Miscellaneous · Pansexuality · Polyamory · Relationships

commitment, exclusivity, and NSA

Hands Holding Heart.



the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.; a promise to give yourself, your money, your time, etc., to support or buy something
“the company’s commitment to quality”; “her commitment to her students”
dedication, devotion, allegiance, loyalty, faithfulness, fidelity

This post is going to be a bit of a rant. So excuse me if I am redundant or if my grammar isn’t right or etc, etc…

I have kind of gotten used to comments from people basically declaring that I’m going to “grow out” of ethical non monogamy, or asking me when I’m going to “settle down.” (For the record, folks, I’m very settled at the moment.) Kind of gotten used to them.

Yes, it irritates me that in general, commitment in romantic/sexual type relationships is solely defined as being sexually and/or emotionally exclusive. Yet there are so many other ways to demonstrate commitment than just not having sex with other people – as a matter of fact, I know plenty of people who aren’t committed or loyal at all to their partner but don’t cheat on them. I get upset that, in a lot of people’s opinions, me having multiple partners means that I can’t possibly love them all or that I have to love some “more” than others and I’m just being promiscuous with the “others.” I hate that certain of my relationships are discounted because clearly I just want sex and so some of my people can’t mean as much (and ya know what, I do want sex! Lots of it too! But I also want emotional connection, and that happens to come from all the same people I’m sexing at the moment.). I despise people making assumptions about my life – and thinking that they can casually talk to me about my sex life, attraction style, and level of interest and experience in kink simply because I’m non monogamous. Would you start asking a coworker or casual acquaintance if their partner puts it down after they excitedly announce that they are engaged? No? So why the hell are you asking me if I participated in an orgy when I simply said I spent this weekend with a partner who’s different from the one that you know? Why are you assuming that my relationships are only sexually based just because I have multiple partners?

For instance, just this weekend, I was at a dinner party that was a lot of (mostly) clean fun. Loads of laughing, singing classic musicals, “acting,” and eating. Three of my partners were there as well as one of my metamours. Some random guy cornered me and asked me certain personal information because “I heard you call one of them ‘Daddy’ and you know [a different partner’s name], so you [essentially must be DTF].” When I realized that he was not in character, I promptly left his presence. Still, he kept trying to talk to me all night while I actively avoided him. He sent me a friend request, and I have a mind to send him a carefully crafted fuck off message before denying it. And yeah, I know that people are going to come onto me hard regardless, but I can tell that in my experience, the number of those thinking they can quickly bang me goes up exponentially when it’s known that I’m not monogamous.

So, I’ve kind of gotten used to it. I think I’ve done wonderfully at holding in my frustration at those who assume that me not wanting to be married or me being non monogamous, as well as being pansexual, means that I just want to screw everyone. It’s interesting that people hear “I have multiple partners” and assume that means that I have an endless stream of fuckbuddies who float in and out of my life. Kudos to those that do – shit, I lived the swinger and NSA-when-I-wanna life for years and it was glorious (and still have the option to do so now if I wish), but I didn’t assume that that’s what people automatically wanted even if they participated in it unless they explicitly stated it. When people used certain terms, I tried to apply those terms to what they mean in society now, regardless of what relationship style a person practiced. And if I was confused, I asked for clarification. I don’t understand why others can’t extrapolate this same concept into their own critical thinking…

But for the most part, I’ve learned to curb my rage at offhand, oblivious remarks that people make that indicate that I’m afraid of commitment because {insert reason here}. EXCEPT when it’s others who practice non-monogamy. Because when they say some off the wall things, I am blindsided. You would think that someone who is non monogamous themselves would know that exclusivity is not the only way to show commitment, right?

You would be wrong.

I’m going to tell you this story about the one potential blind date experience I had that has ensured that I will never do it again. From now on, I will stick to my tried and true method of not looking for anything and having relationships fall in my lap through friendship.

I have a friend that I used to date. I have mentioned to him how I miss feminine romantic energy in my life – specifically how much I miss my ex girlfriend. Well, a few weeks ago he told me about a friend of his who broke up with her girlfriend a few months ago and that he thought we would hit it off. I asked some questions about her (and also asked my current partners about how they felt about blind dates, because I had never been on one and had reservations). He sent me pics, gave me some info, and I said that I was interested.

After some phone tag, her and I tag up. She seems interesting. Until this conversation happens:

(After I mention making lunch for my partner)

Her: By partner, do you mean girlfriend?

