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Old 12-10-2009, 09:09 AM
jenae jenae is offline
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Default Are there non-sexual expressions of polyamory?

I wrote this on a thread entitled "non-sexual affection." Maybe it will serve as a way of introducing myself and why I'm checking out this site:

My spouse (husband) has many years experience with "omnigamy" as he calls it. He gave it up under pressure from an unhappy partner, the woman he was with before me. I have always said it would be intolerable for me to share him, so we've never tried that. (That said, I wouldn't throw our union away over an "indiscretion" as they say. And if he had a desperate need I couldn't meet, I would consider trying to be open in a limited way so he could get his needs met.)

At one point ~10 years ago (I'm 40) we tried me having a lover (initially my husband's idea and prompting, old impulses stirring), but that was a rather devastating disaster.

Here's my question: Is the polyamory community a place where one might find something deeper than a friendship that is non-sexual? For instance, two people who are both missing something in their primary relationship might form a bond that is emotionally satisfying? Or a single person who REALLY knows that he or she wants to stay single might enjoy an emotional bond with a married person, without the demands of a full-on relationship? (Assumably (sp?) that person is also having lovers.... Unless they are asexual. Are there any asexuals in the polyamory community??)

Sexual non-monogamy is so complicated. And in fact I don't find myself wanting that right now. But I have thought of something often enough recently that I just today semi-jokingly revealed the thought in couple's therapy. The thought is: Maybe I need an EMOTIONAL 2nd partner. My husband and I have deep compatibilities but also sometimes explosive differences, and his dance card of people to deal with and relate to is too full, whereas I have a few valued friends but otherwise a more solitary lifestyle. (I'm a writer, so my days are spent at home.)

Bottom line is that I crave deep discussion and connectedness more than he does. Maybe this is just his nature and my nature (regardless of how much contact we respectively have with others). I sometimes think meeting someone for coffee or even just a correspondence with someone who is in a similar boat might help meet my needs. I suppose I could try to fill the need with more friends, but my feeling at the moment is that the deeper nature of relationship relating is more compelling. (I tend to "rescue" my friends with extreme, non-confrontational politeness, and feel safer and freer to be honest with my romantic partners.)

I think that's all.

Best wishes to everyone.

P.S. Though I have been heterosexual in my history, and more readily imagine a second partner as male, I could also imagine a woman in that role, especially as what I’m contemplating is an intimate but not necessarily sexual relationship.

Last edited by jenae; 12-10-2009 at 09:21 AM. Reason: proofread
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:57 AM
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DrunkenPorcupine DrunkenPorcupine is offline
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Quote:
Is the polyamory community a place where one might find something deeper than a friendship that is non-sexual? For instance, two people who are both missing something in their primary relationship might form a bond that is emotionally satisfying?
I love some of my friends as I love my wife. There are some experiences I will share with my friends that I won't be able to share and relate to my wife. The friends I'm thinking of are relationships that aren't yet sexual to me. They might never be.

If you're interested in a non-sexual, yet extremely intimate relationship with someone, I see no reason you couldn't be part of a poly community.

I would say, however, that if you're joining to fill a "lack" rather than to expand, there might be an issue.

I doubt many here will shun you, but I suspect you may not find here what you "lack". Poly tends to be about exploring and learning about yourself and your lovers and finding what it is that you need. Relationships seldom work if you expect the other partner to bring everything to the table, or if you expect the other partner to.

Quote:
Sexual non-monogamy is so complicated.
I'm personally not sure it is. I think there's both a stigma and romaticism on sex, yet most people will admit that personally, sex is but a part of a relationship. In mono relationships, where the partner is the breadwinner, you often see sex lives ruined by financial issues. You see work take places with intimacy.

In poly relationships you tend to see the opposite; a break from finances determine a relationship. Bloodlines not determining children, sex not determining intimacy.

Poly relationships are different. They defy the norm, but I'm not sure they're all that amazingly more "complicated".

