A girl I know posted a note on Fetlife (the kinky social network) today about how, due to the large, vocal poly community on that site, she sometimes feels bad about being monogamous, even though she feels that monogamy is a more comfortable choice for her. In the comments, people were talking about the differences between poly and monogamy. Since Mike and I are neither of those things, he chimed in to explain his thoughts on the matter. I agreed with what he said and thought it was a good explanation of our relationship.
It is ok if you’re not poly.
I’m not poly either, by the narrower definition most often used. I am non-monogamous. I am poly in a broad sense, meaning that I love multiple people, in different ways and to different degrees.
But so as not to confuse the issue with the narrower definition of “poly,” I refer to myself as non-monogamous. I have a primary partner in Beth, and she is primary in my romantic affection, and in her status in my life. Other people can have multiple strong, romantic connections, but for me I simply prefer life with one primary partner to grow old with, and other playmates whom I love to a lesser degree (as close friends).
Even if you couldn’t do that kind of non-monogamy, that’s ok, too. Not everyone is alike, and no two people have the same desires and needs.
The main reason people “can’t” be non-monogamous is because they can’t get past the jealousy issue. And I do strongly believe that jealousy is a nasty, rotten emotion that causes damage and wreaks havok in any kind of relationship, even if it’s monogamous. Perhaps particularly if it’s monogamous.
And since I think jealousy is so destructive, not just to relationships but to a person at the core, I think it’s worthwhile to try to eradicate jealousy if at all possible. It is a long and difficult road, but it is worthwhile if it can be done.
But some people just can’t. Two things I’d advise: I don’t think you should beat yourself up if you can’t. And I don’t think you are defective. It means you are human. It IS hard-wired into us to be jealous over the idea that someone we love is spending intimate time with someone else. So if you can never be at peace with that, then you’re human and that’s ok.
The only thing I would caution is to do your best to prevent jealousy from causing you to cling on so tightly to people that you end up making them want to get away. And be careful not to let jealous emotions give you too much pain or cause you to attack your own self-worth.