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  #11  
Old 04-20-2012, 11:16 PM
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SNeacail SNeacail is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amandapitch View Post
Right now - no - I can't trust him enough to feel this would work. I don't think he's forthright enough - not that he's not honest, but if not directly asked, he will withhold info on any number of topics rather than in the interest of full transparency so nothing can be misunderstood or taken personally and it causes problems already and we haven't even ventured into the poly realm yet.
My husband is like this also, so my sympathies . What I have learned, is that I just have to ask more questions and keep asking them. They have spent years "training" themselves to not disclose what they think might cause drama, so it's up to us to help them develop new habits by constantly asking questions. Soon enough he will anticipate the questions and volunteer the information to avoid being grilled.

Communication is key and it take effort and WORK to figure out how to truly communicate with your partner. More than likely you will find that you do NOT have the same definitions for words you thought were common or obvious.
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  #12  
Old 04-20-2012, 11:54 PM
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Re (from amandapitch, Post #4):
Quote:
"I'm feeling pretty betrayed and manipulated now though, as if I have to agree to this to keep the relationship."
Well we don't know how strongs his feelings are about it yet. More talks will be needed to find that out. Maybe he can give up some of the poly possibilities he has in mind, if not all of them. You just have to find out if there's any middle ground the both of you can live with.

Re (from opalescent, Post #7):
Quote:
"Some people are just not poly. They just aren't and that is perfectly fine. You may be one of those folks."
This is true.

Re (from amandapitch, Post #10):
Quote:
"I don't think he's forthright enough -- not that he's not honest, but if not directly asked, he will withhold info on any number of topics rather than in the interest of full transparency so nothing can be misunderstood or taken personally and it causes problems already and we haven't even ventured into the poly realm yet."
Well, that is a problem. He should learn to be a more thorough communicator, before either of you think about trying out polyamory.

Re (from amandapitch, Post #10):
Quote:
"He's hidden things and not been completely honest, already has individuals he'd want to get involved with that I'm not friends with and I wouldn't be a part of their relationship, and is also weird about giving information I think would help me feel more comfortable in all of it and tells me it's none of my business ..."
What! It certainly is your business, if he wants you to be his partner in polyamory. (Sheesh)

Re (from amandapitch, Post #10):
Quote:
"It would be totally ironic -- and not really out of the realm of possible -- if through all this exploration I decide poly actually *is* for me and end up in a poly relationship with folks that doesn't include him."
Ah, alas, that may be how it turns out. (Doesn't mean it can't still be a happy ending for you but ... sux for now.)

Re (from amandapitch, Post #4):
Quote:
"The things you guys are saying about communication and boundaries and mutual agreements being honored as well as mutual respect being vital to a poly relationship, I see as vital to *any* relationship, poly or mono or other if it's to be sustainable."
I agree with you on that.

Re (from amandapitch, Post #4):
Quote:
"For myself I can easily imagine having a bad day, and looking forward to flopping on the couch with my partner to get pet and listened to, only to find out he had plans with another partner and resenting it monumentally."
Well for that reason, a lot of poly families keep calendars and schedules, so that everyone knows what's coming up ahead of time and there aren't any "unpleasant surprises." That said, you do have days that will be "scheduled" as a date night for him with someone else, and that does make it challenging if you wish he were at home with you.

Re (from amandapitch, Post #4):
Quote:
"And while it does all sound really beautiful and evolved in theory, the simple logistics and negotiation seem so time consuming and involved that it seems like it would really sap the fun and satisfaction of it."
It certainly takes some getting used to. It gets easier with practice though ...

Re (from amandapitch, Post #4):
Quote:
"I'd feel jealous of all the time he spent with someone else out doing fun things without me. I'd want to be there too if anything. Not just someone sitting on the side waiting for my partner to return from his fun day/date/whatever."
That might be something to discuss with him, is whether he'd be willing to "date as a couple" with you. Or there's the theory of if you'd have a "date of your own," but that would depend on how you'd feel about that.

