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Summing it Up

I spent most of my day yesterday watching the NFL playoffs and thinking about how to sum up this multiple partner relationship thing and with focus on why more than how… and this is what I came up with.

Back in the 60s and 70s, hippies were the subject of a lot of social derision because they tended to form communes that allowed them to live and, yes, love together while working toward a common goal. I mean, who does that when everyone knows that things shouldn’t be done like that?

History shows that not only did the commune hippies get it right but it was the way humans lived and interacted with each other before the advent of monogamy because it allowed a whole lot of things to get done that two people, alone, couldn’t accomplish easily or at all.

Those hippies caught all kinds of hell about what they were doing and not much attention was being paid to why there were doing what they were doing and, simply, the more people you have working toward a common goal, the easier things tend to be for one and all and, sure, that just wasn’t limited to day to day things needed to be done for survival but the hippies “remembered” that when you can have multiple sources of sex, intimacy, and even love, well, does it really get any better than that?

And, okay – some, ah, pharmaceutical intervention did seem to make all of that a lot more fun to do and be a part of but unlike society back in the day, I’m not focusing on this aspect so much as I thought about why communes worked for those fun-loving hippies.

Anyone who’s been in any kind of relationship knows that, at some point, the newness of the relationship eventually wears off and everything gets to be rather routine and downright “boring” and to the point where a couple begins to realize this and, when they do, the question comes up of how they can spice things up and get them back to the days when their relationship was new, fresh, and damned exciting.

The problem people have when it comes to answering this question is trying to figure out something they can do that doesn’t violate the rules under which the relationship is “supposed to” operate under. Now, this isn’t to say or suggest that imaginative couples can’t find ways to spice it up without breaking the rules or that once they find a way to add spice, they can’t maintain it… but a lot of couples do discover that whatever way they came up with is, at best, a temporary method; somewhere down the road, they find themselves right back where they started from and again asking what can be done to liven things up in the relationship…

But still with the intent on not breaking any rules. Most attempts to do this are eventually abandoned because it doesn’t take being a Mensa-level genius to figure out that in some of the things that might be needed to breathe new life into the relationship, uh, um, you need some outside assistance and of the type that the rules don’t allow but would make the day to day things involved in living a lot easier and, yes, that also means being able to have new and different ways to have sex (and you’ll notice I didn’t use the word “better” here and I deliberately didn’t use that word).

As discussed, how a couple goes about this can be as varied and complex just as what’s to be done can be. When this fails, it’s usually because folks are paying more attention to what’s going on than they are keeping firmly in their minds why they’re doing it.

Logically and intelligently, why this should be (at the least) attempted isn’t that difficult to figure out… but it’s that emotion-laden resistance that makes this seem impossible and driving the bus is that belief that it shouldn’t ever be done. This belief is so deeply entrenched in our minds that when we hear of other cultures who go about their lives and with the mindset that it doesn’t make a damned bit of difference who does what as long as it gets done, we think of them as being uncivilized heathens for living and loving “commune style” and not paying much attention to the fact that what they’re doing is actually working for them.

We don’t see this or pay attention to it because we don’t believe that it should be done so since we tend to believe this, how can it work? Well, it works because it has to and the people involved are dedicated and committed to making it work because their continued survival does depend on it working and as best as humanly possible.

I’ve heard so many people express their opinions about this and quite negatively and, in the beginning, it used to piss me off… until I asked myself why it was making me angry. What I discovered was that the source of my anger was those detractors going on and on about what we were doing… and not paying one bit of attention to why we were doing it – and it didn’t matter that when I found myself having to explain things, I was talking about why more than what.

They just weren’t hearing the why of it; there was nothing I could do about that so it didn’t make any sense for me to be pissed off about something that someone else was, bluntly, incapable of understanding. I spent an equal amount of time listening to people prattle on about why such a thing didn’t make sense to them and that they wouldn’t do some shit like that… and it wasn’t so much that they were doing this that I paid attention to than it was listening to what they were saying and why they were and believe me, it taught me some seriously important shit about being non-monogamous as well as pointing out the source of this ever-present mindfucking that we’ve all been subjected to.

So, once again, instead of being and/or feeling pissed off, I’d often find myself laughing over such things and because I/we understood something that we’ve seemed to have forgotten, namely, it takes a village to do a lot of things for the benefit of the whole. For instance, when I was growing up, you seriously tried to stay out of trouble because if you did, you didn’t just have your parents to deal with – you had to deal with every adult/parent in your neighborhood and if they had to kick your ass right then and there, it got kicked, you got taken home, ratted out to your parents, who would then not only thank the other adult/parent for their intervention but would turn around and kick your ass again because, you know, you just can’t get your ass kicked enough to get you to understand that you shouldn’t be doing things to keep getting your ass kicked.

You try this today and you’ll probably wind up in court, huh? And I’d guess that as you read this, you’re focusing on what more than the why of it, aren’t you? Why? Because, at least back then, it was very well known that parents could only do so much in this regard because they had to work or whatever so keeping an eye on the kids wasn’t always possible… but if the adults in the neighborhood banded together to keep an eye on all of the kids, well, that worked… and much to the detriment of the kid who got caught doing something they shouldn’t have been doing and even if that meant getting ratted out for doing it and letting the parents handle the punishment.

We’ve gotten away from this “village mentality.” We’ve also gotten away from the reason why communes actually make a lot of sense and, yep, we have most certainly gotten away from being able to enjoy and/or otherwise appreciate the diversity when it comes to having sex, being intimate, loving and being loved. As mentioned, the moment we get married or into a relationship, we are binding ourselves to the ideal that the two of us is all we’ll ever need when it comes to handling all of the shit life is gonna throw at us.

And then we find out that, nope, that’s not what’s really happening and it is one of the things that makes being in a relationship so difficult; we find, discover, realize that that even at our very best, we’re just not enough to face life’s challenges and, yeah, even for each other. We get to this point in the relationship and we choose to either keep struggling to pull off the impossible or we just give up, end it all, then either start all over again (and knowing that you’re gonna eventually wind up in the exact same place again) or resolving to never get into a relationship ever again.

And many people do ask themselves, “What if it didn’t have to be like this? What if there was a way to make the impossible possible? What if you could have your cake and eat it, too, while even sharing the cake?” The question usually can’t be answered because the mere thought of this can make one’s brain just lock the fuck up and for two reasons other than this is some complicated shit to think about: We’re not suppose to do shit like this… and we don’t know how to do it. Then it gets even more difficult when one person figures this out, sees that it can be done, sees the sense in doing it and even has a general idea how to get it done… and now you have to convince the other person in the relationship that there’s an answer to what we’ve been going through but in order to take care of that, um, we’ve gotta break some rules… and quite a few of them.

Otherwise, things between us are going to remain unchanged and stagnant and our relationship is going to die… and do we really want it to die an early death? Logically and intelligently, this doesn’t make any sense – and even you folks who are totally against such a solution are aware of this but ask yourself exactly why you’d be against such a solution…

And perhaps you’ll better understand what I’m talking about. People don’t think they can do this because they don’t believe that they can… and because they were taught, just like everyone else, that it shouldn’t be done for any reason.

We dissed the hippies back in the day for living and loving like this; we turn our noses up at the many existing cultures that live and love like this because, in our “more civilized” minds, this ain’t the way to do anything. There’s a new TV show coming on that revives and earlier show – “Sister Wives” – and if you’ve seen the promos, I’m sure there are a lot of people already forming their arguments against such an immoral thing to do… thinking more about what’s going on than why it’s going on.

And not really thinking about the fact that there’s only so much two people can do for and with each other as well as for the reason why you’re together in the first place. We’re quite arrogant when we think or say that just because we wouldn’t do such a heinous and greedy thing, no one should do it – there’s no reason for it.

And if this is what you think, I’m the guy with the utter gall to tell you that you’re wrong… because there are reasons for it and I have the temerity to tell you that you know what those reasons are because chances are good that your relationship ain’t exactly going as smoothly and as care-free as you think it should… or you’re no longer in a relationship at all because the two of you couldn’t figure out how to make it work and keep it alive… and not because of what couldn’t be done but because of what, in your mind, you weren’t going to do for your happiness or anyone else’s for that matter.

One of the questions I had to answer a lot is, “What if shit goes wrong?” My answer? “If it’s gonna go wrong, it’s gonna go wrong; it’s not that it goes wrong but what you do when it does.” And if you have enough people working together to handle whatever went wrong, the better the chances it won’t be wrong for much longer and more so when everyone involved is dedicated and committed to limiting the things that can go wrong and, again, to the best of their ability to do so.

It’s not perfect and, importantly, nothing lasts forever. Nothing. We all have bought into the “happily ever after” fairy tale only to discover that it’s a fairy tale – it’s unrealistic and we continue to believe that there’s nothing we can do about it to recapture the magic and wonder of those opening days of a relationship. When we hear of or see people who aren’t buying into this by doing the “unthinkable,” well, that shit is crazy, ain’t it? But don’t we also notice that the things that tend to plague us in trying to maintain a good relationship isn’t that big of a problem for those folks who have, for whatever reason why they’ve chosen to do this, seem to be doing quite well in such an impossible endeavor… while the rest of us are still wondering what we can do to make a whole lot of things better for ourselves and each other?

And especially those folks who are all alone right now and not in the loving relationship they wanna be in. Not in a relationship due to infidelity issues? Unable to get your heads together and come up with effective ways to solve those day to day issues that tends to fuck shit up? Sitting back and brooding about why things have stopped being as good and as exciting as they once were or even asking, “Is this all there is? Is there no more?”

And perhaps also understanding things have gotten to be so stagnant and stuck in place because they weren’t willing to do whatever was necessary to insure that the relationship can continue albeit in a very different way and direction.

We hold true that love is unconditional – and it is – but people? Not so much. We will tell someone that we love that we love them and that we’d do anything for them… and, looking at this a certain way, it’s a lie because we can easily think of a gazillion things we’re not gonna do for someone that we love, up to and including believing that the greatest act of loving someone is to let them go.

