I had an interesting conversation with a friend recently.
We first met when we both took a weekend workshop on how attraction works.
We wanted to develop skills in this area.
It had been a few months since we met so we decided to do dinner and catch up.
He told me he was in a new relationship with a girl he met about 3 months prior.
Needless to say he was excited and enjoying all the New Relationship Energy (NRE) that goes along with this experience.
There’s nothing quite like the euphoria you experience in the first months you’re with a new partner!
My friend is aware of this website.
He knows in addition to writing and consulting with people about their relationships, I also encourage you to explore alternative ways to configure your love life.
My friend is seeking to build a long term exclusive relationship with his girl.
So I shared some solid suggestions with him on how he can work toward that goal.
We chatted about a lot of other things too.
I told him about my original long term monogamous relationship and some of the significant things I learned about myself before I moved on.
I shared that the main reason I was never able to connect emotionally with my partner, was because I had a fear of intimacy stemming from my upbringing.
I never dealt with this until my relationship hit a crisis and I was forced to confront myself.
I grew to a higher level and am in a better place now emotionally than I have ever been.
Tough experiences and suffering are often the path to the next level in your love life.
That relationship crisis is why I’m doing what I am today, helping people like you improve your relationships too.
As we were saying goodbye, my friend asked me a very interesting question.
He’s knows I prefer now to remain open to Romantic Friendships with the girls in my life.
I don’t seek out an exclusive monogamous relationship with just one partner, like I did in the past.
My friend asked me if I thought there is any possibility that just like my failure to connect emotionally in the past stemmed from a fear of intimacy, my current leanings toward polyamory might possibly stem from yet another fear…the fear of commitment.
That’s a really good question.
I can understand why he asked it, especially given my specific relationship history.
You might think that too when you encounter someone like me.
Someone who looks like he doesn’t want to “pin himself down” to one exclusive monogamous relationship.
What reason could there be for not being willing “to commit?”
There are two things I want to say about this.
First, as I explained in my post on polyamory, my motivation toward Romantic Friendships stems from the desire to be open to romantic love with anyone.
That’s what I think polyamory really is.
It is not about having multiple partners or seeking to get anything.
It is not about being afraid of anything either.
It is about being open instead of closed.
I’m open now to experiencing love with whoever I find it with. I don’t want to close the door to love anymore.
The second thing I want to say relates more directly to this question about fear.
You are right.
It is completely possible for a person to prefer polyamory because of fear.
And not just fear of commitment.
You can also prefer polyamory because you are afraid of trusting your partner.
Afraid they will let you down.
You can even be afraid of your own ability to make good on a commitment once you’ve made one.
But what you probably don’t recognize is you can actually prefer monogamy because of these very same fears.
You could prefer monogamy because of a fear of commitment?
How is that possible?
It is possible because a relationship commitment is to a person and to your ongoing interaction with that person.
It’s not to a particular relationship configuration.
Someone who is polyamorous in the way I’ve defined it could be completely prepared to have you in his or her life for the long run.
They could be committed to having a romantic friendship with you ongoing.
But you have a fear of committing to this person because you think somehow you have to close his or her options.
They have to agree to not love anyone else, before you will commit to them.
And of course you may want monagamy because you don’t trust your partner to continue to love you.
If he or she remains open to loving others too, then how can you be sure?
Or you may fear that you will not be able to make good in an open relationship.
You will keep wanting to close it and make it exclusive instead.
Fear of commitment is real. But commitment comes from within, not from external relationship configurations.
What I said to my friend in conclusion was this:
For a long time now I have believed the best person to be monogamous with?
It’s the person who does not require you to be monogamous with them.
I talked about this here.
With monogamy you can never be sure whether this person is with you because they truly desire to be with you.
How do you know they aren’t with you only because they “have to be?”
When your partner is polyamorous and is free to be with anyone he or she chooses to be with?
You know they are with you because that is exactly where they want to be.
I was at a promotional meeting for Tantra training once.
The facilitator said he believed in all relationships once per year you should reassess and ensure you are still truly committed to that relationship.
I raised my hand and said, “Isn’t that something we actually need to do every day?”
Because if you cease to desire your partner and cease to truly want to be in relationship with your partner, it really doesn’t matter what sort of external trappings – religious, societal, legal – you have wrapped around your relationship to “keep it in place,” your relationship is already dead.
Your relationship is a living thing today or it is nothing.
It is only alive if it is truly alive.
If you are still committed now to your partner.
If you still now desire to mutually share sexual fulfillment and emotional connection with your partner.
If you don’t desire this now, your romantic relationship is already over.
The only way to love anyone – monogamously or polyamorously or any other way you might configure your relationship – is with an open hand.
Only if your partner keeps coming back to you, is your partner truly committed to you.
And if they do keep coming back, they are truly committed.
So the question is this.
Is your partner afraid of commitment or are you?
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