First, a few things about alternative relationships. People form relationships, follow the rules of monogamy, and think that things not only won’t change, they’re not supposed to change; whatever the prevailing conditions are, that’s what you have to work with which is fine, right, and proper.
But Change is an unstoppable beast – a force of nature, if you will. Humans don’t much like change – we are creatures of habit and once we adopt a habit of any kind, changing it – stopping, modifying its behavior, etc., isn’t easy to do and the way we go about relationships is a habit as well as a decree set down by some very long-dead peoples who decided that the way we were living – think of polyamorous groups/clusters that were conducive to survival – was just plain wrong and that settling down – and staying down – with just one person was gonna be the best way to do things going forward.
Even way back in those very early days, um, that shit didn’t quite work the way they said it should and, many centuries later, it still doesn’t quite work the way they said it should because the one thing I think those rule makers never really took into consideration is Change except to mandate that if Change does come to visit and certain changes were needed, your only recourse was – and still is – to reject any such changes, dissolve the relationship, and try your luck again and, hopefully, with someone who wouldn’t be swayed by Change and who was quite fearful of the consequences of having the audacity to want things to change.
Even as far back as the 1950s – and for the purposes of this scribble it’s the time I arrived kicking and screaming into the world – things like wife swapping were all the rage in suburbia although I suspect that it was always on the DL since the first couple who broke the rules looked at each other and said, “This shit ain’t working – so what are we gonna do?”
Ah, those blasphemous, hedonistic heathens! Being non-monogamous while still being officially a couple? Not playing by the rules and rules that not only applied to the legally married but to anyone in a relationship? Impossible! Never to be done! All manner of fire and brimstone will be visited upon you shameless sinners!
Yet, despite all the ruckus, alternative relationships kept right on going, maybe not as much of a “mainstream thing” but, yeah – couples in a relationship were becoming more aware of the fact that the rules we were meant to live by and at all costs just weren’t allowing a couple to be as happy with their conjoined lives as they could be.
But figuring out how to bypass the rules isn’t easy because what you want is to have your cake and eat it, too… and there were no instruction manuals on how to do this, leaving people to their own devices to bend, twist, and even break the rules and make this non-monogamous thing work.
Enter the nitroglycerin and a habit that was developed to prevent something that is anathema to us all: Losing the person we’re with. Some really smart folks, way back in the day, figured out that if you got rid of the rules, you needed new rules to take their place and since the original set of rules supposedly were able to prevent loss of this type (not counting dying, of course), well, any new rules had to be able to do this… and this is where things got iffy and, yes, I’m understating things.
An unmarried couple makes the decision to open their relationship so that a MFF threesome can happen; the guy in the relationship – and for whatever reason made sense to him – thought it would be hot as fuck for his girlfriend to have sex with another woman… but the girlfriend, eh, wasn’t really feeling that but, okay, let’s give it a try. He arranges the threesome, they all jump into bed and his girlfriend starts having sex with the other woman… and, who knew – she liked it and dove in with a gusto, leaving the boyfriend in a spectator mode. He didn’t like that, got mad because he was being summarily ignored and even madder because his girlfriend was having way too much fun than he was… and broke her jaw in three places.
A married couple decided that opening their relationship was a better option than getting a divorce but the husband, who feared losing his wife to any guy who could make love, have sex, or fuck her better than he could, stuck in rules that would allow him to control what his wife could and couldn’t do – and in this case, one rule was that she could suck all the cock she wanted to… but couldn’t partake of the other guy’s sperm in that fashion. They engaged with another couple, things were going well; the wife was happily sucking away on the other guy’s cock and he lost his load and the wife happily partook of it since, in her mind, this was what she wanted to do (among other things). Because she broke the rules, they were divorced a few months later. He contended that, for one, she had planned to break the rules and that she wasn’t paying the required amount of attention to know when the other guy was going to cum – and she should have known this and dutifully stopped sucking him; that the guy wasn’t able to hang on to his load was deemed not to be his fault. So a ten-year marriage that, up to that point, had been going very well got thrown away.
Another married couple opened their marriage and with a lot of rules designed to prevent loss of the relationship but to also control each other’s behavior, i.e., only pre-approved and supervised activities were allowed and any spontaneous activities were prohibited. That meant that if the wife or husband ran into someone who pushed all of their buttons to make sex happen right away, nothing was supposed to happen. The husband – and the one who pushed for supervised sex – wound up in such a situation and handled the matter and as it called for. The wife found out and, bluntly, tried to kill him by stabbing him in his sleep for the rules violation; he spent months in the hospital recovering and she wound up being a guest of the state for a number of years.
