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Really Late – or Really Early – Thoughts

It’s 0327 and a bit past my bedtime but I was surfing blogs and came across one written by a gay man – I had to start reading it twice to figure that out – who was doing the dating thing and ran across a wonderful man.  They hit it off immediately and while his last date met with disaster, he was trying to avoid a repeat… but, oops, it happened again; his new lover announced that he had a dating problem:  He didn’t want to be monogamous.

I read the blog (http://maxmosher.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/the-man-that-got-away/) and, damn, I really enjoyed it even though it also made me quite sad to see the two of them have to part ways because of a difference in philosophy that, seemingly, neither was willing to budge on.

Y’all know where my head is about such things… but as I read what Max had to say, it served to remind me of something I’ve come to understand:  It’s not that we can’t be polyamorous – we just don’t want to.  Max said the two of them were being stubborn and Max seemed to feel that “his fella” was the stubborn one by not wanting to do things in the mono way, and his sentiment sent a chill through me because this is something that transcends sexuality – that “my way or no way” mentality a lot of us have when it comes to relationships and, no, I’m not even talking about morality here; right about now, morality can kiss my Black ass and, yeah, I know I’m tired, thank you.

In a way, it’s being selfish – this is quite understandable, too, so put the bricks down.  But, when you look at it, when you’re being all nice and monogamous, um, you really don’t have that person all to yourself as you’d like because you do share him or her with other people and even other things… but, ah, that’s what being monogamous can do to you, huh?  You love them, they love you… and that’s that.  You make exceptions for family… but anyone else?  Anything else?  Nah, monogamy’s not gonna let you do that and it’s stupid… then again, I know what a lot of people don’t:  It’s not how you feel but what you do that makes the difference in this.

So Max wanted to put this hunk of a man on lock-down… and he wasn’t trying to hear any of it.  If this was boy/girl and the woman was making this “demand,” Mr. Wonderful would have gotten downgraded to Mr. Dog in a heartbeat; if the man was doing the “demanding,” Ms. Thang would have gotten immediately demoted to Ms. Skank Bitch Ho as soon as the words sank into his brain and the “lizard section” figured out what the fuck she just said.

It’s not that we can’t do it – we don’t want to and, of course, monogamy is quite happy with this arrangement.  Max’s story was a good one not just because it was two guys running into this situation but how it fell apart before it really got started good, just as it would have if it was boy/girl.  We want and need to love and be loved… then go out of our way to shut ourselves off from all that love has to offer by taking and sticking to that singular, moral view.

As I’ve said, it’s stifling; it inhibits even as it attempts to do… something.  I’m tired and can’t think of what the opposite of “inhibit” is right now – but you know what I mean.  If it’s love that you’re looking for, why is it that we reject love when it knocks on our door because it might not resemble what “tradition” in this mandates?  Then people wonder why one of the worst things they can do to another person is to love them?

Not going to say monogamy is always a bad thing – that would be a bald-faced lie.  Yeah, yeah, to each his own and all that and if it works for you, great – fantastic and more power to ya; John, you can put the baseball bat back in the rack, dude.  Monogamy has made us so fucking narrow-minded in our pursuit of love that it stopped being funny the very first time someone ran to that brick wall monogamy erects between us and the true joys of loving and being loved and if you still think that this doesn’t happen, take a moment and think about it, either how monogamy has worked or you – or not – or how it’s gone with others you may now.  You do this, and you can see what I’m talking about and especially all those folks who did the mono thing… and wound up losing friends and alienating family in the pursuit of that one, singular purpose.  If it’s ever happened to you or someone you know, eh, you see what I’m talking about and, really, you can take it to the bank all night long.

I do hope that Max – and anyone else who’s run into the wall as he did – finds the happiness and love being sought in this.  I don’t knock his decision to stand pat in his beliefs; this is just a tired me pointing out to him and anyone else who cares to read this that monogamy isn’t always the only path to love.

