I have very comfortably navigated non monogamous relationships since I was in my late-teens/early-twenties. I've found that each relationship is different in its intensity and experience and every partner is different in many ways, all of which I enjoy. We all bring different things to our relationships and the idea or practice of non monogamy, polyamory for some, is that with each partner we share space and time with, we increase our capacity for love, self love and love for others. The reality that we do not need to limit our capacity for love and various other experiences of intimacy encourages us to go deeper into ourselves and let go of any resistance to vulnerability and perceived relationship limitations put on us by societal ideals of monogamous love. Ideally, It allows those feelings of love and gratitude to make us more emotionally present, for ourselves and our partners.
Non-monogamy was freeing for me, and I admit, I choose to say non monogamy because I don't desire to always have multiple intimate/romantic relationships as required to claim polyamory. Often I prefer the freedom that comes from knowing I don't have to feel bad for flirting or playing with different people, or that I can have a boy friend and a girlfriend and hopefully we can all have fun together. I always believe sharing is caring and I find I am honest to a fault which is why I don't understand some peoples need to be seemingly dishonest about everything. I cheated on one boyfriend one time and told him because I couldn't handle not speaking the truth. I know thats not the case for everyone, as manipulating the truth is where they find themselves to be most comfortable. But thats not me...
When it comes down to it, relationships only have the ability to grow as much as we allow them to, and as much as we open ourselves to grow with them. If we have not done the emotional work required to house such a grand amount of emotion, it will be blatantly clear to our partners, whether we think they see it or not. Because most often they will feel it.
It is always expressly obvious to me when a partner says they have done the work and they have not because every time they reach their limited capacity, based on their inability to accept emotional vulnerability, they start to shut down or push away the relationship which is energetically asking them to grow and open up. Instead of moving into it and bringing additional partners into their life without purposefully damaging the current partnership, they may act wounded, resentful, distant and cold. They may start being dishonest and hiding their intention, which actually doesn't work at all, because in non-monogamy there can be many interconnections between each others partners that they may not know exist.
The thing that I find to be most intriguing is a partner who claims non-monogamy to be their practice but then when it comes down to it, they aren't able to actually navigate multiple relationships. Perhaps they aren't really sure of how to do so, which means they haven't done the work to understand the myriad of feelings that comes with having more than one intimate relationship... meaning they haven't done the work, or read any books on the subject, talked to those more knowledgable, etc. Perhaps they really aren't non-monogamous but are dealing with unhealed trauma from past relationships where they put every bit of them self into it, but wound up with a hand full of shit, therefore preventing them from wanting to truly be vulnerable to avoid such a feeling and experience from ever happening again. I hate to say it, but thats life. Theres good, theres bad, theres everything in between, and we all have to deal with some of it. Becoming an ostrich will not save you.
Non-monogamy requires a good deal of talking openly and honestly about your feelings and experiences, hopefully from a grounded place, in order to grow and grok the changes we need to make within ourselves, within our relationships, or how we respond to certain unavoidable experiences. There is no way you cannot do the work required for emotional maturity and think you will be able to have healthy relationships of any kind. You will not be able to respect others boundaries if you do not know what and where yours are.
And what is the point of saying you're non-monogamous and then lying to your partners all while acting that they would be so offended if you were spending time with other partners? I have seen this happen in many, many, relationships and I do not quite grok the point of it. If we are being mature, open, and honest in our relationships, it allows for the kind of growth required of, well, really everyone. I practice non-monogamy because it feels great to be honest about the fact that I sometimes desire more than one partner/lover/intimate friend/play partner or whatever other kind of relationship that may be seen as problematic in a monogamous relationship structure. Does it serve non-monogamy to be so scared to say out loud what you really want? Will the trees fall in the forest if you utter your truth? Will everything bust at the seams if you're finally honest with yourself?
Turns out, everything will be even richer and juicier if you can be what you desire without judging it, or making excuses for it, or pretending to be what you aren't.
There's a lot of love out there... How will you choose to interact with it? Or will you choose to continually sabotage it for the illusion of control?