Yet another couple decided to do this rather than dissolve their relationship but the guy, knowing of his lady’s desire for, ah, people of color, prohibited her from exploring this avenue. Another spontaneous “shit just happened” moment found her with a man of color and when her boyfriend found out hours later, he threw her out of their home, turning his girlfriend of many years into a destitute homeless person.
Another couple went for the gusto but the woman, who argued for this change was told that she could not partake of any cock that was bigger than his and let’s say that he wasn’t as endowed as he would have liked to be. They didn’t have a rule against spontaneous interactions… so when one happened, that wasn’t the reason why their relationship went down the toilet – it was because the guy she fucked had a cock that was, reportedly, only about an inch bigger than her man’s dick.
All up and down the line, people who try on alternative relationships tend to make similar mistakes that either makes the attempt fail and/or destroys an otherwise good relationship: Trying to prevent loss and trying to control how they have sex with others. On top of such restrictive and suppressive rulemaking, the other mistake often made is trying to be monogamous in a situation where monogamy cannot work; it’s kinda hard to “keep only unto yourself” when you’re trying to do the opposite.
One couple decided they wouldn’t exactly be open but they’d have an approved boyfriend or girlfriend and while this was deemed to be a fair thing to do, both people in the relationship inserted nitroglycerin-laced rules to limit when they could have sex with their new partners, how they could do it, stuff like that. The husband felt that the rules imposed were being violated by the wife who was having sex with her new boyfriend like there was no tomorrow… but not finding any fault in himself as he was banging his new girlfriend in a similar manner. Further compounding the problem was the fact that the new girlfriend and boyfriend were having sex with each other and going for all the gusto. The alternative relationship was dissolved and the marriage was obliterated six months later with both parties pointing the finger at each other for rules violations.
A woman asked for and got permission to have a girlfriend and it was agreed that the girlfriend could be shared with the boyfriend. Things got off to a stunning start; the chemistry between the three of them was amazing until the girlfriend started to feel that she was being left out of things and unhappy that her boyfriend and their girlfriend were having more and better sex than she was. In this case, no rules were violated but more baser things were in play – jealousy, possessiveness, envy, self-loathing, etc., and as a result, the alternative relationship was terminated because things weren’t going the way she envisioned they would.
Another couple set themselves upon this path and with the non-negotiable rule that no feelings other than lust take place. After months of engaging with her male partner of choice, she found that she was in love with him and he with her and the nitro went off big time; she was guilty of a major rules violation and was sent packing… but it was discovered later that the woman he had been involved with, well, he was in love with her but neglected to mention this. Their relationship went to shit because of these violations and eventually went down the drain.
Another couple set off the nitro they put in their alternative relationship because they both spent more time being with others than they did taking care of business at home. The problem here wasn’t exactly a rules violation but something that happened because a rule wasn’t put in place, namely, take care of home first. Since they didn’t have this rule, the relationship didn’t survive the resulting explosion when the nitro went boom.
In all of these real-life examples, copious amounts of nitroglycerin were added to the relationship mix and shook up in a way that would guarantee that the whole thing was going to blow up in everyone’s face because of micromanaging something that really shouldn’t be micromanaged.
There should be rules; to operate under these conditions without rules is just plain crazy. But rules should be put in place with some things that are, in my opinion, very damned important, beginning with if a rule is made, it can be changed if necessary or, everything is negotiable. Likewise, people change; playing by the established rules is all well and good but doesn’t take into account of how the power of sex can effect changes – and many act as if this should never happen. People put in loss-prevention rules that, on paper, make sense – the core relationship should be preserved at all times – but without considering that, well, shit happens and when you don’t want it to. A couple can promised to do this and not let this break them up – and while you can do your best to control what your partner can or can’t do in this, you can’t control their feeling or their thoughts.
A lot of these endeavors go awry, not because of rules violations, but due to a failure to communicate; they set things in motion after a lot of talking about things… and nothing more is said unless a rules violation is detected and then it’s all about how the violator is to be punished and then more restrictions are added – right along with even more nitro and other stuff that likes to go boom when you mess with it too much.
No one seems to take into consideration that Change wants to happen even when it’s deemed not to be in a couple’s best interest – then they find that if Change isn’t allowed to happen, well, boom goes the nitro. If you set down a very rigid set of rules to prevent loss and to control everyone’s actions, you’ve also set down enough nitroglycerin to, let’s say, blow up a good-sized city. Yes, you want nature to run its course in this but you also want everyone involved to be aware of the consequences of their actions and how those actions can and will impact the alternative relationship just as much as the core relationship can get jiggled enough to cause an explosion.
