Like many, Angel stumbled into polyamory quite by accident. She and her husband have been happily married for four years, and recently opened their marriage and their hearts to the possibility of poly relationships. She shares the ups and downs of being new to the lifestyle and navigating the emotional and practical issues that come along with it.

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Hypothetically Speaking

It's said that once you learn something, you cannot unlearn it. So once you have been in a healthy poly relationship, can you ever really go back to monogamy?

I have been pondering this recently, not because I want to go back to monogamy, but because I like to ponder things.

Jack and I have discussed this a few times, and at this point I am quite certain that I could never really truly go back to monogamy. For one thing, I can no longer force myself to expect Jack to just be sexually or emotionally interested in me. I would not be angry or upset to find out that he wanted to pursue someone else, unless of course he lied or was deceptive about it. Which I don't think he would ever be simply because he knows that I would be fine with it, and really, who wants to have to sneak around if it's not necessary? So in that sense, we really would never be mono. Even if we stopped seeing other people, the option would always be there. Just because a person is not actively poly, does not make them monogamous.

Lets say that hypothetically we did decide to actually go back to monogamy and that in theory I would be upset at his interest in others. I think that I would feel that I was denying or suppressing a part of myself that is very real and that I have embraced totally since I discovered polyamory. I think that I would be robbing myself of truly experiencing life as I would like to live it, not to mention robbing other people of getting to know me authentically, since essentially I would be pretending to be something I am not.

As I come to understand more and more about personal happiness and what it means in the bigger picture, I think that if Jack asked me to be monogamous again I would have to think long and hard about how badly I wanted to keep my marriage as opposed to how badly I want to live in a way that makes me happy. Many people would be horrified that I could consider breaking up my family and putting my children through that just for something which they consider a selfish pursuit. I look at it in a different way, however. Would it be fair to Jack or my children for me to live in a way that left me feeling unfulfilled and unhappy? Perhaps that would not happen and I could successfully live monogamously again, but I would not just automatically do that to make Jack happy, it would be a decision made after a lot of consideration. If you believe in something strongly enough I do not think it would be fair for someone to ask you to compromise that just to make them happy, and I would hope that anyone who respects me as a person would not ask me to do that.

I certainly cannot speak for everyone, but I think that for a lot of people who really believe in poly and feel comfortable with themselves and their choices, returning to monogamy would be close to impossible. I am sure that many could live monogamously, but I don't know that their ideas about relationships could ever truly go back. Not that poly is a more 'evolved' way of thinking, but it certainly is outside of the mainstream. I do not consider it more advanced, but a vastly more open-minded way of thinking than people who accept monogamy as the status quo.

I believe that monogamy should be a conscious choice, not the only choice.

Nobody's Angel is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Nobody's Angel; August 15, 2006


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