I Don’t Do That Podcast (With Ocho)

I Don't Do That (with Ocho)
I Don't Do That (with Ocho)
E08 - I Don't Do Monogamy (Seth)

Show Notes

Don’t you want somebody to love? Why stop with one person? In this episode, our guest tells us about the virtues of relationship anarchy. Although loving non-traditionally can be misunderstood and may lead to frustration, Seth is happy living out his natural inclination toward ethical non-monogamy. Tune in to learn more about his experiences with this lifestyle. [chimes]

Ocho: Hey, this episode contains some adult discussions about sexuality and some swear words. So if that’s not for you, you probably want to skip it. [chimes] Welcome to the “I Don’t Do That Podcast,” where we get into all the things that we’re not into. [theme music plays] “na na na na na yeah nah I don’t do that, no I don’t do that. You know it’s alright; you can ask, but I don’t do that, no I don’t do that. I don’t do that. I don’t do that.

Ocho: Episode Eight

Seth: I’m very interested in having a deeply loving relationship with someone that I’m sexually, romantically, emotionally connected to. Basically all the same aspects of what people are typically looking for in a long-term monogamous relationship. But I just have absolutely no interest in exclusivity.

Ocho: Episode eight is “I Don’t Do Monogamy.” We’re talking with Seth who is non-monogamous. Seth is a man in his late 20s. He identifies himself as white, and lives in Minneapolis, MN, USA. He is the drummer for the band Lavender Daughter. Seth, I’m looking forward to this discussion we have ahead of us.

Seth: All right, lay it on me.?

Ocho: So you say non-monogamous, or do you say polyamorous, or is there a word you prefer??

Seth: So non-monogamous is essentially like the blanket term, or the umbrella term if you will. Ethical non-monogamy, in general, very broadly refers to any sort of relationship anarchist situation. Where it could be any sort of sexual, or intimate, or loving, or romantic situation. But it’s not limited or exclusive to one partner. Whereas polyamory, more specifically, is having multiple loving relationships at one time, so it’s a little more specific. And non-monogamy is kind of the more board term, you know??

Ocho: Right. So you consider yourself polyamorous then, in that umbrella? Or is it broader than that? For you??

Seth: Polyamory is something I aspire to. I am in one loving relationship right now with Lola Red, my bandmate from Lavender Daughter. Tthey are one of my partners, and have been for several years now. And our relationship is kind of its own thing. We’ve always kind of considered each other like, cosmic mates if you will. Life partners you know? Just because we have a a really special sort of, unheard-of intimacy.

Ocho: You seem like great friends too.

Seth: Yeah, we are. We started out as great friends. I remember we were instantly drawn to each other at orientation night of our very first night of college at McNally-Smith. There’s even like this moment we both remember where we both turned at the same time and made eye contact, and there was just something there. It was kind of cool. But at the moment I don’t have any other long-term loving relationships. And I haven’t even really since I came out as non-monogamous in 2018. Publicly. I’ve always felt this say, but Lola was the one who came out first, and they really kind of help me find my footing and definition with it. And really come into that.?

Ocho: So kind of a guide or just someone to come first.?

Seth: Yeah absolutely. And I’ve always really admired how just let kind of out and proud they were about being non-monogamous, and kinky. And, you know, just wanting to date and love and fuck lots of different people. I’m like, I feel like I’ve always felt that way but I’ve always kind of been stepped on whenever I brought it up. Especially, think about where I was born and raised. Non-monogamy is probably kind of an unheard of thing down there.

Ocho: Do you feel left out of conversations about inclusiveness??

Seth: Absolutely. You know, just given situations in the past, people have told me either like “this is a phase; something you’ll grow out of. You’re just young and dumb” or like, all the way to the other side where it’s like, “this is offensive. You try…” like verbatim, “you try people on my clothing. It’s insulting what you do to these partners of yours” and again culturally in the United States we’re a very monogamous-centered, family oriented country. You’re encouraged to like have a very hetero-normative, binary, mother-father situation to raise children, right? For the next generation. So, you know, similar to things like homosexuality, I would say it’s not really as welcome because it doesn’t really fit that format. Nor does it help push that agenda along, if I’m getting a little more technical. But yeah, to answer your question, I’ve definitely felt dismissed and left out of the conversation. And I also, just what I know from experience, especially in the Midwest, Minneapolis is not bad. But it’s a lot less commonplace in the Midwest obviously. And friends and I have the live on either coast, in New York, City, Seattle, or Los Angeles, they’re always telling me. Like, “there’s lots of non-monogamous people out here.” It’s much more commonplace than when I’m back home in Minnesota or traveling to Minnesota and that’s something I think about to.

Ocho: They don’t have to explain it to everybody who finds out, or some on a podcast to tell everyone what it’s about.?

Seth: Yeah, exactly. Even like things like going on tinder, right? I have very little luck on tinder, unless I’m willing to compromise my values, which I’m not. So, you know, a lot of times of pitfall that I run into with dating people is like, they’re interested, etc, and then like first day, or before we get together I’ll let them know “just so you know, I’m not monogamous” and they’re just like, “oh well then this is over.”?

Ocho: So I haven’t done dating apps. Does Tinder allow you to identify yourself like that on a profile??