Re (from amandapitch, Post #4):
Quote:
"I *know* people make this work and are probably far more evolved than I am either as a result of having this in their lives or it works in their lives because they are more evolved in the first place."
LOL, we're not that lofty. Many of us (e.g. yours truly) lead pretty boring lives; you wouldn't think we were polyamorous. It's just that polyamory is so different from what society as a whole advocates (i.e. "monogamy is the only way"), that the new paradigm takes some getting used to. Plus there's more literary/professional/social support for monogamous marriages. People hear you're having trouble in your polyamorous relationship, and their first knee-jerk reaction is to say, "Well duh! You're polyamorous! Of *course* you're having trouble!" So that part of it is more difficult.

Re (from amandapitch, Post #4):
Quote:
"Still super conflicted and wishing there was a rulebook."
There's no rulebook per se, but a couple of "how-to" guides that come highly recommended are:
Hope that helps.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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  #13  
Old 04-21-2012, 04:05 AM
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Just some quesions for further clarification:

Do you know what his idea of poly is? What does he envision for himself?

Why did the topic came up now? Is there a new interest of his already? Or is it more like a general feel he got that he is missing something?

Did you two already talk about the shortcomings of your relationship? Before the poly topic entered the picture?
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  #14  
Old 04-21-2012, 11:37 AM
wildflowers wildflowers is online now
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People have said so many good things here and asked so many good questions it's impossible to react to them all!

You do actually sound like you're trying to address this really well, and you've identified a bunch of important issues, both in your relationship with him (e.g., communication) and for yourself. But it seems to me - and I think you may have acknowledged this too - a lot of these issues aren't specific to polyamory. You're going to need to address them whether or not he wants to be poly. So I wonder if it would be at all helpful to try to shift your focus. Let the poly question be secondary for the moment, and deal as best with the core issues.

For me also the constant question of "can we make this work" is really debilitating. I understand the impetus to ask it, but it's SO wearing. I've found that I do much better now when I approach a relationship with the idea that I've decided to try to make it work, and do the best I can at that. I focus on the process - i.e., I am doing the best I can in order to keep improving this relationship - rather than on a specific outcome - i.e. is this good enough. I admit, I worry sometimes about whether I'm just wimping out on making hard decisions, but overall it gives me a more grounded place to work from.

You asked early on about benefits, about why do this. Now my position is very different - I'm married with kids, and my boyfriend is also, so we are each others secondaries. From that there is balance, also an accepted prioritization. I've been married for a long time, and that relationship has not always been smooth, and it frankly still has some big issues. But those issues aren't due to the boyfriend. And for me, being involved with my boyfriend has forced me to grapple a lot with my own issues, which makes me a stronger person. And it has given me more experience in relating, helped me learn relationship "tools" that my husband could not teach, since he also lacks them. So these can be taken back to the primary relationship. Plus I am simply happier with my boyfriend in my life, and that happiness can help support me through times that are tough at home, and give me more strength to deal with them. So it is not necessary to assume that other partners for your boyfriend will be detrimental to your relationship. They really can be a source of support as well. Plus they are a good spur against letting relationship complacency to set it; they are a reminder that we have to keep paying attention to the primary partner (which is actually very easy to lose sight of when you are monogomous).

I don't mean to make it all sound easy; it hasn't been. But it has been worth it.
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  #15  
Old 04-21-2012, 11:10 PM
amandapitch amandapitch is offline
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Thanks so much for all the support and feedback everyone. Even the stuff that is hard to hear (or maybe even most importantly the hard stuff to hear) is really helpful. I am really not a forum joiner and sort of eschew technology even though I work in it (or maybe because of that), but this is really changing my mind about the usefulness. I really had no where else to go for this... I know lots of poly folks, but they are all also involved with my partner, so I really didn't want to open this up to them yet. You all have helped me not go insane...

