Hi there... big question!!
I hope someone can help me out here.
I am considering talking to my partner about taking other lovers. Not for myself to take them, for her to take them.
She is a very highly sex-orientated woman and it appears I do not satisfy her to the fullest sexually.
We have been together 3 years and have a lovely son, and we get on very very well. However, she is considerably younger than myself, I am 48, she is 21.
I believe she feels she has given up her youth and 'fun' days to be with me, and I believe perhaps she is right.
I am willing, really, to accept her taking other lovers if I have the confidence, from you guys, that it can be a beneficial thing in this scenario.
My hope is that through it, we will grow even closer and perhaps, even, our sex life will be a little more meaningful.
I know she would respect me for allowing this, although to be honest, I do not yet know if it is what she would like... its just a hunch.
She has, in the past, mentioned the thought of an 'open relationship' and I feel this might be a suitable alternative.
I welcome your discussion and views.
Thanks, and regards.
Apologies, as I realise I am asking more about single partner swinging that about Polamory.
However, I would still appreciate someone advising me if it is able to be done if the other partner is agreeable.
My first thought is that the age difference is definitely signifiant. Not bad, not wrong, not unworkable, but significant. At 21, your partner just hasn't been an adult all that long, and she's still finding out so many things about herself and the world which you've had a lot more time to sort out than she. It is commendable that you recognize this enough to appreciate that she may like to have the explicit freedom--stated by you--to continue her explorations without fearing the loss of your love and support in the bargain.
You said, "Apologies, as I realise I am asking more about single partner swinging that about Polamory." But why? Is it because you feel less threatened by her being sexual with another if there isn't a love-bond there also? You must realize that if you are wanting to provide her with your explicit acceptance of her need to explore love, sex, relationships..., that limiting her exploration to swinging is contradictory to your purpose?
Think of it like this, for one thing: Sex without love in it isn't really all that satisfying. At least it isn't to me, or anyone I know who is truly honest about it. Swinging isn't centrally about loving, but about sex. Polyamory is centrally about loving.
I recommend that you look carefully at any fear you may have around the possibility that she may come to love another AND you, both at the same time -- that she may like to choose polyamory. We don't know that she will, but you seem to be saying that it is okay with you for her to "swing" but not okay for her to open to loving another simultaniously with yourself. You haven't said this explicitly, but one could easily interpret what you have said in this way. Do you want to affirm her freedom and comfort and support her in being herself and exploring adult life? That, I think, would be the optimally loving approach. But doing so could stir up fears in you which you will need to address, as your own. And since you are partners, you should be able to talk about all of that with her and see how she can be loving and supportive of you as you challenge yourself to love in this way.
Finally, I'd recommend reading books and magazine articles, and on the web, on the subject of polyamory. There is a body of wisdom in "the polyamory discourse" which will benefit anyone in understanding loving relationships, whether they are poly or not.
I suppose it is clear in what I say that I disagree with a certain common notion of what constitutes "sexual liberation". As I see it, when it is good, sex involves whole persons, not just the errogenous zones, but also the heart and spirit and soul. The world is littered with broken hearts attempting to f**k themselves happy, but, as it has been often said, "you can't get enough of what you don't really want".
I should add one thing...
Not all loving relationships last a long time as such. Some do, some don't, and it doesn't mean that it isn't love if it doesn't last a long time in a particular form.
I say this because when young people are exloring love-and-sex their relationships are often not of long duration. And I don't want to be misunderstood concerning what I said about the relation of love and sex, above. One of the main ways young people learn the valuable lessons of love-and-sex is to get heart-broken, again and again. To get "dumped", to suffer the pain of "dumping".... To break up on good terms.... That's how we learn to ride a bike or ice skate--by falling and learning how not to fall. Why should it be any different in learning about love-and-sex? Also, some loving relationships which are also sexual relationships are just mutually understood to be of short duration. I've had a couple of powerful love-experiences of this kind. Love doesn't always mean of long duration or permanent bonding.
It sounds like you have thought it through about sexual jealousy. I think JRiverMartin is right that you may need to prepare for her loving someone else as well. Sometimes it happens. Maybe you will also find someone you want to be with as well. Once you open it up, it is hard to predict where it may go.
I think a lot of how you should open it up should come from talking to her. See how she really feels about it and be honest about how you really feel. See if this is really an issue with her or not. The success of open marriages is heavily dependent on communication and honesty about your feelings. Both of you would need to feel safe telling the other what they are feeling and work though it.
I wish you luck.
I'm not so high in polyamory experience, but let me share mine.
