Or is it simply the proverbial “the grass is always greener on the other side” syndrome?
Now that I’ve been in the non monogamous world for a while, I am wondering if the difficult days, where I’m longing for the simplicity of monogamy, are tainted with inaccurate memories of the good old days. This is something my boyfriends wife and I have discussed many times. We are both more naturally wired for monogamy, are living life as polyamorous, have reaped benefits from polyamory for sure, BUT, also enjoy the idea of a more simplistic and predictable life.
But then we wonder, are we just looking back at monogamy with rose coloured glasses?
For those of you who have been reading my stuff for a while, you may be aware I have a serious inner debate going on. My polyamorous journey has been fraught with stress, failures, and loss. Loss of my husband, loss of a life partner, and loss of my familial support network has been tantamount.
However, I found a man whom I love with a vengeance. And he is the reason I am still in this polyamorous world. But I am finding many of my days feel somewhat rough as I’m faced with possible change once again. And I am missing monogamy. Or at least, I think I’m missing monogamy.
But, was it really all that great? Some of it was and some of it most definitely wasn’t.
There are things I miss about monogamy:
- Knowing who I’ll grow old with…
Some days it is hard to admit even to myself, but I am likely over the halfway mark of my life. As wrinkles set in and my body starts fighting against me with gravity and aches and pains, I know the clock is ticking. And I am honestly scared of living out the last half of my life alone. That was never the plan. Both the joys and sorrows that come with the golden years were supposed to be shared with someone. I have a person who loves me, cares for me, and is committed to me, but I don’t see how we fit as far as growing old together when we cannot even find a way to live together.
- Having a date to everything…
I miss being invited out to all the things I used to, and having to go alone when I do. Since my husband and I split, seldom am I invited somewhere with another couple. My boyfriend is rarely available to hang out with friends and I miss that dynamic. I was recently invited to a wedding and it was assumed I would be coming alone and that stung a bit and makes me less excited to participate.
- Being accepted in society…
I wish I didn’t care about this but I do. I hate that my family will not accept my poly status and I hate that my boyfriend will never be acknowledged as a legitimate partner in their eyes. Even those who are more accepting still question me regularly and wonder why I am in this relationship. I get tired of explaining that yes, I have a boyfriend, yes, he lives in another city, yes, he has other partners, yes, I knew that going in, and no, I am not insane. I often feel quietly judged or felt sorry for.
- Being part of a couple…
I miss always having a person to do something with. My kids are grown and I have more freedom than I ever have to go grab a beer at the neighbourhood brewery at the end of the day. But ironically, now that I have the freedom, I don’t have the person to do that stuff with on a whim. I am terrible at going out alone, and although I have willing friends, last minute rarely works and takes more coordinating than if you can do things with a live-in partner.
- Having a life partner…
I miss having a person to make future plans with. My boyfriend and I try to do this to some extent, but the reality is that his main life plans are with his wife and our plans need to fit around his home base. I miss having someone to plan trips with, work on my property with, or simply do errands with, and hold hands as we do. I miss having a partner to do life with where we can both work to our strengths. I get tired of carrying everything on my shoulders (like when the generator isn’t working and the well pump is on the fritz) especially when I have few skills in those areas.
- Having someone to commiserate with when the kids are being difficult, or are out late and I’m worried…
I am at that phase where my kids have their own lives and come and go as they please. I don’t tend to over worry, but there are some nights, especially when both my boys are out, when it gets hard and my mind starts overthinking. I miss laying in bed with someone complaining about how thoughtless those kids are, in not telling us where they are or when they will be home.
I miss knowing what my life will look like in 5 or 10 years. I like having a known preferential path and I am comfortable mostly staying on that path. I have found that life offers enough unpredictability and bumps in the road without me having to deliberately add more.
However, there are also things I disliked about monogamy and enjoy about polyamory:
- My boyfriend…
I really really like my boyfriend! Read this to get an idea of how much 🙂 I would never have met this man had I not ventured into non monogamy. He became my best friend when I was lost, terrified, and didn’t know where to turn, or what I wanted from this new path. And he became my lover after establishing that foundational friendship. Our dynamic as a couple has been like nothing I have ever experienced. He is a gift, and despite the fact that our situation is far from perfect, I love him like I have never loved another.
