The Power Of Polyamory

polyBonjour mes amies! Oui, it is moi! La Juif Kinky! By the time you read this, I will have returned from my beautiful trip to Paris with my husband. Ahh Paris! The city of love! The city of romance! The city of…. communication. Yes, it’s true; part of the reason we took a long weekend to France was to focus on us and our relationship, per the sage advice of some very good friends. “Spend some time together. Don’t play with anyone else. Don’t think about anyone else. Just focus on each other.” Good advice, and kind of funny when you consider that it came from the girlfriend of my friend’s husband.

Yes. Do the math with me. My friend’s husband’s girlfriend.

Treading lightly into the DC Scene has exposed me to a variety of lifestyles, and interestingly enough, the most surprising and enlightening experiences I’ve had have been with the Poly folk. My personal exposure has been with folks who are more “Poly – fidelous,” or people looking for two or more committed relationships. In a country where our divorce rate is nearly 50%, you gotta wonder what Poly folks are thinking. How do they make it work, when most of us are just happy that our relationships haven’t exploded in some sort of obscene, alcohol and drug – fueled supernova? I mean, I can see how anyone would enjoy being able to sleep with whomever they liked and still have a committed partner, but how do they make it work?

In my quest to understand WHY anyone would make a complex situation such as a relationship MORE complicated, I interviewed several poly folks. One man who was happy in his experience, one woman who is still “learning,” and one man who, well, let’s just say it hasn’t worked out the way he had planned.

Our happy – go – lucky poly man discussed the theory behind his relationship with his wife:

“We find that the notion that one person can find another who meets ALL of our needs in the complex 21-century world to be quaint and outdated, and that such a perfect connection works both ways to be even more unlikely. We therefore view it as an act to allow each other to get our unmet needs taken care of outside the marriage, and it strengthens our relationship as a result.”

That… kind of makes sense, sort of like that old poem, “if you love something, set it free…” But how does this all work? “Communication,” has been the resounding answer.

Frankly, those of us who are monogamous could probably take a note or two from some of these poly peeps.

Communication is everything. I don’t necessarily want to know the details of what my partner is doing, but I need to know where their relationship is going, because it impacts me. There are also ground rules: no diseases, no pregnancy, no drugs, no DRAMA!” said one woman. “But it’s a process. I’m still learning. The best I could tell anyone is that this is not a road to travel if you’re having a tough time with ONE relationship.”

What does she mean?

It’s always tempting to hide from your problems by indulging in fantasies. You want to find a partner who will appreciate you, and fill in some of the gaps that your other partner is leaving out, because the original relationship is old or stale. But if you can’t face your issues head on in one partnership, you’ll never have a working romantic life no matter how many partners you add. You have to be able to communicate and have your needs met in one situation, before you can add on to it.”

Wha?

Another interviewee weighs in:

“The one thing that I’ve been taught is the need to have your baseline minimum emotional and physical needs met in a stable manner with your spouse. Unmet, or unspoken needs can’t get met. Those same unmet issues are the things that drag marriages apart, breed frustration and resentment, and give parties the urge to wander beyond their agreed boundaries… If you get those things met, and still have any energy left from meeting the equivalent needs of your partner, THEN you might consider Poly. Why then? Because you have a stable core around which to rotate, and enough Relationship Gravity to not spin away into the distance.”

No matter who I spoke to, their message was the same: your primary relationship has to be absolutely stable. You have to work on that partnership first, and that has to be your priority. You have to be a masterof communication before you can consider adding anyone else to the mix.

The End Of Marriage As We Know It?

What’s interesting to me is that the Poly lifestyle is becoming more common. There have been several exposés on the emergence of polyamory/ poly – fidelity in Europe, and I think we’re starting to see it more here. Whether you’re a man or a woman, whether you see this as the natural progression toward a more open and loving society, or the end of marriage as we know it, you have to admit that they give out some good marriage advice: communication is key, and there’s no running away from the tough stuff in relationships. In my mind, you have to be something of a relationship guru to be able to make more than one work at a time, with all partners in total accord.

