Being non-monogamous doesn’t make me any happier than being monogamous. I fooled myself into believing I’d discovered a panacea when my ex-wife and I opened up our relationship. I was very wrong. Non-monogamy is just as difficult and challenging and potentially painful as monogamy. I thought for a while that I was just bad at it, not open or honest or enlightened enough to pull it off, too happily heavy with the tragic romance of pair-bonded grief as glorified by pop songs and movies and books to manage the delicate dance of an open relationship.
And I’m not ruling out the possibility that I’m broken beyond repair. And it could be that I might not be willing to commit the requisite time and energy to making non-monogamy work in a way that mitigates the pain of being alive and full of desire and need and want. But I’m feeling more and more like it is only one painful option among many, no better or worse than any other arrangement involving bodies and minds and love and sex.
Because I’m also feeling more and more like life is mostly going to hurt. And like life is not about avoiding or overcoming hurt but about embracing it in a way that feels wild and true and edifying. And like non-monogamy (or what we call Love Animalism) is a way to do that that works for me. Not because it is more “natural” or “revolutionary” or because having sex at dawn is ultimately more meaningful than fucking the One you Love in some eternal connubial dusk, but because non-monogamy feels like a kind of pain that can be endured and cracked open and fiddled with in a way that makes me believe not in Absolute Happiness but in Partial Understanding, which is totally good enough for me.