SL Letter of the Day: The Non-Monogamously Inclined


These people should maybe talk to a professional if they really are serious about their relationships. I don't really see this advice getting them very far.
If only it were that easy. People don't want to admit they're cheaters, they don't want to admit they will continue cheating, and they definitely don't want to agree to a lifetime of cheating. There's nothing wrong with non-monogamy, except for the fact that most of society says there is... so most non-monogamists are just closeted cheaters.
First! I wonder if FML is going to use his SL app to ask Dan, "so can I have TEASE's number?" if he hasn't already.
DAN! Please set these two up on a blind date! I knew you'd be a great matchmaker!
Being of the "monogamously-inclined" persuasion, I don't really have much to say about this one.
@1: And all a professional will tell them is they're wrong and they need to see the error of their ways, maybe even throwing in some psychotropic meds (you fuck lots of people because you're depressed/anxious/bipolar) or some cognitive behavioral therapy.

Some people suck at monogamy. Wouldn't it be easier to just accept that and find someone else who can accept it?
Just to be totally and rigorously thorough about it (since after all, this is slog) I feel it should be mentioned that the non-monogamously inclined can certainly have perfectly fine and long-term relationships with the monogamously inclined, so long as that's an openly discussed and mutually-agreed-upon tenet of the relationship. I.e. Ben and Marsha have agreed that Marsha can go out and have one night stands, though Ben prefers to be a one woman man.

But it's probably not good to drop a bomb like that after months or years of assumed monogamy. That's sort of a dick move (even if FML's girlfriend is non-manogamy friendly).
Why do these people enter into relationships with people that expect monogamy? Or, what #2 said.
I heard there is a "Savage Love" iPhone app. Anything to the rumor?
It's also very possible he cheats for a certain reason and could get to the bottom of that. Unlikely I know and he has probably already considered it.
I don't think it's a binary as monogamy/non-monogamy. Some people just like the thrill of cheating. They might feel guilty about it, but being openly non-monogamous won't automatically make them happy, either.
It really depends on what kind of cheating. Is there emotional involvement or is it purely sexual?

If these two really want to hook up, they should just post on "Missed Connections" on CL. Seattle's maybe?
@12 in which case he better start showing a little more impulse control, or risk being a total dickbag his entire life.
Dan is no longer accepting questions from the analogically inclined.
@14 I think being a total dickbag and getting away with it is part of the thrill for die-hard cheaters.
@16: That reminds me of a couple I know in the UK. They're not monogamous but the thrill for one of the guys—gay couple, of course, which is probably why they were able to work this out—is in the deceit, is in getting away with something, in having a secret, and a secret life, secret thrills, secrets period. So... he cheats on his boyfriend, but with his boyfriend's okay. He'll tell his boyfriend he's at work or at a film or something when he's really with someone else, or he'll "sneak" a guy into their apartment when the boyfriend is out and fuck in their bed.

Works for them.
My response--

If "She deserves the best," then give it to her: break up w/ her, allow her a few months rebound time, then hook her up w/ the best guy you know. Because judging from your letter, you're incapable of doing it yourself. You like to cheat. Since you're a SL reader, you know all about open relationships, monogamy v non-monogamy, etc. You clearly aren't interested in open relationships, as you continue to call it "cheating." You probably get a thrill out of the sneaking around/getting away w/ something, which is all fine & good, if you don't much care about the woman you're cheating on. But, as you admit, you are far more deserving of her than she is of you. So give her your best and break up w/ her.
Tell him to become a Congressman or Senator - and it will all be ok.
@17 - yeah, I think that's the difference between liking to be a total dickbag, and liking to pretend to be a total dickbag.
Wonder if the percentages work between men who don't want to be monogamous and women who don't want to be monogamous - or, better yet, between men who DO want to be monogamous and women who do want to be monogamous?

I guess the percentages don't matter much in the first case but they're vital in the second!
Non-monogamists have the same problem as asexuals, no? Normal, but most people think that you're a freak so you pretend not to be a "freak" by lying and struggle against your real self. (Closeted people can understand, no doubt.)

