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  #31  
Old 12-06-2012, 01:17 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Originally Posted by PolyLinguist View Post
Perfectly legitimate questions. I would get much tougher ones from relatives and friends were I to reveal my polyness to them!

Three answers, without too much elaboration:

1. Variety, just as nycindie suggests. I like my wife's cooking too, but still like to try other peoples' (and restaurants') cooking.

2. An affirmation that I can (still) get somebody to fall for me.

3. It's an adventure. In an analogous way, I am happy in Vancouver, it's safe and pleasant, so why would I want to go to explore Brazil and Japan, as I almost certainly will? It's not that I want to leave Vancouver permanently, but I would like the adventure of exploring a foreign place.
Glad I wasn't too tough on you!

I understand wanting variety sexually. I understand wanting to meet new people for variety and learning and growth. What I don't understand is feeling the need for it to be an entire, sexual, romantic relationship.

And my problem with the analogies in #1 and #3 (although it does help to explain the desire) is that cooking, restaurants, Brazil, and Japan, are all inanimates. They don't have feelings, needs, desires, of their own. They don't care if you come back. If your wife says, "I really don't care for Japan and it's getting too expensive to go there every year," Japan is not affected at all.

Another person is.

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Plus, although this is not a reason, I now have the time. Until last year I worked full time, until a few years ago we still had children at home who needed my constant time and presence. That didn't leave much time for extracurricular activities.
Here again is where I sort of cringe: another person is a full, complete, living, breathing human being, with feelings, needs, emotions, the ability to be hurt, to have their lives completely upended and altered.

They should not be regarded as an extracurricular activity.

I understand that you are referring to 'pursuing relationships,' not to a specific person; but to me, seeing a relationship as an extracurricular activity does put it all in terms of your enjoyment, your pursuit, your desires, your fun, and something (stress thing) you can come or go from as you please. Where is the thought to the other person's well-being in there?


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But what I wanted to avoid is exactly the kind of situation you describe. If I wait with my declaration of "poly-hood" until I meet with someone and form some kind of emotional rapport, it is bound to become messy. Either my wife will be upset about being presented with a fait-accompli, or I hurt the other person by leading her on then backing out because I don't want to damage my marriage, or both. Of course, it could still become messy, but at least I have done some pre-thinking.
Yes, I think you are wise to do a great deal of pre-thinking.


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Now that I have answered why at least one happily married man would look for a poly "affair", let me ask you why do you think an unmarried (or even married) woman would enter such a relationship? This was my purpose in starting this thread, after all. Don't most women want more from a relationship than what a married man can give them? Onoma seems to think that there are lots of women like that, all I need is a confident approach, less intellectualizing and maybe dress better. What do you think?
I would tend to agree with you that most women want more than a married man can give them.

There's a thread going about why many women (well, people, but as we're talking about what women want, I'll go with that) are more willing to have an affair with a cheater than with a married man. And I think it's right on in saying that having an affair with a married man holds out the promise that he might leave his wife someday and give her the whole deal. After all, he's soooo miserable with her, and he's sooooo in love with me, right, so even if he says he won't leave his wife, these women have that hope. To my mind, most (not all, but most) people date with the intention of finding a life partner. A poly man who is upfront about loving his wife takes away that promise and hope.

That being said, why would women date a married, poly man? Maybe some of them do still hope he'll leave his wife--either because they're calculating or because they don't understand the poly mindset. Maybe they don't want a life partner for various reasons.

I can tell you my reasons.

First, I have had many doubts, from the very start, about my wisdom in continuing to see him. A year in, including much reading here, I believe, more than before, that there's a huge element of playing with fire in the whole open marriage/poly thing. I think a lot of people get hurt. I would never advocate for it. Had a stranger on OKCupid approached me with the idea, I never, ever would have agreed to it. In fact, a poly guy did recently approach me offering me a long-term, discreet affair, and I have no interest.

That said, why am I here?
  • I knew him for a long time before he asked me out.
  • I agreed to get together at a nice restaurant to talk business, not to go on a date.
  • He told me bits and pieces of the whole story that night. I went back for a second date out of extreme curiosity. Probably not the best reason.
  • I kept going back because I enjoy his company, talking about ideas, our time together. I think in the back of my head, I told myself, just one more, just one more.
  • I continue to go back because I see a great deal of GOOD and PERSONAL GROWTH coming out of this for him and for me, both.
  • I guard my feelings, I value the good things, but I have no expectation of permanence, and am willing to walk away from this at any time. Note that I do not think it's a good thing to be in a relationship and feel that you must guard your feelings and not fall in love. I think it stifles what a relationship should be and what ours could be, and I think that's sad. But I'm not going to waste my life, or even my evenings, pining after someone who's not available.