To be fair, an argument could be made that there’s no way to get that “deeper” love with more than one person, and so poly relationships are, by their nature, superficial. Frankly, I don’t know where I fall on that line. The poly people I know seem to love each other just as much as anyone else, but I want to hear your opinions:

Can you really love more than one person at the same time? Or does one relationship have to suffer for the other? Is “poly” the way of the future, or is this just a way for people to screw around? Could you picture yourself in a poly relationship? Is this something you’ve discussed with your partner? ….am I being too nosy?

The Kinky Jew About The Kinky Jew

The Kinky Jew and her husband got married last year, and live and work in the DC area with their two cats… who don’t actually work at all, but sort of freeload. KJ is a Consultant, and leads a very normal daytime job, which mostly includes Project Management, and working in a predominantly male dominated environment. The Kinky Jew also maintains a blog on PNN where she posts as Hannah Banana. She enjoys discussing sexuality, finance, religion, as well as any other topic that comes to mind.

Comments

  1. Alisha and I are married but in a polyamorous relationship. It adds excitement because it’s something we’re not “suppose” to be doing. Plus we see it only as pleasure, no feelings attached sex, nothing more. We have one regular couple we swap with so it’s not like we are really having multiple partners, we’ve had one other couple and we are also friends outside the bedroom with that couple. We go shopping together, go to concerts and just hang out watching movies.

    This has also opened up Alisha and my communication with each other and has taken the trust level to a whole new level. We are very considerate of each others feelings while participating in the lifestyle and only do what is comfortable to us and our partners as communication with them is also key.

  2. My wife and I made the jump into Poly several years ago with the DC scene. In the end we concluded that it wasn’t for us and moved on to other interests and hobbies. While I don’t think that it is for everyone as it wasn’t for us, I do think its one of those experiments that is worth trying.

    Depending on who you are speaking to, a lot of Poly folks like to go on about the benefits of the lifestyle and how it makes all relationships better. It can get a little proselytetic. What I think actually makes many Poly couples (at least those who do it ‘right’) better at relationships is that they spend that much more time thinking about their relationship(s). They don’t fall into the trap of just letting their relationships happen, they keep tabs on them and make course corrections as needed.

    Like all things in life, experience is the best teacher.

  3. Well…. as someone still very much in the learning stage, it’s a challenge for me. My husband wasn’t raised religious. I wasn’t either, but I had a very firm foundation in my faith. It’s very difficult for me to acclimate my thoughts into “the lifestyle”. He has a new friend he’s romancing (for lack of a better word) and I have a friend that I’m learning to enjoy. My husband wants me to enjoy this friend a lot more than I do (don’t get me wrong the sex is great, but it’s the “steppin out” that bugs me).

    Our communication has improved, I’ve opened up quite a bit, but there’s some bad trust issues in our past with each other and we’re – no, I- am trying to move past them. It was my indiscretion and I struggle with it more than he does at this point.

    This is sounding kind of rambling and I’m sorry. I’m just trying to feel my way through my thoughts still. As my husband has mentioned on more than 500 occasions, my upbringing inhibits me more than I’d like to admit.

  4. I have known several poly people. It is a very interesting subject. Our current views on relationship are not necessarily the best. History has shown us that man can be very creative in relationships. It will be interesting to see where the future takes us. Poly may be the way to go if we ever get off planet.

  5. Thanks you guys for your comments, but to “S” in particular, I’d like to say something: Bill mentioned that poly isn’t for everyone, and I think that’s true. In The Scene, you meet a lot of people who think that Poly is the be-all and end-all… but all it REALLY is, is another way of approaching relationships. I’m also trying to move beyond my own inhibitions to a point where I can feel comfortable allowing whatever needs my husband may have, to be met by someone else.

    On the other hand, I may never get there. Maybe my husband won’t either, and is that really the worst thing in the world? If you’re not comfortable “stepping out” then why force it, unless it’s something YOU want? You don’t need to have multiple lovers to be a good person, S. If this is something you want, then go for it… but don’t force it, kiddo.

