Loving More Than One

Polyamory as it relates to my life and written from my perspective only. MY thoughts, feelings and opinions.

What Is Monogamy?

on May 1, 2010

I follow the blog of a very thought provoking man and with this post he set my mind to thinking. Well mostly in the comments section with this question of his to another reader “Not that I’m trying to pick a fight with you but I am curious; You stated you believe Swing and Poly are different. Yet you and your partner, who you are in a poly relationship with, go to a Swing club. By default doesn’t that show an overlap, even a small one, between Swing and Poly?”

In response to that I wrote in a comment of mine “PP, while she may be poly and she swings with her SO, why does that make the two related or a like? How is swinging with a poly partner truly different than swinging with a mono partner? I’m not being confrontational here but more curious.”

To which PP asked me this “Your comment confused me pretty good though. You said “How is swinging with a poly partner truly different than swinging with a mono partner?” Most common definitions for Monogamy include sex with only one partner and/or marriage to one person during a period of time. Given that definition, how can you swing with a mono partner? By default if you were Monogamous then decided to Swing wouldn’t your relationship then be defined as something other than Monogamous because you have more than one sexual partner?”

I tired to state my reasoning in a short amount of space with this…”My husband and I had been monogamous for 20+ years when we started swinging. And until I read about a year after we started that swinging was considered a form of ethical non-monogamy I wouldn’t have even thought along those lines. But even then I did not really consider us “non-monogamous”. Sure we had sex with others but that didn’t really count as not being monogamous in my mind I suppose. (Because I can separate sex and love? Most likely.)

Now, enter emotions into the equation. A whole different story for me. While I found it easy to share my husband sexually, I did NOT find it easy to share him emotionally. That is where the concept of non-monogamy probably first entered the equation for me.”

I guess my thoughts and beliefs at the time were that swinging really didn’t define monogamy for us. We had sex with others but we did it together. While we didn’t keep a sexual act for just us…as in we wouldn’t do something with a sex partner but would only do that one thing with each other…we did reserve love for each other. Sure, if we saw someone for sex more than once the possibility for a friendship would generally be there, but friendship and romantic love are so different.  We showed our monogamy with our love not with sex.

I’m becoming aware on different levels that most people do not separate the two things…love and sex…when considering monogamy.

Until love for others entered the equation, I (I’m more than fairly certain that Dirk felt the same but these are MY opinions I share here) basically still considered us to be monogamous. So we were swinging as a monogamous couple.

If I were to swing again, either with just Dirk or with just Chane or in any other combination, I would now consider myself to be swinging as a poly individual involved in two poly relationships. While polyamory is a different mindset by far that monogamy, I don’t see swinging as a monogamous person different than swinging as a polyamorous person.

I see where the two camps, swinging and poly, overlap at times. I know people that are part of both camps (myself included) and people that do not want to enter the other camp at all. I can understand that mentality since I’ve been on the far end of the swinging camp that I didn’t want getting close to the middle much less the other end of the spectrum.

The term my fellow blogger has coined for what we were practicing while swinging is “Emotional Monogamy”. I believe that describes it exactly. Dirk and I have ridden the rode of total monogamy, to emotional monogamy, to polyamory. It has at times been a long and complicated journey but even through it all we’ve grown and opened our mind to things we would never have considered. We will never think the same as we did before.

I noticed on my friend’s blog that he also has a term call Accidental Monogamy which he defines as “The result of you and your SO not having any other partners for a while. You plan more and more time together and at some point realize you have been seeing only each other for a significant amount of time. Not something that happens on purpose, but instead happens naturally.”

I’ve heard some people comment that in this situation these individuals are not poly. IMO, that isn’t the case. I’ve said before that I believe poly is a state of mind more than something that has to be practiced all the time. Does the fact that the individuals are only in one relationship each at the moment mean they no longer believe in poly or want to be poly or that they would turn now turn down an opportunity to see someone else if they had one? IMO (as that’s all this blog is really about), that isn’t the case. If you’re happy at the moment, then great! Not everyone can say that.

I’m asked at times if I would live monogamously again. Sure, I could do that. I was happy while I did so. But, because I believe in polyamory now, would I really be able to call myself a monogamous person? Or a poly person living monogamously?


4 responses to “What Is Monogamy?

  1. lovingmorethanone,
    I absolutely loved your explanation of swinging with a mono partner. That defined and explained something for me that I had never understood well. Thank you!
    I have also been asked if I could exist in a monogamous relationship. My answer is yes. Any relationship I define with someone else will be by mutual agreement. If I have agreed to a monogmous relationship then I have agreed to live within the boundaries of that relationship. If I couldn’t do so, and do so happily, I wouldn’t agree to those boundaries. At the same time I would still identify as Polyamorous. My relationship would be Monogamous but I would remain Polyamorous in my heart and soul.

    Polyamory Paradigm

  2. Nice explanation. I also see swinging and poly as very different. My husband insisted that he was poly when we first got together, but in practice he just wanted the freedom to have sex with other people, which I consider being on the swinging end of the spectrum, even though I was not involved. Once he and I started having emotionally engaged relationships with other people it was very different. I’m glad the change happened gradually for us, I think that made being poly easier.

    • I think poly would have been easier for us as well if it had been a gradual thing. It was a long difficult road in many ways for us. But, I have to say that I seriously doubt we will make many of the same mistakes again if one or the other of us finds someone new. Some lessons are hard learned.

      Changing from mono to poly mentality is difficult and going slow would be best in my opinion. Hindsight is great isn’t it?

      Thanks for commenting.

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