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Open relationships, polyamory, etc
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just Justin Whitson
Open relationships, polyamory, etc on 10/28/2013 17:44:22 MDT Print View

In a culture wherein there are lingering vestiges of the Victorian times, mixed in with a corporate and media manipulated and constantly hammered image of sex sells, and wherein it seems a decent percentage of people are (or have) secretly cheating on each other open relationships probably seem kind of weird, radical, or out there to most. At least, most don't seem to understand it when they have found out my partner and i have an open relationship (or rather the option thereof).

Lot's of the questions and reactions are kind of funny to us. Some of the reactions have been kind of extreme. Others just humorous or expressing bafflement.

Despite having lived this lifestyle, i actually have quite mixed feelings to polyamory because i've seen it in others as an excuse to indulge one's sex drive wantonly, to avoid forming real or deeper relationships, and other issues i see as limiting and non constructive.

But on the other hand, a lot of prejudice out there is kind of knee jerk and well, prejudice based on lack of experience or knowns about a subject. And on cultural conditioning and one might say brainwashing.

A bit of a background. Becky and i have been together for some 13 years and lived together most of that time. About 7 years ago we got officially married. For a huge chunk of all that, we were completely monogamous except for one minor instance of her being kissed by someone else. About 5 or 4 years ago, we moved 2 hrs apart because of job opportunities. We thought it was only going to be a year, but fate had other plans. Ended up being almost 3 years living apart.

When we first moved apart, we talked more seriously about something that we had previously only shallowly talked about, the possibility of dating other people. We had always been honest and open with each other about our attractions to others, because we're basically pretty individually secure and happy, and happy and secure in our relationship.

So, we took the plunge. Earlier on, i had a couple of brief relationships, but more or less realized it wasn't for me, not that i'm not tempted sometimes (but that is usually more the hormones of a male body and not really me). She on the other hand, became more active in it. She met at least one person with whom she had a very deep connection with. She had dreams occasionally wherein she knew and observed that they had been married before, etc. I haven't yet to meet someone besides her that i have felt that deeply connected to spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and that's one of the reasons i stopped thinking about getting involved with other women romantically (beyond the occasional hormone flashes). If i ever did, i might reconsider, but i don't want to base relationships on a little emotional or mental attraction and sexual desire.

It was interesting, and at times challenging to be in the position of watching someone you are attached to, fall in love with another man, and learn how to be ok with that and not having someone else in my life too. No need to go into specifics but yes, honestly at times it was very tough and oddly at other times it was very easy. During the tougher times, all kinds of repressed insecurities and little fears and little moments of selfishness came up occasionally.

However, i don't regret it, it helped me grow as a person, to get over some of that shadow stuff. My heart is now more open, accepting, and i'm a stronger person for all the challenges i've been through (speaking of life in general on the last one).

I really don't think one size fits all for most anything (except for the importance of love/kindness/compassion/patience/ethics), and so i don't think polyamory is for everyone, not by a long shot. Yet, at times, i can't help but look at the various individuals and couples i know or know of, and think that they might benefit from a temporary trial experiment of it, if only for the challenge to and conscious stirring up of ones shadow side. Or when i read threads like, "what matters most in life", it kind makes me think that honesty, communication, and openeness is far better than secrecy, lies, etc.

So, what are your thoughts on open relationships, polyamory, etc. Any experiences or others who have experimented with that lifestyle (and i don't mean horny, immature, young men bachelor types)?

I might just erase this, not sure why i wrote this, though in part was spurred by the other thread relating to relationships.

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
Interesting on 10/28/2013 18:07:43 MDT Print View

Justin, please don't delete this thread, it was an interesting read - great insight into a very tabued subject.

Well, as long as you and your partner agrees totally on the lifestyle, i say go for it. I don't think it would be for me, but i respect it 100 percent.

You're being honest to each other, the other thread you're referring to, had a lot of dishonesty, that's why it sucked.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Open relationships, polyamory, etc on 10/28/2013 18:15:10 MDT Print View

I agree don't delete. I learned a new word today. My feelings are mixed on this subject. Though I don't get why get married if you are not going to give yourself completely to one person. Old fashioned perhaps. My parents would say that you two are whoring around. But their marriage was a disaster.

My wife would make a living hell just for me if I went on a date. But I've never been tempted. One at a time is more than enough. I don't buy the hormone reasoning. We all have free will.

My grandfather would say that men can only think with one head at a time, but usually listen to the wrong one.

The what ifs in life....

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Open relationships, polyamory, etc on 10/28/2013 18:30:24 MDT Print View

Ok, Peter and Ken, i will leave it up. I completely agree Peter, dishonesty sucks.

re: hormones, i wasn't using it as an excuse, but saying that i have to consciously use my freewill to redirect that part of myself, which i know is related more to the body than anything else. I view that part of self as limiting when overly focused on, which is one of the reasons why i choose to not indulge it. And that goes for masturbation, porn, etc too.

