Mr Non-Monogamous, Part 8 – Jealousy

It’s now been three months since Lucy first met Charlie, who is in an Open Relationship and just got engaged.

If you’re new to this story, you can start from the top here, or skip back to the last post here.

As time’s passed Lucy and Charlie have settled into a routine. Once a week, sometimes twice, Charlie comes over to Lucy’s place after work. At lunchtime, she goes to the M&S near her office and stocks up on just-shove-in-the-oven food for dinner (no bloody way is she doing actual proper cooking – that’d absorb too much of their rare and precious naked time and besides, being cooked for is a boyfriend privilege that Charlie definitely hasn’t earned). They have sex while the food is in the oven, eat, have more sex, and then enjoy that delicious post-orgasmic quiet time together, during which Lucy snuggles up to Charlie, her face pressed against his skin, inhaling his scent, feeling, just briefly, loved-up and happy. And then it gets late, and he kisses her goodbye and goes home to his fiancée, leaving Lucy lying tangled in sheets that smell of sex and him, heartsick and bereft.

Chance Encounter

Occasionally they go out for a meal or a drink, like a real couple. Once, out in Charlie’s part of town, they bump into Lucy’s friend Amy. They’re holding hands, and Lucy can see the question marks in Amy’s eyes as she sheepishly introduces this mystery man. She’s going to have some explaining to do later, and she doesn’t even know where she’s going to begin, nor how she’s going to face the inevitable questioning and well-meaning but judgy concern that will no doubt follow when Amy learns the truth about Charlie’s lifestyle.

“She’s very pretty,” Charlie says as they walk away, and Lucy immediately feels her guts twist with jealousy.
“She lives round here, so you might bump into her again. But you’re not allowed to fuck her, even though she’s single.”
“Don’t worry, I put that thought out of my mind before it even entered it.”

But still she feels anxiety clawing at her insides. What kind of a fucked up relationship is this where I have to specifically ask the guy I’m dating not to try to bone any of my friends? What the actual fuck am I doing, for Chrissakes?

Lucy’s not normally the jealous type – at least she wasn’t with The Ex – but with Charlie it’s a whole different ballgame. When they’re not together he could be doing just about anything with anyone and there’s not a fucking thing she can do about it. Sometimes she goes on Facebook and sees him chatting to other women, and she has no idea if they’re just friends or if he’s fucked or is still fucking any or all of them. Because why wouldn’t he be? She gets the impression that Charlie, raging ball of sexual energy that he is, is only too happy to shag any moderately attractive woman who’s up for it, and although logically Lucy knows that not all of them will be, she can’t help feeling that with his charm and confidence, the odds are pretty high that about 90% of the women he meets who are not already in a committed monogamous relationship will fall for his charms just as swiftly as she did.

Far worse than the Facebook friends list full of attractive women, however, is the fact that he regularly updates his timeline with loved-up photos of himself and his fiancée. And even though Lucy knows she shouldn’t look, even though doing so makes her stomach plummet faster than it did that time she made the mistake of going skydiving, somehow she’s physically unable to keep from torturing herself. So she does it anyway, hating herself for putting up with the mental torment, for enabling his behaviour, for tacitly endorsing the continued erosion of the values so important to her.

But much as she despises the hurt and heartache, in many ways this is also a relationship that works for her. A skilled lover, who turns up at her house once a week to give her some of the best sex of her life but also gives her plenty of time to get on with other things? An intelligent, outward-looking, interested partner who’s reliably on the end of WhatsApp to bounce ideas off or vent about her day? A secret admirer who thinks she’s brilliant and regularly showers her with compliments? Well, there’s an awful lot to be said for all of that. Of course she’d give her right arm to have Charlie all to herself, but surely a part-time lover is better than no lover at all? It’s certainly better than the horrors of Bumble and Tinder, that’s for damn sure.

Reunion

Three weeks later, and Lucy’s just got back from a work trip to the USA. She’s tired and horny AF, not helped by the fact that during their three-week separation Charlie made damn sure she didn’t forget about him.

Lucy wishes Charlie wouldn’t be quite so laid back about the idea of her ending this relationship and getting together with someone else. Surely a little bit of sadness, even a twinge of jealousy, would be in order? But of course not, he’s probably got plenty of other women on the go; in all likelihood he wouldn’t even notice she’d gone, TBF.

