the non-monogamous side of the fence.  For you see, rejection is unavoidable and in fact, becomes a necessary skill to hone…

 

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How Do I Get My Partner to Explore Non-Monogamy?

This question, right here, is the question that has been asked over and over again, when a person discovers non-monogamy for the first time.  They ask it in earnest, as if, there is some magical answer that will allow them to keep their spouse and start sleeping with other people immediately.  And it is the most frequent query I personally get when advertising my relationship coaching business.  But for a long time, it was the most difficult one for me to maintain composure and give a thoughtful, well crafted response.  So, I decided to put into writing the best answer I can give, which I hope will encourage any of you asking this question to make healthy decisions and not ruin your current relationship because you discovered something shiny.

First things first, you have to know your partners communication style.  And if you don’t, don’t worry, most couples don’t, but they figure out very quickly what not to do over the course of a relationship.  Finding out both your own and your partners way of thinking, processing and talking is something that is necessary if you want a healthy non-monogamous relationship, because you are going to be talking, and communicating a lot!  If you think a relationship with 2 people takes work, just imagine what happens when you bring new dynamics into the mix.  You need a solid foundation whereby you can talk about safe sex, mistakes, wants, needs, and time management, and do it in a respectful and loving way.  A relationship is a partnership, and your success in non-monogamy will depend on your foundation.

Second, you have to have an idea about what you want in non-monogamy.  Be it simply physical connections (Swinging), dating other people (Open Relationships), or even exploring new relationships (Polyamory).  And here’s the big one, once you figure out what you want, you have to be willing to discuss, and even negotiate (in a healthy way) a relati

onship norm that will actually suit both of you and fit into your current lifestyle.  For example, if you have 3 kids, work 80 hours a week and barely see each other as it is, jumping into a polyamorous relationship may not be feasible.

Third, research, network and more research.  When I first discovered non-monogamy on date one with my current partner, I felt like I was plopped in a foreign world and I made every mistake one could possibly make.  It wasn’t until I started reading books on the subject, in my case open relationships and non-monogamy, and finding online resources that I began to understand it.  Shortly after I started blogging as a way of sorting out my thoughts and emotions and sharing the research that I learned along the way.  And I think it was at about year 4, that I started building a little bit of a community of more open minds.  Friends that I could talk to about what was going on.  And that was when the real turning point was for me.  Once I stopped feeling alone, had done enough research and figured out what I wanted out of non-monogamy our relationship was able to blossom.  So don’t overlook the background and research step, as it may save you many headaches.

Fourth, time.  Let’s say, you have read the book, Sex at Dawn, and you are pretty convinced that humans are non-monogamous by nature, and this is now something that you need in your life.  Perfect, the seed has been planted.  You’ve researched, soul searched and you are ready.  But what about your partner?  An all too common thing I see, is someone rushing home excitedly to tell their partner about this amazing new lifestyle they want to explore and expecting the other person to jump right on board with the new adventure.  And, it almost always ends in disaster.  Why?  Because, we are raised in a society of monogamy.  Flipping a person’s life upside down can take a lot of time to process.  Without getting too much into the coaching side of things, it is an emotional roller coaster for the other person, and often they feel blindsided or worse when presented with the notion the first time.  While non-monogamy may have made perfect sense to you, it often does not immediately resonate with the partner.  And this is where you have to put your own relationship above the needs of your libido.  Giving time, space and allowing the person the opportunity to research, and build their own network of support if this is a direction that they are open to.

And if you get a resounding, Hell No! from the get go, put it on the back burner.  If your relationship started in monogamy, and those were the initial terms that you agreed to, then you may have to accept that that is how it will remain if you stay with your partner.  And remember, the grass is not always greener on the other side.  Non-monogamy is work, yes of course it’s play too, but especially at the beginning it is a lot of hard work and takes an emotional toll at some point or another.

Fifth, do not go into non-monogamy to fix something.  And by this I mean, fix the problem first, talk about it, address it, etc.  Do not, I repeat, do not, expose other people to your relationship issues or use them as Band-Aids.  The goal is to be ethical to yourself, your partner, and all the outsiders that you interact with.  Non-monogamy is not the same as cheating.  It is not a way to get your needs met on the sly, and it is certainly not an easy way to avoid having the tough conversations.  It things aren’t repairable in your relationship, end things before you start swinging or dating together.  Do unto other’s and all that jazz.  No one wants to be used, or find out they were a quick fix, or simply along for the ride in your relationship drama.

And finally, don’t think you have to do it alone.  Many couples on online forums seem to feel all the blood, sweat and tears is more of a badge of honor that each relationship should go through on their own in order to be non-monogamous.  They went through all these mistakes, and you should too.  No shortcuts allowed.   Well, I am here to tell you that if coaching, podcasts, blogs, etc. were an option when I was first introduced to non-monogamy I would have taken that up in a heartbeat.  Learning from other’s mistakes can be as valuable as making them on your own, if you are willing to listen and really learn.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or to ask questions, during your exploration and encourage your partner to do the same.  Sometimes all it takes is a little mentorship, or even just an ear to bounce your uncertainties off of to gain the insight you need to move forward.