Quote:
Communication is key and it take effort and WORK to figure out how to truly communicate with your partner. More than likely you will find that you do NOT have the same definitions for words you thought were common or obvious.
This is an incredibly timely comment. We are struggling with this incredibly right now. Some of the struggle is his lack of honesty and some of the struggle is his insistence that there is no difference between friendship and romantic interest. I agree romantic interest is frequently (and for me most importantly) based from friendship, but I don't think to be close to someone or care about them in a significant manner you need to take it to a romantically intimate level sexually or emotionally. And I think you know when you are allowing or encouraging a friendship based relationship to move from friendship into romantic intimacy regardless of how you define that as vocabulary or concept. You can tell what your feelings are and you also know what your own motivations are regardless of what words you use to define it. It WOULD be fantastic to somehow figure out words that we can easily communicate with - we are having a hard time with that though because he doesn't want to upset me by being truthful I think and also now that i'm asking for this kind of explanation, he's having to be more truthful with himself about his own motivations.

Quote:
Well for that reason, a lot of poly families keep calendars and schedules, so that everyone knows what's coming up ahead of time and there aren't any "unpleasant surprises." That said, you do have days that will be "scheduled" as a date night for him with someone else, and that does make it challenging if you wish he were at home with you.
This is reasonable and useful, but I don't think it would make me feel better. I'd still want the support from my partner when I needed it and the idea that the excuse that he couldn't be there for me was because he had a date really would rub me the wrong way. How do you handle something like that? I may have given too lighthearted an example, but let's say in the case where something fairly large happens, not a death or anything - but just something where I feel really stretched and need him around, but he has a date. How do you handle being there when unexpectedly someone just plain needs you?


Quote:
That might be something to discuss with him, is whether he'd be willing to "date as a couple" with you. Or there's the theory of if you'd have a "date of your own," but that would depend on how you'd feel about that.
We haven't talked about this. I don't think he'd be into it because really what it seems like he gets out of poly is a) the ability to be attracted to other people without feeling bad about it b) the NRE you guys keep talking about - from his past its pretty clear to me he likes to prolong that as long as possible by resisting getting involved with someone, pining over them for as long as possible, choosing folks he can't really have so he can effectively do that even longer than usual and in general just claims to really like meeting new people (which totally upsets me because while it IS nice and stimulating to meet new people - the idea that you have to be poly and open to having a full on love relationship with every new person you meet is ridiculous). Also - he really likes having lots of people paying attention to him and gets into sharing poly gossip with his many poly friends - and likes to be part of that. He is drama focused and has been as long as I've known him, where drama and conflict really bothers me.

I'm also not sure I'd want to date as a couple either to be honest. It would be hard to see him interacting with someone else the way he does with me and being minimized while that person is around. I really do like feeling special to the person who is special to me and if everyone is special - isn't no one special?

If i were to date on my own - at least at this point - it wouldn't be healthy. I'd be doing it to distract myself which isn't fair to whomever I'm dating and also because I was mad at my partner (which isn't fair to my partner if I finally agree to this...).

Thanks for the reading recommendations by the way!!! My partner suggested this one - The Ethical Slut - but I was instantly horrified by it because it stresses "have all the sex you ever dreamed of" and I thought that wasn't what this was about. I thought it was more about intimacy that just sex. (maybe i am wrong...) But just dealing with sex would be easier to be honest. It's less time consuming and you don't have to worry about emotional ties - it's just having fun. Where it gets difficult for me is where it can affect our relationship and that's in the comparison of partners, the trust thing, the just being there thing, etc. I want to build a LIFE with someone I can trust and has similar goals and aspirations I do - someone I can share everything with and not think they are just going to toss it over the side when the next shiny person comes along. This isn't to say we have to be identical in everything - just that we appreciate, respect and support how the other grows/evolves along the way.


Quote:
Do you know what his idea of poly is? What does he envision for himself?
His idea of poly is - as far as i understand it - that love is not finite and every different person is a different experience and no one person fills all roles in someone else's life. It's being open to meeting those new people and allowing the relationships to grow as they may.

In theory I agree with that, but the idea that every new person means a new relationship makes me cringe. Also that it implies that time and energy is not finite either but it really is. Especially in our lives where our jobs are so exacting and time heavy.