My husband is only 7 years older than I am, but he has always had a lower sex drive than I have. We married when I was 18--a lot of people have criticized us, saying I was just a baby and that I didn't know what I was doing. I felt, and still feel, that I was pretty mature; I know that I pursued him, so I don't think the term "robbing the cradle" applies. My husband, by the way, feels bad that I "missed" my youth, but I kind of feel like I was youthed out by the time we had kids (I was 22). It makes me crazy angry when he assumes that I don't know my own mind because I was so young when we married.
I was able to cope with the disparity in sex drives until recent years, when I apparently hit my sexual peak. I admit that I thought often that adding another man to the dynamic would even things out. But I had been raised "one marriage, one partner", AND we had friends with an "open marriage" which they called polyamory but I'm learning wasn't really, and they ended badly, so the thoughts stayed thoughts until I kind of accidentally fell in love with another couple. Whom I have not had sex with, btw. The side effect from all of the talking, talking, talking we've all done with regards to our relationships is that my relationship with my husband has improved. Turns out that talking improves some things. Who knew? And sex without love is unappealing, but now that I have feelings for couple #2...it's amazing how I feel when I'm with them.
So I guess the moral of my story is...
Don't assume you know what she wants. Talk to her. Make sure you know what you want, then communicate it clearly. You're probably going to end up compromising anyway. Please don't discount the idea that you can have a good, nonsexual relationship with another member of a polyamorous relationship. And I haven't been at this for long, but again, I'm completely amazed at what a wonderful thing this new polyamorous relationship is. So yes, it can be a good thing.
Thank you all for your responses, they have helped me greatly.
I would have to admit, freely, that yes, I feel threatened by my partner possibily loving another person also, I guess my mentality towards love just doesn't stretch that far.
I will say however, that my partner has always told me that she saw love and sex as 2 different things. We have had a bit of an issue with sex for some time. I have always made love to her, whereas she prefers to "Just F**k." She has always taken the 2 in separate context.
I will say that last evening, I did actually discuss the matter with my Partner. She does not seek the affections or love of anyone else, nor would she welcome it, she has always loved me and us as a family, for the last 3 years, she has simply felt let down sexually. She would take the opportunity to explore and vent her sexual frustration in other ways though, occasionally.
This response may appear quite clinical, but I assure you the discussion was at length and she raised as many questions and thoughts as I did.
I do thank you so very much for responding to my question, I have been considering this course of action for some time.
This comment doesn't suggest that the sex can't be wild and hot and "nasty" and also loving or heartfull. It can. Some people think of "making love" as all "tenderness and flowers", and therefore not wild and hot and "nasty", but that's just more social conditioning we can overcome--by gettting hot-n-nasty with our hearts wide open to each other. You can "cut loose" sexually AND let your heart open wide to each other and the Cosmos.
I had a 21 yr old girlfriend when I was thirty. And I've been 21 myself, long ago. 21 year old people generally think they know themselves, about life, about love-&-sex..., but they're just getting started in the learning. Once your partner learns to hook her heart up to her erogenous zones, everything is gonna look surprizingly different to her.
I think your heart is in the right place. I think your intentions are good. We all know what's paved with those.
You clearly have doubts. We're not the best people to dispel them. We don't know your partner. We don't know who she is or what she's like. The best people to dispel your doubts are you and her.
When my wife and I opened up our marriage, we had a very long discussion about it. Months long. The questions she had couldn't be answered by someone else. The question I had couldn't, either. We had to talk to one another. A lot. We had to ask hard questions and give hard answers.
The question of love was very significant there. My wife wanted to have a rule that we couldn't be attached, that it always had to be "just sex". I don't believe there is any such thing. It was a sticking point, that the door had to be open for the possibility that either of us might actually fall in love. We had to deal with that. Nobody could have dealt with it for us. We had to be okay with it, each of us in our own way, on our own terms.
Can this be good for your relationship? Yes. It can also be very bad for it. It can also not change anything at all. There's a frequently used phrase in this scene, "it works if you work it".
I think you've got the right mindset and the right idea. Talk to your partner. That's honestly the best place to get your questions answered.
I was rather taken aback by a guy I fell in love with last spring, who gave amazing tender, hot, kisses -- bunches of them -- but never really allowed himself to love me in them, and broke off our relationship suddenly without satisfactory explanation. I think I brought my whole being into those kisses but that he did not. That he disconneced sexual pleasure, giving and receiving, from his heart. At least on the observable surface.
I think we're all whole and unfragmented beneith the observable surface even when we're fragmented or broken at that surface. I believe this because I've had opportunity to sink into those depths where I am always whole and unbroken. The ideal, I suppose, would be to merge the fragmented parts of ourselves into that core or essential wholeness. Certainly re-linking any breaks between our sexuality and our heart at the observable surface level would be moving in this direction.
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