Mr Non-Monogamous, Part 12 – Decline

A year ago, Lucy went to a house party and met a devilishly sexy non-monogamous man named Charlie.

Despite the fact that Charlie’s not only in an open relationship but also actually getting married to another woman, Lucy’s somehow ended up in a relationship with him. Which is (a) lovely, because she gets to have a man in her life and regular sex again, and (b) horrific, because she knows that when he’s not with her he’s off fucking his fiancée as well as one or two others if the mood takes him. And that makes Lucy, who has monogamy written through her like a stick of rock, feel sick and humiliated and heartbroken in ways she never thought possible.

And yet somehow she trains herself to turn a blind eye to it all, to ignore the existence of the other women and just focus on their relationship, cocooning herself in a fragile little bubble of self-denial which gets her through the trauma of knowing he’s not hers, and never can be.

If you missed all of that, you’d better start from the beginning, or refresh your memory on what happened last time.

Routine

And so they’ve settled into a routine, and an entire year has gone by, and Lucy still bounces between a kind of contentment that the dating pressure is off and she finally has someone to talk to about her day, and a nauseating sense of unease that if anything she is even further away than ever before from finding her Person.

Like all couples, sometimes they fight – and it’s always the same fight. Unable to restrain herself from stalking his Facebook and Instagram, Lucy will see a freshly-posted photo of Charlie and his fiancée doing loved-up couply things and feel like she’s been eviscerated with a boathook. Through angry tears, she’ll cancel their next date, unable to stomach the sight of him, telling him how unfair it is of him to rub his polyamory in her face when he knows how much it hurts her. Charlie will sensibly point out that no one is forcing her to look at his social media, and that she knew the deal when she got involved with him – an unassailable argument, if not a particularly soothing one.

Then he’ll wait for Lucy’s rage to subside and her horniness to return, and peace and sexy times will be restored. At least until the next post.

The sex is always intense: passionate, sweaty, controlling, he pins her down, pulls her hair, grabs her, holds her tight, drives into her hard and hungrily. It’s like they’re clinging to each other for dear life, like he’s drowning and she’s his life-raft in a storm. He makes her feel like a sex goddess; more desired and wanted than anyone ever has before… until he leaves and the fragile bubble bursts again.

When the cycle of fighting gets too much Charlie finally agrees to stop posting loved-up photos and restricts himself to comments on Brexit and football. To have him willingly give something up for her is a huge deal for Lucy, who can’t remember the last time a man cared about her enough to do that. But it doesn’t solve the problem, because the fiancée still posts photos and tags Charlie, so the painful reminders still frequently jump out and wallop her in the face like an unexpected swing door.

 

The L Word

In spite of his sacrificial gesture, Lucy still has no real idea how Charlie feels about her. Did he do it because he genuinely cares, or simply because he wants a drama-free life? Is he just enjoying her as an enthusiastic fuck buddy, or is there more to it than that?

A clue comes about eight months in, when they’re lying in bed, both scrolling their phones like an old married couple.

“I told my friend about you, by the way,” she mentions, looking up.
“Oh?”
“We went for a drink, and I told her I have a new…” She pauses, searching for the right word.
“Boyfriend?” Charlie interjects.

Wait… what?

Boyfriend?” she repeats, stunned by his matter-of-factness. “I was going to say friend-with-benefits.”

Charlie says nothing; just looks back at his phone.

“But you said the ‘B’ word,” she points out, not daring to say it again.
“Boyfriend?”
“Yes. That one.”

Charlie continues to act as if this conversation is no more important than a chat about what he had for lunch, while Lucy’s brain is doing out-of-control laps like a go-kart with no brakes . She doesn’t know what to say. How can he be her boyfriend when he’s not hers, and never can be?

“What use is that word to me?” she asks eventually.
He shrugs. “You’re lucky I didn’t use the L-word then.” He looks up from his phone, the implication hanging heavily in the air between them.

Is he trying to say what she thinks he’s saying?

This is impossibly huge. Only one other man, The Ex, has ever fallen in love with Lucy, and that was more than a thousand years ago now. She’s pretty much convinced it was an anomaly, some sort of glitch in the matrix, and that it’ll never happen again. But could it be happening now?

If it is, it’s both the most wonderful thing in the world, and the most terrible. How incredible to be loved by someone, and not just anyone, but by this exceptional guy – a guy who with his easy good looks and his cast-iron confidence could probably pull any woman he wanted, and yet has chosen her.

But also, how utterly devastating. Because of course it’s completely useless. He can never be hers. She can’t be his girlfriend. He can’t meet her family, nor she his. They can’t go on holiday, or plan a future together. He’s getting married to someone else, for actual fuck’s sake! 

“No, you shouldn’t use that word,” she says. “What would I do with that information?”

Fantasising

But Lucy doesn’t really believe him anyway. Never trust what a man says when he’s naked, right? Far more likely that it’s really just the sex he loves, not her. And when it ends, he might be upset that he doesn’t get to fuck her any more, but he’ll soon find a replacement and forget all about her.

“I’ll be very sad when you bin me,” he replies when she tells him this, “and I will grieve for a while, and I will probably be angry, but yes, then I will get over it, and I hope after that we will be friends. But I also hope it’s OK that after you’ve ended it I will still fantasise about you. I do it all the time, you know. Do you fantasise about me when I’m not around?”

Lucy doesn’t answer. How can she tell him that whenever she thinks about him, which is all the bastard time, she only feels disappointed, hurt and sad that she has to share him, that right now he’s probably cuddling another woman, kissing her, fucking her, planning his life with her?

 

Wedding Day

And so the months tick on by, and before long Charlie’s wedding day rolls around.

They’re getting married on a Friday, just a small ceremony with close family and friends, and a pub lunch. At one point Charlie semi-jokingly asked if Lucy wanted to come, but of course she’d rather run a marathon through London’s sewer system than watch him promise his life to someone else, so she goes to work instead.

All day she feels sick and miserable, a gnawing dread knotting her stomach, a clawed hand clutching her heart. Her overactive brain pictures what must be going on at each passing moment: his joy as she walks down the aisle towards him, holding hands in front of the registrar, the vows, the I love yous, the joy, the dancing, the happiness that will never be hers. She tries to distract herself with work but it’s impossible and she gets nothing done. Life is on pause. She barely dares to breathe.