Quote:
The thought is: Maybe I need an EMOTIONAL 2nd partner. My husband and I have deep compatibilities but also sometimes explosive differences, and his dance card of people to deal with and relate to is too full, whereas I have a few valued friends but otherwise a more solitary lifestyle. (I'm a writer, so my days are spent at home.)
I'm a huge fan of not defining or limiting relationships. I see no reason why you couldn't love a friend as intimately as you love a spouse. Surely, the dynamic of the relationship might change for good, but love is infinite.

Quote:
The thought is: Maybe I need an EMOTIONAL 2nd partner. My husband and I have deep compatibilities but also sometimes explosive differences, and his dance card of people to deal with and relate to is too full, whereas I have a few valued friends but otherwise a more solitary lifestyle. (I'm a writer, so my days are spent at home.)
I personally think that those kind of barriers are in the mind, not the relationship. I had a male friend with whom I loved quite a bit. Before I found poly (in some ways, even before I found myself!), I found myself supressing the urge to say "I love you". Whatever norms might be supressed, I think that the feeling of safety and intimacy are there; love doesn't need to be coupled with sex.
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:45 PM
Quath Quath is offline
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I don't think you have to be sexual to love another person. So as long as you and your husband are up to loving other people, I think you fit in the poly community.

However, I think you could just as easity fit into monogamous world. I think a lot of monogamous people have "BFFs" that they love. I think it only gets weird if the friend is someone the person COULD be sexually attracted to.

I think polyamory does help with theidea that one partner is not suppose to be everything for the other. They are just suppose to be themself. So one relationship could be for security and common goals in life while another could be for BDSM or extreme sports.

Hope you enjoy it here.
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:01 PM
jenae jenae is offline
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Default thanks for your input

Dear Drunkem Porcupine and Quoth (sorry if I'm getting the spelling wrong; can't see thread from here)--thank you for your input.

Perhaps reaching out on this forum was premature.

Maybe what I have in mind is more like Ashley Madison if that had a space for intimacy that won't necessarily involve sex and isn't based on lying to one's partner, but A. M. is all about pure cheating, as far as I can see.

A therapist once warned me of the danger of the silver bullet quick fix fantasy. Maybe my idea that, like R. Crumb's wife Aline, I might need a 2nd husband is just a quick fix fantasy. My ideal married life would be a formed of intimate monogamy like what I have been lead to believe / imagine that Michael Chabon and his wife Ayelette Waulden (sp?) have. (And I may be idealizing that.)

So, I dunno. We've see....

Re: "so complicated," my one foray into non-monogamy really blew up in my face from several directions, so for me it was painfully complicated. And back when my husband and his cohorts were writing about what they called omnigamy and having multiple relationships, it got very complicated for them as he remembers it. Maybe as Andrea Nemerson has hypothesized, you have to be biologically suited to really thrive in a polyamorous way of life; otherwise too much strain. (?) I genuinely fear that over involvement with someone else could cause a crisis in my marriage (again).
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:03 PM
jenae jenae is offline
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Default first thought

Damn, I wrote Quath, then changed it to Quoth. Sometimes first thought is best thought, as some of the Beats used to say.
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Old 12-17-2009, 03:08 PM
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communeist communeist is offline
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I think of myself as emotionally promiscuous (or emotionally polyamorous, as it were.) Regardless of whether I'm monogamous, poly, or celibate I'm going to love the people I love truly, deeply, profoundly.

I imagine that all human beings are inherently emotionally promiscuous, and that it's only because of moral strictures and fantasies/delusions of romantic love that people get stuck in a paradigm wherein loving more than one person "romantically" is a big no-no.

Further, I believe that all relationships are on a continuum of intimacy, and that the boundary between sexual and non-sexual relationship is another artificial, arbitrary, and reactionary norm that we'd be better off without.

So, yes, I absolutely believe in non-sexual expressions of polyamory.
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Old 12-17-2009, 03:30 PM
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crisare crisare is offline
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I have to say when I first read your post, my first thought was also that you're looking for a BFF, not another partner/lover.