Part of the dilemma lies in the fact that most of us don't want to diminish our dating pool to a very small number. And, sorry folks, but people who don't want monogamy is a small number. And people who don't want sex is a small number. (Insert unhappy spouse joke here.) Folks with outré sexual needs are always going to have a discouragingly small number of people with share their interests, and, worse, that small number is rendered microscopic by the fact that they folks with similar needs generally hide them as best they can. (Is Susy Whole Milk going to admit to her church circle, for example, that the idea of being done by only one guy at a time is a lingering kind of death for her? Not bloody likely.)
I bet he's a Christian. Christian morality is the last thing serial cheaters need -- look at what it did for Bill Clinton. Ann Coulter and Brit Hume inadvertently did an outstanding job of illustrating exactly why the Christian revolving-door of forgiveness is so enabling for this kind of personality disorder.

And thus Tiger Woods is so much better off a Buddhist, where there is no get-out-of-Karma-free card that lets him avoid retribution for what he's done. But there is serious doctrine on how to overcome destructive impulses.

I mean I know Christianity thinks it has advice on how to become a better person, but how come their track record looks like a merry go round?

The advice to accept and adapt to the fact that you'll always be a cheater isn't bad, of course. But I do kind of question whether taking pleasure in deceiving those you claim to love is a character trait worth keeping. And many of these people genuinely hate themselves for it and want to change (or have billions in endorsement contracts at stake) and for them, a religion that just puts a band-aid your flawed psyche and facetiously tells you to "sin no more" is not going to cut it. Get right with Buddha, my friend.
@1 a professional what? Not a professional advise columnist?

@5 Seconded. Android.
Being of the severely non-monogamously inclined, I have just one objection to this post:

If you're open and honest about it, set good ground rules (an important element I think Dan missed) and have your partner's full consent, is it really cheating?

@22 The dilemma you mention is precisely why the Internet was invented. Seriously, I think it's one of the original RFCs "Semi-Anonymous Data Network to Facilitate Kinky Sex."

Well, if not, it should have been.

But yeah, I managed to get more depraved itches scratched through online hooking up than I was ever able to just hanging out in bars or whatever.
The trouble is, someone like this fellow isn't going to be any happier in an ethical non-monogamous relationship than in a monogamous relationship. He likes sneaking around and cheating. The difference between someone who is happy in ethical non-monogamy and someone who's only happy when they're cheating is that the EN-M types usually HATE cheating. They do it, but they hate the lying, the sneaking around, the fear of getting caught - they just aren't very good at monogamy. The cheaters get a thrill out of the lying and sneaking around.

So basically, this guy's just pretty much doomed to be an asswipe his whole life, unless he finds someone who says, "so what? so long as you pay the bills and don't bring home any pathogens, I could give a shit."
You're right 99% of the time, but I think you're way off here, Dan.

There is a difference between open non-monogamy and cheating. Non-monogamy means you are non-exclusive, and both partners know about it and are okay with it. That's perfectly fine and works for some people. Cheating is doing it behind your partner's back. To a lot of cheaters, the lying and scheming is a big part of the thrill of cheating. Being open and honest about it would rob it of a lot of the thrill.

So FML needs to figure out if he's a cheater or a non-monogamist. If he's a cheater -- if part of the thrill is the scheming and lying and secrets -- then non-monogamy won't work. Admitting it to his girlfriend (or future girlfriends) won't work. That would spoil the fun. A cheater really has only two choices: (1) learn to curb the cheating urge and stay monogamous, even if it sucks, in order to maintain a relationship; or (2) never get married. Understand that cheating and marriage are non-compatible. Just stay single, and date whenever he wants.

If he just likes sex with different women, and can be open and honest about it, then finding a compatible mate can work (regardless of whether or not SHE's monogamous). A mate like that might be more difficult to find, but more sustainable in the long run.
One of the few good things ever to come out of Jim Carrey's mouth was:


Stop cheating, asshole. Just knock it the fuck off. Don't get into a monogamous relationship with anyone until you can and will fucking quit it. If you're in a monogamous relationship, don't stick your dick into anyone else. You get yourself into these situations. You have no excuse. Stop it.

