Wolves are monogamous creatures. I never knew this. I don’t know about you, but I kind of just expected that a creature that howls at the moon and races through the woods under the cover of a moonlit night to hunt it’s prey, would be anything but.
This news also strikes a cord of irony with me because an ex-long term partner used to identify heavily with wolves, and mostly because he figured they were unbridled creatures who answered to no one, and romped as they saw fit while the female wolves stayed home to watch the kids. He figured the wolf was the poster animal for polyamory. Hah, jokes on you, wolfie.
No, the gray wolf is one of only a handful of animals that pair-bond monogamously for life. You can read all about it right under the heading of Reproduction and Development in this handy dandy wiki.
I was 22 when I first heard the term “polyamory”. Up until then I figured there were three types of people: monogamous, cheaters, and swingers. Since then I have had a couple dozen or so (this might even be a slight understatement) of friends who identified as poly. I, myself, have even identified as poly during different points of my life. Usually this varied with each relationship I entered into.
Now, a lot of poly people will try to say that it’s completely different than swinging. Not really having known anyone that identified as a “swinger”, I have to say that from all of the many polyamorous folk I have known over the years, no matter how much they proudly say it’s different than swinging because of the emotional component, it is still looks pretty much like swinging. This is what most people call “sleeping around” in their twenties: you kind of have relationships with varying degrees of commitment, they may or may not last for very long, but then eventually you find “the one”, and settle down and get married. Some people just keep doing both at the same time. Trust me, it’s never as much fun as it sounds, or as you think it’s going to be. Also, a lot of people have a hard time understanding that the freedoms they expect in relationship are a two-way street. In other words, if it’s good for you, it’s good for me. Everyone plays by the same rules.
I keep thinking to myself that I have learned unequivocably that I am a monogamous creature. I’m not good at sharing unless I really am not emotionally invested in the person. I get jealous. Men want to point fingers at us women and make it like we’re the only ones who act jealous, but let me tell you from firsthand experience: men get VERY jealous. They are not immune to jealousy like they would like us to think.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been in a relationship with someone where we considered ourselves poly, and it was all fun and games if they were pursuing or being pursued by someone else, but the minute I was, suddenly the rules would change. Usually this meant they would find something wrong with the competing male and would either deal with this by making disparaging comments about them hoping I would lose interest, or flat out beg me not to pursue the person/relationship. It was never a reason with any solid grounds.
It was those times when I would have to remind them what was good for them was good for me. In fact, my ex-FWB even got jealous when I would go out with other male friends or potential partners, and all the while he would completely deny it! One time he called me at 11:30 at night to “see how I was doing”, when I had just told him only 4 hours earlier that I was going out with a male friend for drinks. When I didn’t answer, he called me again promptly at 9am the next morning. And when I called him on his ruse in the form of a phone call that was really meant to see if I was home (and alone) yet or not, he flat out denied it.
I get jealous. I know this about myself. I’m not going to lie or pretend I don’t. It doesn’t make me any less evolved as a person. It’s a human emotion. Own it, I do.
Still, in monogamous relationships where I have been generally happy, my mind has been known to wander, and I don’t just mean sexual fantasies. When I was dating Guitar Man for example, I really, really wanted to have sex with this guy who was in the HAI workshop we took part in on our trip to California, but I didn’t because I knew it was a momentary thing with no possibility for more, and the real possibility would be that it might ruin what we were working to build. Honestly, I still regret that I didn’t. He painted my nails for me…long story…but it was one of the sexiest experiences of my life. *sigh* Also, I’m pretty sure I hugged him while naked, but I hugged a lot of naked people that weekend, so it’s hard to be certain.
While in that same relationship with Guitar Man I also used to find all sorts of casual ways to see my ex-FWB Norris. At the time I was even going to school and had designed a project around him, so I had guaranteed myself time to spend with him. It was all very innocent because nothing ever happened, and I’m not sure I wanted it to because I have a pretty strong moral constitution, but still I needed to see him. In my head, the intentions weren’t as innocent as I wanted to pretend they were either. On the last day of the work we were doing for my project together (and just coming off the heels of Guitar Man treating me like complete shit) I straddled Norris’s erection that was bulging through his pants and kissed him until my mind told me to stop. I never told Guitar Man what had happened, let alone that I had been routinely seeing my friend.
And then there was my last relationship that I don’t speak much about. I have done very well, without much effort, to delete all memories of it from my head. It was someone I really truly loved, but still, there was FWB all the time in my head. And then, just a week before a very pivotal moment in that relationship, I ended up having lunch with Norris and then kissing him in his car, parked in a school parking lot in the corner, while it poured rain around us. It would have gone a lot further if he didn’t have people from his office calling looking for him to come handle things they couldn’t on their own. I guess I should be thankful because that probably would have been a heavy transgression on my heart.
However, the disclaimer for the above is that Guitar Man had a roving eye as well for an Australian girl at that same workshop, and the man I was last serious with was polyamorous, but only one-sided, meaning anytime I wanted a new lover he always found something wrong with them.
So, I don’t know. Maybe I am not really monogamous at all, and I am just trying to convince myself otherwise.
One of my friends told me he thought I had issues with commitment based on the types of people I chose for relationships, but I don’t think I do. I really think I have just not met the right person/s. Or, maybe if I met someone who I felt was fully committed to me, then I could be 100% fully committed to them. I’m actually a very loyal person when I feel I’m getting that loyalty in return. The question remains though, is anyone really 100% commited to one love? Does that even exist, or are we all just kidding ourselves?
I’m seriously jaded.
And sometimes, I am just a ravenous, desirous wolf who wants to howl.