Just because I am a non-monogamous person doesn’t mean I don’t have any relationship struggles. The harsh reality is that EVERY relationship, no matter what it is, is going to struggle. I learned that a long time ago. My parents got married in 1960, and they are still married. But they never tried to act like their relationship was perfect in front of us kids.
In fact, sadly there were times my mother talked with me about struggles in her own relationship, even before I was technically an adult.
I don’t blame her for it, though there was a time in my life that I did. There are times in any relationship that you desperately need to talk to someone, and my parents’ heavy introversion meant that Mom didn’t have very many confidants, if any. Sometimes you simply need that external point of view. Sadly, though, I was a teen at the time, and had my own issues with my father. I wasn’t exactly the most objective confidant.
So, I have a very unique view of relationships. I’ve never considered them to be situations where the “fairy tale” was somehow true. And although my parents are very obviously, and very strongly, monogamous, I have considered their relationship to be a role model for my own. Oh, not just as a good one, because just like any couple they struggled with each other often enough.
No relationship issue is ONLY one sided. There is always going to be things that both individuals in the relationship are responsible for. Just because we want to be able to place the blame firmly on the other side doesn’t mean that that is justice.
The sad truth is that even in a situation of abuse, there are some items that are just as much the responsibility of the victim as the abuser. I say that as a person who has been abused. It’s difficult to get out of the situation, not only because of fear of what the other person will do, but the simple fact that many of those of us who have been abused feel responsible for our choices in the matter.
No matter how many people tell me I am not to blame for his choices, I am to blame for MY choices. I am to blame for walking into that relationship with my eyes wide open, convinced that I could overcome his horrible past and that he would “blossom and grow” with my love. I’m to blame for not walking away 15 years ago when I finally had the guts to confront him about the obvious abuse. I’m to blame for excusing his behaviors again and again. I’m to blame for hiding his activities, and lying to my friends and family.
But just because I am willing to take accountability for my choices in that relationship, it does not excuse his behavior or choices. It is simply being an adult and being aware that I had choices too.
Non-monogamy has no different issues than monogamy does. There is still insecurity. There is still jealousy. There are still childish or selfish behaviors. There is still a need for EACH person in the relationship to put the same amount of energy and work into the relationship to make it a healthy one. We’re still human beings, and we still make our own mistakes. There is still “cheating” (although it looks slightly different than monogamous cheating).
ANY human relationship has these same issues. It doesn’t matter if it is monogamous or not, heterosexual or not, romantic or not, or any other “type” of relationship. It still has the same problems. Even friendships have the same issues.
And that is probably the biggest thing I want people different than myself to understand. That we are ALL the same, no matter what differences we seem to have.