And we’ll let them go because, for the most part, there’s not a whole lot we can do for them beyond what we’re able to do as an individual. I’m still the guy who’ll ask you what, on the surface, is a simple question:

What if you had help with it? What if you could get some help? What if there was a way to banish the specter of infidelity? What if you could get help to make those ends do a better job of meeting? What if the two of you didn’t have to struggle with making the impossible possible?

What would it be worth to you, hmm? Sadly, many of us will answer this question along the lines of, “It’s not worth it…” and followed by all of the things that justifies this conclusion.

But what if you’re wrong about that?

 
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Posted by on 14 January 2019 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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A Mental Juggling Act

As the title suggests, I find myself doing this because I know there’s a link between bisexuality and being non-monogamous because one can beget the other or it might be clearer to say that some folks become non-monogamous because of bisexuality… and some folks can “wind up” being bisexual because of being non-monogamous.

I know that last thing might have some folks saying, “No fucking way that would happen!” and while you might believe that, perhaps you can find a way to believe me when I tell you that it does happen? Not only have I heard about it happening, I’ve seen it happen. So let me get into this before my mental juggling act turns into me dropping the stuff I’m trying to juggle.

One of the banes and heartaches for a bisexual is being in a relationship because the rules of monogamy prohibit any “outside interference” in said relationship. It often sets the stage for situations where either someone winds up being sexually repressed or they find themselves begging forgiveness and not so much thinking about asking permission since, uh, getting permission ain’t the easiest thing in the world to get and more so when we tend to be more concerned about sticking to the rules than we are concerned about any negative effects someone is surely suffering because they cannot act on their desires which, of course, causes the two issues previously mentioned and lends itself to what can be a vicious cycle of behavior.

And you thought just being bisexual was bad?

We see, once more, that situation where allowing a measure of non-monogamy logically makes sense but a partner’s reaction to this is anything but logical and tends to be more of a thing where, let’s call them “the unaffected partner” isn’t so much worried about the state of the relationship as they are very, very concerned about having their own sensibilities “offended” or any conversations about this isn’t about the bisexual in the mix – it’s about them and whether they’ve played a role in their partner’s bisexuality or not.

I know I’ve heard, “What about me?” and other variations of this a lot in my life and since one can be fairly certain that if they even mentioned having bisexual thoughts – and not of a mind to be doing anything – this kind of conversation will ensue… and it won’t be pretty… and the bisexual’s thoughts and feelings are going to be kicked to the curb and deemed to be of no consequence to the unaffected partner.

Which is why a lot of bisexuals just keep their mouth shut about thinking or feeling bisexual.

On the other side of this juggling act are the folks who have decided that being non-monogamous is a good thing for them to do, opening the doors and breaking down the barriers that, up until this momentous decision, has been keeping them from experiencing love, sex, and relationships in a different and more fulfilling way for everyone concerned. Since there are many possible ways to go about this and in different configurations, well, let’s say that some folks might not consider or give much thought to feelings of bisexuality entering into the mix and, on the one hand, that’s almost to be expected since talking and planning this is a very involved, complex, and complicated thing to do.

When in the “planning phase” of this, sure, maybe a couple playing the “what if” game might mention the possibility of a same-sex attraction happening – maybe. If it is mentioned, it’s possible it’s tagged and filed under, “Yeah it’s possible but not likely to happen so let’s not worry about that.” Which is exactly how some couples wind up getting blindsided when it does happen and they get so blindsided because no one gave any serious thought of what can happen when they get involved with another couple and lots of sex and other forms of intimacy are at work.

Nor do they ever account for shit happening or things happening “in the heat of the moment.” Because couples who are engaged with another couple have a tendency to not really talk about everything that’s on their mind about the state of the non-monogamous relationship, if thoughts and feelings of bisexuality are creeping in, eh, chances are good that no one will be told of them; it’s awkward, potentially embarrassing and, more often than not, contrary to the rules under which have been put in place.

It still remains true, however, that just because you don’t think it can happen doesn’t mean that it can’t happen and I’ll use what I’ll call a “simple” example of this: I never thought that I’d live long enough to see a Black man become President of the United States… and I wasn’t the only person to have this thought.

Guess what happened?

Ah… I know what you’re probably thinking. You’re thinking that there’s no chance in hell that when you’re destroying a bedroom with your favorite partners that such a thing could ever happen and that no one involved could ever lose control of themselves in such a way. And I’m here today to tell you that if that’s what you think, you’re wrong. You might not want it to happen but the thing here is you can never know what’s going on in someone’s mind when they’re caught in the throes of having sex, any more than you have any real control over what your sex-addled brain might decide would be an interesting thing to do… and, sometimes, you don’t know that this decision was made until you find yourself sucking a dick or eating a pussy… and while wondering what the fuck made you decide to do this because, you’re not like that at all… yet you find yourself doing something that you didn’t even know you knew how to do.

You may, at this point, be thinking, “Yeah… I could see that possibly happening… but, nah, I couldn’t see myself getting all caught up in something like that. Shit, KDaddy, I don’t even think like that!”

Most people don’t… but who said you had to actually be thinking, hmm? People tend to go about having sex in a “go with the flow of things” way while being mindful of not crossing any known boundaries their sexual partner may have. We think about what we like to do (or have done) and what we don’t like to do (or have done) to us… but not so much about what could happen if things happened to align at the right time and moment. There’s a reason why sex makes a lot of people… uncomfortable and leery and why they keep that list of things they’re not gonna do during sex firmly in their minds because sex has the power to totally and completely unlock things inside of us that, when we’re not having sex, um, we’d rather not have unlocked.

Sex makes us all vulnerable and it’s always something we’d rather avoid if at all possible. And while we can consciously avoid things that might make us more vulnerable than we want to be, there’s an aspect of everyone that you have zero control over.

Your sub-conscious and the thing that, literally, can make us be of two minds about stuff. Do you wanna guess what part of you is driving the bus when you’re having sex? Indeed, a lot of people will tell you that they’re not thinking about anything when they’re having sex; what they really mean is that they’re not consciously thinking about anything… and pretty much unaware of what that “little voice inside their head” is thinking about and, oh, yeah, strongly suggesting that you do.

I’m telling you – I’ve seen this at work up close and personal and the person who just discovered that some same-sex interaction just happened – and was allowed – is often the most surprised and baffled person on the planet because, consciously, they’d never want to have such a thing happen… but their sub-conscious said otherwise and the fucked up part is that once conscious thought returns, the sub-conscious goes back to hiding out in the back of their mind and, probably, laughing its metaphorical ass off because they just did or allowed something to happen that the conscious mind would vehemently object to.

I’ve seen it happen and I’ve been quite amused to hear them say, “What the fuck just happened?” Well, on the one hand, you’d think they’d know what just happened – what they don’t know is why it did… and it’s not like their sub-conscious is gonna raise it’s hand and say, “Um, that’s my fault!”

What’s that you’re saying? You still don’t believe that a dyed-in-the-wool straight person would never do something like that? Okay… don’t believe me – you don’t have to but should such a thing happen, don’t say I didn’t tell you that it could.

Now, it’s not anything to be worried about. It doesn’t mean that you’re suddenly gay; if anything, all it means is that if you can get your head around it, you have stumbled upon yet another way to have a pretty good orgasm. Some people do manage to get their head around it and some just can’t – they’re still shocked that such a thing happened to begin with. For those who do manage to accept it, it’s not usual for them to say, “Well, uh, yeah, that happened and, er, um, it wasn’t bad – but it’s not something I’d do all of the time.”

Of course it isn’t… still doesn’t mean that the next time you have a chance to do it your sub-conscious will make you act despite you not wanting to do it as a matter of course because, um, your body – and your sub-conscious – thinks it’s really damned exciting while your conscious mind, well, it ain’t feeling it and it’s not very happy about being betrayed and having it’s orders countermanded. It doesn’t mean that the next time you and your partner are getting ready to throw down with your favorite couple that you’re going to approach this sex session with the clear intent and purpose to do some same-sex stuff again.

Just don’t be all that surprised if it does happen and even if it doesn’t, don’t be surprised that whether your aware of it or not, it will cross your mind.

I’ve seen this very thing happen in every phase of being open and poly and I gotta say that for those who this has happened to, oh, my, their reaction is beyond precious. I cannot begin to tell you how important it is for everyone involved to have a very serious conversation about this and not just chalk it up to shit happening or some unexpected case of being in the heat of the moment and ignoring it. Not only does the conversation have to be serious, it has to be open and honest and by that, when asked if you enjoyed whatever happened, do not, for any reason, say, “Yeah, but…” You can say you didn’t expect it, didn’t anticipate it and you can even say that at this moment, you’re not really sure if you enjoyed it as much as you seemed to have in that precise moment.

It does take some folks a bit of time to properly process this. Saying, “Yeah, but…” can send the wrong message like if “Sally” and “Rick” were throwing it down with “Gail” and “Tony” and Gail, out of the clear blue sky, suddenly and unexpectedly went down on Sally and ate the living daylight out Sally’s coochie – and Sally did nothing other than having some unexpected orgasms from an unexpected source.

In this scenario (and it is a valid one), for Sally to say that she enjoyed it – but that’s not what she wanted or expected to experience could send a message to Gail that Sally, in fact, didn’t not enjoy what she did nor was it appreciated albeit after the fact because Sally might not be of a mind to really admit that, holy shit, who knew that a woman eating her pussy could feel so damned good and despite thoughts to the contrary?

I’m not saying that it will happen; I’m forever the guy who’ll tell you that it could happen and that if it does, eh, don’t get too bent out of shape about it because one of the reasons you’re in a non-monogamous situation to begin with is to experience new and different sexual experiences… and this is one of those new and difference experiences.

The potential for this exists and when talking and planning your course on the path of non-monogamy, it should be considered and not just dismissed out of hand. When interviewing the couple you’re sure you’re gonna be spending a lot of time with – both sexually and non-sexually – there should be a conversation about it and along the lines of not acting like somebody just tried to kill you but to acknowledge that while we can agree that it’s unlikely to happen – and read this as no one is planning on it happening – it could happen and here’s how we should behave if it does and, ideally, no one gets bent out of shape about it.

That way, if it should go down like that, no one is really gonna be “unpleasantly” surprised by it.