So have fun out there, practice safe sex and no always means no.

 

If you want to learn more about my non-monogamous coaching services, or would like some reading recommendations please check out my site, www.breakingawayfromrelationshipnorms.com.

Questioning Monogamy as Female Driven


I was sent a very click bait titled article yesterday from a friend of mine, called “Asking if Women are Ill Suited to Monogamy”.  I was intrigued none the less, and thankful that he vetted the article before sending it and had warned me that the title was deceptive and the contents were well worth the read.  If you’re listening to the audio, I highly recommend pausing and clicking on the article that I’ve linked here.  Ok, has everyone read it?  Perfect.

So here is a common narrative that many would agree is promoted in our society; that women are considered the driving force behind monogamy, and wants to settle down for a variety of reasons including the “parental investment theory”.  And this goes hand in hand with the “good girl” vernacular that has been re-enforced throughout the generations.  I was definitely raised and fully conditioned to believe this, hook, line and sinker.  In fact, I not only believed it, but I even tried to take monogamy to the extreme, by choosing a man who was my first, and only sexual partner to marry.  And thus I was so taken in by the one and only for life reasoning that not even my imagination was safe to wander.  For a seemingly extreme example when I was monogamous, I felt overwhelming guilt anytime someone other than my boyfriend would pop into my head during a sex dream.  It was so ingrained in me that I would try and force myself to think of him as I fell asleep to try and prevent anyone else from sneaking in there during my deepest dreams.  And I think that may be why I started to dream I was a man, who slept with a bunch of women.  My dream state wanted to explore and was going to find every single loophole it could to accomplish that.  But we will save Freud and dream analysis for another time.

And that’s just one example of what indoctrination can do to a person, even something a seemingly innocuous as monogamy.   And just one of the many instances that I look back upon my time in monogamy and realize it just wasn’t for me.  But getting back to the article, the suggestion is that non-monogamy may be the cure for low libido with a focus on women.  That there is evidence to suggest when women fantasize about other men, their sex drive increases.  Thus, making the current female monogamy narrative seem more like a myth.  Are our libidos and this relationship norm actually at odds?  It’s certainly an interesting subject.  And one that I am excited to explore further.

So, for my perspective in all of this, I have to be completely honest that while my mental well being is much better off being non-monogamous and my fantasies and dream state far more satisfying, my sex drive has not actually changed.  I have always had a higher than average sex drive.  So, I cannot entirely relate to the notion of sex dropping off by nearly 40 percent when in a long term monogamous relationship.  Having said that, there is ample evidence that this is the standard norm and I do hear it often enough from friends and clients.  So, as I’m starting to get a little more used to, I may again be the outlier so we have to discount my personal experience for the time being.

Because women are taught that sex always dies in the end, and thus marrying your best friend is the most important criteria for a long lasting marriage, there has been more comradery in sexual bedroom death rather than addressing it as an issue.  And this has also legitimized the false notion that men are more sexual than women.  It is such an important realization to acknowledge that there may be a problem with reduced sex drive in women and then be forced to look beyond a magic blue pill to fix that.  And further to start exploring social factors including more variety of partners just like we have been lead to believe men require for so long.  The fact that we are bridging the gender gap in sexuality is incredible, by exploring a female’s sexual experience and not just the males?  I am so pleased with the questions beyond the quick fixes.

So, while I love the thought provoking points I really want to caution my readers in regards to the last paragraph in the referenced article.  The author is surmising that women are going to become more masculine in their sexuality, and by that she says we will see “more women getting laid and leaving, having sex without wanting to bond, more girls up in their rooms clicking on their computer and masturbating before they get started on their homework.”  I personally think it’s a huge mistake to call these behaviours masculine or feminine.  If your sexuality allows for less of an emotional bond with sex, we should not conclude you are more masculine.  Nor should we surmise that masturbating to release an itch before work, or a project is gender specific.  It’s a harmful narrative to promote.  We cannot educate in a sex positive way by relegating sexuality to gender or boxes like that.  Instead we need to promote more fluidity.  As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I tried to force my brain to dream in a way that was socially acceptable to monogamy, and my brain broke free… continually.  So with that in mind, we don’t want to make the mistake of shifting our thought process from one gender to the next.  Instead we must explore sexuality as a whole, or whenever possible, on an individual basis.

So to all my readers, give yourselves permission to explore your sexuality in a way that excites you and makes you feel like a complete being, to whatever end brings you joy.  If living a narrative of monogamy makes you feel complete and satisfied by all means keep doing what you’re doing.  And if you have an itch that may need scratching, talk to your partner, and see if there is a way that you can incorporate fantasy or reality into your life.  You no longer have to accept that long term commitments will inevitably leave you without a satisfying sex life.  We are living in exciting times, where articles like this are being written and researched, allowing us to break free of ingrained social narratives and become just a little more aware that being the “good girl” isn’t always the answer and does not always mean you are going to live happily, sexually satisfied, ever after.

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