It’s not just that she can’t ever have Charlie now – that’s bad enough. But the knowledge that his fiancée has what she’s been searching for her whole life but seems to be unable to find. Her person. Love. Togetherness. It just seems impossible – and knowing that the man she wants is offering all that to someone who isn’t her is more than she can bear.

And then, at the end of the day, a single photo appears on Facebook. The ecstatic couple, flowers and a white dress, confetti, smiling guests, joy radiating out of every pixel. And below the photo, dozens of comments, delighted friends wishing them a long and happy life together.

Lucy shuts herself into the toilet and cries giant, heartbroken tears.

And yet somehow she carries on. Charlie and his new bride disappear off on honeymoon for two weeks, and Lucy, as always, picks herself up, dusts herself off, and keeps on keeping on. By the time they get back, things have returned to normal. Charlie comes round, he makes her laugh, they have All The Sex, everything is just as it was.

What difference does a wedding really make anyway? she tells herself. He was in a relationship before, and nothing’s changed. It’s just a piece of paper. 

And then things begin to fall apart.

The Other Date

The trouble starts one Saturday. Lucy has her second date planned that evening with Sad Simon when Charlie tells her he’ll be passing by her house, and offers to drop in for a bonus weekend fuck. Which Lucy, constantly frustrated by the fact that she only gets to see Charlie once a week, is only too happy to accept.

So she pushes back the time of the date to allow her more time with Charlie – but no sooner has she done so than she starts to feel bad. Somehow it seems very wrong to fuck one man, and then immediately go out on a date with another. Even though she’s only met Simon once, and she didn’t fancy him, and she doesn’t owe him anything, and this date is almost certainly going to be a disaster… still it seems, well, disrespectful.

But of course he’s laughing, thinks Lucy. He gets to live this dream life where not only is he married to the love of his life, but she’s happy to let him shag other women!

What the fuck is fucking wrong with the man? Lucy rages. He knows full well how hard it is for her to deal with the idea of him with other women, and yet here he is blithely banging on about all the other women he’d like to fuck as though she’s just some lad mate down the pub. Way to make a girl feel fucking special, she thinks bitterly.

Well fuck him. Or rather – not. In hurt fury she cancels their afternoon tryst and goes on the date with Simon.

Singles Night

Another argument happens just a few days later. Lucy’s supposed to be going to a singles event with a friend, but the friend bails at the last minute and Lucy has no one to go with. She laments about this to Charlie.

Of course it’s fucking weird, she thinks to herself. Maybe not in his world, where apparently fucking is basically just a contact sport you do with anyone who’s in your league – a bit like finding a new tennis partner. But Lucy only wants to play tennis with one man, and she finds the idea of having Charlie help her look for new balls utterly horrifying.

By this point Lucy’s rolling her eyes so hard the windows are rattling. Does the man ever stop? she wonders. She’s literally just fucking told him the idea makes her uncomfortable, so why is he doubling down?

But to Lucy it really feels like he is – or maybe even after all this time he still hasn’t grasped how upsetting this whole situation is for her. Or maybe, she thinks, he gets off on the fact that she doesn’t like it and yet is carrying on anyway – like he’s so fucking irresistible that she’s forced to continue shagging him in spite of herself.

When she thinks about it, this pattern of behaviour – sending her lube just days after announcing his engagement, telling her about the other women he’d fuck if he could, messing with her head just before a date – all starts to add up to a man who either has zero empathy for her feelings… or maybe even actively enjoys her discomfort.

The problem, she tells him angrily, is that she doesn’t find his ‘banter’ amusing in the slightest, because all it does is repeatedly remind her that she’s having to share him. And while he clearly finds that idea exciting, for her it’s something that she finds more impossible than getting a man on Bumble to reply to her. Which of course he knows because she’s told him a thousand times.

It’s a good answer, she thinks. And maybe it is a genuine misunderstanding. After all, she does talk to him about her dates, so is it fair that she won’t allow him to do the same to her? Is it really his responsibility to manage her inability to deal with the situation?

But yes, actually, she thinks it is. If he genuinely cared about her, surely he would go out of his way to make her happy, not just blithely carry on regardless? He knew when he pursued her that she was monogamous, so he should be prepared to take extra care with her emotions, not just ride roughshod all over them.

Giving Up

When Lucy sees this last message, a red mist descends. Is he really playing the ‘You knew what you were getting into so you might as well just suck it up’ card?

It’s Friday morning, and she’s just got out of the shower. Heart racing, shaking with fury, she nearly tells him to go fuck himself right then and there. But when she goes to write it, something holds her back. In spite of everything, she still can’t bear to be without him.

She writes a different reply: Well if you were a kind and decent human being you’d listen to how upset I am and apologise instead of arguing and always trying to be right, but I guess you’re not one of those…

…but then swiftly deletes that too. Instead, she simply suggests that maybe he shouldn’t bother coming over that evening as planned.

It would be a double standard, replies Lucy, IF this were an equal partnership. But it’s not! Charlie gets to pick everything he wants from the menu, while all Lucy gets is sloppy seconds. He isn’t making any personal sacrifices at all, while obviously she is! Surely it’s not so much to ask for a little extra slack from him to compensate?

Lucy’s tired, so very tired. Tired of all the arguments, and even more tired of the emotional rollercoaster she has to go through with Charlie. Yes, there’s lots about their relationship that’s great, but she’s starting to wonder if the benefits really do outweigh the disadvantages. Maybe it’s time to admit defeat and move on. Maybe it’s over.

Next time: will Lucy and Charlie find a way to make their relationship work, or is this the beginning of the end?


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77 Comments

  1. seedy73
    6th July 2019 / 9:47 am

    Really good piece of writing. Great insight into the misery and misunderstandings that can be modern dating.

    • Lucy
      Author
      6th July 2019 / 11:18 pm

      Thanks, I’m so pleased you like it!

  2. Anonymous
    6th July 2019 / 9:50 am

    Been there and it hurts. Cut and run now even though it’s painful.

    • Lucy
      Author
      6th July 2019 / 11:18 pm

      Noted, thanks for your comment.

