Hi from SF
My marriage has been open for 21 years. That is, I asked for an open marriage at the very beginning. In reality, we've had an open marriage for nearly four years.
After many painful discussions with my husband about self/selves, marriage and what an open marriage means, I was ready to embark on my first extramarital "thing". Eyes wide open yet so untutored that I didn't really know what to expect or what I was seeing. I began the process by registering on married/cheating sites because, well, I didn't know any better. Over the course of a couple of years I went on many first dates (20+) but felt connections with only a few men. I fell in love with one of them, which turned out to be a giant mistake, because he had extreme guilt and couldn't continue.
A year ago I finally decided that ethical non-monogamy was the only way to go for me. At first I disdained the term "polyamory", but have come to realize that what I feel and want really is polyamory. I'm not looking for a short-term lover. I want a real relationship with genuine feelings exchanged, where we get to know each other over a longer period of time.
Three times in the past year and a half I have been rejected by men who knew I was polyamorous for another relationship. They decided that they were monogamous. While I accept this (what can I do, right?), it has been a painful learning process.
I have a complication on top of all of this. I found out that I was an HSV2 (genital herpes) carrier, even though I believe I acquired this 25 years ago and haven't had an outbreak in 7-10 years. In the very beginning of any relationship that has potential, I let the man know that I am HSV2 positive and polyamorous. I've learned not to take things personally, although I'm still learning how to slow things down and not leap into sex right away.
Something I have learned about myself, that I instinctively knew when I was 25, is that I am happiest and most fulfilled when I have more than one person to love. I look forward to learning more about others' stories, and providing whatever support I can.
Welcome to our forum.
Sounds like you've had quite a journey getting to where you are today. Your story will help many people, and you'll find people who relate to your situation here.
Take your time and get to know the site well; see what threads call to you; use search and tag search; post when you have any thoughts or questions to share.
It's a little tricky trying to date as a polyamorous person, compared to monogamous dating. You have to be honest with people, which is scary because you don't know what their reactions will be. The HSV2 is an extra hurdle.
Anyway, I am glad to have you aboard, and wish you the best.
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