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  #1  
Old 12-26-2012, 06:20 PM
Moose17 Moose17 is offline
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Question Types of Poly's staying power?

Ok, so how many kinds of Poly are there? What are they, and how do they work? I'm aware that some people have just completely open relationships and don't discuss other partners with each other, and that some give each other veto power, and that some call themselves poly when what they're really after is a swinger relationship, and that some have stable closed triads, and that there's really an endless variety that changes with every individual and all that.

But how long do these relationships tend to last? I know monogamous marriages don't have an incredible track record, but is serial polyamory any better than serial monogamy?

I ask because my situation feels somewhat unusual in these circles. My wife and I started this discussion very recently, when she developed romantic feelings for someone who was already a close friend and happened to be openly poly.

As I said elsewhere: My spouse and I put each other first. When we started this discussion, my wife explicitly gave me veto power not just regarding the person she's interested in, but over the concept of having external relationships. She offered to return to our strict monogamy if I wanted, at any time, if I need that, and has repeated the offer during scary or insecure moments. We have kids, we built a life together for the last decade-plus, and it can grow and change, but nothing can be allowed to damage it or substantively detract from it. I'm not sure how common that dynamic is, how long external relationships can last for people in situations like ours, or even how monos going poly tend to do a few years down the line.

But it goes back to the question of "how long does any poly relationship last?". So, I'm asking. Gimme stories of endurance. I want to hear particularly from people whose situations started out like mine, but also from anyone who wants to chime in. I freely admit that I don't know enough about any of this. Fill me in.
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  #2  
Old 12-26-2012, 07:31 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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Non-monogamy is not a magic bullet that makes relationships perfect and ever-lasting. I have noticed posts that go, "We tried opening our relationship, and the other relationships ENDED! ZOMG what does it MEAN? What's the point in being poly if people still BREAK UP? Waaahhh!"

So there you have it. Relationships end. Or they don't. It has nothing to do with whether you're poly or mono. It's just that monogamous relationships come with expectations that are sanctioned by society.

That is all. Nothing else.

(By the way, I have been married for 13 years and been on/off again with my other partner since 1988. So I hope that satisfies your request for stories of "endurance". However, I do not "Identify" as poly. My current relationship configuration does meet the criteria for some other people's definitions of poly though, but whatever-whatever. LOts of other relationships have come and gone and come back again and gone again and some have not come back at all during that time.)

Last edited by BoringGuy; 12-26-2012 at 07:37 PM.
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  #3  
Old 12-26-2012, 08:49 PM
Moose17 Moose17 is offline
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Oh, I know there's no magic bullet, and I know relationships end; that's one of my fears in this whole thing. I'm not really sure what I'm asking for besides stories. There's very little research or literature on this all. I know something like 50% of marriages end in divorce, and I know some percentage of those that don't end up with other flexible arrangements, and some percentage stays monogamous. How does poly affect marriage? How does marriage affect couples who start poly?

Thank you for the story. That's the biggest part of what I was looking for. I just have no idea what might be ahead of us, and want to be able to forecast a bit. It's nice to hear that the label doesn't fit you, too. It doesn't seem to work for us, either, and that has been uncomfortable at times.

Last edited by Moose17; 12-26-2012 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:48 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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For what it's worth...my BF says that he sees roughly the same percentage of breakups among his poly, open marriage, and swinger friends and wider community as he does anywhere else in society.

He and his wife have had an open marriage for 15 years.
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  #5  
Old 12-26-2012, 10:18 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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There's lots of ways to arrange open model relationships. And in the polyamorous segment -- as many ways to "do" poly as there are people.

All relationships come with a clock attached. Even "til death do us part" is an ending.

Once upon a time I was a hinge type person ever before I knew the terminology. I married then BF1 and we have clocked 19 years together. BF2? From active friendship to romance back to active friendship to fading from my life? 6 years. He's still around to ping by email if I ping him. Mostly I don't -- he's not a pen pal type. So is it 6 years or also 19 years? When does one stop/start counting? What about natural pauses in between because of school, work or whatever? Does it matter? I don't think it is worthwhile to stress out about it.

It will last as long as it does. And even when one thing ends (romance), something else may continue (friendship). I'm fortunate to be on good terms with my exes even if we're not especially tight when everyone's spread so far across the country.

In friends -- I don't see that the monoships or polyships last longer than the other. Largely it depends on the people in them. A church friend just lost her spouse -- they were married (and monogamous) for more than 50 something years. Meanwhile, the oldest polyship I know? Friends with my mom. By my estimate it's like 44 years.

What is it you need reassuring on?

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-26-2012 at 10:29 PM.
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  #6  
Old 12-26-2012, 10:54 PM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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It's hard to define.

My exboyfriend is a close friend. We were in an open sexual relationship and roommates for 4 years. But, our career paths diverged, so we "broke up" in terms of sexual relationship and roommates.
However, we remain close friends. He visits, stays the night at our place, joins in holidays periodically. We've been close for... 19 years.

My husband and I have been married for 14 years, together 15.
My boyfriend and I have been best friends for 19 years, sexually involved off and on over the years. He moved in with us 10 years ago and we committed to an "official" dating relationship 3 years ago..

DH, bf and I are raising the last two of four kids. They are 5 and 12 yrs. They both helped raise my oldest who is now 21.
I don't see us ever "breaking up". There may be a change in household structuring-but as far as being a family-we'll always be family...
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  #7  
Old 12-26-2012, 11:13 PM
Moose17 Moose17 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post

What is it you need reassuring on?

Galagirl

I dunno, mostly that this has all been done before and it isn't the end of anybody's world. That long-term, loving friendships can grow and change in unexpected ways and still be maintained without damage having to take place elsewhere. Sounds rational and possible, but this is all incredibly new to me.