  3. Peadra
    6th July 2019 / 9:57 am

    So sorry Lucy*hugs to you*
    I don’t want to upset you and say please go easy on Charlie,he also is going through a lot.You can imagine getting home and the wife fighting with him about swing other people as well…

    Not an ideal situation for no one,
    But like they say,if it’s yours it will comeback to you

    • Lucy
      Author
      6th July 2019 / 11:19 pm

      I don’t think he fights with his wife. She knows about me and is happy to let him see other people. But no, it’s not ideal.

  4. Joseph
    6th July 2019 / 10:20 am

    I have found this series of posts to be extremely engaging. As a man in an open marriage, I’ve had a handful of side-relationships. None of these have ever really meant anything to me (it’s always been just about the good sex) but recently there is one girl who is different. There is a strong energy between us. Probably like you and Charlie. He said you’re different. I understand this. She is different to me too. I truly believe that if I weren’t married, I’d enter a long-term relationship with her and fall quickly in love.

    There are two major differences between your situation and mine. First, she and I live in different cities (4 hour plane flight) so we are rarely in the same geo. And second, it seems like she is actively trying to distance herself from me to avoid getting hurt. She is also conflicted but doesn’t articulate this to me. I just need to interpret the best I can. Although I think that weekly dates with her (like you guys) would be amazing, I can also see how it would make everything more difficult.

    The sex is similar. Passionate and intense. Up against a wall…kissing and biting. The similarities between our stories are uncanny.

    I’m doing my best to understand her. She doesn’t know what she wants – if she just wanted to fuck, I’d be fine with that, or if she wanted a deeper connection, I’d be ok with that too. And finally, if she just wanted to be close friends, I get that as well. She just doesn’t know.

    Your column has let me understand more about how she could be feeling. As I said earlier, she is private with her thoughts (probably trying to protect herself) so I need to read between the lines more than ever.

    Thanks for being so open with your experiences.

    • Lucy
      Author
      6th July 2019 / 11:22 pm

      Hi Joseph, thanks for your thoughtful and interesting reply. I wanted to share my story because I think more and more people are trying to be non-monogamous these days and I wanted to show a different perspective. While it can work for some people it definitely doesn’t work for me and I suspect it also doesn’t work for your GF. Maybe you should show her my blog too, perhaps she will relate to some of it. But I’m happy if reading about my experience has helped in some way, and I hope it works out for you.

  5. Sherry
    6th July 2019 / 2:56 pm

    Thank you for sharing so much of your personal life. I am also close to 40 and the only non-married one out of my friends, and they really don’t understand what it’s like to navigate dating now. Finding a connection is rare and although from the outside looking in it seems obvious what we should and shouldn’t be doing….it’s just not that easy sometimes. Reading your blog each week has made me feel less alone. Good luck ❤️

    • Lucy
      Author
      6th July 2019 / 11:23 pm

      Hi Sherry, thanks for reading and commenting! And yes I agree that it’s very easy for people to be smug and judgmental when they’re married and haven’t been through the dating ringer as much as we have. It’s definitely not simple, that’s for sure! Hugs x

  6. Hollie
    6th July 2019 / 4:29 pm

    Well written and hard to read, as ever! I feel the same as previously; Charlie doesn’t appear to care much about how sad the situation makes you, and that is not really responsible non-monogamy. That said, it’s ultimately up to you to end it. You definitely sound ready to, based on this post.

    • Lucy
      Author
      6th July 2019 / 11:24 pm

      Thanks Hollie, you’re so kind! I just think ultimately Charlie and I speak different languages when it comes to relationships, and we will never really be able to understand each other.

    • Katy
      7th July 2019 / 9:06 am

      Holly I second this. As a woman practicing non-monogamy, I’ll vouch that the men I love wouldn’t be comfortable dating a woman who was made unhappy by this situation long term. They might try it for a few weeks to see if the new person could adapt after a few convos, but no further. They’re compassionate and don’t want to make people they love feel so sad.

      • Lucy
        Author
        8th July 2019 / 10:36 pm

        Genuinely curious though: don’t you think it would be a bit patronising for Charlie to decide he knows what’s best for me? I’m am adult. If I choose to be with him in spite of my reservations/feelings, then surely that’s up to me. Don’t you think it would be inappropriate for him make that decision for me? I respect that he has entirely left it to my choice.

        • Hollie
          9th July 2019 / 1:44 pm

          For me, it’s not about him ‘deciding what’s best’ for you. I find it odd that he chooses to actively perpetuate a relationship with someone who seems to be upset about the dynamic most of the time, and quite distressed by his behavior constantly. Although it’s not my role to choose what’s best for my partners, I definitely want to avoid situations where I am happy and they are sad! I would feel like I was stringing someone along and/or causing active harm to someone’s mental wellbeing if I was in Charlie’s shoes. That’s just me. I have a pretty strong moral code though.

          • Dan
            10th July 2019 / 8:12 am

            Hollie, as a polyamorous man, I agree with you! Although Lucy also has a good point: it is fair and respectful to let an adult, autonomous person make their own life decisions. Ultimately, she is the only one responsible for that.

            That said, I’m very empathetic and I could not remain in a relationship, where I knew that person was constantly suffering because of it. I’d personally end it, not because of deciding what’s best for her, but because I’d be sad knowing that she’d be constantly sad. I’d make that decision for me.

            That’s why I personally choose (after painful experience) to only date people who are happily polyamorous, or people who want to try it for their own reasons and not just to be with me.

            • Hollie
              10th July 2019 / 11:06 pm

              Exactly this!

            • Lucy
              Author
              12th July 2019 / 10:25 pm

              Thanks for sharing your interesting perspective, Dan!

  7. kate
    6th July 2019 / 6:39 pm

    This is unhealthy. You would benefit from seeing a counsellor/therapist and identifying your patterns of behaviour. If you don’t then you are going to be single and bitter about it for the rest of your life.

    • J
      6th July 2019 / 9:47 pm

      Agreed. All this makes for interesting blog material but it’s time to get some help.

    • Lucy
      Author
      6th July 2019 / 11:26 pm

      What a lovely, thoughtful and insightful comment.
      Maybe you should try being over 40 and single and on dating apps in a city like London before you start judging.

      • J
        7th July 2019 / 2:15 am

        I’m in my 30s, single, and use dating apps in New York. I have also done work on myself to identify unhealthy patterns and have figured out what does and doesn’t work for me. It is insightful because it could help you if you took the advice seriously.

