…at the same time.
This article was written with a very specific individual in mind. I suspect that it won’t apply to many people that read it. I think it may even cause some to be threatened. But I also think that many will be uncomfortable with just how right the ideas presented here feel. I’m talking to those people.
Something I’ve failed to talk about on my blog until now is my rather unique relationship style. I started doing it some number of months ago, but I chose to delay writing about it. I wanted to make sure it worked before I shared it with you. Now that I’ve been employing it successfully for a while, I decided it’s time to bring it up. But before I get into specifics, here’s a little history:
The Beauty of Exclusive Monogamy
Just so there isn’t any confusion, when I say monogamy, I’m talking about strictly one-on-one, ’till death do we part style relationships.
There’s just something exquisitely poetic about a person intertwining their hopes, dreams, and ambitions with one special significant other – and no one else. having the ability to come home to the same person every night is extremely comforting. We know that we will always have a shoulder to cry on and an understanding pair of ears to hear us.
And to be honest, isn’t that what every single person wants? Don’t we all dream of finding that one special person and spending the rest of our lives with them? Well, not really. But for those of us who do want that, there are some very specific things we will have to give up in our quest for our soulmate. The question is, are we willing to give up these things? Or do we even have to in the first place?
Monogamy and Its Discontents
I can’t speak for women here, or even other men, but I know that I personally have felt very trapped in monogamous relationships. Even when everything was going great, there was still one problem looming over the horizon: I still desired other women. My partner could be the best girl in the world and it wouldn’t matter. There’s just something intrinsically – and evolutionarily – exciting about variety. And the worst part was, I was made to feel guilty about this desire that I had no control over.
The truth is, I’ve always found the joy of monogamous relationships to be a rather bittersweet one. One huge part of that is, as I mentioned, the sexual aspect. No holier-than-thou attitude here, nor will I try to explain away my lustful nature with some spiritual mumbo jumbo. Plain and simple, commitment has been somewhat difficult (though successful) in the past because it limits my potential sexual partners to exactly one. Depending on your age and testosterone levels (that counts for women too) this may not be an issue for you, but it definitely is for me.
Prior to my epiphany and resultant relationship style change, the only solution I had was to repress my urges. This wasn’t a horrible solution, and it worked pretty well. For example, I was in a 7 year relationship from age 14 to 21 without any mishaps. So I could definitely hack it if needed, but it just wasn’t optimal.
The other thing that I didn’t much appreciate was the severe curtailing of my oh so precious freedom, the one thing that means more to me than anything else in the world. The thing that allows me to do whatever I want, whenever I want. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not a fan of being accountable to anyone. I like doing my own thing.
So clearly, though monogamy is beautiful as an abstraction, there is definitely something missing there for me, and a more-than insignificant-amount of others.
Why Can’t We Have it All?
In my mind, at least until the last year or so, I could either have a bountiful, variety-field sex life, or I could have a single, monogamous relationship with someone who I could really get to know and enjoy share the ups and downs of life with.
This is a classic example of a false dichotomy. Monogamy isn’t the only choice. There are a variety of relationship styles out there. If you can think it up, you can do it. It’s all about finding what works best for everyone involved, which, by the way, rules out man’s typical response to this problem, i.e. cheating and hoping she doesn’t find out about it.
In other words:
You Can Have Your Cake and Eat it Too – Guilt Free!
What rule is there against having exactly what you want? That is, a single partner to stay with, to hold and to love, ad infinitum, ad nauseam, and then as much fun-filled frolicking as you can muster in the meantime. Why is this attitude so seemingly rare? Why is it so look down upon?
Well, it has a lot to do with how this urge is usually filled. It generally involves the man – but sometimes the woman – entering an exclusive relationship and then going and cheating on the side. This breeds distrust and hurt, and is one of the more selfish acts that I can think of. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
For example, I always had the grass is greener on the other side mentality in my relationships. When I was enjoying being single, I secretly wanted someone to be with. When I had someone I liked, I secretly wanted to be single. For whatever reason, my tiny brain couldn’t come up with the obvious solution to get exactly what I wanted: to do both. Why, I have no idea.
One day the idea just dawned on me that I can actually have everything I want. Making sacrifices for one or the other was simply a limiting belief. What I’m really doing here is combining all of the positive aspects of both being in a relationship and not being in a relationship, while trying to minimize the kickback and “shit hitting the fan” aspects.
In other words, I’m talking about having a successful open relationship.
