Non-monogamy

I’ve been busy, lately, and my free time has largely been taken up by thoughts of and plans for The Future, which generally leads me to curl up in a ball rather than write.

On top of this (or perhaps as an outgrowth of it), my partner and I have started talking about non-monogamy, the first real discussions we’ve had about it since we started dating nearly three years ago. This has recently become an all-consuming force in my head, because I’ve never before had such an opportunity.

Back when we first started dating, I still had an interest in non-monogamy. I had brought it up with my previous partner, and he hadn’t been okay with it at all. Looking back, I realize that I wanted it for the wrong reason: I really wanted out of that relationship, but couldn’t bring myself to actually do it; I wanted the excitement of dating again, but with him as a safety net. It was fucked up, and once I’d acknowledged that, I became reluctant to even think about it as a possibility for me.

As for my current partner, his experience with non-monogamy has been to simply jump into it at the start of a relationship, with no room to actually acknowledge jealousy as being okay and normal. Naturally, this led to a lot of hurt feelings and to (I thought) his washing his hands of the whole thing.

Because of this, it took me completely by surprise when my partner asked me if I might be interested in opening up our relationship. But the more we both talked about it, the more I realized how much his new interest in non-monogamy was tied to the fact that he now felt completely secure and safe in our relationship, that he wasn’t worried that a third party would break that bond—as he always was in previous non-monogamous relationships. (I imagine the fact that we’re now living together helps with that.)

When he first broached the topic, I was elated. One of the things that’s made both of us so unhappy over the past few months has been the now-very-apparent fact that I’m much more interested in kink as a part of my life than he is. I now understand that this fact doesn’t mean he’s less interested in me or that he’s less of a dom and sadist than I thought he was, or that he only sort of likes the things we already do. However, we have both recognized that I am more interested in playing more often, longer, and possibly harder than he is, at least at the moment. I end up frustrated at not being able to explore this part of myself as much as I’d like to; he ends up frustrated because I start getting pushy. Acknowledging this has left both of us at kind of a loss for how to deal with it. So the idea of non-monogamy seemed very, very appealing: I could have a play partner on the side for when he wasn’t interested in a long scene! I could go play at a dungeon, where I could finally have a flogging session without listening for a roommate coming home! I could play with someone who’s interested in elaborate rope bondage and suspension, or other fancy and complicated stuff!

I may ultimately decide I don’t want to be a part of the BDSM scene, that I’m not interested in public play, or that having multiple play partners just feels weird to me—but I won’t know until I try, and I think I’ll feel like I’ve missed out if I don’t.

He tells me that he’s fine with the idea of me playing with and submitting to other people, as long as those people understand and acknowledge that they are not my masters or owners, that ultimately I still belong to him. He says that he’d like to set up some things that I do with him alone, just to keep that clear, and suggests “penetrative sex” as this boundary. He is worried because this constitutes a double standard (he can fuck people, but I can’t), but I tell him it’s one I can live with, since that’s not really what I’m after, anyway. I also tell him that I would like to have some sort of mark or collar to wear when I’m playing with other people, just to make the point really clear to other play partners, and to give me the feeling that he’s still my dom even when he’s not the one wielding the whip. Obviously, that makes him happy. He adds that that he’s okay with lifting the no-penetration restriction if one of us is out of town for a significant period of time, which seems reasonable to me. So far, so good.

Of course, if I’m free to play with other people, he wants to be able to as well. I’m fine with that, I think. But as we talk, I realize I am really, really bothered by the idea of him dominating others. It makes me feel insecure about how I’d measure up as a sub, and worry, what if there wasn’t anything I could offer him that these other women couldn’t as well – and worse, what if they could offer something better? I immediately conjure up an image of him dominating ___, an out submissive woman he’s recently acknowledged a strong attraction to (which is probably mutual). I feel sick. I ask if we can’t both have double standards: I can play, but not fuck; he can fuck, but not play. He says that he can’t imagine having sex with someone without dominating them as well, because it’s such an integral part of his sexuality, and I recognize that the same would be true for me as well. We are stuck, and leave the conversation at that.

Later, he’s spanking me and it feels wonderful. I suddenly have a fear of my roommate overhearing, and freeze up. Then I have this thought: “___* wouldn’t freeze up if my partner were spanking her right now instead of me. She doesn’t have all these inhibitions that interrupt sex and make everything uncomfortable. He would enjoy playing with her far more than he would with me.”

Which is, of course, when I completely lose my shit and start sobbing hysterically.

I’m not really sure where to go from here.

5 comments so far

  1. Meer on

    Surrendering complete control of a partner’s sex life can be difficult.

    As for feeling you wouldn’t measure up to someone else’s submission, this probably goes the same way for your partner: he might feel he won’t measure up to some dungeon-dweller with the skills and resources to turn your kinky-crank just so.

    There will always be someone better at X way of interacting with you or your partner. That’s the why of why Y and Z modes of interacting are important. In aggregate, you might offer the best basket of what charms (hypothetically, let’s say baking vegan sweets, philosophical discourse, and volunteer work for the noble cause of _____.)

    Perhaps building confidence for this step out requires strengthening the other activities/interests you two share and that mutually attract.

  2. Dw3t-Hthr on

    I’ve pretty much always been nonmonogamous, and I realised a while back that I would be really insecure if my liege had another sub. Crazy-posturing insecure.

    It was … really disconcerting.

  3. kinklet on

    This post makes me sad, for sure, but it also resonates with *so many* people interested in nonmonogamy, I’m guessing. I would add that it seems like you’re being very hard on yourself–feelings of insecurity and such come up in all kinds of relationships, monogamous or not; one saving grace of nonmonogamy (and perhaps of BDSM) is that it’s a lot harder to ignore one’s insecurities and such. In monogamous relationships, that stuff can stay buried deep down for a long, long time, only coming up as displaced aggression and sadness. In nonmonogamous (and, I would say BDSM) relationships, the stuff bubbles right up to the surface, and we’re forced to interact with it more directly.

    But that can just take time, and gentleness with yourself, and with each other. You might think of investigating nonmonogamy (if you can) as something you’re dipping your toe into, something you’re checking out, something that you can take or leave pieces of as they do or don’t fit your relationship.

    /soapbox

    Take care.

  4. Meta on

    There’s a double standard in my relationship: Master can hook-up with other people, I can’t. The idea is that I will be allowed to eventually, but I expect that inequality will continue. It’s been hard to deal with, but I think it’s actually a good thing for me. I’ve never been in a non-monogamous relationship before, and I’ve learned a lot about my own insecurities and how to address them. The thing is, Master has always come back to me and has no thoughts of finding another partner.

    I understand both of your lines. Master has not had intercourse with the women he’s hooked up with yet, nor has he overtly dominated them (at least not anywhere near the extent that he does with me). Before reading your post, I hadn’t considered Master dominating someone else (without me involved), but I think that would make me extremely uncomfortable. Likewise, if I am eventually allowed to hook up with anyone else, I doubt that these are lines that I’d want to cross myself.

  5. blackdove on

    I just wrote a blog on this today, not sure if you might find it interesting.

    http://www.blackdove.wordpress.com


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