Discover more from Angela’s Substack
I've gotten a lot of questions. I have a lot of answers.
How did you stumble upon non-monogamy?
I don’t think I ever took marriage seriously. I felt like the whole institution was pretentious, and the concept of being committed to one person bothered me in ways that I could not quite put specific language to. I also couldn’t understand when people were jealous of their partners talking to other people or spending time with other people. I knew my heart was wired differently for a while, and I didn’t realize there was language around this until I found Nick and Mille on IG @decolonizing.love that offered words around it.
I talk more in depth on how I arrived at non-monogamy and how it affected my marriage in my very first Substack article, and it’s available under a paywall because I share information that I want available only to those who fully honor my truth.
So are you dating anyone?
Nope, I have performance anxiety and am afraid to go on dates at the moment, paradoxically. That might change tomorrow, who knows.
If you’re not dating anyone, are you even non-monogamous?
It is not about what is actually going on with your life that determines your identity. There are plenty of people who were born male-presenting and realized their identity as a woman later on. Or people who thought they were straight but realized later they were not. Discovery does not need to accompany action in order to be real.
For me, even if I were to never date anyone outside of our marriage, I would still identify as non-monogamous because this is about my freedom to feel what I want to feel and do what I want to do when I want.
How did your husband react when you first made this discovery?
We were always comfortable talking about the people we found attractive, but when we started talking seriously about non-monogamy, we were clueless on how to deal with this very new situation. His reaction is mostly his story to tell, but I would say he was pretty stressed, to say the least. But he decided to make time and space to figure out what this meant for us.
With the help of community, we had to confront our humanity in ways we didn’t imagine before. Meaning, we had to answer questions like:
Why is being monogamous important to us?
What are we afraid of?
What makes us jealous?
What are our boundaries, and what does that tell us about our values?
How will this affect our livelihood and place in the world?
How will we prioritize our children as we navigate these changing waters?
Over the past 6 months since we started having these conversations, my experience has been that we have come to know more of ourselves and each other, and as a result, fallen more deeply in love. At least I have.
This was possible because we were both willing to repair our relationship to one another, address any ruptures together, and take responsibility for our emotions. It didn’t look perfect because we are human. But we always came back to each other.
At the moment, this is what he says: “The truth of the matter is that I was wronged. I had entered the marriage believing that I was marrying someone who is monogamous, and the contract was breached, so to say. That is why we went through a lot of difficult discussions, and in large part because you were there to empathize where I was, too. And at the end of the day, I am glad we are here because this is important to you, and I love you.”
So does this mean that your husband is non-monogamous with you?
This information is his to share. What I can say on my end is that I support whatever he decides to do just as he supports me in whatever I want to do.
What is it like to venture into this new territory with kids?
It is extremely lonely. As far as I know, I am the only non-monogamous Korean with kids. As my peer/mentor Millie says, being non-monogamous as a non-white person is seen as more deviant. So we are more subject to rejection and isolation.
I am constantly on the lookout for risks associated with being non-monogamous. I have already been alienated for speaking out about things I care about, so I am used to being rejected, but it never stops hurting.
As far as how it affects my kids: I won’t say I’m doing this for my kids because that is patently false; I am doing this primarily out of my own selfish desires. But I would also be lying if this wasn’t the best thing that happened to my kids because the work I do is what will make it safer for my kids to be selfish as fuck when it comes to what they want, too.
There is a long road ahead. But it is the only road we are willing to travel to remain faithful to our truth.
But you already have everything you want in the beautiful marriage that you have. How could you want more?
Sufficiency, for me, is relative. We can find sufficiency in ourselves, and we can find sufficiency through the support of others. There are parts of me that only my husband can see and understand. And there are parts of me that other people can see and understand in ways only they can. We have only one life to keep these people around as long as possible, and I am not wasting that privilege.
I refuse to keep myself small because people think that I deserve less.
How do you not feel jealous? Isn’t jealousy a universal feeling?
I believe that jealousy is a function of our inability to honor people’s sovereignty and personhood. Meaning, other people’s relationship with others does not affect the authenticity of their relationship with me. If it does end up affecting our relationship, then there is a lot of information there for us to use for how we relate to others moving forward.
I recognize that this concept is more easily accessible to some more than others, and a lot of it has to do with simply how we are wired and how we have been conditioned by the world around us. I mean, virtually every romance film normalizes jealousy as an essential human feeling, for example. So we are wired to feel jealous as a default emotion in certain situations. It takes time, care, and practice to un-wire that.
When you say you “fell in love with other people” what do you mean? Are you saying you cheated on your husband?
I have felt strong feelings about other people, but as far as I know, I have not “acted” on my feelings as in telling them how I feel or asking them out before knowing what they were available for. I have also engaged in extensive discussions with my husband on any potential “action plans” so that it honors the boundaries that we’ve set. Not because I owe anyone anything but because I honor each of the humans involved in each situation.
What is this community of non-monogamy that you’ve felt belonging in?
Here are some accounts on Instagram that I found individual and community support from:
I’ve also sought counsel from my therapist, teachers, and a couple books that have held space for me to feel less alone.
How do you reconcile your lifestyle with your religious beliefs?
Religion has been one of the most insidious weapons against humanity for as long as time. Religion is useful to me to the extent that I can find solace in who I am in my personal connection with God and the Buddhist principles that honor my sovereignty.
Anything additional becomes worshipping the man-made institutions that require humans to abandon who we are, which will always remain God’s creation.
How do you know this is not simply a hedonistic lifestyle/phase and not something permanent?
People seem to believe that now that I have identified as non-monogamous, I’m just gonna go out and have sex with everyone.
First of all, I don’t want to do that because I get UTIs easily, so it takes a long time for me to want to have sex with anybody.
Second, the point that most mainstream conservatives appear to miss is just how risky and painful it is to be different. People don’t “become queer” for attention. Listen, I absolutely love attention. But the dangers I invite far outweigh the temporary delight of receiving attention. Our relationship to our family can be jeopardized, and our children can be alienated at school. Our prospects for a job become severely limited. We have already lost friends.
When we stick with something that yields serious risks, it often means that there is a core part of us that we cannot simply discard for the sake of pleasing others. It becomes clearer that it is an identity and not a phase.
Are you saying that monogamy is bad?
Nope. The problem I have is with compulsory monogamy, where we haven’t even been offered options outside of monogamy. Even when we are offered these options, it is still unsafe to take that risk. If you are a die-hard monogamous person, who am I to question who you are? Just like you have no authority over who I am.
What the hell does non-monogamy have to do with “justice” when there are so many other injustices going on in the world?
Monogamy has always been a tool of colonization. Any effort to subvert that tool is an effort to dismantle supremacist ideals born out of colonization.
My work is always around feeling more belonging in our own bodies so that shame and guilt are not such frequent visitors that keep us small and silenced. You can find more of me on angela-han.com.