For those who are contemplating non-monogamy because there’s a bisexual already in the mix, the real problem – outside of the unaffected partner’s sensibilities about such things – is getting the point across that your bisexual partner’s desires have no bearing on their feelings and other things for the unaffected partner. This is really about them and what they need to be the person they feel they need to be. Ya still might be thinking about how all of this is gonna impact you as the unaffected partner and I’ll tell you how it’s gonna affect you.

You reject their request to be non-monogamous for this and they will unconsciously not like you very much; their mood will most certainly be affected and you’ll see them being disinterested, distracted, more in a foul mood than you can ever recall them being in and, to you, there seems to be no reason for them to be so pissy and to the point where the harmony of the relationship is suffering. If you’re sensing that you’re not as close as you were before this conversation happened, well, now you know why.

The mistake that the unaffected partner makes is making this about themselves – what they think, how they feel, what they believe in and don’t believe in and what they think their partner should never, ever, be doing, let along thinking about. They’re not all that concerned about what the bisexual partner has been dealing with and, frankly – and in most cases – the unaffected partner just doesn’t give a fuck about their bisexual partner’s feelings.

And then they find themselves seeing the results of their decision on this as it begins to affect and impact the relationship… and now they’re sitting back and wondering why they’re seeing what they’re seeing and, you’re damned right, why your bisexual partner just might be cheating on you… and they’re cheating because you’ve given them no other choice in the matter.

What’s that you say? That bisexual motherfucker should be honorable and moral enough to not do some shit like that? They should be more concerned about you than they are themselves, the selfish, uncaring bastard/bitch? Is ya thinking that you wouldn’t do some shit like that and because you wouldn’t do it – or even think about it – that means your partner shouldn’t either?

Now, I’m not saying that anyone in this situation should allow non-monogamy to enter the scene; I’m just the guy who still has the nerve to tell you what might happen – and what usually does happen – when you totally and completely ignore that which your partner feels they need in order to be okay with themselves and so they can continue with their mission to make and keep you as happy as humanly possible.

And if you’re not of a mind to give permission – and even if you stand to gain something from giving it – why in the world would you be horrified to learn that your partner went behind your back and did what you forbade them to do anyway? You’re feeling very hurt and betrayed… and not thinking or giving a flying fuck that by denying them, you hurt and betrayed them first.

What? You don’t believe that? Think about it for a few and if you’re capable of being honest with yourself, you’ll see who really betrayed whom. I’m not saying that they’d not be found guilty of infidelity but chances are pretty good that you gave them reason to be guilty of it. Even if actually being non-monogamous isn’t on the table – your resident bisexual isn’t really asking for permission – if you lambaste them or otherwise tar and feather them for even thinking about things bisexual, um, you’re not doing them or yourself any favors by planting seeds of resentment in their minds.

Yep, it offends you… and you, in turn, offended them by not giving a fuck about what they’re thinking and feeling. Why? Because in these things, we tend to think “me” and what’s better and preferred for “me” than what might be better for “us.” Huh? What? Are you thinking that putting the kibosh on your resident bisexual is what’s best for “us?” And what, exactly, makes you think that?

Ya might wanna give that one some thought and you might be surprised of why you think like that, you know, even if you gave a fuck in the first place and you think you have good reason not to give a fuck.

Bisexuality and non-monogamy can be linked together, either in expected or unexpected ways. You might not believe it; you might even disapprove of such behavior in others or even yourself. Still might happen because the truth and fact of the matter is that unless you’ve got a pretty unique and special talent, no one knows what the future will bring or how events can come together in the right way at the right time and place.

And if you think you can predict the future and because of the way you are thinking right now, do me a favor and send me the winning numbers for the next mega-million dollar lottery jackpot while you’re out getting tickets of your own, okay?

Don’t like any of what I had to say about this? You don’t have to like it; you don’t have to believe any of it if you don’t want to. Still doesn’t change the fact that it can happen nor the fact that I just spent a lot of time telling you, not to mention that I happen to know this for a fact and it’s just not an opinion I happen to have.

I’m just the guy giving you something to think about whether you’re contemplating non-monogamy, all up in it, or none of the above.

 

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If I Knew Then What I Know Now…

After the scribbles done over the last few days about dissing monogamy for another way to go about exploring love, sex, and relationships, I’ve had reason to reflect back on my own double-decade (and a bit more) journey and adventure down this path and a journey that saw a heady mix of amazing moments and migraine producing cluster fucks and, well, the result is the title of this scribble.

The biggest things I take away from my experiences is what I learned along the way and things that pointed out all the flaws in being monogamous as well as how our belief in this makes us ill-prepared to attempt something that those flawed rules never account for as well as how totally outdated and ineffective the mandate to always be monogamous is.

Decades of being non-monogamous raced through my head, sometimes making me smile, sometimes making me frown or shaking my head and I’m not sure if I spent more time smiling or frowning. Do I regret any of it? No; not because there aren’t any points where I could justify regret but it makes no sense to be regretful about it. The mind likes to focus on the stuff that didn’t go well, the things that could have been handled better and, yes, all the mistakes that were made and that includes the one’s I made as well because while things tend to go wrong, they rarely do so without a lot of help so when things went wrong, we were all to blame for it, not so much because of how things panned out along the way but simply because of what none of us knew.

I read about people kicking monogamy to the curb in some way and many are quite informed about it – there’s a lot about ethical non-monogamy in books and on the Internet that people who are interested in this can refer to and if there is, indeed, one regret that I do have, it’s that I wish I knew then what I know now… but that regret gets kicked to the curb because, duh, I do know it now.

The folks who were either told what we were about or figured it out would ask me what was the hardest part about living this way, a question that was quite secondary to the primary one – why in the hell would you even think about doing some shit like this? But, the answer to this question was, in fact, easy to answer: Because we had to and walking away from each other wasn’t a viable option not to mention having enough hubris between us to convince us that we could do the impossible.

The hardest part? Managing it. “Fixing” or otherwise adjusting the things that needed fixing or adjusting, dealing with the many problems that would show up uninvited or just because they could. Trying to constantly assimilate petabytes of information that, often, didn’t want to be assimilated, collated, processed and understood. Always trying to remain focused on the vision, what this not only meant to me but always trying to wrap my head around how everyone else involved was seeing things and how their perceptions were getting in the way of a clearer vision… and a vision of something that, as it turned out, we really didn’t know how to do.

The ultimate experience in on the job training; being able to make snap decisions about so many things while trying to figure out where all of this was going and trying to figure out – and, often, without a lot of what I’d call helpful input – how to make the journey as smooth and, ha-ha, trouble-free as possible.

Many sleepless nights spent second-guessing everything and asking myself, “Why did this sound like a good idea? You wanna explain this to me again?” Too many – way too many – moments of understanding that we were all in over our heads but, lord knows, we were still trying and being comforted in knowing that despite all the shit that was constantly getting out of whack, by God, we were doing it; we were making it work despite ourselves.

Even harder at times was trying to explain this to others. Some got it, saw the sense in the overall scope of shredding the rules of monogamy into tiny little pieces and scattering those pieces on the wind while many more thought we were just crazy and quite insane to be doing that which should never be done – and because those horribly flawed rules says never to do what we were trying to do.

What we had been doing. Looking at the people who thought us insane, listening to them insist that it couldn’t work – it’s not supposed to work… and me looking them in the eye and saying, “Yet, it is working, isn’t it, because if it weren’t working, we wouldn’t be doing it, would we?”

It wasn’t perfect… but nothing ever is, is it? At the core of things, yeah, we knew it would fail at some point; what we didn’t know – what we couldn’t know – was at what point would it fail? What would cause it to crumble into nothingness? Oddly – and right from the beginning – I knew how it would fail. I’m not clairvoyant but I could see the weak points, the stress fractures, the points of failure aligning themselves… and, well, we “stupidly” said – but justifiably so – that we’ll worry about those things if they happen while also understanding that it was never a matter of if they would…

It was a matter of when they would… and that’s just impossible for anyone to know. So it became a project of sorts to make “when” an event that would happen way down the road even though we also understood that at any time, we could stop all of this and, yeah, we talked about doing just that a lot… but always found a reason to keep working at it and as best we could because not working at it just didn’t make much sense; you never fail at anything before you actually fail at it.

During the poly phase of the journey, a friend walked up to me with a smile on his face and said, “I know what y’all are doing – and I think that shit is so fucking cool!” I recall thinking whether or not I should play dumb, to say to him, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” but, um, nah – that wasn’t gonna work because all you had to do was see us together and how we interacted with each other even in the most mundane and “normal” things to know that we were “up to something” and that we were much more than good friends.

That same friend patted me on the back and shook my hand as he told me, “Dude… dealing with one woman is bad… and dealing with two of them can’t be easy and, well, you’re fucking crazy!”

And he was right. And I knew he was right because it was a thought that plagued me at every turn, in every moment awake or asleep. This shit is crazy, hands down and for someone – anyone – to even attempt this would, in fact, severely question their sanity and mental integrity.

For those in the know, of course, the one question they wanted to know – other than whether or not I/we should be committed to the closest mental health institution was, “How’s the sex?” Now, I have to say that on this topic, the reactions between the men and women who knew or just figured it out (and they figured it out because it was a lot more obvious than any of us were aware of) was mixed; the guys would either high-five me until my hand hurt from being slapped so hard or shake their head sympathetically just thinking about what I was up against.

The women, well, some were accepting while one, in particular, commented that in her mind, I was really an arrogant asshole to believe that I had the “right” to have a harem. Yeah… she said that and, um, let’s just say my response to this wasn’t gentlemanly and leave it at that. People just want to shit on anything they don’t understand and even if you try to explain to them that they’re wrong about their assumptions, they’re just gonna keep believing what they want to believe.

It’s hard enough having sex with a woman, harder still to have sex with a woman you know, and one really interesting nightmare to be having sex with two women and two women with similar but different needs and I’m not just talking about having sex one-on-one with them. It is exhilarating… and humbling like you wouldn’t believe and I guess I’m grateful to have never gotten it into my head that I could handle it because I knew I was gonna be pushed way beyond my limits and that wasn’t going to be a good thing but, again, if you never try, you can never fail.