Seth: There’s not like an official thing you can put on there. Like you can your sex or your age.?

Ocho: Or your orientation, I assume.?

Seth: Right. You can put it in your bio, but that’s about all you can really do. Most people on tinder, from my experience, are looking to get married as quickly as possible. It’s like, the most common thing I seein people’s bio is like “NOT looking for a hook-up right like, i.e…or “looking for something real” which I think that’s a problematic statement to begin with, because any relationship can be real because a relationship does not become reality when it’s like boxed within a certain set of terms or like conditions..

Ocho: Yeah, I suppose in some way, that’s somebody saying that what you’re doing is not real.?

Seth: Yes, and it’s frustrating because you can still have you can still have the exact same loving, even in some ways, emotionally exclusive kind of relationship you can in a monogamous setting, but with multiple people. And to me, it’s very much like having lots of different friends you know… Like, I’m not your only friend and vice-versa, but you and I have a specific kind of relationship and we get things from one another, that we don’t with other people. The only difference is we’re not fucking.so I don’t really see why there has to be any difference. It can truly be a parallel, you know? Like with loving, or sexual, or intimate relationships ?

Ocho: Yeah. I don’t either. I know that it isn’t for me. Some of the reason I might shy away from a non-monogamous situation, would be that it seems like a pain in the ass. Is it a hassle? To maintain relationships with multiple people?

Seth: It can be. Yeah, and that’s why I think it’s very important to talk about what kind of relationship you want to have early on, like what your expectations are, you know… ‘cause like one thing you’ll notice with typical monogamy structures is expectations that are built into the relationship, right? We say “good morning” we check in on each other daily, we text each other throughout the day. We see each other…we prioritize each other more than most things, right? Like personal time, or time with friends. And for the lens of relationship anarchy, it never has to be that way if you don’t want it to be. One thing I’m very upfront about with my partners is “hey, I want to hang out like maybe no more than once a week. Possibly even like once every two weeks or something you know? I don’t text back that often. I don’t want to text daily…or whatever. Like that’s it. And, you know, if it vibes with them, it does. And if not? That’s fine, we just go our separate ways. So that’s kind of how I manage having multiple partners at once, is like setting those terms that I’m comfortable with, you know like, I sure as hell could not be dating six people at once and doing it like a typical like way that you expect it to be…kind of like the Disney Channel love or whatever you wanna say.?

Ocho: Yeah, I hear you.?

Seth: And really, it all comes down to like, how much time do you want to invest in your relationships with people, and how you wanna structure them. And sometimes when, for example maybe some nonmonogamous folks, it can even be, you’ve probably heard the term “open relationship” more than anything…where maybe you have one primary partner, let’s say, and then…but you both have an agreement that, let’s say “I’m on the road for business, and I’m at a bar, and I hook up with someone and we fuck, or just casually fuck somebody on the side or whatever. Like it can be…that’s the thing: it can be a myriad of different kinds of relationship structures, that can help curb that very issue.

Ocho: Yeah, so I’m curious about like, what has worked for you, if you don’t mind. So do you consider Lola to be your primary partner since you’ve been together for a long time, or is it still more like a myriad of partners, and they just happen to be the one who’s been with you a long time??

Seth: Well yeah, I guess I consider Lola more of a life partner and our relationship is like…so Lola right now, I believe that they have four long-term relationships. So there’s me, and then they’re seeing three other people. But there’s a slight difference in the kind of the things they get up to with the other partners versus me. We consider each other more—again, the terms I go back to are “life partners” and “cosmic mates.” It’s a little bit more ethereal if you will, right? In a way, I guess you could consider it primary partnership, but like, we live together… we don’t like do things like date nights or things like that. You know, like…or maybe like where they might be doing that more typically with these other partners. In our relationship structure, we create music intimately, or like we like enjoy media together, or like talk about art, or just spend time together, travel together, and you know, so it’s a little atypical in terms of what you’d normally expect from a relationship. But again, that’s through the relationship anarchist lens were they and I have set up those conditions ourselves. So I guess you could say ours is like perhaps less romantic and more intimate in a more interpretable, interpretive way. ?

Ocho: I mean, it sounds like what you have is specific to your relationship.?

Seth: Yes. Most definitely.?

Ocho: And so it vibes differently than than like a rom-com sort of… ?

Seth: Like, we’re not going to Red Lobster once a week for date night, but like, we’ll make time to like, cuddle on the couch and watch movies together, you know, or like we’ll song write together, or like when we’re playing on stage together, on the road, like you could consider that us immersing ourselves, or spending time with one another, you know, as partners.

Ocho: Yeah, so far as you two, what would happen in a hypothetical way, what would happen between you two, where you would say “this is everyone else but not us.” Do you know what I’m saying? What, if you did it, would be totally out of character? That would be in character for couples? Traditional couples…?

Seth: So you’re saying something we don’t do that others would?

Ocho: Yeah yeah yeah.