  6. I only wish my hubby would go for this one. I married the only man in the world not interested in a threesome because he doesn’t want to share me. Although I must say, I don’t think we have the strength of relationship that a true poly relationship would require. Ahhh, but a girl can dream.

  7. AvionicsMan says:

    Ya it is a great fantasy concept for me. But the reality would be something else I am sure. Does everyone sleep together? Is a FMF the best poly configuration or is MFM better? KJ do some more research. What about Christmas could get expensive trying to balance up the presents list!!
    Okay I like to joke a bit!!
    Seriously though it may work for some people but not for all.

    Great blog!!

    • OK, I can get my head around the sex part of it as it’s JUST sex. But the relationship part. I don’t get it at all. If my partner had to step outside of the relationship in order fulfill an emotional need that I am am not filling it is an admission of failure in the relationship IMHO.

  8. AM – No, most poly relationships I’ve seen involve multiple bedrooms, and multiple sleeping plans. Remember, if I’m dating person X to fulfill something in me that you can’t, that doesn’t mean that YOU get any fulfillment from X. So, I go out on a date with X on Thursdays or whenever, and maybe I come home on Fridays. Maybe I spend shabbat with my Jewish partner, but go to my Christian partner’s for Christmas, or something. I don’t want to speak for poly folk, as I am not one, so that example was a stab in the dark.

    And you think that’s bad? Wait until you’re dating two or more Jewish women, and Hannukkah rolls around… and they all want diamonds! That’s 8 nights, baby! You better have been doing some SERIOUS over time for that kind of bling!!
    @TWM – I felt the same way. The points that poly folk kept bringing home to me were:
    1. That’s a LOT of pressure to put on yourself, to be ALL things to one person. What’s so wrong with acknowledging your human limitations?
    2. You probably have more than one friend. If you’re a woman, maybe you have a friend for discussing life gossip, maybe a work friend, a friend to talk politics with, and a friend who likes to shop. You don’t expect your work friend to discuss her life drama with you, and you don’t expect your political friend to want to go shopping all the time. You get your needs met by different people, and it’s socially acceptable when it’s just friendships. Once you add sex, we tighten up a bit… but it’s not really all that different.

    For me, sex DOES complicate things, because I don’t really like the idea of my husband kissing another woman. On the other hand, he has female friends… so is it really all that different?

  9. I should have clarified. Our camp is firmly rooted in the “sex only” category. I know our hearts belong to each other. It’s the sharing the body thing that still gets me. Him not so much.

    He was my first. I was 23. I waited until we were seriously discussing engagements, etc. to give it up. I knew we loved each other and were headed down the marriage path so for me to share my body with another person is a huge step outside of that little box. Does that make sense?

    I may never be convinced that we are the right people for this lifestyle, but I know I’ll never be able to give him some of the “freak” factor things he is into. If someone else can… I guess that’s ok. We had a very long conversation about me still needing to feel cherished by him even if someone else helps him get his freak on. Again, it goes back to open communication.

    We have a strict rule that there are no overnights, no meaningful “dates”, etc. He’s got a gal now that wants to be “treated and romanced like a woman” so she doesn’t feel like she’s just a whore. I kind of put my foot down a bit and said as long as I come first and you come home to me… I can deal. But it will take time and patience. He seems to understand that.

  10. Oh HELL no. That would so not fly around here.

  11. @Crissy – I LOOOOOOOOVE YOU!!! You crack me up!
    @S – as long as you’re ok with this, or you’re interested in moving TOWARD being ok with it, then that’s fine. I think my personal concern is just that there is a lot of pressure in The Scene to be poly, and I know of only ONE other monogamous couple. Ok, not like I know EVERYONE in DC, but most people agree that more folks are poly than not in this world. There can be a lot of pressure. If this is something you want, then that’s fine… but if a person is NOT ok with it… well, those feelings should be respected too, I feel.

  12. TKJ, it’s great that you’ve opened up this topic in such a non-judgemental way. Personal sexual preferences are often a powerful source of great anxiety and suffering for people, especially when they are commonly seen as unconventional or “bad.”

