Non-monogamous relationships discussion thread

(112 Posts)
wishfuldreamer Mon 04-Oct-21 12:10:17

I know that the last time someone attempted this, it didn't end well. but, some time has passed here, and i've witnessed some more reasonable discussions - and there were enough people asking questions on a different thread that I thought maybe a separate thread might be useful, rather than derail the OP's advice more than it already was.

I realise i can't control the direction of this, but I was thinking about this more as a place for people to ask questions and a place for discussion. not really for people in happy monogamous marriages to tell ENM folks what they are doing wrong/don't understand. Monogamous marriage is a perfectly valid choice, as far as I'm concerned, it just isn't the choice for me.

anyway...the space is here if people want to discuss or ask questions.

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TimeToDateAgain Mon 04-Oct-21 12:35:40

Is it possible to ask MNHQ to convert this to a support thread with an explicit notice about this like the one for the ASD/ADHD partners' support thread?

It's obviously a much needed topic for discussion and doesn't need to be derailed.

Balonzette Mon 04-Oct-21 13:19:59

Is it a "much needed topic for discussion" though? I really don't think it is. I don't mean this offensively but I just can't see why it would be considered important.

Boonlark Mon 04-Oct-21 13:24:34

Balonzette

Is it a "much needed topic for discussion" though? I really don't think it is. I don't mean this offensively but I just can't see why it would be considered important.


.
Because there are all sorts of different consensual relationships out there that need support, not just the monogamous ones.

Balonzette Mon 04-Oct-21 13:25:02

Posted too soon.

I think the reason people are negative about non-monogamous relationships is that whenever they're discussed on here, it's always the person involved saying that x,y, or z has happened. Basically something bad or it's gone wrong in some way. And the thing that's happened is always really predictable, so people who are not in non-monogamous relationships aren't very sympathetic. Like the thread recently. Oh, your husband ended up having feelings for the person he was having regular sex with? Who'd have ever seen that one coming? Sort of thing.

I suppose we never see any positive stories (which this thread could provide, I suppose).

I think non-monogamous relationships are never going to be something thay everyone is comfortable with though, and that's okay. We don't all need to be comfortable with everything. But I don't think negative comments are ever going to stop because to a lot of people the whole thing just seems rather seedy and sad, or to have the risk of going that way.

Balonzette Mon 04-Oct-21 13:26:48

(Not saying that I personally feel this way, just that I think this is why non-monogamous relationship threads will probably always end up being most people saying "Why are you even doing this to yourself?")

wishfuldreamer Mon 04-Oct-21 13:34:10

this whole board is full of problems - no one suggests that monogamous relationships are a bad idea on the basis of all the monogamous marriages that are going tits up on here, so I think that's a bit of a straw man.

There were enough curious people on a different thread asking questions, that I figured a space for that might be useful. I don't think people who don't see the point of ENM need to necessarily weigh in with more scepticism...?

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Boonlark Mon 04-Oct-21 13:35:07

I'll add a positive post, then smile

I have a lovely partner. He was always open about being poly from when we first met. I became friends with him and his nesting partner, and some years later became his partner too. I love seeing how cute he and his nesting partner are together. Both of them have helped me to improve my communication, especially about feelings and boundaries, mostly by their own example. It's also really refreshing to be able to chat about who we fancy etc and egg each other on grin

wishfuldreamer Mon 04-Oct-21 13:37:04

I guess what i'm trying to say is, i didn't really think about this as a place to 'show off' ENM relationship success stories, but more a place for people who were curious to ask questions, or to discuss.

There are a number of posters on here in successful and happy open relationships from the passing comments i've seen in other places, and including myself there are at least three who openly identify as polyamorous.

whether i'd call myself a 'success' i don't know, but certainly i'm happy...

OP’s posts: |
Boonlark Mon 04-Oct-21 13:39:05

wishfuldreamer

I guess what i'm trying to say is, i didn't really think about this as a place to 'show off' ENM relationship success stories, but more a place for people who were curious to ask questions, or to discuss.

There are a number of posters on here in successful and happy open relationships from the passing comments i've seen in other places, and including myself there are at least three who openly identify as polyamorous.

whether i'd call myself a 'success' i don't know, but certainly i'm happy...


.
Sorry, I wasn't trying to show off, and im not pretending it's better than monogamous relationships either. It just suits me.

MrsDSalvatore Mon 04-Oct-21 14:21:42

When and how did you realise NM relationships were for you?

TimeToDateAgain Mon 04-Oct-21 14:32:51

I'm interested in whether people explored such relationships because this was a relationship philosophy that appealed to them or if people explored it as a way of coping with a problematic relationship.