 
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Posted by on 1 October 2011 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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Sex at Dawn

While perving another blogger’s blog, someone suggested that she (I think it’s a she) read, Sex at Dawn:  How We mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships by Drs. Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha and I gotta tell you that while this book has some really interesting concepts, man, when PhD’s write a book, my head starts hurting after a fashion, which probably explains why I’m not as far along in the book as I’d normally be when reading.

The blogger had a question or two on whether or not polyamory is a natural behavior or an orientation; responses were mixed but interesting and while I am, at this point, sure that she could find an answer to her question from a couple of experts, man, I hope she has some aspirin nearby.

One of the things I’m taking away from the book so far is that a lot of what we think about sex, sexuality, and relationships were “created” by men who had no understanding of such things at all when they came up with their, ah, revelations and a lot of them are things we still live by today… in 2011, some three to four hundred years after the first guy asked, “I wonder why this is?”

I was reading what those early “sexologists” were writing and my instant thought was, “These guys were totally clueless!”  And, by and large, that’s a correct assessment, given they were postulating on things – humans, in particular – that they didn’t seem to know a whole lot about.  Given that a lot of we hold true today is based on Victorian morals and understanding, wow, are you kidding me?  I mean, Darwin’s wife was not only his first cousin but his sister-in-law, too!

The authors are flinging citations all over the book, citing some names I’ve heard of, some I haven’t, and it’s nuts the way they were looking at humans as far as sex, sexuality, and relationships are concerned.  So many differing opinions and to the point it’s no wonder we’re all screwed up about such things.  Right now, I can’t honestly say that I agree with the authors’ point of view but, headache aside, it’s interesting reading – they kinda make it humorous along the way.

I’ll come back at a later date and reveal more of what I’ve read… once my head stops hurting long enough for me to read more of it.

 
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Posted by on 19 August 2011 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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Learned A New Word!

Okay, I was doing something Cinnamon suggested I do – go find another person’s blog that interests you, read what they have to offer, then comment; chances are they’ll come visit your blog and, voila, there’s one more person who knows you’re out there writing stuff.  So I did this and came across this person’s blog:  http://slutlyfe.wordpress.com/category/polyamory/ and saw the particular category and since this is something that interests me, well, I had to check it out just to see what someone else has to say about this.  In the process, I learned a new word:  Compersion.

Wikipedia defines compersion as, “…a state of empathetic happiness and joy experienced when an individual’s current or former romantic partner experiences happiness and joy through an outside source, including, but not limited to, another romantic interest. This can be experienced as any form of erotic or emotional empathy, depending on the person experiencing the emotion.”

Oddly enough, when I grabbed my iPod and opened its copy of the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word’s not there.  But, I like this word and once I read the definition, wow, I wish I had heard of it before now because it would have helped me explain to people how and/or why I was poly back when I was.  I know I used to catch a lot of flak about having a harem and all that or even how the situation was all about my greedy ass and while I knew that this wasn’t true and that I could explain a lot of the thought processes behind it all, there were some parts of it I just couldn’t adequately describe – but something that wasn’t totally or wholly a part of the deal.

Wikipedia’s definition goes on to say, “It is common for people within the polyamorous community to state that jealousy comes with the territory of open romantic relationships.[4] Compersion has often been referred to as “the opposite of jealousy[2][5] and some advocates state that through time and experience, it becomes an efficient method for combating jealousy.

You can find the whole thing here, if you’re interested:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compersion.

Anyway, one of the things you wind up battling in a relationship is jealousy and we learn a couple of things.  One, it’s okay to be jealous ’cause that’s just the way our emotions can run and, two, leave your jealousy at the door or else because it’s seen as such a negative emotion and who has time to deal with those things?  Or, you can be jealous… as long as you keep it to yourself because, by and large, any display of jealousy will not be seen as cute or adorable.