    I’ve tried to comprehend the core controversy behind a person’s choice of polyamory over ‘traditional’ serial monogamy.

    Fact is, most adults over 25 have had sex with multiple, successive partners. That doesn’t tend to make anyone squirm with discomfort. But shift timelines around just a little, and you’ve got a cascade of guilt, jealousy, fear, and in some cases, violence.

    Really, why is timing so important?

  13. Communication is key however, with primary or secondary partners that communication does not have to be mastered so much as accepted that you will ALWAYS be learning. As for an absolutley stable relationship with your primary I’d also argue against that however, I DO function differently than most.
    Superficial relationships are a huge pitfall, and one that can be easily and likley unknownlingly fallen into. This is more about self awareness than about communication. If you can’t ask yourself “Why am I here” and answer sometimes painfully honestly then you likely ought not be “there.”
    No relationship has to suffer. However, we’re all still human, still make mistakes, and some mistakes are unrecoverable. This is like saying that all marriages have to suffer boredom as that’s what people do when they live within a level of comfort and stability. It doesn’t have to be that way, but often is because that’s human nature. Poly/open relationships are not the way of the future and offensive to be referred to as a way for people to screw around. Fucking is not a relationship, it’s fucking. Communication is the way of the future. More poly people may help everyone realize that they do NOT communicate honestly with the people they love, be that one person or one hundred. Poly also does not mean sex or even physical involvement.
    Monogamy doesn’t work for everyone. Poly doesn’t work for everyone. Everyone could learn from both… most all the time… things fall apart because people never learned how to talk, share, and properly love. It is my belief that people who are poly, properly poly and not just swingers, are making a MASSIVE commitment to learn more about themselves, the people they love, and make a difference in HOW they love and live and not just accept status quo… ever.
    Poly also doesn’t mean the end of marriage… and i still hate the term primary and secondary

  14. I’m not ‘poly’, per se, but I do have to say that the notion of love as a glass of water (static, metered out) rather than a flame (ever expanding, hotter and brighter the more you use it) tends to bother me.

    No one asks parents or family do you run out of love. No one asks music/movie subscribers/fanatics if they run out of love for their old music just because a new band they like came out.

    Love is not a commodity in limited supply. It does not subscribe to market economics. Those ideologies just don’t work. Applying them to the arena love just sells one short.

  15. @TWM: Admitting your faults is not the same as admitting a failure of your relationship.

    I, for example, am not a painter. My wife is not a musician. Does that mean that I should not seek out playing music with other musicians and that she should not sketch with other artists?

    I find that if I am expected to be the end-all be-all person, that is a lot of pressure that I honestly don’t want to have. I don’t want to have to, to continue the example, give up music and take up painting (something I’m terrible at) to be that ‘perfect’ partner.

    As we all tend to understand, part of love is unconditionality, also known as acceptance. My wife accepts that I’m not emotionally intelligent; in turn I learn from her. She learns from me. But I also learn from others. That fills an ‘emotional’ or ‘intellectual’ or other need that my partner can’t give me. And I don’t feel bad about getting them from other people.

    So, why is this line at sex so prescribed? Why is it so hard and fast?

    This whole topic of conversation, for the record, has improved my communication and sex life with my wife tremendously. Boring it is not. And honesty is emerging from having these conversations. That’s the best part that I see out of all of it: an honest enquiry as to what you want/need and what your issues are as a couple. You can burst through that and come out either stronger or recognise you’re not right for one another. Either way, you’ll be happier.

  16. I think it can work for a while, but not long term. Let me qualify that. I don’t think that most people can sleep with two or more people for an extended period of time without feelings getting involved.

    Sooner or later they creep in and you start to wonder. Or maybe it is just me. When I think about the men my lovers were with prior to me I shake my head.

    Maybe it is ego, but I look at some of them and wonder how much they had to drink to get involved there.

  17. @Jack
    If the person was just a sexual partner with absolutely no emotional attachment… then sure alcohol may be involved.

