The Loneliness of Monogamy

Ben left to go “home” for holidays yesterday. Only two days without him have reminded how lonely monogamy is.

939345_10103557499703992_1513632550_o-1Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been glad to have some alone time with Brad. He and I have actually been getting along beautifully the last couple of days. We spent all day together today – philosophizing, cooking and making love. I feel like we are reconnecting in a much-needed way. He’s been in a great mood and said he appreciates having me all to himself for a little while. He’s being really affectionate, flirtatious, considerate, patient and is even putting up with my constant need for hugs.

I suspect he’s partially relieved that he doesn’t have to compete with Ben for my attention for a few days, and partially appreciates me more because I haven’t been overly available lately, like I used to be. Either way, I’ve been eating it up. I love it. I love that we feel in love again. It’s like a mini honeymoon phase all over.

Still… now that our day is coming to an end, it’s all too apparent that Ben isn’t here. Last night, I noticed his car in the driveway and for half a moment thought he was home from work. I felt my heart sink a little when I remembered he won’t be back ’til after Christmas. I love having three “workday” mornings a week home alone with Brad (since he works mostly weekend nights on the food truck), but I always look forward to Ben coming home from his 8-5 job, in the evenings. Our family feels closer to complete when he’s here playing his guitar or helping us play soccer in the living room with Nora.

He adds an element to our home that was missing before he moved in – his weird jokes no one gets, the funny little stories he tells about work or something he read on facebook, his apple cider vinegar elixir (sorry Ben, I drank it all), his ability to stay calm and collected and keep the peace when things get heated, and maybe just his presence. Right now, I’m sitting in his bed (sorry again Ben… swear I’m not trying to be creepy… it’s just the quietest room in the house) breathing in his smell.

Little by little I’m falling in love with him (I’m sorry Ben, I hope that doesn’t freak you out… if it does, just re-read this post – I’m Madly in Love With You, But Don’t Worry, It’s Not a Big Deal). And I think the only reason that’s scary to Brad, or others whose partners are falling in love with someone else, is because – even though we know now that we’re polyamorous, and we’ve read all about how to make that work – the cultural conditioning that’s embedded deep into our unconscious tells us that it’s impossible to be romantically in love with two or more people at the same time.

From the time we were babies we were taught we can love two parents, four grandparents, countless children, siblings and friends, but that we cannot simultaneously love two people romantically or sexually. So when we do feel this way, our conditioned mind tells us it must not be true. I’m sure Brad is often tempted to think, “well, if Sara is falling in love with Ben, she must not love me anymore,” when in fact the new relationship energy has restored and renewed my passion for Brad.

But I’m getting off topic. What I’m mainly trying to say is monogamy is lonely. I’m sure many of you will dispute that and tell me all about how you can have platonic friends to fill the void – but I’ve already made a case for why platonic friends don’t fill the void in another post – Why Friends Aren’t Enough. Because how many of you have your platonic friends over for dinner every night? How many of your platonic friends play with your kids every day? How many of your (monogamous) platonic friends can you cuddle with on the couch when your husband is immersed in something or needs some space?

huntergathererx-largeReal, close-knit tribes are not made up of strictly platonic friends. There were entire networks – tangled webs – of sexual and romantic bonds interconnecting most, if not all, members of pre-agricultural tribes. That’s what helped the tribes to function so well, what helped things run peacefully and smoothly, what helped ease conflict and tension. If you don’t believe me, read Sex at Dawn. Or just ask me, I’m already experiencing proof of it – I’ve never had a roommate that didn’t annoy the shit out of me until now. The difference? I’m having sex with him.

My point is that tonight I’m reminded of what it’s like to live in a monogamous, nuclear household – quiet and lonely. Unless you have lots of kids. In that case, it might not be so quiet, but I suspect it’s still pretty lonely, as most of them don’t hold adult conversations very well.

That’s all for tonight. Happy Winter Solstice.