Quote:
Why did the topic came up now? Is there a new interest of his already? Or is it more like a general feel he got that he is missing something?
We've been having problems anyway and this came up as something he was realizing he maybe wasn't being honest enough about in terms of the importance to him. He also seems to think I've judged him for being poly, which is totally not the case - like I said - I've been involved with multiple people before, but not when I've committed to a single one like this. It hasn't been in his life for that long - maybe 5 years - but he really also likes to self identify as poly, kinky, alternative, etc. He comes from a rural background, so it's sort of an evolution he's made for himself and he feels like he's more himself now than he was before which i can really appreciate, but coming from where I do - this all has been a fact of my life for so long, I have no need to force things and make sure folks ID me the way I ID me. I have nothing to prove because I've been "alternative" my whole life (well almost - as soon as i had enough self awareness to realize i had a choice...) and I also don't even think about necessarily identifying with any particular group at all - i sort of feel like that pigeon holes you unnecessarily too.

Quote:
Did you two already talk about the shortcomings of your relationship? Before the poly topic entered the picture?
Yes - we're in therapy together and individually right now. In fact - our therapist just told us we're processing TOO much and are not allowed to talk this week at all til we next see her. LOL
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  #16  
Old 04-21-2012, 11:11 PM
amandapitch amandapitch is offline
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(the forum constraints wouldn't let me post this all at once - it's the 2nd half of the previous post - sorry about being so verbose - guess there is a lot going on...)

Quote:
People have said so many good things here and asked so many good questions it's impossible to react to them all!
YES! I hope I'm not missing answering anything wanted a response to. If I am please let me know and I will immediately. Not intentional in any way and I really do appreciate the effort everyone is putting in to try to help me.

Quote:
So I wonder if it would be at all helpful to try to shift your focus. Let the poly question be secondary for the moment, and deal as best with the core issues.
Yes - this hits it on the head right now. We officially have put the moratorium of talking about poly IN our relationship right now - i only end up feeling tricked and it's really making other things harder. I just know it's something that will come up later if it's something he's bringing up now as important to him even in theory though he's not actually seeing anyone else right now (my head would explode if he were before we work through our own issues...). But this is some seriously good advice and something someone else mentioned too about just dealing with the issues at hand that would crop up in any relationship anyway - poly/mono/other.

What I'm trying to do is really understand poly - I've never really given it much thought pos or neg - it just is. I truly believe everyone is entitled to love as they please. There is definitely not enough love in the world, so bring it. And I'm trying to formulate how I feel about it in my life as a concept, think about what I'd really need to work on personally in order to feel secure and happy and what the relationship would have to provide to be satisfied, and also what to expect from my partner in terms of commitment and dedication to making it all work. And also why some of the things he's already done and said and why some of his existing relationships really bother me and tweak my jealousy bean so to speak. I'm not really that jealous a person, but something about how he's not been so honest + some baggage on both our parts = extreme discomfort in several cases.


Quote:
Plus they are a good spur against letting relationship complacency to set it; they are a reminder that we have to keep paying attention to the primary partner (which is actually very easy to lose sight of when you are monogomous).
This I see as a major benefit to poly. Complacency is probably one of the things I hate most in a relationship. There is never a guarantee someone will be there the next day due to changing feelings, requirements, and even acts of god like accidents and weather. I think it happens in mono relationships a LOT and have been a victim of it as well as a perpetrator. To me it signals the end.

Quote:
I don't mean to make it all sound easy; it hasn't been. But it has been worth it.
Heh. No pain no gain, right? Just kidding. But good things seem rarely to be easy. I think it's true of any relationship really. I appreciate you and everyone who has stressed it does take work and isn't just something that occurs naturally.

Thanks y'all!
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  #17  
Old 04-22-2012, 03:39 AM
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Re (from amandapitch):
Quote:
"Some of the struggle is his lack of honesty and some of the struggle is his insistence that there is no difference between friendship and romantic interest."
I suppose one could argue that the line between friendship and romantic interest can seem blurry at times ... but there is certainly a difference between the two. One is romantic; the other is platonic.

Re (from amandapitch):
Quote:
"I agree romantic interest is frequently (and for me most importantly) based from friendship, but I don't think to be close to someone or care about them in a significant manner you need to take it to a romantically intimate level sexually or emotionally."
I would think it would be highly unusual (at the least) for someone to be romantically interested in *all* of their friends. Doesn't your partner have *any* friends he just hangs with? football buddies, or ...?