@16,17 We may not like to admit it, but there's a part of us that likes being cheated on occasionally. Not in the dreary, open-minded, TMI, burning-man bisexual polyamory way. In the heartbreaking, angry sex, wake your best friend at 4am way. If your partner is the type to cheat, your partner is probably devious and obsessed with sex, which is hot. Also, you've now had verification that your partner is attractive. We really have to get over this happily-ever-after stuff. Love's a bitch, even if you stay together until you 90 and die starting into each others rheumy eyes.
My stream of consciousness as I was reading today's posts:

Crying loser. Tease iPhone app. Android non-monogamy. Fuck iPhone. Cheating at-risk youth.

What do you make on each iPhone app, Dan? Twenty cents? This year you're gonna get caught in that tax snare fo' sho.
Seeing the TSARY acronym there made me go all sci-fi nerd, thinking that the at-risk youth should always be verbally referred to that way. Maybe with a dash in between "T" and the rest? The "Ti-Saaari"...

...'K, I'm done now.
Cheating and non-monogamy are lesser modes of behavior for humans and practitioners will experience less full and joyous existences than people who are able to be faithful.
Just how diminished an existence the cheaters will live depends on how much they cheat and how much they have dulled their sense of inner awareness but they will always miss out compared to the life they could have lived.

Just like people who are obese will have a less fulfilled life than someone who keeps their eating within healthy bounds and gets a little exercise.

Just like people who are addicted to alcohol or heroin or tobacco or whatever will have less happy lives than they could have had without the addiction.

Just like people who steal and lie will have more complicated unsettled troublesome lives than honest people do.

Cheaters and practitioners of non-monogamy will always diminish their lives.
Hey Dan, I probably should wait until I'm sober to ask this, but aren't straight men better at wanting non-monogamy for themselves than at wanting it mutually with their women? I've many years of experience in an open relationship and I'm really really fine with my husband and my boyfriend having sex with others. But they have a lot harder time with it going the other direction. I think often straight men want non monogamy for themselves but aren't very good at thinking of their women with other men. So I wonder if this guy would really be okay with his girlfriend doing the same thing he is doing. Therein lies the rub. I should rephrase this when I am sober.
no one who was in love and understood what love (and commitment) are ever enjoyed being cheated on.
perhaps if someone is mainly in a relationship for the sex maybe cheating adds a new twist or thrill but lust is not love.
What #33 said.
In my last serious relationship, after several affairs, I realized that my ex was never going to be faithful. He had, in fact, become pretty nonchalant about getting busted. So I leveled with him, and told him that frankly I didn't really care who he was fucking, it was the dating/wining/dining part that came before the fucking that I was really bitter over. We had two young kids, a mortgage, a tight budget, and if I wasn't getting any of those perks, Side Dish du Jour sure as hell shouldn't be getting them either. So if he needed to fuck someone on the side, fine, as long as he was able to make it happen without the extended (expensive) wooing.
He was shocked, beside himself with happiness, thought he had hit the lottery, couldn't believe his luck.
Then I told him that I would be expecting the same accommodations.
And he freaking came unglued. And I DTMFA'd.

Het men (with a very few cuckoldie exceptions) are generally not so open to non-monogamy in their partners. (Massive understatement.)
@22 "Folks with outré sexual needs are always going to have a discouragingly small number of people with share their interests, and, worse, that small number is rendered microscopic by the fact that they folks with similar needs generally hide them as best they can." Wanting to fuck more than one person for the rest of your life is an outré sexual need? I would have thought it's pretty common. There are potentially lots of people out there who are more capable of staying faithful than the litter writer, but still would be delighted with the opportunity to experiment or have casual sex once in a while.

