A Beginners Guide to Open Relationships

Carrie Ann Carrie Ann
I know we have lots of folks around here who are in open/poly type relationships. What do you think of this article? Does it hit all the basics? Leave anything out? Would you recommend it to those interested in poly? Or those who turn their noses up, as a learning tool?

How about you monogamous folks? How did the article make you feel? Did it make sense? Help you understand the mindset of those who may prefer an open relationship? Is there anything else you'd like to know or that you don't understand?
06/29/2009
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Carrie Ann Carrie Ann
It's hard to cover all aspects of poly/open relationships in a single, short article but I was fairly impressed with this one. I think it covered the basics pretty well.
06/29/2009
LicentiouslyYours LicentiouslyYours
Quote:
Originally posted by Carrie Ann
I know we have lots of folks around here who are in open/poly type relationships. What do you think of this article? Does it hit all the basics? Leave anything out? Would you recommend it to those interested in poly? Or those who turn their ... More
I have pretty negative feelings about poly relationships. This stems from my personal experience and observations of people I've known. Intellectually, I'm all for it and I know there are plenty of people out there who make it work and it's all fine and dandy.

I've come across more than one couple in a D/s relationship where the dominant male chooses to bring a 2nd person into their lives regardless of the wishes of the submissive female and without taking her state of mind and ability to cope into consideration. Of course, I understand the parameters of such a relationship allow for this, however I strongly feel a dominant with that kind of power in a relationship also has a responsibility to first understand if his or her submissive can cope and behave in a way that will preserve her mental health. Instead, I've seen dominant men act out of selfishness and stubbornness with the desire for what they want coming before what is in the best interest of everyone involved.

Of course, this is just one narrowly defined situation involving D/s and does not apply to all forms of poly and open relationships. I hope nobody takes these comments as a generalization that poly = bad. Just that idiots+poly=bad. lol

I think this particular article does well to bring up some issues people need to consider carefully before jumping into the deep end. I can say from personal experience that being "intellectually" accepting of the concept often does not coincide with being able to live with your emotional reactions to the reality of living with an open relationship.
06/29/2009
imp imp
Quote:
Originally posted by LicentiouslyYours
I have pretty negative feelings about poly relationships. This stems from my personal experience and observations of people I've known. Intellectually, I'm all for it and I know there are plenty of people out there who make it work and ... More
I also do have reservations regarding a D/s poly situation, it can work but in that situation you really have to put people and their feelings first rather than a D/s situation. We are a triad there is a submissive, a dominant and I the switch, it works for us becuase we have a rule "people before kink" and we have firm boundaries in place. It works for us because we can communicate well but it's not to say it will work for all.
06/29/2009
imp imp
Quote:
Originally posted by Carrie Ann
It's hard to cover all aspects of poly/open relationships in a single, short article but I was fairly impressed with this one. I think it covered the basics pretty well.
It's a good article for the curious. Any open relationship or poly situation can and will work if you can emotionally and mentally be open and communicative. It all comes down to the people involved and willing they are to be honest with themselves about what they want out of it, boundaries are definitely a must, know thyself well first before exploring these any of these types of relationships.

I highly recommend "Opening Up" as a great book for those who want to delve into the whole mindset a little deeper. It's also a great book for those who are monogamous and want a better understanding of what a wide umbrella there is when it comes to different types of open relationships and poly.
06/29/2009
Luscious Lily Luscious Lily
From someone who has no desire to be in an open relationship, this is a great resource so that I have a better chance of understanding what what/why/how they are. For those on the outside, it's often hard to understand most kinds of "nonstandard" (and I use that term very loosely and with tongue in cheek) relationships. Wonderful article!
06/29/2009
Wise Young Mommy Wise Young Mommy
Very interesting. I, personally, don't have any interest in open relationships and am in a monogamous marriage, but do realize that that is not for everyone. I enjoy reading about other people's lifestyles and how they make it work so I can be more open and understanding. Thanks for sharing this information!
07/08/2009
Backseat Boohoo Backseat Boohoo
Very good article! If given the choice, I practice polyfidelity; it gives me freedome and options as well as a sense of security and trust. Hence, I'm always up for more stuff about "non-standard" relationships!
07/08/2009
Alan & Michele Alan & Michele
Quote:
Originally posted by imp
I also do have reservations regarding a D/s poly situation, it can work but in that situation you really have to put people and their feelings first rather than a D/s situation. We are a triad there is a submissive, a dominant and I the switch, it ... More
I understand the dominant and the submissive, but what is the role of a "switch"? Not trying to be too nosy or anything, I'm just curious and un-informed (lol)