    I’m quite sure a lot of people look at my choices in relationships and wonder (for a variety of reasons). If they ever asked why, my response would be to look them in the eyes and say, “I love her.”

    If I couldn’t say that… I wouldn’t sleep with them. Sex is really very easy to get. A relationship that should, could, and/or would include sex as a part of that is not. There’s nothing wrong with just sex but that strikes me more as a swinger or simply hyper-sexual than actual polyamory.

    Polyamory literally means many love. It is my contention that is more often than not read as “lots of sex.” sex != love.

  18. @Da5id

    I am not making any judgments here. Everyone has to draw their own lines. I know that I have had the sort of love in which I couldn’t conceive of bringing someone else in.

    Or let me adjust that. I can see why someone might have sexual interest there and understand the intrigue. But in the situation I am thinking of I can’t see them getting past the connection.

    We get different things from different people. Spose it depends on what you want and need.

  19. @Jack

    Sorry… wasn’t meant as a personal attack… just a general clarification. Really! I’m a poor writer at times.

    At least there’s people out there like you, other posters, and even me, that can recognize one way of being does not fit all.

  20. If the world was able to communicate in the same open honest way that is absolutely essential in a successful poly lifestyle, it would, indeed be a very different place. I’ve seen some successful poly relationships and others that were disasters. It take enormous emotional work, but it is worth it to some. It is definitely not for everyone…and should always be a choice for all those involved.

  21. I am in a “poly relationship. I have a wonderful husband at home but also a “boyfriend” that I care for and I see on a regular basis. I have to say that it started as just a sexual thing, but formed into something much more than that by accident. I never thought that I woulsd be able to have love for two men but I guess we can’t help who we fall in love with. The key to my marriage is that we are both very open and honest with each other. Without that it would not work.

    I feel that this is something that won’t be in our marriage forever. But for now it works for us. If anything, we have become a stronger couple because of it.

  22. comictragedy says:

    Jesus. I don’t even have *one* relationship and now you want me to expand my mind to think about more than one??

    Um. HELL no. Really. Hell Fucking No.

    Why? As rational as all the explanations sound they are just excuses to experiment outside the bounds of your marriage. Yeah. Okay. I’m old fashioned. The reason so many marriages end in divorce in this country is because we, as a society, have a problem understanding what a COMMITTMENT is. So. When we get bored we figure the marriage is over and time to move on. It takes hard work and guts; yeah, I said GUTS, to make a marriage work. And society today doesn’t want to work at ANYTHING. EVER. They want everything to come easy to them. Money. Jobs. Sex. They want a Rent-A-Center on every corner to satisfy their every need.

    The thing about having friends who satisfy different needs based on who they are is not a analogy you can apply to multiple sex partners. There is no reason why you and your marriage partner can’t be *everything* to each other in terms of your marriage. And to have friends outside of the marriage is nothing new or controversial.

    If you’re not ready to commit to one partner, that’s fine. Then admit that. Admit that you’re not in a place emotionally to be unselfish yet. Admit that you’re more interesting in having sex with multiple partners than you are at growing up and having a family.

    And please. PLEASE. Don’t tell me you would openly engage in this type of behavior in front of your children.

  23. Eh, to me I have no issues with it. I think it’s a great idea. In theory. In practice, I can see it getting messy. But if you can make it work, why not?

    That said, if The Daver was all, “I want a girlfriend” I would quickly cut off his nards. And then fry them up in a pan until they sizzle.

    You’re welcome for that mental picture. And Kinky Jew? I love you. I do.

  24. Admittedly, I’m a Serial Monogamist. I’m open to exploring most anything…so long as it involves one partner. I’m a bit jealous (in a non-bunny boiling way) and just don’t like to share.

    *sigh*

    Someday, my prince will come…until then, I’ll make myself cum :)

  25. I’ve seen this work and fail, like any relationship. My (former) Wiccan high priestess almost completely screwed up her family with it (and she has two young children). Then she converted to Christianity. She’s a bit of a nut job.

