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To Be or Not to Be… Poly

16 Jul

A long time ago now, I wrote a blog about relationships states, with being single on the ‘low’ end of the scale and being poly at the zenith, this being the ultimate form of having a relationship.

It’s miserably hot and my mind is wandering even as I try to stay cool and hydrated… and my mind got stuck on this one and, really, more about the mistakes in being poly than the good things relating in this fashion can bring to the table.  Once you get past the hurdle of finding others who are willing to forego monogamy for that rare chance to have their cake and eat it, too, my mind reasoned that the biggest problem after getting started is management and more so than being in a monogamous relationship.

No relationship is really self-sustaining; you don’t start one and then it just goes and takes care of itself – we learn, and often, the hard way, that relationships take constant work and attention:  They have to be managed.  If you think managing a monogamous relationship takes a lot of work – and they do – then the poly relationship will severely test your ability to manage things as well as your ability to either multi-task or compartmentalize.

In a word, it sounds and looks good on paper… but the reality can be the mother of all motherfuckers.  I’ve learned that management can be a problem when you’re trying to do your poly thing while holding on to monogamy’s rules; they are not any easy thing to get rid of and understandably so because you’re still pretty much having one-on-one relationships… just with more than one person… and we tend to deal with one-on-one relationships in the same manner we deal with marriage and being monogamous.

Doesn’t sound all that inviting, does it?

There are a few polyamorous bloggers I follow – and I point out that they are women – and you can read their blogs and see both the joys of being poly as well as the migraine-inducing headaches and mostly because management of multiple ongoing relationships is a bitch – I cannot think of a word that would accurately describe it with any more emphasis.

You’re either getting or giving too much attention or not enough; depending on how your poly relationship is formed, even having sex – which one would think is pure joy all by itself – can be problematic; again, you’re either getting too much or it’s not enough.

Management isn’t all about ‘scheduling’ or parceling out your time and energies so that each of your poly partners gets to spend time alone with you; it’s also about managing personalities; it’s about being intimate with each person in ways that have nothing to do with sex.  You all might have that shared goal of making the poly relationship work but it’s not entirely about what you’re doing or how you’re doing it – the shape of the relationship – as much as it is about the individuals that comprise said relationship… and that makes things both very different and a near nightmare to manage.

It can be done, though – let’s not lose sight of that.  But if people have tried to be poly and have failed, well, I’m the guy telling you where the failure points are.  You really do have to be an exceptional person to manage the complexities of a poly relationship; you also need equally exceptional people to not only be in such a relationship but to do their part in the management side of things.

Some have asked me what the most difficult thing about being poly is and my answer has pretty much always been trying to keep everything straight in my head – management.  As I mentioned, a ‘normal’ relationship just doesn’t run on its own – it’s not self-sustaining – and each person in the relationship must do their part to push things in the agreed-upon direction.  It’s not easy, as a lot of us have found out… but then add another person… then another… then two more and now you see how incredibly difficult managing not only the people but the relationship as a whole can be.

I’d have to say that if you’re doing things right, what others may see is you having a weird kind of relationship – and you’re making it look easy, which is so unbelievable that you’ll get asked just how in the hell you can be doing such a thing – and you get asked that a lot.  I know that when people asked this of me, I’d smile, kinda shake my head, and tell them that it’s not as easy as it might look.

Think of icebergs, if it helps; it’s not what you see that’s the problem/danger – it’s the part of the berg that you can’t see.  You know it’s there… but you have no idea of how much is really hidden.  Think of a punch in boxing:  The one you see might hurt you if you can’t dodge it – but it’s the punch you don’t see that’ll knock you the fuck out.

Trust me, you don’t handle the management in a good way, you will get knocked the fuck out.  Of course, it all depends on what poly ‘style’ you have adopted or have put in place, the more common varieties are open – anyone can add folks to the mix – or closed – it’s just us and additional entrances are debatable or out of the question.  I cannot honestly say which poly state is the easier to deal with; to me, they have their inherent issues where management is concerned.

In a lot of ways, being poly does and can mean “the more, the merrier” – and not really because at some point, you’re gonna find out just how much work maintaining such a relationship can be – it can make being married look easy but just like being married, you have to make it work because just like any other relationship, it’s only going to be as good as everyone can make it.

