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Rubix
Hello members of matazone... it's been quite a long time since I've been here, which may or may not be a good thing as lately I've been coming only when I am so confused with my life that I need to talk to someone, but any of my friends would be much too involved in everything I am saying to tell.

Lately I've been wondering about polyamory as a lifestyle and as a... almost... sexual orientation? I had never thought about it in that way before but wikipedia introduced me to that mindset a while back and it's stuck with me. The reason I wonder is that through my life I've always thought of myself as a good person who would never do anything to hurt people I care about. However, I've also found myself (to use the word commonly accepted in society) cheating on my significant others. For a long time I was plagued by guilt over this, even after I came clean to the people I was affecting. I've only actually cheated twice, but come close several other times. Well.. when I say 'actually cheated' I mean emotionally. I have never gotten any farther than a short kiss but the emotions are still there.

Now normally I would just think "you know, this is a vice that I have to get over so that I can stop hurting people" but I just can't identify with the other stories of cheating that I hear about. I hear of people who aren't happy or aren't satisfied with their current significant other, or who don't care about their feelings, or are just looking for sexual satisfaction or the excitement of a new fling. I'm not one of those people. When I have entered into the situations that I thought of as cheating, I was still completely and totally in love with my significant other, and starting to fall in love with someone else in no way affected that feeling. In fact, the only thing wrong with it was the lying. So.. at this point... I don't know what I want to do. My problem is that if a close relationship is developing between me and someone else, I cannot bring myself to kill it. Even if I have someone else at the time, the growing relationship means a lot to me and I want to keep it. I cannot be happy knowing that I'm emotionally estranging myself from all people in the world besides one, and to accept any other I would have to get rid of them. That seems like one of the stupidest systems in the world.

So as you may have guessed I'm here because I've once again found myself in a situation where I have two wonderful relationships. One is fully formed and amazing and will probably last a while, but the other is with an amazingly sweet person who I have so much in common with and who I adore being close to. Last time anything like this happened I tried to keep everything separate and apart and just ended up lying and hurting people I loved so I know that I can't do that anymore. I want the people that I care about to understand that I still care about them and want them close to me... and that everyone could be happy and fine no matter who anyone else is happy with... I don't know... this may seem selfish but to me it doesn't feel that way at all this feels right and like any other way of living would be wrong.

Sorry that was probably more like ranting than anything else. The main question that I am asking is... does anyone have any experience with polyamoric relationships and telling partners about... things of this sort? Thanks..
LoLo
Let me just start out by saying that polyamory is not for me, but I have known a couple of people who have tried it. From what I have observed, if everyone is open about it, there is a chance that it can work out, but there always seems to end up being some jealousy and resentment that gets mixed into it.

For example, this guy I know got into a polyamorous relationship with a man and a wife. He was just involved with the wife, but the wife was involved with the husband and this other guy. They all lived together and things were sort of ok. The guy that I knew was happy with the woman, but the husband was not happy with the woman and the guy I knew. He was jealous, even though he had agreed to this. So eventually the husband went and got himself a girlfriend who then moved into the household. The wife got jealous of the husband's relationship with the new girl, and got very jealous of the eventual relationship that grew between the new girl and the guy I know. Everything got confusing and there was jealousy and resentment coming from most of the people in some way the last time I talked to this guy and even though they had all agreed to it and were "ok" with the lifestyle, they weren't really ok with it. Perhaps it was all their own insecurities, who knows.

What I can say from my own personal view is that a relationship is hard even just one on one, and adding to it with a type of relationship that isn't the "norm" can make it even more difficult. Also I think since one on once relationships are more the "norm" it may be harder to find people willing to be involved in polyamorous relationships with you.

