In the beginning, when my husband and I decided to start a relationship together, we discussed ethical non-monogamy. We had both looked into ethical non-monogamy and it was something that we wanted to explore as individuals. We both wanted to experience and grow beyond our current boundaries and we did just that. During that time there was one thing that kept coming up, everyone was different.
Every single person I came across, wanted and needed something different out of the relationships they were pursuing. We all had vastly different concepts of what was acceptable and attainable. It honestly wasn’t discouraging at all. I found comfort in being able to define my relationship, how I wanted. Sometimes, people I dated were vaguely described as “friends” of “boyfriends.” These labels never really defined the nature of those relationships, it was just a simple title to give to someone that was on the outside looking in. These labels in noway defined those relationships.
Over time I realized that I acted as if the relationship escalator felt like something to live and die by (not literally.) Being in a relationship was more of a mirror reflection between my partner and me as a unit and as individuals. Now, my feeling towards that is completely different. I see differences as a win rather than a deal-breaker and relationship escalators as something that dampens a relationship’s possibilities.
Even to this day, I want to find people that have similar goals as me. However, I am not looking for people that want exactly what I want. Polyamory gave me the security to step off the relationship escalator. It allowed me to see that I don’t have to be on a preset relationship checklist with everyone I date. It is totally okay to have a different goal than someone else.
There is an old adage that says, it’s “not the destination but the journey”, and I feel as though that really says something about my current outlook on relationships. It’s not the destination, its not marriage, or kids or a home that makes the relationship. It is the journey that gives it substance, its how you handle your time together and what you make it while your partner or yourself work on getting to the destination.
Diversity and Acceptance
Ethical Non-Monogamy has helped me realize that not all relationships fall into one category. Everyone strives for different things and relationships are no different.
I am polyamorous. I believe wholeheartedly in ethical non-monogamy across the board. My husband is a swinger in the simplest term, he has expressed wanting to find someone but it isn’t even something he is actively looking for. My other partner is 100% monogamist. How each of us navigates through our relationships is based on what we want and need.
My status as a polyamorous person is mine alone. When I come across a monogamist who insists they could never be poly, I reply with a simple, “that’s you but maybe not your partner.” I do my best to explain to others that being in a relationship with a polyam person doesn’t mean everyone involved is polyam too. What is prevalent in ethical non-monogamy is acceptance and mutual respect for others’ needs.
At its very core, polyamory has shown me it is about acceptance of others’ needs and wants, more so than communication or dating multiple people. Above all, it’s not the same for everyone.