Sexual Non-Monogamy . . .is there a case for it?

I “met” a very interesting man on Match.com who meets all my criteria – he’s smart, well educated, healthy, 69 to my 67, has a good sense of humor, financially comfortable, likes to travel, and most importantly, we have similar values and outlook on life (not to mention, he’s taller and weighs more than I).

We’ve been having fun communicating via phone and email for the past month. We have not yet met face-to-face because he hasn’t suggested it (and I’ve been trying to play a bit hard to get). There is also the fact that he lives in Sacramento and I live in San Diego – about an hour flight or a 10-hour drive.

After sending him an email on Saturday responding to his inquiry about which comedians that I like, and not hearing back for 5 days, I sent him a rather direct email with a subject line labeled, “Question”. It read, “Just wondering if you are interested in pursuing a relationship. I am, if you are. If so, I’d like to meet in person. What sayeth you? “ (the “sayeth” is because we are both lawyers and I thought it was kind of cute).

I pushed the “send” button before I had time to chicken out. Then I sent it to my daughter for comment. It didn’t take long for my phone to ping her message, “well mom . . . this might scare him away, but if so, what the hell . . . he’ll miss out on the ride of his life! . . . followed immediately by my message back, “yep”.

As the day wore on, two very noisy parts of my brain carried on quite a dialogue – alternatively regretting and defending my impulsive action. I was prepared to go quietly into the night if I never heard back from him or if he emailed that he did not want to “pursue a relationship.”

Half way into my bowl of popcorn and my recorded episode of The Good Wife”, the phone rang and my caller ID announced his name on my TV. I picked up the phone with a cheery “Hi Will”, trying to act nonchalant. He laughingly said, “so you don’t want to just keep writing and calling for the next few years?”

Joining in his laughter, my retort was “guess we could, but it might be a lot more fun to actually meet and hang out”. As we talked, I could feel the muscles in my neck relax as I stretched out on the sofa in preparation for a nice chat.

And chat we did. Turns out he’s 4 years separated and 2 years divorced after a 37 year marriage and has been having fun dating a few local women . . . but all is not well. He is experiencing some push back – the women he is dating want him to be exclusive and want to work toward a 24/7 relationship. He’s not ready to be either exclusive or 24/7 but when he socializes, he prefers the company of women to men – acknowledging that, in general, women are far more interesting than men.

He asked me what I thought about his conundrum and whether or not I date more than one guy at a time. I answered that I am more of a “serial monogamist” – being exclusive for as long as things are good and breaking it off when things head south.

We also talked about the geographic distance between us. Will likes to go to movies and likes to call a gal last minute to join him. This obviously wouldn’t work for us.

Basically, he likes convenient women who are good company. I sure can’t blame him for that. But I did suggest that a long distance relationship has advantages too – most particularly, one can have time to one’s self. I told him that my ideal set up would be for each of us to spend about half of the time alternating visits to our homes and traveling and the rest of the time apart.

We ended our chat after we set a time frame for his visit and confirmed that my sofa could accommodate him (his query about my sofa was probably to assure me that he doesn’t expect sex right off the bat).

Even though, I’d prefer that I was the only woman he is communicating with, I have to say his candor is a breath of fresh air – and I won’t be blindsided should things progress with “us”.

Will’s question about dating more than one person at a time got me thinking about what that might mean. At first, I dismissed the concept out of hand – after all, I had always maintained that if I liked someone enough to have sex, I’d want him to be exclusive – and of course, I would be too.

But just maybe, I am being too old fashioned about monogamy among single people – particularly those who live far apart. (although I do believe that monogamy should be the standard for married people).

So, I start imagining what this novel concept might be like. The first thing that comes to mind is STDs (since pregnancy hasn’t been an issue in many years). I guess condoms can help (but not eradicate) this issue.

The next thing I think about is possible comparisons – I don’t want him comparing me sexually to other women – although this could still happen in serial monogamy, it has never bothered me. I might worry that my body is not as nice or my lovemaking is not as erotic or as “good for him” as my competition. (yes, I do have a competitive streak).

Then there’s the issue of enough to go around – let’s face it, at this stage of the game, we are all a bit less energetic than in the old days. If he has limited drive or performance problems, I’d want to get my fair share.

Because I am no longer religious and no longer believe that sex outside of marriage is a “sin”, I have no moral issue with the concept of non-monogamy – so that’s not an issue.

The final issue is my life long belief that sexual monogamy is part and parcel of a committed relationship. Would I hold back part of me and who I really am if I were sharing? Or, could I be in the moment and “mindful” rather than thinking about the others and the future?

Could I be turned-on (sexually and otherwise) by a man who is also having sex with other women?

And what about him? What issues might he have dating a woman who has other sexual partners? Do guys care as much as girls do about this?

Is there a feminist issue here?

These are some of my questions as I contemplate dating a man who is dating other women . . . and I’m sure there will be more questions if this becomes a real choice.

As I ponder my future just maybe it’s time for a new way of thinking about a relationship. Who said monogamy rules?

As boomers we grew up knowing that the times, they are a changing . . .

Maybe a version of “really good friends with benefits” could work.

Who knows? Just maybe sexual non-monogamy might be the answer for two open-minded and vital oldies with lots in common, who live in separate cities, who want a relationship but are not interested in either marriage or cohabitation.

I don’t know – what do you think?

WE’VE COME A LONG WAY . . . . but the journey is not over!!!

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