A lot of great food for thought in all your replies. I am still thinking a lot about the subject and just thought of something else today. Ren and I never had a very 'couple-centric' marriage. We were always very autonomous - lucky enough to always live in a home that was big enough for both to have our own livingroom where we would spend most of our time. Also, we always our separate social lives - I have a lot of friends I like to go out with, Ren is content with staying at home more.
We don't have kids, which means we never had to negotiate the practicalities of who gets to go out when and who has to be home with the kids, or having to schedule enough family time.
In fact, the first year we opened our marriage, was the year we probably spent the most time together ever
Because we started out with swinging, we were always checking online dating sites together, we were going on dates together, and then we had to talk about everything together, endlessly.
It seems like now, when we both have our separate, committed relationships with other people, we are going back to the model that has always served us so well. I feel like poly has helped me grow and become more independent, confident and strong.
When I came out to my parents recently about poly, I very much focused on the 'we' of my marriage. To soften the blow, I focused on the fact that Ren and I are still very happy together, are not getting a divorce, and that this is something we agreed to do together. I knew this would make it easier for them to understand, and isn't NOT true.
But when I come out to new friends or co workers etc, I will never say 'we have an open marriage', I will say 'I am married, and I also have other relationships' when this is someone who already knows that I'm married. When its someone who doesn't know anything about me, I will just say 'I am in more than one relationship' and when they ask more questions, get into specifics.
Not sure why this is such a big deal for me right now.