Michele
07/08/2009
Alan & Michele Alan & Michele
Alan & I have talked about this sort of thing, but we came to the conclusion that it wouldn't be all that fair to whatever third person we might bring in. With the type of relationship we have, it would be difficult not to think of that third person as nothing more than an extra toy in the bedroom, and neither of us are willing to use someone that way.
07/08/2009
Raven Raven
I am in a monogamous marriage and have no desire to enter into any sort of open relationship, but I certainly think that for the right people it could be wonderful. But I also think that it would be harder to actually live it than one would think. Human nature being what it is, I wonder how easy it would be for one member of a triad, for example, to become jealous and possessive after a while.

If such relationships in real life could be exactly like the stories in Lora Leigh's Bound Hearts series books, then I might have been inclined to consider it myself at one time. That I could have taken, I think. But now, after being with only my husband for years, I would never want to share him and I know he would never consider sharing me.
07/08/2009
SaucySarah SaucySarah
Quote:
Originally posted by Backseat Boohoo
Very good article! If given the choice, I practice polyfidelity; it gives me freedome and options as well as a sense of security and trust. Hence, I'm always up for more stuff about "non-standard" relationships!
Thanks for the love, all! Great feedback.

I do agree that there are problematic aspects to the D/s poly situation-- 'people before kink' is an excellent rule-- but I'm not experienced with that side of polyamory, so this is an enlightening discussion. Thanks for bringing it up!
07/10/2009
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Quote:
Originally posted by LicentiouslyYours
I have pretty negative feelings about poly relationships. This stems from my personal experience and observations of people I've known. Intellectually, I'm all for it and I know there are plenty of people out there who make it work and ... More
OMG idiots+relationships= bad LOL Poly isn't for everyone and even in a poly relationship there are times of monogamy and times where swinging seems more appealing.

Any type of relationship takes careful work and much compromise. No one should feel forced to do anything they are not comfortable with or plain old don't want to. Any so called dominant person who disregards his or her submissive partner's wants, needs and comfort level deserves to learn who has the real power in a D/s relationship! LOL
07/14/2009
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Quote:
Originally posted by Carrie Ann
I know we have lots of folks around here who are in open/poly type relationships. What do you think of this article? Does it hit all the basics? Leave anything out? Would you recommend it to those interested in poly? Or those who turn their ... More
The article did manage to do a credible job of touching on the major points involved in an open relationship. I hesitate to recommend the poly lifestyle to anyone even though I am in a poly triad. The choice has so many pitfalls and you have to be more honest with your partner and yourself than most people are willing, and in some cases, able to be. This article seems to be a good resource for those who are interested. I can't think of anything the article left out except that the whole process of opening your marriage never ends...jealousy issues will pop up at odd times, time constraints will cause problems ect. ect.
07/14/2009
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Quote:
Originally posted by Alan & Michele
Alan & I have talked about this sort of thing, but we came to the conclusion that it wouldn't be all that fair to whatever third person we might bring in. With the type of relationship we have, it would be difficult not to think of that third ... More
That is a very mature way of looking at the issue! That IS another human with thoughts and feelings AND expectations. While I know there are people who are quite willing and able to be just an extra toy in the bedroom it's not something even I would feel comfortable with. It is nice to see a couple who are willing to talk about this topic with such clarity and understanding.
07/14/2009
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Quote:
Originally posted by Alan & Michele
I understand the dominant and the submissive, but what is the role of a "switch"? Not trying to be too nosy or anything, I'm just curious and un-informed (lol)