And so they make a plan to meet up as soon as she gets back from her work trip. Lucy has the day off, and because Charlie’s able to work from home, she suggests he comes over during the day to work from her place, with plenty of screen breaks to ‘catch up’.

It’s a warm day, so she throws open all the windows and puts on a jersey sundress. She decides against any underwear at all this time – it’s too hot for a bra, and he never looks at her lingerie anyway. Besides, he might be excited to discover she’s commando, and the thought of him getting excited for her makes Lucy go all tingly in her, um, special place.

Charlie arrives at lunchtime, takes the stairs two at a time and kisses her the way she’s been dreaming of being kissed for the entirety of the last three weeks. He’s a bit sweaty after his walk from the tube but Lucy doesn’t care: after such an achingly long period of abstinence she’s not going to let a little bit of sweat stand in her way. There is, however, a rather more pressing problem.

“You’re going to have to wait a little bit longer,” she tells him. “My car needs its MOT and won’t start, and the man from the garage is on his way over to pick it up. So clothes stay on for now, I’m afraid!”

Impatience

They sit on the sofa, laptops out, working in pleasant silence. It feels comfortable, companionable, like the proper relationship Lucy still dreams will one day be hers again. Charlie trails a hand idly along her bare leg, and Lucy feels her heart quicken and warmth rush to her unclothed lady parts. Unable to concentrate now, she scooches closer, and although Charlie’s still focused on his screen his hand wanders higher, up under her dress and higher still, where finding no resistance, he finally glances up at her with an intrigued smile, closes his laptop and pulls her in for a kiss.

Charlie doesn’t seem remotely bothered that the man from the garage will be here any second; instead, he grabs Lucy’s hips, hoicks up her dress round her waist and pulls her forward to the edge of the sofa, where he puts his expert tongue to long-overdue use and soon has Lucy forgetting whatever objections she may have had about the wisdom of this relationship. Then, when that mission has been well and truly accomplished, he drops his trousers, sits down, and instructs a now well-lubricated Lucy to reacquaint herself with the part of him that’s jutting invitingly from his lap. Which of course she’s only too happy to do, straddling him and rubbing herself against the hard tip while Charlie grabs her buttocks and laughingly urges her to sink all the way down onto him, which of course she’d be delighted to do except that with exquisitely painful timing, at that precise moment her phone rings.

It’s the man from the garage and he’s two minutes away. Fuck.

“Make him wait,” breathes Charlie, jumping up to grab a condom from Lucy’s bedside stash – and Lucy feels a flash of annoyance because why can’t he bring his own? – but she puts that thought aside because now he’s pulling her back onto him, no game-playing this time, and they fuck quickly and hard with all the gasping urgency of three weeks apart, while Charlie whispers in her ear about how he wants to see her go down to the mechanic all disheveled and freshly fucked with the smell of sex exuding from every pore.

“If I wasn’t wearing a condom,” he breathes, ”I’d send you down to him with my cum inside you and trickling down your legs.” But of course he is, so when he comes, with great loud gasps, everything is caught tidily which is just as well because (a) Lucy doesn’t want to get knocked up and (b) she doesn’t want him to make a mess on her sofa.

With impeccable timing her phone rings again. An impatient-sounding garage man tells her he’s waiting outside, so Lucy reluctantly throws her dress back on and makes a vague attempt to tidy her haystack hair and glowing face so she doesn’t look quite so much like she’s just been enthusiastically fucked. Which it turns out is an entirely futile exercise, because when she gets downstairs she discovers the garage man is waiting not outside the front gates of the building as she expected, but directly outside her stairwell door, underneath her open windows, where he no doubt heard absolutely every last moan and gasp and knows with pinpoint precision exactly why he’s been made to wait.

He gives her a hard Paddington stare, and Lucy, mortified, almost throws the car keys at him and scurries back inside.

The Facebook problem

Over lunch of Tesco Finest pizza, Charlie tells her about his recent weekend away with his girlfriend, which Lucy actually already knows all about because she saw the nauseating happy photos on Facebook and felt so wretched she wanted to throw herself off Westminster Bridge.

