I started thinking about this whilst chatting with a nice young man, who'd chatted me up on one of the websites/apps I use for social purposes. A newbie to Seattle, he spied me in my Dress Whites (you know, the ones in the old war movies with the high collars that look like they are making the wearer chock) in a profile picture. As a former sailor, he thought it would be nice to chat up an old man of the sea. His move to Seattle had been precipitated by the end of his active service and his interest in moving here to be with the 'Daddy' he'd fallen in love with, having met him on Daddyhunt several years ago. As such interactions often go, we talked about our current and past romantic lives, interests etc. At one point, I am not sure who brought it up, he mentioned that he'd 'required' monogamy from his Daddy as he couldn't 'accept anything else.' He'd mentioned that this was his first serious relationship and one of a very in which his older partner had been involved. In almost every relationship, as it becomes serious, one or the other partner brings the subject up. Usually the one who does it, is the one with the least amount of experience.
On a recent episode of, "One girl, Five gays" there was an exchange between two of the participants. One of the 'older' guys (on that show, 30 is considered old, sigh) made a comment about how silly it was that youngest of the guys believes in monogamy, calling the youngster, 'stupid' for believing in such. There was a tense exchange, then an apology, yada, yada, yada. I think that this miscommunication occurred because one guy was thinking of 'emotional monogamy' and the other was thinking about 'physical monogamy.' Is there a difference? Yes, I believe there is.
The book, "Michael Tolliver Lives", by Armistead Maupin, is the story of an older/younger male romantic relationship. In the story, the older character stumbles across the younger character's profile on, "DaddyHunt" and is smitten. As luck would have it, they end up meeting 'cute' (as they say in the movie business) and a relationship develops. In the story it is the younger of the two major characters, "Ben", the 'boy' who brings it up with Michael, the 'Daddy.' He begins by saying something along the lines of, 'you know I don't think it is every possible for guys to be monogamous..." Michael's response, "Ben, you are too young to be monogamous, I am too old." As an older dude, I get what Michael means. I think it takes some maturity and experience to understand this.
Okay, as I've said before, I believe that monogamy is an important, 'stage' in a relationship. I just no longer believe it should be a permanent 'state' in one, especially in inter-generational relationships. So, what makes me think this: experience.
When I was dating the longest term of my ex's (you know, the one I write about who dumped me for a simple, fat, nelly, skeez while I was away at the war and who lives 80 feet away from my little house near the big lake), at one point we decided for many reasons (he was a virgin when we met; I was going to be away at the war for an extended period; I am only a Top, him having Top urges he needed to express, etc.) that we'd have an open relationship. As many couples who end up getting to this point often do, we decided we needed to establish some ground rules: no over nights; no 'dating', just hook ups; no f*cking in the bed which we shared, and so on and so forth). These all seemed like reasonable ground rules. The problem: he wasn't able to abide by any of these guidelines. He ended up 'accidentally' spending the night with the skeez. That led to dating the skeez, and then worst of all, f*cking the skeez in the bed we shared. When I found out all of this stuff had happened, it wasn't the physical cheating which bugged me. It was the emotional cheating that did. I mean, I'd been away at the war and had gotten laid many times myself. I spent, for example, many, MANY, long, enjoyable hours being serviced by a sexy, Hapa surfer boy. Trust me, the sex was mind-blowing. Anyway, no matter how good the sex was (and boy was it good, have I mentioned that), there was no 'emotional' line crossed. Sure we were friends, I think we still are. But it was clear that is all we were. Am I glad we became friends? Yes. Was the sex great? Absolutely! Was there an emotional attachment beyond the original 'boy crush' and then lingering friendship? No. He knew were just friends, I knew we were just friends, and that was fine with us both.
So, what was the difference? I believe it was that I had the experience to know the difference between being 'emotionally monogamous' and being physical monogamous', and he, my ex, didn't. At some point he crossed a line, for whatever reason, justifying his behavior to himself. Unfortunately, to the point of spending time with me upon my return from the war hunting for $800K water front property, while at the same time telling the skeez he was in love with him and planning on dumping me. But that is the topic for a different article.
With my most recent young man, we approached monogamy differently. For a variety of reasons we never 'declared' monogamy. And, having not done so, we never had to have the 'open or closed' relationship talk. Did we talk, in general, about making sure to be safe, if we did play? Yes. Were we discrete when we were first casually dating and playing happened, so as not to rub it in the face of the other? Yes. I believe we were able to do this because we'd both been in relationships before and we'd experienced how the 'restriction' of monogamy often leads to 'cheating'. Did I like it knowing he might sleep with someone else? No. Trust me, the thought made me want to throw up. I hate to admit it, but it still does, even after all this time (he moved across the country in August). Did he like it when I did it? No, not really. But, by not placing a restriction on such behavior, it freed us to chose to be monogamous, or mostly so. I don't believe he slept with anyone else for the last two years we were together, perhaps even longer. I didn't sleep with anybody else, with one notable exception, during that same period. And he knew about that one exception and, if not giving me his blessing, at least his understanding.
I think that too many relationships are damaged by demanding the expectation of monogamy, without understanding what that word means, or that there are variations on this theme. Granted, I am not dating anybody now, nor do I expect to any time soon, but if I do, I hope we can find a way to agree on this issue. I hope that we will both be able to discuss this topic, tell the difference between emotional and physical monogamy, and come to a reasonable agreement.
At least, that is what This Daddy thinks.
Tim Kasher - Monogamy
Uploaded by mattmmm123 on Dec 1, 2008
Live at the Troubadour, November 30, 2008