At some point in our community participation we will come face to face with the question of poly vs. monogamy. Even if it’s a fleeting thought of wondering if either is better for our personal relationships, we’re still confronted with the possibility. I think that even in examining the possibility it can force us to be clearer about the rules of engagement in our dynamics. Say for instance, one on one emotional fidelity may far outweigh one on one sexual fidelity for one and the exact opposite for someone else. And yet, to another type of person there may be a focus solely on the power exchange with the opportunity to serve and be owned; all matters of the heart and sex organs are up to the Master.
For many years, I’ve considered myself ‘mono-poly flexible’, a term I coined some years ago to better describe my attitude towards either a poly or monogamous relationship. I tend to lean more towards the aforementioned focus of the total power exchange where the matters of the heart and sex organs are left up to the Master. And that not only includes his heart and whatever he uses for sex, but my heart and body as well. Essentially, this means that should my Master decide that I should have a paramour, then so shall it be – or not, depending on the Master’s decision. Let me be clear, this hasn’t always been my way of thinking. For many years of my life, I considered myself emotionally and sexually monogamous. In this instance when I use the term ‘emotionally’, I don’t want it to be confused with being in love with a man or loving him, none of that was a part of my former relationships. What I experienced was a singular focus of loyalty and dedication to make the relationship work with the individual I had committed myself to. For me this translated to me not seeking or being open to anyone but that one person. However, if the man I was involved with had the desire to be with other women whether sexually or at an emotionally intimate level, I was accepting of that. This wasn’t something that I hid, I’ve always been candid about this because I believe in laying it all out on the table. I have a truly deep conviction in regards to making informed decisions, especially in the area of relationships.
There are some points to ponder when it comes to deciding which expression of a relationship is the best fit. It also goes without saying that a thorough assessment of one’s temperament should be included in the evaluations. Here are some of the points used in my evaluation process that have helped me conclude my mono-poly flexible status:
- Addressing my understanding (and lack thereof) of poly. My earliest experiences with poly were with polygamy in a vanilla/religious setting. Polygamy, for me, was very practical and there was no need to involve the heart in the way that most of us understand polyamory. For me, for about a good 10+ years of my adult life, poly was simply work and I had a job function within the polygamous structure. Now, there’s still a ‘function’ for me within the poly structure, however, there’s also enjoyment and fulfillment involved. That wasn’t a part of my previous experience or attempts at poly.
- What are my insecurities? If possible to understand, where do they stem from? It’s not always possible to understand why we’re insecure in a particular area, so this isn’t one of those things that should be obsessed over. But, I do believe that it’s much easier to address an area of insecurity if it is better understood. It’s much easier to insert rational coherent logic. If a person chooses to be monogamous out of insecurity, in my opinion that person is only an insecure person in a monogamous relationship. Essentially, a path has been dictated by the area of insecurity. The heart of the issue hasn’t been addressed, insecurity can ruin a relationship whether the dynamic is monogamous or poly.
- What is my level of compersion? Compersion is the polar opposite of jealousy, and in my previous post ‘Back Off Bitches!’ I speak growing out of my being jealous/territorial. It took me many years to embrace the depth of compersion that comes with poly; and make no mistake about it was work. There came a time when I recognized that I was actually experiencing compersion and not simply being obedient. I’ve also come to understand that compersion resides in the heart of the individual, it’s genuine and selfless, and it seeks the good for the other. Also, it’s important to understand that compersion isn’t only found in poly dynamics, it’s also found in healthy monogamous relationships as well.
- What are the fallacies I believe about monogamy and poly? Whew, mercy, and there were some major fallacies I believed about each relationship style. Thinking that being in a monogamous relationship would lead to fidelity – wrong. Believing that a man is going to cheat, so poly is me openly accepting his infidelity – wrong. Believing that I can’t be appreciated, loved, or even cared for in a poly dynamic because I’m just an ‘add-on’ – wrong. Believing that in a poly dynamic, I’d get only leftover time – wrong. Believing that only monogamy would fulfill me – wrong. And there are some other misconceptions I had about both styles that are too convoluted to express in this post. The truth of the matter is, we should all choose a relationship style that is fulfilling and an expression of our inner peace and contentment. For some that will be poly, some others it will be monogamy, and then there are some that are flexible and no matter what relationship style is chosen, it will be fulfilling. I had also allowed the reservations of some friends and associates color my judgment; not to mention I grew up being taught that only monogamy is acceptable, especially for women. Yet, the more I’ve gotten to know me and what’s in my heart, the more I realized I’m capable of loving and sharing my life with more than one. And admittedly, there are times when I even desire to love more than one. And you know what? That’s just fine and dandy!
These are only a few of the factors I considered while deciding if either monogamy or poly is a better fit for me. Going through this process helped me to understand that my focus really is on the M/s dynamic and the Master’s desire for me, however beyond that, my preference has remained that of being a part of a poly family. We all have to choose the relationship that will allow us to thrive, and this is what it is for me. What is it for you?