Open relationship?

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
wood
Posts: 220
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2015 5:53 am

Open relationship?

Post by wood » Tue May 03, 2016 6:10 am

Short version:
Have any of you been in a monogamous relationship and then made it open/poly? Why and how did you do it? (Cheating doesn't count as a permanent solution!)


Longer version/background/more questions.


The reason I ask is because my marriage is "semi-open", in lack of a better word. I'm wondering wether it be a good idea to make it more open, and if so, how to move forward. Some info that might be relevant to potential advice:

I've been with my wife for 4 years. She's bisexual, but leans more to the hetero side of things. Plus she hated being in a lesbian relationship. She's 27 and has been through many relationships compared to me, a couple of them longterm.
I'm 31, hetero, and have been in one longterm relationship before, plus a dozen of encounters/short relationships.

We occasionally get labelled "modern day hippies". We smoke weed from time to time, we've engaged in a threesome, we're quite peaceful, open minded, enjoy philosophical/sofisticated/intellectual discussions as well as parties and acting like kids. We're accepting and not judgemental. Add to that the ERE part of our life; we barter, make home made stuff, love free stuff. We try eat healthy, workout. A few friends know all of this, others know parts of it. I guess people have a certain image of how hippies are/were and eventually put us in the same categori once they know us well enough. I don't mind it at all, this is just to describe the type of people/couple that we are. Apart from the above, we generally fit in like the rest of society - normal jobs, normal family relations etc. We have very different cultural backgrounds (me scandinavia, she east africa) and have decided to be our own tribe first and other tribe relations second, if that makes sense.

About our relationship, we are very upfront and honest with each other. We are best friends. We don't mind discussing the ass size of the woman who just passed by. We don't mind discussing desires, fantasies, crushes on other men/women. A younger woman from Singapore will be staying with us for 3 weeks this summer. We will most likely end up having a lot of sex together. We are all good friends.
We are also business sparring partners. I learn about opportunities/trends in her country and vice versa. We both like to learn and invest.
We are not bound by love only, and our relationship is not dependent on us being constantly in love with each other. I hear this alot, its "important to be in-love". I disagree. It's nice, but not important. All relationships are different. The main reason we got married was to ease the visa process. Without being in love, we would most likely still have a great, functioning relationship. We are less in love now than we used to be. At times we don't feel in love at all. Like my older coworker says: "The only things I do with my wife is eat dinner together and go to sleep together". There is alot of hidden wisdom in that.

The way forward. At some point I will find myself in a situation where I'd want to have sex with someone but not in a position to discuss it with my wife beforehand. She will too. Examples: at a party, on holiday, home alone weekends. Any situation when not together really. Until now it hasn't happened (not being able to discuss/ask), but chances are it will happen and as much as we know the other one will probably accept it we have just agreed to discuss these things before doing them, because really, it doesn't happen THAT often. It's more twice a year than twice a month. What further complicates things sometimes is where to draw the line. At what point do you consider it a potential sexual encounter? When introducing yourself, when grabbing the first cup of coffee together or when in bed together? For obvious reasons it can be difficult not to cheat before discussing/asking. And for obvious reasons we do not wish to hurt each others feelings. Even if I'm ok with her having sex with someone she finds über handsome, she just wants to lay him to get rid of the crush, I wouldn't necessarily be ok with them seing each other every other day. And vice versa.

The solution until know has been open communication. I'm wondering if it'd be better to just agree on some ground rules, so that each feels free enough without having to "ask for permission" so to speak. And btw, this will most likely not only be about sex. It might be that we wish to allow for other relationships as well, typically in the realm of FWB and sexperimentation but it could be just close friends of the opposite sex as well. Whereas a "normal" marriage would allow for e.g. the male to have male hiking buddies, this marriage would allow for any kind of buddy of any kind of sex/age/preferences.

I'm reading about 7wannabee and Zalo's experiences in this field and I am enthralled. I wonder how each relationship works. Is there jealousy? Do some of the relationships exist for other reasons than sex? Are some closer than other, do you have a "main" relationship with "side" relationships? Do you have a current favorite? The important thing with us is, we always consider each other in whatever we do, and that is still how we want our relationship to be. So if one party feels the other is spending too much time/emotions on a buddy, we talk it out, compromise and figure out how to handle it. Or, that is how I imagine it would be in an ideal world. Worst case, she falls in love and wants to end the relationship with me. This would mean she has met someone who fulfills all her needs/wants better than I do, and I think I'm ok with that if it were to happen. I want what's best for her, and I know I would be okay anyway.

My other questions are: what ground rules would be advisable in an open relationship/marriage? Is it advisable to just agree on a 'trial period'? Will we end up with more rules and sources for potential conflict than we have now? I'm seing how this could make my life better and richer, but I'm also seing how it could potentially damage the relationship with my wife. I'm having trouble assessing risk/reward.
What is the difference between 1) what I'm describing above, 2) an open relationship and 3) being polyamorous?