Michele
A "switch" or "switch hitter" is a person who enjoys being dominant and submissive. Depending on the person I am with I am a switch myself, though I find submission to be much more challenging. Some people who practice D/s feel that to be truly a dominant person one must experience submission to better be able to understand and serve a submissive partner...and then again some disagree vehemently with this notion.

Sort of like saying you can't be poly if you like no-strings attached sex.
07/14/2009
Adriana Ravenlust Adriana Ravenlust
Well written article. Nothing new to me though I do have a tendency to think of polyamory and open relationships as separate things. I wonder why that is.

I have to agree with this:

"I can say from personal experience that being "intellectually" accepting of the concept often does not coincide with being able to live with your emotional reactions to the reality of living with an open relationship."

Intellectually, I understand but whether I could actually do it, is another. Although, I think I'd be better equipped to be in a triad as opposed to, say, a one night threesome stand.
07/14/2009
spicywife spicywife
I had a friend recently tell me that she went to a "mom's night out" and was surprised when the other women started talking about open relationships. She said that 4 out of 6 of the women have/had an open marriage but they said it was more difficult to manage now that they have kids.

The thoughts / feelings that come up for me is that I feel like strong emotional attachment has to be there (for me) to want to have any type of sexual relation. It seems like you marry a person because you love them, are attracted to them and only want to be with them. Maybe I'm a hopeless romantic.

I certainly don't "shun" people for practicing open relationships. I don't judge in that way. But I recognize the strong emotional aversion for me.

I also agree that human's have a jealous nature. I found myself wondering how many women in their open marriages really wanted to be? I just hope that open marriages are agreed upon 100% by both partners because I can see that it probably is really easy to be hurt.

I wonder about the emotional aspect of those with open marriages or those with open committed relationships in general.
07/14/2009
spicywife spicywife
And I really meant the last statement. I wouldn't mind hearing some input on that. My husband and I don't have interest in an open relationship because we have no desire to be with anyone else and because we both have emotional aversions to it as well. We have a strong emotional attachment to each other that just wouldn't make it possible. So it brings up this question for those with open relationships: Do you not have that particular attachment or is your relationship(s) different in some way?
07/14/2009
spicywife spicywife
When I said that I hope open marriages are agreed upon 100% by both partners, I was thinking about the women that my friend had talked to because women often have even stronger emotional bonds to their husbands if they have kids in the mix.

I wanted to say again that I really am curious about the emotional aspect, but I'm not trying to lay judgment. I hope that I haven't come off in that way. It's not right for us, but I truly understand that it is right for some people.
07/14/2009
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Quote:
Originally posted by spicywife
And I really meant the last statement. I wouldn't mind hearing some input on that. My husband and I don't have interest in an open relationship because we have no desire to be with anyone else and because we both have emotional aversions to ... More
I have been with my husband for 23 years (4 dating and 19 married) and I cannot even begin to imagine life without him. My attachment to him is so deep that my other life partner wouldn't even discuss my leaving my husband to be with him. He is my other half in so many ways that we almost seem to blend seamlessly on certain issues...the greatest of which being our commitment to our children. Sex with my husband is deep, intimate, emotionally and physically satisfying, and a reaffirmation of our deep abiding love. Our home is actually very tranquil and our neighbors sometimes complain that they can't hear the jokes that we are laughing about! We are complete as a couple, a team and our life works.

Personally, I did not form a deeper connection with my husband over our children and he was, and is, the one who has such a bone deep connection with me that he cannot see himself as a single man. While he was having his one night stands and other various affairs (he's much more of a swinger than I am) his one thought was to come home and share with me everything...the fact that the whole "good girls don't" stereotype kept me bound to a set of rules that choked the life out of me broke his heart.