    Another Wiccan friend and her husband both had one other partner. All four lived together, shared chores and bills, and raised their children together. It actually works quite well for them.

    My fiance and I are hopeless romantics and never tire of each other’s company. We would never be interested in poly, we’re both a bit insecure and just love each other too much to share.

    But I think it works for some people, and that’s great. I think society is just too uptight in general about judging other people’s relationships. Prime example: homosexuals. I won’t start on how awful I think it is that it’s against the law in most states for them to marry (luckily my gay sis and I live in MA, so she’s good). People are all horrified and say it will corrupt the children and they’ll have orgies and get divorced. But hello??? Are straight, monogamous couples any better? What is the divorce rate? How many of them beat their children, beat their spouses, and cheat?

    Live and let live. Whatever floats your boat. =)

  26. Thanks Comic, for your strong feelings, and thanks to everyone for your insightful comments. I also really appreciate the discourse, and the lack of name-calling when people possibly disagree.

    Yay for communication and being adults!!

  27. @TKJ – where is religion in this debate? In Judiasm? In Christianity? Any thoughts?

    Admittedly I have never heard of this concept, only that of Polygamy. Is it pretty much the same, minus the marriage part?

  28. Ha! Alright Mel. JUST FOR YOU, here’s the Jewish spin on things:

    The prohibition stopping Jewish men of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi) from marrying multiple women recently expired. So, technically, almost all Jewish men are now able to marry multiple women, and there is no law in the Torah prohibiting women from pleasuring themselves with other women, so that’s what we like to call: Kosher. :) Of course, women can’t marry other women under STRICT Jewish law, nor can we have multiple husbands.

    HOWEVER, we have what I like to call, a loophole. There is a much-debated oral law that says that sex with non-jews isn’t technically SEX, what it really is is practice for your marriage. So, now legally my husband can have more than one wife (good fucking luck!), and I can sleep around with as many non-Jewish men as I want. I don’t really know what happens if I sleep with another Jewish man. Possibly, my uterus turns into a pumpkin.

    Polygamy: usually refers to the marriage of one man to many women, but I suppose it could also be one woman to several men.

    Polyamory: This term refers more to the emotional bindings, rather than the marriage issue. Having sex, or casual relationships with more than one person.

    Polyfidelity: This refers to COMMITTED relationships, though not necessarily marriage. For example, let’s say I’m in a committed relationship with two men: my husband (my primary mate), and another partner, X. We don’t date outside of that, but both of my partners ALSO have two female committed partners. So, all in all, there’s 7 of us. We all may or may not know each other, but we are aware of each other and the various relationship statuses (stati? statae?). We also know that none of us are dating: we’re committed to this happy little clump. I may not personally interact with X’s primary or his other partner, but I know that they’re all three fluid-positive (meaning they’ve exchanged bodily fluids), because their status can potentially impact MY health.

    Does that make sense? The first is marriage. The second is open. The third is committed, but not necessarily via marriage.

  29. @Comictragedy: My daughter (age 17) knows my wife & I are poly. I know you said not to tell you that, but I took such issue with your statement that “There is no reason why you and your marriage partner can’t be *everything* to each other in terms of your marriage” that I just had to tweak you. :)

  30. Thank you TKJ! You have brought back many good memories of my world religion theory class from college…although I wish they would have discussed this!

    Here’s to hoping the pumpkin uterus thing never becomes reality.

  31. comictragedy says:

    @Firefly. Okay. You’ve done it. You just *had* to break the bubble. May your computer crash and the Geek Squad not be available until after February.

    That being said. Here’s my thought. I’m probably older than you. And here’s what I’ve learned getting this old. There are ALWAYS exceptions to any rule. You’re going to have healthy, well adjusted children come from the homes of drug addicted jail birds and you’re going to have drug addicted jailbirds come from the homes of stable, well balanced, loving parents. That’s the law. I’m pretty sure of it.

    But. The averages are against this happening. And let me say this straight out. This is one of my *biggest* pet peeves.