Seth: Oh, I guess, you can even say like, send a good morning, a good night text. Or like feeling obligated to check in with each other daily because that’s what we do, or making sure three or four days out of the week are spent with each other because were a couple, or even in a sense of like…like a lot of relationships are escalator-style, that’s what they’re called where it’s like, you’re constantly…it’s goal oriented. Like “what are we?” Questions like “what are we” or “what are we doing” like Lola and I aren’t asking these questions. Like for the future, fuck it; we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing until we die. It’s not like “what’s this going to turn into?” We’re not gonna talk about marriage or children, or fostering a home together someday, you know. We’re comfortable doing what we’re doing and we don’t have our sights set on any sort of end-life goal.

Ocho: And I assume it’s still going places. Because you’re people changing. You’re evolving human beings. Can you tell me, is it different? Do you feel like the nature of your relationship is different than it used to be, years ago??

Seth: Yeah, definitely, you know, like when we first started hanging out, it was a little more just kind of like “we’re buddies that make music together” but you know we’ve lived through so much together, and seen so much together, and Lola and I have connected more deeply than almost anyone I know. That itself has kind of attained this like really unique comfortability with one another. Like this truly unique intimacy, and not to mention all the ways they’ve helped me come out of my shell and really embrace who I am, but yeah. I would say that it’s there is even still kind of the escalator aspect of it, you know, it’s just less tangible, if you will. Less tangible things like “oh well you got a house together, you have children together you’ve given each other rings, you know…

Ocho: You don’t know what’s on the next floor. The escalator’s going some to some floor. That you haven’t been to

Seth: And it’s a thrill right? ?

Ocho: Who knows what department It is…?

Seth: Exactly, man. Could be anything. But yeah, that’s what I would say to that.?

Ocho: That’s amazing. It sounds like you have something really special and I kind of wondered “Are they? What are they?” with you two, but the answer was “it’s none of my business unless one of them wants to tell me.”?

Seth: No it’s true. I’m happy to tell ya. Because I love ya. But yeah. I think a lot of people do wonder. I’m sure people that don’t know us make their range of assumptions, but I also feel like that’s human to do so. So it’s whatever…but I kind of like that it’s ill-defined, if you will, you know I like there being a little bit of like a mythos to it. And that’s the thing; we’re very comfortable with each other, like even if we do, at times, I know that both Lola and I…like there’ve been times that I’ve seen them cuddling on the same couch they and I cuddle on with another partner and I’m chilling on the chair, and I’ll feel jealousy, you know, but I know I’m at a place where I handle it in a healthy manner. Take a step back, and I’m like, “OK where is this coming from? is this justifiable? most likely not.” let’s just identify what’s causing these feelings. This primitive feeling of like, “oh this person I love, that I do the same thing with, I’m just witnessing them doing it,” and I know that happens with them and me too, with other partners. But I know that we’re both very good at identifying it and kind of, putting the kibosh on it when need be. ?

Ocho: So you consider that like, “well, this is something I need to work on with myself right now.” ?

Seth: Yes. Absolutely. Whereas I’ll find that most people kind of just take that jealousy and run with it?

Ocho: Yeah I mean that’s that’s the kind you hear about. You wouldn’t…to defend jealousy, in some way, like you wouldn’t hear about it if people were largely doing what we’re talking about; like using it as an opportunity to work on yourself. You don’t notice it then, because it’s silent. You notice the jealousy when someone’s throwing plates against the wall in that kind of thing, and screaming at somebody and waving their finger and accusing them of things. But sho knows? There might be more silent jealousy and in a healthy way, like this. Because it’s it’s a natural thing to happen to you and you use it as an opportunity to work on yourself. And yeah there might be more of that that you just don’t see.?

Seth: Yeah, sure. But like you know, thankfully, like even if they were experiencing jealousy, I wouldn’t blame them at all. And I’m sure vice versa, but so far, so good in terms of our relationship. I mean, they for the most part handle it in a healthy way, and I’d say I do the same thing. But it still happens. For the most part, the opposite of that is compersion. Are you familiar with that term?

Ocho: No

Seth: That’s like feeling genuine joy and pleasure at seeing your partner enjoying themselves with somebody else. I would say that I experience that more often than jealousy. Because I think Lola and I are at this like place we’re just like “yeah we’re not monogamous; no question about it; we’re not dipping our toe in the water. We are immersed in the pool.” So we really get down with it. We understand it, and so compersion is the thing that I feel that the two of us probably feel moreso than jealousy. But both will happen. But yeah I mean there’s other things like…and I feel like a lot of it has to do with conditioning, you know, like things that have been pounded into my head since I was young. Like you know, aside from Lola, I’ve had like some, you know, lighter relationships with people that…I mean I was hanging out with somebody who just moved to Hollywood, you know, like today. And they were really really cool. Our relationship was like a little bit less defined, but we were seeing each other consistently for a few months and there’d be little things that I consider to be unfair on my end. Where maybe I’d like…and I’d catch myself instantly, but you could see like, whether it’s with her or with other people that I’ve been seeing in the last like year or two. Like maybe they post a picture of them with some attractive looking person on their Instagram story. And I can’t help but wonder like “aw man…are they having a really good time together? Like a better time than when we’re together? You know, that happens. And you can’t really help it, but thankfully this point it’s like, “even so. Doesn’t matter.” Even if they’re getting the best fucking sex of their life with the most romantic fucking time of their life with somebody else? Like, so be it! Again, like compersion…and they still want to see me. They still wanna spend time with me. And even if they didn’t, so be it. You know, that’s the thing. I feel like the reason people act and jealousy so viciously, generally, is because they’re like they’re afraid of that situation happening. Like, “no you can’t go to the club with your friends ‘cause what if you meet someone there who is like a sexual competitor? And you’re attracted to them. They f* * * * you better, and then you ultimately leave me for this person?” But that’s the thing. You got to Live and Let Live. I mean, if that happens, that f * * * * * * * happens. Too bad.?

