Polyamory? Non-monogamy? Relationship Anarchy?

Discussion in 'Dating during a Reboot' started by SheMonk, May 3, 2018.

  1. SheMonk

    SheMonk Fapstronaut

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    If you're going to post in here, please be respectful of people and their choices, no matter what relationship style they have.

    Anyone on here who adhere to polyamory and/or polygamy and/or non-monogamy and/or relationship anarchy, open relationships and so on, who'd like to share their general experiences and how it works out for you - or maybe how it did not work out for you?

    What do you gain from being in this arrangement?
    Do you have a primary partner?
    What are you fine with your partner(s) doing?
    Are you all dating each other or is every relation kept separate from one another?


    CLARIFICATION OF TERMS:

    Polyamory - having more than one romantic partner (emotional / love relation). May or may not include sexual exclusivity.

    Polygamy - being married to several people, but sometimes also used to clarify having more than one sexual partner. May or may not include several love relations.

    Non-monogamy - could mean any of the above, or perhaps even having a primary partner but your relationship is open to whatever you agree on (sex, other romantic relations, whatever).

    Relationship Anarchy - (sometimes abbreviated RA) is the belief that relationships should not be bound by rules aside from what the people involved mutually agree upon. If a relationship anarchist has multiple intimate partners, it might be considered as a form of polyamory, but distinguishes itself by postulating that there need not be a formal distinction between sexual, romantic, or platonic relationships.


    MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS:

    I've been very interested in the concept of non-monogamy for the past 3-4 years, which may mean different things to different people, and I am super curious about other people in a relationship which is not 100 % sexually or emotionally exclusive.

    Personally, I do not care for casual sex and having multiple sexual partners at the same time. Yet, I am intrigued by the concept of being able to kiss and flirt with more than one person. I like the concept of having the freedom of choice, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'd actually do it, if that makes sense. I used to be super jealous as a teen, but not as an adult and I have dated people where I didn't care if they had casual sex with others while dating me.

    On the other hand, I have yet to experience being emotionally attracted to more than one person simultaneously (polyamory). This makes me wonder if I am monogamous myself, but not minding dating a polygamous person. I would, however, most likely have a harder time dating someone who is polyamorous as I value emotional exclusivity waaaaay, way, waaaaaaaaay higher than sexual exclusivity, but that might be because I don't really care for sex that much to begin with.

    I've dated people where I could not imagine sharing them, but the ones I've seen the past 3-4 years I did not care to label as exclusive. One of which I was madly in love with, but it did not for one second bother me if he had sexual relations elsewhere. I remember it struck me as incredibly odd that I didn't mind, and thus began my curiosity about non-monogamy.

    I also haven't had a labeled relationship in 9 years, btw.

    So, what are your thoughts, guys and gals?

     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
  2. Headspace

    Headspace Fapstronaut

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    This is definitely nothing for me. I am very exclusive and conservative in this regard. I won't base this on assumptions on the nature of humans, though. Scientists say that people once were polyamorous to the point they didn't know who was the father of the child, and didn't mind it either. But that was when everybody knew each other, while nowadays there are random people dropping in and out of our lifes all the time. Today's world is different than it was thousands of years ago, and when using the past for argumentation, you have to consider these differences. I just feel that I have exactly one place in my heart reserved for the woman I will marry.

    May be it is subjective. May be it is a reaction to my porn past (or present :confused:). On the other hand, people are using the "break-free-from-the-chains-of-society's-expectations-and-conditioning"-talk way too much nowadays. It is not that simple, as this argumentation arises from social influence, too. Nowadays all structures are dissolved further and further. Everything is reduced to subjectivity, which makes things short-lived and noncommittal. That's post-modernism. What will be left in the end? Will there be anything at all, or some sort of higher consciousness? Can't be too bad to cling to something when things are falling apart :rolleyes:
     
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  3. Yugae

    Yugae Fapstronaut

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    I've never been in a romantic relationship myself yet, but I believe polyamory would be a good choice for me. However it isn't true for everyone, I would only recommend it to emotionally mature people, as it forces us to deal with many of our shadows concerning relationships. This video sums up well the pros and cons of polyamory:



    As a side note, polygamy is technically a marriage with more than two people involved, regardless of the nature of their relationship(s) (source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygamy).
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
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  4. Headspace

    Headspace Fapstronaut

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    I've seen the video by Teal Swan before @Yugae. She is making some good points.

    I forgot to add that, a while ago, I cut the option of casual flirting, kissing or even sex from my inventory of possible actions, even while being single. Obviously, this is already dismissing open relationships as an option for me.
     
