"I am not poly, have always considered myself really monogamous, but I recently find myself SUPER AMAZINGLY TOTALLY attracted to this smart, sexy, thoughtful person who is poly. I’m ultimately looking for someone who wants a long-term, monogamous relationship, but I’m really open to some dating and experimenting and making connections in the short term. If things go the sexy direction, what should I do?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Bethany Rutter as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions
Dear potential poly,
So much of life is engineered to be a miserable, bleak, hard trek, and once in a while we get the chance to sprinkle it with a little bit of joy. Yes, you say that what you’re ‘ultimately’ looking for a long-term, monogamous relationship, but you don’t say that you’re temperamentally unsuited to nonmonogamy. My point is: who cares what you think you want in the end. When you’re given the chance to bring a bit of fun to your life right now, where’s the beef? Most people you encounter possess maybe one or two of ‘smart, sexy, thoughtful’, let alone all three, and you say yourself that you are ‘SUPER AMAZINGLY TOTALLY attracted’ to them!
My point about being temperamentally unsuited is, I think, important: if you had expressed anxiety about nonmonogamy, and if I thought pursuing this person would go against the fundamental basis for your happiness, I wouldn’t be so enthusiastic with my advice.
You know yourself better than anyone else, and you’re probably right about the fact that, long-term, you want to pursue monogamous relationships. With that in mind, though, even you’re saying that you’re ‘really open to dating and experimenting and making connections’ right now! It sounds as if you’re super into this person – for good reason – and you know that exploring this relationship is going to be worth your while. The fact that ‘thoughtful’ was one of the three characteristics you listed is good grounds for this being a person with whom you can have fun and fulfilling encounters of all types.
You don’t need me to tell you to just be mindful and cautious of your own feelings and this person’s. It can be hard to balance the opposing forces of ‘everyone has to start somewhere with nonmonogamy’ and ‘I don’t want to feel like someone’s toy who they can pick up and put down’. Be honest and respectful about the fact you’re not sure if it’s the relationship structure for you long-term, but that you don’t see the point in denying the attraction you feel.
I say this a lot, in a lot of contexts, but I think moving to a less rigid and permanent way of looking at things like relationship types and sexualities could really help people (including you!). If we took a more fluid approach to the movements and changes in state of platonic/romantic/sexual relationships, and more usefully interrogated what we want right now, rather than what we were in the past or what we think we want to be in the future, the time we spend on this mortal coil could pass more pleasantly.
I think what you need is a little push out of the nest. You’ve done most of the work yourself (read your message back again!) and you know what you want. I’m here to tell you that it’s ok to indulge that in a way that’s fun for both of you. Open up conversation with this person about what your reservations are, listen to any of theirs, and see if by the end of it you think you can offer each other something great. It sounds like you can.