Ocho: You know, it does seem like a possibility like that could be a reason for jealousy. I was thinking of that too. Like, has anyone tried to turn you? Or claim you as as their own, and get you to be monogamous??

Seth: Absolutely. Many times. And there have also been a lot of situations were like I will…let’s say I go on a date with somebody, and I am always upfront about it, I never keep it a secret, and they’ll be like “well I never tried it before, but,” essentially, “I’ll try it for you because I’m attracted to you.” And I’m like okay, that’s cool. More often than not, it crash and burns. Like we get three months in, and the reality of the non-monogamy sets in like, “hey, I have another partner” or I’m seeing this thing where it’s very casual for me, but to them it’s like the earth-shattering. Like “what the f * * * this doesn’t makes sense. This isn’t what I read in my Disney story book is a child,” but like…?

Ocho: It seems like you kind of have to do it for yourself. It has to be you. The non-monogamy has to be you first. Because you can’t really do it for somebody else.?

Seth: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that you have to have a certain set of values, or a certain mindset on life. Because like a lot of people I know are concerned with her biological clock; they’re concerned with external social pressures. They’re concerned with dying alone. And a lot of these things are more likely, if you’re not monogamous right? As opposed to like the emotional security, or even the legal emotional secutiry of like getting married to somebody.?

Ocho: Yeah. I mean, there’s all kinds of things, right? There’s being perceived as a slut, if you’re non-monogamous

Seth: Which happens to me often,

Ocho: The stigma. And the legal part that you said, and the the stability part. Yeah I feel like like there’s some kind of tactical advantage that I have, being with the same woman that I’ve been with for like 10 years. You know, like we have a battle plan of how we’re going to navigate this war zone of life. It’s a very violent metaphor, but sometimes life is out to get you. That’s why people want stability. It isn’t easy to make it. It isn’t easy to reach whatever your goals are.?

Seth: Yeah and in my situation, kind of to bounce that what you were saying, like, I’m very interested in having a deeply loving relationship with someone that I’m sexually, romantically, emotionally, you know…attached is not the right word…but like, connected to. Basically all the same aspects of what people are typically looking for in a long-term monogamous relationship. But I just have absolutely no interest in exclusivity. I want the I want both my partner and I have the option of like sexually and emotionally exploring situations with other people. And the idea of exclusivity feels kind of like a prison to me. It would be like if someone told me I can only have one friend, you know? And if I didn’t, I was a scumbag. And like “honorable people aspire to having one friend.” you know? ?

Ocho: Yeah, and for you, exclusivity refers to sexual or physical, or affectionate exclusivity??

Seth: Yeah, primarily. But even like emotional exclusivity. I feel like that kind of bleeds into things. Like again, very heteronormative, very binary. But like if people are like “who is this man you’re talking to??” Let’s say you’re hetero and you’re dating a woman or something. Like, “go ahead and talk to any any female friends you want,” because A) homosexuality doesn’t exist in this person’s mind, and B) they’re just kind of a jealous person, but I think that’s kind of what it bleeds into. It just kind of comes down to possession, and control. And again, this is not across the board for all monogamous situations. Because some are handled very healthily. And the autonomy and agency is respected among partners, but a lot of times it isn’t. A lot of times people like the idea of like “I control this person. I’m not letting this person get away. I have them now. It’s kind of like an extension of just like property ownership.

Ocho: Sure. I mean, I don’t know that much about non-monogamous relationships, but I could see them having problems too and about people being manipulative, and lying, and, it wouldn’t be the same, but of them also being bad for you.?

Seth: Yeah, same thing, man. I mean, that kind of stuff is not exclusive to monogamous situations by any means, but I think the key difference as I look at it: there’s like all these built-in expectations of like the American relationship, if you will. Where if your more like in a relationship anarchist situation, then there’s more room for like, “well there is some interpretability here; there is some like openness” it’s not so like, “you should’ve known better” it’s more just like “oh this is something I’m experiencing or feeling” right? But there’s definitely people that take advantage of folks, and are just deceptive and manipulative and slimy with their non-monogamy. Or like using it as a way to just have lots of sex, or to get things out of people. I don’t mean to paint nonmonogamous people is this like, across-the-board angelic, divine entity. But like they’re fallible, and, you know, mistake-prone

Ocho: You probably have to be careful just like you would be…?

Seth: Yeah, absolutely. I think there’s just like there’s toxic monogamous traits that like…what bothers me is just the built-in expectation of “you should do this; you shouldn’t do this.” That bothers the hell out of me, so like even though nonmonogamous relationship are still prone to fallibility and things like that, at least there isn’t like…if you’re if you announce yourself as a relationship anarchist and you’re dating someone who says the same, there can’t be this like “oh well, you should’ve known better; you should’ve known to do this” Like “you should’ve come with me to that wedding function it was not cool of you to not go. Because like that’s what couples do” kind of thing, you know? Those things, you know?

