View Single Post
Old 01-11-2014, 01:17 AM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Pennsyl-tucky
Posts: 1,487

Originally Posted by CuriouslyPoly View Post
I assume that open relationships have little to no boundaries in terms of intimate relationships while polyamorous relationships do.
This may be one of the sources of confusion - off the top of my head I would have thought of it the other way.

The way I tend to think of the various terms that people apply to different flavors of ethical non-monogamy:

Swinging: sex only, or sex-and-friendship, no strong feelings, couples play together or with strict rules/boundaries

Open: each person can date and have sex with others independently, the expectation is that the "outside" relationships do not interfere with or threaten the "primary" relationship - there is a "limit" on how deep these relationships can become

Poly: each person may develop relationships (or NOT) organically to whatever degree the participants desire and agree to - with no inherent limitations on level of intimacy/feelings/sexuality - just what the participants want.


I just realized, while reading this thread and writing this post, that I actually use the word "open" in two different ways when referring to relationships. The first is as above - referring to "open marriage" or "open relationship" (I usually think 1970s style when I am thinking this).

Then again, I also use it to describe whether or not people in a poly config are seeking or "open to" new partners. A person or relationship may be "open" or "closed" depending on their agreements or circumstances at the time.

For instance - I usually describe our config as an "open-but-not-looking Poly Vee Plus" if I have to come up with a description. Currently, however, a portion of our config is "closed" (Me, Dude, Lotus) - in that we have agree that we are not open to any new partners because the relationship that Dude has with Lotus (and, to a lesser extent the relationship that Lotus and I are forming) is so new (4 months) that we are all adjusting to the "new normal". Once that happens we (individually or together) may decide to open up ourselves to other relationships...I don't consider my relationship with Dude to flip back and forth depending on whether or not he (or I) is open to seeing someone else.

Our relationship it between the two of us - it is free to grow and expand and deepen in whatever ways it is meant to. The only things that I can't offer him are 1.) legal marriage and 2.) exclusivity. I use Dude as my example in this in that he is my "life-partner" that has sought new partners while we have been together - MrS has always been free to seek relationships of his own...he just never has.

In addition to my husband and my boyfriend I also have two female long-term (more than 10 years) FWBs. I know that many people don't consider FWBs (or lover-friends) to be be "true poly" - I do, for the reason that these relationships have remained FWBs because that is what they have organically grown to and that is what makes the people in the relationship happy. They are not "limited" to being FWBs due to rules/boundaries defined by any other relationship.

Originally Posted by CuriouslyPoly View Post
Again, how can one track a "polyamorous" relationship consistently over time when there's multiple chains of relationships that can develop? To me, if some think, claim, or feel that polyamorous relationships shouldn't have limits in terms of relationships...that's not being honest. Fine, people can choose to be open and not limit themselves to one person, but claiming to be in a polyamorous relationship is a misnomer...they are open or single while engaging in casual relationships.
Errrm...what? What are you trying to "track"? I'm not seeing how the links support your assertation that people who think "that polyamorous relationships shouldn't have limits" are "not being honest". The Wikipedia articles that you link to ... the "open relationship" article seems to use that as a substitute for what I would call "ethical non-monogamy" with both swinging and poly as subsets. The "casual sex" article is talking about ... well, casual sex (what I would call NSA sex). I can very well envision a situation where someone might practice an "open relationship" AND "polyamoury" AND closed "swinging" and NOT casual sex. (Say a woman with two "husband-like" relationships, who dates and develops deep and sexual relationships with women that she does not live with - because they have primary partners that they DO live with, and is open to "swinging" with close friends only - like me).

Originally Posted by CuriouslyPoly View Post
I can sincerely care and be happy for someone, but to me that's just me being a close friend to someone if I'm not romantically and/or sexually interested in that person. Even if I happen to develop feelings on one of my close friends, but it's unrequited then I would eventually discard my feelings and just be happy being close friends.
Again, I'm confused. Who is saying that you are in a (capital R) relationship with someone that you are not romantically and/or sexually interested in - or where that is the case but the feeling is not returned? Saying that you are poly in an "open" config or network or chain doesn't meant that you are in a romantic/sexual relationship with EVERYONE in the whole chain. I have some type of "relationship" with every person in my life - that doesn't make me poly. It is that I have loving/romantic/sexual relationships with more than one person at a time with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved. The fact that I happen to know someone because they are involved with someone who is involved with me is one aspect of that relationship - it doesn't define it.

(For instance - I am casual acquaintances/ occasional play-partners with my boyfriend's girlfriend's husband - whereas one of my FWB's husbands is my good friend (for 20+ years - longer than I have known her) but we are not sexual/romantically involved.)
Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" Vee-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (23+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (4+ yrs) and MrS's best friend
Lotus: poly bi married (to TT) female, "it's complicated" relationships with Dude/JaneQ/MrS (1+ years)
+ "others" = FBs, FWBs, lover-friends, platonic G/BFs, boytoys, etc.

My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe

Last edited by JaneQSmythe; 01-11-2014 at 02:18 AM. Reason: ETA: examples, puntuation, clarity...but NOT brevity
Reply With Quote