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Where to start? Single and don't think traditional monogamy is for me...

(44 Posts)
msshapelybottom Sun 07-Jul-13 17:05:14

I've been married twice and am now single for 4.5 years. I've had flings and a very short relationship and since the last fling 10 months ago I decided that I wouldn't get involved with anyone until I was 1) content with me and my life just as it was and 2) much more aware and in tune with what I want/need from any involvement.

I am slowly coming to the conclusion that I don't want the type of relationship I've had before, ie exclusivity, monogamy and having to abide by certain "rules". I feel that type of arrangement would be stifling.

I would love to meet someone and fall in love, but I do not want to be "owned" by someone and be expected to behave in a certain way (of course love, respect and treating each other with compassion are a must!) I definitely don't think I ever want to live with someone again.

On the other hand, I don't think the swinging lifestyle is for me either. So is there a middle ground between monogamy and swapping car keys with your neighbours? How would I find like minded people? Where to start?

Oh, and I don't think it's just about sex, it's also about being able to completely be myself without having to compromise myself...does that make any sense?

Anyone else identify with this at all?

OnyxGhost Sun 07-Jul-13 18:02:13

Friends with benefits?

lovingthelackofpressure Sun 07-Jul-13 18:06:36

Yes completely.

I have ended my 10 year relationship and do not think I will ever get into another serious relationship for those reasons. I have met someone else and been honest with him from the start. He doesn't get it and for this reason I don't think it will last.

For me some of it is about sex. I don't want to be owned sexually. I want to have my own experiences and not have to explain myself to anyone.

nickymanchester Sun 07-Jul-13 18:08:35

tbh, I can't identify with it.

However, one question for you. If you were to meet somebody with the same outlook as you how would you feel about them not being ''owned'' by you?

Your partner wouldn't have to abide by the ''rules'' either. Do you feel that you could cope with any issues of jealously that you may have from your partner shagging other women while you are with him?

I think the phrase you're looking for is ''open marriage'' - google it.

Also, maybe have a read of this article:-

www.psychologytoday.com/blog/magnetic-partners/201307/the-slippery-slope-open-marriage

Yup. I'm just the same, OP. And I wish you all the best. It's a good way to live: you're being true to yourself.

As to where to start, well, the swinging scene has its good points and bad points. You could read some websites and maybe give some of the clubs a try (they are very safe and single women are welcome). Or there are websites for NSA sex partners which might also be worth a look.

And you might enjoy the Suzanne Portnoy book (it's not a how-to, more of a memoir, and things go wrong for her from time to time). In fact, the biggest warning I would give you is that some men will see a sexually independent woman as a challenge and will deliberately set out to hurt your feelings ie promising true love in order to reel you in so they can then dump you having 'proved' that women cannot manage without Love and Romance...

The thing is, there are lots of people who reject monogamy. And they are fine, and happy, and enjoying their lives. While there are plenty of people who do prefer to engage in monogamous relationships and are happy doing so, monogamy simply doesn't work for everyone - and if it's not for you, the sooner you learn that about yourself, the better for you and anyone you might want to have sex with.

garlicsmutty Sun 07-Jul-13 18:11:56

What Onyx said! You seem to be describing FWBs. It's permissible to have more than one, as long as you're honest and fair. You should be able to find sex partners who are good company, but not keen on commitment. This is where deliberately meeting people - through singles clubs, activity groups, online dating, and so forth - really comes into its own.

I spent my 30s and early 40s doing this. It was great. I then married one of the FWBs, which wasn't great. I don't plan to live with a partner (or, preferably, anyone) again. If I team up with a man at any point, I'd want us to live separately but nearby.

Nacster Sun 07-Jul-13 18:16:46

I felt like you, I'd been alone (without even flings) for 3.5 years!

My friend and I do have exclusivity (for safety) but there is no compulsion, we do not own each other, nor do we wish to. There's compromise, of course, but not a lot, and I can say/ do anything in his company.