Me: My boyfriend.

Her: You have a boyfriend?!?

Me: I have a few. I’m polyamorous. I thought [mutual friend] might have told you that already.

Her: I’m completely speechless. He may have mentioned it but I definitely don’t recollect it. Maybe you can tell me more.

Me: Well, I have 3 partners and dating another. It’s just my reality so I’m not sure what more to say unless you have specific questions…

Her: Ok, ok. I get it! I’m in a similar situation except they are women and they don’t know about each other.

Me: . . . .

Me: Oh. Well my partners know about each other.

Her: Oh. I guess you’re living the life. That’s a beautiful freedom.

Me: Well, I guess so. It’s not that hard to accomplish; plenty of people do it. You just have to be honest.

Her: I’m selfish with my mates.

Me: . . .

Her: Have you ever been with a woman?

Me: Yes, several. I had my last romantic relationship with a woman a couple of years ago – we were together on and off for almost 8 years.

Her: They are difficult like any relationship also. *ensue lecture about how same sex relationships are just as valid as other relationships, and not something to just “try out” – although I reiterate that I have been in both romantic and sexual relationships with women since I’ve been dating, she continues.*

I basically check out of the conversation at this point. The next day, I text my friend, telling him that I don’t think that chick and I are looking for the same thing – that she’s not interested in what I’m offering. He’s confused.

Him: Funny thing – she said she didn’t think you were interested. After what you told me, and what she told me, I had to laugh, because I though you were both on the same page yet you two thought otherwise. Women! She basically told me that she is looking for  no strings attached sex, too.

Me: . . .

Me: What made you think she and I were on the same page? Because I’m definitely not just looking for no strings attached and I didn’t think I indicated that.

Him: Oh wow. I did get the wrong impression.

Me: What did I say that made you think I was looking for NSA only?

Him: I thought you were looking for a girlfriend, but that it wasn’t to be exclusive since you have other partners.

Me: Honestly, I don’t have any NSA sex these days. Only sex with my partners now. Yeah, I’m looking for a girlfriend. That’s not NSA. That’s a relationship. Not being exclusive is not synonymous with not being committed. I’m committed to all of my partners.

Him: I didn’t say it was, but I guess I implied it.

Me: Yeah, you did. To me, no strings attached means there’s not anything but sex: no feels, nothing “tying” you to the person (hence: strings), you can leave at any time, no hard feelings. What does NSA mean to you?

Him: When were were going out together, I thought of us as NSA even though I was in love with you.

Me: Oh. Interesting. Good to know.

Him: As I think of it, I think NSA and exclusive are the only two options in my mind.

Me: So if you’re not exclusive, it’s NSA? That means you and your wife are NSA, you know…

Him: That’s a totally different category.

Me: Nah. The fact is, according to your definition, if you aren’t just with each other, regardless of the circumstances, ya’ll aren’t exclusive/monogamous. So it follows that if you aren’t exclusive, you are NSA. Your definition.

Him: Okay. I see your point.


I am heated. For a few reasons.

One, I do not like it with people who are not ethically non monogamous state that cheating is the same as being ethically non monogamous.

It isn’t. Full stop.

Two, if I use a word like “girlfriend” – which society has now pretty much accepted to mean that it is an emotional, romantic relationship with a woman, no matter the gender of the person stating so – how in the hell do you see that as me wanting NSA?

No, it is simply a matter of you believing that anything other than monogamy is for playplay.

Let me tell everyone something.

I take my relationships seriously. If I am claiming you, it is NOT for damn playplay.

It takes me a bit to warm up to people, to trust them enough to feel like “we go together now.” I could have been having sex with you for the past two years and not feel like we have a deep enough emotional connection to state to someone else that you are one of my people (this includes mentioning you as a friend). Also, I don’t like labels because I don’t feel like they fully encompass the full extent of what the relationship is. So usually when I use a relationship label, I’m using it in the “societal” sense (for lack of better explanation). If I call someone my boyfriend or girlfriend, I’m using that term in the way that most of US society would use that it – for your benefit because I don’t feel like explaining nuances to you.

So why would you think that me stating that I would like a girlfriend means that I want NSA sex? HOW did you get that?

I know how.

You thought that me being non monogamous meant that none of my relationships are serious and committed (except maybe the one you chose to represent THE relationship, and sometimes not even then). Because, even though you are also non monogamous, you still hold this mindset that only one can be twue.