That being said, if this is something you truly think you would like, and your partners would be amiable about, then sit down and have a mature conversation with the people involved and see if it is something you can all work out. If they go for it, set down ground rules and try to figure out how this relationship is going to work. Also don't hold it against anyone, if this isn't something they are willing to go for. I think it is more selfish if you want these relationships, but don't think you can be honest with the people involved and lie about it to them, so just be open and see what happens.
gothictheysay
Yeah, being open and honest is the best thing. Even if it means you end up having to choose between them - which is very tough, I know. I did have an open relationship at one point, but nothing much really happened outside of the one-on-one relationship. (My boyfriend at the time declared he was dating another girl at some point, who I was mildly jealous of, but nothing really happened between them) I don't know if it's something I'd do again - the situation was rather specific. It definitely can work, but I feel like it may be a bit more of a struggle, as it seems natural for feelings such as jealousy to arise.
Phyllis
It definitely can work, but it's tricky. As Lo and Sarah said, being open and honest is key to everyone in that type of scenario being happy. I think it's probably better to tell partners as early as possible in the relationship. It might lead to some people deciding they can't be with you, but it'll also lead to less hurt feelings in the long run. I don't think I would ever be able to handle polyamory -- I'd get too jealous.

But! I do have a book recommendation for you. Some poly people I used to be acquainted with all read it and loved it. It is called The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities, and it's written by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Lizt. It's kind of a beginner's guide to polyamory, I think.

Good luck.
Daria
I have a couple of friends who are in a [boyfriend 1]-[wife]-[husband]-[girlfriend]-[boyfriend 2] relationship, and they are all very happy. The only issue that seems to come from it is that it seems timekeeping skills are an imperative to have. [wife] splits her time between [husband] and [boyfriend 1] but both males sometimes find themselves being put out because they want to do something with [wife] but it's not their day to do it. Bit like having custody of a child. [boyfriend 1] finds it hardest as before he was in the relationship, he didn't identify as poly and this is his first serious relationship- he has overcome a lot of the jealousy and issues he had at the start, though, and now they all meet up for brunch at the weekend to socialise and see oneanother face to face. They don't usually socialise otherwise, though.
I have another friend who I have discussed polyamory with who believes it's akin to being gay or bi. Some people just aren't monogamous, just as some people aren't heterosexual. It's a lot more than being in an open relationship. He is currently in a monogamous relationship because his current girlfriend isn't happy with the idea of him having multiple partners- they've discussed it and are very open about it with one another.

My personal take is that I am the product of a "polyamorous" relationship. Essentially it went [biological father]-[mother/ wife]-[father/husband]. [biological father] and [father/ husband] were best friends, and everyone was fully aware and "ok" with the relationship. I was brought up to think that [father/ husband] was my dad- and he is the father of my two older and one younger siblings- and when I was 7, due to arguements at work between [biological father] and [father/ husband], and resentful feelings from the latter, we moved away and ties were cut with [biological father]. My mother got back in touch with him when she and her husband divorced (when I was 12) after some Stuff (long story, for another time) and they rekindled their relationship. [as a note- us kids never knew they were together in the first place, so it was more her getting in touch with an old friend and starting a relationship]
She explained to me that [biological father] was my father when I was 17 and it seriously affected my life. He's an amazing guy, and I love him as much as I love my mum- my siblings do too- but talk of existential crisis!

Moral is: be open. Don't lead anyone on, bring it up from the start and don't hide anything from anyone. If someone isn't ok with the idea of being in a poly relationship, then don't pretend you're not poly. Also- if someone says they're ok with it at the start, then that's cool, but make sure there is room for dialogue about how everyone feels throughout the relationship. People are allowed to try something and change their mind!
sizzlieswix
Being in a polyamorous relationship only works if your significant other is having the same feelings. If you are desiring alternate companionship and your significant other only desires you..this equals all-around hurt and badness. They will be jealous and be hurting, although they may say they are ok with it. They will continually tell you that everything is fine when inside they are breaking. They are only agreeing out of fear of losing you. Then one day, they will let their emotions loose, and you, being none the wiser, will look at them aghast because you were under the impression that all is well. It will end badly. Therefore, I reiterate. If you are craving "outside of the relationship" companions, only act or consent to it, if your partner has same desires.
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