        • Lucy
          Author
          7th July 2019 / 9:49 am

          Just because you have read one part of my story – which I choose to share because I enjoy writing and because some people find it interesting or helpful – does not mean you know anything about my life. What makes you think I’m not already seeing a therapist? Or that I haven’t already seen several? Or that my last one ended our arrangement because, and I quote, ‘there is absolutely nothing wrong with me’…? People coming on here to call me ‘single and bitter’ or a ‘martyr’ as you did below are not insightful or helpful, they’re just mean.

          • Anonymous
            8th July 2019 / 9:45 pm

            That therapist sounds incredibly unprofessional! Therapy isn’t about something being ‘wrong’ with you.

        • Anonymous
          8th July 2019 / 6:08 pm

          Hi Lucy. J’s comment is hilarious and it made me giggle. The keyword here is, “single”. Here she is advocating a solution yet she is unsuccessful. Isn’t it common knowledge that successful testimonies are what convinces people (not that I think you need to be convinced anyway. I like you and respect you for sharing your truth. You’re human just like me. The rest of them are holier than thou. Let’s use the purple emoji with pride. 😈) I pray that she is not in sales or marketing. . 😂 And J, don’t come at me for judging you. That would be pot calling kettle black.

          Btw, I am a certified therapist. And you don’t need me. (Don’t tell my boss I said that. 😋)

          • Lucy
            Author
            8th July 2019 / 10:43 pm

            Haha thanks! TBF I’m sure we could all use someone to talk to but all these people saying ‘get some help’ are driving me nuts. Because what do they know? How do they know I’m not already IN therapy? (I’m not, but I was until recently, and guess what, my singledom does not stem from insecurities or low-self-esteem or any of the other cod armchair psychology diagnoses that these random strangers want to paste on me). And yet still they feel that because I choose to write stories, mostly for my own and other people’s enjoyment, that means I’m asking for their (unqualified) advice. No idea why they would think that, but people are weird.

          • Anonymous
            9th July 2019 / 9:26 pm

            Wow. You think being ‘single’ is being ‘unsuccessful’? And you’re a therapist? I’m speechless over this. I hope that’s not what you tell your poor clients!

            I believe the ‘solution’ that was being advocated above – heavy handedly perhaps – was to learn how to set better boundaries and practice self-respect, and seek and listen to help when one can benefit from it. Given Lucy’s evident near-constant turmoil and unhappiness over her relationship with Charlie, I would rather agree with others who have commented that she could make some beneficial changes to her outlook and behavior.

    • Lu
      7th July 2019 / 7:20 pm

      Wow Kate,how nice of you to advise since we don’t know your own life.
      Sometimes lending an ear is all that is needed…

      J…Am sure stands for Judgemental ,
      Who died and made you Jesus beloved?Why do you think you have a right to be mean to Lucy on her blog?Start your own blogs where you won’t be bitter and childish and let Lucy write about her experience.

      So exhausted I’d self righteous people!!!

      Lucy please keep on doing you boo,

      This blog makes you happy and some of us love it and are always looking forward into reading it

      As for Charlie ,he sounds like those people who always want to be right and never listens.Yes you knew what you were getting yourself into.Does it make it less painful and hurtful because you knew???I don’t…

      Must learn to be compassionate

      N.B…Forgive my spelling mistakes ,could be the auto spell of a cellphone

      • Lucy
        Author
        7th July 2019 / 11:17 pm

        Thanks lovely Lu, that’s very kind of you, and thank you for the support! Honestly when I started writing my blog 2 years ago I just wanted to share the realities of dating, I never thought I’d be having to justify my life choices to random strangers on the internet! But there you go…
        x

  8. Stephanie
    6th July 2019 / 7:27 pm

    I do hope this is the end with Charlie. I know it hurts but you deserve to get what you really want, not bits of what you want with huge compromises. Have you read What A Time To Be Alone by Chidera Eggerue aka Slumflower? This book should required reading for all women.

    • Lucy
      Author
      6th July 2019 / 11:27 pm

      Thanks Stephanie, I’ll check it out!

  9. J
    6th July 2019 / 9:46 pm

    You need to get out of this and stop the martyrdom. If you can’t handle him being married then don’t see him any more. Save yourself for someone who can give you what you actually want. Or, start wanting different things.

  10. DW
    7th July 2019 / 4:28 am

    You’ve reiterated several times that you are monogamous and that non-monogamy is not for you. If you are putting that over and over in a blog, clearly you’ve internalized it. Stating it over and over to this man and blaming your feelings on him is going to do…what? Get him to divorce his wife? Forget that he ever felt attraction to anyone else other than you? Make him suddenly realize he actually wants monogamy?

    You claim to have boundaries, but I am not convinced. Boundaries are made by you, enforced by you, and control *your* actions, not the actions of others. If your boundary is that you can’t share* the person you’re with, then it is up to you to enforce that by taking yourself out of the situation. That is what a boundary is.

    Say goodbye, get into therapy, and be loud and proud about being monogamous. The rest of the dating world will thank you.

    *Think about language. People cannot be “shared” like a toy or a pizza. To insist on calling it “sharing” only serves to objectify and turn a human being into a commodity.

    • Lucy
      Author
      7th July 2019 / 9:55 am

      ‘The rest of the dating world will thank me’? Why? Why does the dating world care what I do, and why should I care what the dating world thinks? I’m just living my life and writing stuff down because I like writing and because a lot of people seem to enjoy reading what I write.
      Also, as I said to someone above, what makes you think you know anything about my life just from the tiny section you’ve read here? You know nothing about my job, my friends, my family – nor do you know if I’m already in therapy or not. Until you have all the facts, maybe it’s best to avoid dishing out unsolicited ‘advice’.

      • Kate
        7th July 2019 / 12:48 pm

        You’ve blogged about them Lucy! You’ve said your friends never want to see you because they’re married with children, and that you rarely see your family. You’ve said you never have plans on the weekend. A man can’t fix the hole in your life, only you can do that. In every post you come across as bitter and quite mean. It’s time to step away from the apps and get help. You deserve better than this. Stop being defensive and listen to what people are telling you.