But the two of us, anti-monogamists both, have ended up in something that looks an awful lot like monogamy! It's very weird and a little bit embarrassing. grin

BTW I met him through a mutual hobby, one in which I am very much in the minority as a woman and was absolutely not looking for a relationship of any kind.

lovingthelackofpressure Sun 07-Jul-13 18:20:22

For me also it is not just about sex, it's companionship as well. Being able to spend a day together and have fun.

I like to experience strong feelings towards another person. I have never been jealous really and I think if someone feels strongly towards you then I just believe in it and go with it. I would not mind if that person then shagged someone else, I would rather the time they spent with me was becomes they wanted to and not because they had to because we were in a serious relationship.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 07-Jul-13 18:21:37

I think what you're saying is not that you want some kind of (horrible word) 'open' relationship, just something where you're not manacled to the same person, still have your own space and there are no heavy expectations or commitments. I'm pretty sure there are plenty of people like that because I'm one myself. Have had several excellent, loving relationships down the years (one resulting in my DS) but remain fiercely independent, (never let anyone move in for example), and I consign them to the dustbin at the first sign of wanting to change anything about me. Being up front about this seems to get me a lot of respect and the advantage of this 'semi-detached' arrangement is that I don't get bored or feel suffocated ... so yes, it's possible.

OnyxGhost Sun 07-Jul-13 18:25:06

What your looking for seems pretty hard to find a really close and loving relationship without the swingers aspect, but a closer bond then you would have in a fwb situation.

msshapelybottom Sun 07-Jul-13 18:43:59

Some interesting points, thanks everyone!

Onyx, I'm not sure I'm after a FWB...I would love to have a deep meaningful relationship with someone, just without all the expectations that seem to come with the traditional set up. I don't even know how to properly explain it grin

Loving, yes. I want to be feel able to engage with people without having to explain myself, or god forbid have to ask permission to have certain friends. I agree about your desire to have someone spend time with you because they genuinely wanted to and not to fulfill an agreement.

Nicky, thanks for the link...will have a read once the kids are in bed! Yes, maybe an open relationship...I have thought about your question (the sex "ownership" thing) a lot over the years and I think I would be ok with a SO sleeping with other people. I even told my ex that I had no issue with him sleeping with other people as long as he used condoms and didn't tell me. I was deeply in love with him at the time so I don't think it was a "flaw" in our relationship. I think I just have more elastic views of sex than some other people!

SGB, it's interesting to realise that this is probably an important part of who I am. I am a little turned off by the idea of swinging clubs, they seem to have such a seedy rep but I am open to exploring the idea. I guess I have this image that they are full of other peoples' husbands trying to pull a fast one! Will start googling smile

Garlic, Your post made me giggle, because I'm hardly buckling under the weight of prospective lovers atm, but I suppose I would go into any new involvement with the premise that I am not monogamous. Love the idea that I could be juggling FWBs! Totally get you on the not living together thing, I think seperate houses but nearby would be perfect if I ever met someone I wanted to get involved with.

Nacster, I love that your FWB has developed on its own despite your original non-monogamy smile

Cogito, I think you've put into words what I was trying to but couldn't...yes, that's it in a nutshell I think.

It's not just about sex, it's about finding a way to explore myself as I grow and change without being held back. (I'm not suggesting that's how all monogamous relationships are, just how I would feel in one).

So, I either need to find a FWB, or a swinger or start a new hobby which is male dominant smile

msshapelybottom Sun 07-Jul-13 18:46:04

Onyx, missed your post. YES! That. It can't be too hard to find surely?!!

I need some open minded guy who is secure enough in himself to give me free rein (and have the same himself) to be myself. A needle in a haystack perhaps?

Branleuse Sun 07-Jul-13 18:46:44

like a polyamorous type thing?

