To Mono or Not?

relationship-breakup

{ Written in Oct 2016. Revised a little and moved to my new blog. Total ramble on my struggles with relationships, what I witness that bothers me and my journey with figuring out what I wanted in a relationship. }

The million dollar question in 21st-century American dating and relationships…. “To mono or not?” Granted we have the option since we are not forced into relationships. If forced marriage/relationships and close religious monitoring of sexual activity was still normal in the area of the world I reside in…..  I might be asking “to cheat or not” more often or prostitution as a norm would make a comeback. On a side note, the history of human’s romantic relationships is quite interesting.

Normal monogamous relationships always caused me concern, They did not seem loving, people tended to act crazy (at least in my eyes) and the level of control confused me. For years I blamed monogamy but discovered something quite different when I turned romance into an intellectual pursuit. Monogamy has its probelms but it is not “the problem.” As a relationship coach, I struggle a lot with how to approach this sensitive topic. Here’s why….

Part of me felt for so long in the past that something was wrong with me that needed to fixed.  Therapists kept telling me the way I saw love was wrong. I should feel this way. I should feel that way. You don’t believe in fairy tales… shame on you. Often these are the same people who believe in the magical guy in the sky also. Besides people trying to enforce their fantasies while avoid reality seemed quite miserable to me and slightly narcissistic. So they left me feeling disgruntled and annoyed. Their ideas seemed simplistic and filled with religious ideology that clearly was not working. I had PROOF all around me and I do love some proof. Which left me struggling emotionally and mentally for a long time trying to figure out how to express myself.

I debated so many people on love, including psychologists and psychotherapists. Some of us are in consensus. Others I was at odds with. Both sides have some valid points. I don’t think there is a one size fits all relationship or one way is the best way. I understood two psychologically sound people have a better relationship. Yet realistically we are all a little f@#$&* up. Still there was no one size fits all and fairy tales are not real life.


Here are some quotes I love that sum up some of my thoughts on relationships from one of my favorite books: The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships By Neil Strauss…..

The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships By Neil Strauss…..

“I’ve come to realize that there’s no so-called natural way to be in a relationship. The whole idea that we can study the past or other cultures to determine what’s right for us today is ridiculous. Because nearly every society of simians tells a different story of mating and sexuality—and every point of view can besupported with evidence from some other tribe or species. There isn’t just one true and proper way to love, to relate, to bond, to touch. Any style of relationship is the right one, as long as it’s a decision made by the whole person and not the hole in the person.”

“Then again, no matter what your point of view may be, you can always find someone with a Ph.D to support it.”

 “The opposite of fear is not joy. It is acceptance. And that is what we’ve replaced the fear with. So our commitment today is to neither monogamy nor nonmonogamy. Those are other people’s values and dichotomies. Our commitment is solely to nurturing, supporting, and honoring three important entities in our lives: me, her, and the relationship. Whatever it takes and however we may change.

Call it a non-dualistic relationship.”

“It’s interesting: All these issues that were so important and perplexing in rehab don’t actually matter anymore. The answer to all of them is, They’re the wrong questions. “Here’s what I’m doing,” I explain. “I’m honest about everything and so is she. There are no secrets. So we’d just discuss those things, like we should have in the first place. In fact, the exact things I used to be the most scared to talk about actually brought us closer together once we got past the initial awkwardness. It was the not knowing that was driving her the most crazy. Eventually, she felt safe enough to share her deepest fantasies, and it turned out that some of them weren’t all that different from mine anyway.”

“Because the problem isn’t actually the sex; it’s the relationship between the people having it.”


After thousands of hours studying relationships, asking hundreds of questions, and personal experinces. I finally realized nothing was “wrong” with me. I was a realist and saw the bigger picture. Reading as much as I have on this subject leaves me slightly jaded despite trying to remain optimistic about relationships. While coaching leaves me very pragmatic.

In the past six months, after an ah-ha moment, I realized it was time for me to stop punishing myself. I would rather be “alone” than be miserable in a relationship. This began the journey of being unapologetically me as much as possible. 😛 

People will tell you that you are wrong, have opinions how things should be done, and judge you from your world views no matter what path you choose. Being at peace with yourself is more important.

My preference is not having many lovers. Sexual fidelity is not difficult. I am not really poly but I am also not mono. I am human. I am more mono than poly. I am not a booty call kinda of women. (Not judging you if you are.)  It is not easy getting inside my panties. I own that. My vetting process is hard and I do so with a naïve, sweet facade. Sex does not mean love to me. They are two separate entities in my mind. While they can coexist simultaneously it does not mean they do. I only have sex  in a relationship that is loving, caring and with another who wants to cultivation a healthy connection that helps us grow into better individuals. 

I don’t want to spend the time managing multiple romantic relationships despite being capable of doing it successfully. It is imperative for me to invest my energy in the dreams I am chasing, not juggling men. At the same time, I would be ok with a non-mono life partner and might even prefer that because spaciousness could be easier to obtain. Fear of enmeshment wiring is HARD to recover from. I struggle with being controlled, unless there is a safe word…. no resistance then.. 🙂 

I can not handle a whiny and needy man…er boy… who is really looking for a mommy instead of a lover and partner in life. I don’t need space for two boyfriends, I need space to study bacteria for 5 hours on Tuesday night without being punished. Sometimes I want to disappear for several days with my books. I’ve got a body on my mind….. anatomy and physiology studies. 😛 Maybe I want to cuddle with and spend time with my girl friends. No, I am not having sex with them or anyone else nor am I cheating because I have guy friends. Yes, I hugged him (or her), but it meant nothing. I hug a lot of people. Looking at it objectively I think it is my carefree and free-spirited way of loving that triggers insecurities and fears. It’s the 24/7 bonded at the hip, I can’t breathe, he’s bossing me around, now he is being irrationally jealous, he’s mad because I don’t insta message… he’s worse than a mother…. my attraction is plummeting….. I just want a lover and life partner who is smart enough to do inner work to see he might need some growth. Within the framework of monogamy norms people have the permission to control, manipulate and be abusive all in the name of “love.” That is where my problem with monogamy begins. It suffocates love interactions.  