        • Lucy
          Author
          7th July 2019 / 1:35 pm

          That’s not true at all. When did I ever say my friends ‘don’t want to see me’? I have plenty of friends and they love seeing me, though yes sometimes it can be hard to make plans with people who have moved out of London or have kids. I often have plans at the weekend, and if I don’t that’s often my choice because I work hard and go out a lot during the week and weekends are quiet time to recharge and do other things I enjoy (like writing this blog, for a start).
          So I’ll say it again. You only get a tiny snapshot of the one part of my life that I choose to share here. You don’t know the full picture and you are therefore not qualified to give advice. And as it happens – not that I need to justify myself to you – but I do have a therapist and she keeps telling me she doesn’t know why I keep going since there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me.
          If you think I’m bitter and mean you are more than welcome to go find something else to read.

          • Kate
            7th July 2019 / 5:21 pm

            You wrote a Christmas post where you said you hate it as you don’t like spending much time with family, that you have no Xmas nights out as your friends won’t go out with you anymore. You stated numerous times on twitter and the blog that you never have weekend plans .

            If you’ve dated over 500 men and can’t find one to commit to you who you like, there’s a huge problem.

            Stop shagging married men and get some self respect. You’ll thank yourself. I’m done with this childish blog. The only followers who agree with you are in the same boat.

            • Lucy
              Author
              7th July 2019 / 5:26 pm

              Wow, you’ve read and memorised a LOT of the blog for someone who doesn’t like me or it! But yeah, seems like you’d be happier if you went and read something else. Meanwhile I shall continue to write what I like, for myself and for the many readers who enjoy what I’m sharing.

              • Kate
                7th July 2019 / 6:10 pm

                It’s been like watching a freak show. Good luck with being alone.

                • Lucy
                  Author
                  7th July 2019 / 10:55 pm

                  I’d rather be alone than a horrible, mean-spirited bully. But each to their own.

  11. Stacy Hines
    7th July 2019 / 4:50 am

    Totally agree with the 2 ladies who suggested it’s time to get help. You simply don’t learn your lesson. Constant bleating and attention seeking over a situation you knew you couldn’t handle from the start.

    • Lucy
      Author
      7th July 2019 / 9:51 am

      Mate, I’m writing a blog which people seem to enjoy reading and find helpful. You don’t like it? You think it’s ‘bleating and attention seeking’? Well why are you here? Go find something better to do with your time.

      • Anonymous
        8th July 2019 / 6:24 pm

        The comments section really got me. It’s sad how women are always so quick to judge and tear each other apart instead of building each other up. I am also horrified at how unconsciously gender bias people are. When a man pines for a woman (attached/single/non-monogamy/monogamy/insert any other title. This world is getting too confusing to keep up) people will usually gush about how sweet and sensitive he is. They will ooh and aah and offer support, hugs, anything really. If a man sleeps with 102039374ish woman, he is glorified.

        It’s 2019… but are we really as progressive as we think are?

        Lucy, don’t let these people get to you alright. But I’m sure you won’t. And remember, I’m the certified therapist here. So only my comment counts no? 😝

        • peter
          12th July 2019 / 4:48 pm

          hi lucy [last name redacted] its your husband jamie you have four kids and chuck me out coz your fuckibg over 500 men [full address redacted]

          • Lucy
            Author
            12th July 2019 / 11:14 pm

            Hi Jamie I’m sorry but I’m not married and I don’t have any kids and I live in London so you definitely have the wrong person.

        • Lucy
          Author
          12th July 2019 / 10:31 pm

          You make an interesting point, and I do wonder if reactions were different if I were a man. It’s also interesting how quick people are to point out my flaws and failings, focussing on just one aspect of the story. No matter how many times I may explain that that relationship works for me in many ways, and that it has many rewards and satisfactions which balance out the difficulties, and that I have found being single extremely lonely and exhausting, and that Charlie takes that away – still many people only focus on the negative. And think that if I make this choice there must be something wrong with me and that I need therapy. Well maybe they should try years of having to do everything by themselves before they judge so harshly.

  12. Katy
    7th July 2019 / 9:02 am

    Hi Lucy, I’m a woman practicing non-monagamy and am engaged to marry my nesting partner next October. We’ve been open since the start and it works for us, but it takes an incredible amount of time and energy devoted to relationship tending, communication, and self-growth. Relationships are basically my only hobby when I’m actively dating and I know it’s not for everyone. I want to urge you to break up with Charlie if staying with him means you’re less motivated to date and look for a nesting partner, which is what you want/need, and that’s okay. I know I couldn’t do what you’re doing: I crave intimacy, interdependence and enmeshment in my close relationships, and it sounds like Charlie can’t give you those things. He might be a lovely boyfriend for you if you were getting your other needs met by a nesting partner, but you’re not, and that’s painful. Please don’t stay in this relationship, which cannot meet your needs, out of fear that you couldn’t find a better one.

    • Allen
      8th July 2019 / 1:39 am

      Katy nails it. Also, I’ll add this… Lucy, you’re being defensive. Just accept that. Your instincts are desperately trying to tell you that things simply are not working with Charlie. But your mind has worked overtime to fight this. Hence, the defensiveness, i.e. you don’t want to state the truth out loud. And the truth is that you want from Charlie that which he cannot give you (nor what he ever said he could give you). Moreover, it’s rich of you to complain publicly about it and then berate readers who are just stating the obvious. So your logic reads: agree with me even when I’m being disagreeable and irrational or fuck off. Sorry but I hope it’s Charlie that moves on.

  13. 7th July 2019 / 12:00 pm

    *hugs* Lucy. Just *hugs* 💞 Sorry you went through such shit confrontations 😞

    • Lucy
      Author
      12th July 2019 / 10:33 pm

      Thanks for your support as always, lovely x

  14. Kate
    7th July 2019 / 12:43 pm

    Lucy you are very defensive.

    I’ve read some of your other posts. You say you never have plans at the weekends. You say that your friends have children and are married so they don’t want to see you. People don’t just stop having friendships because they have a family. There is more to this. You also say you rarely see your family.

    It isn’t kicking you when you’re down, it is being honest. A man can’t fill the hole in your life. All of my friends have families and I see them all of the time. If they’ve cut you out maybe it’s because you sneer at children and are very negative.

    You make constant negative remarks about people’s appearances, their age difference relationships, their class etc. You come across like a teenager.