It’s the thing that makes me laugh hysterically and, sometimes, maniacally, to hear guys go on and on about how they’d love to have a threesome with two hot women and how they’d lay waste to the both of them like it was gonna be easy to do. Yeah, right… sure it is. I was in over my head and I knew it but go back to the last paragraph and read what I wrote about not trying. Was it fun? Oh, hell, yeah it was. Were there problems? You betcha there were. Did we keep working through them? Had to… because not working through them, again, didn’t make one damned bit of sense.

You think that you understand what sex is about… only in this situation, you learn that what you think you know doesn’t mean a whole lot because there’s some… shit going on and shit that you might not see coming. See, there’s the way you might think this should go… then reality comes alongside you and punches you dead in the face – and because a mere slap isn’t going to get your attention like a black eye, bloody nose, or a fat lip will – and shows you that, again, what you think you and what you think is gonna happen can be so very different.

And through all of the very exciting and very disappointing moments in this, I kept asking myself, “Is this still a smart – and right – thing to be trying to do?” Maybe… and maybe not but in for a penny and all that; you’re up to your eyeballs in it so just do the best you can – there’s no backing out at this point.

And the biggest issue, the biggest problem, is still one of management. From communication to conflict and problem resolution and here’s the thing about all of this: If everyone involved isn’t of a mind to participate in these very necessary things, it all fails. It drives home the point that, intelligently, a group of people can, in fact, agree on a course of action and still be very much in their own heads about how they want shit to go so, yeah, on the same page… and not on the same page so much.

When you keep hearing things like, “Yeah, but…” as a response to questions or possible solutions to the things that just go wrongly and because they can, well, you have a problem on top of all the other problems that crop up each and every single day. Worse than that is hearing, “I don’t know…” and it gets even worse hearing that when I’d get asked, “How can we make this even better?” and I asked, “What do you have in mind?” and the nerve-wracking answer of, “I don’t know” is the only one you get.

That and putting my ideas on the table on how things could be better… and have them all summarily rejected out of hand or, literally, I’d get outvoted. It often had me wondering, and futilely, how I’m supposed to solve issues that everyone wants to have solved but providing input is more of a “You figure it out” kind of thing more than anything else.

Now, usually, when you leave someone to their own devices, there’s no telling what the fuck is gonna happen but in this relationship situation, the one thing that does happen is… nothing. Ah, there’s nothing that eases your mind than being told, “You’re the man here – you figure it out and make it work – but the things you’re suggesting? Not interested – figure something out and be quick about it!”

You learn that having great lists of things you’re not gonna do will, ultimately, fuck things up. You learn that keeping your mouth shut when you shouldn’t is clearly and definitely not a good or smart thing to do. If you ask how to resolve an issue and a resolution is offered and you reject it, well, will the issue get resolved? If you go into such a relationship and you have your own agenda and are of a mind to keep pushing your agenda – and in the face of what’s supposed to be the shared and overall agenda you all should be buying into and working toward, guess what’s gonna happen? And then guess what won’t happen.

I thought about all of this and, again, alternatively smiling and frowning as called for. In my mind, it was the greatest adventure ever and, eh, not so much and, yes, I’ve asked myself honestly that if I could or had to do it again, would I? It’s not an easy question to answer because, today, I pretty much know exactly how it can all go tits up and in a damned hurry but, if I’m to be honest with myself, sure – I’d do it again because… it really is fun, enlightening, full of richness and purpose and maybe I’d come to regret a second exposure because, yeah, this is some seriously crazy shit but it does beg the question, “Is there really such a thing as too much love? Is it really insane to love and be loved in what can easily been seen as excessively so?

Is it the smartest thing that can be done? Yes… and you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me. Is it easy? God, I hope none of you think it is because it’s even harder than you think it’s gonna be; I can pretty much guarantee you that you’re gonna learn some shit about yourself and those who are with you in that you might “regret” learning. Still, if you venture nothing, if you risk nothing, you cannot and do not ever gain anything and this is so fucked up that even a failure can be seen as a success.

Hence my ever-present warning and admonishments about this. You’ve literally got to be grown up enough, willing to take everything you know and believe and totally disregard it because that shit ain’t gonna work; if you don’t have a sense of adventure, don’t really have what anyone would call an open-mind, are fearful, bashful, shy, prone to giving up when faced with a problem, don’t know how to communicate to and with someone, afraid to speak your mind, or are quite stubborn and in that “my way or no way” way that rarely ever works, as well as having a very big list of shit you ain’t ever gonna do no matter what the reasons for doing it are, and are in possession of negative emotions like jealousy and a whole lot of other shit I know I’ve failed to mention, do not even try to do this. It’s not that an effort to do this will fail more than what the aftereffects of an epic fail will bring.

Yet and still, if you do choose to venture down this road, be prepared for the journey and experience of a lifetime. You may very well have an idea in your head about how something like this can or should work for you and those who are brave and daring enough to join you in this – it’s good to have a plan – but it’s the things you cannot plan for that will, put mildly, make things interesting and, indeed, one of the very exciting things about living and loving like this is not knowing what the hell is gonna happen at any given moment in time.

And yes, should anyone else stumble across what you’re doing, some will approve… and many will not and you have to be aware that many are not going to approve… but not let their disapproval sway you from a course of action the two of you have decided must be taken so that “we” can continue on for as long as possible.

Or, fuck the haters: It’s your lives, your choice and if they don’t like it, they just don’t like it.

And the things you’re gonna learn about yourself alone is worth the journey… if you and your soon-to-be “partner in crime” are brave enough to take that first step. Will you come to regret it? Again, maybe you will, maybe you don’t… but you also might very much regret not doing it when you had the chance to.

Besides, life is still too short and it’s still about getting all you can into your life before it’s over with and nothing is worse than knowing that you could have done something – should have done something – and you didn’t do it.

Whew. I know this isn’t quite a glowing recommendation in favor of having a multiple partner relationship of any kind. All of this kinda/sorta proves that it can be done while pointing out some things that if you haven’t thought about them, ya might want to take a moment to think about because it’s always the things you don’t think about – the things you never see coming – that tend to fuck things up when you’d rather not have them fucked up.

If you had told me at the time the decision was made to go in this direction that it all would have lasted as long as it did, I would have had you committed, would have told you it was impossible and maybe even that this ain’t the way things are supposed to work and can’t be allowed to happen. I didn’t know if it would work and was quite sure that it wouldn’t… and it took over twenty years to find that out.

If only I knew then what I know now. And if, by some sort of magic I did know it then, would I have still done it?

I still don’t know the answer to that one and I know I never will.

 

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A Major Point of Failure

Multiple partner relationships get set up for a lot of good reasons and let’s face it – one of those reasons has everything to do with sex which, for the most part, is a no-brainer… but it’s also, as the title says, a major point of failure when it comes to multiple partner relationships.

If you think you know how to have sex, you get into this and you just might learn that you don’t know as much about it as you think you do which – and I’ll always keep saying this – is why when you decide to go in this direction, you pretty much have to learn how to have sex again and much of the reeducation is dependent upon how your relationship is structured as far as the participants in this.

It’s not so much of a “group sex” kind of thing although, um, yeah, ah, when you get all of the members of the family together for some sexy fun, wow. Just wow. This kind of sex isn’t as easy as it sounds and even when the sex is one-on-one, which you’d think would be another no-brainer, eh, I’m about to tell you why it might not be so make yourself comfortable because this is gonna take a while.

“Sharon” and “Mike” have not only decided to open their marriage, they’ve decided that being more polyamorous in their endeavors is really what makes the most sense up to an including having everyone involved living under the same roof (if and when possible) and, indeed, there are a lot of advantages to this arrangement that have nothing to do with having sex.

Now, our hypothetical couple is used to having sex with each other and if they’ve been “out on their own” and having sex, okay – it’s probably one of the reasons why the relationship got opened in the first place. Maybe our couple has decided that the two of them “sharing” a girlfriend or boyfriend – or one of each – is a good idea and, importantly, they both believe that they can easily handle this because, after all, they’ve been out on their own and having fun sex with other people.

So all of the new “family” members are in place, things are settling in and, yup, sex is happening between one and all, and in all possible combinations… and that’s where the problems can crop up because the real danger here isn’t actually having sex in some way – it’s how others are gonna feel about the sex that is taking place and, in particular, that moment when someone starts to think that they’re not getting the sexual attention that they need – someone is getting more than their “fair share” of those moments.

One of the things that causes this problem is that a couple, when planning this out, doesn’t think about how new it’s gonna be to have sex like this and more so when a new partner (or partners) are all under one roof. Our couple, again, is used to having sex with each other, they understand that under this new arrangement, things are gonna be different and, I think that innately they understand that with the new folks, there’s gonna be a learning curve… but not think about how that learning curve can lead to the utter destruction of the arrangement and that someone is almost always winding up getting more attention than someone else because, um, we don’t really stop to think about how our new partners think and feel about sex (other than, fuck, yeah, we wanna do all of that) and what their needs really are.

And this kinda thing should be expected and with the understanding that in such an arrangement, everyone is going to behave differently and the appearance of a situation where some favoritism is perceived is going to happen and the mistake is assuming that it shouldn’t happen or doing things to prevent it from happening.

It can leave someone feeling out in the cold, neglected and other such connotations and once someone starts feeling like this, you’re pretty much doomed unless you use the other skills needed for this – time management, conflict and problem resolution, and exceptional communication skills – things are gonna go south fairly quickly. Some couples go about this by placing sexual priority on the core relationship and with the needs of the others as a “secondary” concern of sorts and thinking about “us” in the wrong way because “us” isn’t just the two of you – “us” are the two of you and whoever else has joined you in this. Yeah, the core relationship is still in place and that is your husband or wife after all and the new folks “need to respect this” and not let their excitement about all of this get the better of them and start “demanding” more time with either member of the core relationship than is allowed.

And that’s pretty much the wrong way to go about this. You cannot approach the sex in such a relationship as a one size fits all kind of thing, shouldn’t invoke “priority sexing,” for lack of a better term. Yeah, there’s a time and place for everything but if you’ve got a somewhat shitty attitude about sex – and you’re thinking more about what you want and when you want it – yeah, things are gonna get messy and in a hurry.