Re (from amandapitch):
Quote:
"How do you handle something like that? I may have given too lighthearted an example, but let's say in the case where something fairly large happens, not a death or anything -- but just something where I feel really stretched and need him around, but he has a date. How do you handle being there when unexpectedly someone just plain needs you?"
Well, keep in mind, it's not just poly situations (such as, he has a date) that can pull a partner away from you. Sometimes they're at work, or have some sort of family obligation they're tending to, or something to that effect. Monogamous couples, too, have their time when each partner is alone. Granted, polyamory adds *yet another pull* to our partner's time and resources, but comparable examples do exist in the monogamous realm. The only difference is that you're dealing with a fact that it's a *date* your partner's on ... but that's a jealousy issue, more than it is an absenteeism issue. Assuming, that is, that your partner doesn't schedule a ridiculous amount of time for these dates (or a ridiculous number of dates). He has his obligations to you, and should be tending to them. But for those times when he "happens" to be out on a date, you try to deal with it similar to how you would if he was at work or off running errands or something.

If you establish a primary-secondary arrangement with him (such as, you're the primary and all of his dates are secondaries), then you may propose to declare a "right" to call him home early from a date at any time. That is, if he's willing to agree to that. The thing is, you have to come up with something you and he can both agree to and live with, if the two of you are to stay together.

If you don't intend to interrupt these dates (other than in the case of a death or other emergency), then you have to come up with stuff you can "fall back on" as a distraction. Something you're interested in, that doesn't seem like too much effort to you. A hobby perhaps. Visiting with a friend. Shopping. Doing something around town. Poking around on the internet. These aren't OMG-great-suggestions, but they might give you some idea of something to shoot for.

As for the jealousy issue, here's some links that might help:

Let us discuss the greeneye monster shall we?
How to slay the greeneyed beastie.

Jealousy, Envy, Insecurity, Etc.
How do you achieve compersion?

The Theory of Jealousy Management
The Practice of Jealousy Management

Jealousy and the Poly Family
Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability

Depends on whether jealousy's an issue for you (in the first place).

It should be noted that love is an infinite resource ... but time is a finite resource. The more time your partner spends on a date (or a bunch of dates), the less time he's spending with you. So there you have to find a balance: What's an amount of time expenditure that he can live with and agree to, that you can live with and agree to also? If he's just going to want to be out there *all the time* meeting new people (or gossiping with his poly friends, or whatever), that's not fair to you.

Re (from amandapitch):
Quote:
"While it *is* nice and stimulating to meet new people -- the idea that you have to be poly and open to having a full-on love relationship with every new person you meet is ridiculous."
Yes, that's a pretty ridiculous idea. I hope you weren't under the impression that that was a widespread poly philosophy? This is the first time I've heard of it. I have a feeling that your partner is preaching his private gospel to you (or perhaps he's just miscommunicating, I can't tell). Unless this is something his poly friends think?

Again, it has to do with time. It takes time to develop a quality relationship. If you're just flitting about from one date to another all the time, your relationships are going to be superficial.

Re (from amandapitch):
Quote:
"He is drama focused and has been as long as I've known him, where drama and conflict really bother me."
That sounds like an issue you guys will have to contend with whether you try on polyamory or not. I'm sorry you have to deal with that. It doesn't sound very pleasant.

Re (from amandapitch):
Quote:
"It would be hard to see him interacting with someone else the way he does with me and being minimized while that person is around."
Hmmm. He shouldn't be doing that though. At any time. If you and some other girl are both present with him, then you should be getting at least an equal amount of his attention -- or, in a strongly primary/secondary arrangement, perhaps you should be getting the most attention. There again is something you'd have to see if he could agree to on that. But equal attention at least. It's only fair. Certainly he shouldn't be minimizing you just because someone else is around.

