Heart monogamy is how Iâ€™ve recently come to identify my idea of my optimal relationship structure. While I know many people eschew labels and frown upon being â€œboxed,â€ I see well-placed labels as a great way for people listening to me to grab onto what Iâ€™m talking about. I can then drag them along for my own emotional version of â€œMr. Toadâ€™s Wild Ride,â€ but without a common launch pad, the discussion or negotiation has about as much coherency as 38 chickens trying to build a JengaÂ© stack.
Iâ€™m not polyamorous by the generic definition.Â I tend to airlock into a relationship once Iâ€™m there, and I ainâ€™t tryinâ€™ to let anyone else get their little umbilicus into my supply ship.
Great Ganeshaâ€¦that was geeky.
But you get my point.
Now, this does not mean there isnâ€™t room to take off on little side missions to interesting planets, party with the natives, get some fun times with alien species. But at the end of the mission, I need to have that heart-to-heart with another person who feels the same way about me.
This morning a Friend on Twitter asked me about being play poly and heart monogamous, and how that works out…how I got to the point where that was OK.
So, here is a bit about that. And here is a caveat, dear readerâ€¦this isnâ€™t about you. This is about me. If you do it differently, thatâ€™s cool. Many people I love dearly do it VERY differently. But I am not looking to be swayed or converted or told that my way isnâ€™t OK. Iâ€™m not looking to have yet another conversation about how awesome poly is and how flawed monogamy is. Iâ€™ve had enough people laugh at my being monogamous, try to cheese their way into my life with arguments about how monogamy is for the fearful. Yadda. Donâ€™t go there. Please.
In brief, Iâ€™ve always been somewhat non-monogamous. My first High School sweetie and I had a third for a while in our relationshipâ€¦one of my best girlfriends was involved with us for a time. Being bisexual, that was great for me and he, being 19, was in an enviable position of having a girlfriend and a playmate. The boundaries were pre-negotiated, and we were cool.
When he pretty much rolled over the boundaries, the triad was dissolved, though he and I carried on for a bit, and my relationship with my friend carried on as well, with no permanent damage. Hell, Iâ€™d known her since elementary school…I wasn’t about to let a boy fuck that up.
Thereafter I was monogamous, with occasional forays into Salacious Sluttiness until I became involved in the BDSM community. My first formal Leather relationship was a M/S household, High Protocol, and very poly. I found that was OK, actually, for a while. The workload in the house was shared, I tended to enjoy the company of the majority of the women that my Trainer brought into the fold, and I really loved watching him play from that intimate â€In The Householdâ€ vantage point.
I did NOT, however, feel valued and loved when he immediately went on a hunt for more subs the moment his relationship status dwindled to only me. I felt it would be a good time for us to recoup, bond, and then see what life brought in to the Family. He was actively recruiting.Â I realized that the idea of needing more than one partner was not central to my heart. That was the beginning of my end there.
Since then, Iâ€™ve had a few moments where poly has seemed feasible. Until it isnâ€™t. I still feel, very deeply, the need to have a person with whom I share the level of focus that feeds my need. Going into a situation where a dominant has a primary / lover / slave / spouse / submissive / play partner who isnâ€™t me precludes my becoming truly close to them. I just donâ€™t open up in the same way.
That isnâ€™t to say I havenâ€™t been tempted. A few times there have been couples who I found unilaterally attractive, and my head was turned. There have been dominants who have hit That Spot and as I stood there in the aftermath, compromise of that Core need has seemed very, very tempting.
But I am fortunate enough to have my karma straight enough that those situations reveal themselves, rather quickly, to be unfeasible.
I know that I love playing with new friends, and I know that I love watching someone I care for enjoying themselves with another partner. It gives me insight into their process in a way I cannot manage when I am in scene with them. My partner watching me bottom to someone else, or knowing that I have that experience, can broaden and deepen their insight into my submission, service and masochism.
