Innately Non-Monogamous?


Innately Non-Monogamous?Over the past week or so, I’ve been considering the idea that some people may be innately monogamous or innately non-monogamous. That is to say, there are people who, even if they had the discussion with their partners about being non-monogamous, laid out the rules, the guidelines, communicated, did everything right, when it came down to it, there’s still a chance they simply wouldn’t be interested in anyone but their partners. I think this is what Mollena Williams calls heart-bonding. Your head could be open to the possibility of several different loves; but your heart may still be beating for just one.

That’s not to say you can’t be non-monogamous, of course; it doesn’t necessarily take multiple loves to be a swinger (for example). But really I’m talking about general interest. And I do think many experience that feeling – particularly at the beginning of a new relationship – wherein you just want to spend time with this one person; where that is more than enough to maintain you; which I suppose is all part of new relationship energy, but seems to go beyond that with certain people.

The reason I’ve been thinking about this is largely due to the kind of relationship I have with my Daddy. Aside from his primary partner (who is not me), he claims to be less interested in playing with other women, now that he and I are together; and likewise, being so deeply and happily in love, I’m not particularly concerned with finding anyone else either. I have very casual, friendship-based relationships with two couples, but I’ll confess I am not doing a great deal to maintain them, instead letting them simmer, and enjoying the benefits when I can. Come to think of it, they are delightfully low-maintenance relationships.

But I digress.

There was a time when I felt that non-monogamy was something I had to perform; not explicitly, of course, but there was this unconscious sense that I needed to demonstrate my relationship model by being in more than one central relationship. Perhaps this was born out of a desire to show the world that monogamy is not the only option; but it could equally have come from some deep-rooted need to prove myself. As though, if I were only in one committed relationship people wouldn’t believe I was non-monogamous, or – worse still – might tell me I was doing non-monogamy wrong. This is all bullshit, of course; at the end of the day, part of being human is getting to make our own decisions and choices. But nevertheless, these fears have a way of sneaking up on me.

The truth is, right now, I am happily overwhelmed by my relationship with my Daddy, and I don’t have a lot of interest in seeking other partners. (Not to mention the time and energy it takes to date more than one person anyway.) But, along these lines, it occurs to me that I’m not non-monogamous because I actively want more than one partner; I’m non-monogamous because I want to be open to opportunity. Just because my Daddy is the only one I really long for at present, it doesn’t mean I am closed to the possibility of others, but simply that I appreciate, very deeply, what I have. I’m content; so why rock the boat?

Then again, perhaps this is something of a moot point for me, since I did just enjoy a weekend with one of the couples, and I won’t complain about the misery stick marks from Saturday night, which now adorn my arse. In the end this could be just another question of distinction; maybe where I’m sitting, somewhere close to progressive swinging, is where I belong; and I should leave the heart-bonding questions to the poly folk.

But I still like to consider.


Harper Eliot is a writer and podcaster whose work mainly centers around eroticism and social observation. You can find an archive of work, and links to all her other projects, on her website Harper Eliot. Harper lives in London, but rarely sees her own house, spending most of her time on public transport, listening to podcasts and tweeting too much. Her vices include cigarettes, lubricant, Earl Grey tea, opera, nail polish, and pinwheels.

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