Openly Monogamous or Poly, What’s the Main Difference for Me?

I identify as a polyamorous person who has recently committed to a monogamous relationship. My lifestyle, the fact that I mostly do long-distance relationships, and the fact that not many individuals gave me all that I needed in a relationship singularly, has driven me to prefer polyamory. Closed monogamy and polyamory are textbook opposites. Although I would categorize my partner and I as openly monogamous, there are three key differences between the relationship I am in now, and the polyamorous relationships I have had in the past.

For starters, there is a heavier emphasis on doing things together. My partner now recognizes that I was used to dating multiple people in a very unrestricted way. In the past, I would communicate to each of my partners about my current status and current relationships with others. I would ask about the comfort level and boundaries that they cared to establish. Now that communication sounds a bit different between me and the partners I previously dealt with. As of late, I have been sharing my message of exclusivity with my previous boyfriends and sex partners, announcing that I am, in a way, off the market. As a poly person, there is an acceptance and almost an encouragement in doing things separately from your partner. I had multiple partners in the past tell me that as long as I am happy, they are happy to learn about new people in my life. My happiness has always been internal. But happiness influenced by separate relationships outside of my union are both discouraged and nonnegotiable. Within the dynamic we currently share, if there is sex to be had, or a relationship to be developed, it must be met with a joint screening.

Furthermore, there was no boundary surrounding gender in my previous polyamorous relationships. Now, there is a boundary surrounding who I engage with sexually because this person must also align with my partner’s sexuality as well. I identify as a pansexual, queer woman. There is no limit to my attraction because the physical body means very little to me. Sure, it remains the source of lust and attraction, but it does not dictate whether I am attracted to someone to begin with. As a poly woman in a poly relationship, me exploring the range of my sexuality was just as free as my sexuality itself. My partner however heterosexual straight male. My partner respects and loves me and my queerness. But if there were to ever be an outside partner it would not be another man, for my personal arousal and benefit. It would most likely be a woman; someone of his attraction, of our sexualities, and of my choosing.

Historically, I’ve held one sexual partner at a time. There were instances where I had sex with more than one person, but generally speaking, I am more poly romantic, than polysexual. Within poly relationships, there may be a boundary on whether or not I kiss my second partner in front of my primary, but the fact that I shared multiple romances was fair game. It mattered more where these relationships were taking place, not the fact that they existed at all. I no longer have this type of poly romantic relationship with multiple people. My sex life is definitely shared between my partner and I, or within our union when inviting others. But my romance, in particular, is reserved for my partner as well. If it looks like sensual touching, closeness, long intimidate hugs, especially things like kissing or groping, it is strictly off-limits. I am a high maintenance, attention-needing, affection driven partner. In terms of what helps me flourish in a relationship, multiple partners that exhibit a primary dynamic isn’t necessarily required. My stipulations to date rest on the fact that I have the ability to choose. And I have come to realize that my choice is not contingent on being shared within my partnerships or separate from them. Thus, open monogamy suits me well. I take pride in it, even as a poly person, and it makes me happy.

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