    Take the advice people are giving you, sometimes it’s cruel to be kind. Your behaviour isn’t healthy and you’re going to get more depressed, bitter and angry. You deserve more than that.

  15. Kate
    7th July 2019 / 1:07 pm

    Lucy,
    After reading this one post it’s clear that you’re in a lot of pain. This relationship is unhealthy for you and I’m sure posting it on the internet is a great way to release some of the feelings of anger for Charlie that you have but it’s probably not doing you a whole lot of good. Your issue is with Charlie and he’s the only one you need to talk to about these things. And having serious conversations through text is ALWAYS a bad idea! Please take your issues up with Charlie in person and decide what’s best for you. If you’re true to the monogamous life then what are you doing with a polyamorous partner? You and you alone are sabotaging your own happiness so therefore it is up to you to change it. You might not like what I have to say but I’ve been monogamous for a while and moved to a polyamorous lifestyle and if you can’t make that jump then you need to get off that bridge.

  16. Anonymous
    7th July 2019 / 5:19 pm

    Hey Lucy 🙂 Firstly, can I just say, I love your blog! You are an amazing writer:) Secondly, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’ve been dating a non-monogamous guy for the past 6months+ and like you, been struggling as I’m monogamous. My relationship is an “emotional rollercoaster”. It’s been so difficult. I’m not sure if it is because I just don’t have enough respect for myself? Not sure. I attended my best friends’ wedding this weekend (which coincided with Charlie’s:o) and it was another reminder that I shouldn’t waste any more time with this twat. Like you, all my friends think I should gtfo ASAP, but I haven’t yet as I naively believe that he might change his views (he claims he’s confused as it was his gf who suggested poly, to which he accepted). I’m now considering whether I should get out before things get any worse (although it’s easier said than done!) Basically I’m so confused and I don’t know what to do either, Lucy. I’m looking forward to your next blog to learn what decision you’ll make…! 🙂 wishing you the very best!

    • Lucy
      Author
      7th July 2019 / 5:33 pm

      Hey, thanks for taking the time to comment! It’s certainly a headfuck isn’t it? I think the people who are criticising me really don’t seem to understand how hard it is to find someone you really connect with, and why you might choose to make certain compromises or try to make something work when you really care about a person. Maybe they are those lucky ones who just seem to easily slide from one relationship to another. Whereas for me, after 4 years single, never meeting single guys IRL, I just wanted to step away from hideous dating apps and enjoy the company of someone I value and who values me, and I really don’t think that shows a lack of self-respect. I’m just realistic about the odds of me meeting someone IRL or online and willing to try new things in my search for love.
      I obviously don’t know your situation so I can’t advise you what to do. All I can say is that you have to look after your own heart. Your gut probably already knows the answer but you may well not be ready to listen – in time you will be though. It’s been tough for me but I absolutely don’t regret the time I’ve spent with Charlie. Good luck! x

      • Anonymous
        7th July 2019 / 6:51 pm

        Except, that you’ve shared messages between you and Charlie where he has said you complain about his situation. Maybe we wouldn’t say these things if you actually seemed happy. But you don’t. You said you cried on his wedding day. You said you asked him not to share things about his relationship on social media. He has been 100% honest about his situation from the start but you seem to think if you wait it out, it will change. But it hasn’t and it won’t. You may think I’m being mean or judgy but honestly just from that one post it’s quite clear you don’t accept his situation.

        • Lucy
          Author
          7th July 2019 / 11:15 pm

          I made a compromise. There are great things about being single, but it also sucks a lot of the time. There are great things about being with Charlie, in many ways the relationship works really well for me. But yes, there are also things about it that sucks. Maybe in writing the posts I focused too much on the negative, when also there is a lot of good. So I gave it a try, to see if it would be better overall than being alone. And sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. But no, I’m not waiting for it to change. He’s very definitely non-monogamous, so obviously I know that’s not going to happen.

      • Anonymous
        7th July 2019 / 8:15 pm

        Haha “headfuck” is such an apt word! I hope you didn’t think I was questioning your self-respect btw, as I wasn’t. I honestly respect you for being so brave to open up about your situation as it’s SUCH an awkward topic to talk about…You aren’t technically doing anything wrong, but it feels immoral. It’s difficult for your friends to understand your struggles, as no sane mind (no offense to non-monogamous ppl) will understand why you are in it in the first place. The feeling of being “degraded”, as you know you are not the only one – All of these get neutralised as soon as you see the guy. It’s just a terrible, unhealthy cycle. I agree that it’s really difficult to understand unless you’ve experienced it yourself. Anyways, sounds like you’ve already pursued your decision with Charlie – so looking forward to the next blog:) Thanks so much for your advice – I think will go with the flow…(for now) x

        • Lucy
          Author
          7th July 2019 / 11:22 pm

          No, don’t worry, I didn’t get that – though plenty have. But FTR I have plenty of self-respect, in fact some of my critics say I have too much (wish they’d make up their minds!)
          But yes, it is a strange space to inhabit, and no my friends don’t get it, but they’re mostly married so why would they? The ones who do get it are the single ones, who know how hard dating is, and how hard it is to find someone you really connect with, and why you might be tempted to make that compromise when you finally do meet someone with whom you really do have a connection.
          People just see the sadness, but they don’t see the sadness of being alone because I don’t write about that, and they don’t see the delight of finally having someone lovely in my life – and yes of course it is tinged with sadness because I want more, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also awesome.
          I really hope yours works out for you x

  17. Toni
    7th July 2019 / 6:27 pm

    I want to preface this with I’m honestly trying to offer support-you’re a lovely writer and it’s very brave to put this out for anyone to read. With that being said I work in the love business as a personal matchmaker for about 8 years. In that time I divorced my husband and called off an engagement. It didn’t matter how much therapy I had – I had very low self worth – which it seems like you do. It’s one thing to not want to be alone but to put yourself in a situation which you clearly know will end painfully and argue over it time and time again has everything to do with unhealed pain and fear of being alone. No man will ever be enough once the honeymoon phase is over unless you love yourself enough to respect what you believe you deserve – which it sounds like you’re struggling with, Charlie is a self fulfilling prophecy. Healing is lonely and painful but at the end of it – it’s so worth it. You seem to get angry with anyone who suggests what you’re doing is wrong and you get very defensive, I think most of these people are just trying to help. It’s sad to continue to read about your pain but after reading this I realized maybe living in pain is really the only way you know how to exist. They say we repeat the same patterns until we learn – and apply the lessons. Maybe it’s time to learn how to fall in love with yourself – maybe that’s when you’ll find the man of your dreams.

