In another lifetime, I sat holding my knees on the floor of a dingy bathroom stall in the studio space I was working out of, taking a brief meditative break from the addictive electricity of working on a live television show. I needed a minute to focus on my breathing and control the panic attack, calm the little green monster that was running circles in my chest so I could get back to work. There was a lot going on personally, but on that particular night my body was reacting most to the knowledge that as I was working my ass off running back and forth between the set and the control room, my partner at the time was on a date with someone else.
I had given my blessings in an effort to try an open relationship, or perhaps more accurately, “monogamish,” a coin termed by one of my heroes, Dan Savage, to describe a not-quite monogamous relationship. What I learned from my attempt at an open-relationship is the importance of being honest with yourself, and your partner about what you need and are capable of emotionally. When living in a city of chaos, with a brain buzzing full of career ambition and romantic infatuation, it is often difficult to connect with our inner feelings. We unknowingly ignore our true emotional needs when distracted by the chase for success, be it a job or relationship. It’s essential to take breaks and check in with yourself, even if all you have is 15 minutes in a bathroom stall. From the extreme inability to breathe and physical reaction I was having, it was clear that despite my desire to see eye-to-eye with my lover, I feel most comfortable, happy, and honest with myself when in a monogamous relationship.
I don’t judge those who practice polyamory or have open relationships in the slightest. I am pro-love in whatever form, as long as one is engaging in it from a healthy place. You just gotta do you, whatever that is. I see friends thrive and grow in such relationships, and love hearing about their fulfilling experiences. If you are interested in exploring an open relationship, or simply learning more about monogamy, cheating, and human sexuality, I highly recommend reading Sex at Dawn.
I am currently blessed to be in a relationship with a partner who shares the same views on monogamy, and I feel I can relax and breathe. Of course it’s new so I had to take care of cutting off some loose OkCupid ends, and once when we were lying in bed a Tinder match popped up on his phone, but I just gave him an angry blowjob as he deleted his account; it was sweet. “Sorry cant chatt..delleeting account bc getting bj from gf byebyeee.” It doesn’t take recalling the social impact of Deepthroat to remind you that a good blowjob can change the world.
Despite our monogamous commitment, I know enough about human nature and sexuality to understand my partner will, without intention, be attracted to others. As will I, even as simple as checking out fellow subway passengers. Some fine motherfuckers ride the G train. If down the line I’ve been with the same partner for 10 or 15+ years, who knows, perhaps we’ll be swingers or think differently regarding monogamy, it is certainly easier to embrace and get off on only fucking one another when a relationship is new. So much is circumstantial, but if I have been in a committed relationship for a long time and my partner is overcome with lust and fools around with someone else, if I still hold love and loyalty I think I could forgive a purely sexual slip up so long as I am confident the other person posed no real threat. We’re all just animals at the end of the day, sometimes people deserve a second chance and forgiveness (depending on circumstance of course – if you find a freezer full of other women’s heads or catch your partner getting it on with the dog, I would run and not look back). An acknowledgment that I could possibly forgive cheating under certain light may seem hypocritical to my negative reaction at an attempt at open relationship, however one is a hypothetical, to have your someone remind you with certainty that “at some point I am going to want to fuck someone else” loomed over my head like a dark cloud, causing me to cower, hide in bathrooms, and whimper like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. It’s just not for everyone.
If I have made a monogamous commitment with someone and one of us does break it, I would so much rather be told right away. Someone I dated when I was much younger cheated on me, and I only found out when I was experiencing pelvic cramping so badly I couldn’t walk, and he had to confess that he had slept with a random chick from a bar, and I should probably get tested to make sure the cramping wasn’t a STD. We both tested clean. It was almost as if my body could tell something was up and produced the pains to alert my brain. In this incident, what hurt me the most was the humiliation and lies. The humiliation that I had been deceived, that my partner, the closest person in the world to to me, had kept a secret for so long, and while I waited for the test results the panic that his actions may have put my body in physical harm destroyed me. We were young, dumb, and living in separate places, so I was eventually able to find the compassion to understand why the sexual act had happened and forgive, however I wish he had just told me right away.
I understand why he didn’t, it was out of fear of losing me. Fear is where most lies stem from. When I have lied in the past in relationships, upon inspection it was always out of fear of hurting, angering, or losing the other person. However, in my opinion, compassionate candor is kindest in relationships. Even if you don’t go to jail, no one ever gets away with murder. Secrets have a way of bubbling to the surface, or ripping you apart internally. When it comes to monogamy, to help prevent humans everywhere from finding themselves in the fetal position in a filthy bathroom stall when they should be working, or curled up in bed cursing that this cramping better fucking not be the clap, let us walk and talk like J. Lo featuring Ja Rule’s and be real, with ourselves and others.