It has to be, for me, that the bond I feel with my partner provides for safe playing, for a situation in which my self-esteem is supported and nurtured. I absolutely will not put myself back into a situation where I am vying for a place in the heart of my master, owner, partner, lover, with other people.
I need mine: my master, my owner, my lover, my partner. Â I need the bond to have the intention of â€œUs-nessâ€ and for that intention to have momentum that carries us through.
And, despite the occasional turns of the head, that is what I need to thrive.
Could that change? Sure. Life reveals itself to me in strangely beautiful ways. I am not so hubristic as to say â€œNever ever!â€ However, this is something that I know about the me that is writing this today: I need my place to be mine, not shared, not compromised, not subject to addenda, adjustment, whim and fancy.
I am Fairly Certain I am enough to keep an owner well and truly occupied.
And for those who feel that one person could never be everything to another, and therefore more people are neededâ€¦I donâ€™t roll that way.
I donâ€™t need you to be my everything.
I do need to be everything you want.
One of the reasons that my polyamourus connection structure has one sole primary is because of what you describe. My primary is my boyfriend and he would never restrict me to whom else I share myself with …. as long as it is safe (and of course consensual) and I dont develop an attachment that exists beyond him.
Many relationships have become love but I know where the fine line exists taht would cause me to have to re-evaluate the relationship with the primary. In fact, one such relationship attempted to drive a wedge between me and Stego. It was then he realized that this was the one deal breaker for me, and he was gone.
Its great that you can make defining lines as well as labeling for the purpose of communication rather than alienation. Poly is a wonderful world for those that are ready for the give/take and juggling act one must play. I respect those that stay monogamous for the sake of not being able to handle the above. Poly is a “mileage may vary” choice and so it does no good to not think about all this stuff, whether you are also a BDSM player or not.
Hi Kat :-)
Thanks for stopping in! And thanks for picking up on the viability and value in labels as guidelines and helpful hints, etc. Rejecting ;’em outright can be a disservice, I think.
The situation you describe is one where, I feel you can’t know how it will go until you are in it. Which is why I err on the side of “Go ahead, try it.” when it comes to relationship dynamics. Deal-breakers often rear their sassy heads when the “deal” is being compromised, and not before.
.-= mollenaÂ´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…Hello, Nightmare! =-.
Mo, Your eloquence never fails to touch me. I always love your take on any subject but this one in particular.
Thank you Mr. Saynine!
I am honored.
I’m with you on that, Mo. I did the poly thing for a while, and while it worked out for the most part, my primary didn’t value me, and eventually I was nothing more than a roommate.
After I met my now husband, the now ex because extremely jealous and gave me the ultimatum of “It’s either me or him”. It wasn’t a hard choice. Be with someone who put no value on me or our relationship, wasn’t intimate with me for the last two years of our marriage… or be with someone who valued me, treated me like a queen, respected me as a human being, friend, and lover.
So, when I left, I pretty much decided that I would be emotionally and sexually monogamous. We both do BDSM play with others, but there is no sex involved, nor is there any involvement past close friendship.
As an aside, I value you as a friend, and I truly enjoyed our playdate years ago. I also never forgave myself for flaking on you the time we were going to play again. I would like to make that up to you at some point, as I really loved the energy we shared when we played.
S.F. Dyke Daddy 2000
Yah I love ultimatums in general..and specifically when the choice is undeniably clear? Awesome.
Good that you got the hell out and into a much more loving and healthy place!
I look forward to playing sometime! I thoroughly enjoyed myself as well!
One awesome and terribly complicated thing about poly is that it means different things to different people :-). But relationships do, in general. It’s great to read a post from someone who can articulate their version so well!
I’m poly heart and body. *Everyone* is different, and every relationship is different and treasured. I find that giving to one person doesn’t take away from what I can give to another; if anything it enriches all of my relationships – as my life experience is richer, I have more to give to each love.