That said I'm inclined to agree with what DrunkenPorcupine wrote:
Quote:
I love some of my friends as I love my wife. There are some experiences I will share with my friends that I won't be able to share and relate to my wife. The friends I'm thinking of are relationships that aren't yet sexual to me. They might never be.

If you're interested in a non-sexual, yet extremely intimate relationship with someone, I see no reason you couldn't be part of a poly community.

I would say, however, that if you're joining to fill a "lack" rather than to expand, there might be an issue.

I doubt many here will shun you, but I suspect you may not find here what you "lack". Poly tends to be about exploring and learning about yourself and your lovers and finding what it is that you need. Relationships seldom work if you expect the other partner to bring everything to the table, or if you expect the other partner to.
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Old 12-17-2009, 03:45 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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As there are nonsexual marriages/deep relationships among mono folk, there can certainly be such among poly folk.

And doing poly doesn't require a full dance card of partners. Many folks are quite happy having only two romantic ties and have no interest in any more. There are stable vees where one person has two partners, the other two only have the hinge partner, and everybody's happy and fulfilled. There are stable triads where the three are involved with each other and everybody's happy and fulfilled. And quads and so on and so on and so on.

You only have to have as many relationships as you desire and can handle to do poly. If one other is all you want, that's all you have to have.
__________________
When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.

While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.
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Old 12-17-2009, 04:44 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Default Absolutely !

Hi Jenae,

Of course "sex" isn't a requirement for a beautiful relationship ! And it would seem your exploration of poly minded people would be a natural place to start. At least in my experience in the poly community, sex is not put up on that pedestal, but only acknowledged as one of the obvious possibilities when people connect deeply. But it's certainly not a requirement.
That being said, it's very common that when two people DO connect deeply, that physical intimacy often becomes a natural expression of that bond, and if that is a fear trigger for you then I'd just advise you to voice that clearly & openly right up front with anyone. Anyone with an open, loving heart would accept that without reservation.

Good luck.

GS
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Old 01-02-2010, 03:26 AM
bryophyte bryophyte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenae View Post

Bottom line is that I crave deep discussion and connectedness more than he does. Maybe this is just his nature and my nature (regardless of how much contact we respectively have with others). I sometimes think meeting someone for coffee or even just a correspondence with someone who is in a similar boat might help meet my needs. I suppose I could try to fill the need with more friends, but my feeling at the moment is that the deeper nature of relationship relating is more compelling. (I tend to "rescue" my friends with extreme, non-confrontational politeness, and feel safer and freer to be honest with my romantic partners.)
I don't know if I really have much to say, but my gf is just now "negotiating" with someone she's been talking to and getting closer and closer to and may very well be getting into a deep soul-love relationship with a man. He is abstinent due to his strong buddhist beliefs, and so only wants a non-sexual relationship. Funny thing is that while he has been abstinent for 10 years, he's still being hesitant because she is one of the few people who tests his abstinent resolve because he is very attracted to her, but she would have no trouble being abstinent herself, as she is mostly a lesbian- so there may be problems with this. Anyway, I really hope this works out for her because it sounds just perfect for her! I also wish I could actually meet someone myself, but I can't really push that and I can't figure out how to meet people!

Anyway, I sound more like your husband and my gf sounds more like you. I used to get freaked out because I just don't make those kinds of connections and other exes in the past complained about my lack of connection on an artistic, spiritual, intellectual or what have you level. I thought I finally found someone who didn't care about that, finally (I kept f-ing dating poets! I'm a scientist dammit!). Turns out she DID care about it but wasn't about to complain about it because we have so many other bonds. So, polyamory is really kinda freeing to me for once, because she doesn't have to complain about this inability of mine and can just seek someone else. I keep trying to explain this to some of my friends but they are still being kind of not...accepting/understanding. She loves me and just needs me to be the simple, uncomplicated lover, which is what I am when I'm not having insecurity issues over what I think of as my "shallowness" (as well as getting used to the idea that she really likes her alone time! like a lot! I'm not used to seeing someone I'm dating so little) but recently I've really come to accept that she isn't going to leave me over this (like the others...) because of polyamory.
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