When my previous marriage went open, a lot of people would ask me if I were jealous when my then-wife would go get hers and while I admitted that I was at first, eh, it eventually didn’t make any sense to be jealous because I followed the simple logic that if she’s happy with this, then I should be happy for her because, really, how many wives get to experience something like this and live to talk about it and/or still be married?  That and if she’s happy, hell, that was a good thing!  And, yeah, it took some time for me to get my head around it – and then, about fifteen minutes ago now, I learn this new word and, as I said, my first thought was, “Damn!  I wish I had known this before now!” – it explains much – and so much for old dogs not being able to learn new tricks.

We have been so inured to the “one man, one woman” way of doing things that when that proves not to totally be the case, we see a weird thing happening because jealousy isn’t always cause and effect; sometimes, the effect hits you first and the cause can get fugly, depending on the people involved.  Like, if you knew, say, that your woman had a crush on her friend, eh, some guys usually get pissed first, jealous second – cause, then effect.  Ah, but you can also see that reversed in that he gets jealous first – because he doesn’t have her undivided attention in this but someone else does – then he gets angry; effect follows cause, if this is making sense.

Now, I can see where compersion can make you look like a chump because, in the way people tend to think, if your man or woman is having a “relationship” with someone else, well, you’re supposed to get bent out of shape about it, demand that it cease and desist immediately if not sooner, and a lot of other stuff that, eventually, will not be a good thing at the end of the day.  So, if you don’t, well, be prepared to get some names hung on you that are quite unkind.

It’s why I believe and say that if you tell your partner, “Whatever makes you happy makes me happy,” you’d better fucking mean it because you never know what the hell might happen that would make him or her happy or what you might have to do to ensure their happiness.

Then again, this only works – I think – when such things can happen in your relationship and you know for a fact that you’re still going to have a relationship even though something else might be going on behind the scenes, as it were, which probably why it refers to polyamory more than it would monogamy, huh?

 
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Posted by on 15 August 2011 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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Doing it Poly-style

Surprisingly, humans are polyamorous; simply, it’s the ability to love many.  It’s an ability that’s developed and nurtured at birth, beginning with the family unit, where you are taught to love mom, dad, any siblings, and other relatives.  Then, at maybe around puberty, the dynamic gets changed; you go from being told to love all of these people to restricting your love to just one person and we all do as we’re told in this regard and it’s something that gets reinforced over a lot of years until, one day, you realize you’ve been duped, bamboozled, and just downright lied to about this.

It’s an emotional conflict most people wind up living with because, again, we’re told that not only are you not to love anyone other than the one you love already, but disaster will happen if you do.  Okay, yeah, it usually does for most people – but that’s because almost everyone’s been conditioned to love in the same manner – one at a time.  I think the thing that compounds the error in this is that when people are in love, they do things without realizing that they can be in love with someone else and not do anything about it other than accept the fact.

Poly relationships, as I’ve said previous, come in many forms and are created for various reasons.  Like being in an open marriage or relationship, it takes a particular mindset to be in a poly relationship, the first thing being an understanding that you can, in fact, love more than one person and as deeply as it’s going to be.  You understand that just because you do, you don’t necessarily have to do anything about it but, ah, it’s often better if you can.  Being with other people who can share love together is a rush… and such a pain in the ass, depending on how your relationship might form in this regard.

Some poly relationships form simply for the love and sex and can include a great many people; some go beyond this to form rather complicated “marriages” and to the point where the participants are literally playing “House” together.  Unions of three or more are not unheard of but it’s my thought that the more people involved in this, the more complicated the dynamic becomes just trying to keep track of who’s who, who’s doing what, where and even when.

I lived in a FMF poly triad for a lot of years; it was the most telling experience of my life… and one of the worst I’ve ever experienced.  The funny thing about it is that if I could do it again, I would because, really, there’s no such thing as being loved or loving too much, is there?  Being involved in this, if nothing else, showed me a lot of things about myself and all the stuff I didn’t know or, in some cases, could never imagine and, indeed, it had me questioning my manhood as well as my supposed intelligence at times.

