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-   -   Mark in Ark (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25009)

Helvidius 06-24-2012 04:36 AM

Mark in Ark
I have known for many years now that I am different than most people. For years I thought that I was a freak. I have a tremendous capacity for love. Please don't think me braggadocios, but I am the kindest, most loving person that I know. I have fallen in love many times over the years; though in many ways it has been unrequited.
When I was 22 years old, I got married. I was a Christian and meant every word of my vows at that time—especially the part about "forsaking all others." So when I found myself falling madly in love with other women, I bottled it up inside of me. I suffered in silence because I had made a vow that I intended to keep. Fast-forward 22 years. My marriage was on very rocky ground, I was living in Arkansas (because my wife had kicked me out of the house) and she was living in Ohio. I was absolutely devastated when she told me that during the time that we had been talking about reconciling, she had been living with another man. All the while we both were still married. My world felt like it had come crashing down. All of those times that I had been madly in love, but suffered in silence had felt for naught.
But in a sense it had freed me. My marriage ended and I found myself alone. Then I found out about polyamory. I read books about it and it seemed to be talking about me. It opened a whole new world for me—a world where I was not the freak. A world that said it is okay to be intimately in love with multiple people—a world that I wanted to explore.
Reading about polyamory is interesting and sometimes confusing. Some people confuse it with being a "swinger." And I am sure that there are many people who would classify themselves as both polyamorous and swingers, and that is okay too. But for me, it is not about the sex. I am a "normal" 49 year-old man who enjoys sex immensely. But for me, it is not the "be all, end all." In my estimation, it is the dessert of the relationship--not the main course.
My problem is where to find like-minded people? I found that most swingers consist of a couple plus other women. Single men do not seem to be very welcome. I was married to the same woman for 27 years. She is the third woman that I ever dated. Since that time, I have had one intimate relationship--with a very unhappily married woman. It was a mistake. Her husband, though he suspected something, never knew about our rendezvous in San Antonio. I decided that I DO NOT want to be "the other man." Not that I would not mind having a loving, intimate relationship with a married woman, but I would only do it with her husband’s blessing, and hopefully, his friendship.
I have never had sexual relations with a man, though I do not rule out the idea. I am not gay by any means, but the idea of being sexually intimate with a couple who I love does sound appealing.
The trouble I am having is that since I have gotten a divorce, I still live in Arkansas (the buckle of the Bible-Belt). All of the women who I have befriended (acquaintances to mild friends) all come from the viewpoint that monogamy is THE only way to go. I've tested the waters with them from an intellectual standpoint and find those waters very cold and uninviting. Hence they are just friends. I know that I'm not "normal," but I like it that way. I need to be me. I need to celebrate who I am and not fit into anyone's box again.
Where does one find like-minded people in a local area—or perhaps not more than two hundred miles away? Arkansas is the most close-minded state that I have ever lived in. Since 1959 it has been against state law to even advocate nudism. That means, if I started touting the virtues of nudism, I could be arrested. And that is with never having to take my clothes off! I'm a closet nudist, but Arkansas is not the place to be if one wants to experiment with such things in a social environment--but I digress.
I know that networking with like-minded individuals is the place to start, so that is why I am here.
Does anyone out there have any ideas of how to bring up open relationships in such a way that is "natural" in conversation? Any help would be appreciated.
Mark Fedora
(Mark is my real first name--Fedora--a nice hat.)

CielDuMatin 06-24-2012 04:28 PM

Welcome to the forum, Mark.

To answer your question, if they are determined that monogamy is the only legitimate relationship form that isn't inherently sinful, then you are going to have a major problem making it seem "natural" to them.

The only thing you can do is to bring it up in casual conversation, not making a big deal out of it, but make a point of bringing it up soon during the evolution of a relationship. There have been quite a few threads on here about the right time to talk about it, and opinions differ.