We are also very independant people and while we love to blend and mesh at some points we also love to connect with others. I have always been more than willing to commit emotional infidelity. This is acceptable for women, find some people (or just one) and share a deep, intimate, but never, never sexual relationship with them and all is fine! In reality it damages your committed relationship more than actual sexual infidelity.
For us this was the only way we could connect on that last frontier, I love and share a deep emotional connection with both my legal husband and my other life partner. Loving Arch did not diminish my 19 year love affair with Sigel, in a very deep and wonderful way it broadened and deepened it. Sigel's having other women does not diminish his love for me, it makes our relationship special and amazing for him. He can admire and even pursue a beautiful woman and I am there enthusiatically loving that spark of new relationship energy. It's not an easy life but it does have it's own rewards.

As far as is it easier with or without children...we are completely open and honest with everyone in our lives. We do not share with our children the private aspects of our sex lives, nor will we ever welcome their comments or questions. If they are curious about our open marriage we will and have explained that there are many ways of loving in this big old world and they are welcome to explore them all in a safe, sane and consensual way. They know I sleep the night with Arch, they do not know what we do behind closed doors, nor will they ever be welcome into that sanctuary. It's simply none of thier business. That is our philosophy, we are open to questions but not to things no parent should want their kids to know about sex. Our girls are 12 and 10 and Sigel and I have never hid or used motels to conceal our sexual choices...neither have we swung from the chandeliers and had swing parties in our livingroom. We are openly discreet. I don't openly grope my husband in front of my kids so I can't ever see a time where I would do that with a lover. A kiss in greeting maybe a hug or hand holding is all they have ever seen. We are a touchy feely family anyhow.
We are expecting a baby in Dec. and my girls are well aware of where babies come from and that this is their half-sibling. Most of their friends have half brothers and sisters though they usually are the result of divorce.

Basically, the fact that my husband and I are not monogamous doesn't mean we are not willing or able to commit on a deep level, or that we are looking for something "missing". It doesn't mean we are unwilling to work out our problems or that we have poor communication skills. We are not seeking new lovers everynight and exposing our children to ridicule and public scrutiny. We practice safer sex with our other partners and we are very careful what sorts of people we allow around our children. We do not embarass our children with our wild sexual habits nor are we influencing them to be promiscuous. We are accepted by our community because we are so dang normal, we are almost boring! That inspite of the fact that we are homeschoolers, pagan, open about our open marriage, and open about my being a reviewer for EF!

Hope this answers some questions and concerns!
~Airen
07/17/2009
spicywife spicywife
Thanks Airen. I think it boils down to personal preference (of course, it's probably more complex than that). Some people want to open their hearts/lives to other relationships and others want to share it with just one person monogamously. I appreciate your honesty!

I think I understand it a bit more. I know that being monogamous is truly what is right for my husband and I. I honestly can't imagine it any other way, and you probably can't imagine your life any other way. We all find our balance in life, at least I hope everyone does!
07/17/2009
Alan & Michele Alan & Michele
Quote:
Originally posted by Airen Wolf
A "switch" or "switch hitter" is a person who enjoys being dominant and submissive. Depending on the person I am with I am a switch myself, though I find submission to be much more challenging. Some people who practice D/s feel ... More
Oh I see, that makes sense then. I tried looking it up on the Internet before asking here, but couldn't find anything!
07/17/2009
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Quote:
Originally posted by spicywife
Thanks Airen. I think it boils down to personal preference (of course, it's probably more complex than that). Some people want to open their hearts/lives to other relationships and others want to share it with just one person monogamously. I ... More
It really does boil down to finding what works for you and your partner(s). I tried monogamy and though I was sexually able to live with that choice I couldn't quite find balance. I have firm footing now and I have to admit that being between two men just flat out makes me feel terrific! I realize that the choice isn't for everyone and I don't think people who are mono are wrong or old fashioned, I have very concrete examples from my own family that monogamy works! I also have concrete examples that non-monogamy works as well...it's all about choices and the way you are wired I suspect.
07/18/2009
imp imp
Quote:
Originally posted by Alan & Michele
I understand the dominant and the submissive, but what is the role of a "switch"? Not trying to be too nosy or anything, I'm just curious and un-informed (lol)