Ocho: Yeah I know. I know yeah well that sounds like art to me, you know? I like art where it where it’s like “wow what is that? To me that’s if I experience something that was created intentionally, and I don’t really…know. I got a think about it for a second; it surprises me a little bit, and I got to spend some time with it to figure it out. To me that’s that’s some art But that’s that’s different than like learning how to paint of a portrait or a basket of fruit with oil paints, and you can obviously do that your own way and you end up developing your own style no matter what, but trying to replicate something according to some sort of rules, or studying to create a particular type of art that someone else invented…but yeah this is some groundbreaking shit, and it’s your own. It comes from within you as an individual; it’s a very like individualistic thing and the other people as individuals as well. That’s fascinating as hell to me like because there’s so many possibilities to it.?

Seth: Yeah, absolutely. And when you meet somebody who’s also on board with the same things you are, it can be a really beautiful, just kind of blossoming, floral thing. And there’s something so amazing to me about that idea of Compersion, you know, like you love this person; you aren’t questioning their love for you; you feel safe and secure in that. You can also watch them do the exact same things they do with you, and know that it’s just like, everyone’s having a good time and enjoying each other, you know…I think it’s a really beautiful thing; I think it’s a hard concept for at least you know, folks in the west to wrap their heads around, and I get it because we’re a very monogamous culture but like, yeah, it’s just like having lots of different friends and you’re all hanging out together, and high-fiving each other and hugging each other and chilling at the barbecue like whatever. It’s the same thing. Just slight differences, you know…?

Ocho: I did want to get to some concrete things like how it started. Because I assume you grew up with the Disney movies, so you had the same concept starting out, like with with me it was like the soft rock ballads of the 80s. You get this idea of like what romance is supposed to be, and it’s with one other person and it involves like sacrificing a lot, and so on. So, what happened??

Seth: I think I can trace it back to my earlier high school days. I’ve always been a very sexual person. I’ve always been sex positive. I felt no need to slut shame people, or to come down on people for wanting to have sex with lots of people, and I know that a lot of folks I grew up around did. When I was…I remember dating this person in particular in high school, kind of like a long-term girlfriend, and it was a loving relationship, and my very first close one, but I remember at that time just kind of getting a distaste for things that were expected of you in those relationships. Like “fuck I’m an asshole because I didn’t text you today? I was busy” Like, shit. Or like “You found a picture of a woman in my phone and now I’m in the doghouse?” Like what is that? You know, like whatever. And the thing was like, I know I never would never cheat on people; I never thought that was cool. I don’t condone that by any means, but I started thinking “is it really so wrong of me to wanna have sex with lots of different people? I just wanna have sex and not just fuck, but to also get to know these people and enjoy their presence.” And like dig them or love them as a person, but also it’s like we’re having healthy sexual and emotional relationships, but you know, the seed was planted at a young age, but I would say up through 2017-2018—my last monogamous relationship was in 2016, and you know she’s very sweet and like, on paper it seems like a good relationship, but that was kind of the final piece where I was like “you know I really don’t think I can do relationships like this anymore” since it’s not really catering to who I feel like I genuinely am. And then in subsequent years, that’s when I was meeting more people like in the non-monogamous community, and Lola really came out as non-monogamous, because they also had like one last big monogamous relationship, and I think they and I kind of came into that at a similar time and really helped each other out with that. They especially helped me. But that’s, in terms of origins of that, that’s what I can think of: I’ve always been very interested in, especially, sex. And also not feeling ashamed of it, while being surrounded by people who would regularly shame others for it. You know, like “good people had a partner they were loyal to and obedient to, and only had sex under the right circumstances…there’s a proper and respectable way to do it…” I just think that’s bullshit, you know? To some degree I think we’re fucking animals and we should just have sex if we want to, and as much as I’m into promoting non-monogamy, I’m also into promoting sex positivity, you know. Like everybody wants to f * * *. And A lot of people I know probably at heart are non-monogamous people but decide to cheat instead of, like do it ethically. Maybe “a lot of people” is wrong, but I seen it happen a lot of times, and it’s really frustrating because it’s like, well, they want the option to have sex in the people, even though they do really love this person but it’s one or the other. So then they end up just trying to get away with it unethically, and it just makes things worse.?

Ocho: I definitely see that as a thing that happens. Like if you’re just going to cheat, like let’s just be honest about who we are, and start from there. This whole show is about a diversity of human beings, so like I do think they probably the traditional way is for a lot of people. and it’s just like a cultural norm. But we’re a Multicultural Society, are we not? So, I don’t see any reason why it has to be the only way. But I do think it works well for some people. I also think there are people like you’re saying, for whom like it actually doesn’t work and they keep trying.?

