The terms are varied; Single, married, partnered, dating, poly, open, triangle, quads, fwb, the list goes on and for every term there are a myriad of definitions based on interpretation and how people chose to practice their relationships.
For me, I identify as non-monogamous as that seems to be the best way, for me, to describe my preference for being “singleish” and with people I care about in my life and as a part of my intimate life. So, I’m going with non-monogamy for the rest of this writing as that really does encompass what I see as the umbrella term for my relationships. My opinions only, and I can’t speak for anyone else.
For me (because I can only speak for my point of view) being non-monogamous has been both a tough acceptance to come to and a natural one. A contradiction maybe but life’s like that. Not for the reasons of jealousy or insecurities (although those do happen- again, that’s life) or such but more for over-coming and accepting that how I feel most comfortable in relationships with people isn’t the “norm” that society has made me feel like I should want.
A few years ago, after the end of my most recent marriage I took a long hard look at what I wanted and part of that introspection was to look back and be honest with myself about when I was happiest with regards to relationships. In that honesty with myself I came to realize that I was truly happiest when I was “single” but had a few close relationships. At the time I didn’t know the word poly or the concept of open relationships really. I just knew that I didn’t want a single “partner” to the exclusion of all else. With the exception of the times during my 2 marriages, I was always “single” in my view and had usually 2 or more “friends with benefits” as I called them then. I was always open with the persons in my life that they weren’t the only ones and that I had others that I not only spent time with, but was intimate with as well. I didn’t go into these relationships thinking about ethical non-monogamy or any such things – I just lived my life and treated the people I had in my life with respect and openness. They always had no issues with the way things were and in most cases they were involved with other people as well.
Having recently (about a year ago) come across a local poly group through a friend and getting a chance to meet and talk and explore I find myself finally comfortable with acknowledging that different things work for different people and that for me, this feels right. We’re all different. Not better or worse or “should be” or “shouldn’t be” in certain types of relations; just differently wired.
So, you live, you learn and for me, that means that have had to make some decisions. I decided to have some standards for having people in my life in an intimate way so that my emotional boundaries and respected and if they aren’t – that’s my responsibility to make the decisions that need to be made so that I am happy and healthy. Whether that be ending a relationship or altering how that person fits in my life and what emotional attachment they have to me, the choices are never easy when the heart is involved.
My take on non-monogamy is simple. For me, it must be done with respect, integrity, honesty and empathy. I’ve spent too much of my life learning about myself and have reached a point of emotional maturity that it’s not acceptable to me anymore to allow treatment of myself as anything less than respectfully. That means that if you know that your way of practicing non-monogamy is so vastly different than mine that it’s going to cause emotional hurt (for either one of us), then respect yourself –and me – enough to be honest. Sacrificing your morals or what practices you know you need to be healthy and secure in a relationship will only end in disaster. Been there, done that… won’t do it again.
My solitude and my independence are my grounded space. I very much enjoy solitude, I love living alone and being “single”.
Companions and people to share my life and love with, maybe even my heart, yes.
A “one and only” to fill and complete me… I’m not incomplete, I’m not a half empty vessel to be made whole, so no, I will take an accompaniment to my life, thank you very much but nothing more… no finishing touches needed here – I’m all that I need…now, wants are another matter altogether 😉
That be a single partner sometimes, that may be multiple partners sometimes. At different times in my life I may want different things and different structures of relationships. All of that is ok and perfectly “normal”.
The constant throughout all of this is Me. The realization that I am whole and complete and ok being single opens up the ability to have others in my life and know that no matter what comes or goes, I am always there for Myself. And that’s all that I need.