You cannot be jealous or possessive in this and, really, if you have any reason to think that you’re not getting your fair share of the sexual action, remaining silent about it is really gonna fuck shit up because while everyone else is enjoying this new way to have sex, no one is going to be aware that there’s a problem – or a potential problem – if you don’t say anything and you choose to just sit back in the cut and have a private hissy fit about it and one that’s going to very negatively affect the smooth execution of the relationship as a whole.

Oh, yeah… if you’ve never seen someone else making love to your partner, wow, get ready for a shock and, to be honest, you can run this through your head a million times and convince yourself that you’ll be okay… until the first time you see it and, you bet your ass, this is gonna be the first real test other than merely knowing that someone else is doing them.

Are there any rules for this? Some kind of pecking order that must be established? The thing that fucks up this part of the multiple partner relationship is that, usually, this is exactly what happens… and it shouldn’t. Dependent upon sexual orientation, everyone is pretty much fair game for everyone else in the relationship and it’s at this point where I’m gonna point out that if everyone in the partnership happens to be straight, um, don’t expect that to stay that way and it’s because more bisexual-like behavior can appear literally out of nowhere and that no one expects it to happen can really throw a major wrench into the works.

“Mike” comes home from work or wherever he’s been and finds “Sharon” in the middle of getting done by another member (or members) of the partnership; how should Mike react when seeing that there’s some heavy duty sex taking place and without him? How do you think he’s gonna feel about this and, importantly, how do you think he should feel about it?

Or “Sharon” is feeling somewhat miffed because “every time she turns around,” Mike is dick deep in a female partner and not during a time where such activities have been “scheduled” – and, yeah, I know about couples with live-in partners who actually have a calendar to schedule who gets to have sex with whom. Should our girl Sharon be totally pissed off about this and to the point that if she gets invited to join the party, well, she should just decline and pitch a bitch about this breech of conduct immediately or just leave and sulk?

Do you think Sharon would be right in her assumption that Mike prefers to have sex with their girlfriend more than he prefers to have sex with Sharon?

And I’m here to tell you that if anyone in the partnership gets to thinking like this, this is not a good thing and the perfect example of why a couple wanting to do this has to – absolutely has to – purge themselves of having such thoughts and emotions because now it’s not just about “us” – it’s about all of us.

Trying to regiment everyone’s sexual behavior ain’t gonna work and neither is trying to limit how, when, etc., sex can happen between the partners isn’t going to work, either. To be frank about it, if you’re not gonna be of a mind to get in there and revel in the hopefully open sexual situation between the partners, you’re pretty much defeating one of the main purposes relationships of this kind happen.

Let’s be for real about this, okay? Yes – couples (in particular) get into this kind of relationship to better take care of those needs that they can’t easily, readily, or even consistently provide and that includes sex… but you cannot and should not go into this using conventional thinking about sex or, gasp, going into this thinking that whatever sex is taking place is “just for your benefit” and going into this with a huge list of shit you ain’t gonna do. If you’re not gonna rearrange your thinking about sex and you’re not going to do your best to have a more… adventurous and open mind about sex – and more open than you thought just having an open relationship requires – well, you’re gonna be fucked… just not in a good way.

These relationships serve as a portal to experience sex in ways that, bluntly, can make other people soil themselves and the possibilities are only limited when the people involve impose limits or start finding reasons to feel some kind of way because things aren’t happening in they way they’re expecting it to. If anything, the thing you should expect is that you won’t really know what to expect but instead of having a lot of fear about it, be excited by it.

Yes, yes – everyone has sexual boundaries but for this aspect of the multiple partner relationship to work as well as it possibly can, ya need to rethink them or, again, unlearn every damned thing you’ve ever learned about having sex so you can learn a new way to have sex.

And you talk about it because, fuck, it makes no sense not to talk about it. You not only talk about any “issues” like feeling left out but you also have discussions about what we can do to make our sex lives even more exciting than they already are and, yeah, if some of that treads into the realm of bisexuality, by all means, don’t run away from it because it still remains true that if you all really do love each other, there shouldn’t be too many things you won’t do in order to make sure everyone is happy.

Which, uh, is why all of this probably got started to begin with. Not what “we” want to do – it’s what “we” can do, those things which are possible and things that “normal” folks would have strokes and heart attacks over because they are, bluntly, incapable of thinking way outside the box.

Good lord… I can tell you my own horror stories about this which, um, is how I am very much aware of how this can really fuck shit up and what, ideally, should be done so that it doesn’t get fucked up.

If you’re seeing this post again, it’s because I had to edit a few things and there’s something else about this I wanna warn you about: If someone in the core relationship seems to be having way too much fun, do not get bent out of shape about it because, um, the whole idea is to have more fun than you’ve been having. If you’re not going to dive right in and immerse yourself in the sexual activities and with the clear purpose to enjoy this new way to have sex, well, what are you doing this for?

This level of intimacy is supposed to be enjoyed to the max and holding back, well, lemme ask you: Does it make sense to hold back? And the other thing I forgot to mention is that fear some have about falling in love with one of the other partners in this.

It happens and, I think, it should happen. I’ve been talking about the sex but relationships like this are also about loving and being loved because love is the thing that binds us in this and, indeed, it’s because of love that we’re breaking a whole lot of rules in the first place.

 

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The Hard Parts of Breaking the Rules

Damn, and here I thought I had emptied my head about this but Wildwestangel, in her comments to the last scribble, reminded me of some of the initial… discomfort that one has to bear up with when getting into this discussion and one of them is finding out that you really aren’t the answer to everything your partner needs or, bluntly, you’re just not enough when it comes to some things.

People break the rules for a lot of reasons but, as I’ve said, one of them is all about sex, loving, and being loved and to find out that these things aren’t as static or consistent as you think they are is a huge kick in places where you’d rather not be kicked. See, it’s not always a matter of someone not being up to the task (to be nice about it) but, again, when we hook up with someone and start a relationship, we just don’t ever think about how someone’s needs might change or somewhere down the road, they will have new needs or that a hidden need has resurfaced and is begging for attention.

When I learned of my [then] wife’s infidelity, I was hurt by it and when I found out why, I was crushed and pulverized into paste… until I somehow managed to get past that terrible emotional moment and my intellect kicked in and having it say to me, “Um, you know, she has a point there because, last time we looked, uh, you’re not female.” But the emotional pain didn’t stop there because as we talked about it, shit, there were a couple of guys she slept with and the reason, at first, didn’t make sense to me when she told me that she slept with those guys because they weren’t me.

Now, that might sound like an insult to end all insults and, emotionally, it sure as hell felt like one but, once again, the intellect kicked in and rewound the key thing that she had said about this, namely, it wasn’t that I was unequal to the task – she just needed something different. It told me that being consistent in these things – and as much as anyone can be – is both a good and “bad” thing.

Emotionally, it still hurt because just like everyone who gets married, it is assumed and implied that the person you marry has to be – and should be – all you’ll ever need for the rest of whatever… until you find out that it just doesn’t work like that and you feel kinda devastated and even, well, stupid, because you believed what you were told about being married more than a sense of hubris or ego – you think you’re all that for your partner and learn that, nope, not so much all that.

A deeper conversation took place that exposed all of the things we thought we knew about each other and, my god, that was even worse than finding out that I wasn’t all that she needed and I cannot begin to tell you how hard it was to hear this for the both of us and how it irrevocably changes the way you look at the person you thought you knew.

A lot of tears were shed getting all of this out in the open. But, strangely, once the initial shock wore off, not so much in the way of being angry. Well, wait a minute – there was anger but not over what had happened or why it happened but because we both failed to communicate at a very open and honest level so to that end, we both fucked up big time. Then came some very hard questions we both had to answer for ourselves and to each other.

Did we still love each other? Did we want to stay together? Clearly, there are some very major problems that need to be addressed; do we address them and try to resolve them or just say, “Fuck it – I can’t deal with this shit!” and literally throw it all away?

I spent a lot of sleepless nights pondering these things and one of the things that plagued my thoughts was did I love her and need her enough to hold up my end of the vows we took and do whatever was necessary to keep her, make her happy, and prove to her that when I said that I would do anything for her, I meant what I said? Was I man enough? Strong enough? So when we got to the part in our discussions where the question of, “What do we do now?” came up, I had to ask myself was I committed enough to truthfully and honestly answer her question with a question:

“What do you want to do?”

You ask this question and with the sure knowledge that, frankly, opening Pandora’s Box would be child’s play in comparison to what you might be opening yourself up to. She told me what she wanted to do, what she needed to do and, importantly, that no matter what I said in opposition, she was gonna do it anyway.

Whoa. You wanna talk about what it means to be between a rock and a hard place? You have no idea – you really don’t. Now the ball was back in my court and I had a major and life changing decision to make. Do I throw it all away? Do I try to “man up,” put my foot down, and go all “Me Tarzan, you Jane” on her and, my god, beat her into submission and compliance? Could I really live with knowing that whenever she was out of my sight, she could be getting her needs taken care of outside the remit of marriage and, fuck me, even if she was sitting right next to me, knowing that she has this on her mind and planning on how she could pick her moments to get the things she needed that I couldn’t give her?

Or do I bite the bullet and get my head around the fact that it would be better to know what – and who – she was doing than it would be not knowing? And I responded to her statement of fact in the only way that made sense if, indeed, I did love and need her as much as I said I did.

So I said, “Okay. How can we make this happen?” More talking and we eventually hashed out how we were gonna take all of the rules of being married and obliterate them then remold them in a way that would, hopefully, make our time together better. As we talked about the new rules, it became clear that there were some… occupational hazards (again, to be nice) that became apparent and hazards that would test the strength of our love for each other, namely, what if someone met someone else and fell in love with them? Would that cause the marriage to dissolve… and should it? She could no longer have children but, um, that didn’t mean that I couldn’t and if shit happened, how to deal with this?

Come to find out that creating the new rules wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be and it required more soul searching than all the other stuff did but eventually we got the new rules created and with the understanding that they would and could be subject to change at any time, up to and including calling all of this off.