  5. I just want to say @Headspace, I really respect your integrity. You are currently four weeks: porn and masturbation free (with an impressive history of 8 consecutive months in the past). So, even though you are still struggling with controlling the compulsion for instant sexual gratification (as we all are), you have not allowed your addiction to completely hijack your moral compass. You have maintained an overview of your life and where you want it to go in terms of romance/intimacy.

    NB This post is not designed to indirectly criticise others for their choices, which may include those in the title description.
     
  6. It's seems like a very difficult arrangement, but that is also most relationships sexual or not. I think children are the variable that throws things off. If they aren't in the picture then adults making personal choices is a little easier. I would think trying to navigate parenting decisions with multiple people's input might be frustrating. It also muddies the water on who is really responsible for care. I mean who's kids from which relationship am I really responsible to help raise? Do I help with college tuition for my wife's boyfriend's kid that he had with my wife? What about my wife's boyfriend's kid he has custody of from a previous marriage? What about short changing resources to a kid I have with my wife who is living with me, but I have 4 kids with my other wife who needs extra help because the kid she had with her boyfriend has special needs? There can be answers to these questions obviously but it definitely adds complexity that isn't found in a traditional relationship. Although historically polygamous relationships could be considered traditional...I don't know....
     
  7. SanityOverVanity

    SanityOverVanity Fapstronaut

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    I’ve wondered for a while now if I do believe in monogamy and tbh I really struggle to. I think of the 3 types presented by the OP I’d say I’m non-monogamy. I do believe sharing emotional ties should be exclusive but I can’t lie, if I could have sex with other women with no strings I probably would. Simply because I am physically attracted to other women, which is normal. But I’d only do it if my relationship permitted it.

    I’m in a relationship right now where it’d be fair to refer to my partner as “the jealous type”. She feels threatened by the idea of me being acquainted with other women. So the idea of poly-anything or non-monogamy is impossible.

    I should probably mention that I come from a polygamous background. Even though I’d never ever be a polygamist myself, I’ve always wondered if it’s the reason part of me seems to never be satisfied (or at least want to seek out more than) with just one woman (sexually).
     
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  8. SheMonk

    SheMonk Fapstronaut

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    I have been thinking a bit about children in the mix, after you mentioned it. I don't have any children and don't really plan on having any, anytime soon. But I definitely see how that may complicate things. But I do believe it also depends on the arrangement of the people involved and social stigma. Not every poly-person is interested in sharing partners within the same group, while others again would prefer all parties to be involved in various degrees with one another, for various reasons. So maybe a couple of two poly-people, where they are each others' main partners, would raise a family - but still have their metamours (other lovers) separately from their core family. I mean, everything is possible depending on what people prefer, I guess. I don't necessarily think a situation where several people take care of each others kids, is a bad thing or setup. It has been done several times in history and is still a thing many places around the world. I guess it's more the social stigma which could be damaging to kids, rather than an actual healthy constellation of several care-givers.
    Personally, where I am right now, I suppose I would prefer raising a child with one other spouse as the core family.

    It's very interesting! I think I would prefer having a main partner, but I am not closed off to the possibility of more, should it naturally occur. But that is more because I have not experienced desiring several people romantically at the same time as of yet (I rarely feel romantic attraction in general), and I rarely if ever feel a need to act on sexual attraction. But I love making out with people, so I'd trade sexual freedom for make-out freedom any day! I looove kissing attractive people.

    I currently have equal options as my non-monogamous partner, meaning I could go out and do whatever with whoever (well, we have established boundaries when it comes to friends) but I am not inclined to do so at the moment, because I am currently not romantically or physically interested in anyone else. But that might change. And I am fine with him pursuing sexual encounters elsewhere if he wants to.

    I've been thinking about all this a lot since I posted, and what appeals to me in this kind of set-up is:

    The freedom - I like knowing that I am free to do whatever I want, should I want to. Doesn't necessarily mean I am interested in doing whatever. But the knowing itself is very powerful and peaceful to me.

    Less pressure - I enjoy the feeling of much less pressure to fulfill other people's needs, wants and expectations. Don't get me wrong, I love making my partner happy but it's also nice knowing that it's not the end of the world if I am not feeling in the mood to have sex or not being constantly in contact with him or be his everything, vice versa. I am a person who needs a lot of me time, where I am not expected to constantly be around other people. It also feels very beautiful knowing that we both show up each and every time because we WANT to, and not because we feel obligated to, due to a specific label and its attached set of rules and expectations. In previous monogamous relationships I have ended up feeling very claustrophobic and anxious thinking about being tied to this person only, potentially forever. Don't get me wrong, the person was wonderful, but there's just something super claustrophobic about that thought. I plan on keeping my current non-monogamous partner for a long time, but I don't feel anxious in the same way, as I know I am free to do or pursue other people (or leave), if that need should arise, and still know that he'd be there and we still would have our awesome thing regardless.
    Hopefully. ; )