Its not particularly uncommon

www.polyamory.org.uk/

Actually OP there is a good book by Tristan Taormino called Opening Up which deals with different types of relationships and people who reject monogamy. THere's also The Ethical Slut, though that is a bit dated and very American.

msshapelybottom Sun 07-Jul-13 19:07:34

Branleuse, thanks for the link, will check it out. The term polyamory makes me shudder, no idea why!!

SGB, Brilliant, thanks will check those out. I don't suppose I need a label for what I'm looking for, but it's easier to find like minded people if I at least know where to look!

scrazy Sun 07-Jul-13 19:17:05

OP, you mentioned that you told your ex he could sleep with other people as long as he was safe and didn't tell you. I don't understand the didn't tell you aspect, surely if you were OK with it he, and anyone you had a future relationship with should be able to tell you.

The consequences of not telling you would be secrecy and lies and this doesn't gel with a loving relationship. Just saying.

I have recently found out that someone I was dating was pursuing other friendships with a few women, although they weren't sexual, it still hurt.

I could easily have the type of relationship you describe with men who I haven't felt a bond with, I thinks it's very hard when feelings come into it.

But good luck with it and I hope you meet like minded men.

arsenaltilidie Sun 07-Jul-13 19:19:52

Sounds like you want to love someone without being vulnerable or other 'constrains' of a relationship such as to think about someone else.

I would love to meet someone and fall in love, but I do not want to be "owned" by someone and be expected to behave in a certain way

Im not sure about others but i find it impossible to be in love without being vulnerable.

I wouldn't get involved with anyone until I was 1) content with me and my life just as it was and 2) much more aware and in tune with what I want/need from any involvement.

Those two points are what helps you choose the right person. Without those points, you will likely fall a knob.

Your attitude of not settling until you find what you want sounds great and keep it up even when you feel like you are making the wrong decision.

mydoorisalwaysopen Sun 07-Jul-13 19:20:45

It sounds to me that you do want a monogamous relationship but not the suffocating aspects of it. So presumably in your past relationships your partners have been possessive and tried to restrict your life in various ways. Perhaps just being more assertive about what you want is the answer. I think not living together is a great idea by the way.

msshapelybottom Sun 07-Jul-13 19:53:30

scrazy, good point. It was 6 years ago, I was a different person. At the time, the reason I said I wouldn't have wanted to know was because I was trying to articulate that I didn't need to know or give permission. That I saw him as a separate individual who might have needs I could not meet. Perhaps I am not compatible with any kind of relationship? I don't honestly know at this point! I'm just trying to figure everything out in my head.

I do think I would need to have a life outside of the relationship which I didn't need to explain or be honest about, without it being construed as secrecy or lies. Perhaps the two things are not inclusive?...

Did you have an agreement about who this person could have friendships with outside of the relationship? It must have hurt if you were both promising to be monogamous.

I loved my ex husband as deeply as I've ever loved a man! We were close friends too smile I just didn't feel that non-monogamy would have been a dealbreaker.

Arsenal, on the contrary, I see being vulnerable as an essential part of any relationship. What would be the point otherwise? Even the most casual encounters can have an element of giving of yourself and being caring & even loving. I don't think it's just robots who can have casual sex! When I love, I love with my whole heart and don't see why I wouldn't in an alternative arrangement. Even with monogamy, there is no guarantee that you won't get hurt wink

Mydoor, yes it's possible that I am just kicking back from the previous relationships, but I really don't think that's the case. I have felt like this for a long time and even whilst I was still married. It might just be how I roll! My first H was very controlling, but for the most part my 2nd (oh god, how did it get to this!!) was completely different. We had a perfectly normal marriage, bar the drinking and the fact that our sex drives were totally out of synch!

This just feels like the right "path" for me, and it doesn't take away from the fact that millions of couples remain happily monogamous. I just don't think I'm one of them.

msshapelybottom Sun 07-Jul-13 19:58:35

mydoor...meant to say, no I really don't think I want a monogamous relationship. If I am with someone and I happen to meet someone else I really click with I'd want the freedom to explore a friendship or even act on an attraction without it having to end the original relationship.