@33 well, he's not "okay" with the current state of affairs (heh!), since he wrote a letter about it... & he's presumably not "okay" with being monogamous, since he can't ever do it... so getting past his hypothetical discomfort with his girlfriend being with other dudes might be the best option for him. I mean, he might respond as you suggest, being too uncomfortable with the idea to entertain the thought. But if he's going to reject all advice that might solve his problem because it gives him a funny feeling, then there is simply no advising him anyway.
One word: swinging.
I think Dan's crusade to send every cheating piece of shit on a journey to turn themselves into an ethical non-monogamist is one of the most idealistic things he writes about. Here's hoping that both of the letter-writers can get to that place instead of torpedoing relationship after relationship. And as someone who has never cheated on anyone - I certainly hope that this kind of honesty will get more and more normal within relationships, hopefully before the cheating actually happens!

Also, @35, you are a badass. It sucks that you had to go through that, but still: awesome way to handle a shitty situation.
If you're not capable of/interested in monogamy, DON'T PLEDGE MONOGAMY. Duh.
The problem is that men always want to be able to be promiscuous but they want everyone they're fucking to be faithful to THEM. I mean, that's just biology bitches. So while the idea seems super neat-o, two promiscuous people together never really works either. It's a recipe for drama and heartache too. Some things in the human soul just can't be reconciled, even by Savage :(
@33: spot on.

This struck me: “I really want to change my life...more than anything, change THE WAY I TREAT WOMEN. Sometimes I feel like crying about it like some sort of PUSSY ass loser. Help me please!” (emphasis mine).

It sounds to me like this guy realizes he treats women as disposable and that that’s wrong and not working for him. Also, misogynist slurs don’t help your case, there, bucko. He sounds like a total cock.

This, what 33 said: “straight men want non monogamy for themselves but aren't very good at thinking of their women with other men,” combined with the kind of juvenile view of women as 1. objects and 2. through that cultural meme of mothering their men, nagging and policing their men’s behavior. It seems to me that men who have a hard time viewing women as fully-fledged human beings tend to have stopped growing, mentally and emotionally, in adolescence.

Dude: if you don’t want to be seen as a baby-man, fuckin’ step up and be accountable to YOURSELF. Expecting your partner to be some sort of authority figure to rebel against isn’t healthy, unless you’ve worked that shit out and it works for both partners as a kind of relationship kink.

Otherwise, maybe it’s time to fully commit to the infantilized version of manhood you ascribe to and do what 19 suggests—Family Values sound right up your ally, winner.

*I also seriously hope you’ve been taking the necessary precautions against STIs. If for no other reason, you shouldn’t cheat on someone because you’re exposing them to risks they have not consented to. DOUCHEFACE.*
@29 Don't generalize based on whatever your preferences are. Most people I know don't enjoy pain (unless they are masochists), being lied to, deceived, or betrayed. These are the things that do the real damage both to the victim and the relationship. How do you trust someone again once they've shattered that trust, but then I guess trust isn't that important to some people.

Your contention that cheating verifies that your partner is attractive is silly. If you don't believe me, check out the syndicated series Cheaters, its available on the net at hulu and elsewhere.
Wow this writer is very uncomfortable in his own skin. He is acting on impulses that he knows are wrong for the situation he is in and it is creating cognitive dissonance. The fact that he feels such guilt and is having emotional turmoil puts him into the place where some psychological therapy can do him a world of good. I recommend finding a good therapist. It will help. The therapist can listen to his inner conflicts and offer insights and help so that the writer can gain self understanding and a lifestyle that works. His current lifestyle is hurting both him and others. It is time for him to get help. Good luck. It is all good.
Yeah yeah, society isn't too supportive of (consensual) non-monogamy (yet). The great thing about sex is, you don't have to tell society. You just have to tell your partner(s) and your lucky extra(s) (and not get caught by nosy fourth-parties).

The thing about being polyamorous (what I think Dan was hinting at) and swinging (ok, this is really what he was hinting at, but I'd rather pretend he meant the former) is that it's kinda like being gay was a few decades ago. Everyone was in the closet, so everyone thought nobody else did it. So come out already, so people can see how common (and ok) this is.