He did not tell me he was in a relationship. A true life experience on Ethical Non-Monogamy.

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By: Dash, currently shell-shocked

Listening to Adele’s newest “I Drink Wine” track. Her words speak a lot to me, some lines more so than others. Specifically one of her lines early in the song is “Yet, I don’t know anybody who is truly satisfied.”

This line really resonates with me. (Yes, Matt I used really in my article and it is a good word to use here! Matt was this man I met on Hinge who writes articles for the Biology department for our state and he would complain about people writing with the word “really” too much. Whatever.)

But anyways… how do we become fully satisfied in relationships? Many would say it is finding your soulmate, your twin flame, or your life partner. Some would say it is the freedom you get when you are in love. I know lots of people say it is the safety and security you get from being with someone who is committed to you. But what if a monogamous relationship does not “suit your fancy”?

What if you are with a person, a person you have invested your time and loyalty and energy into for months, some years, and then you suddenly don’t feel satisfied in it?

What if you are with a person, a person you have invested your time and loyalty and energy into for months, some years, and then you suddenly you don’t feel satisfied in it? What do you do?

Many people cheat. Many people would continue to suffer without getting help. Some would seek couples therapy to remedy the situation. Some would talk to their friends about it and not get anywhere.

Something quite new to me has caught my attention. Actually, it has been coming up in my life a lot lately. This idea of being in one, main relationship but being able to explore and be intimate with other people at the same time. Most frequently I have heard this called being in an “open-relationship” or a lot of people prefer the term “ethical non-monogamy.” I have even heard of “polyamorous” where the person has one “main squeeze” that they love and they are their “main” while they are allowed to have a tiered system of other people that are not equal to the main person, but still get to enjoy relationship aspects.

I am out of the dating game. Who knew? I mean the wildest thing I enjoyed in was inviting a “unicorn” into my previous relationship. This is where we both enjoyed having another woman join us, but we were together and communicated about everything going into it, while doing it and how it made us both feel afterwards.

This is idea of an open relationship is still new to me. And I am grappling with my opinion on it. I think I may be too jealous. I do not like to share… so I do not think I could do it if I was in the committed relationship. Could I do it if I was the one on the side?

This is precisely what I was confronted with a few weeks ago.

Clay, a man who was intelligent, charming, witty, and could engage in banter that made me feel sexy and like the best version of myself. We went out for four dates. The first a walk with my dog, Aurora; the second an afternoon tea date in a coffee shop, third some drinks and pinball in the basement of a brewery that ended in a hot makeout sesh against the building near my car; and the fourth, this one makes me cringe, the fourth an invite to my house for dinner.

Yes, I cleaned and cooked for this man, again a Sunday night. Maybe I should have put two and two together? I’m not sure. I did not see ANY signs. He was responsive, talkative, but not too much. Kept conversation going. Anyways, as we finished dinner, cleaned up the dishes, we played Mario Kart, then started to make out, he’s taking off my clothes.

And then. THEN he slows down and asks, “Should we talk about what we are doing here?”

And I’m like “Sure, I am clean, I was just tested a week ago.”

And he goes, “I appreciate your transparency, but I haven’t had sex in over a year.”

At this point of the conversation my kettle was screeching from boiling hot tea. So we both got up. In my bra and thong I am standing there pouring him hot water over a Vanilla-Chamomile tea bag and he goes, “I haven’t known how to bring this up to you….but I am in a relationship. She means a lot to me, but recently we made it an open relationship.”

“Excuse me, what? You are waiting until the fourth date to communicate this to me? Does she know you are here right now?”

And what followed was a series of pleas from him about why he did what he did and how he didn’t feel a right time to bring up that HE WAS IN A RELATIONSHIP.

You are supposed to lead with that!!!!

He even had the audacity to say, “What could I do right now to make it up to you?”

I basically laughed in his face and asked him to collect his things. He left asking if he could pay for the dinner I just cooked him. It wasn’t even about that, but I should have taken him up on that.

I woke the next day to a long message from him explaining further the history of his relationship with his current girlfriend and how they are on rocky waters and breaking up-getting-back-together-open-relationship-cycle.

Ummmm, thanks for the information! What a waste of time. No thank you I don’t want to see you again.

Then my higher self, that I have been working on, reflects on this whole situation. And my thoughts go back to how everyone I meet is a mirror of myself. A lesson to be learned of my own self.

While dating this past year, trying to get over an ex who I cared deeply for, I have found myself talking to multiple men at once. To me, none of these men asked me to be in a relationship with them, so to me, talking to and going on other dates with multiple men in the same month was not something I considered a bad thing. Then a situation happens like this, explained above.

How many guys did I hurt because I was dating around not being open about me seeing other people? How many guys did I pull a Clay on? (Clay being the disgraceful man I described above…)

How many times did I sleep with one man one night and then turn around and sleep with another the next day?

Am I a Clay? Am I the type of person who is not honest when dating? I think NO. Clay was in a long term, two year relationship and wanted to be in a “open relationship after meeting me.” His words, not mine.

My dating situation is different and people do what I am doing all the time. You are dating on the apps. You know there are an abundance of people on there. You can swipe and get more matches at any time. Each person you are talking to is probably talking to at least three or four other people besides you. How is this any different?

Am I a bad person for talking to multiple guys at once? Heck, am I worse if I sleep with more than one guy that I am seeing in a month?

I never thought it was bad until meeting Clay and going through that experience.

Despite all that downward spiral, I did learn more about ethical non-monogamy and have seen other men on the apps use the term ENM on their profile to say they are in a relationship but allowed to date/sleep with other people.

So, I am now thinking about that. The ramifications of being a woman dating again. Would ENM be something I could do? Could I have my partner date while me also simultaneously dating? Like you have the partner for the emotional stuff, the family get togethers, the friend hangs, the weddings, but then you have an app to meet other women that provide what, another connection but more physical?

I am trying to understand and understand the mindset. Dating more than one person is exhausting. I am much better at knowing that one person wants me and I feel safe and secure in that. How much shadow work and healing do you have to do to get to the level that you would be okay with the one you love to lay down with another person the same night as crawling back in bed with you?

I don’t think ENM is for me. Again, I do not like to share. And yet, I am okay with sleeping with and pursuing men in the same month while not in a relationship. I am trying to see the difference.

I am loyal person. I like being in a relationship. I am on a quest to find someone worth to fit in my life. But currently, I am talking to multiple men on the apps, I have a booty call lined up, and I’ve got a crush who I would like to see go further. I’ve got a line-up.

Do I need to be more honest with these men about how I am dating?

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