Combining the Perks of Relationships and Singlehood
Okay, this isn’t all about sex. There are definitely a lot of traditional advantages to having an exclusive relationship, as compared to being single. Keep in mind that these are all generalities. Here are some of them:
- guaranteed companionship
- ultimate trust and intimacy
- more acceptance and support
- tried-and-true child rearing
- less of a chance of STDs
On the other hand, the single life has some unique advantages as well:
- ultimate sexual variety
- meet and experience new people
- more time to yourself
- less possible guilt and jealousy
- complete freedom
- what’s yours is completely yours, including money
These are by no means exhaustive lists, but they hit the major points. So what happens when we try to synthesize the two? Based on my experience for the past half a year or so, we get some very interesting results.
For me, the main benefits have been guaranteed companionship combined with ultimate sexual variety. These are the two things I seem to crave the most. It’s really, really nice to be able to get them at the same time.
Of course, it hasn’t all been rainbows and sunshine. Should you choose to do this, guilt and jealousy levels will spike beyond belief unless you are both extremely evolved, conscious individuals. Also, note that I have no interest in having children or entering into true cohabitation at this point. That’s a whole ‘nother can of worms should I decide to follow either of those pursuits.
STDs are an obvious concern, but it can be mitigated by a number of methods. Granted, if you’re going out to bars and clubs to meet your potential flings and you aren’t using protection, chances are you’re going to get something nasty. But if you pick your mates carefully and use protection 100% of the time, your chances of getting something are very much reduced. It’s still possible, but the risk isn’t high enough for me to stop what I’m doing.
It’s also worth considering how you want to deal with the people on the side. How much should you tell them about what you’re doing? How big of a part of your life will they become? This gets into some really interesting ideas about polyamory and loving multiple people, but it’s not something I’m personally interested in right now. For whatever reason, I prefer to be emotionally monogamous and sexually polyamorous.
Thoughts on Exclusivity
And at the moment, it’s working great for me. I suspect the most difficult aspect of this, should you choose a similar path, will be to find a partner who is open to the idea. The truth is, most people will be too crippled by jealousy and the sheer weirdness factor to be open to the ideas presented here. That is to be expected.
In fact, I find that the majority of reasons why people engage in exclusive relationships has to do with simple conformity, lack of imagination, and knee-jerk reactions to their own innate sense of jealousy. While there are bound to be people who really do prefer pure monogamy, I’d wager that a good percentage would actually be happier with some kind of open relationship, yet refuse to explore it because they don’t have the cohonas – emotionally speaking – to deal with their beloved sleeping with or loving someone else.
In my personal relationship, my significant other hasn’t chosen to sleep with anyone else. I’ve already told her she’s completely free to, but she hasn’t wanted to. Imagining her doing that isn’t one of my favorite things, but after letting go of the idea of monogamy a little, it’s not horrible either. Whatever ends up happening, I want my beliefs and the way I live my life to be supported by positive notions like freedom and recognizing how amazing so many different people are. I don’t want to not do something just because I’m coming from a place of fear and negativity. Will it be a challenge? Probably. Is it worth it? Definitely.
If you really do enjoy exclusivity, then that’s perfectly fine. But if you do happen to find someone open-minded enough to try this stuff, and the idea of meshing these two worlds together resonates with you, then by all means give it a shot.
Before I end this article, I’d like to mention the truest impetus for my relationship style change.
Ultimate Freedom in Every Moment
When it all comes down to it, we as human beings want freedom, some more than others. If I had to choose a single value, freedom would probably trump everything else. I demand it at all times, and will accept nothing else.
When I started my personal development journey and began living more in the moment, I realized that, aside from my surroundings and my essence in each moment, not much else actually exists. At least not to me. Walking by an attractive woman and not being able to interact with her how I wanted to because I had an agreement with a significant other in the past (which doesn’t exist) not to do so seemed absurd. And it wasn’t even that I wanted to interact with them so badly. I just hated the idea of not being able to do it – and especially of being made to feel guilty by doing it. That’s when I knew something had to change.
For me to embrace my ultimate goal of complete, unadulterated freedom, a lot of things had to change in a lot of different areas of my life. This is only one manifestation of that.
And so you could say that I just want out of monogamous relationships so I can have a lot of sex. That’s one reason. But it’s not the only reason, or even the most important reason. The freedom to do as I please under any circumstances is a much nobler ideal, and one I’m not willing to live without.
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