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-   -   Pitfalls and advantages of Polyamory? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=726)

DarkHorseJ27 09-03-2009 07:45 PM

Pitfalls and advantages of Polyamory?
 
Let me start by saying that my wife and I have never been the typical couple. We've both have also always been open-minded.

She works at a webcam girls site. A few weeks ago a woman named Miranda wandered into her room. Miranda is a lesbian. They hit it of rather well. When Lissy (my wife) is on and I'm home, she like me to be in her chat room too, to help keep things interesting and to help take care of the rude people. Miranda and I started chatting, and we hit it off good too. She saw a pic of me in my profile, and was surprised to find that she found me attractive.

I know find myself really falling for Miranda, but not losing any feelings for my wife. My wife is the same way. Lissy has shown she can be very jealous and insecure throughout our relationship, but even though she knows how I feel about Miranda it doesn't bother her one bit. And it seems that Miranda is liking both of us in that way.

Its really to early to tell, but it seems a polyamorous relationship is where things are headed. And none of us has ever been in one. I've always been one to try to be ahead of the curve, so I'm trying to look ahead for any bumps in the road.

So, anything I need to watch out for? Any advice in general? Thanks!

DarkHorseJ27 09-03-2009 08:29 PM

Hmm, over a hundred views and no replies? Were my questions too broad? If so, tell me how I can narrow them down.

vandalin 09-03-2009 08:36 PM

Well first I'll say, welcome to the forums.

Then I will add that you seem to be in the right place. It does look like you are headed for poly. As for advice, the best advice is open communication. Make sure the three of you are "on the same page" as to what and where you might like this relationship to lead. Be ready for the bumps, not just by looking and anticipating them, but by being ready to talk about and deal with them.

I wish you three luck with your endeavors.

River 09-03-2009 09:31 PM

Darkhorse,

Because you've titled your post "Pitfalls and advantages of Polyamory?", I'd like to make a very personal statement on that theme.

Like pretty much everyone in the society in which I live, I grew up in an atmosphere of intense expectation that "romantic love," as folks call it, must go a certain way. That "certain way" is centered on monogamy, or exclusivity.

The terms themselves are a little loose. Few people have ever been fully monogamous in the strictest sense (lifelong, exclusive pair-bonding), but most folks have tended to follow a "serial monogamy" course. (All terms can find definitions at www.google.com.) There are also distinctions to be made regards "social monogamy" versus "sexual monogamy". A socially monogamous person will have one long term, committed, romantic partner, but may not be sexually monogamous, per se. Anyone these individuals may be sexually involved with outside of this socially monogamous pairing will be, at most, "secondary". They are not at the level of commitment and involvement which we generally call family, per se. Their outside sexual adventures may have very little intimacy other than physical/sexual intimacy. It's important to know that there is plenty of "grey area" in all of this. Some folks may have "secondary" partners as well as "primary" partners, and the distance regards social monogamy/non-monogamy can be rather small, while for others the gap is enormous. Some people even have social monogamy established with partners with whom they no longer have (or never have had!) a sexual relationship!

But I said this was to be a personal statement, so here goes.: I'm essentially married, though not legally married. (My state doesn't allow two men or women to marry each other; and I'm a guy essentially married to my male partner, Kevin.) Here's the personal part. Kevin & I have been a couple for roughly thirteen years. It's been a long time since our first kiss, and our first "sleeping together".... I'd like to stay with Kevin indefinitely; but I'd like not to have this mean the end to first kisses, etc. I simply don't want an end to "romantic" adventures -- and some of these may be with Kevin, but some may be with others.

So we've identified an advantage to polyamory here. If only because I'm really not interested in profound physical intimacy with people with whom I have no interest in other kinds of intimacy and the process of getting to know one another deeply, over time. Casual sex doesn't work for me, nor kisses that are chapter or book endings rather than beginnings. Because we are polyamorous, I don't have to think my romantic adventuring days are over. I can have my cake and eat it too. There's nothing like a first kiss! Or a third.

Another advantage is that I can have the support and love of a partner AS I go through the ups and downs -- and crashes and burnings -- of all my adventures, romantic or otherwise. Kevin held me as I cried when I went through one such crash-and-burn, and others here can tell similar stories.

Another advantage is that Kevin & I can openly discuss our attraction to others, without much fear that this will be taken to mean that we're less interested in each other.: We know that love or attraction doesn't work like apple pie does. Kevin doesn't get less of my affection when I share it with others -- but often gets even more! And vice versa. Love grows by addition, rather than shrinking.

Another advantage, if ever I should have a second committed partner, aside from Kevin, I'd not be left entirely alone if one or the other should either pass away or move on. I'd still be a part of "chosen family" of some sort (although, admittedly, the same could be true with a very close "non-romantic" friend). I should say here that I find myself feeling much more bonded with lovers than with "non-romantic" friends. I suppose this has to do with what we could call the "touch factor". I simply feel a special kind of closeness with people with whom I can lie with in snuggles and cuddles. Few friends of a non-romantic type have ever been able or willing to share with me in this way. Though there have been a couple of exceptions.

I'll have more to say on advantages over time.

XYZ123 09-03-2009 11:31 PM

Welcome to the forums.