 

 
9 Comments

Posted by on 16 July 2013 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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9 responses to “To Be or Not to Be… Poly

  1. harukifan

    17 July 2013 at 02:10

    Hi kdaddy23, you make some really good points, as always. I was thinking about this – my wife isn’t “open” to having a fully “open” marriage at this time, so we aren’t likely to be able to be poly anytime soon, but I was thinking recently, “You know, even if I ‘got what I wished for’ it might be more trouble than it’s worth.” I have often fantasized about the exciting, fun aspects of being poly, but have tended to downplay the possible downsides – drama, disappointment, multiple women being pissed off at me at the same time for reasons I might not understand until it’s too late, etc. Ugh. Are there any herbal supplements I could take that reduce one’s sex drive?

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    • kdaddy23

      17 July 2013 at 03:11

      No such supplements that I’m aware of. There are some good things about being poly – it’s rather liberating in ways that are hard to explain… but it doesn’t come without some headaches. It’s about being open… kinda; that depends on whether or not your poly relationship is open or closed. Then again, how your wife feels about this also depends on how you explained things to her…

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  2. redwinenroses

    2 August 2013 at 11:12

    I think a lot of the downside comes from having the wrong people involved. I think most people go into it thinking it will be a piece of cake, thinking it will be some huge sexual playground, not realizing that it’s going to take so much work, not realizing that it’s not all about sex, and not realizing that it will never work if they are self-centered about it all–just like in a monogamous relationship.

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    • kdaddy23

      2 August 2013 at 12:23

      The people I know who have tried and fail did so because of a lot of reasons, one of which was treating their ‘new’ relationships as if they were monogamous… and you just can’t do that. While I would offer up the opinion that monogamy, by itself, can lend its ability to stabilize a relationship – and stability is good – for anything else poly, it just won’t work and, yeah, it takes a lot more work to manage a poly relationship than a monogamous one.

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  3. redwinenroses

    9 August 2013 at 11:34

    That would be my thought on it as well, much more work. Most people are barely cut out to do the work required to maintain a monogamous relationship let alone a poly one.I once had 38 people living in my home, sort of like a hippie commune only we were not all sexually involved. It worked out very well amongst the adults. No one argued or had issues with each other. Some of the kids battled but what kids don’t? I do think that it requires all involved to be able to set their own needs and desires aside at times. That is why I said self-centered won’t work.

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    • kdaddy23

      9 August 2013 at 12:24

      No, being self-centered never works in this; you have to learn to think about “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few… or the one.” Yeah, a powerful movie quote but one that, in being poly, makes damned good sense. And, sure enough, if you’re incapable of dealing with a monogamous relationship, the likelihood of you being able to deal with a poly relationship is pretty slim.

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    • kdaddy23

      9 August 2013 at 12:24

      No, being self-centered never works in this; you have to learn to think about “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few… or the one.” Yeah, a powerful movie quote but one that, in being poly, makes damned good sense. And, sure enough, if you’re incapable of dealing with a monogamous relationship, the likelihood of you being able to deal with a poly relationship is pretty slim.

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  4. redwinenroses

    10 August 2013 at 10:58

    I would have to agree the chances are slim. I have heard people talk and some would say it’s easier and better chances because they do not have to concentrate on pleasing ‘the one’. I do not know that I agree with that because the dynamics of such a relationship dictate that all have to have happiness and attention and all have to give as good as they get in order for it to work.

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    • kdaddy23

      10 August 2013 at 12:14

      I don’t agree with that sentiment either; you do have to concentrate on pleasing the one… and all the other ones that may be involved in the relationship, something that I know isn’t an easy thing to do. I think that anyone who says that – or believes that – thinks in terms of having a regular relationship and that with multiple participants, everything can be done one-on-one… and that’s a mistake, in my opinion; you have to learn how to pay attention to everyone at about the same time and, importantly, for different things; you can’t even count on having sex one-on-one and this aspect of the relationship can be rather daunting as well.

      And then one has to be able to do this each and every day that the poly relationship exists and, like monogamous relationships, you’re going to fall short, make mistakes, stuff like that; it’s not that these things happen – it’s how you deal with them when they do that makes all the difference. With one person to deal with, that’s kinda easy as compared to having to do this with several people in the mix. And, you’re not going to have any kind of a poly relationship and think you won’t have to deal with shit when it goes wrong.

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