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  #1  
Old 03-25-2015, 08:04 PM
NoraJ0813 NoraJ0813 is offline
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Post Advice for new open relationship status

Hi everyone,
My husband and I recently agreed upon an open relationship status and I'm curious on some ways some couples handle their own situations. Is it strictly about the physical aspect or do some allow regular dating outside of their marriage/relationship? I know some set rules and boundaries and my husband and I have agreed on some rules. I would just like some advice for those who are experienced in this relationship status and who still maintain strong relationships with their SO. Thanks to all!!
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Old 03-25-2015, 08:35 PM
reflections reflections is offline
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Hello and welcome!

This is a really broad question, so it may be helpful for you to throw out some specific ones and do a lot of reading here on the forum. The life blogs might help you see the wide range of relationship structures within polyamory. I'd also recommend the book More Than Two - fantastic reading on how to "do" polyamory.

In my case, my husband and I opened up our relationship with the original idea of swinging. While my other significant other (OSO), Jack, and I started as friends-with-benefits (FWB), we've developed a strong romantic relationship over the years. We're madly in love with each other! Roger and Jack are good friends, but aren't involved otherwise. In the past year, Roger has been dating his girlfriend, Taylor, as well. We are not involved and haven't spent much time together, though I'd like to get to know Taylor better and see if a friendship forms.

I am not a fan of hierarchical polyamory - meaning that I don't consider my relationship with Roger as more important than my relationship with Jack. I think there's a common misperception for newbie polys that you "have" to have a primary and secondary relationship if you're poly. But it can end up very much hurting people, particularly the "new partner" (e.g., Jack). There is absolutely no "vetoing" of partners - each relationship stands on its own, and there's no way I'd end things with Jack if Roger asked me (and same with Taylor). Just because Roger and I are married doesn't mean his needs come above Jack's - it's a tricky balance.

The way I am poly, I tend to discourage rule setting as much as possible. I believe that Roger and Jack are both independent people and don't need my permission to have relationships outside of the ones with me. I've found rule setting in the past to be indicative of deeper concerns (e.g., insecurity, jealousy) and I'd like (or would hope my partners would like) to grow in those areas instead of using rules to solidify those fears even further. That said, the four of us have agreed to let us all know if there are new partners and to use safe sex practices if so (we're all fluid bonded at this point, each of the three relationships), or one of us has the choice to use protection with the other until he/she has tested clean. We've decided at this time to not come out to Roger's, Jack's, and my families, though that may change in the future (Taylor's family loves and completely accepts Roger ). All new rules need to be approved by anyone that may be affected by the rules. I have frequent check-ins with both my partners to see how things are going. I also have requested in the past to meet my partner's partner (metamour) fairly early in their relationship (e.g., for me - before sex if this seems like a long-term relationship), but I'm more flexible now, have no veto power, and wouldn't ask this of more "casual" (for lack of a better word) relationships. I can't think of any other rules, and ones I've set in the past (e.g., Roger only spending one night at week with Taylor) have been done in service of me needing some time to grow and stretch (no longer a rule). Oh and Roger was completely able to not agree to that, and I can't imagine making that rule in the future.

Hope that gives you a little insight into ONE kind of poly relationship!
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Me (Chrissy): Late 20's, female, bi, poly, married to Roger (together for 14+ years) and dating Jack in a LDR (5+ years)
Roger: Late 20's, male, poly, married to Chrissy and dating Taylor (<1 year)
Jack: Late 20's, male, currently mono, dating Chrissy
Taylor: Late 30's, female, currently mono, dating Roger
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Old 03-25-2015, 08:55 PM
NoraJ0813 NoraJ0813 is offline
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Thank you so much for sharing your personal situation...I knew it was a pretty broad question but I guess I'm just looking for how other people handle their situations so I can take aspects from it...I'll probably be on here a lot with other questions.
You were spot on with that whole rule thing being a cover for fears and jealousy...I do tend to be a jealous person BUT that is an aspect of myself I am working on. We have discussed the 'spending the night' and 'going away for a weekend' options but I dont think I would be comfortable with that...for now. I'm not saying I'm not willing to change my position on anything. From things I've read...some couples allow other full fledged relationships while others specifically state 'no regulars' and I know it comes down to what works for each specific couple. Question for you: are you, let's say scared, that your husband might want to leave you one day if he should happen to fall in love with someone else? I really appreciate you sharing your situation with me.
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Old 03-25-2015, 09:50 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Hi NoraJ0813,

There are many kinds of open relationships. Some involve falling in love with new partners and emotional attachment, others are limited to casual sex. Polyamory is the word for the more emotionally involved type of open relationship.

People often fear that if their SO falls in love with an OSO, their SO will run off with the OSO. The truth is, it's very common for someone to be in love with two people and want to keep both of those people in their life. If that weren't true, there'd be no such thing as polyamory.

I second reflections' suggestion to read "More than Two." "Opening Up" also.
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Old 03-25-2015, 09:56 PM
reflections reflections is offline
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Glad it was helpful! I also really admire the part of you that's willing to grow - I think that takes tremendous courage and I hope your partner appreciates that part of you as well.