Among other reasons I stay, he goes to great effort to let me know how important I am to him. He's given up things he and his wife did, to put me more at ease in this situation and to stress how much I mean to him.

And here's one of the problems with poly: how far can you go in making one person happy when ultimately what gives one peace is upsetting to the other? Sooner or later, in trying to juggle two relationships, there will be such conflicts. How will you resolve such conflicts if you have a girlfriend you've fallen in love with and value, and what she needs directly conflicts with your wife's wants or needs?

Another list specifically of why a 'half-time boyfriend' suits me now:
  • I'm recently (15 months) divorced from a lousy marriage, enjoying my peace and quiet and space and in no rush at all to have a man move in with me.
  • I lead a very busy life doing things I love that require a lot of time alone to do that work.
  • My children need me.
  • I don't want to introduce my children to another man barely a year past their father moving out, and put them through that additional turmoil.
  • Ironically, perhaps, I had no interest in seeing anyone or having a boyfriend, anyway. I was quite happy on my own, and still am, the nights I'm not with him.

If and when those things change, if and when I start having the desire to have someone more involved in my life, move in, share finances, etc....this situation will probably no longer be acceptable to me. He knows that, and encourages me to date other people, even knowing he's going to be very hurt if/when I break it off because I fall in love with someone who is not okay with me having a second boyfriend. In short, he has put my good above his own. That's another thing to think about. When you find a woman who's happy dating a married man, will you be able to look ahead to what's best for her future, knowing you may be hurt very badly when it has to end?

Do you think that you can move in and out of relationships, enjoying the variety and new experiences, without either party ever getting hurt by it ending?

Last edited by WhatHappened; 12-06-2012 at 01:22 PM.
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  #32  
Old 12-06-2012, 01:29 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Originally Posted by Cleo View Post
I want permanence, affection and love from my friendships (although I am more and more aware that permanence isn't always guaranteed, and that living in the moment is sometimes better than wanting things to stay the same forever).
Although I may sound a little negative about poly in my previous post, I will say that my relationship with BF has also given me more balance in learning to enjoy the moment rather than always having to look ahead and working toward 'more.'
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  #33  
Old 12-06-2012, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Cleo View Post
Some women, yes. Maybe most women, but not all women.
Who decided what it is the married man has to give?
One of my boyfriends is not married, but in a committed relationship with his GF (they're planning to have a baby soon, so yeah, committed).
I've never met her, I've known him for a year, but I have not, for one minute, doubted his love for me.
Our relationship defies all the standard rules that I used to think applied to relationships. But he brings me joy, love and affection. I trust him completely, in his feelings for me, and most of all I trust him to be honest with me.

One thing I've learned over the past years is that there are no blueprints for these type of relationships. You discover things as you go, and only through open communication with everyone involved, can you avoid that people get hurt because of the lack of blueprints.
Thank you, Cleo.

From your answer it is obvious that what I want is not impossible.

I just noticed as well that you are in Europe, where I am also from originally.

A lot of the discussion on polyness seems to be centred on North America, where at least some people think that what they think is normal on this continent corresponds to some universal truth about humanity. This is extremely parochial, but it happens. I can even see it among the comments from North American poly folk, whose rebellion against the mono world is based on not much more than on suburban or rural mores of the 1950s.

In much of the world, and throughout much of history, men at least had the freedom to have more than one partner, especially if they were well off. Women were more restricted, but even this depended on place and social class. Wives may not have liked it if their husband had a mistress, and some may have asked for divorce on this account, but many accepted it as long as their husband lived up to his financial and legal responsibilities to his family. And many women had the freedom to do the same - read up on the social mores of turn-of-the-century (19th to 20th) Vienna, or the love life of the Catherine the Great.

So the question to ask is not why married people (even if not unhappy with their marriage) want another partner, but why more won't.
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  #34  
Old 12-06-2012, 03:35 PM
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There are plenty of women, especially those past child-bearing age or who have always opted to be childfree, and those in urban areas, who would be happy in relationships without angling to be The One and Only or needing to live together. Most women I know have busy lives and don't want to be anyone's chief cook and bottle washer, as the saying goes. Many women want multiple lovers themselves, so don't want a full-time primary relationship. I think this thread has bandied quite a few sexist ideas back and forth about "what women want," and how to give it to them, but there is so much diversity of desire and opinion, one cannot make such generalities. Just stop fretting and go out and meet people.
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  #35  
Old 12-06-2012, 04:07 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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Let's face it: what women want is a guy with a great body and a huge penis. He doesn't even have to be handsome. He can always do them from behind or put a paper bag with a yellow smiley face over his head.
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  #36  
Old 12-06-2012, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
Glad I wasn't too tough on you!

