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NON MONOGAMOUSLY

Dear Young & Non Monogamous…

“What advice do you have for young people (like teenagers) interested in non monogamy?”

Dear Young & Non Monogamous,

Well, first I would say be prepared for a long journey, with ups and downs. You already have vocabulary to express what you might want out of your relationships and that’s HUGE. I think if you continue to explore what you want with an open mind and honest and open communication, you are going to learn a lot for yourself, about yourself, and what works for you. I can’t promise that there won’t be problems, but all relationship explorations run into problems, monogamous or non monogamous. So, honesty and openness with yourself and those you might like to date or be in a deeper relationship with, those are my two biggest pieces of advice.

One of my first non monogamous experiences (before I had any fancy words for it at all) was this: I was 17 living in Chicago and I had a boyfriend. He was sweet as all get out, we had been dating for almost a year and I totally loved him. Then, a boyfriend I had previously dated, when I had lived for a few months in San Diego, asked me to come to visit for prom and to be his date (he was a senior and I was a junior). We had stayed in touch and I loved him dearly ALSO. We had only “broken up” because I moved away. His parents had always really liked me and offered to fly me out. Neither of us were into prom exactly, so much as it was a great excuse to spend time together. Suddenly, however, I was in a dilemma. I was honest with my boyfriend in Chicago that I wanted to go. I told him that I loved him, but I also still loved the San Diego dude. He told me he felt insecure, but wanted me to be happy. He asked if I would make out with Sand Diego dude. I told him that I probably would, because I wanted to and I missed him. He asked me if I actually liked him, if I enjoyed kissing him, stuff like that. I told him I loved him, that he was my best friend and super hot to me, and so on… You get the idea, we processed a lot. In the end, he was happy for me. I went on a fun trip, felt respected and understood by two sweet and rad dudes, made out with an old flame, then went home and continued dating Chicago dude for over another year until I moved away from Chicago.

I share this experience for context. It was hugely informing to me on my journey into discovering non monogamy was possible, before I even knew it was, like, “a thing.” I learned that if I honestly embraced what I wanted and communicated, I could honestly and openly pursue my heart – even with support and acceptance! Don’t get me wrong, I could also share many stories where I was honest but then I experienced heartbreak and loss of relationships with people I cared about… But my most important relationship, the relationship I have with myself (my commitment to love and accept myself and pursue my own happiness), is something I feel that I have come closer and closer to ever since that first big try at being honest with two people that I loved at the same time.

Beyond that, I also have to throw in emphasis on standing by your boundaries and trusting your instincts. There aren’t a lot of positive examples of non monogamous relationships out there, so it can often feel like we’re trying to find a path in the dark. Find more resources and examples of non monogamous relationships (we’ll be sharing more here on our Sharing Is Caring Thursdays), keep educating yourself. Don’t bother doing things you don’t want to do and don’t bother with people who try to push you on your boundaries. And, trust your instincts! If a situation doesn’t feel right, don’t waste your time.

Some people may not really bother you, after all, teenage years are years when people are more expected to be trying out new things and a lot of people think that dating around isn’t too big of a deal when you’re younger (well, they might if you are or they perceive you as female, because of sexist double standards regarding cismen and dating around), but you will also probably have to deal with a fair amount of people pressuring you to have traditional relationships.

Make sure you’re talking with people you care about outside your romantic relationships that want to support you and your happiness. Friends that are dismissive of your relationships just because they are non monogamous are not useful. Friends who care about you being happy, healthy, and being there for you (even if they don’t have the exact same relationship styles) are priceless. Remember that only you, ultimately, can decide what’s best for you.

All the best,
Blue

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