    • Lucy
      Author
      7th July 2019 / 11:11 pm

      Hi Toni, thanks for your thoughtful comments. However I’m going to have to disagree with most of your points.
      My sense of self-worth is just fine – in fact that may well be why I’m single because I won’t settle for anything less than what I know I deserve and most men I meet on dating apps are just consistently unreliable, disrespectful and disappointing.
      “No man will ever be enough once the honeymoon phase is over” – well I was in a relationship for nearly 6 years so unless that was a very long honeymoon I think that’s clearly not true.
      I get annoyed with people telling me ‘what I’m doing is wrong’ because who are they to judge my decisions? I made a choice that was right for me at the time, and I absolutely don’t regret that choice in the slightest. What people don’t seem to grasp is that being single can be hard work. I’m not into casual sex so not having a partner means no physical contact. No one to share your random daily thoughts with. No one on your team. Having to go on dates and waste time chatting with men off apps who ghost or send dick pics or turn out to be boring. And yes, I can do all of this, and I do, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break. So I opted to get involved with Charlie because he gave me some of that. And of course it’s not perfect, but being alone is far from perfect either. People see the stress and the tears with Charlie because I wrote about them, but what about the stress and the tears from being single? The crying when you get your hopes up about a guy and he ghosts you, or a date goes badly, or the days when you just feel so alone? I don’t write about those, but they happen too. I’ve been alone a really long time, so I don’t see what the problem is with me deciding to take a break. And people can judge me for that if they like, but I’m happy with my choice.
      I’ve been single a long time and I don’t see that changing any time soon, if ever. Not everyone meets someone. I have loads of wonderful single female friends in their 30s and 40s, fantastic, sharp, funny, successful, attractive women who have given up trying to find a partner because they are fed up with the dating bullshit. So why shouldn’t I make a compromise? People compromise in relationships all the time.
      Also interesting you telling me I need to ‘fall in love with myself’, yet over on Twitter I regularly get people telling me I’m arrogant and stuck-up… I can’t win!

      • Ky
        8th July 2019 / 3:00 pm

        Hi Lucy! I don’t have a lot of time for a lengthy reply, and it doesn’t seem like you have a shortage of (internet) support and advice, but I would like to share with you a concept/tactic that my wife and I use in our relationship. 1) assume good intent at all times and 2) text messages shouldn’t often change our mood because that.

        I do want to acknowledge that the second point is probably a bit harder for you since texting seems to be your main form of communication with Charlie (I could be wrong); however, the first point has proven to be golden for us. When we assume good intent from each other, then it makes it really easy to shift from a defensive state to a state of curiosity and humility. If you can in the affirmative that Charlie and you are on the same team, then you can probably assume good intent, which is a handy tool when conflict arises

  18. Exposing40
    7th July 2019 / 11:24 pm

    As someone who is non-monogamous I haven’t always appreciated the way you’ve written about non-monogamy or described the motivations of men who are in ethically open relationships but I just wanted to say I think some of the comments on this post are truly horrific and personal and I’m really sorry you have been subjected to them. Some people have moved beyond questioning things they disagree with or don’t understand and are being unnecessarily cruel and callous and there’s no excuse or justification for it.

  19. Anonymous
    7th July 2019 / 11:43 pm

    Team Lucy! He seems like the worst person to disagree with. An answer for everything and rarely an apology. I wonder if he even realises how patronising it makes him seem? Also, it kind of feels like he’s mansplaining your own decisions and situation to you. A lot. Totally agree that just because you know/knew the situation, it doesn’t change the validity of your feelings. Can’t wait to read more, hope it has some kind of resolve that’s less painful then this most recent post! X

    • Anonymous
      11th July 2019 / 7:24 am

      Succinct and true! Charlie sounds like quite the asshole over texts.

  20. Anonymous
    8th July 2019 / 1:06 am

    As someone who has been a consensually polyamorous female for the last 8 yrs, I completely understand how painful it can be for someone who values monogamy.

    That being said, “fucking” more than one person while being transparent has NOTHING to do with how much love and value you place on your partners. Even though I too am married, my husband and other partner are very good friends. We share our time equally, and we vacation together and spend time with family, together.

    Of coarse not all poly dynamics are healthy, infact, having a healthy romantic relationship is a lot of work and is unfortunately still pretty rare, regardless of sexual preference or how many partners involved.

    I respect someone’s choice to be monogamous, but the stigma that “Polyamory” itself is wrong or less loving and respectful than monogamy is really outdated and total bill shit.

  21. Joe
    8th July 2019 / 8:23 am

    Please check out the book “More than Two” and in particular this page on the related website https://www.morethantwo.com/relationshipbillofrights.html – You might not want to be in a polyamorous relationship, but you’re in one so you might as well get some useful advice. I hope that you get to a place where you’re happy soon

    • Anonymous
      8th July 2019 / 10:14 pm

      Completely agree on this! Lucy, please do read it. It will highlight to you how poorly you are being treated by non-monogamy standards, and help highlight how to set better, stronger boundaries for yourself.

  22. MrNiceGuy
    9th July 2019 / 12:23 am

    Hi Lucy

    I just had to get involved in this conversation to let you know, again, how appreticated you are. I’m going through tough times myself following a divorce and your blog is really helping. It’s engaging, funny and just awesome in so many ways. You truly are a good person for sharing and helping me and so, so many others feel a little better. With a smile or a laugh. Or empathy, in a good way: A feeling of not being alone in being alone. Just: Thank you. And to make my point, I’m heading off to your donation page for a late 40’th birthday present after I’m done posting this.

    That being said: I can’t believe how some people think they have the right to make judgemental comments. It’s like they don’t see the point of what you’re doing.

    Even if they are a very small minority I get that it takes 10 cheerful comments to make up for one bad one. Even if you don’t want to admit it. I just felt that after reading your entire blog it’s kind of my duty to at least chip in with my support. Keep on being so generous with what you’re doing and know that there are so many of us out here who have your back.