Michele
Sorry hun I have been away with work and school holidays. I am exploring my "toppy" side and we have discussed co-topping within the relationship but in our wee trio we have one very dominant male so it's not a major issue with us, both females are submissives, me being slightly more alpha and switchy.

I am curious to explore my switchy side but not with him. I have an opportunity to switch with another partner if one should come along but right now I'm happy with status quo.

With each poly relationship it's different for every dynamic but at the end of the day our relationships come before the kink so if there are issues or a need to explore something that we cannot get with one partner we have the option to look outside the existing relationships.

I have a couple who are close friends and poly. They are both dominant, her husband is her dom and they both have another relationship each where they have subs. It can work but it takes alot of communication and transparency.
08/01/2009
imp imp
Quote:
Originally posted by Airen Wolf
I have been with my husband for 23 years (4 dating and 19 married) and I cannot even begin to imagine life without him. My attachment to him is so deep that my other life partner wouldn't even discuss my leaving my husband to be with him. He is ... More
Simply beautiful post.
08/01/2009
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Quote:
Originally posted by imp
Sorry hun I have been away with work and school holidays. I am exploring my "toppy" side and we have discussed co-topping within the relationship but in our wee trio we have one very dominant male so it's not a major issue with us, both ... More
Sounds fairly close to what I've experienced...my husband is very very dominant and probably the only one in the world who makes me want to submit. My other life partner is exploring his submissive side with me but he's also very dominant so it's been an interesting journey.

For us every relationship from the one night stand to the love affair comes before the kink. It takes sometimes months to get to a point where my husband feels comfortable enough to have sex with a new woman or couple. This has been from some really scary experiences that we've learned from....including a horny young teen fantacizing about my husband to any and all who would listen! When your freedom is on the line you learn to really get to know the kiny little perv you are interested in tying up and spanking, or else...
Personally, I like the whole I talk to you for years and then we gradually end up with a real connection but Sigel has taught me that that doesn't work for everyone. So it's all back to that whole up front totally honest communication and safer sex practices....followed by a trip to the Doc. for a sexual health check up!
08/23/2009
kitsuneyouko5 kitsuneyouko5
i like how this article puts the whole polyamory life style. Like a lot of people have said already though polyamory isnt for everyone. For an example of a 50/50 split in a couple: Im willing to explore polyamory, cheating bothers me but polyamory dosent, my husband however is a little uncomfortable with it. So we are still in a monogamous marriage. For polyamory to work both people have to be cool with it. And it cant be based on just some perverse desire to go out and sleep with other people and not get in trouble. Thats just stupid and is why polyamory has a bad name to a large populace. (sorry if I just made very little sense or had typos. going on about 3 hours of sleep for 24 hours right now lol)
11/21/2009
Owl Identified Owl Identified
I think that if this article's target audience are people that have heard sound bites about open relationships and want to know more, this is good. For those that know nothing and those that know something, not so much. For those that know a tiny bit, I think this is very useful. I also laughed VERY hard at the bit about mixing Latin and Greek roots. Anyone else?

I do think the distinction between polyamory (colloquially accepted as meaning multiple EMOTIONAL relationships) wheres those like myself that just do multiple sexual relationships just call their arrangement an open relationship. The two aren't necessarily interchangable, I don't think.
11/21/2009
Owl Identified Owl Identified
I'd also like to say that as a woman, I originally proposed the idea of an open relationship to my boyfriend and he was the one that was originally a little skeptical.
11/21/2009
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