“Yes, I saw,” she tells him bitterly. “I really must learn to stop looking at your Facebook.”

Does this sound pathetic and needy? Yeah, probably, but Lucy doesn’t give a fuck. She’s always been someone who wears her heart firmly on her sleeve, she can’t pretend to be anything other than she is, and if Charlie doesn’t like it, then so be it.  This thing won’t last for ever anyway, so what’s the point in pretending?

“I think it’d be best if I unfriend you,” she continues. “Though that won’t help with Instagram. I can still see those photos even if I don’t follow you.”

“Just don’t look at it,” says Charlie simply, but it’s not as easy as that. She’s human and weak, and as long as she knows that Charlie’s posting on social media, she’s going to be unable to stop herself from being curious about what he’s up to when they’re not together, no matter how much agony it brings her.

“I wish you just wouldn’t post them,” she says hopefully, but she knows it’s an impossible request. Charlie’s happy and in love, he’s getting married, and of course he wants to share that. And who the hell is she to stop him? Just some random girl he’s currently fucking? Why should he censor himself just because she doesn’t have the stomach for facing the truth about his lifestyle? She knew what she was signing up for, and she has to either get used to it or walk away.

Sharing

Lucy wonders about The Girlfriend. Does she know who Lucy is? Has she Facestalked her right back? How much has Charlie even told her?

“Of course she knows who you are,” he tells her. “And that I’m seeing you. She knows I’m here right now. But we don’t talk about the details.”

Lucy still can’t get her head round it. It might be one thing to be able to tolerate your partner occasionally having a meaningless fuck with a random, but a full-on second relationship? How does it even work?

“We’re still figuring it out,” he tells her. “But ultimately it’s all about communication and scheduling. Lots of non-monogamous people have more than one. Some have a primary partner, some don’t. You just make it work.”
“But I just can’t compute how she can be not bothered by this. If it was only about sex then yeah, maybe, to keep you from pestering her when she’s not in the mood. But this is more than that now… right?”
“It is,” he says, and in spite of the grotesque ridiculousness of the situation Lucy still feels a small thrill that he agrees, that she’s not making this up or getting overexcited, that this really is more than just a fuck, it’s an actual relationship, her first in nearly four years since The Ex fucked off.

Again she wonders about people who share their partners with others. Are all of them really happy about the situation, or have some of them simply learned to tolerate it over time, deciding that it’s better than being alone, and knowing it’s the only way to keep their loved ones in their lives. If Lucy had met Charlie first, if she could have been his primary, would she have done the same? She’s not sure she’d have been able to. Sharing him would have eaten her up inside, little by little, just as it is now. In the end, it would have destroyed their relationship.

“I don’t know what to do,” she tells him with a sigh of frustration. “It seems like, with minimal effort, you get to have your cake and eat it, and then have another cake and eat that too. It’s not fair, frankly. It’s obscene. Plenty of lovely people can’t even find just one person to call their own. What makes you so special that you get to have women queuing up for you?”
He looks at her sadly. “If this doesn’t work for you then we should stop.”
“It doesn’t work for me,” she shrugs. “But not seeing you at all doesn’t work for me either. So what can I do?”

The Conversation

There is silence for a moment.

“I don’t want this to end,” he tells her. “I know I’m not your boyfriend, but if you weren’t so determinedly monogamous I would really like us to be, I dunno, something.” He tails off.

Again Lucy feels her heart leap at the thought that, for the first time in almost a decade, a man she has All The Feels for has caught feels back. This literally never happens!

She takes his hand across the table. “We already are something. But you can’t be my boyfriend, because you’re engaged. For you to be my boyfriend, we would have to do things other than just meet up and have sex. We would have to do couple things, like…”

“Like going out for a drink as we are doing tomorrow?” he chimes in. “Like going to the cinema as we doing next week, you mean like that?”

“Ok, yes we’re doing that stuff. But we can’t go on holiday together, or even for weekends away. I can’t introduce you to my family. My mum might like to think she’s open-minded but I don’t think saying ‘Hi Mum, meet my boyfriend who I will never be able to marry because he’s engaged to someone else’ would go down very well.” She laughs bitterly.