I understand wanting variety sexually. I understand wanting to meet new people for variety and learning and growth. What I don't understand is feeling the need for it to be an entire, sexual, romantic relationship.
Oh, I don't particularly want an entire romantic relationship. I would be quite happy with occasional playful, affectionate sex with a friend. The problem is, such things don't happen very much, not even when you are single.

As I already said elsewhere, such episodes happened with me, very occasionally. Since I analyse everything, I have analysed the circumstances under which such sexual encounters can happen: the woman likes you, trusts you, and the desire to have sex with me hits her, right there and then. I won't say no, why would I? It doesn't hurt. But it's her choice. Should I as much as touch a woman friend "inappropriately", when she doesn't feel like it, would quite possibly damage the friendship, and it could easily label me as a creep.

And no, you can't really discuss this kind of thing openly. If you start discussing it, it is becoming a relationship, with expectations.

More of this below.


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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
And my problem with the analogies in #1 and #3 (although it does help to explain the desire) is that cooking, restaurants, Brazil, and Japan, are all inanimates. They don't have feelings, needs, desires, of their own. They don't care if you come back. If your wife says, "I really don't care for Japan and it's getting too expensive to go there every year," Japan is not affected at all.
Well, no analogy is perfect.

Although it's not as off as you say. If I am invited to dinner somewhere, or go to a good restaurant, the cook will almost certainly care whether I come back. And should I treat his/her cooking with disrespect, feelings will be hurt. In high-class restaurants the cook may well come to the table after the meal, and will be delighted if you smile and say a few kind words. Not that different from what a lover would expect, wouldn't you say?

Same for travelling - if I go to Japan, the country (through its institutions and people) will wish me a happy stay, and will encourage me to return one day. If I behave like a brutish tourist (equivalent of a brutish lover), the country will treat me appropriately.


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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
Here again is where I sort of cringe: another person is a full, complete, living, breathing human being, with feelings, needs, emotions, the ability to be hurt, to have their lives completely upended and altered.

They should not be regarded as an extracurricular activity.
I understand that you cringe, but you misunderstand what I said. I always see a person when I deal with a person. If I have sex with a stranger, she is doing the same thing. If I don't much care about what happens to her tomorrow, she doesn't care about my tomorrow either, does she? That's how strangers are, whether they have sex together or not.

Once you accept that it is morally OK to have sex without a long-term, somehow formalized relationship, you can't go back and claim that you owe somebody something just because you have had sex with him or her. Of course, you owe kindness and politeness - but a decent person will give that to everyone they have dealings with, not just to sexual partners. You cringe at something I said, but I - for one - cringe when I hear things like "Will he respect me in the morning?". Well, if you were nice and affectionate, you will get a nice kiss. But respect? That depends on whether you have things I respect: knowledge, skills, honesty. Sex by itself is neutral, and (supposedly) fun for both partners. (Also, will she respect me in the morning?)

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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
I understand that you are referring to 'pursuing relationships,' not to a specific person; but to me, seeing a relationship as an extracurricular activity does put it all in terms of your enjoyment, your pursuit, your desires, your fun, and something (stress thing) you can come or go from as you please. Where is the thought to the other person's well-being in there?
This all depends, and the question applies to all sexual encounters, poly or mono, one-night or long-term.

If I go and pick up someone in a bar and spend the night with her, my concern for her well-being and desires is (or should be) the same as hers for my welfare and desires. Why make a difference? Aside from following safe sex practices (an absolute necessity), and the need to treat the other person decently (which you should do anyway, with anybody not actively hostile to you), what other concerns should I have? The enjoyment may not be as much in the end as one (or both) participants had hoped for, but then I might be an unskillful lover, or she could be, or both. Or we are simply not compatible. Having a drink or two together in a bar is hardly enough time to evaluate deeper qualities in another human being.

Now, if it's not a one-night stand, what is it? FWB? OK, I am friendly, so is she. I don't want to commit to the future, neither does she. It would be good to discuss what to do in case of unintended pregnancy, but some people are uncomfortable with that. If it happens anyway, some men will run away. Personally, I would do the "right thing", and offer support - but I understand men who would not want to do this. If you do risky things, accidents can happen. You don't want to break your leg skiing, don't ski.

