Master is non-monogamous by nature. When we started dating again in High School, I could see that in him. I may not have understood the words I'm using now, but I knew that being with one, and only one, partner was going to be nearly impossible for him. How did I know this without the words?
Because even though he showed me how important I was to him, he was a gregarious flirt. He's charismatic when he wants to be. He loves lust (that's probably his number one kink).
So how does one cope with being in a non-monogamous relationship with a gregarious flirt? Here's what I know, and works for me. Maybe it will be helpful to someone you know, or you yourself, or maybe none of it is for you, and that's okay.
Before I go any further here, I have to stress that jealousy and envy don't really exist in me when it comes to Master and his partners. I do occasionally feel insecure, and uncertain, that he does want to be with me. I know what jealousy feels like, and for me, it is more often associated with an object than a person; I rarely have jealousy related to a relationship, but will often experience jealousy over something (house, car, computer, phone, etc.) that someone else has.
Now...My four personal steps in dealing with insecurity in my relationship:
First: I recognize the time Master invests in me. When he is with me, and I ask him for undivided attention, he gives me that. The moments he invests in me are what I use to fight back illogical thoughts of being less important to him. He's invested the time and attention to let me know I am important.
Second: Master's flirting and affection with others does not necessarily mean that he is actively pursuing another relationship. Sometimes he flirts just to flirt, sometimes he is seeking a little ego fluffing.
Third: When Master is pursuing another relationship, it is not to replace anyone he has a relationship with. He's practically insatiable, and if he had the time, he'd happily bounce from bed to bed, scene to scene. The man can be active for upwards of 36 hours without stopping. As it is, he's also a realist, and measures his time carefully and does his best not to fill it beyond his capabilities. Ethical non-monogamous people try to be sure that they have enough time for everyone; not just in the bedroom, but also for the emotional needs and considerations of their partners.
Fourth: There are certain places and times that he is more prone to seemingly random flirting. These are generally in lifestyle safe spaces. These are the places we all let our dark sides, our shadow selves, out to play. What better place to be yourself when you are an enormous flirt who loves BDSM? Knowing he's more prone to flirtatiousness at a BDSM friendly event helps me go back to review the first three and often realize he's just expressing what a great time he's having.
What do I do when I've looked at those four things and I'm still feeling insecure?
This is the most powerful tool in our relationship boxes, whether you are vanilla, kinky, monogamous, non-monogamous or any combination of the above. I also have worked very, very hard at learning to use non-accusatory language. When I say “You are making me feel bad,” I'm accusing him, putting him on the defensive; this will frequently result in a yelling match and more hurt feelings.
If I turn that around though, and say something like “I'm not feeling very important to you right now. Can we talk about it?” I'm asking him to be on my side, I've expressed my feelings, let him know there's a problem and opened the discussion. When this discussion opens, it is super, super helpful to have an idea of how the balance can be restored; for me, sometimes, it's enough to have the conversation. Sometimes I need more; planning a date, planning to play a video game together...the things that make me see the stability in our relationship. The language used in this discussion really needs to be soft...
Starting your statements with yourself, using “I,” can get your point across without creating a need for your partner to go on the defensive. Compare my following example statements:
“I feel like you think she's more attractive,” or “You think she's more attractive.”
“I feel like our relationship might not be a priority to you,” or “You don't treat our relationship as if it is a priority.”
“I worry that you're looking for someone better,” or “You're looking for someone better.”
“I need to know if I'm as important to you as you are to me,” or “You don't think I'm important in this relationship, the way I think of you.”
The first ones are much softer, much kinder, more like opening a moment to be shared rather than a can of worms.
There are giant perks to being in a relationship with someone who loves to flirt. They are constantly stroking your ego as much as their own. In all of the gregarious flirts I've met (and I know a fair handful) they are deliriously infectious, they are good at making you feel good (in so many ways), and they have a glitter in their eyes that is enormously delightful. It isn't always easy to see them glitter and sparkle with someone else, but they adore their relationships, and work very, very hard to ensure that their partners can feel secure, appreciated, and valued.
If this is helpful, or you have questions about my perspective and/or relationships, I'd love to hear from you!