You think, “Oh, okay, well, let’s all join together – how hard can that be?”  Famous last words along the line of Custer saying, “Where the fuck did all those Indians come from?”  In my life, it was the most incredibly difficult thing I’ve ever done; getting my bachelor’s in computer science was easier; hell, recovering from a stroke was easier.  I came to realize that even with the “right” people, living a poly life such as I did wasn’t even close to being as simple as I thought it should have been.

It should have been simple; we had things in common, had a common goal and, yeah, we loved each other – how could it be any better than that?  What I learned was that even though we had all these things in common – and a lot more – there were some aspects of this that got out of hand and, in retrospect, I don’t have a clear idea of how those things could have been tamed, for lack of a better word.  The hardest part was dealing with the two personalities, personalities that were very different but also similar in a lot of ways.  I fooled myself into thinking that we were having one relationship together when, in fact, it was two different relationships taking place at the same time and, no, they weren’t even close to being the same thing.

Makes my head hurt just thinking about it…

I don’t think that any poly relationship is perfect, although the concept and vision may be as close to perfection as possible.  It’s only when you add people to the mix where things get, uh, hectic.  You’d think you wouldn’t have to deal with the petty emotions of jealousy and selfishness; indeed, those are emotions that have to be set aside before the relationship can form.  You’d think that playing favorites would never take place – but it does because even though you love the people involved with you in this, yeah, you do love them just as differently as they love you, which is both a good and bad thing.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  It’s one of those ways to live that when it’s going right, there is nothing else like it in the entire world… but when it goes wrong, oh, man, it can redefine the meaning of shit hitting the fan.  Any one man who thinks dealing with two women at the same time is easy needs to get his head examined immediately and get fitted for his straight jacket.  Poly unions comprised of multiple men and women – and, strangely, there tends to be more men than women – become more complex and probably a lot more difficult to deal with because of the varying personalities involved and how they all intermingle – if they do at all.

When I found myself neck-deep into polyamory, I spent a lot of time reading up on it, often sitting up until the wee hours of the morning surfing Internet articles on the subject to find out just what in the name of God I’d gotten myself into.  It was quite informative, too; I was able to identify what we’d become along with the other ways this could happen… but none of what I read prepared me for the reality of being able to freely love and be loved in such a way.  Of course, I read about all of the way such things can fail and how badly ill-formed poly relationships can crash and burn but, stupidly, I wasn’t concerned about that because even in the earliest stages, I knew – and had confirmed through my readings – that we had the necessary elements to make this work.

And it did work, right up until the first problems came along.  It wasn’t that they were all that difficult to deal with… they were just difficult to deal with.  In my mind, they were simple problems and, man, was I wrong!  For me, I had to learn the person who joined us; I knew her, just didn’t knew her as well as my wife did and, yeah, that was a problem because I did spend a lot of time finding out all I could about our new love.  On paper, this makes sense; having to do it on the fly – and without a lot of prior discussions – was a lot harder than I could have imagined.  But, eventually, the crime of spending more time with one than the other was set aside; logic prevailed over emotion on this one.

Sex.  Well, to think this wasn’t going to be part of the deal was just plain stupid.  Being in bed with two women sounds great, looks great in the porno flicks, and ain’t even close to being as easy as most guys think – it wasn’t.  Still, we all settled into it for a while until it became clear that something had to change – they were almost literally killing me and I was no match for them together.  One on one, well, I could manage that well enough but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something drastic was going to happen and I had no idea how the dynamic would change when it did – and I knew it was going to happen.  So when my bisexual wife gave in to the love and lust she had for our new partner, yeah, I knew it was coming and expected all holy hell to break loose when it did… and it didn’t at the moment it happened – that came later and, eventually, began our downfall.

