‘You work out who you like best and then you pretend not to like anyone else…’
I try to explain the concept of the non-monogomous relationship, or at least my version of it, to anyone who is interested enough to ask and willing to give it the time. There is a difference between what I am doing, open relationships, and polyamorous relationships. In the latter two you still essentially report to someone. Open relationships can come with as many or as few rules as you need but consulting the other partner on some level seems to be essential. In polyamorous relationships there are a whole host of other things going on in multiple long term relationships but I really need to read up more about this to truly understand the differences, so don’t berate me for the comparisons here. I don’t think this is a case of different names for the same thing and I think non-monogamy is more fluid than these other ideals. So far I have made no rules with anyone, and noone has asked me for any.
However, I don’t like being branded a casual-dater, which is what my landlady insists on referring to me as. I don’t think I fall into this category because I’m not looking to go on dates every week with new people, just the same people on a regular basis. I have no interest in one night stands. I always meet with a view to ongoing for as long as it will last.
What I am doing is not deceitful. I tell anyone I am getting involved with that there are other people. And they can know as little or as much as they want to know within that. Essentially this is sex without the politics. But there are rules (for want of a better word) that you need to enforce on yourself to make sure you are getting it right for you and for the other person, or people, involved. Different people want different levels of attention in and out of the bedroom. Everyone is different and everyone I see has a very different personality type and a set of wants.
Some guys only message every couple of weeks to arrange a date. They don’t do small talk. Some drop me a line almost every day, regardless. And it’s the same with meeting up. Everyone has different schedules and different needs.
Going back to the same people over and over again means that you do develop a relationship with them. It may just be sex but that doesn’t mean it can’t be affectionate, passionate and intimate at the same time and that you can’t have just as meaningful and intellectual conversations. And we all do.
Essentially I am interested in people. I gel with new dates very easily if I can relate to them. It’s an emotional escapism I enjoy because I don’t have that many close friendships in my day to day life and this satisfies that basic desire in me to connect on an intimate and intellectual basis. But that doesn’t mean I want it with one person all of the time. Variety is the spice of life. And I hate routine and stagnation.
In the early days, the relationship status changes very quickly. In those first few weeks everything is new and fun and exciting. Texts are frequent and naughty, as are the photos. Meets are more frequent too. Then it starts to settle down and you find yourself sending fewer and fewer messages in between sessions. People have lives, some are leading almost double lives and commitments to work, family and friends, especially in the holiday season, or when people have commitments abroad, aren’t put aside for the sake of a casual relationship. In fact I’ve found it to be the last thing on the agenda meaning that sometimes you might not see someone for weeks and might not get a text for days. And that’s partly why these people are reluctant to get into full time relationships. Because that stuff can be hard to negotiate. And let’s not forget that most of the men I see have just come out of very committed relationships. So that just comes with the territory and it’s been good for me to learn this. It’s also why I need a rotation. Because those days and weeks can seem very long and very quiet when noone is messaging you.
I take my cue from the person I am seeing. If their messages start to cool it doesn’t necessarily mean they have lost interest but you have to read the signs. It’s just that priorities change. So I don’t push it. This is what happened after several weeks with TJ. But then Andrè came along and filled that need in me to have someone to message regularly. And he was a very different personality to TJ. Andrè is a giver. That’s what he does. So I get a lot more time, effort and affection from him which is nice. And this is why I prefer to have several people on the go at once. If one person disappears off the face of the earth for a week I like to have someone else there to entertain me.
Can I imagine going back to a monogamous relationship? Of course I can. I’m not addicted to sleeping with more than one person. It’s not about that, this is something that has come along at the right time in my life. If the right person came along, or someone I met with the intention of being non-monogamous with, turned out to be the one, I wouldn’t think twice about giving all this up. But some of them, like Andrè, are hard wired to cheat, or to seek multiple partners and a relationship without that fluidity would never work. But it is because it is fluid, that is does work.
Have I met anyone so far who I could imagine being the one? Yes. But we don’t always have it our way. I’m talking about Jamie of course. So I suppose I’m thankful he’s the one that slipped through my net very early on. Learning to let go is a part of the process and without him taking that upper hand I might not now be discovering as much about myself and staying in control of my life, as I currently am.