My relationship may be opening up, a first for me, advice?
my partner and i have been together for about five months. up until now we have been defining our relationship as monogamous. I have only been in monogamous relationships, but my partner has been primarily in polyamorous relationships. we have started having discussions about opening things up but i am really nervous. there are many factors involved.
one thing that causes me distress is that my partner has lots of experience with polyamory and is part of a subculture that encourages open sexual relationships, while i have never felt particularly defined by this subculture or a different one that specifically supports these types of relationships. because my partner is part of a culture that supports polyamory, there are lots of potential opportunities for polyamorous relations. because i am not explicitly part of this culture, i worry about my ease and ability to find and explore these types of relationships. i also have never been particularly promiscuous, and worry about whether i can/will find the ambition to seek out/explore other sexual relationships. if my partner is having an easy time exploring other sexual/emotional partners while i'm at home twiddling my thumbs, i'm pretty sure it is going to hurt my feelings. i'll feel jealous (about not having my partner and about not having the same sexual liberation as them), insecure about my own worth, and like i need to "get out there" out of some contrived sense of competition.
we have discussed the idea that what is important is peoples' needs being met, and if i'm satisfied with one partner and accept that they have needs not met by just me, maybe it would be okay for them to have multiple partners while i do not. though logically this makes sense, it is immensely unsatisfying to my emotions. while i think it is good and healthy to challenge illogical emotions, i don't know that this is one i could really get past.
a big reasoning point in our conversations about polyamory is the idea that no one partner can satisfy all our desires (both emotionally and sexually), and having the ability to seek different things from different people relieves some of the potential resentment people have towards monogamous partners for not fulfilling all our desires/wants. while i agree with this in theory, it is hard for me not to look at what happens in practice in a lot of polyamorous culture and feel hesitant. i see a lot of bad decision making and unnecessarily risky behavior (particularly when alcohol/drugs are involved), a high occurrence of sexual assault (or at least not respecting boundaries), poor communication, and a lot of jealousy and resentment (jealous of eachothers' partners and resentment of the bad choices people are making with regard to who is sleeping with who, the level of protection used, and the communication around what is happening).
while i don't want to resent my partner for not satisfying all of my needs (or them to resent me for not satisfying all of theirs), i have never experienced the level betrayal, jealousy, and resentment that i see deeply pervasive in the polyamorous relationships around me and hear about through the grapevine. I get that the idea is to have REALLY open communication about needs and boundaries so that everyone feels good about what is happening, but it seems far more complicated in practice and pretty destructive to a lot of people (both mentally and in terms of physical/sexual health). However, i do have a lot of faith in my partner and their ability to communicate what is happening, respecting my boundaries, and making good decisions about sex (though risky decisions have been made in the past which makes me nervous for the future).
relationships are complicated and take a lot of work regardless of how they are defined. i know this. i want to have a relationship that feels healthy for both of us and meets our needs. i do not want my partner to feel like they are being untrue to themselves and their nature by being in a monogamous relationship, but i also want to be true to my own nature and not make compromises i can't handle. i want to seek a balance that works for both of us. i just don't know if it exists because i don't know if i really want polyamory for myself. sometimes it sounds like a good idea. sometimes it just sounds like a big mess i'd rather avoid... like satisfying those unquenched desires isn't worth all the difficulty involved. i know this has been a serious rant, but i could really use some advice from someone else than my partner and a few close friends. what you got?
Last edited by bpc; 02-28-2012 at 03:05 AM.