Seth: Right? And that’s where I think that attitude becomes kind of pernicious, because I agree that like a lot of people truly are. Like they do want monogamy. I don’t think that everyone secretly is actually nonmonogamous and we’re all lying to ourselves. I think a lot of people truly do work well in a monogamous setting, and like they can do that in a very healthy way til the day they die. I’ve seen it happen. But I think that because there’s so much external pressure to be like “this is the right way to have a relationship,” that people who don’t follow the narrative or don’t feel comfortable with it, like they still kind of do it. They still get married, but they don’t really want to be exclusive even if they love their partner. So they have to find kind of sneakier ways to get what they need. And it’s not like they’re inherently bad people or anything and it’s like “fuck, I love my spouse, but I just I really really want to do some sexual exploration, but there’s no way I can have both without being rejected by my community” right? so I just try to get away with it if I can

Ocho: Yeah, so they could hook up with somebody or find a sex worker? Maybe. Being dishonest about it.?

Seth: Instead of like, perhaps, like, normalizing…even like, sitting down with your spouse and saying, “hey, honey, I’m having these feelings. And this does I mean I love you any less; it doesn’t mean that I want to end our relationship,” which is usually the red flags that start popping up in people’s heads. “I just feel like I want some sexual variety of my life, or some emotional variety.” Could we maybe talk about ways to do this in a healthy way?” If we can normalize even having conversations like that, I think that would just curb the heartbreak of cheating for one thing. And a lot of people who are interested in that kind of thing could probably fulfill those needs in a healthy, honest way.?

Ocho: It’s possible. Yeah, I can also see that ending really poorly. I suppose part of the reason why one might be afraid of bringing that up is because then they might lose something that they have. That would be their fear. That this thing they have with their partner, they might lose it entirely. Their partner might just say, “well, f * * * you, then go find it, and you’re not going to get it from me anymore.”?

Seth: Well, that to me just says something about the relationship in itself. Like, if your partner reacts that way, I mean, if they really love you, and if they really like hear you and see you, and feel you, why should you be afraid to be honest about what you’re feeling? Like if they really, really care about you and relate to you the way they say that they do, they should at least be able to feel that. Even if they disapprove. Instead of like, and not like, “oh well, this is how you feel, then our relationship means nothing has meant nothing. Goodbye.”?

Ocho: It seems, maybe a bit unethical to bring that up after like 15 years or something.

Seth: I disagree.

Ocho: You don’t think? Because if you enter into an agreement that’s a monogamous agreement…I suppose if you’re bringing up a debate maybe, or you’re talking about how an inclination you might have…?

Seth: Yeah, well that’s the thing. You can enter….?

Ocho: And you’re saying, maybe we can negotiate the rules??

Seth: Yeah, well I mean I think the thing is like, people change. People are malleable. It’s like a little too easy to be like “well you agreed to this thing 20 years ago” you know like “how dare you change your mind now” but like you change your mind about the kind of milk drink, you know what I’m saying? If you were 15 you’re like “I’m never drinking soy milk.” and then at 35 you’re like “wait a minute. That might actually be for me. I don’t think that’s an unethical move by any means

Ocho: No, you’re right about that.

Seth: I think that just because people are so prone to change in general, like I think that’s something to consider. Even the fact of like, you might be so head-over-heels in love with somebody one year, and then fifteen years later your love might fade honestly, you know, it hurts to hear. It’s tough to hear, but like I think that’s just the reality of it. You know, like nothing…you hear that term all is fair in love and war, right? Like I mean, there’s a grain of truth to that I suppose.?

Ocho: Yeah,

Seth: * * * War…

Ocho: Yeah I guess. I was just thinking of it, trying to present another side. It maybe kind of fell flat. Maybe what’s more true is that, boy that be difficult. Like that would be difficult to have after like having something…it’s really kind of a treat to know that somebody’s going to be there for you and all this stuff but it isn’t a guarantee is it? ?

Seth: Exactly. That’s the thing, like, I think people kind of like—a draw of that is like, the emotional security of it, you know, like “I got somebody waiting at home for me” and that is kind of nice you know, long days work, you wanna go home and fall into the arms of your lover? It sounds amazing. But that’s the thing, like I think it can, perhaps it’s too harsh a word, but I think it can be foolish to assume that’s always gonna be there like just like your favorite case of beer in the fridge. Like you know that she’s gonna be there you, you look forward to it, but it’s a person, you know? They can change their mind at anytime and you have to be ready for that.?

Ocho: Yeah and that is what you do to people you love, is you allow them to be themselves. And yeah.?

Seth: So if I brought that up to my partner in a monogamous…to wrap back to what you were saying, like if I brought this thing up to my partner, and their initial response was anger and rejection, that in and of itself might be like “huh, maybe this relationship was kind of crappy them in the first place. Maybe this wasn’t like the love and the trust and the foundation I thought I had” you know.

Ocho: Yeah, maybe in some way that reaction though might not be avoidable. Just because of emotions. It doesn’t necassarily mean that it is ideal or that it makes sense, even. Emotions happen to you. Right??

Seth: Absolutely. And I could also see like let’s say you were the recipient in that conversation…

Ocho: That’s what I’m kind of imagining me. In order to play Devil’s Advocate to this, I’m imagining me. ?

