Here's my take on it...
Bear and I have been married for seven years. When we met I was very open with him about my sexuality. He assumed that meant that he would get to have two girls in the bedroom every now and then. I assumed that the girl-loving part of my life was over.
Neither of us told the other what our assumptions were.
Fast forward through 6 1/2 years of marriage, which was very happy, btw, to last fall. A long time friend that's always flirted with me suddenly started laying it on hard and thick. I asked Bear if it was ok with him if I had sex with her without him present. He said yes.
Later he told me he did fear that I might not come home, or that I would tell him that it was over between us. That really shocked me. I mean, he's my LIFE. To use the godawful cliche... he completes me.
I was intimate with my friend, which I thought would lead to a relationship with her. Because of assumptions she made, it was a one shot deal. Because I was in love with her I got my heart broken.
But, this isn't about that....
However, that incident opened up the opportunity to talk about our sexual relationship. I told him that while yes, I really love being with women and miss it, that I didn't want to be swinger because that's just icky to me. I enjoy having relationships for the sake of the relationship, not just for sex. And, I've had numerous deep emotional relationships that involved no sex at all. For me those relationships are a million times more fulfilling that some random sexual encounter could ever be.
At this point in my life I knew exactly two people who were self-described as poly, though one I would argue is more of a swinger.
Bear and I talked, and talked, and talked, and then we talked some more. We decided that we would try the poly thing.
Before I started researching it never dawned on me that "polyamorous" was a label I could apply to myself. Bear, smart man that he is, says that he already knew because he knows me so well. He knew what my desires were and is cool with them.
I would argue that we both ASSUMED the other person would understand what our relationship would be like when we got married. We both come from a background that claims one man-one woman, monogamous for life, as the only "right" way to do marriage. I assumed that he would want only that. He assumed I knew he was more free-thinking. So, neither of us has been shocked, coerced, badgered, or talked into exploring the poly lifestyle.
We are now dating someone who has also never been in a poly relationship before.
Did I know seven or 12 or 20 years ago that this was what I wanted for my life? No, I did not. Did Bear know? I don't know, I haven't asked him. Did he know when he married me that he wanted to share a female lover with me? Yes. Did I know he wanted that? No. Did I know *I* wanted that? No, not really. Did it become obvious to me that I did want that with the heart-breaker? Oh, most certainly. I wanted her as our wife. I could see the whole hand-fasting ceremony in my head.
It only made sense from there and a couple subsequent other encounters that yes, I do identify as poly.
I can also tell you that if EITHER of us had said, "No, I don't want this." that we would not be where we are right now.
Neither Bear nor I entertain thoughts of trying to change the other. We married each other because we liked each other as we were/are. Have we changed and grown over the last seven years? Oh, most certainly. We've faced trials and tribulations. We've had expectations dashed. We've had dreams shattered. But we've also climbed mountains, ridden some wild bulls, slain monsters, and stood back-to-back to fight enemies. All of these experiences have changed us in ways we never imagined and we are better for it.
And now we're here, embarking on yet another grand, life-changing adventure that we will, as always, journey together.
Pinky, 41, f, bi. Married to Bear, 42, m, straight.
Not dating anyone right now.
I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.--EAP