    And for anyone who has a different opinion on this, I would like to offer the same advice as my mother told me, and which I now am telling my children: ”You are always entitled to your own opinion, but if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. If you do have something nice to say, then say it.”. I think if more people did just that it would make the world so much better.

    Finally, as you might have guessed by now, English is not my first language so you will have to excuse any spelling or grammatical errors. (You wouldn’t believe the amount of wrestling I had to do with the autocorrect which was assuming I was writing all of this in Swedish *).

    * But even a Swedish autocorrect knows it’s you’re and not youre. What’s up with that anyway.

    • MrNiceGuy
      9th July 2019 / 10:19 am

      *your, obviously… kind of funny to mess up in that context 😉

    • Lucy
      Author
      10th July 2019 / 10:10 pm

      Wow! What an incredibly kind message – and thank you SO much for your donation! It honestly means more than you know when people tell me my ramblings actually help them – honestly it’s the best feeling in the world. It’s pretty hard work to keep this going alongside a full time job, not to mention dealing with the criticism, so thank you.
      And FTR, your English is a hell of a lot better than that of many Brits, so don’t worry!

  23. Ella
    9th July 2019 / 9:37 am

    People are being honest with you. Please look into what they are saying. Charlie is going to make you feel worse and more lonely.

    • Lucy
      Author
      12th July 2019 / 10:36 pm

      I get why you would think that but it’s actually not true. We’ve been together more than a year and it’s been bloody lovely to have someone in my life again. We chat every day on WhatsApp, we hang out regularly, I can tell him about my day, he sends me thoughts and jokes and interesting things, I get physical human contact… Life without all of these things is FAR more lonely, I can assure you.

  24. Alan Clark
    9th July 2019 / 5:38 pm

    Now i’m quite new to the dating game or maybe just late into the arena? I’ve loved reading all about the going on and off with different dates and situations along with reading the comments to get a feeling of peoples mood. some of the comments above I’ve found to be a little off and wow so much bitching, why would people so such unkind things?? I for one feel lucky we have Lucy that is prepared to share her experiences as a small group of other bloggers do. I look forward to reading about Lucy because it gives me a small insight into how a woman feels with her expectations and disappointments, take the tall guy for example sounded like everything Lucy wanted and even with persistence fell flat on it’s arse. As for Charlie, I like Lucy just don’t get what he is all about yet I understand he want’s to have a safety net (His wife, I could be wrong?). maybe i’m just old fashioned and think one woman will be enough to be with and not need anything to…… well what???

    Sorry for my ramblings love the blog and looking forward to the next one.

    • Lucy
      Author
      12th July 2019 / 10:37 pm

      Hi Alan, thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted you enjoy reading and am very happy if it helps you in some way. Hope you stick around!

  25. Anonymous
    11th July 2019 / 8:20 am

    Lucy – followed along for a while trying to make sense of my own painful poly/mono breakup, and I just thought I’d offer some thoughts by now.

    Something that life has beaten into me is that people change, and sometimes they change abruptly, too fast even for themselves. Sometimes a realization is all it takes to never be the same. At any time, a very monogamous person can decide they want out, and there is nothing their very monogamous partner can do to stop them. Not because they are an asshole, but only because they are human. A corollary is that no one can truly call anyone “my own,” ever. This goes to the several times you write about calling a man your own: I don’t think that is ever really possible. Maybe the best we can hope for is being on the same page for a while. I’d call several years a success, and a child raised to 18 a prizeworthy accomplishment.

    I’ve also come to believe that no one is a “soulmate” or “the one” for anyone else. Staying together and growing a relationship are conscious choices and conscious actions (at least to the degree of our self-awareness), but nothing more. Sometimes they are easy choices, and sometimes not. In my limited experience the stuff many commenters mention about self-love and self-respect tends to at least reduce inner conflict and help with clarity making those (or the opposite) choices and committing to them. Actions matter far more than words or ideals. I’ve found decidedly more satisfaction with my choices when taking a pause and grounding myself to make them.

    From this standpoint, poly is also not a zero-sum game. Sometimes a pie gets bigger from sharing. This does not mean I would advocate for you to go poly, far from that. Instead, I offer two other pieces of food for thought.

    First, I would invite you to consider what it is about monogamy that makes you subscribe to it. I find the answer you mention across the blog, “not sharing,” somewhat unsatisfying, so it’s probably not the real answer. Common ones could be commitment, nesting, a sense of intimacy and progression, a security in another person not abruptly quitting – but this is far from an exhaustive list. Note that I try to describe here a deeper look inside, not second-guessing: nothing wrong with monogamy.

    Second, in the comments you mention that there are lots of aspects of your compromise that you are in fact quite happy with. Yet, the post, and previous ones, read as “a part of it all sucks, there is nothing I can do about it, and it bugs me”. Consider that while some change sounds necessary, we do not necessarily know *all* the possible paths that change can take. I wonder if committing to reform the situation and putting out an ear for yet-unknown solutions may help. And no, Charlie’s throwing your discontent right back at you over text does not help with this at all. I wonder if it is possible to recruit him to a commitment to change, starting from the many good things you two share.

    • Lucy
      Author
      12th July 2019 / 11:22 pm

      Hi, thanks for your thoughtful comment. You ask a question others have asked before: what do I mean when I say I want someone to be ‘mine’. Of course it’s just a shorthand, clearly I don’t intend to ever ‘own’ anyone. It’s a shorthand for all the things that come with a committed monogamous partnership (or possibly primary partnership) – marriage. Or at least long-term cohabitation. Someone to introduce to my family. Someone to go on holiday with. Someone to wake up next to every morning and go to sleep with every (most) nights. Someone to look after me when I’m sick and cheer me though my successes. Someone to look after. Someone to grow with and grow old with. All of that. Charlie has already promised all that stuff to someone else. Yes he may be able to give snippets of that stuff to me, but it’s not enough. And yes, if i had my own primary partner, I might be less worried about not getting it from Charlie, but that doesn’t solve the fact that the idea of him sticking his tongue in another woman’s crotch makes me want to claw my own eyes out…

  26. dirtythirtygir1
    30th July 2019 / 9:22 am

    Oh mate, relate to this hard! It’s bloody horrible. You write beautifully and you’re naturally so funny but also great at conveying the rest of the shit storm of emotions! I’m new to your blog so I’m going to start at the start this evening. Thank for this x

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