The trick – and one that most people who try to do this never learn – is to put the minimum amount of rules in place like take care of home first, don’t bring anything home that you’re not of a mind to be responsible for and, I think, a very important rule, talk about whatever has been taking place and making adjustments as necessary to ensure that the core and alternative relationships can continue to operate as smoothly as possible.
Some couples agree to do this thing but put in a rule that says whatever you’re doing – or whomever – they don’t want to know anything about it. In this, the “whole purpose” of the alternative relationship is set aside, that being, sharing the experience with each other. Now we get into the most fatal and nitro-jiggling thing: Thinking “me” and not “us.” Many folks get on this path thinking about what they want and being of a mind that because it’s what they want, their partner – who they expect to agree with this – has no involvement at all… and the endeavor fails due to a lack of communication and zero experience sharing so that any changes that might be called for never happen – and changes that could keep things running smoothly.
What many find out is that instituting an alternative relationship is a lot harder than a regular relationship. When you go +1 (or more) the whole relationship dynamic changes and there must be attention paid to a few very key elements: Communication, time management, problem and conflict resolution. I maintain that if you do not possess any of these skills – and they are all needed – you will set off the nitro and this will blow up in your face and catastrophically so. These things are not static… any more than being exclusively monogamous is as static as it they say it’s supposed to be. Why? Because people aren’t static – they’re dynamic or they are always subject to Change showing up and nudging them in different directions and the simplest example of this is how many times in any given day you change your mind about something or how your feelings are flowing from one moment to the next.
The thing here is that we go through these changes… and we don’t always notice them but delving into an alternative relationship will sure as hell make you aware of changes… if you’re smart and observant enough to pay attention… and you should be. Where there are some rules that shouldn’t be broken, any other rules should allow a lot of wiggle room or if you don’t allow for someone to screw up, boom! Rules should be adjusted as needed; if the woman in this needs to have the “don’t cum in her mouth” rule revised, she should be able to sit down with her partner and talk about changing this, the pros and cons and, importantly, how changing this rule is going to impact the core relationship as well as how it’s gonna make her feel.
If scheduled and supervised activities is making things difficult, it’s time to sit down and talk about revising this particular rule. Someone feeling left out? Not getting “their fair share” of things? Sit down, put it on the table, and work the issue until a solution is reached that everyone can live with – and with the understanding that such a solution might need more work at some point.
If a couple isn’t diligent and dedicated to making this work – and willing to put in the huge amount of work that’s necessary, you’re gonna set off all that nitroglycerin you’ve added to the mix… and when it goes boom, it ain’t gonna be pretty. And then there’s this: Most of the shit that will make the nitro go off can be avoided but, as I always say, to not set it off, you have to unlearn everything you thought you knew about love, sex, and relationships so that you can learn a new way to do these things.
Those who fail to learn get blown the fuck up. If you try to control or micromange things, like retaining the “right” to choose your partner’s partner, this will blow up in your face and, indeed, anything you put in place that will serve to be restrictive and designed to not let someone be the way they need to be in this, boom.
If you try as hard as you can to prevent loss, you’re gonna experience and suffer it and I can almost guarantee that this will blow up in your face. Yes, you have a duty to preserve the core relationship but when you do the “logical” thing and construct very restrictive and inhibiting rules to ensure that the core relationship will remain intact, you’re gonna set the nitro off pretty quick when those rules lack flexibility and you take away someone’s ability to adapt to situations.
And, really, if you aren’t aware of just how powerful sex is, whew, I hope you have a blast-proof suit on… because you’re gonna need it.
So, Jennifer: How did I do? It is to note that I didn’t include things like Jennifer’s DD stuff; that’s a very different kettle of fish and, well, you should go read her blog to see how she and her cadre manage this kind of relationship – it’s impressive as fuck and I’m not easily impressed. The thing is that Jennifer and all those involved found a way to manage their +1 (or more) relationship without setting the nitro off and utterly destroying things. They found the right mix of things to make it work; they communicate, manage things without micromanaging them and when change is called for, they get together and work it out so that things keep working as smoothly as humanly possible.
It’s a lot of work and something I know for a fact; it makes being in a one-on-one relationship look like child’s play and ridiculously easy by comparison. But it can be done… if you’re willing to put in the work that will be necessary to make sure the nitroglycerin never goes boom.