I do not have a short answer to this question. For me, this question has become a matter of self-discovery and personal understanding.
I have always had trouble with wanting to be monogamous. On one hand, the fear of missing out has the ability to consume me. I begin to believe that there is an exponential amount of experiences that I could be having with many people, instead of staying committed to just one person. On the other hand, monogamy has the ability to also fuel the love, primary care, and attention I require and truly need in a relationship. For a long time, it was hard to reconcile which one I wanted to adopt.
When I was in high school, I liked this cool, talented, and smart guy. We spent a lot of time together and he even continued to pursue me after he went off to college. We shared romanticism and a lot of positive energy, but when he asked me to be his girlfriend, I told him no.
I want the benefits of monogamy coupled with the freedom of being a bachelorette.
I have always had the desire to “have my cake and eat it too.” It stems from the idea that I can receive both undivided attention and commitment from one person, while freely engaging in romantic or sexual relationships with many others. I want the benefits of monogamy coupled with the freedom of being a bachelorette. But as ideal as this sounds, for me, it has also been wildly unrealistic. For instance, after I said no, he pulled away from me completely. Since I would not accept him as a partner, I couldn’t have him at all.
I revisited my answer many times and contemplated whether or not I made the right choice.
As a polyamorous person, I was never without a romantic partner. But no partner at the time showed the same level of love and care as he did. It was something special that he wanted to further court me and officially label our relationship, but that was not my initial thought.
Initially, a label meant confinement. It meant choosing to stop things that made me feel free and happy. However, a true, healthy relationship shouldn’t make you feel less free at all. The commitment should feel like security, and the exclusivity should feel like a privilege.
Many times, the confidence and trust in compromise is heavily dependent on your partner.
I realize now that the discontent I felt about committing to a few previous partners, came from the instability of the union I shared with them in general. One of my exes, for example, who called me out on “not being able to commit,” also failed to take responsibility for himself not being a man worth committing to.
I have often shared with friends that one of the reasons I date multiple people at one time, is because I require what may be a lot for just one partner to handle. That ex, for example, was a monogamous partner who I did not need. And amongst other things, he was lacking introspection, ambition, confidence, and respect. All things I was strictly unwilling to commit to.
My current partner is the opposite. He is a partner who accepts me for all that I am and loves me the way I need to be loved — without coaching, without convincing, without burden. Receiving all that I need from him, allows me to naturally relinquish the fear of missing out. And committing to him in a monogamous relationship has already been transformative, healing, and spiritual.
That is worth committing to.
I have come to realize that engaging in a monogamous relationship as a polyamorous person changes nothing about the preference of your relationship dynamics, in the same way that being in a heterosexual relation as a queer woman does not mean that you’re suddenly straight.
Compromise should not change who you are. Compromise should aid in development, progression, and positive growth. The best compromise is what helps you commit.