I guess it all depends. It all depends. But I would still appreciate advice or suggestions, even from those who don't have relevant experience. This is unknown territory to me. I might be missing something important and you are smart people.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue May 03, 2016 9:02 am

I'm reading about 7wannabee and Zalo's experiences in this field and I am enthralled. I wonder how each relationship works. Is there jealousy? Do some of the relationships exist for other reasons than sex? Are some closer than other, do you have a "main" relationship with "side" relationships? Do you have a current favorite?
I am a raw newbie myself since I have only been practicing poly-amory for less than a year, after 36 (!!!) years of serial monogamy with zero-percent overlap of partners and gaps varying from between 3 days to more than 6 months, total of 20 partners with shortest duration of relationship being one weekend, and longest duration being 19 years. All of my monogamous partners were men/boys my age or older, except for one female and one younger man. Oops, actually the one female did overlap with a man, but it seemed so different it didn't compute as anything like cheating.

Anyways, since I became poly-amorous, I have had 5 partners, 3 of whom I am still seeing. Two were dismissed on the basis of "no books in his house" and "rude to Bengali waiter" among other factors. "Rude to Bengali waiters" aka The Yacht Guy is still semi-stalking me via text, so that is a downside. My tendency towards male partners who are my age or older has held steady, but I am finding a good deal of variety even within this field. There is also a very likely other, who would make for a current total of 4. I simply do not have enough time/energy for any more than that, and even 4 is pretty borderline, even though I am doing no cooking or vacuuming ;)

There have been only very, very minor direct issues with jealousy so far in my relationships. Much less than I have experienced in some of my monogamous relationships, likely because everyone is self-aware about having to address the possibility, and the lack of resentment or feeling of being duped that would happen with cheating on contract. Also, since all of us are interested in having more than one relationship, it is in clear conflict with self-interest to stomp on that desire in other. However, I must admit that this is a little bit "iffy" with my newest partner, because it is almost like I am informing or reminding him that it is in his self-interest too.

Every one of my relationships exists for reasons other than sex. In simplest terms, one exists for shared devotion to permaculture and community activism, another exists due to desire for romance and shared devotion to issues concerning social justice, and the third exists for recreational companionship and shared sense of humor. The Peacemaker makes me feel like the girl on the front of Matthew Sweet's "Girlfriend" CD looks like she feels. The Permaculture Manager makes me feel intermittently like a caramel-filled chocolate bar draped on top of a lightbulb or a little buddy. The DeadPan-Neurotic Cowboy makes me feel relatively calm and centered, yet also frequently made to laugh. If my 4th relationship with the MuseumMan comes into being, it will be somewhat adjunct to my relationship with the Peacemaker, but may also fulfill some recreational companionship needs. Also, bottom-line being that I simply can not and do not have sexual relationships with men with whom I can not also share interesting conversation. Of course, since it is rare for me to encounter a man my age or older who is capable of intelligent conversation, but in possession of fewer funds than me, it is rarely the case that I am the one who is picking up the bill at dinner, but a lot of that has to do with these oh-so-very-busy men not wanting to be inconvenienced, as opposed to paying P.O.P. (There is no doubt that P.O.P. is a reality, but it is largely mitigated if you are trading with me due to my weak, weak, weak response to any variation on a mix of man-candy (deep voice, rough beard, hard muscles, broad shoulders...) and dominant/charming behavior. I currently blame it on my short ring finger, otherwise I am sure I would be contently and lucratively settled in a sex-dead marriage with one of SClasse's SanJoseTechGuy friends, since I am capable of rational thought in alignment with self-interest. )

I am not currently engaged in or seeking a main or primary relationship, because I am a selfish old crone and a wilful young girl, but not a mature, adult woman. Those who are seeking such, must look elsewhere. I do not have a favorite partner, or more accurately, my feelings of favoritism vary quite a bit and mostly in alignment with proximity. Terrible truth being that I kind of forget how attractive each man is until I see him again, even if it is just a matter of a few days. The Permaculture Manager, in particular, is one of the finest examples of masculine beauty I have ever encountered in my 36(!!!) years on the market. It's like the blood rushes into my eyeballs when he takes his shirt off.

From my perspective of free-agent polyamorist, one thing you really need to bear in mind is not to veer to hard into what is known as "couple privilege" in polyamory circles. I almost ended my relationship with the Peacemaker because his contract with his primary partner (wife) is "don't do anything that might threaten the primary relationship" and, IMO, that is a weak-azz contract because it has to do with feelings, not behavior. And, if you are party to a weak-azz contract then you are more likely to exhibit some weak-azz behavior. I would never knowingly have sex with a man who was cheating on contract because that sort of behavior smells like "too wimpy to deal with his partner" to me. So, even a touch of "afraid to make open contract very clear" gives me a whiff of that. Makes me feel like I am in a 3-way with a more dominant female, for which I did not contract and have zilch desire. Funny thing that happened was that after the Peacemaker and I resolved this minor issue, he and his wife happened to have dinner in my neck-of-the-woods and almost invited me to join them, but meanwhile I was happenstance having dinner with other partner in their neck-of-the-woods. I think I (at least) will feel more comfortable about meeting the Peacemaker's wife after the Peacemaker and I meet with the MuseumMan. She used to be polyamorous herself, but now she has pretty much taken herself off the market completely due, I think, to some combination of age (60), health(still smokes!) and workaholic (very successful mortgage broker.)

