I never planned to date a guy in an open relationship. It wasn’t that I was so gung-ho on monogamy, I just figured it wasn’t for me. I’m too jealous, can be needy and didn’t like the idea of being shared. Besides, everyone I knew growing up was monogamous. My parents. My grandparents. Their friends and so on. (Or, rather, they didn’t discuss their open relationships with kids. I’m sure plenty of them were secretly in open relationships.)
Now, however, I find myself dating men in open and/or polyamorous relationships often. This all started by complete accident. I was dating this genderqueer individual for about a year monogamously. She (she preferred female pronouns) and I broke up, and then I became a big ol’ whore. That’s what I do after a relationship. Sure, it doesn’t work for everyone, but for me it offers a much needed distraction and allows me to “get back out there.”
So I was banging man after man. I even started dating some guys — both of whom wanted to be monogamous. When I rejected the second man’s offer to be monogamous, it actually brought him to tears.
I realized then that my sex/dating rampage was actually hurting people, so I needed to cool it and not date at all. Just keep boning. Then, without going into too many details, because I go into great lengths about it here, I met Jason. He had a wife, boyfriend and girlfriend at the time. So I agreed to a date with him thinking it couldn’t get serious. The man was wayyyyy too busy to have another partner, right? Cut to me living with him and his wife and being in this polyamorous relationship, which was one of the best years of my entire life. Since then I have no qualms about dating men in open or polyamorous relationship. In fact, I really like it — and prefer it!
When you date men in open relationships, you actually get to date. It’s not simply sex, and neither do they want to U-Haul right away. That’s one thing that I’ve noticed happens often in the gay community. Either you bone and never talk again (which is fine, and God knows there have been many times in my life where that’s exactly what I want, but be clear about your expectations so as not to hurt anyone) or they crave a boyfriend so badly that after two weeks they want to be monogamous.
I don’t know you well enough for that. And you don’t know me well enough. You just like the idea of me, or rather the idea of a boyfriend. You actually don’t realize that I’m a psycho bitch. So for your sake, you don’t want to date me. Ya know?
But what I find more alluring about dating men in open relationships is the fact that it’s a relatively low risk/high reward situation. Whenever I date someone, no matter how hard I try to push that tiny voice in the back of my head down, I will inevitably hear, “Where is this going?”
The reason being, when I date in a more traditional manner, I have a more traditional notion of what the outcome should be, and that’s monogamy and marriage.
But when I date in a more nontraditional manner (i.e., dating men in open relationships) I throw what usual, traditional outcomes I have out the window.
If I’m dating a man who is already in love with someone else — even married — I know that I can’t marry him. I know this relationship will never look like a traditional one, so I’m not holding it to the usual standards of a more traditional relationship.
This allows me to relax. To breathe. To not focus on the future but rather to focus on the present. I’m spending time with this man because I enjoy spending time with him. It’s as simple as that.
Still, I’m not naïve about how the relationship probably won’t work out long-term. Sure, it might. We might end up in a triad, or the man could leave his partner for me (although that’s really not the goal) or something else entirely. But realistically it won’t turn into a lifelong relationship. And that’s OK. So often we view the success of a relationship by longevity and we have to be together with the other person until one of us dies. Then, and only then, is it deemed a “successful” relationship.
But that’s bullshit. I look back at the vast majority of my relationships fondly. None of them worked out long term. Many of the guys I dated I no longer talk to today, so it’s not that I made a great lifelong friend or anything like that. But while dating I felt fulfilled in the relationship, and I learned something different about myself. So I consider those relationships a success. No matter how long they lasted.
This past March, a study came out that asked 832 gay male respondents aged 18-39 about their dating habits and what relationships they were seeking. A shocking 89% of singles 25 and under want to find a monogamous relationship, while 93% of men 26-30 and 92% of men 31-39 are looking for a monogamous relationship.
It seems that more and more gay men are pursuing monogamy. Of course, you do you, and find the type of relationship you think will make you fulfilled. Nevertheless, I will say don’t knock something until you’ve tried it. I didn’t think I’d like dating men in open relationships, but here I am, dating men with partners and husbands, and I couldn’t be happier.