You’d think that when you’ve managed to get through this and you’re pretty beat up but still intact and functioning, well, that’s the hard part, right? Well, no, not really. Not even close. See, it’s one thing to know that your partner is out there getting jiggy with other people… and something very and terribly different to see them getting jiggy… and having big time fun getting jiggy with someone who isn’t you.

You get it into your head that you can handle it then find out – and in no uncertain terms – that handling being there and watching your partner getting laid is about the hardest thing you ever had to do and you’re either gonna survive such a moment (and depending if you’ve agreed to literally do this together) or you aren’t… but one thing is certain: You’re gonna really find out if you’re as grown up as you think you are and if the love you share with each other is as strong and powerful as you thought.

Wanna know what’s even worse than that? Talking to each other about it after the fact and I mean getting all into the details of it from what was being thought and felt. Holy shit.

Holy shit. If nothing else, you learn that being able to always communicate at this level becomes even more important and one of the rules we set was to always talk to each other about what went on, whether we were out on our own or doing it together with others. And, yes, it hurts like a motherfucker to hear and see it and it will test everyone’s resolve – are we really doing the right thing for us? Should we stop this and figure out some other way? And, just as important, are things between us getting better or worse?

Do we have to make any adjustments? One of the things we figured out was that the more rules you put in place, well, it doesn’t make things easier because you’re trying to put limits on something that actually works better with fewer limits, like how some folks who open up and get into swinging don’t have a problem with them having sex with other people… as long as things like kissing doesn’t happen because, for reasons I still don’t pretend to understand, kissing is seen as being more intimate than having sex with someone else is or saying that certain sexual things, like oral sex, is off the table and reserved for only the two of you to be doing.

There’s a definite need to preserve and protect the core relationship but when you put in rules to this effect, most people put them in and with the assumption that they can never be changed for any reason which puts them pretty much right back in the situation that caused all of this to happen in the first place: The denial of providing what’s needed and, as such, having those needs go unattended and, gasp, deemed to be of no great import.

So the fewer restrictions you put in place – and you must put some in place – can be the best area to operate in. You cannot set your obligations to each other go by the wayside; even though you’ve decided to take the rules as we know them and kick them into the next county does not ever mean that the things you have to do for and with each other gets ignored or otherwise supplanted so Rule Number One should always be, “Take care of home first.”

It’s so easy to forget this rule as you and your partner open the doors and step into what is new and exciting territory for the both of you. So while any other rules you may have put in place can be subject to change, this one should never be changed.

Ever.

Should you get past this point, well, things should be easier, right? No… not really, because just like any other relationship, this is not going to take care of itself – it’s not gonna run on autopilot, as it were, so it makes being able to talk about it even more important; you have to be aware of any difficulties that may be encountered and, together, resolve them. The biggest mistake people make when attempting this is that once they get the ball rolling, they stop talking to each other about it and stop sharing their thoughts with each other which makes Rule Number Two important: Full disclosure of all things and no exceptions and that includes any “future plans” one might have in mind.

This rule isn’t always easy to keep up with because, well, ya tend to get caught up in whatever you might be doing and it just slips your mind so it also makes sense to put in a “better late than not at all” sub-clause and more so when, before disclosing anything, it might take some time to gather one’s thoughts about whatever happened or what direction one’s other thoughts about this might be headed in.

But don’t be too late about it because it’ll appear that you have something to hide and when you’re not supposed to be hiding anything any longer from each other.

Another important thing to take into consideration: Do you need to be able to veto a partner’s decision? I’d say that most people feel that installing some veto power makes sense and, to a certain extent, it does and in the sense that if you’re partner is thinking about doing something (or someone) you don’t necessarily agree with, you should be able to say something about it – and, really, you’d better say something… but that doesn’t mean that your partner has to agree with your disagreement and this, too, is a major test that many fail to pass.

If you cannot trust your partner’s judgement of a situation, you’re gonna have problems that will, ultimately, cause you to fail. You go into this and, hopefully, with the understanding that you can only protect them so much if you’re out there operating independently; you really don’t want anything bad to happen to your partner but, again, if you have no faith in their ability to think things through before enacting them, that’s not a good thing and the message that gets sent is that you don’t trust them to make the right decision for themselves or for the relationship as a whole.

Maybe it goes as expected – no harm, no foul. But what becomes even more important is that if it doesn’t go well, be ready, willing, and able to pick up the pieces as well as talk about what went wrong and, if applicable, what can be done to make sure – or as sure as anyone can be – what whatever got fucked up doesn’t happen again (or any time soon).

Even when the two of you make a joint decision, you could both – and unknowingly – wind up making a mistake – it happens and mostly because even though the two of you know where each other is coming from, you can’t possibly know where the other people are coming from, what their intentions are, and other such things. So if there’s some doubt, sit down and talk it out; put your concerns on the table and together decide whether the concerns are valid and warrants inaction or, really, trust your partner to make the most right decision as possible.

Because it’s not just about your partner – it’s about the whole relationship that can be affected and, again, things are going to go wonky and it’s not that they can go wonky – it’s about what the two of you do when they do go wonky. And, what makes this even harder to do is almost literally being of two minds about things.

There’s what you think, what they think, and what you both think is best for us. It’s “what are you gonna do about it?” as well as “what are we gonna do about it?” and those two things aren’t always mutually inclusive and tends to put into place what’s really a conflict: What’s better for “me” against what’s better for “us” in a given thing.

Are you getting the impression that being non-monogamous is harder than being monogamous? Some people screw the pooch and think this is easy; some are… wiser and understand that it isn’t all that easy.

The truth is that it’s harder than you can imagine because, usually, people get near-sighted – they’re only paying attention to what’s going on “right now” and not paying much attention to what might occur down the road. But while no one can see into the future, it always pays to pay attention to the fact that things might change for some reason or another and if you keep this firmly in mind, when something does change, you don’t wind up being blindsided by the fact that something you didn’t think of has cropped up.

You kinda say, “Whoa – didn’t see that coming!” or maybe kick yourselves in the ass because you didn’t “plan” for something but be assured that it’s practically impossible to plan for something you don’t know is going to show up.

Then there’s the shared vision and I cannot stress how important this is. You see, it’s not about what one person wants, needs, wants to do about any of this – it’s always about what we want and hope to accomplish by daring to take the rules and flush them down the toilet. You want to be the best for each other that you can be and you both have to decide on what form this is going to take, you know, like having a main goal, for lack of better words for it. You have to say, “This is what needs to be done; this is why it needs to be done in order to be able to do right by each other and in the best way possible.”

And if you think this is easy, I beg to differ with you because a lot of what it takes to develop a shared vision are things that hasn’t happened yet… or might not even happen. Ultimately, the shared vision should be about that which will not only make each other happy but do its best to insure that the core relationship remains intact, strong and vital. What makes this not so easy is the question, “Where are we going with this and where is this going to take us?”

If someone had told me way back when the decision was made to trash the rules that we’d go from being open to engaging with other people together to the two of us sharing (and living with) a girlfriend, I would have told them that they were crazy and mostly because during the initial talks and planning, those other things never came up and, embarrassingly, neither of us were able to really see where all of this would lead us – and there was no way to know it.

Which is also why couples who are thinking about doing some rule-trashing of their own should remain open to the possibilities that might show up and at any time. Yes – you say, “This is what we’re gonna do, this is how we’re gonna go about doing it – but we need to keep ourselves open to other things that might show up.”

Or, locking it down and encasing it in tons of concrete might not be the wisest way to approach this because, don’t forget, the reason why you’re thinking about breaking the rules is because of something that cropped up that you didn’t know about and weren’t prepared to deal with.

Once you start down this path, it’s is an ongoing work in progress. You have to keep your fingers on the pulse of the relationship as well as your “partner in crime” so that everyone is always aware of what’s going on and to insure that you’re both still sharing the same vision for the present and future of your relationship.

There’s just nothing easy about doing this and I’ve shared the hard parts I had to deal with in the early going and, believe me, it was a lot more painful to endure than words could ever explain. It made me question and rethink everything I thought I knew and believed in as well as making me – forcing me – to look at my wife in a way I could have never imagined.

And maybe now y’all can understand why I’d tell a couple who wants to do this that they really need to very seriously consider not doing it because things will most certain get worse before they begin to get better. But if they choose to go for it, at least ya got an idea of what you could be facing and depending on why this has to be done in the first place.

Again, thanks to Wildwestangel for reminding me of this very important aspect of kicking monogamy to the curb.

 

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Kicking Monogamy to the Curb

Another of those combination category things as my mind ponders some stuff about, well, not being so monogamous as is expected. As I scribbled in the last blog, some couples can manage to pull this bit of impossibility off while many can’t and to the point where they can’t even have a conversation about it even if the resolution to their relationship issues happen to point in this direction.

The thing that’s been running around in my head isn’t one of those “this is how you do it” kind of things; no, my mind is cruising along and thinking about all the shit that has to be done before making the “final” decision and turning a plan into action. And it’s a nightmare and that’s being nice about it.

One of the questions I found myself having to answer wasn’t how things were getting done: It was why it was being done in the first place and in developing an answer to this question – and without sounding like an idiot – I had to look back at the beginning and take a close look – a very close look – at the many flaws being monogamous glosses over or tries to get around and recognizing that unmarried couples are also being subjected to this flawed school of thought.

Years ago, I used to read a lot of blogs written by women who bemoaned being cheated on and always asking why they were being cheated on and my entry into non-monogamy taught me the answer or, really, one important aspect and one I’ve said here many times: Cheating happens when someone’s needs are being neglected or otherwise unattended; that some people are just incapable of being monogamous plays into this but I’m not talking about them.

Monogamy actually doesn’t allow much room for growth as individuals or as a couple; “for better or worse” is invoked right alongside “keeping only unto yourselves” and, again, goes for the unmarried, too. Indeed, it is considered to be bad form to be single and date several people “at the same time,” right? No one can foresee problems or issues that might crop up down the road and the tenets of monogamy are rather silent about what a couple should do when problems show up; the usual resolution is to dissolve the relationship and start over with someone else, only to find themselves right back in the same situation at some point.