Crap, it's more about the sex than I thought grin

I am probably contradicting myself as I unravel all these ideas...didn't realise it was so complicated.

scrazy Sun 07-Jul-13 20:03:09

In my recent 'relationship' there was no agreement as such, except sexual fidelity for health reasons. I knew he had female friends and I was fine with it, but I found out that he was making new ones and it was all too much. It was the secrecy and his need for constant contact with women that I couldn't handle. It was odd, not normal, I thought.

Relationships are complex and chuck sexual and emotional infidelity into the mix and it reaches boiling point.

Is it because you still want to experiment with different sexual partners or is it because you don't want any restrictions on your life. I good relationship should allow you the freedom to be yourself, it's worth setting boundaries from the start.

StrangeGlue Sun 07-Jul-13 20:06:50

Polyamorous relationships! I don't know much about it but look it up online.

msshapelybottom Sun 07-Jul-13 20:28:34

scrazy, that sounds difficult. I'm not sure I would want to be near someone constantly needing to be around members of the opposite sex either.

I've done quite a bit of sexual experimenting in the past 4 odd years. I don't think it's about that. But I do know that I'm changing as a person all the time (isn't everyone?) and I value the freedom and independence that I have built up. I am exploring my inner world (woo alert!) and I would only want to be with someone who could handle that.

I don't think it's infidelity if it's agreed between the people in the relationship though...I think what I'm leaning towards is indeed polyamory of some kind.

Strange...I think you are right, just checked out Branleuse' link upthread. I do identify with that polyamory website quite a lot.

I suppose I wouldn't want to be in a relationship and actively LOOK for another emotional or sexual encounter, but if I met someone I'd like the freedom to explore that within the exisiting relationship. As well as not have them live with me...

I'm going to be single forever, aren't I? grin

scrazy Sun 07-Jul-13 20:37:46

I can identify with not wanting to live with someone and not having any restrictions on your freedom to do what you want if you happen to meet someone you fancy. You are right we do change all the time. I thought the poly amorous site sounded grim and not something I'd want to do.

If you want a deep relationship but with the option to explore outside then this sounds right for you. Other than that you might have to point out at the start that you aren't looking for anything serious but you will run the risk of the man losing interest or treating you as a fwb.

independentfriend Sun 07-Jul-13 20:54:04

See also the book by Meg Barker - "Rewriting the Rules".

I've happily avoided monogamy for 20 years grin. Yes, there have been ups and downs and I have met some people who turned out to be not as nice as they seemed, but on the whole I'm glad I stuck with freedom.

msshapelybottom Sun 07-Jul-13 22:10:58

scrazy, but I think I am looking for something "serious" smile Just not with the monogamy. I think/hope you can have it both ways. Or maybe I'm in lala land here! Being turned off the polyamory stuff is good too, cements in your mind what it is that you want/don't want.

I really do think that it's possible to love lots of people in different ways. I want to love them ALL ha!

Independent, thank you, just off to check that book out.

SGB, you are giving me hope. Enjoy all the freedom - I would never have imagined how fiercely I'd want to hang on to mine smile

scrazy Sun 07-Jul-13 22:17:49

I'm quite envy that you can envisage meeting a few different men you want. My mum always said I was a one man woman and I think she was right. Had a whale of a time in between mind you, but it's a distant memory.

msshapelybottom Sun 07-Jul-13 22:23:31

scrazy, at this point in time it's purely academic, I've been celibate for 10 months grin

It's good that you know who you are and what you want and that you've had a bit of fun.

I don't want to be throwing myself left, right and centre at everyone, (I do have 3 kids, where would I find the time!) but I like the idea that I could if I wanted to!

Independent, that book looks fantastic, I'm going to have to treat myself asap, thank you!