No, of course it’s not fucking possible. He can never be her boyfriend, at least not in the way that she’d like. But what, then, is he? This is definitely more than just sex – it’s a relationship now. And while it’s not the kind of capital-R Relationship Lucy’d ever pictured, it’s certainly, well, something. Something that, while far from perfect, has value. Something that’s certainly better than the heavy drudgery of dating apps and the hollow loneliness of being single.  And so for all of the anxiety she feels, for all the stress and misery, there are things about Charlie that she can’t easily walk away from: that connection, that chemistry, that sense of confidence that comes with belonging to someone, if only part-time.

The question is: is the trade-off worth it?

Next time: Lucy takes a risk and gets into an awkward situation. To carry on reading, go to Part 9 – Unprotected.


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11 Comments

  1. Kat Linquist
    23rd March 2019 / 5:56 pm

    So many people are engaging in open Relationships but have no clue how to transform their beliefs and mindset from Monogamy to Non-Monogamy. It is a process of internal work which takes place over time to let go of what you have been taught is “acceptable and normal” and create a New Normal.

    In the past 6 years I have been on my own Non-monogamous journey and have created a roadmap for women to take their own transformational journey so they can live a happy, healthy and harmonious Non-monogamous Life.

    Reading a story like this shows me how many women must be experiencing these same types of thoughts and feelings, but have no guidance on how to change and grow into Non-monogamy.

    If you are seeking guidance, support and a community of women to grow with, check out [REMOVED] for more information about my story and to Connect, Create and Thrive in Your Authentic Journey of Non-monogamy.

    • Lucy
      Author
      24th March 2019 / 9:50 am

      This comment felt like a spam attempt to promote your business on my site, but I decided to approve it anyway so that I could reply saying how utterly horrifying I find this idea. Are you seriously suggesting women go on some kind of course or ‘journey’ (vomit) to learn how to rewrite all their beliefs and values so as to submit to someone else’s sexual preferences? HELL NO! NO! NO! AND NO!
      If you are honestly happy to be non-monogamous, then fine, good for you. But there is absolutely no fucking way on this earth that I am going to do some sort of course to learn how to force myself to fit into a box that a few others might want me to fit into. Nor will I change who I am and what I believe for any man. The fact that you are suggesting women do this is wrong on so many levels it makes me want to break something. It’s only a few steps away from a Handmaid’s Tale-style dystopian future where woman just have to accept that they are men’s sex slaves and try to be happy about it. Horrifying.

  2. Amy
    25th March 2019 / 4:37 pm

    I am married, poly, female, and more happy in my life and marriage now than I ever have been. I have enjoyed reading this story, but especially after your response to Kat’s comment (and believe me, I understand why you don’t want ads on your page), I feel it is only fair to put another perspective out there. Poly is a perfectly wonderful and valid choice for many women. This explanation of a female perspective of poly I find quite accurate, and maybe helpful for you or others: https://poly.land/2016/12/20/the-switcheroo-when-enthustiastic-openers-become-benchwarmers/.

    • Lucy
      Author
      25th March 2019 / 9:28 pm

      Thanks Amy for taking the time to comment. Though you misunderstand me: I certainly don’t object to anyone being poly if they are genuine about it (ie. not a fuckboy) and it’s what makes them and their partners happy. But it works for some people and not for others, and I don’t think it is right to try to ‘convert’ those for whom it doesn’t. To me it feels rather patronising, like saying, ‘ahh sorry love, this is the new world order now, so you’re just going to have to share. Deal with it.’ And while after years of dating this feels like it might be true, I’m certainly not prepared to give up. Poly folk can do their thing, and just let us to ours. We don’t need helping, we don’t need curing, and we don’t need converting.

      • Cali
        27th March 2019 / 2:31 pm

        Being monogamous is just as ok as poly or anything else between 2 consenting adults. I get not letting others promote on you page. At the same time it is hard being new to poly and new poly people look for insight, help, and knowledge. I don’t think Kat meant harm. She was willing to share her story and give insight to “woman having these same thoughts and feelings.” Not converting strictly monogamous people into poly. Just a way of looking into it and knowledge and advice on what to do if you find yourself thinking about going down that road. She didn’t say anything about people rewriting their beliefs and values, only opening up to the idea of poly.
        I like your story because it shows the raw honest truth of what it’s like being in her shoes (I’m not sure if this is your personal story or fictional, sorry about that part)
        There are so many different types of encounters, poly relationships. This story shows one. I am now following your blog, and will continue to do so, but I would have love to have been able to see her story as well.