While i have the open option, i choose to not use it for various different reasons, but the hormone aspect is sometimes a bit of a challenge in that there is still a lot of testosterone in this body at this point. Generally, we prefer to affectionately cuddle with other folks than anything else besides typical friendship.

I have ZERO sexual, physical body attraction to men, but i've been known to cuddle with guys i feel a connection to, too. I've never understood why it's ok for otherwise straight women to be physically affectionate with each other at times, but not us men? There are some differences, but not as much as we think. Most of it is cultural and dogma, social fear, etc, etc.

P.s. when we got married, there was no polyamory on the horizon that we knew of. Came at least a couple or few years later.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 10/28/2013 18:31:11 MDT.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Open relationships, polyamory, etc on 10/28/2013 18:35:29 MDT Print View

"but i've been known to cuddle with guys"

Yeah me too but hypothermia may have had something to do with it.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Re: Re: Open relationships, polyamory, etc on 10/28/2013 18:43:39 MDT Print View

Geez Ian, trying to have a serious conversation here (face palm). I suppose i could make a joke in turn..hmm something about coldness, stiffness, etc.

But i won't go there.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Open relationships, polyamory, etc on 10/28/2013 18:43:42 MDT Print View



just Justin Whitson
Re: Open relationships, polyamory, etc on 10/28/2013 18:47:13 MDT Print View

Haha, i suppose there is some truth to that Bob, in a limited Darwinian sense at least.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: interesting on 10/28/2013 18:50:54 MDT Print View

It's like a Chaff renaissance here lately. So happy to see it. @

Sharon J.
(squark) - F

Locale: SF Bay area
manly affection on 10/28/2013 18:53:14 MDT Print View

interesting article Bosom Buddies: A Photo History of Male Affection

"After WWII, casually touching between men in photographs decreased precipitously. It first vanished among middle-aged men, but lingered among younger men. But in the 50s, when homosexuality reached its peak of pathologization, eventually they too created more space between themselves, and while still affectionate began to interact with less ease and intimacy."

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: manly affection on 10/28/2013 19:04:53 MDT Print View

Sharon's article reminded me of this one (sorry I can never get the embedded links right)

My apologies for the language but I think the author is spot on. A few of these points cover a range of topics discussed in recent history here in Chaff but #4 for this one.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: manly affection on 10/28/2013 19:42:27 MDT Print View

Group hugs at the GGG Ian.. Nobody escapes that fate. I'm a hugger. Just so you know.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Open relationships, polyamory, etc on 10/28/2013 19:49:59 MDT Print View

"i suppose there is some truth to that Bob, in a limited Darwinian sense at least."

It's a techie way of expressing an ancient truth: Women gravitate to the warmest fire.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: manly affection on 10/28/2013 19:51:35 MDT Print View

Sharon, nice link.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: manly affection on 10/28/2013 20:00:40 MDT Print View

Ian, great article, thanks. Also enjoyed the story linked within your linked story - 6 Ridiculous Lies You Believe About the Founding of America. That was a fascinating read as well.

just Justin Whitson
Re: manly affection on 10/28/2013 20:12:19 MDT Print View

Very interesting and a bit surprising article Sharon.

Sort of related. I work at a group home with a group of adult men who have intellectual disabilities. One of the guys is in some ways pretty high functioning, but due to autism, OCD, and some other issues would have a very hard time living completely on his own. He is about a decade older than myself.

Sometimes when we are out in public, he will spontaneously reach for and hold my hand. I know it's not sexual at all, and personally i'm fine with it, but sometimes i find myself feeling a little uncomfortable because of the cultural stigmas and thinking "what will others think?". I think perhaps he gets nervous in crowds and is looking for some reassurance or grounding, or something.

It's funny, but i use to work in home with children who had disabilities and worked with a younger kid who has autism as well, and he would do the same thing out in public and in crowds, but i felt less uncomfortable with it. Odd that just because the other person is a grown man, i should feel less comfortable about it.

Yet apparently, according to that article and comments contained therein, in some cultures men holding hands is considered quite normal.

Wouldn't it be nice to have no social fear or self consciousness irregardless of culture, accepted norms, etc?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: manly affection on 10/28/2013 20:20:44 MDT Print View

"Yet apparently, according to that article and comments contained therein, in some cultures men holding hands is considered quite normal."

Very common in the Balkans, Middle East, and South Asia, IME.

women on 10/28/2013 20:21:09 MDT Print View

Someone once asked a woman "Why is it that women kiss each other all the time, but men dont?"

She replied "Thats easy. Women have nothing better to kiss, men do."

Edited by livingontheroad on 10/28/2013 20:21:44 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: manly affection on 10/28/2013 20:56:23 MDT Print View

Ian, great article, glad you've come around and turned into a liberal : )

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: manly affection on 10/28/2013 21:01:54 MDT Print View

Steady Ian. You're obsessed Jerry.