- Carving out my own path on my own terms…
Independence is a new concept for me and it is not one I gravitate to naturally. I love being a part of something and having people to work with towards mutual goals. Having the role of wife and helpmate was a natural fit for me. But, I am also starting to embrace and figure out who I am on my own. What do I want from life, how do I want to spend my time, and how do I want to define myself in terms of just ME, and not in terms of an “us” like I’ve always done in the past?
- Making my house and property mine…
I am finally cleaning up the mess in my house and on my acreage. My husband is a collector and has no concept of putting things away. Stuff always accumulated until I either lost my mind and dealt with it myself, or I compromised what I cared about and left it alone. Pick your battles was a constant phrase running through my head in all the years I lived with my husband. I have a long way to go, but I am slowly cleaning up, fixing up, getting rid of things, and striving towards making my surroundings pleasing to me.
- No anxiety about what kind of mood I am going to be presented with…
My husband was a moody guy. The last few years he lived with me were especially difficult. I never knew what I would be presented with on any given day. When he was in a good mood it was wonderful. We enjoyed each others company immensely. But when he wasn’t, which was often, he was miserable. My home ceased feeling like a sanctuary, and instead was a place we all wanted to escape. Walking on eggshells in your own home is awful, and I am grateful every day that is no longer the case.
- My husband and I were not enough for each other…
I am happy that we are not trying to make ourselves fit as our one and onlys for each other anymore. There were ways we complimented each other and things we did well together, but there was always something missing. We both felt that. We both strayed to other people and gravitated to activities apart from each other, because many things never quite worked properly for us as a couple. It is a relief to not have to try anymore.
- The option of finding something new one day…
It is nice knowing I could find someone or something else that might make my life even more fulfilling than I can imagine right now. Monogamy is predictable, but is also limiting on that front. The world is my oyster at this point. I am my only limiting factor. And despite the fact that the idea of the unknown scares me most days, it is also a good feeling knowing I am in charge of my own destiny.
Would I want to go back to monogamy with my husband? No, I would not. We had our run and we did some things well and some things not so well. Polyamory has been a tough road for me. And yes, many days I miss simpler times. But when I get honest, I have to acknowledge that my days in monogamy were not easy either. Would I do monogamy again for the right person? Perhaps. But the lesson I have reminded myself of again today, is an old one, but one I apparently need to keep relearning.
The grass is NOT always greener on the other side.
Life is hard no matter which road you choose. Monogamy is not a guarantee of happiness or predictability. No path and no person is perfect. My choice is to be grateful and content with what I have right in front of me, OR, to do something about it if I am not happy.
So, I am taking off the rose coloured glasses once again and choosing to enjoy the green grass that is already on my side.
5 thoughts on “Some Days I See Monogamy Through Rose Colored Glasses”
Many people try polyamory and eventually return to monogamy. Some opt for an “open” relationship, a hybrid of limited monogamy with that special partner and dating other people. Then there is the “kitchen table” polyamory where members are ‘occasionally’ monogamous and then back to open poly relationships within the polycule. It’s difficult to live in a self-survival mode off grid without the help of other(s).
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Do you actually think or know many who have done poly and returned to mono? If so I too wonder why. I know my challenges and yup it’s hard to do my life without the help of others. But sometimes I wonder what our wiring as humans really is? What is cultural and societal and what is genetic? One thing I know – we generally all crave companionship and love and community. And ironically being poly sometimes gives me this in amazing ways, but it has also left me more lonely than I’ve ever felt in my life.
In the book The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-partner Relationships and Families, Dr. Sheff remarked that many of the poly people she had in the original survey returned to monogamy within 5 years. Dr. Sheff left her poly partner and is now monogamous. Several of my recent posts argue that non-monogamy was more common prior to monogamy. Some of my acquaintances have been separated from poly arrangements due to the pandemic. Many are willing to return to a poly relationship if possible. It’s difficult to tell if polyamory has any endurance.
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Reblogged this on dave94015 and commented:
Monogamy reconsidered: The advantages of monogamy over polyamory. Is it true that once you’ve tried poly, you never go back to monogamy? Why do many poly return to monogamy?
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Hmm interesting. I’ve tried to do some research on stats but sample sizes are small so I’m not sure how representative they are. I haven’t heard of that book though. I might have to find it. I am curious if non monogamy ends up being a stage for most people more than a long term life decision.