And monogamy never accounts for the fact that over time, a person’s needs can change because, um, let me put it like this: Monogamy requires and demands that a couple become static but people are really dynamic, meaning that, literally, a person changes a hell of a whole lot just going through a “normal” day while billions of “yes/no” and “if/then/else” decisions go through their minds. Most people are very much in touch with themselves or they know what they need now and we tend to keep going in that direction until we discover that we need something else.

The problem is that monogamy implies and insists that if you find that you need something that a partner cannot or will not provide, well, that’s your ass and the only recourse is to do without whatever it is you need to keep yourself growing or break up with them and go through the process again with someone else.

Another problem many couples run into is the sure knowledge that dissolving their relationship just isn’t going to be the smartest thing they could do; their relationship is, on the whole, pretty damned good but, ya know, it needs a boost, something to rekindle the sun-hot flames they both felt when the relationship first began and I’m sure there are a lot of you reading this who have either thought or have asked a partner, “What can we do to spice things up in our lives?”

And spice is called for and even mandated after a fashion and there are some things that monogamy will allow a couple to do… but even the most inventive couples find that only so much can be done between the two of them… but monogamy doesn’t allow a couple to get, ah, outside help. Once a couple runs out of the things they can do together, they wind up getting stuck again, not because they want to be stuck but being monogamous demands that they remain stuck in place.

A guy I knew was pretty distressed and wanted to talk about it and the short version was that his lady was cheating on him and he didn’t know what to do because the person his lady was cheating on him with happened to be another woman. He was frustrated, angry, and about as bamboozled as anyone can get with feelings of great betrayal tacked on for good measure.

He asked, “Why would she do this to me?”

My answer – and because I had learned it – was, “Because you don’t have a pussy, man.”

His response: “She’s not supposed to want anyone other than me!”

My response: “Is that what you really think? What makes you think that?”

Him: “Because that’s the way the shit is supposed to be!”

Me: “Hmm; apparently not, huh? Did she tell you why?”

Him: “Yeah,but I ain’t buying that bullshit; she told me that I’m not taking care of her emotionally and in a way she needs to be taken care of – what kind of shit is that?”

Me: “Sounds like a legitimate thing and more so when we both know that women are emotional creatures, that and one of the beefs they have with us is that we seem incapable of providing them the emotional comfort that they need.”

Him: “What kind of shit is that?”

The conversation continued along these lines and homey’s absolute belief in monogamy wouldn’t allow him to see what was really going on here and the one thing that monogamy doesn’t mention, that being, it is practically impossible for one person to provide for every conceivable need their part might have and that includes any future needs no one is aware of.

He did ask this: “Well, what if your wife told you some shit like this? What would you do?”

My response: “Funny you should ask because that’s almost exactly what she told me and what I did was say, “Okay. What do you wanna do?””

Ah, you should have seen the look on his face. He couldn’t figure out why I’d go along with something like that and I tried to explain it to him like this:

She needed something I couldn’t provide and, at the moment she decided to go get it anyway, she was sure that telling me about it wasn’t going to accomplish anything and, honestly, until I had some time to think about it, she would have been right. So I was faced with a dilemma; do I “kick her ass” behind this? Do I leave her? Or do I give my “blessing” for her to get that which she needed but I couldn’t provide and with the sure understanding that if I said no, she was gonna do it anyway?

And if I did, indeed, vowed to love her no matter what and it’s implied that I am to do whatever I can to make and keep her happy – short of going out and killing someone just for the “fun” of it – well, okay; not an easy decision for me to make but just for myself, I’d feel better knowing what she was doing than not knowing.

And a lot of couples often find themselves in similar situations – but not all of them have anything to do with sex, as mentioned in the last scribble. They’re faced with a huge question: What can we do without breaking the rules? Toss in the usual “issue” of the things an individual has determined that they’re not gonna do or, as I like to say, that “I love you, but…” thing that I’m sure we’ve all said to someone at some point in our relationship dealings.

One of the things I was told about being married was, “Your marriage is only be as good as the two of you are willing to make it…” and the fact of the matter – and the fact that true believers in monogamy tend to shit themselves over – is that not only is the thing I was told true, but it also implies that if the two of you have to break some rules to stay together and be happy with each other, well, why not? Don’t they say that some rules are made to be broken?

They do, indeed. However, the rules of monogamy aren’t so easily broken and kicking monogamy to the curb calls for a shared and combined effort on both people’s part and as I’ve said, such a couple has to unlearn everything they’ve learned, everything they’ve ever believed in where love, sex, and relationships is concerned… so they can learn a new way to do these things.

Seriously not easy to do because going about kicking monogamy to the curb begins with taking a very close look at yourself. See, some guys are of a mind that seeing their woman getting banged by another guy or with another woman is the shit to end all shits and some actually do believe that they can handle such a thing…

Right up until they find out that they can’t handle it and the reason why they can’t is because of how ingrained being monogamous is in our culture and how it fosters and promotes feelings like possessiveness, jealousy, selfishness, etc., and I will tell anyone thinking about this alternative that if you cannot get rid of these things, you will fail – and miserably.

If you can’t sit down with your partner and have a totally and completely honest conversation about everything that’s leading up to this decision point, ditto – you will fail. If you go into such a conversation thinking only about yourself – and as opposed to thinking about “us,” again, expect to fail. If you have a huge list of shit you’re not gonna do – even for the sake of being and remaining in love, fail.

If your partner comes to you with this and the first thing out of your mouth is, “I don’t believe in that shit!” – you’re fucked and in a very not-so-nice way. If you think, feel, or otherwise believe that you, all by yourself, are the only thing your partner will ever need, well, hmm, apparently not if they’re trying to talk to you about this, huh?

This whole being non-monogamous thing is so… involved and complicated that most people can’t get their head around it and, oddly, this is one of those things that if you looked at it logically, it actually makes sense… except, the thing that really drives things and makes having such a conversation is emotional, not intellectual.

And in the war between intellect and emotion, emotion tends to win – a lot. I’ve actually sat and listened to couples having this conversation and have heard a lot of, Yeah, but…” being said; simply, you get a response like this because, intelligently, it makes sense… but here comes the emotional counter-arguments that are mostly centered on what one believes in.

Which is exactly and precisely why doing a brain dump so that you can learn a new way of doing this is important. Not only do people fail to pull off having the conversation to begin with, if they should manage to get past this part, the next point of failure is trying to be non-monogamous… while holding onto the rules of monogamy and I can tell you that this won’t work. Yes, a couple can maintain and preserve what’s called the core relationship – that’s the two of them, bound both by love and the commitment to each other while kicking monogamy to the curb but there’s a certain way to do this without invoking monogamy and, sorry, I’m not sure I can really explain that except to say that if you don’t believe in the power of love and have no faith in the strength of your love for each other, well, that’s a problem.

I’ve seen couples have this discussion and be very worried about loss; what we if add a person or two and one or both of us falls in love with them? Well, um, that’s kinda the whole point and more so when it’s bound to happen. What if they love the other person more than they love me? Tough question to answer except to say that if the love the two of you share is as strong as you think it is, it’s not that much of a problem and more so since we do tend to love people differently.

Being non-monogamous is a very scary thing to think about, let alone do. Even I can admit that it’s more difficult than being in a one-on-one relationship could ever be and in any way you care to think of but, ideally, you cannot begin to kick monogamy to the curb if the two of you don’t firmly believe that you can make it work and for everyone involved.

What’s another key to this? The much-dreaded open relationship and I apologize for this scribble being as long as it is but if a couple can survive being in an open relationship, taking the next “logical” step – polyamory – becomes easier. Problem is most people don’t survive being open because, again, any emotional turmoil they may be experiencing – and there will definitely be some turmoil – can easily override things, like one blogger who wrote that their poly relationship got flushed down the drain because she felt that her husband was paying too much attention to their shared lover than he was to her.

You see the difficulties involved? Monogamy creates a lot of these problems all by itself and, you betcha, this solution is going to bring up some problems, too, because, um, when people are in a relationship – any kind of relationship – problems are part and parcel of it – it’s an occupational hazard that’s hard to avoid.

You have to have the right mindset, the right attitude; your love for your partner should have few conditions in place where the “but” in, “I love you, but…” are few. You have to be committed (or, perhaps should be committed to a mental health facility) to the core of your relationship and at every turn think “us” and not “me” although, sure, you cannot just stop thinking about yourself in any of this – but that’s why being able to sit down and openly and honestly talk about what’s going on with “me” becomes an absolute necessity as well as keeping a finger on the pulse of how “we” are doing with this outlandish and blatant breaking of the rules.

Problems will crop up and fussing and fighting about them will solve nothing; putting your heads together and working toward an amiable and doable solution is the trick and working toward resolving problems until there’s agreement among everyone involved is just as important.

Expanded relationships aren’t any different from traditional ones: In order for them to work and continue to survive, thrive and grow, understand that they just do not run all by themselves – you still have to work at making it work and, again, be committed and dedicated to making it work at both the individual and joined levels.

It is always a work in progress and, as you can see, it’s a lot of work. Many people trash the rules of monogamy… and then impose a whole different set of rules that, as it tends to turn out, makes doing this harder and not easier – but methinks some folks do this because they’re doing their best to protect themselves. Couples who try to pull this off and wind up failing often do so because the lack a shared vision; it’s not, “How are you gonna make this work?” but “How can we make this work? What are the goals and other stuff we hope to achieve by inviting others to come and share our life with us?”

And it’s the kind of conversation that doesn’t lend itself to being taken care of overnight but how quickly that conversation takes place depends on the two people involved in it and you can pretty much bet that if one partner is suggesting this, the other will be opposed to it and, thus, making having the conversation damned near impossible.

How does one avoid the specter of infidelity? By eliminating as many of the causes for it. Yes, yes… there’s the whole being honorable thing; you gave your word (and before God if married) to not “let no man put asunder” which, as many have discovered, puts them right into that impossible situation of trying to take care of and provide for every need their partner has now… and might have down the road.