Individualization and healthy power dynamics are like #1 priority for any of my relationships romantic or not. Power games and bad power imbalances…. meh.

In coaching, I say many times dominate and submissive ONLY works long-term with a SAFE WORD. Save it for sexy time and role play. 😉 Otherwise, the sub and dom in real life is a relationship built on power, control, and fear often deeply rooted in male dominance …. all which do not equal loving dynamics and healthy power balances.” 

I recognize human are not monogamous by nature. Simple biology.  History highlights beautifully how the way we see love is not working.  Many relationships I am accustomed to seeing and coaching really LOVE avoiding this reality and creating so many fantasies to avoid it. I want to give space and openness to those realities versus avoiding it which causes worse problems. For me personally, the main problem I have with “monogamy” is the “stuff” that comes with it, not the sexual fidelity part. The absurd expectations of this “stuff” creates a space for people to do really strange things. The limiting beliefs, absurd levels of jealous and all the silly love fantasies in one large package tied with a giant bow that reads “how to be miserable.” Zero questioning, little thought or space for exploration of why we believe what we believe and do what we do or not having a DIY of what works for “us” is to much for me. 

I believe it is everyones personal choice whether or not they want to be “monogamous” and it does not change my love for someone nor do I see it as a deal breaker. My preference is mine as my partners choice would be his.

Polyamorous relationships have a slew of problems themselves. Many people do not have the skills to maintain one relationship. Multiple ones simply are too much of a stretch for them to manage effectively.

I see a common theme in coaching. Multiple relationships are used to ESCAPE taking care of current relationship issues. Instead of learning and exercising emotional intelligence, other relationship(s) are a means of escape and avoiding working on the current issues. The issues worsen in time if they are not addressed. This is where my personal resistance towards multiple partners starts, especially if I feel a partner is going to have these issues with self-expression and communicating. I see this… over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. I coach this over and over and over. It’s no joke, equals DISASTER and usually hurts many people in the process. It is avoidable in many cases. Most people have a difficult life lesson before I hear the “you were right when you warned me. Please teach me more.” The reason I am picking on poly relationships for “drama” is because not that poly is the problem or it a bad way of doing relationships, it amplifies existing problems we humans have by x2, X3, X4. It is worth taking in consideration people are not coming to me when things are working.

Most areas I see struggles in could be solved with emotional intelligence and inner growth. Not everyone is on that path. It would also be useful to have a degree in the human mind and psychotherapy. Regardless, you might need to find another person who understands all that to be super success at juggling several relationship at once.

It does NOT make anyone a bad person or stupid to struggle with relationships. Some of us are very well-intentioned. Intentions do not equal skills, doing or putting the work into something does. Love doesn’t magically solve anything. Like a baker gains skills to bake. Being a great lover and partner does not just happen. There comes a time to put the ego aside and do the work on self to succeed at interpersonal skills. Sometimes we need to learn lessons the hard way. Self-forgiveness goes a long way in transformation.

As time and this year is ending,  I debated, argued, got angry at my humanness, coached, cried, lost all my naivety around relationships, questioned life and all my relationships, forgave myself, forgave others…

….and I become “label-less.” When ask if I am mono or poly, I would answer neither. I’m human.

I do know that a healthy long-term relationship/partnership is my goal. I also know that takes cultivation and time. What the looks like is not as important to me as a relationship that helps my partner and I grow into better beings. That healthy connection and love can be cultivated in a myriad of ways. It might be poly and it might be mono…. or mostly monogamous with a threesome occasionally… hey we all have fantasies.  I have no answer to what is the right way or a cement “this is how my life has to look.” I see a vast array of possibilities and pros and cons to any path I choose. ”Partner” and “boyfriend” are words that means many things. The possibilities are endless. My brain just is not wired to hold on to carefully constructed stereotype categories that keep us safe from the reality of life. The “right” person is someone who wants to walk life with me, compatibility, loving connection, cultivation of growth together and individually. There are no labels that create that and it is not created through what culture or religion teaches us about relationships should be like. I am not interested in the Disney kool-aid. Or the perfect love story, the prince or any other fantasy filled romantic ideas of relationships. Pragmatic, realistic and raw. The human saga is a messy and painful journey while paradoxically having many blissful moments. Realistic is the best way to be in my opinion.

As if being realistic was not hard enough…. adding to my already difficult dating…. let’s smack some labels on me….. slightly kinky, vegan, majorly sapiosexual, agnostic, humanitarian, minimalist…. I am all kinds of not normal trying to do my best to look normal enough to survive. The odds are stacked against me. I might be looking for a unicorn. Shrugs her shoulders and goes back to working on her dreams.

It is freeing but lonely to have found forgiveness for my humanness and others for theirs. Equally freeing to have found acceptance for my grayness and paradoxical views. Wisdom is a two ended sword. There is no going back, only forward minus the disillusions.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s