Fuck that.

I seriously am tired of non monogamy not being normalized. I’m seriously pissed that my relationships are being discounted, that I am and my partners are being seen as less than, that I am being seen as immature and that once I fully mature I’ll see the superior ways of monogamy.

Neither monogamy nor non monogamy is superior. One may be better for you personally, but it is not an elevated state of being.

And monogamy, exclusivity, is not the ultimate commitment.

Fuck you.

I think there are various ways to show commitment, and the way commitment looks to me may be slightly different than what it looks like to you. But bet, when you see me interacting with my partners or hear how I care for them, you will know that although it looks different than yours, I’m definitely committed.

What does this look like for Minxy?

It looks like putting time on my already busy calendar (there’s a lot of napping I’m giving up! haha) so that I can spend time with you because quality time is your love language. I make time, pull it out of thin air sometimes, at the expense of my introverted brain.

It means staying up, taking care of a sick Love, even though I have to be at work at 7am the next morning.

It means setting an alarm so I am in the right time zone for my Skype date with a partner who’s out of town.

It looks like making future plans together.

It means staying up all night for several nights, talking about feelings, communication issues, and misunderstandings.

It means always being honest, even with myself, even when it hurts.

It looks like putting petty differences aside and showing up for their events, birthdays, holidays, etc.

It means texting a partner that I’m having a tough month and so will be less communicative over the next few days.

It means trying to understand how you communicate and express yourself, and making the effort to translate that into my own language instead of just giving up. It’s having a willingness to understand your point of view.

It looks like casual touches, cuddling, active listening, having their back at all times – even if that means calling them out on some things.

It means talking about my partners to my mama, so that she knows who they are.

It means talking to you on a regular basis about the mundane crap going on in my life, as well as the big shit. It means doing my best to be present and genuine with you.

It looks like going to events with you, being in public with you, buying food for you.

You know what? I’m going to share something. I saw this commitment document from theinnbetween.net that I modified to fit myself; I changed some of the wording and took out some things. Here’s mine:

  • I am committed to taking care of myself so that I can be the best partner I can be.
  • I am committed to choosing partners who share my values so that they also make similar commitments to themselves, to me, to our relationship, and (by extension) my other partners (their metamours).
  • I am committed to not expecting anyone to live up to the “Perfect Polyam” standard, including myself.
  • I am committed to respecting my partners’ autonomy, agency, and personal sovereignty – that is, respecting their right to make informed, un-coerced decisions and to be responsible for their own decisions; their right to act according to their own free will; and their right to own their body and control what happens to it.
  • I am committed to respecting my partners’ right to make their own life choices.
  • I am committed to practicing flexibility and compassion with regards to the paths my partners may take in life.
  • I am committed to allowing the relationship to find its own structure and direction without forcing it into a predetermined shape, and committed to considering alternate structures and directions before automatically resorting to breaking up when situations and priorities change.
  • I am committed to respecting the roles that other people play in my partners’ lives.
  • I am committed to allowing my metamour relationships find their own structure and direction without forcing them into a predetermined shape.
  • I am committed to prioritizing situations, not partners, because all my partners are a priority.
  • I am committed to protecting the safety of myself and my partners through informed consent and risk benefit analysis of behavior, prioritizing evidence-based reason above emotional justification.
  • I am committed to be as clear about my expectations as possible, both with myself and with my partners.
  • I am committed to working through problems with my partners by starting with the assumption that we love and cherish each other and are therefore really on the same side.
  • I am committed to limiting my actions and words which have the intent or result of harming my partners, although I acknowledge that some decisions I may make for the benefit of myself or my relationships may result in hurt as a consequence – unintentional or not.
  • I am committed to addressing issues early to prevent them from becoming too big to handle.
  • I am committed to discussing harm reduction plans and contingency plans for when bad things happen, because I understand that we can’t always prevent bad things from happening.
  • I am committed to allowing myself and my partners the forgiveness and the freedom to be flawed, to have bad days, and to occasionally fail to live up to expectations or commitments, providing that the bad times do not outnumber the good times in either frequency or emotional weight.
  • I am committed to always being honest with myself and my partners while simultaneously allowing compassion to dictate the delivery of my honesty.
  • I am committed to accepting assistance from my partners when needed, and sometimes just when it would be nice.
  • I am committed to supporting my partners in being the best version of themselves that they can be.

Commitment, folks. It’s that easy.

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