    Children. YOUR children are not high school eggs to carry around for a week to see if you break it. They are NOT some experiment where you see what’ll happen if you do *this* or *that*. They are tiny human beings who have been entrusted to your care. They are absofuckinglutely dependent on you to make good decisions, make sacrifices, and raise them with love and discipline and guidance. And assuming that *the kids will be okay if we make this really stupid decision* (by the way.. I am NOT referring to the subject of this post right here) is taking a huge chance on that life that they will *survive* it.

    The divorce debacle is the perfect background for this example. Back when my mother divorced, I was the only one in my SCHOOL who had divorced parents. The overall thought at that time was *the kids will be okay as long as everyone acts like adults*. Well. Guess what? *They* were wrong. The psychobabble that gave married couples the *okay* to stop working at their marriage was in place because everyone was told *kids adapt*. Now. All these years later. A new crop of psychotherapists are saying *mistakes were made*. Look at the degeneration of our children through the years. Do you believe this is just evolution? That each generation of children become more and more empty of emotional attachment because we stopped growing hair on the back of our hands?

    I have no problem with multiple partners. I have a problem with continuing a life style once you’ve made a committment. And once you brought a child into the world, you have to sacrifice. What that word entails is being able to put aside your own *personal* desires in order to be the best parent you can be to your children. Period. And a willingness to experiment with your child’s psyche seems a bit.. well.. selfish.

    You didn’t mention whether or not your daughter is okay with your decisions. If she is, she is an exception. But. What if. What if, as she grew up in your lifestyle, her emotional well being was being compromised? And what if your lifestyle caused her to be unsure of herself, her sexuality, her very being? And what if those feelings in here caused her to make decisions that put her life at risk? Would you *still* think it was okay?

  32. @Mel – I am FULL of fascinating tidbits about sex and the Torah. My husband was excited to learn that he could now have multiple wives. I was excited to learn that you can hold a man down and slap him while he’s sleeping until he cries “uncle.”
    @Comic & Firefly – I think it’s important that we not make this a personal thing. FF has made his choice in how to raise his daughter. Maybe it’s wrong, but maybe it isn’t. Not being in his life, I can’t say. But I will say this: for thousands of years, this is how life was. You had one husband, and many wives. Or, you had one husband, one wife, and the entire family, plus in-laws, lived in the same house. Kids can learn to adapt if things are taught to them in a loving way. When I was little, I was the only kid I knew of who was Artificial Insemination. Some people learn about that, and freak out, and have real issues with it. I’ve never been freaked out about it, and I’ve never had anything but pride that my mother would do whatever it took to get me here.

    I think the point here is that this is a different decision, and the way we teach our kids counts for everything. Sure, what IF his daughter isn’t ok with it? But what if, like me, she learns that there are a variety of ways to live your life, and there’s always someone home for her, always someone to talk to? I think the “children” issue is a huge one for the Poly community, and I look forward to seeing how they handle it.

  33. comictragedy says:

    KJ. You know me better than that! I wasn’t demeaning anything FF said nor was I making it *personal* in the sense you’re saying.

    And I said. All things have exceptions. *You* are an exception. *I* am not. I suffer from all the slings and arrows of my upbringing. And I don’t believe my mother woke up one day and said, “hm.. what can I do to really fuck this kid up?” I think she just didn’t realize that having me meant making changes in her life. That having me meant she needed to do things differently. And she didn’t know better *before* she had me that she didn’t have the capacity to raise a child.

    So. Kiss my fat, white, furry ass. Plus. You *have* to be nice to me. I’m an honorary Joo.

  34. Yeah, I DO know you, and I know how you intend things, but as I’ve learned, what can sound good in our heads doesn’t always make it with the same tone across the interwebs. I just wanted to make sure that we were all on the same page.

    Also, yes, you are still an honorary Jooooo. Keep that in mind when Yom Kippur rolls around, and you have to fast with the rest of us! :)

  35. comictragedy says:

    Yeah. Well. I ain’t fasting unless Santa Joo cums down my chimney.