In retrospect, even though I saw this coming, I failed to get a grip on just how the dynamic changed; I totally and completely failed to see the problems in this or even how once it kinda settled in the scope of the ongoing issues.  The thing is that if I could go back to that moment in time to correct things, I have no idea how I could have changed things so that the outcome would have been as it should have been… but again, it was a matter of my failing to take in account not only just how different the two of them were but how much alike they were.  By the time I got a handle on that, it was too late; the damage was done and irreparable and death was imminent… except it took a lot of years before the patient finally died.

I’m not the only one who made mistakes in this – we all did and, again, in retrospect, it’s easy to see all of them, easy to say what changes should have been made that would have quashed all the issues that came up.  To that end, we were born, we lived, flourished, and died, just like everything else in life.  But, we did have fun in the process which is the reason why people do this crazy thing.

A lot of people I’ve talked to about this say they couldn’t do it in any form and now I know exactly why they couldn’t.  It requires a whole lot of a person and a lot more than they know they have to give.  It’s a tremendous emotional strain to be so much in love with more than one person – and then having to act on those loves in the many ways required to do so.  It tries one’s patience, pushes their ability to think beyond that which is normal and it’s pretty fucking scary; it’s one thing to be responsible for your life and the life of one other, something stupidly different to have that responsibility doubled, tripled, or whatever.  It can be so overwhelming in almost every regard and is, without a doubt, both the best and worse way to live imaginable.

Even with things in common and a shared vision for whatever future may come, it can be the smartest dumb thing any group of people could do because while you always take the people involved into consideration, you can’t possibly foresee all of the nuances their personalities are going to bring to the mix.  Being poly isn’t something that you start and then expect to run on its own; yeah, it’s being driven by love, which is such a strong and powerful engine… but the emotions of everyone involved is a set of wrenches just waiting to get tossed into the works.

I ask myself how I’d handle things if being poly came up in my current relationship.  The first thought is that it wouldn’t… but if it did, I realize that, just like before, I have no idea how it would work, what form it would take, or what the dynamic would look like, how it would work – none of that.  In my heart – at the very core of me – I know I could do it… but it’s scary not being able to conceive the shape of it.  Even if done for the financial aspects of such a joining, which is a valid reason for doing such a thing, my mind’s a blank trying to envision it – I just can’t see it.

Such things usually start with the shape of the relationship to be “converted.”  You think, “How can we be better?  What can or should we do to improve upon what we have?”  You question yourself, think very hard about your partner, who’s been with you all this time; will he or she see the logic and/or need to do this?  Will they understand it?  Would they agree with what you had in mind or would such a joining be more of their idea of what would work?  When your mind turns to the sexual aspects – and it will – what do you know of your own sexuality or your partner’s?  Could it change?  Does it need to change?  What do either of you do if a change in this aspect occurs and how is it dealt with?

Yeah, it all sounds easy when you only think about the high-level stuff – then you find out that the rabbit hole is way deeper than you could ever dream of and, indeed, it appears to be bottomless.  But that’s exactly why looking into the hole should only be done by those who are unafraid to love and be loved in this way and by those who are willing to accept the challenges – and all the problems, both known and unknown.  It goes against everything we’ve ever learned about relationships… yet it teaches us everything about the true nature of love, sex, and relationships.  You almost literally have to unlearn everything you’ve been taught and experienced; yet, still be able to draw on these things then apply them accordingly and with deference to how many personalities are involved.

And, sure, not a lot of people can or even want to do this; it’s easier just to keep loving the one you’re with.  But, if you’re like me and believe there’s not a lot of things you can’t do, well, go for it – then be ready to get pushed way beyond whatever comfort zones you may have established for yourself.  You’ll find yourself on unknown ground pretty quick because being poly just isn’t about being in love, isn’t about all the wonderful sex to be had – it’s about maintaining all of this and a lot more.  It’s about endurance, which is why it’s a way to live and not just a thing to be done; if you just wanna do something, trying swinging; not much in the way of love or any other emotion other than lust involved in that.

 
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Posted by on 8 August 2010 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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