Seth: Yeah, and I could see that’s the thing: I also would not blame that partner for being emotional, or even upset or angry. Because that’s the thing: you did agree to be married monogamously exclusively; that’s the thing and you can feel that way, and like I wouldn’t blame somebody for feeling hurt or rejected or like less important but like that’s the other side of it. It’s like fucking, well, I mean maybe this person’s mind has changed and that doesn’t necessarily mean they honestly love me any less or anything. It’s just like maybe they just need something else for fulfillment. And I think that relationships are a lot more complex than we thought—not we, but just just folks sometimes like would acknowledge.

Ocho: They can be complex, yeah.

Seth: I think we like to think they’re pretty simple. There’s a basic set of rules to follow and it’s good to go, but people are f * * * * * * people. They’re nutty.?

Ocho: I think probably some of them are quite simple, you know, and some of them are quite complex like we’re saying. We’re talking about complex types of relationships. Putting more pieces in it makes it more complex like by definition I’m pretty sure, so…it’s very cool and I can almost summarize it last piece of the conversation by saying “well the truth hurts.”

Seth: I guess that’s what it comes down to. It’s like, do you want to be truthful, and risk potentially hurting the feelings of someone you love? Or do you want to spare them that hurt, but lie to yourself?

Ocho: Know. Yeah, and also when you hurt the feelings of the people you love, that can hurt you too.

Seth: But then again, if like, if your resolve is to like, let’s say cheat on this person, like “well I don’t want them to know that I feel this way so I’m going to be doing this s * * * behind their back. Well, is that really any better?

Ocho: Right.

Seth: And I also know, like I’m sure that some of these things are a lot easier for me to say because I am very accustomed to this mindset. And it could be hard for me to put myself back in the place of like, a monogamous person.?

Ocho: Yeah, I’m trying to do a little bit to present the other side.?

Seth: Yeah I appreciate it too. Honestly. I just think it’s cool. If people just try it, you know? I would encourage people to at least give it a go. You know…?

Ocho: I would say you tried monogamy.

Seth: Exactly for a lot, most of my life, I tried monogamy.

Ocho: That is, that’s to me all I could really say. And honestly, you can knock it if you’ve tried it. This is not about knocking it this whole show is not about knocking things, but honestly if you’ve tried it you can say why it’s not for you. You’re entitled. It’s just science really at that point. You’ve done the experiment; you’ve done the experimental group and the control group, and you can compare them. I’m a little bit hesitant to hear peoples criticisms especially if they want to go on and on about something that they haven’t even done. ?

Seth: Right? So I’m sure you can imagine. When people criticize non-monogamy and tell me why it’s inherently flawed, I’m like, well, what the hell do you know??

Ocho: That’s not my style at all, no. Even if even if I thought it was trash I wouldn’t do that, I would still just try to show my interest, but like I said, I think it’s like art; I think it’s really cool. It seems like a cool, like experimental thing to do. And it’s worth it with like a very intimate, emotional part of your of yourself. And physical too; it’s with your body. So to me it’s it’s like taking some risks, like it’s a really daring thing to do. Probably just cause it’s not conventional. I guess if it was conventional, it’d just be like, normal. It wouldn’t be daring at all right??

Seth: It wouldn’t be quite as…?

Ocho: But I admire that. So I guess I was going to ask about kids? So what about having kids? Is that anything you want to do??

Seth: Absolutely not. I decided a while ago that I’m not interested in, for sure, having or raising children, and also not like having like a family. Like a domestic situation, I suppose. I’m very interested in not staying in the same place for too long. I like to travel a lot. I love my private time. I love the time with myself. I love the spontaneity or impulsivity of like, “oh let’s get up and do this today!” Like, I don’t know what I’m gonna do today. Where like, in my free time I can go down and see some friends or whatever, you know. Like I’m definitely not into the idea of dedicating my life to raising kids or fostering like a domestic situation.?

Ocho: What if, then…somebody wanted to have your babies and you didn’t have to be part of the domestic situation??

Seth: you are talking. Like I literally just someone’s like, “I want to have your baby” and then I knocked them up, and they just raise the kid on their own??

Ocho: Or with someone else, or in any way…?

Seth: Maybe. I mean, if they were really interested in that, I guess, like we can talk about it. If it seemed like… I mean if I were to fo that, I would want to make sure this is like someone who I trusted. Or like, if I’m gonna give you my seed, I wanna make sure you’re going to treat the little kiddo ok. ?

Ocho: And that they’re not going to try to rope you in after that. They’d have to honor their word about it?

Seth: That’s yeah, I would be like m * * * * * * * * * * * * like writing up a contract. We’d be signing contracts at that point.?

Ocho: I’m kind of superimpose an attitude about relationship anarchy onto you, maybe raising children. So someone wants to…she wants you to knock her up. But what is after that is freedom for you. So like you can come around or not, but you don’t have exclusive rights to be the kids dad. so um, do you know what I’m saying, kind of superimposing the same values?