        • Lucy
          Author
          30th March 2019 / 11:35 pm

          Hi Cali, thanks for taking the time to comment! I’m so pleased you like the blog – and yes, this is my personal story and it’s all absolutely true except where name and some identifying details have been changed to protect identities.
          With regard to your comment, I guess the difference is that I am not poly, nor ever will be. I have no wish to convert or be taught to deny my instincts and train myself to accept something that is not for me. This has happened to me by accident and I am making the best of the situation, but I have no intention of this being a permanent solution to my single/relationship issues.

  3. Amy
    25th March 2019 / 11:39 pm

    I agree no one should try to convert anyone. Poly people can particularly understand the desire to live life on one’s own terms, following one’s own desires. But it’s a far cry from a dystopian handsmaid tale society, and a bit unfair to parallel them.

  4. Desi
    26th March 2019 / 7:51 pm

    Wow, I’m hooked on this story and it mirrors my life but in reverse. I’m married, 26+ years and we are open (on and off) the entire time even while we dated. Last year I met a spectacular younger, single man that enjoyed dating married older women because he didn’t have to deal with the problems that come from single women wanting to be in relationships. I never became too involved with any of my side dudes because it was about good sex but this one was different and I was hooked from the start. Even my hubs noticed and tried to intervene but I was limerant. The love drug is powerful and your brain is hijacked and you are an addict to that person and the feeling or high you get from them. You will do what ever you need to do to be with that person , including things that you regret later…but alas, the addiction was so over powering. He was poly single and still is. I am Lucy, now separated, still wanting him everyday and I have a husband that wants me to come back home. I do wish that I could unmeet some people in my life but not him. He has backed away because he thinks he was the reason I left my husband and does not want that burden on his shoulders. But thats not entirely true. He was the push that I needed to leave an unsatisfying marriage….but I wish no one was hurt in the process. After meeting him, I remembered what passion and desire felt like and I can’t wait to feel it again. I wish it could be with him but I know that I want a man to love me and only me. I don’t want to share or be shared anymore. To each his own…i have friends that are poly and non monogamous. If it works, it works but I know that if I have something so special, I don’t want to dilute it. In this instance, sharing wasn’t caring, it made me feel, not very special in my marriage. Sadly, you can’t unring the bell.

    • Lucy
      Author
      30th March 2019 / 11:51 pm

      Wow, what a story – and thanks so much for taking the time to share. I have no idea what that must have been like but I can understand the feelings of longing and wanting more, and of wanting that person to be yours and you to be his and his alone. That’s why I have to confess I’m quite sceptical about poly. I’m sure it can work for some people, but I’m sure there are a lot of others who are battling jealousy, or for whom poly is actually only working because they’re not actually really *that* passionate about the people they’re with. Which, given how horrible heartbreak is, might actually be a safer way of conducting relationships, but then what happens when you *do* meet someone who knocks your socks off, as you did…
      Thanks for your kind words, I hope you continue reading!

  5. Cali
    27th March 2019 / 2:05 pm

    love that you are bringing insight into this type of connection/ relationship. I am poly and have run across this delema through friends. I don’t interchange the words poly and open relationship, but I feel like this is turning into a poly situation for them whether or not they know it. I look forward to seeing where their journey takes them. Their relationship is already built on honestly, so I see potential for them.
    As for myself, I don’t think of ever let myself get into a situation as deep as this one with someone who was monogamous, but this isn’t my story. It is many people’s story though and and a great read, very well written. I just shared with a friend.

    • Lucy
      Author
      30th March 2019 / 11:37 pm

      Thanks again for your comment – and yes, sorry if I use the terminology incorrectly. From what I can gather, the words mean different things to different people, and for the purposes of telling the story I thing people understand what I mean. But yes, I guess it started off as open relationship and now may be evolving into poly. And I’m sure they will be just fine!

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Names and some minor details have been changed to protect the innocent. And sometimes the guilty.
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