People's motivations and their association with a satisfactory outcome might be very different.

I'm aware of several relationships that would now be described as ENM or polyamorous and they've been sustained over several decades.

OTOH, I also know people who were talked into it (possibly a barely concealed ultimatum) and it has been a slow motion car crash that piled additional harm onto the person who had been persuaded into it as an interim solution to various relationship difficulties that were not resolved.

Bigeggsinapackoften Mon 04-Oct-21 14:38:31

I don’t have a problem with poly as long as everyone knows.

Too often it’s used by men as an excuse to cheat and their partners don’t know, or the women feel pressured into it

Have also seen it go spectacularly tits up in a situation that involved kids which puts me off.

TackyJewellery Mon 04-Oct-21 14:40:19

Boonlark

I'll add a positive post, then smile

I have a lovely partner. He was always open about being poly from when we first met. I became friends with him and his nesting partner, and some years later became his partner too. I love seeing how cute he and his nesting partner are together. Both of them have helped me to improve my communication, especially about feelings and boundaries, mostly by their own example. It's also really refreshing to be able to chat about who we fancy etc and egg each other on grin

See, the thing is, whenever I hear people talk about their non-monogamous relationships, it always boils down to one guy having his cake and eating it with two or more women.

As a feminist living under patriarchy, I just can’t help reading anecdotes like the one above and thinking yeahhhhhh riiiiiighhhht. How convenient for the man that he’s got two women who think it’s really cool that he’s got two women hmm

I also know of a lesbian who is in polyamorous relationships but weirdly (for me, a hetero-normie), she doesn’t have sex with all her partners. So I’m like, is that not just really good friendships then?

Anyway, the stories I never hear, and the ones I’d be most interested in hearing about, are women who have multiple men on the go. Would like to know how those dynamics shake out.

Bigeggsinapackoften Mon 04-Oct-21 14:44:12

I had multiple fwb at one stage but that was just sex. It wasn’t a relationship or relationships.

Does that count?

TimeToDateAgain Mon 04-Oct-21 14:48:39

Bigeggsinapackoften

I had multiple fwb at one stage but that was just sex. It wasn’t a relationship or relationships.

Does that count?

If they were FWB rather than a range of FB I'm unclear why these weren't relationships in some form.

Bigeggsinapackoften Mon 04-Oct-21 14:52:48

We were friends first but I fucked them? I had no desire to be in a relationship I didn’t want to go “out” with them?

Bigeggsinapackoften Mon 04-Oct-21 14:53:10

They never stayed over nor did I at theirseither.

Fakehungarian Mon 04-Oct-21 14:55:51

Hi all. I'm currently solo poly and pretty new to it. I welcome this thread! It would be great to connect with other ENM people and share support/encouragement/advice.

wishfuldreamer Mon 04-Oct-21 15:12:22

@Boonlark - sorry, i didn't mean 'show off' in a way to tell you off. I more meant that I didn't think ENM people should have to prove the positivity of their relationships to mono folk in their thread. it wasn't what I was thinking when i started the thread, though it is always nice to hear positive stories :-)

and, that said, I guess for @TackyJewellery i can share my own story as a way of showing it's not all one guy with loads of women...but it's a bit of a complex constellation of people, so apologies in advance. I'm going to use pseudonyms because it's easier to keep track of who is who.

So, i have three partners at the moment; two men, one woman - let's call them Craig, Andrew and Sarah. I've been with Craig for two years, and dating Andrew and Sarah for about three months at this point.

Craig has another long term female partner (Cynthia), which has become non-sexual at the moment, but is a very loving and affectionate relationship. He's recently started dating someone else, who he's fallen pretty hard I think. Cynthia has another male partner, who I know was dating, but didn't have anything else permanent other than her. His new love interest has a long term (male) partner. Mine and Craig's relationship is very serious and committed.

Andrew has a long-term partner, and a little girl. He's also seeing someone else very casually. Andrew's long term partner has another male partner who, for various reasons, is happy being just with her for the time being, though has had multiple partners in the past. My relationship with him is growing in a lovely direction - committed is probably not the word for it - with a little girl he doesn't have loads of time, but what we have works for us, and we enjoy spending time together (usually something like a 24 hour period every fortnight or so).

Sarah is not dating anyone other than me. she was explicitly not looking for anything monogamous when we started dating, though doesn't openly consider herself poly. Essentially, she's a busy woman with lots of things on, and doesn't have time for a monogamous style relationship. We hang out once a week or so, in something which probably resembles a FWB type arrangement, with a proper friendship underpinning the physical. We both understand that at some point she may choose a monogamous relationship with someone else, and it's something that we have discussed a few times already over the months.