I think the differences you're talking about come down to swinging vs. polyamory. Some people in polyamory relationships DO swing, but oftentimes, polyamory is about loving multiple people. Roger was the one who first suggested that we try an open relationship, and the original intent was to meet new people and "spice up" our sex life. But what I discovered in myself was a stronger desire for intimacy with another person - and intimacy for me includes being in love. At the time, Roger and I didn't even know what polyamory was!! In retrospect, I wished I had done a lot more reading on it beforehand. But Roger has somehow always been incredibly supportive and happy for me and Jack (helps that they were friends for years before) and never tried to control the speed of our relationship. When I fell in love, I fell hard. I shared my feelings with Roger (before even Jack, because I was terrified that he didn't feel the same way and preferred a FWB relationship, though I turned out completely wrong) and he said he had already known for months before I had known! He was 100% supportive and knew on some deeper level that my love for Jack didn't take away, but actually enhanced the love Roger and I had. I couldn't believe I was married to someone who wanted that kind of happiness for me and wanted me to be happy. It's still incredible.

As for fears that Roger will leave me, I will be honest and say that when he started dating Taylor, it shook my world. I had been living a seemingly monogamous relationship (Roger hadn't dated or shared sex with anyone else but me and I only got to see Jack sporadically, as we're in a long distance relationship or LDR). I was a complete mess. We had some fuck ups communication wise early on and the speed of how quickly he fell in love with Taylor (after pretty much their 1st date, as they'd also been friends for a while) contributed to my fears, particularly when Roger went into dating Taylor with the intent of not falling in love (yeah, can't control that!). I don't think I was as scared that he was going to leave me but that we wouldn't get through this opening of our relationship, our communication failures, my overwhelming anxiety/jealousy/anger when it first happened. That that would be what ended us. I knew that Roger and I had a deep commitment to each other and had made it through some really challenging times together, so I had to trust that we would get through it. And we did. This is not to say that it's always rainbows and puppy dogs for us, but we've both grown tremendously as individuals and as a couple and continue to make great strides in communicating better and working on our relationship.

One thing that I can take comfort in is that polyamory means NOT having to leave one relationship for another. Trusting that Roger was polyamorous (and having firsthand experience of how my love for him grew by his complete support for my love for Jack) meant that I could trust that whether or not we made it depended solely on us. He could have other relationships without ending us. And I learned that when I'm feeling hurt by him dating Taylor, then I need to do some work to understand what is lacking in my relationship with Roger to cause me to feel that way. I absolutely don't have any fear now that he will leave me for her, regardless of how in love with her he is. Our relationship is still a work in progress, but addressing those deep fears/insecurities, for me, has made a world of difference.

Looking forward to hearing more of your questions now or in the future!
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Me (Chrissy): Late 20's, female, bi, poly, married to Roger (together for 14+ years) and dating Jack in a LDR (5+ years)
Roger: Late 20's, male, poly, married to Chrissy and dating Taylor (<1 year)
Jack: Late 20's, male, currently mono, dating Chrissy
Taylor: Late 30's, female, currently mono, dating Roger
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Old 03-25-2015, 09:58 PM
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HappilyFallenAngel HappilyFallenAngel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoraJ0813 View Post
From things I've read...some couples allow other full fledged relationships while others specifically state 'no regulars' and I know it comes down to what works for each specific couple. Question for you: are you, let's say scared, that your husband might want to leave you one day if he should happen to fall in love with someone else? I really appreciate you sharing your situation with me.
Poly is all about loving multiple people. The "no regulars" rule is found more in the swinging world, which is actually based on a monogamous love idea. The fear you describe doesn't exactly evaporate with poly, but it's not so drastic and pressing, as the whole idea of poly is to embrace love that develops. The swinging/"no attachments"/mono love style is based on the idea that love is limited and weakened if shared. The poly style is based on the idea that love is unlimited and expands when shared.
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Old 03-25-2015, 10:26 PM
NoraJ0813 NoraJ0813 is offline
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Thanks again everyone....My husband is talking to a couple women right now. We are 3 months into this open relationship and he has yet too actually...get out there. I, on the other hand, have been involved with a man for 2 months. I know his time can happen anytime now and I find myself jealous and somewhat angry because I know it really is a matter of time. I feel completely wrong for these thoughts being that I was the first to be out there and he has yet to but I can't help my feelings. He has been telling me about one of the women and I feel more jealousy towards her than any of the others. He just seems..more into her...and it bothers me. Again I feel like I have no right to feel this way but still do. I have read a great article on jealousy which had definitely helped. I feel that maybe since this is just the beginning that it's just a hump I need to get over. I just know that I won't be the happiest person when it does happen and I'm trying to prepare for coping.
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:07 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoraJ0813 View Post
From things I've read...some couples allow other full fledged relationships while others specifically state 'no regulars' and I know it comes down to what works for each specific couple.
No regulars? As in, all sexual liaisons must be one night stands? Ick!

Honey, that certainly isn't polyamory! Poly is about having multiple love relationships, not NSA sex. So, if all sex partners outside of the existing couple are strangers and never to be seen again, love surely could not develop...

and love is the point of polyamory.

That is not to say that polyamorists don't engage in casual sex or have purely recreational fuck buddies, but that part is not poly. If one is open to developing deeper feelings and having ongoing, nurturing, loving, respectful relationships with several people, even while also having some NSA fuck buddies, then that would be poly.
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An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:10 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Here's some links I have for coping with jealousy:

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

How To Contain The Green Monster
Jealousy, Envy, Insecurity, Etc.
How do you achieve compersion?

The Theory of Jealousy Management
The Practice of Jealousy Management

Jealousy and the Poly Family
Kathy Labriola: Unmasking the Green-Eyed Monster
Brené Brown: the Power of Vulnerability

Hope that helps.
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:22 PM
NoraJ0813 NoraJ0813 is offline
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Thanks I'll definitely be reading those... So even in a seasoned open relationship you guys still experience jealousy? Does it get easier to control over time? My jealousy hasn't spawned from this newfound status but has always been an old demon that I've decided I need to slay for good for my own happiness and comfort. I feel this situation will...help.
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