My idea of a relationship was what most people thought it was and “supposed” to be. One man and one woman, committed to one another without any infidelity or thoughts there of. I’ve had several girlfriends as a child, but as a teen and young adult, to adulthood there weren’t many. Ever since I was young it was always that one on one relationship with my partner, and I never even considered anything else. It wasn’t until I was older, approximately 22 years of age that I started to question the ideology of our social norms pertaining to relationships. This epiphany hit me due to the experiences I had with previous relationships.
I’ve always considered myself a “nice” person, who is giving, considerate, and empathetic to another’s culture and/or situation. Chivalry was something I did automatically as an internal mechanism, not necessarily just because of our gender roles. I treated men and women as humans, neither one is better than the other or deserves anything the other doesn’t. When it came to my relationships or just dating, I would go above and beyond for women. For example, I was always considerate of their emotions, situations, finances, responsibilities, body consciousness, etc. Not only that, I would still do the chivalrous things like open the door, pay for their meals, hands on attention, walk near the street on the sidewalk, etc.
Each relationship or women I dated had some type of reason to discontinue the relationship. For the most part, the women I dated always had an issue with me being “too nice” or being in too good of shape, or not having enough issues to have negative characteristics. They said it makes them uncomfortable because they feels like they have to be “perfect”. Illogical, but somehow they seemed content with that. For those relationships, i’ve had heartbreak after heartbreak. Not necessarily the same reasons but the reasons weren’t warranted for what I received.
Most people reading this would say man, I wonder what type of boring guy this is or what was “he” doing wrong? How interesting, that it is the erroneous depiction of the man mostly being in the wrong or at fault for everything. That’s another topic entirely, let’s stay on track.
Can nice get boring? Sure, which is why there is so much sin in the world. However, there is a difference between being “too nice” and simply being drama-less. I’m drama-free! I learned that no matter how good, nice, respectable, appreciative, chivalrous, and attentive I was, that ultimately, it was never enough. People always wanted more, even when they had so much already, that is our nature.
I stopped saying, what was wrong with me and started saying what was wrong with everyone else? I began to love myself more and realize that if I was okay with me then I wouldn’t need to justify myself to anyone else.
I thought, why continue to do things as society deems appropriate. Logically, it made more sense to experience different types of women without the confines of a “relationship”. During this period I learned a lot about what I wanted and about emotional and cultural differences among women. The answer is, there isn’t much difference among women compared to women of different cultures or ethnicities. In communication with men, there isn’t much difference either, even less differences than that of females among other females.
I came to the conclusion, that I need to experience life based off of what I want. I wanted to grow and evolve as a person but not have limitations in any aspect. When it comes to everything else in life we are expected to not be limited, to constantly learn, grow, and evolve. However, the aspects of a relationship have to be limited to one person? I don’t agree. I believe that feelings can be for multiple people, love, admiration, lust, etc.
To be in transition from one female to another forever wasn’t my ideal situation, therefore, I told a friend of mine at the time what I was looking for and she also wanted to try an open relationship. We decided that maybe we would be good for one another. We not only have our committed relationship but we also explore separately and together, mostly just sexual encounters with other people. We don’t have full on relationships with other people. As humans, we all have fantasies but most of the time we neglect them for our significant other or try to enact them with our significant other. However, there is only so much one person can do. Our spouses aren’t transformers or X-Men.
When I removed possession and a sense of jealousy out of my mind, I learned that nothing is truly yours which allowed me to be free of learned constraints.
Monogamy taught me to give my heart to one other person fully, and for them to keep it safe. It also taught me, that your heart is in another’s hand. At any given time, that heart can get broken and every ounce of love destroyed from one person out of billions. Monogamy to me is more risky than an open relationship, it is 50/50 at best. I don’t want one person to have that much control over my mental, spiritual, and physiological state.
An open relationship can have the same amount of love but the removal of possession and jealousy drastically reduces the issues that a monogamous relationship would have. Therefore, could I deduce that it is as strong if not stronger than a monogamous one? Or, could I state that the deleterious effects after ending a monogamous relationship is greater?
Ultimately, to each is own and if monogamous or open relationships is what works for you then do it. Being non judgmental and accepting of one’s decision based off of their relationship choices is appropriate, if that is truly their decision, not societies.
– Michael, 32, California