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I Feel Differently

Author: Tsara Shelton
Author Contact: @TsaraShelton on Twitter
Published: 17th Aug 2022 - Updated: 6th Sep 2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: Love and Romance Publications

Summary: Monogamy is not the right way, but it is also not the wrong way.

Definition

Monogamy

Monogamy is the dyadic practice of choosing one partner at a time, generally of a romantic or sexual nature. When used in zoology the term means to have one mate at a time.

Main Document

Romantic and sexual relationships are shaped by our biology, culture, beliefs, and personal preferences. Trying not to judge people with vastly different feelings about what is right or wrong in romance can be challenging. I find it helps when I notice my own feelings becoming different.

I used to think people who believed in monogamy were weak-minded. I don't anymore.

 

I feel differently now.

It's not that I think differently. It's me feeling differently, then thinking my way to understanding and filling in the feeling.

For most of my dating life, and also the twenty years of my married one, I barely moved on my feelings regarding monogamy.

Lying is cruel, I thought. But monogamy, the expectation of it, didn't make sense to me either.

Choosing one partner to have sex with has always made a certain amount of sense. STDs are a reality and even a likelihood for most sexually active people and not getting them is easiest with no sex at all, followed by sex with only one partner when they also choose only you. In fact, safety in general is easier when you choose one partner, and you choose well.

But making too many of our choices out of a fear of being unsafe is, well, not safe either. Not when you pull back and look at the bigger picture.

So, even though I understood that it made sense I still didn't think it should be an expectation. A thing to strive for or expect in order to consider yourself in a successful or happy relationship. There are so many kinds of love and ways to love. Why expect romantic love from your partner to flow only in your direction? Why limit yourself in this same way?

Because I felt this way -- and I really did feel it before thinking it -- I mostly rolled my eyes to comments in movies, in life, in books, about a lack of monogamy when the comment made it clear that the assumption is monogamy is good, everything else is a mistake. Cheating, because it implies lying, I never felt was okay. But if someone was married and also romantic with someone else it didn't, in my mind, mean anything bad or wrong had necessarily happened.

I still feel and think this way.

But things have also changed for me.

Until recently, I admit, I felt that a strong belief in monogamy and expectations of it were for children or pathetic adults. People who were not strong independent free thinking confident individuals and, instead, believed what they had been told by society or church, or simply people who swallowed too many lazily written romance novels. I did not think this way, to be honest, but I felt this way.

I feel differently now. I'm in a new relationship. And I feel differently.

I feel an expectation of monogamy, of romance and desire to flow from me to him and him to me and nowhere else. I feel jealous at times. Something I haven't really felt since I was a child. I feel myself growing beautifully fuller and toward only this relationship. This one only.

When I think about the feeling, I can find reasons.

Something magical is growing outward. I am not exactly changing but I'm quickly discovering new things about me and this relationship is to blame. I love it.

I've had this feeling before, of being in a relationship that is helping me grow, of hoping it is doing the same for the other person or people. But the part where I want it to be exclusive, an only us thing, that's new. If I thought I was not now the only one for him, that he was intrigued and enticed by the attention of another, I would hurt. Badly.

I have almost never felt this way before, and never in a healthy relationship. (BTW: in my mind a healthy relationship is one where each person is being themselves, being seen and heard, being considered an equal, has room for growth, has room for messing up, has freedom to leave.)

When I was really young, I could get jealous or afraid of losing my boyfriends, but that was because I had worked so hard at being who and what I thought they wanted, not because I really loved or wanted them or the relationship. It was not nice, to me or them.

But in this relationship now, when I am not young, I am being me, and being who I like being. Being myself while I am afraid of losing someone's affection is different than when I was trying to be someone they wanted.

Back then I was steeped in self-doubt and self-sabotage. I wanted to be someone desirable and looked for clues outside of myself for who or what that was. So if it didn't work out, if I wasn't the girl being chosen, it wasn't about me exactly but about my attempt at becoming who I thought they wanted. I could still be jealous, jealous that someone else might be prettier, smarter, sexier, sweeter, more skilled; more what the person wanted, despite me trying to be. But it felt different than the jealous I feel now.

Now, while I'm loving the delicious intimacy of this relationship, while I'm discovering new ways to listen to him and understand him as entirely as I can by discovering the things about me that get in the way of really understanding, hence breaking down walls I never imagined I had, hence becoming more and more naked and on display, it would be about me.

It would hurt oh so badly if he didn't want me. Or if he wanted someone else as well. Or if he wanted someone else instead. I don't want that, and I don't want him to want that. I never felt strongly about that before.

I feel differently now.

When movies and life and books show me someone who is in pain over losing a romantic partner's affection, or having to share it, I feel differently now.

I feel it differently.

I feel it.

I love how life never stops teaching me I can feel differently. It keeps reminding me there is validity in differently.

Evolving is not about getting to a finish line. It's a wonderful ongoing never-ending process.

How I felt when I was younger was valid, how I feel now is valid.

I wonder if I'll ever feel differently about that.

Author Credentials:

Tsara Shelton, author of Spinning in Circles and Learning From Myself, is a contributing editor to SexualDiversity.org

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• (APA): Tsara Shelton. (2022, August 17). I Feel Differently. SexualDiversity.org. Retrieved May 24, 2024 from www.sexualdiversity.org/sexuality/love/1004.php


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