Craving Other Relationships

How do you know if you're craving other relationships for the right reasons?

I have been interested in non-monogamy for years, listened to podcasts, followed content creators on Instagram, and read a book or two.
Two years ago I decided to do casual dating more intentionally. After having random hookups and doing just very casual sex, I realized I wanted to have more honest, communicative, and careful connections with the people I date. Just sex was not enough.
Two years have passed, and after having dated 3 people intentionally, I always end up as the one wanting a more committed relationship, or just overall craving for more attention or affection. One of them was in an open relationship and the other two.. I dated them simultaneously, and both parties fully consented.
I enjoy connecting with multiple people, either one at a time or simultaneously. I have not tried to pursue a more committed partnership (a.k.a. what some people like to call a serious relationship). I have pretty much enjoyed these connections until I started to want more. Does this mean casual dating is not for me, after trying it in different forms? Do I have to set some boundaries for myself? I do not want to settle for a monogamous long-term partnership...
Should I try more of a polyamory style? Even though I enjoy meeting new connections. Do I need to have more of a long-term safer connection to engage in casual dating? Even though that does not feel right..i.e. if I become single again, what happens then?...
I am feeling very confused. One of my more recent casual partners was in the city for a short while and he is leaving, I am feeling very heartbroken to the point I am questioning my decisions.

Firstly, I wanted to say that I totally understand your feelings and feel very much the same. I don't like casual dating at all really. I don't think a good deal of people do really. A lot of people see it as a means to an end for them to find someone they want to be with. Obviously, for people who are ending up in a monogamous relationship, that is less of an issue than someone who is polyamorous who could potentially end up perpetually dating. You at least enjoy meeting new connections! I don't and that is a struggle for me.

However, I think that the issue here for me is that you have a craving for more attention or affection. That isn't necessarily bad but it makes me wonder more about how you experienced the three people you dated intentionally. One of the questions I encourage people to ask themselves when it comes to polyamory is could they find themselves monogamously dating someone with a time intensive career who can't spend a good deal of their time with you. Because for some people, the issue may not be that they feel an enormous amount of jealousy or anything but they just want to have more time with their partner than a non-monogamous relationship can provide.

There have also been times when I craved other relationships when I was dating people and it wasn't because I was super polyamorous but because I felt a lack of intimacy in my current relationship. As I say, polyamory isn't designed to help people collect a bunch of semi-fulfilling relationships until they reach a level of permissible stasis or avoid breaking up. Did these other relationships bring you something that time with them did not?

It may also be worth thinking about what makes a relationship "committed" or "serious" or what your expectations are around that because I also feel like some people assume casual relationships aren't necessarily deep, but they can be meaningful for those people. How we define meaning is incredibly personal and isn't always easy to quantify. But thinking about what you mean by a relationship being "serious" might help you figure out how to spell out your needs for future partners.

Another thing to consider is that sometimes we have to step outside of our comfort zones a little bit. I dislike dating, but I have and do do it in the past when I feel like finding a partner is a priority for me. I'm willing to do something I'm not all that keen on doing if it means that I will be able to get to know someone new. I take breaks when I'm frustrated with the process, accept the fact that this isn't a fun process and I don't enjoy it and try to get on with it and sometimes that's what we have to do.

All serious things do begin with two people who don't know each other at all. But once you understand what a "serious" relationship means to you, it's easier to spell that out for future partners. Consider going through my 101 and 102 articles and thinking about your polyamory ideal situation and that might lead you to what you want to ask for when it comes to new partners. Don't worry so much about what you label things and whether it's polyamory or non-monogamy. Focus instead of what that actually means for how you want to structure your life.

I hope this helps and good luck!

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