Originally posted at http://notyourmothersplayground.com
Here’s a fact I’ve realized lately: I’ve dated / slept with way more
people since being married than I ever did when I was actually single.
Looking back on my real single life is a strange exercise. Steph and I
have been together since I was just about 21 so my single days are far
behind me, plus I was younger then and times have changed. Still, I
have enough single friends to know what dating is like nowadays and I
wanted to reflect on the differences between being actually single and
single(ish). (Dating while in an open relationship.)
The first obvious difference is that being Ish, I’m already coming
home to somebody. The ’sense of urgency’ that I’ve seen so many people
go through is lifted. I don’t have any questions of “Is he (or
sometimes she) the one?”. That position is filled and if I’m looking
for anything it’s part-time, full time part-time or contract only.
Dating while married allows me to appreciate different aspects of
people I might have missed being single. I still have a set of ethics
and values that I look for in potential mates. As Dave Pollard wrote in
his article “Why Polyamory is Good For You … and the World”:
it’s quite possible for a poly person to assess what they’re
looking for, and what they offer, in multiple relationships, and look
for people to love with these factors in mind.
Once these key qualities are taken care of, then I find myself more
wiling to connect with people whose lifestyles might vary quite
strongly, or sometimes not at all, from mine. Being single(ish) allows
me to focus on the present: who they are as people and how they make me
feel, while not having to worry about whether they make enough money,
if our future goals are on the same path, etc. I do prefer to become
friends with the people I date, but as history has proven my friends
have always been an eclectic bunch.
This to me is a definite pro to being single(ish). Opening up my
heart and life to let people in that I might not have known had I been
looking for a strictly monogamous relationship.
But what are the cons? There’s always good and bad things to
everything. Obviously when I say “bad things”, I don’t mean it in a “Oh
gosh, my life is so hard” way. I’m a ridiculously lucky gal, and I
don’t forget that for a second.
Being single means that you are free to date whomever you want,
whenever you want, and for as long, or as little as you want. You don’t
need to worry about your partner at home. You can get into saucy
situations without the need to explain yourself. Besides the
possibility of running into your roommates or parents, you can bring
someone home to your bed, on your terms. I know plenty of single men
and women, and some of them are searching for a mate, while others
remain happy riding the dating wave.
Being single(ish) to me is like a free layer of thick skin. Strange
as it may sound, it’s much easier to deal with rejection or a break-up
when you’ve got someone at home to love you, tell you that you’re
wonderful and that it will all be ok. It’s still bizarre to me, but
Steph has been a fantastic friend while I’ve dealt with break-ups. I
know it was tough for him, but he’s always stood by like a trooper.
An example of that thick skin coming in handy is with a boy I dated
just once, but still have as a friend in my life. The amount of times
that we’ve suggested making plans, saucy or otherwise and things have
not happened would probably be enough to break me, were I single. The
on again / off again flirtation can be great fun (albeit slightly
frustrating), but I don’t think it would be so fun if I didn’t have
someone at home. The fact that more often than not I end up rejected
causes me to flirt more with him because I feel safe in my own skin
having someone to fall back on that I know doesn’t reject me.
The irony here is that he’s admitted that the fact that I am married
is one of the things that prevents anything from progressing. You can’t
win ‘em all!
There’s no doubt in my mind that being able to date people, while
married, is something that I am lucky to have my husband’s permission
for. And while I sometimes crave the freedom that goes along with the
single life and think it can be great fun, now that I have him, I’d
rather have the occasional logistical problem than not have my husband
around. Sure it sucks to not be able to have sex with someone else when
I / they really want to, but really … I get to - when it all works out
- have sex with someone else!
Poor me, right?