    It keeps it fresh - not sure how to explain this, but I feel a certain type of freshness I have not felt when I was in monogamous relations. We don't have a title and I am still not sure what to call our thing, when people ask. But we do kinda refer to each other as "partner". But there is no doubt we have great chemistry, compatibility, compassion and a loving relation going on, based on so much more than sex, such as going on dates, hanging out, talking, cooking, then mixed with romantic feelings and sexual and sensual stuff when the mood is right - and not having to be around each other everyday all week (we both highly enjoy me time and space to pursue other things, such as work, friends, hobbies, etc.). I am also involved with his family and friends and they know me as his "partner", and when we show up places, we show up "together". Basically everything you'd do in a monogamous relationship, yet we are not monogamous.

    Individuality and total acceptance - it's very important to me to maintain my individuality and sense of independence, or maybe interdependence. Regardless, I also choose to love my partner for their totality as a person, rather than saying they should dismiss certain aspects of themselves if they want to be with me. It's very important to me to feel like I can be myself in my totality, and this constellation with my current partner allows for that both ways. Talk about unconditional acceptance! Now, if that's not beautiful, then I don't know what is.

    Communication, honesty and transparency - both are things crucial to make these things work, as is in all relationship constellations. But it has definitely forced me to communicate a lot more and a lot more sincerely than in any other romantic situation I've been in, and I love that! It has also made me deal with a lot of past triggers, concerns, patterns of relating to others romantically and patterns of jealousy and WHY that feeling may arise, and I actually find my jealousy to be very, very minimal and often it's not even about other people, but my own insecurity about whatever ingrained shit from my past about completely different things. I don't feel jealous, because I am not worried he is going to abandon me. I strongly believe that by both of us to being free to potentially do whatever we have to, is continuously strengthening our bond and loving feelings tremendously and that creates security for me. Don't know if it makes sense.

    Love is allowing the other to be free - I am also definitely biased due to my definition of real love being unconditional. It feels weird to me setting boundaries on another person in order for them to be worthy of my love, vice versa. I also don't want to possess anyone (I want them to show up freely every time) and I do not want to be possessed. It can often breed jealousy and resentment. I want people I love to be free to be themselves and therefor be as happy as they can be! So after years of getting into Buddhism and Hinduism and unconditional love, I suppose that definitely also turned me away from conventional monogamy (haven't been in a monogamous relationship in 9 years).

    NOTE: I am definitely NOT saying other relationship constellations, such as monogamy, cannot embody the above things. So please don't assume I'm bashing monogamy, as that can be a wonderful constellation too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
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  9. primaljade

    primaljade Fapstronaut

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    I’ve practiced polyamory for 4 years now via an open marriage. I can’t imagine ever practicing monogamy ever again, no F’ing way.

    The freedom you have to feel and express attraction is great, even if you don’t act on it. In the past, I used to feel guilty and ashamed for dating one woman while having a crush an another. Now, it’s just no big deal, and feels like I’m in bizarro world when people freak out about a partner flirting around.

    I haven’t read through everything in this post, but open to discussing more when I have a real keyboard to type on.
     
  10. SheMonk

    SheMonk Fapstronaut

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    @primaljade

    That sounds super interesting. I'm very much looking forward to any other input from you when you get the chance!

    Can you elaborate on how you and your married spouse go about it? Did your relationship begin monogamously, etc?

    Thanks for replying!
     
  11. WorthAShot

    WorthAShot Fapstronaut

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    I can weigh in here. I found the term polyamory about 5 or 6 years ago, and was pretty much already practicing ethical non-monogamy at the time. I read The Ethical Slut and More Than Two, the 2 most popular books referred to when discussions of polyamory come up. I talked to lots of people. I went to social functions with other poly people. When I remarried, I had been up front with my wife about it from the beginning and she understands it's a part of who I am and luckily for me, it's also a part of who she is. We go on dates with each other, we go on dates with individuals we feel are someone who might be a fit for either of our lives...basically we do exactly what we would be doing if we were single, except that we also have each other. The type of polyamory practice, or the flavor if you will, is sometimes called kitchen table polyamory. That is, everyone in a relationship knows about everyone else's relationships. The way we interpret this is- if my wife and boyfriend #1 went out on a date, for example, I would know that those two were on a date. Girlfriend # 1 would know that my wife and boyfriend #1 were on a date. Boyfriend #2 and girlfriend #2 (if they exist) and any additional numbers would also know. The rest of us could, if we desired, decide to go on our own dates as well, or set up a game night at home, or watch a movie at home together, or whatever. Sort of like a big extended family. The biggest thing new people don't usually understand it that it isn't about the sex, or even the romance. It's about the connection and love that comes from having meaningful relationships. Just like you can love both your mom and your dad, or all of your kids, no matter how many you have, you can love more than one romantic partner. How you go about doing so is up to you and the others involved, but I encourage doing so ethically.
     