WafflyVersatile Sun 07-Jul-13 22:58:15

okcupid seem to have a lot of polyamorous* people. Try there and have an upfront profile about what you do and do not want.

msshapelybottom Mon 08-Jul-13 09:06:14

Waffly, thanks for the tip. I've tried internet dating and met so many assholes that I'm loath to try again!! It's definitely a solution if the itch gets too much though!

lazarusb Mon 08-Jul-13 18:35:46

See, there's no way I could be celibate for 10 months! grin

msshapelybottom Mon 08-Jul-13 18:42:55

grin laza, long term gain for short term pain! It's been the best decision I ever made!

lazarusb Tue 09-Jul-13 16:42:52

grin I didn't even last a month after giving birth each time. Even when I haven't been in long-term relationship, I've had FWBs. One got a bit complicated but nothing that was difficult to deal with!

LaSingeEstSurLaBranche Tue 09-Jul-13 18:42:34

I've started something with a guy I met at university 10yrs ago. I have a really good connection with him and we've met up once for sex. I enjoyed just spending time with him too, but have been clear that I can't imagine ever living with anyone again.
Unfortunately he says he's fallen for me and I'm perfect in his eyes, so I don't know how long it could continue. After bring married to an EA I value time and space to myself too much now.

msshapelybottom Wed 10-Jul-13 08:28:25

Laza, hats off to you grin

LaSinge...is that a bad thing? Can you see yourself falling for him, too, or are you not interested in more than a more casual arrangement? Does being in love have to end up in sharing a home? I totally understand the need for space, I'd go mad with another adult living FT in my house now I think.

I'm still determined to stay on my own for a while longer...I feel intuitively that I need to know myself a little bit more. I want to attract the right kind of man into my life, instead of the constant stream of losers which have been a feature for the past few years!

LaSingeEstSurLaBranche Wed 10-Jul-13 08:40:29

I don't think I want my dc to have another man ever living with them. Casual arrangement works for me, but nothing more. I found even just having him there in the bed annoying as I love being able to stretch out and not have someone there snoring. I need absolute silence to sleep.

msshapelybottom Wed 10-Jul-13 09:31:49

LaSinge, I hear you! I can't even cope with my kids being in the bed with me any more cos I need it to myself, although apparently I'm the snorer smile

I just can't see me and the kids sharing our home with another man - we rub along so well together.

I'll keep an open mind, who knows how I might feel in another few years?!

Enjoy the man, maybe he'll be happy to keep things as they are?

lazarusb Wed 10-Jul-13 10:06:13

My Dad had a nasty divorce from my Mum (she cheated), then he had a long term partner for 9 years before she passed away. He did some experimenting & had a few encounters with other people but didn't meet anyone special. However, he's now been in a relationship with someone lovely for the last 3/4 years. They spend half their week at their own place and half the week with my Dad. He says he'd never live with anyone again and if his partner gets under his feet, he packs them off home! He certainly won't ever marry again.

Not saying that would work for you but it's worked out well for him! No strings and everybody is clear where they stand.

msshapelybottom Wed 10-Jul-13 12:29:59

Laza, oh I like the sound of that! It's the best of both worlds isn't it? I always loved what Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter have, adjoining houses but quite separate. No man is ever shitting in my en-suite again grin

LaSingeEstSurLaBranche Wed 10-Jul-13 13:19:18

I'd like their arrangement too. Everyone's a winner! grin

Mumsyblouse Wed 10-Jul-13 13:26:11

LAT (Living apart together) is quite common now, you don't have to live together just because you are partners or even married if you don't want to. For example, in academia it's very common because there's not much chance that two academics will get exactly the right job in the right specialty in the same place, and so living apart for part of the week/term is much more normal. It's normal for those in the forces. You don't have to live together or share your house all the time if you don't want to.

msshapelybottom Wed 10-Jul-13 17:10:41

Mumsyblouse (love your username!)...I didn't know it was such a phenomenon!

I wonder how/when one would broach the subject..."don't bother getting comfy mate"...

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