AdviceHey, Bonita!

And Then There Was One

Hey Bonita,

I was previously dating two people casually, and they recently told me that I needed to choose one, as they were seeking monogamous relationships. I chose the person I have the best connection with, as we have been dating the longest, but now that I’ve chosen, I feel that I may have made the wrong choice. Maybe the [connection] just seems the best because we’ve known each other longer, and had I given another person the same amount of time to get to know them then I’d have an even better connection with them. Also, it seems as soon as I made it official, things became serious and most of my time is now being occupied by the relationship. 

I doubt I can talk any one of these lovely people into going back to multiple simultaneous dating/getting to know you situations, but I feel like I should’ve pushed against this situation more, and I’m feeling regretful. Could it be a “grass is always greener” thing? Should I have given the other individual more time to get to know them? I’m feeling like I made the wrong choice because of the unknown, and I [don’t know] what to do about it. Is it my fault for getting into this situation? I feel that I’ve hurt someone, and that makes me want to comfort them and be there for them as well. It seems that I cannot win, but having had two amazing partners to choose from isn’t really a true problem and seems more like a humble brag. Am I a douchebag? Is there even a right or wrong choice here? What moves could I make that [wouldn’t] be an absolute disaster, and also is this maybe just a normal feeling after choosing between two awesome prospects?

Second Guessing Myself

Hey there SGM,

I know that what you’re going through right now doesn’t feel good, but I don’t see a situation that requires determining who or what to blame. This is just what it means to date others, and to date non-monogamously. Simply put, plenty of people won’t be into that and will not be willing to be part of an ethically non-monogamous dating model, no matter how much they like you. It’s just not for some people, and the ethics of trying to “convert” others to the lifestyle can be muddy in terms of folks interpreting your encouragement to learn or try something new as an attempt to add them to your harem. That’s not fair, but people are allowed to say no to any and all things they don’t want, full stop. I don’t believe that there are any magic words that you could have shared with your paramours to convince them to both date you at the same time. You are also allowed to make ethical non-monogamy a non-negotiable for being with you, and you did not have to choose to be with either of them if they didn’t share this value with you. I wonder if the smothering and restlessness you feel is because you’re now having to pretend that you’re into monogamy, and not because there is something inherently wrong with the person you chose. You didn’t mention any fundamental differences between you and your boo, only that you felt like the relationship was now monopolizing your time. A big appeal of ethical non-monogamy is the freedom it affords us in relationships and the noticeable lack of pressure to be the singular end-all-be-all for someone else. I think you regret this choice because it made you compromise your values, not because there’s something just too awful about this person that you weren’t aware of while you were just dating.I don’t get the sense that it’s them that you’re not into—it’s monogamy. But I also don’t think you’ll find the peace with them that you felt when you were able to be true to yourself and the way you love others. Maybe down the road you’ll settle into this monogamous agreement, but you’ve already had a taste of the lifestyle you prefer, haven’t you? I believe that you are in the midst of learning the hard way not to compromise in this way for others and that there are indeed people out there who want you in an ethically non-monogamous fashion, just the way you are.

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