Re (from amandapitch):
Quote:
"Thanks for the reading recommendations by the way! My partner suggested this one -- The Ethical Slut -- but I was instantly horrified by it because it stresses 'have all the sex you ever dreamed of' and I thought that wasn't what this was about."
Here's a better suggestion (I think): Opening Up (a guide to creating and sustaining open relationships), by Tristan Taormino. Not that "Ethical Slut" is bad per se, but it doesn't (I don't think) cover the range of relationships that Opening Up does.

Re (from amandapitch):
Quote:
"I want to build a *life* with someone I can trust and has similar goals and aspirations I do -- someone I can share everything with and not think they are just going to toss it over the side when the next shiny person comes along."
This is something you really have to think about: *Can you trust him to consistently come home to you?* You also have to ask yourself if you can live with him dating other people -- at all. If you can't, then it's better if the two of you parted ways before you get in too deep. I hope it doesn't come to that, but ...

Hope some of this post helps.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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  #18  
Old 04-22-2012, 06:44 AM
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Good to hear that things shift towards your relationship right now. It's important to get things out of the picture that are right at hand instead of focusing on some 'maybe-wants' later on. Both of you need to feel save and secure with what you currently have before any of you thinks about investing time and energy in the next 'big relationship project'. This would be as ridiculous as taking on some additional work for some school activity of the kids while the main work just keeps piling up.

I know that everyone defines poly with a personal touch to it, but I never heard of someone with the urge to form an intimate relationship with everyone he/she encounters. That sounds arduous and unrealistic. I mean, I am on the other end of that scale, I have had three relationships so far in my whole life and only one of those three ended. The other two are with me right now. I don't fall in love easily, therefore, I would emphasize what you said: It isn't about sex in my case. Never will be. It's about feelings and having the persons dear to you as close as possible. This doesn't automatically disqualify his point of view, it's just a bit extreme in my book.

What would rub me the wrong way is that you said he was all in for the drama and actively wants to create some with this new interests. That sounds not good. There is enough he needs to handle as soon as he gets involved with another person, if he tries to make this artificially harder than it already is, I wouldn't tolerate it in your shoes. My transition into poly was a relative easy one, but I was exhausted nevertheless more than once.

Lastly I wanted to second the point about things that can be seen as similar in a mono relationship concerning time and investment. My husband works a lot. He is constantly gone, doing overtimes and such (the next free weekend will be in two weeks for him). This is a problem for me. Always has been. It doesn't matter that my other spouse is constantly with my during that time. I still miss him and we need some time for each other as soon as we can get some. Just because I am poly and have more than one partner doesn't mean that the other will fill my need for connection and physical touch if I miss them from the respective other. Persons aren't interchangeable. As long as you don't have the confident and secure understanding what your place in your husband's/partner's (forgot what it was in your case) heart and life is, you will encounter problems. Just like not coping well if spends too much time at work, on a new activity, with his friends, and so on and so forth.

My husband and I tended to just assume most things and never really talk about most concerning our relationship. Like this image of the old couple, knowing the other, just being content with what they have and living their lifes. That was luckily true, it worked like that for us without major hiccups along the way. But since I opened the poly-can, there have been the one or other worm we would have overlooked in the old situation. Communication has improved in our case and I got to know some new sides of his I didn't knew before hand. And I loved it. It brought us even closer together. This doesn't have to be the case, but if it happens, poly (or any other relationship altering experiences) can be regarded as really beneficial for an old relationship.
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  #19  
Old 04-22-2012, 11:22 AM
wildflowers wildflowers is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amandapitch View Post
My partner suggested this one - The Ethical Slut - but I was instantly horrified by it because it stresses "have all the sex you ever dreamed of" and I thought that wasn't what this was about.
FWIW, you're not alone here. I can't even bring myself to read this one, because I can't get past the title. I have no interest in thinking of myself as a slut, and it isn't remotely all about sex for me.
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:23 PM
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There are plenty of poly people who hated The Ethical Slut and advise against reading it. I haven't read it but have read enough negative reviews of it that I don't want to. I hate it when people call it the poly bible. Ecch. I concur with the suggestion made earlier in this thread for Opening Up by Tristan Taormino. It's quite good.
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