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  12. primaljade

    primaljade Fapstronaut

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    Parents get input from random people all the time from coworkers, neighbors, friends, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles. So, that ain't an issue.

    Roles/responsibilities is very pretty easy/simple. Biological parents are the ones legally responsible for their children. Exceptions are for those who adopt children, in which case adoptive parents are responsible for them. Basically, whoever are the legal guardians of the child is ultimately responsible for him/her, end of story.

    I find it easy since I don't want a poly-household, and my children only see one of my partners occasionally as a family friend.
     
  13. primaljade

    primaljade Fapstronaut

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    We started monogamously over 11 years ago. After some personal issues, we thought opening the marriage was a much better alternative than the majority of marriages: Get married-get frustrated-have affairs-get divorced-repeat. We took about a year from talking about it, experimenting, deprogramming social beliefs, to getting used to it.

    The freedom to freely, and without secrecy, express affection/attraction with others, is incredible. It alleviates any feeling of "missing out", desiring what you can't have, etc. Affairs are improbable, since what you do, and how you feel about others is all out in the open, so there's a lot of security.

    The downside is a feeling of living in Bizarro world when monogamous people talk about their problems. Whenever I read posts on NoFap about partners having nervous breakdowns over crushes, a gf kissing someone, feeling jealous about a bf flirting, I just shake my head.

    A lot of people tell me "I could *never* do that!" due to issues/beliefs they're unwilling to address (like insecurity, jealousy, deceit, etc.). I find that these people can't even do monogamy beyond a few years. Polyamory will force you to address some personal issues pretty much immediately.
     
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  14. @primaljade it seems like you've figured out solutions to a lot of the obstacles. I don't think polygamous relationships are doomed to fail, but I cant see myself ever having a purpose to pursue one. Unless you come from a FLDS tradition or Muslim background maybe there is a higher calling, otherwise it seems to be a decision you make as a result of larger appatites, be it for romance or just sex.
     
  15. primaljade

    primaljade Fapstronaut

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    That's correct. Well, I'm not so sure if it's for "larger" appetites. I'll go out on a limb here, and just guess that >50% of men fantasize of threesomes, without believing they can fulfill that fantasy, let alone try. Openness to poly-type of relationship is Step #1.
     
  16. I won't subscribe to the idea that fantasy is healthy in all cases. Weather or not they are open to poly relationships is first a judgement of whether or not their "appetite" deserves indulging. They need to decide if perusing this style of relationship has value in their lives. I can only speak for myself and I say it would give me no benefit other then to satisfy parts of myself that would ultimately be unhealthy for me. Addicts of porn can move to being addicts of sex, but I recognize just as the alcoholic does, some people can drink responsibly, which seems to be your situation.
     
  17. STAR DUST

    STAR DUST Fapstronaut

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    I wish but my wife isn’t on board
     
  18. SheMonk

    SheMonk Fapstronaut

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    I think one of the issues about mono people "breaking down" when their partner is with someone else, is because it's a break of certain rules and expectations that generally comes with the mono label. If I was in a mono relationship with all its implied rules of exclusivity and I found out my partner was sleeping around or hooking up, I would be devastated as it would be a break of a certain belief / agreement not to do those things - agreeing to exclusivity but then not adhering to said agreement / doing something behind the other's back without their knowledge or consent - then it becomes unethical aka cheating. It's a break of trust, so I completely understand their upset when it happens. Break of trust is never nice, no matter what relation you're in.

    For me, it's an entirely different situation in an open thing, since I already know what to expect and what is going on, so there is no break of trust or agreements or whatever. It may not make sense to most mono people, but it's a huuuuge difference! I am all about trust and transparency with any relation (friends, family, whatever) and I accept nothing less. When you know who you're dealing with, it is up to you to decide whether it would work for you.

    That's also why I personally don't want to set any rules for what people can't or cannot do. I can and will only express my own boundaries, whatever they are, and together figure out if we are compatible. For example, my guy has a boundary which is his own friends (and the friends of the person he is dating). I am personally not inclined to wanting to date or see people within the same social circle (I always date people waaay out of my regular social circle - that's just my preference), so adhering to that boundary of his, is absolutely no problem for me, vice versa. So as long as no one is losing themselves to please the other and everyone is consensual and happy, then I think people should go for it, whatever the constellation.
     
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  19. primaljade

    primaljade Fapstronaut

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  20. primaljade

    primaljade Fapstronaut

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    Then get her on board, or find a new wife that is. Allowing yourself to be friend-zoned in a marriage is self-torture.
     

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