By Kendra Holliday | March 19, 2016
Some people do monogamy just fine.
Other people find themselves desiring more than one person, and they either suppress those feelings, or they break up with their partner and practice serial monogamy.
Or, they allow intimate relationships to overlap, either by cheating or engaging in ethical non-monogamy.
Ethical non-monogamy can still be quite limiting, depending on the agreed upon guidelines.
For example, I’ve met women who say they are polyamorous/in an open relationship, then qualify it to mean she has a boyfriend and they are both allowed to be with women, as long as he is present. And no boys allowed.
I used to be in relationships like this! I thought it was really annoying and unfair. And it kept happening, over and over. I couldn’t escape it.
I call this phenomenon OBS – Opportunistic Boyfriend Syndrome; dudes who take advantage of their awesome, open-minded bisexual girlfriends. The guys I was with were all down with fucking my girlfriends and male-female-female threesomes and me allowing their wildest fantasies to come true, but the double standard kicked in as soon as I’d ask to fuck one of their male friends. It seemed selfish and one-sided to me. They would tell me, “But you’re bisexual, so it’s okay to have this arrangement, and really, I’m being nice and you should be grateful.”
Finally I got so fed up with this hypocrisy that I swore off committing to any man, since apparently no person with balls could handle my wildest fantasies. Nope. Just his.
And then as if by some divine (yet complicated) intervention, I met my partner Matthew, who didn’t know a thing about polyamory before he met me. Yet, he can find it within himself to be supportive and understanding of my deepest, darkest desires. What’s more, he takes great pleasure in me being happy.
Why is he like this? Because he doesn’t hold me to a standard he isn’t willing to uphold for himself.
Fortunately for him, he can provide for himself – I used to have to try and find women for my past partners. He has the confidence and skills to date and successfully seduce women on his own.
I’m glad I finally broke the pattern.
I’ve since learned that women are just as susceptible to this frustrating issue, so I’ve renamed it Double Standard Syndrome. I knew a married woman who cheated on her husband in all kinds of reckless ways, but when she found out he was texting with an ex, she freaked out.
What’s good for the goose is apparently NOT good for the gander. Hmm…
Mo’Nique and Sidney touch on this in their new husband/wife podcast called Mo’Nique and Sidney’s Open Relationship.
Mo’Nique wanted to be with other men, and Sidney gave his blessing, but then pointed out an open relationship goes both ways, and she got bent out of shape! If you haven’t checked it out yet, you totally should – it’s EXCELLENT! Start with their debut episode dated January 11 called “Our Open Relationship”!
In that episode, Sidney declares to Mo’Nique with great humbleness, respect and love, “Who am I to control your spirit?”
You can’t harness the wind. But you can find a way to go with the flow and turn that energy into something good and productive, and grow in the process.
I think it has a lot to do with control. And of course, FEAR.
Here’s an example of one of my friends struggling through the Double Standard Syndrome:
I am poly, and like many men I’m insecure. I used to be in a very vanilla monogamous relationship with a religious woman. I felt secure in that relationship, as I thought I couldn’t do any better and that I had found at least one woman who wanted to be with me. Needless to say, when she asked for a divorce it destroyed me and it made me much more insecure. Enter my next wife Sally, who was kinky, fun loving and open minded.
At first, we explored swinging and I was fine with it because I was right there, but when she started talking about being poly, it scared the hell out of me because in my insecure brain, she was tired of me and wanted someone else. I was scared, jealous, angry, and it felt unfair, because in my self-conscious mind I thought no girl is going to want to be with me and she knows that and she was being selfish and one-sided. I came very close to just running away from the whole situation.
I had a breakdown and said I was going to leave and that I just couldn’t handle it. We then sat down and talked it out and she explained that this is who she is and has always been and that she loved me deeply and would do anything to help me be more secure in our relationship and that I always come first.
She actually helped me get my first few dates and I started to feel better about things, Also the amazing community of sex-positive people were there for me and shared their stories. It showed me I wasn’t the only person who felt like this and I found better ways to deal with insecurity and jealousy.
Now I’m dating two wonderful women and my relationship with Sally has never been stronger! Once I embraced polyamory and understood that it is possible to love more than one person at a time and still be secure in my primary relationship, it was much easier.
It kills me to see other couples say “oh we’re poly but I don’t share my girl.” Poly (to me) is about sharing your heart with other people, male and female and it seems unfair to say I can have all the girlfriends I want but there is no way in hell that she can be with another man.
It’s important to be truly honest with yourself and what you want. Don’t run away from the pain – work your way through it and come out the other side a better person.
Replace the fear with love! After all, unconditional love is SO much better than unconditional fear.