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Old 03-27-2012, 03:07 AM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: East Coast, U.S.
Posts: 352
Default not-quite-poly: lovers & friends w/ benefits

Poly means having multiple boyfriends/girlfriends/partners. The idea is to be serious & committed & to be building relationships with each of your partners...

But there are other forms of non-monogamy that work better for some people. For example, I feel like I would rather have one or more lovers / friends with benefits than one or more boyfriends.

So how exactly is a lover different from a boyfriend? It's not just about the sex for me, because I would care deeply about a lover and want to do non-sexual things with him as well.

But something about the label "boyfriend" doesn't describe the type of relationship I want. I don't like the feeling of being "coupled" or the expectation that things must "progress" to something more serious. Or the expectation that you must spend every minute with someone.

And I hate the term "friends with benefits," but I love having a friend to have sex with, without it being anything more than a friendship that involves sex.

Some people might insist that these types of arrangements are little more than casual sex, but I don't feel that way. Still, they are a long way from a committed life partnership.

I struggle with dating because I struggle to define what I'm looking for...I feel like I have an alternative relationship orientation but that it can't quite be called "poly"...yet I'm drawn to poly because I know I wouldn't want to give up my lover-friends if I wanted to get serious with someone.

And I know some people identify as poly and also have FWBs or lovers that aren't necessarily significant others. Or maybe became poly because of feelings that grew out of having lover-friends.

There's a lot of information out there about how to have healthy, happy poly relationships. I need more resources for how to have not-quite-poly relationships. Of course, some of it's the same, like the communication, but I think some of it is different, too.

Because someone might have a girlfriend and a FWB, and everyone is open and honest and ethically non-monogamous, but it's not about loving everyone equally.

Can you have a husband and a lover? How is that different from having a husband and a boyfriend?

Can you have a FWB that you are actually friends with? How do you make sure a FWB feels valued and cared for, even while both are clear that it will not progress to a relationship?

And why is it expected that a FWB is someone you must keep secret and be ashamed about? I've been puzzled in the past when I've had a lover-friend who makes me happy and that I like talking about--but my (platonic) friends don't want to hear about it because we're not "serious" and he's not a "real boyfriend."

"I guess it's fine for now," they might say, even when the arrangement lasted months to years.

(I have sex rarely and never in a super-casual way, so my friends aren't objecting to me bragging about sexual conquests or something).

And how do you meet a new FWB when all the single men who used to be everywhere are now married with babies? And anyone who claims to want a FWB really just wants sex with no strings attached?

I struggle with feeling that what I want doesn't really exist. Or that I will have to settle for being someone who is valued less because I don't enjoy the intensity of a "relationship."
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Single, straight, female, solo, non-monogamous.
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