I think JRM summed up some of the advantages very nicely. One other I can name (from your wife's perspective) is that she would be able to have a loving and physical relationship with both a man and a woman, which is wonderful for a bisexual person. (I assume she is?) My husband was not sexually involved with my gf, but they had a very strong emotional bond, which allowed them to offer eachother support, affection, and share advice on how to manage our relationship comfortably, especially as I can be emotionally unstable at times. She was not his lover, but certainly his love and closer than a best friend.

Poly relationships have the same pitfalls as mono relationships for the most part, possibly with some additions. There is jealousy, miscommunication, issues with schedules, insecurity,etc etc. Aside from that there is a societal stigma against non-monogamous relationships that you have to be ready to deal with. But, just like mono relationships, these can be avoided or mended with open and honest communication. ALOT of communication with ALL parties. It can be exhausting but worth it.

I wish you luck. And PS- Don't pay too much attention to the number of views vs responses. We get many guests here who just browse. Also, many members will read but not respond until they've had a chance to think it through or decided they have something relevant to say.

DarkHorseJ27 09-04-2009 01:45 AM

I did forget to mention that my wife is bisexual.

I did think about the social stigma. What if I have a baby by Miranda? I would want my mom to know she has a grandchild, but I don't think she would understand.

It seems that communication would be the greatest problem here. I am good at communicating. Miranda seems to be too. My wife is not. Often times when something is bothering her she won't talk about it, she'll just take out her aggravation on who's closest. Half the time she isn't sure what is bothering her, just that something is. But maybe she'll learn to stop if there is a person around that won't be a "patient" with it as I am.

Upon thinking about it more I thought of some advantages not mentioned. Greater financial stability due to more incomes. When kids happen an extra set of arms would be great. And just a general sharing of responsibilities.

Just another thing I'm wondering if the age difference will affect anything. Both my wife and I are 23. Miranda is 36, but she is a young soul. So far all its affected is we haven't gotten a few popular culture references she's made.

redpepper 09-04-2009 07:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DarkHorseJ27 (Post 6283)
I did forget to mention that my wife is bisexual.

I did think about the social stigma. What if I have a baby by Miranda? I would want my mom to know she has a grandchild, but I don't think she would understand.

It seems that communication would be the greatest problem here. I am good at communicating. Miranda seems to be too. My wife is not. Often times when something is bothering her she won't talk about it, she'll just take out her aggravation on who's closest. Half the time she isn't sure what is bothering her, just that something is. But maybe she'll learn to stop if there is a person around that won't be a "patient" with it as I am.

Upon thinking about it more I thought of some advantages not mentioned. Greater financial stability due to more incomes. When kids happen an extra set of arms would be great. And just a general sharing of responsibilities.

Just another thing I'm wondering if the age difference will affect anything. Both my wife and I are 23. Miranda is 36, but she is a young soul. So far all its affected is we haven't gotten a few popular culture references she's made.

Woah, slow down there cowboy... you've got kids in there and everything :p

It sounds like the fact that your wife is not a great communicator could be a bit of a stumbling block. If she is as serious about this as you, then perhaps a marriage course where you will learn how to communicate might be a good idea. I took one with my husband before we got married and we still use the basic rules today... it was extremely helpful.

Make sure you take this very slowly, as exciting as it is.... there is no rush and every little detail must be worked out if you really want it to work and be healthy.

I'm not a big fan of that kind of age gap..... I just don't think that kind of generational gap works too well in the end. But then that's just me.

XYZ123 09-04-2009 01:08 PM

Oh my! If I were just starting a relationship and the woman (or the man in my single days) began asking about children and all from day 1, I'd run the other way! It's nice that you want to cover all the bases up front, but really premature. Slow down, take a breath, and let things begin to develop naturally. If you are always thinking 10 years in the future you have no focus for the now. Relax and go at a natural pace for the three of you.

For poly to work well all parties have to be willing to keep communication open. If your wife is unable, it is something that should be worked on before adding another to your lives. While you may be able to handle it because you know her well enough to do so, once there are more people in the mix there are more opportunities for misunderstandings. Nip it in the bud. ;)

DarkHorseJ27 09-04-2009 06:06 PM

No one is talking about kids yet, lol. Just was thinking of the only circumstances in which I would feel that I had a moral obligation to tell my family, and that was the only one I could come up with.

Given the complexity of human relationships and emotions, it is obviously best to take it slow. Life isn't about getting to the destination, its about taking your time and enjoying the ride. That is what I tend to do. I just have a tendency to be analytical and do a lot of what-if scenarios in my head.

I've talked to my wife and told her that communication is stressed more than just about anything else in poly, and that she is not going to have an option not to if she wants poly to work. But to her credit, she is much better at communicating (and listening) than she was when we first got together. And given that she's wanted poly since she discovered she was bi, I believe she has the sufficient motivation to do what she needs to.

I don't think the age difference would be an issue. If you were blind you'd never guess that Miranda is 36. Add to that that both her Lissy have a similar personality profile. Finally, there is the growing list of all the common interests.

NeonKaos 09-04-2009 08:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DarkHorseJ27 (Post 6335)
I don't think the age difference would be an issue. If you were blind you'd never guess that Miranda is 36. Add to that that both her Lissy have a similar personality profile. Finally, there is the growing list of all the common interests.


It's just usually the other way around. We often hear of couples in their 30's or 40's getting with a "third" who is much younger and less experienced, not the other way around.

But age is only a number, right?


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