What this comes down to is that if a woman wants the benefits of a relationship, she should insist on having one before sleeping, or sleeping again, with the guy. Whatever I said about my desires and extracurricular activities hinges on finding someone who would want the same thing. If it's extracurricular for me, it would be extracurricular for her as well. I don't take off my wedding ring, or lie about my wife not understanding me. What you see is what you get, basically.

If she wanted more than something extracurricular, it would come to the famous discussion of "boundaries" that poly sites talk about so much. I am quite a flexible fellow, but I have some absolutes and this is in fact why I express my doubts whether I can realistically find someone - not because I am "insecure" as onoma suggests. For example, birthdays, Christmas and New Year's Eve are sacrosanct in my family. I will not, simply not, spend these times away from my wife and children. (Well, the children may one day spend them away from us, for they may have their own families, and being together may not work out. But not yet.) If a possible partner can't deal with this, she should simply not take up with me, for these times are not negotiable.

(I don't exclude the possibility of a poly partner who simply becomes part of the family, but this is unlikely to happen. Our house is too small for one thing, and I can't afford a bigger one in Vancouver, not in my neighbourhood. But hey, she can bring some cash to the set-up, we live in egalitarian times.)

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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
I would tend to agree with you that most women want more than a married man can give them.

There's a thread going about why many women (well, people, but as we're talking about what women want, I'll go with that) are more willing to have an affair with a cheater than with a married man. And I think it's right on in saying that having an affair with a married man holds out the promise that he might leave his wife someday and give her the whole deal. After all, he's soooo miserable with her, and he's sooooo in love with me, right, so even if he says he won't leave his wife, these women have that hope. To my mind, most (not all, but most) people date with the intention of finding a life partner. A poly man who is upfront about loving his wife takes away that promise and hope.
This is a very common pattern where I lived in Europe for quite a while. A woman takes up with a married (or otherwise taken) man, he cries on her shoulder, yes, he will quit his wife later, when the children grow up, when lightning strikes, whatever. But he never does. Or he does, and marries someone else. It's a lousy way to treat people, but some men do it. I had a secretary who cried her heart out in the office, I suspect because of the chaotic relationships she was getting into.

As I said, this is not something I would ever do. I always say, loud and clear, that my wife understands me only too well. Having a close family is very important to me. Now, if someone still wants to have a roll in the hay with me, I would be delighted to oblige. I am ready to negotiate, but I have all kinds of lines in the sand, lines that I will not cross. But then so will that special someone, I am sure.

-----------

The rest of what you say reinforces my idea that what I look for is not that likely to happen, at least in North America, and not because I am too afraid of approaching women, or don't wear a leather jacket. But you never know, I am an optimist by nature.

And thank you for going to the trouble of reading what I wrote and responding to it. It clarifies my thinking.
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  #37  
Old 12-06-2012, 05:07 PM
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Let's face it: what women want is a guy with a great body and a huge penis. He doesn't even have to be handsome. He can always do them from behind or put a paper bag with a yellow smiley face over his head.
Oh yeah, that too! <**mops up the Diet Coke I snorted out my nose all over my keyboard**>

And they have to be good at handyman stuff so they can fix all my broken things because, being a woman, I use a pair of high heels as a hammer and don't know how to use a screwdriver.
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  #38  
Old 12-06-2012, 05:21 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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I use a pair of high heels as a hammer and don't know how to use a screwdriver.
I got yer screwdriver riiiiight here, baybee.

(Sorry about your keyboard; at least you'll be supporting the Chinese economy by buying a new one.)
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  #39  
Old 12-06-2012, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
There are plenty of women, especially those past child-bearing age or who have always opted to be childfree, and those in urban areas, who would be happy in relationships without angling to be The One and Only or needing to live together. Most women I know have busy lives and don't want to be anyone's chief cook and bottle washer, as the saying goes. Many women want multiple lovers themselves, so don't want a full-time primary relationship. I think this thread has bandied quite a few sexist ideas back and forth about "what women want," and how to give it to them, but there is so much diversity of desire and opinion, one cannot make such generalities. Just stop fretting and go out and meet people.
I for one am not fretting, but I do like to get into intellectual discussions of complex topics (obviously). And I assure you, I do get out and meet people.

But I don't agree that you can't make generalities. There are some basic patterns that I see in what men and women want from relationships, and there are important differences.

I propose a game, what is called in science a "thought experiment". I propose to describe a dream poly date, say an afternoon passed together. Don't worry, I won't get into pornographic details. I predict that 80% of men would say, yeah, that sounds about right. I sure would like to experience that. And I predict that 80% of women will say, no, that's not going to happen. Something is missing.

Game?
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  #40  
Old 12-06-2012, 07:08 PM
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Sure,go ahead and shoot.
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