It took me almost 30 years to find a (precious) partner who is able to give himself to me fully and with joy despite not being the only one in my heart. One of the reasons my 11 year marriage fell apart was that I couldn’t honestly give my ex-husband the “one and only primary” position he needed. Sigh. I’m in a strange position of never wanting to change and at the same time envying you on the mindset that, to me, seems easier to fit with a larger number of people.
.-= WebmistressÂ´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…Oral-friendly blog icon contest! =-.
Thank you so much for stopping in and peepin’ my post! :-)
People are strange cats: a similar train of thought and reasoning in 3 different people can lead to three vastly different conclusions! And then you look back and laugh, because agreement doesn’t necessarily and ultimately mean collusion.
It is very, very heartening to hear that you DID find a partner whose gears mesh wit your workings…it gives me a little boost-o-hope!
Mollena…you make me cry!
How beautiful! In reading this…it begins to put to rest alot of my anxieties about exploring polyamory and open relationships but also knowing somewhere deep in my heart that I am a one-person gal, but respect that I have the spirit to play and explore. Its just such a battle within myself, but I have to realize that its just that…for myself…within myself and for the growth and betterment of myself. I think whats scary for me is being at the point in my life where the option of creating the relationship very different than the ‘average’ is very real…I just need to be strong and confident in my ability to do so on my own.
Thank the Goddess for just being you…
I am so touched…and thank YOU for nudging me to actually share what has been spinning in my head for a while now.
I wouldn’t worry overmuch about they the strength and confidence part…I barely make it in that department, but “acting as if” goes a long long way. You can do it…it isn’t all candy and cupcakes, but it is so beautiful when it touches the soul.
“I donâ€™t need you to be my everything.
I do need to be everything you want.”
I’ve read your blog for almost a year now, and have been to shy to comment
but jeeeeeesus, this hit the nail right on the head for me! this needs to be tattooed on me, somewhere. thank you for all of your wonderful insight.
I am glad you are feeling less shy! :-)
Thank you for reading and for commenting, and for “getting it!”
Thanks for this post & your explanation of your labels. This post touched a cord in me & has given me a lot to think about but I certainly sensed myself in what you said…it gives me a place to start thinking more about this in my own monogamous (and newly BDSM) relationship & where poly play may have a role in the future or not. :)
.-= Nil17Â´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…Honest Scrap Award =-.
This is an area that I have been struggling with a great deal. I have a number of poly friends, with (not surprisingly), a number of different approaches to poly. There are models, closed groups, ones where roles are well defined, that make theoretical sense to me, but in the end, I have trouble with boundaries. I want to give too much, become too involved. I get spread too thin with just my friends, never mind taking it to the next level with lovers.
But there is another side to the problem. I tend to look to one person to address all my needs; friend, mate, intellectual sparring partner, playmate, and of course, submissive. Aside from the obvious issues of _finding_ such a person, that is really too much to ask of one person. “Play poly and heart monogamous” is an interesting approach, and closer to where I have been heading in my mind. I still don’t know whether I can do it, and I know that there are still needy aspects of myself that I need to address before I enter into *any* long term relationship, but it is helpful to know that I am not the only person on this path.
.-= Coyote TooÂ´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…Need =-.
Mollena, I love you and adore your blog but I swear to god I wish you would stop reading my diary/journal/mail/mind. I am laughing like a crazy woman over here because once again you have posted something Master and I have been discussing between us and attempting to clarify for ourselves. I read your stuff and its like I am reading my own with a few minor tweaks on spelling and grammar. And how come we have the same thoughts about stuff at the same damn time? What is up with that???? It’s hilarious really. Please don’t ever stop writing. It’s fantastic to have my own thoughts mirrored in someone else who seems to understand my heart and put it into words even better than I can some days.
[…] others, and I enjoy watching someone I love play with someone who isnâ€™t me. I talked about that in this blog post. But that isnâ€™t what I need in order to feel the feelings and nurture the emotional landscape in […]