Um, sometimes, some agreed upon sundering is just what the doctor ordered. They say that you can’t have your cake and eat it, too; yet, many people are finding that, uh, sure you can. Not only can you have your cake and eat it, you can share the cake with the one you love with all your heart and soul because it’s what just might – and if we do it to the best of our abilities – be the thing that will make us and keep us happy with each other and, oh, yeah, banish the specter of infidelity altogether.

It’s a question of whether or not a couple is going to hold true to an idealism that, by its very nature, is terribly flawed, restrictive, repressive and oppressive… or is it in their best interest to take matters “into their own hands” and make their relationship as good as they can make it?

And what are they willing to do toward the goal of being together for as long as humanly possible? Do I recommend it? No, not really; I’ve actually tried to talk people out of trying it because it requires great changes that not everyone can get their head around, let alone implement. It’s not an insult or anything like that; it’s just that I know how horribly difficult to set aside everything you’ve ever believed about love, sex, and relationships and that it takes a special pair of people to not only make it happen but to make it work and, again, to the best of their abilities.

By comparison – and I gotta point this out again – being married or otherwise hooked up is easy; kicking monogamy to the curb is anything but. Ah, but when done the “right” way and for the “right” reasons – and by this I mean that shared consensus of what the right way and reasons are – it can be an amazing journey and unlike anything you’ve previously experienced.

But only if you strive to make and keep it amazing.

I think I’ve gotten all of this out of my head – for now. This… situation can affect any couple and regardless to sexuality, you know, in case you’re of a mind that I forgot about that aspect and, bluntly, if your wife/girlfriend needs a woman’s touch to allow her to be the person she needs to be, well, fellas, you’re just not equipped to provide it. If she needs it in order to be or remain whole and you won’t provide it, maybe she accepts this and sinks into the Pit of Misery and, as a result, makes your life a living hell because, well, you just made her life a living hell.

I tell bisexuals who fuss and fight about this that the issue of one’s sexuality usually doesn’t have shit to do with the person they’re in love with unless the person they’re in love with isn’t, let’s say, holding up their end of that deal… or maybe they are and it’s “just” a matter of a partner not being properly equipped to take care of this need. It’s what they need to be the person they need to be and now there’s a choice to be made: Provide them with the one thing you cannot do for them… or dismiss it out of hand and tell them it sucks to be them.

Guess what’s gonna happen after that? Cheating? It’s likely. Finding yourself having to deal with a very miserable and unhappy partner? Count on it and if you’re of a mind to not give a fuck how miserable and unhappy they are – but you’re not liking how it’s now affecting things, what’s the answer? I know – break up. Kill the relationship. Just let it die and move on and start over.

But. What if you didn’t have to and more so if you get an answer to the question, “What’s in it for me?” Would you be interested in finding out what could be in it for you?

Normally, the answer is no because monogamy says the answer is always no. Doesn’t change the fact that a lot of couples are learning and discovering that being monogamous isn’t the only way to live and love.

 

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Because She Asked

I made a comment on a post written by DDJennifer (https://ddjennifer.wordpress.com/2018/06/22/260-more-mike-jen-kayla-equity-vs-equality/) and she suggested that I copy and paste it into a blog of my own… so here it is:

Methinks some people see the phrase “open marriage” and immediately fear the worst right along with not understanding what this really means. In my first marriage, I went through the “process” from being monogamous to being open to being poly and it was one hell of a trip and experience and while no relationship is immune to the problems inherent in having a relationship, it is about equity more than equality and, as I like to say, being able to adopt a mindset where the relationship is about “us” and not about “me” so much.

And while you can never discount individualism in any relationship, being open is about everyone involved working toward the same goal and with the same shared vision. It’s certainly about the core relationship and the mindset of, “What can we do to make our lives together the best it can be?” and then doing whatever that entails and, importantly, remaining vigilant and determined to make it work.

By the time I got to poly, my god, I learned so much about love, sex, and relationships that it wasn’t funny just as I learned that living and loving like this is actually harder than being monogamous – in this, you only have one person to deal with as opposed to dealing with two or more other people in the mix. I learned that you cannot treat your partners under the auspices of equality – that’s a nightmare waiting to happen that, um, sure, I’d wish that on my worst enemy and it would serve them right for being dumb enough to think that equality, as we understand it, can be easily established. Being open/poly is an investment that requires equity and creating an environment where one and all can flourish and as comfortably as humanly possible.

It’s still not easy to do… but it can be done and once you’ve learned how to live like this, you never want to go back to being monogamous if you can avoid it.

When people would question how and why we were living the way we were, the answer was always, “Because we want to and it just works for us and it makes the most sense.”

Now for the other side of this thing, namely, how people who attempt this get it wrong more often than not.  In previous writing about this topic, I’ve repeatedly said that in order to be in an open relationship, you first have to unlearn everything you’ve ever learned about love, sex, and relationships so you can learn another way to do these things.  Monogamy is mandated and to the point where people who aren’t married carry on relationships as if they were married; the same rules, the same restrictions, and the same problems married folks experience except folks in an unmarried relationship can usually walk away from it without getting any lawyers involved.

One of the other things I learned and, again, said a lot in previous posts on this, is that being in an open and/or poly relationship isn’t for the weak at heart or those folks subject to experiencing and displaying certain negative emotions – jealousy and possessiveness among them; I’ve also said that when considering being open/poly, the rules of monogamy are, in essence, null and void because, duh, you can’t “keep only unto yourself” if you’re considering expanding what will hopefully become what’s known as the core relationship.

And I’ve said that if you don’t think you can do any of the things necessary, don’t even try it.  You see, we barely understand what it takes to be in a relationship with just one person and the tenets of monogamy are hammered into us almost as soon as we are able to understand them and said tenets are assumed to be inviolate and, importantly, the right thing to be done at all times… except, don’t we find out that this doesn’t work as advertised?  I’ve said and asked not to be taken wrong but for many, being monogamous works and works well but for others?  Eh, not so much.

Relationships erode, decay, become stagnant and wind up ending because, seemingly, there’s no recourse or other alternative to breaking up when, in fact, there’s always been another course of action a couple can take:  Open the relationship and more so when it becomes apparent that there are needs that should be taken care of but monogamy (and a few other things) doesn’t allow for any, ah, outside assistance.  People fret over cheating and I’ve read other blogs about this and their authors asking what, if anything can be done to prevent cheating and other than being single and by yourself, the answer is found in yet another thing I’ve said a lot:  It’s better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission… but what if you could get permission?  How does a couple combat the ever-present threat of infidelity?  Remove the mindset that suggests that infidelity is always a bad thing.  The bad part is that getting permission is deemed to be impossible given what we – as a whole – tend to believe.  But getting permission brings a new set of issues, namely, ya just don’t know how to have a relationship that involves more than one person.

But it can be done, as DDJennifer’s blog indicates.  It’s not without some issues but as I said in my comment, it’s about having a shared goal and vision – everyone should be on the same page while doing their best to avoid the negative emotions.  For instance, I read someone’s blog a few weeks ago and the author said that her and her hubby were now in an open relationship (and she asked for it) but there were times when she felt the need to stake out her territory and even admitted that she felt… neglected at times when her hubby and their new female partner would interact. It’s actually a normal kind of reaction, given what we’ve been taught about relationships… but harboring these kinds of feelings can, eventually, slam the door on an open relationship.  You quickly learn some shit that’s hard to process:  The open/poly relationship is about you… but not really and I’ll keep right on saying that in these things, if you are unable to think “us” more than “me,” you’re usually gonna fail in your attempts to find happiness in this arrangement – and an arrangement that’s a lot more involved than just sex, you know, just in case you were of a mind that these things is purely and solely about sex.  Again, it is… but not as a main focus of being open and poly; the purpose of the open relationship is to improve the core relationship or being able to answer this question:

“What can we do to make our lives together the best it can be?”  Sadly, this question is often difficult to answer because we – on the whole – tend to think in terms of what we’re not going to do, even for the sake of love… and as long as your mind is stuck in this place, being open/poly just ain’t gonna work.  I’ve said that being open/poly is even harder than being monogamous and I’m being nice about it when I say it… but it can be done.  As DDJennifer wrote in her blog, being open/poly isn’t about equality – it’s about equity and it’s an investment of the highest order.  I read and know of single folks who are poly and while I’d not say that, for the most part, they’re not successful at having multiple partners, many of them manage their relationships while employing the rules of monogamy and finding that doing this is kinda hard when you don’t have that one person at your side who not only shares this vision but is willing to stick by your side as part of the core relationship.

Which is why it’s my belief that openness and polyamory works best for couples who are already in an established relationship; the core is already present and, importantly, the core partners are secure in their relationship and their love for each other… and even more important, they are dedicated to doing whatever’s necessary to make sure that core relationship lasts as long as humanly possible… and even if that means adding as many other people as they can and implementing a plan that makes sure that everyone involved shares the investment, goals, and vision of the expanded relationship.

Equity… not never equality and I say this because it’s virtually impossible to establish equality when you’re dealing with different personalities as well as different wants and needs and that, my friends, is the really hard part.  You can’t show favoritism and you do your level best to not to try to treat everyone the same way – equally – but according to who they are; if you think communication is important in a “normal” relationship, you can’t begin to believe how very important this becomes when two becomes three or four; if you suck at time management, problem and conflict resolution, um, you’re already behind the eight-ball.

If you’re reading this and you’re thinking that, fuck, this open/poly thing is a pain in the ass, you’d be right – it is and unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.  At the same time, it can be the most liberating thing a couple could do but as I say, you gotta really and seriously be grown up enough to do this.  Like in any other relationship, you’ll have regrets, problems, and other things that make the day-to-day management of the relationship a bitch to deal with and even I’ll admit there were times in my experiences when I asked myself – and a lot – “Why did I agree to do this crazy shit?”  But I’d remember why I did – because it made sense to.

Is there a sure-fire way to do this and have it work?  Uh, no; the bad part is that while there’s a lot of information available as to how to accomplish this, you’re gonna have to find your way in this.  Hell, if I knew the definitive answer to getting it done and correctly so, I’d be rich beyond the dreams of avarice.  What I do know is how not to do this, what the pitfalls are and, if nothing else, what the basics are.

After that, you’re on your own.

So, Jennifer – how did I do?

 
1 Comment

Posted by on 23 June 2018 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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