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Old 11-20-2011, 08:10 AM
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Default Polyamorous vs Ethical Slut

Something about which I'd be curious to hear what others think...

People often come in here with problems related to a partner wanting to have sex with other people. In some cases this leads to romantic feelings, in others it does not.

Now, in my marriage, I'm polyamorous and my husband is an ethical slut. I describe him as "barely monoamorous." Before me, he had never had a relationship that lasted longer than 6 months because he always bailed as soon as it started to get too emotional. So because I know his history and emotional capacity, I expect him not to form loving, romantic relationships with other people.

Now, some people might see that as a double standard since I'm not playing "what's good for the goose is good for the gander." But in this case, it's actually the opposite. He makes no secret about how challenging it is for him to deal with my emotions. We've explicitly talked about this, and he completely agrees: he has zero desire to be emotionally involved with anyone else. So in that context, I can't imagine how he could form another romantic relationship and still have any energy left for me.

When we met, I proudly declared myself polyamorous and asserted that if we were going to be together, we must both be free to have romantic relationships with other people. What took me time to get my head around was being comfortable with him having sexual but non-romantic relationships with other people.

At first I used the simple excuse of safety: if you haven't formed an emotional bond, then you can't trust what they say about their sexual history. But the truth is that I just felt icky thinking about him banging strangers. Not to say there isn't a valid safety concern, but I knew deep down that wasn't my real motivation. I know how careful he is with safe sex practices, he's even taught courses on the subject.

What really took me time to realize was this: Fairness is not about both partners having the same set of freedoms and boundaries. Fairness is each partner having access to the kinds of activities he or she is interested in, and respect of the other's personal boundaries.

By saying "it's ok for you to have other romantic relationships" I really wasn't granting him anything, since he had no desire for that. But when I finally came around and said "it's ok for you to have meaningless sex with other women" that's when I was really supporting something he actually wanted to do.
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The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."

Last edited by SchrodingersCat; 11-20-2011 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 11-20-2011, 09:23 AM
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Great post!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
What really took me time to realize was this: Fairness is not about both partners having the same set of freedoms and boundaries. Fairness is each partner having access to the kinds of activities he or she is interested in, and respect of the other's personal boundaries.
I totally agree with this, it hits the nail on the head.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
By saying "it's ok for you to have other romantic relationships" I really wasn't granting him anything, since he had no desire for that. But when I finally came around and said "it's ok for you to have meaningless sex with other women" that's when I was really supporting something he actually wanted to do.
And this is well put, too! My husband and I begun opening up almost four years ago, first sexually and recently emotionally. From the start, it's been the case that, theoretically, he has more "freedoms" than I do: I am comfortable with anything he does (as long as I know he respects and loves me), but there are some things he's not comfortable with so I have some "limits" that he doesn't have. Now, if I talk about this with somebody, and I present our agreements as they are in theory, they'll think "how unfair to her".

HOWEVER. In the four years during which he's had pretty much complete freedom, what has he done? He has exchanged one kiss with one woman. In the same time I've had partial freedom, and I've taken advantage of it to have some sexual action, and I now have a girlfriend. Now, how is this unfair to me? Tecnically, I've granted him more freedoms than he's given me, but practically, I've granted him nothing since he has very little if any desire to do the things he's "allowed to".
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Old 11-20-2011, 01:36 PM
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I wonder what the limits are he imposed on you? OPP?
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
I wonder what the limits are he imposed on you? OPP?
Was this question addressed to me? Yes, you could say our agreement comes close to OPP, though I do not think using derogatory terminology to describe my partner's feelings facilitates understanding and good communication. (If interested in continuing conversation, please do so here.)
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Old 11-22-2011, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rory View Post
Was this question addressed to me? Yes, you could say our agreement comes close to OPP, though I do not think using derogatory terminology to describe my partner's feelings facilitates understanding and good communication. (If interested in continuing conversation, please do so here.)
OK, I retract using the words "imposed on you," and apologize.
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Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

me: Mags, 59, living with:
miss pixi, 37
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
OK, I retract using the words "imposed on you," and apologize.
Thank you, I appreciate this and apology accepted.
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Old 11-25-2011, 02:26 PM
Claud26 Claud26 is offline
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thank you SchrodringersCat, you raised some really good question.

I failed to mention that when I told him that I needed more from him I also ended our relationship, because i knew it wasn't fair to him, to me and to our friendship, so I set him free. I knew going in that he didn't not want a Girlfriend and the moment i realized that I was in love with him it just made things really difficult for me. I didn't want to put him in a position where he was tip toeing around my feelings trying not to hurt me.

I think his fear is from not being able to live up to my expectations. I have two children and i'm a very family oriented person. I guess he sees me as the good girl next door that needs a good husband and house and a white picket fence. Which i have come to realize I don't.

He has said before that he has never married because he knows he can't be faithful and he would never want to hurt anyone. So I think he fear is more about not being able to keep his pants up. i think he is somewhat of an Ethical Slut.

Like i said this is VERY new to me. I just stumbled upon this and your post has helped me so much.
We are both Mono and never been in a poly relationship, but i can see us both getting what we need in order keep this relationship.
We have talked about having a threesome and are both very open to the idea. I don't have an issue with him looking at other women, actually we both love looking at other women. I love that we are so open and this is something we can share and he doesn't think I'm a freak.

he is currently away on business. i sent him an email asking him if he knew what Polyamory was. gave him a quick description and said that i would like to talk about it when he got back.

I will take your suggestion/advise and will talk things over with him.
I'm very excited about this and hope he feels the same way.
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rory View Post
HOWEVER. In the four years during which he's had pretty much complete freedom, what has he done? He has exchanged one kiss with one woman.
This also reminds me of my husband. He says that for him, it's not so much that he wants to do things with other people, it's that he wants to be allowed to do things with other people. But when push comes to shove, he's usually too tired or unmotivated to actually go to the bath house on co-ed night. But if I were to say "You're not allowed to play with other girls" then he would rear up like a mad stallion.

Does "OPP" mean other people's problems? Or was it a typo for Original Poster with an extra P?
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Gralson: my husband (works out of town).
Auto: my girlfriend (lives with her husband Zoffee).

The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Does "OPP" mean other people's problems? Or was it a typo for Original Poster with an extra P?
OPP = One Penis Policy

(when a guy sez "no other guys allowed" to his female primary but it's okay for him to be with other women)
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An excellent blog post against hierarchy in polyamory: http://solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-i...short-version/
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Fairness is not about both partners having the same set of freedoms and boundaries. Fairness is each partner having access to the kinds of activities he or she is interested in, and respect of the other's personal boundaries.
This is just about right, though I would put it in terms of each respecting the autonomy of the other, the ability and prerogative of the other to make decisions for him or herself. It's basic reciprocity.

It's very cool.
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