I also have an ex, Ted, who was my first 'poly' partner. i was single, we'd been friends for years, and I learnt a lot about nonmonogamy through him and his long term partner Natalie. We split amicably (though not painlessly) earlier in the summer, and have slowly transitioned to a really lovely friendship. I'm also good friends still, and independently, with Natalie.

He and Craig knew each other and we hung out together. I have an independent friendship with Craig's other long term girlfriend. Craig and Andrew have recently met as that relationship is getting more permanent, and Sarah will probably meet Craig this weekend, as we're all going to the same event (coincidentally, in part).

So it's not all men with harems. I do agree that there are men out there who use poly as an excuse for cheating - but I'm of the opinion that if it's not open, then it's not poly. You can't be 'unwittingly' poly - you're just being subjected to infidelity.

OP’s posts: |
wishfuldreamer Mon 04-Oct-21 15:14:40

Bigeggsinapackoften

I had multiple fwb at one stage but that was just sex. It wasn’t a relationship or relationships.

Does that count?

I think this is when poly people can get a bit boorish over definitions. In general, people argue that 'real' polyamory is 'multiple loving and committed relationships', so would argue that just casual sex relationships isn't really poly.

Personally...i'm less interested in the strict definitions. I have multiple relationships (as i've just laid out in what i realise is really quite excessive detail), on a varying level of commitments. For me, the key to poly is that they can become loving and committed, even if they dont' start out that way. There is permission for them to do that.

OP’s posts: |
wishfuldreamer Mon 04-Oct-21 15:21:42

TimeToDateAgain

I'm interested in whether people explored such relationships because this was a relationship philosophy that appealed to them or if people explored it as a way of coping with a problematic relationship.

People's motivations and their association with a satisfactory outcome might be very different.

I'm aware of several relationships that would now be described as ENM or polyamorous and they've been sustained over several decades.

OTOH, I also know people who were talked into it (possibly a barely concealed ultimatum) and it has been a slow motion car crash that piled additional harm onto the person who had been persuaded into it as an interim solution to various relationship difficulties that were not resolved.

I don't really want to turn this into an AMA, but i'll answer this one.

I was single when i started exploring poly. it was something i had been interested in for a long time, and I've always been a bit sceptical about monogamy. I had been in a long term mono relationship before, but wanting to explore poly wasn't the reason it ended.

Trying out polyamory as an ultimatum is always going to be a disaster. At the very least, the person asking for it has to be led by the pace of the more reluctant party, who might want to just try it on for size and see how they feel. It often ends badly, with lots of people hurt - including new partners. Generally 'our relationship is broken, let's add more people!' works out just as badly as assuming having a baby will fix your marriage.

OP’s posts: |
Potteringshed Mon 04-Oct-21 15:32:53

See, the thing is, whenever I hear people talk about their non-monogamous relationships, it always boils down to one guy having his cake and eating it with two or more women.

I definitely know multiple relationships where that isn't the case. Two of the most stable long term poly relationships I know are a woman living with her two male partners. In one case they are raising kids happily together - the DC have one mum and two dads. I also know a couple of triads where everyone is dating everyone and the two women are sleeping with each other as well as the man, plus a few same sex group set ups.

RatherBeInTokyo Mon 04-Oct-21 16:05:35

We made an agreement for an open marriage a few years back. It hasn’t actually been invoked in any significant way yet, but I think it’s made us both feel more comfortable that we’re not “trapped” with each other - if either of us is attracted to someone else we can explore that and be honest about it, while keeping our marriage as a safe space.

I actually never wanted to be monogamous, growing up i thought Simone de Beauvoir had the right idea but society/friends convinced me monogamy was the only realistic option for years. I’m glad attitudes are shifting.

Boonlark Mon 04-Oct-21 17:46:26

Ah, I thought someone might think it was the patriarchal thing. Not at all. My metamour (my partner's other partner) has had other partners and just happens to just have him at the moment.

As for me, I'm open to another partner, I'm also very cautious about getting close to others due to past abusive partners, so I like to do the friendship thing first and see if it develops into anything...COVID has made that difficult! I'm also not wanting to get another partner just for the sake of it.

There are some people around who talk about ENM who wave red flags for me. I think it's really hard to start it if you're changing from being a mono couple to being poly. And I do worry about mono partners being coerced.

The other thing, is straight couples who want a bi woman to date...this is called unicorn hunting because how likely is it that each of a couple will find one person who clicks with both of them, and is bi, and is poly? I've been unicorn hunted and it's unpleasant, as they don't tend to see the person, but only the body they can use in sex.

I don't date couples. I would be willing to date two poly people who are seeing each other, but as separate relationships, not as a thruple.

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