I can’t remember whether I’ve mentioned this yet, but I intend to be nonmonogamous from now on. If I start hardcore falling for someone, I’m willing to focus only on them for a while, but always with the intent of getting our relationship secure and established and then opening up in the future (like Minx and I did).
This is presenting me with some dilemmas, though.
Right now, I’m functionally single (The Pedant not being a boyfriend per se) so it’s harder to work polyamory into the conversation. I mean if I had a dating profile that specified that I’m in an open relationship, or if I could approach people saying that I was, it might be easier to broach the subject. I suppose I could still tell people upfront “Oh btw I’m kind of poly…or something…I don’t need to be dating or fucking a million people at a time, but I like having the freedom to explore opportunities if a good one comes up…so please don’t go assuming that monogamy is the default mode here.” That’s quite a speech to make to someone I’m not even dating yet, though. On the other hand, springing it on someone after they already like me (and probably assume things are headed toward exclusivity) is kind of mean.
I actually told The Hedonist about The Doll (whose profile says nothing about polyamory, therefore I assume he abides by the standard date-around-until-you-narrow-it-down-to-one-person model) and asked how to broach things; The Hedonist suggested I ask how “so, how many other people are you seeing right now?” I find this approach perhaps a bit too blunt, but I like how the phrasing assumes there are others.
I also asked a friend of mine how to broach things with The Doll and he reminded me that “I’m not really looking for anything serious right now” is the universal code for “I’m totally fucking other people.” Fair enough; now I know how to speak to the monogamous people in their own language. And I’m not looking for anything serious right now, anyway. When I eventually want another relationship, though, that catchphrase won’t work anymore.
My hope is that The Doll and I will get to talking about our life philosophies or past relationships and I can just bring up my ideas about monogamy organically.
On a related note, I’ve noticed an interesting thing: I can go on a date with a poly guy and not feel weird or insecure at all. I briefly discussed other boys with The Hedonist and wished him luck in a situation he’s going through with his girlfriend; I give The Pedant dating advice (for other girls) all the time. But if I’m hanging out with a monogamous type – even one who’s currently in a “dating around” phase – I get jealous. I can barely bring myself to ask if he’s seeing anyone else, and freeze up when I try to mention that I’m seeing someone else. At first I thought this was because I was defaulting to old habits, like my nonmonogamy stance is just a thin veneer and underneath it I’m still monogamous and it doesn’t take much to make me show my true colours. But no, that’s not it at all. There’s a practical reason for my jealousy: a monogamous guy is actively looking to replace me. A poly guy is not. And of course the monogamous guy is going to assume I’m looking to narrow the playing field eventually, too, and therefore anyone else I’m seeing is his opponent, which is why I try to say “Oh, Tuesday? I can’t, I’m meeting a guy” but what comes out is “Oh, Tuesday? I can’t, I’m…busy.” It feels like openly mentioning any other entanglements would be an obscure threat to him, like “you’d better behave because I have a backup plan in place.”
My other dilemma is that this is the first time I’ve been poly without a preassumed pecking order. With Minx, he was my primary relationship and anyone else was secondary. A few years before him, I dated a guy in an open marriage who only wanted one other girlfriend; I knew exactly where I fit in.
But now it’s a free-for-all. Statuses are more likely to flow and shift. Someone I really like might add an exciting new person to their roster and spend less time with me; I might meet a new person who captures most of my attention and causes me to spend less time with others. Potential for awkward conversations and hurtful situations abounds. Eeek.
Still better than constantly asking myself whether the latest guy is suitable to be my one and only forever, though.