Polyamorous vs Ethical Slut
Something about which I'd be curious to hear what others think...
People often come in here with problems related to a partner wanting to have sex with other people. In some cases this leads to romantic feelings, in others it does not.
Now, in my marriage, I'm polyamorous and my husband is an ethical slut. I describe him as "barely monoamorous." Before me, he had never had a relationship that lasted longer than 6 months because he always bailed as soon as it started to get too emotional. So because I know his history and emotional capacity, I expect him not to form loving, romantic relationships with other people.
Now, some people might see that as a double standard since I'm not playing "what's good for the goose is good for the gander." But in this case, it's actually the opposite. He makes no secret about how challenging it is for him to deal with my emotions. We've explicitly talked about this, and he completely agrees: he has zero desire to be emotionally involved with anyone else. So in that context, I can't imagine how he could form another romantic relationship and still have any energy left for me.
When we met, I proudly declared myself polyamorous and asserted that if we were going to be together, we must both be free to have romantic relationships with other people. What took me time to get my head around was being comfortable with him having sexual but non-romantic relationships with other people.
At first I used the simple excuse of safety: if you haven't formed an emotional bond, then you can't trust what they say about their sexual history. But the truth is that I just felt icky thinking about him banging strangers. Not to say there isn't a valid safety concern, but I knew deep down that wasn't my real motivation. I know how careful he is with safe sex practices, he's even taught courses on the subject.
What really took me time to realize was this: Fairness is not about both partners having the same set of freedoms and boundaries. Fairness is each partner having access to the kinds of activities he or she is interested in, and respect of the other's personal boundaries.
By saying "it's ok for you to have other romantic relationships" I really wasn't granting him anything, since he had no desire for that. But when I finally came around and said "it's ok for you to have meaningless sex with other women" that's when I was really supporting something he actually wanted to do.
Gralson: my husband (works out of town).
Auto: my girlfriend (lives with her husband Zoffee).
The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."
Last edited by SchrodingersCat; 11-20-2011 at 08:13 AM.