While my parents are mono and still together, same as my wife's, I've known some seriously unstable people in my lifetime, and have had very little exposure to the poly community. I'm not assuming non-mono folks are unstable, I've just never seen much of poly-land, and never heard enough about it to catch that stable (in my measure-in-decades timescale) happens there.

All of these stories have been deeply reassuring in different ways. Please, keep 'em coming.
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  #8  
Old 12-28-2012, 01:09 AM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moose17 View Post
...

But how long do these relationships tend to last? I know monogamous marriages don't have an incredible track record, but is serial polyamory any better than serial monogamy?

I ask because my situation feels somewhat unusual in these circles. My wife and I started this discussion very recently, when she developed romantic feelings for someone who was already a close friend and happened to be openly poly.

...we built a life together for the last decade-plus, and it can grow and change, but nothing can be allowed to damage it or substantively detract from it. I'm not sure how common that dynamic is, how long external relationships can last for people in situations like ours, or even how monos going poly tend to do a few years down the line.

But it goes back to the question of "how long does any poly relationship last?". So, I'm asking. Gimme stories of endurance. I want to hear particularly from people whose situations started out like mine, but also from anyone who wants to chime in. I freely admit that I don't know enough about any of this. Fill me in.
You asked for stories of endurance, so I will share a bit of mine. My "version" of polyamory is heavily influenced by the type of "group marriage" demonstrated in the science fiction novels of Robert Heinlein. In a sense, I've considered myself polyamorous since before the word was invented (in 1992 I believe). So much so, that when I got together with MrS, 20 years ago (and my first "relationship") I told him that he should just read everything that Heinlein ever wrote and then he would understand me a LOT better. (Lovely man, he did just that .)

We ironed out some boundaries and ... well, have been together ever since. Our early boundaries (they have evolved over time) included no limitations on my interactions/relationships with other women (this hasn't changed). And, within the first year, I had developed a FWB type relationship with one of his close female friends. That relationship still exists today.

Several years later I had a conversation with a bi-curious (female) friend of mine along the lines of: “What if you found a girl who was really into you but wasn't willing to be with you if you were with a man (MrS)?” My answer was that leaving MrS was not, and would never be, part of the deal.... and this would be understood from the beginning. My relationship with a girl could take any form that she felt comfortable with except one that dictated what my relationship with MrS could be. She would not need to meet him if she didn't want to. But she could never be a “secret” from him or demand a change my relationship with him (other than negotiating time management and other practical concerns). Anyone who has talked to me for 5 minutes knows that I am married and how important MrS is in my life...there is barely a significant story of my life that doesn't involve him in some way, so it's not as though it would come as a surprise.

My relationship with Dude has been the first "outside" relationship that has evolved past FWB - and it is getting on two years along at this point and, unless something drastic happens, could conceivably last "forever" (in the same way that monogamous relationships can last "forever" - until they don't). There are no constraints on how far or how long that relationship can go - the only caveat is that (as above) me leaving MrS is not, and never will be, part of the deal. In our current configuration, our "version" of poly looks a lot like a woman with two husbands, an old one and a new one - who love and care for each other as well (platonically, they were best friends for years before I met and became involved with Dude). Dude has informed me that should the two of us (me and Dude) ever break up, he still gets to be friends with MrS (because MrS came "first" ).

I don't know if that helps your understanding any, but you asked for stories...

JaneQ
__________________
Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" Vee-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (22+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (3+ yrs) and MrS's best friend
Lotus: poly bi female, "it's complicated" relationships with Dude/JaneQ/MrS (1+ years)
TT: poly male, married to Lotus, FB with JaneQ
VV and MsJ: bi-women with male primaries, LTR LDR FWBs to JaneQ


My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe
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  #9  
Old 12-28-2012, 05:17 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
One more for Galagirl: Would you mind defining "closed polyship of two" for me?
Sure. It's just my shorthand for describing where I'm at right now. Once upon a time I was a hinge person in an "Open V" sort of arrangement. We were all free to date others, so it was not a "closed" polyship -- it was still "open." And there was 3 people in there. So it was three.

Later it changed. It was partially Closed -- I didn't see others, neither did BF1 but BF2 did. He wound up with another sweetie and he had a VERY hard time with a 4 person "N" thing. So it changed again -- I broke up with BF2 and we were friends only. Which left it at a closed polyship of 2 for me and BF1. Then I married him. So it changed again -- now BF1 was my DH.

Who knows what will come in future? But for now, "closed married polyship of 2" will do for shorthand.

HTH!
GG

Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-28-2012 at 05:19 AM.
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  #10  
Old 12-28-2012, 05:40 AM
Moose17 Moose17 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe View Post
You asked for stories of endurance, so I will share a bit of mine.
JaneQ
Jane, thank you so much. Stories like yours, and others above, are exactly what I started this thread for. The only real exposure I had to Poly for a long time just seemed like a complete lack of commitment, not like what I really think something with the word "love" in its name should be like. In the BDSM community we were a part of for a few years (socially and exhibitionally, not in a swinging sense), poly seemed to mean something like one lesbian in the role of slave to a couple while also dating a straight man. It made no sense, and it never seemed to last more than a year or three.

My wife was so relieved to see in your post that putting the spouse above all others is a thing people do in this community. She's been really reluctant to use the term "poly" because what we knew of it really didn't seem to fit us. We still may not use the term for ourselves, but it's good to know that in ambiguity of terminology, people find their own stability.

turtleHeart: Thanks. I'm still working my way through Opening Up, but this is on my list now. It sounds like a worthwhile read for me.
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