Joni 06-24-2012 09:41 PM

I understand where you are coming from I grew up in Oklahoma and Arizona and I Must say that neither state is real open to the idea of my open marriage. Few people know about it we started about 4 months thou it was really open during our dating. I have not found a way to approach people with it or really how to meet people since our circumstances complicate a few things to say the least. I do find that most confuse it with swingers and we ourselves our trying to figure out boundaries we are both straight and I while share well in the sense that my husband is free to have relationships I Am I don't at this point want it at my house Our house is the off limit area to our open marriage. Good luck in finding a way to telling people and if you come up with any new easier ways please let me know this site does seem to be a great place to talk with others who don't think Ive lost my mind

Helvidius 06-25-2012 02:44 AM

Arizona is at least a hopeful place. I lived in Phoenix for six years and at least there, there is a mixture of people. Granted there are many people who are very conservative (home of Barry Goldwater), but I know there are other types there as well. My only visit to a clothing-optional resort was up at Shangri-la resort in Carefree (a wonderful name for a place). I know that Arizona does have a strong Mormon influence. But not as much as Arkansas has a strong conservative Christian base. It seems on every corner here there is a church, mainly Baptist. For a group who follows a man who prayed that they might be one, they are surely divided.
Thanks for your reply, Joni! We are not alone.

NovemberRain 06-25-2012 04:34 AM

In French: Chat, chapeau.

Any chance of getting out of Ark? Also, OKCupid seems popular among the poly folk. There seem to be quite a lot (to my reckoning) of folks from Oklahoma on these boards.

I, fortunately, live in California, land of flakes, fruits, and nuts. I have to work at finding folks who don't know what it is. :)

Joni 06-25-2012 03:34 PM

True to phoenix and I htink they me the spill over from california Not so Much my area thou a little town close to the newmexico side but I agreee FAR better then the bible belt of babtist that want to save my sole instead I am surrounded with a VERY large group of LDS who dont find it amusing at all I agree with November rain perhaps a freindly state is in order for you or stay and just watch the peopel twitch as you talk about it that has become my thing the last few weeks Its the simple pleasures in life that make me happy LOL

Helvidius 06-26-2012 12:52 AM

The place I TRULY want to live in Vancouver, BC. A major city that has an official nude beach! That is the type of mindset that I want to surround myself with. 2nd desired city is Seattle. 3rd, San Diego. Once my writing starts paying off, moving will be easier.

jhcckkm 06-26-2012 02:22 AM

I am from KS and have the same problems here. :-(

I did, however do a Poly presentation at school (it was for a Relationship Counseling class...so was appropriate)....almost everyone was curious (in a positive way) about it. It is hard to bring up in normal conversation though. Probably it is a good idea to start a fund for moving...lol.
That is what we are doing, as well. Once I am done with school (getting an MS in Counseling), we are moving to a more liberal area. :D

Helvidius 06-26-2012 04:15 AM

I hear that Portland, Oregon area is pretty liberal. I was only there once, on a foggy foggy night in Seattle where my flight got diverted to Portland. Seeing Mt. Ranier on the right-hand side of the plane was a big hint that we weren't landing at Sea-Tac. Seattle is almost the perfect city for me. It only gets trumped by Vancouver, BC. I've never been to Van, but from what I see, it is perfect for me. San Francisco is a nice city. I do know a poly couple there that I met on Second Life. I hear that Vermont is also fairly liberal, but I do not have any first-hand knowledge of that. Though many of my ancestors were from New England, that is the one area of the country where I have never been. Kansas historically is Christian. John Brown and all of those other abolitionists making their stand against slavery (a right stand) to keep Kansas a free state. Seems like the U.S. is liberal on the coasts, and pretty conservative in the middle.

freyamarie 06-26-2012 04:52 PM

Arkansas is like the rest of the Bible belt... there are a lot more people who stay closeted there. However, there are quite a few poly peeps in that state, if OkCupid is any kind of accurate gauge. At this time, I am not aware of an active Arkansas poly group meet up...but that doesn't mean much since I am not looking for one.
There did used to be a meetup group for poly folk in Arkansas/Missouri but it has fizzled out due to a sad lack of attendance. I don't know where in Arkansas you are but rumor has it that Eureka Springs is the hub of progressive thinking folk for the state.
Best wishes.

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