  36. MoM (but not the real One) says:

    Okay…please do not bombard me…these are my own personal feelings. I do not think going outside the marriage for satisfaction is okay. Marriage is a HUGE commitment. It takes work, self sacrifice and a whole lot of give and take. It has ups an downs and they have to be worked through. So if your partner isn’t satisfying you on a sexual level then tell them for God’s sake! Give them the chance to learn WITH YOU not watch you venture off to have your needs met by some other partner and just come home later to act as if its okay.
    I have to agree if you aren’t ready for a commitment then please don’t get married. I have a hard time believing that a couple can go off and have sex with their other lover and no one’s feeling get hurt. No one’s heart gets crushed.
    The day I got married I made a promise to cherish only one man. I will die with that promise intact. In my life…having sex with another person is just an excuse to cheat…sorry that’s how I see it. I don’t give a damn if both partners agree on it…it’s cheating and its selfish. As far as kids ….I’m raising mine with a particular set of morals and values. Having sex with someone outside the partnership is not in those values. I’m showing my kids that marriage is a wonderful thing along with one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. It requires me to put the needs of my husband above mine some days and I do. He does the same. I don’t want my children to think its okay for me or my hub to go out …have sex and then come home as if we’ve done nothing wrong. Marriage is for 2 people ….not extras on the side for flavor. I’ve worked long and hard on this marriage. I love him more now than ever. We’ve achieved that through lots of ups and downs. I don’t mean to offend anyone. It’s just that to truly love one person you have to be able to give them 110%. Being with other partners….that’s giving a % to someone else. Now maybe I’m just old but this is how I see things. Going outside the marriage means you’re not getting your needs met by your partner so for God’s sake…..open up your mouth and let them know. You could be ruining their life with this cheating….and they might just be too afraid to lose you so they take what they get.

  37. Yes indeed communication is key but even before that is Intention hmmm where have I heard that recently ahh well…. There does need to be a very strong committed core relationship that allows for inclusion without emotions running amok and wreaking havoc. It is easy to spot when the reasons were wrong or the core not strong. I could do it, I know of two people who if the hubs and I were to connect with one or both of them it would create an interesting dynamic as all parties really like and respect each other for various reasons. So I guess I am one of those who can see it’s benefits.

  38. Philosophy says:

    Meh. I don’t really have an opinion either way, mostly because I don’t think we ought to be discussing other people’s sexual preferences in terms of right and wrong. What works for me may not work for you, y’know.

    Truth be told, I think monogamous or polyamorous leanings are a lot like sexual orientation— you just happen to be born with the capacity for one or the other, just like some people are born heterosexual and some are born gay. I happen to be born with a preference for monogamous relationships, mostly because I don’t ever date men who are unable to hit all my sweet spots. My husband really DOES fulfill me in every way: sexually, emotionally, recreationally, you name it. I don’t ever feel the need to look outside of my marriage for anything. But of course, that’s JUST ME, and it’s a dangerous thing to try and universalize my singular personal experience.

    I will say, though, that I agree with Bill that poly folks can get just a teensy bit preachy. A lot of my college friends were poly, so I ended up reading a lot of stuff about it, and I get a little sick of hearing how I’m clearly just a stale, repressed, miserable old hag who refuses to see the light that is polyamory. I’m HAPPY in a monogamous relationship. How is that a bad thing?

    Side note: Hannah, this is an AWESOME blog. I will most definitely be back.

  39. KJ – An excellent post that has provided thought provoking comments as well as in depth sharing of views. It is nice to see those who disagree can present their point of view in a tactful manner without slander. Very interesting to read from start to finish.

  40. I was in a committed lesbian relationship for six years, before falling in love with someone else. It was not that I didn't not love my girlfriend any less or she wasn't "meeting all my needs". We were the poster children for the perfect lesbian couple, no jealously, no fights, everything was harmonious. Someone just came in to my life that filled a different part of my life, that I never knew was missing.
    Dealing with the conversation of a poly lifestyle was hard, but in the end the six year relationship is actually stronger because we are in it by choice. It is not for everyone, but you definitely have to have a stable base and each of the participants have to have rules and lack jealously.

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