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A chat a few days ago with MLRF lead to an interesting discussion of sex and ego. She describes herself as a "serial non-monogamist", though she has remained monogamous with her current mate for some chunk of time measured in years. We got to talking about monogamy vs. polyamory vs. open relationships, and it led to an interesting observation that monogamy (or perhaps more precisely monoamory) is closely tied to ego.

This of course wigged me out a little bit. I've explored the idea of polyamory within my own little field of relationship issues, and though I do think that I could comceivably work within a poly framework, there is a part of me that wants to be the one-and-only, to be the primary, to be number one. And yowza, that part is modef ego.

I try to be egoless. Not always successfully, but I do try to not get an overinflated sense of self-importance. It's a task riding herd between wanting to be self-confident and not wanting to be an egotist, so this backdoor revelation kinda took me by surprise.

For a long time I was in a technically open relationship. In practice it was almost entirely monoamorous. The rules were that there would be no secrets, and that there would be no emotional attachments (i.e. no falling in love). As it turned out, that last one was an impossible rule to play by, and it pretty much spiraled into the end of the relationship; a catalyst rather than a cause.

I've spent a couple of years now doing the on-and-off introspection and study of relationships: my own role, different ideas and meanings, different forms, what I'm willing to offer, and what I'm willing to accept. And honestly it hasn't brought me any closer to being relationship-ready.

Sure, I miss the feeling of belonging, the partnership and camaraderie, the not feeling alone, the sharing. But at the same time, I see a lot of relationships that are frustrating messes and I begin to wonder if the model of relationships that we have isn't completely dysfunctional at the core. Jealousy seems to be a huge issue, and everybody seems to have different boundaries.

For me, it's been pretty clear for a long time that a relationship is not the same as ownership. I'm not "locking you away" in any sense of the word, and if I ever find myself getting jealous of something you do, I have to go back to that core concept and see exactly what the hell is happening. And I find that the thing that can make me angry is dishonesty.

I probably don't have the time to put into a relationship right now. That's likely by design-- if I keep myself busy, it keeps me distracted-- and I wonder if I did somehow become involved with someone if I could devote the time to dating and being together that it would entail. I'm already pretty light on social committments because of all the stuff I'm doing.

I dunno. It's hard to take in all at once.

So what about you? Where does monogamy/monoamory fit in with your life? What about fidelity? What would constitute "cheating" to you?

(I'm opening up this one to anonymous responses for those of you who might like to respond but don't feel comfortable saying it publicly.)


Apr. 5th, 2006 09:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Just one perspective, your mileage may vary
I wonder if there's a cause-and-effect relationship happening there, or if they're both symptoms of something else.

I speculate that there are sane, healthy people who are involved in non-exclusive dating.

I also speculate that if someone were the type to be insane and constantlyclusterfuckneedy, polyamory would be the best place to find all the fun and games they could ever want.

All relationships have miscommunication. ("What? Marble-Jack cheese? I wanted Co-Jack!") Multiple relationships just have MUCH more room for miscommunication to become exciting.

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