Seth: I’m biologically this child’s father, right? But I mean, I’d be fine with that. Like I mean, I don’t really have an interest in making that happen, but if somebody I don’t know, really admired me, and they were like “I want to just have a little Seth in the world” or something, and “me and my partner will take care of them in a loving home that’s safe…” Yeah then sure, as l long as the stars aligned. But it would have to be a very specific situation. I don’t see that happening honestly. But I mean if it came up, I would I would at least explore the idea. But I have absolutely no interest in raising children of my own. I just—the idea of my life being dedicated to children sounds like a literal hell on earth. Actual hell on earth. But I mean, kids are cool. I like spending, in small doses it’s fun to joke around with them, or like I’d babysit. Or I get the impression that my siblings will have babies at some point. And being a fun uncle would be rad, you know? Watching them for the weekend, showing them rock records and shit. But then like, you know, on Monday morning I don’t have them, so I can just drop back off or something like that. That would be cool. And I also like the idea of like trying to put a positive influence on the youth you know like “maybe like a I can show you some cool stuff, tell you some cool stuff.” Not like nonsense or whatever. Stuff like that.

Ocho: Yeah, a little guidance.?

Seth: But I don’t want to have to be doing that every f * * * * * * day of the week.?

Ocho: Yeah, and to be legally responsible and to be held to task for every thing that the child does…Yeah it’s a very big responsibility and, like many things on the show, it’s just not for everyone, so I definitely want to do an episode about not having children, or several. I do sort of see this as like being “you have a story about being non-monogamous; other people have other stories,” so like I’d like to get more angles on the same thing as well. So different people can answer the same question in different ways.?

Seth: And even to like, rope it back into like, non-monogamy. I mean, there are still successful, healthy homes that have like that, that consist of like, polycules. Or like non-monogamous folks where there’s like primary parents. But it could be almost like multiple partners raising a child in agreement. And, is copacetic the word? Maybe. But like a healthy, agreed-upon situation where again, in traditional Western values it’s thought of like “one man, one woman” is the ideal situation to raise a child. ?

Ocho: Nuclear. Yeah you’re talking more like an extended family.?

Seth: Yeah. Honestly. And that is a thing that just exists in the non-monogamous community. You know, people do raise kids, they do have kids with one another. I can’t think of names off the top of my head, but there are people even in Minneapolis who do that. And I thikn that’s kind of a beautiful thing so… That was one thinkg that I wanted to say: that just because I feel this way, non-monogamy and being childless don’t inherently go hand-in-hand. ?

Ocho: Right. And it would be interesting to talk to somebody who is doing that.?

Seth: It’s almost that “takes a village to raise a child” kind of thing. I could see that being like a very healthy situation, where they have like their primary parents, but there’s also other healthy influences around, also nurturing and influencing this child.?

Ocho: Well, you know it’s as I was saying about sort of the stability that I have with monogamy, and about how I see that it’s just sort of advantageous to my life. It’s a very sterile, non-romantic thing to say, but it’s still it’s given us a strategic advantage in navigating life, I think? Why not have a whole organization? I mean, imagine what you could do with that. To raise a child, or to do whatever this kind of stuff we gotta do to get through life. I mean how awesome would it be like if my car broke down, and they were 15 people I could call instead of one? And hope she answers her phone.?

Seth: No, honestly. Or think about like, you know, you and one of your partners wanna get away for like a half a week, or weekend or something? Like can my other partner watch this child while we’re gone…The limit does not exist??

Ocho: And get the mail and take out the garbage and do all the things that I would do for you?

Seth: Straight-up! Pretty rock and roll if you ask me.?

Ocho: It sounds like I say, there’s a lot of possibilities…thanks for talking to me and good luck with everything and exploring all this and growing and embracing all the things that happen to you in your relationships.?

Seth: Thank you so much, man. Thanks for having me. It’s really nice to just get a second to talk about this, you know. If somebody wants to listen, and hopefully there’s folks out there that are thinking maybe non-monogamy is kind of the life for them, and maybe some of this could help them a little bit, that would be cool.

Ocho: Maybe

Seth: I guess we’ll see.

Ocho: Thank you Seth

Seth: Thank you, man Thanks to all of the contributors. You make this show possible! If you liked today’s episode, and you can find it in your heart to part with a few dollars, it would help us a lot. You can do that at idontdothatpodcast.com/give. Monthly memberships start at $4. Members get the podcast episodes the day before they come out. You also get access to exclusive content, such as music and comedy, AND opportunities to get involved, such as a chance to interview me about things I don’t do. And I don’t do a lot of stuff: I don’t play sports, I don’t have kids, I don’t watch sports, I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t hold babies…I don’t even smoke weed. I don’t ride on motorcycles. I don’t play video games. I don’t do family entertainment, either. wtf! Don’t you kinda wonder about that? Do you want to have a conversation with me about it? Sign up for a membership at idontdothatpodcast.com/give, and then ask me how. If you don’t want to get a membership, you can make a one-time donation in the amount of your choosing. You can also find some sweet merch. That’s at idontdothatpodcast.com/give Thank you Seth! If you’re into some grungy surfy cowpunk alternative rock, you can check out Seth’s band Lavender Daughter on streaming services now, or on tour in the near future. Seth also plays in Minneapolis-St Paul in pop-punk sensation Oister Boi. My name is Ocho. I’m your host, chief engineer and producer. I also composed and performed the theme song. Shout out always to our sponsor Anders with Primetime Web. Thanks to all of you, for all that you do, and DON’T do. I will talk to you again. …if I’m lucky. [singing] “I Don’t Do That…”

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