Because I am old enough to no longer give much a damn what anybody thinks, even my quite conservative mother is now aware of the fact that I am practicing polyamory. We were talking about Trump and Hillary yesterday, and this prompted my mother to, oh so very wittily, say in reference to my current practice, "Well, sometimes it takes a village."

IlliniDave
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by IlliniDave » Tue May 03, 2016 7:22 pm

Looking at it from a lifestyle of semi-accidental celibacy (hopefully not permanent!) I tend to see such the whole "poly" lifestyle as way too complicated for my liking. Doesn't seem to line up with my desire to reduce clutter. :)

7Wannabe5
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed May 04, 2016 6:15 am

IlliniDave said: Looking at it from a lifestyle of semi-accidental celibacy (hopefully not permanent!) I tend to see such the whole "poly" lifestyle as way too complicated for my liking. Doesn't seem to line up with my desire to reduce clutter. :)
Semi-accidental celibacy, hmmm, is that like semi-accidental pregnancy? "Poly" is complicated, but it's not complicated like clutter. The reason I am willing to do the extra work is the extra freedom the lifestyle affords me. Consider a simple model where what I want at this point in my life from male companionship is sex 4X/week, intelligent conversation over relaxed dinner 4X/week, manual labor assistance with one of my projects 4 hours/week, escort to cultural event 4x/week, cozy cuddle 4x week. I could get this list fulfilled by one partner, but it would be very difficult to avoid further proximity that would limit my freedom to make various decisions. In my experience, not just opinion, the situation would very, very quickly become one in which I might be asked the question "Where should we spend our vacation this autumn?" or informed "I am thinking that we need to buy you a new car in order to expedite this plan of mine. " (Actually, even in my current poly relationships this is happening to extent, but the diversification limits the need to compromise or the feeling of being smothered/controlled.) Also, I am free to decide to go to Brazil for 6 months if I want to with no need to consult with anybody about my plans, and no limit on whether or not I can take a new lover while I am there.

IOW, for me, not everyone, "poly" is my way of staying adamantly single-free-agent without having to choose worse, IMO, options of celibacy or strictly short-term encounters. I think it is quite possible that I could go to Brazil for 6 months, and then come back and resume my relationships with some of the men I left behind. I am free to wander on as long a tether as possible without having to break-up with anyone (unless they are rude to waiters or choose not to bathe, etc. etc.) or be celibate.

IlliniDave
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by IlliniDave » Wed May 04, 2016 6:47 am

Invoking a :) denotes an intent at a certain amount of humor. The OP asked for thoughts from everyone including non-practicers. I tend to make "clutter" a pretty broad category, which is what I guess you could call a personal quirk.

"semi-accidental celibacy": it's not an aspiration, just how things have worked out. However, my choices have had some influence on that outcome, so it's not exclusively random chance or bad luck (or good).

7Wannabe5
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed May 04, 2016 7:54 am

@IlliniDave: I know you were being silly. I was being silly back at you :) The only conditions under which I have been celibate for very long have been due to some unfortunate combination of stress, depression, isolation and shyness. I very frequently, after a break-up, have been known to make a declaration along the lines of "I am done with men forever!", but those who know me well are likely to start placing bets on whether it will be 3 months or just 3 weeks until I have found somebody new. Although, in my defense, I must say that it seems more like they find me. Anyways, I rather admire those who can choose celibacy.

wood
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by wood » Sat May 07, 2016 10:01 am

This is all very interesting to read. I will come back later with some thoughts. 7Wannabe5, do you ever feel lonely? Lonely as in missing someone who is devoted to you only, or having someone you know will be there until the day you die. Or any other definition. You seem to be good with definitions.

And also, what would be good examples of strong-azz contracts as opposed to weak-azz ones?

7Wannabe5
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat May 07, 2016 7:26 pm

wood said: And also, what would be good examples of strong-azz contracts as opposed to weak-azz ones?
A strong-azz contract is easy (or straight-forward) to fulfill and easy to enforce. A weak-azz contract is the opposite.

For instance, "We will not take phone calls or text messages from other lovers while we are in each others company, unless likely emergency." vs. "If either of us feel threatened, then the other will have to drop relationship with lover." Not answering a phone. Do-able. Saying "Hey, that was out of line when you took that call. The next time you do that, you will lose the pleasure of my company in the moment, and possibly for much longer. " Do-able. Controlling other person's feelings of being threatened. Not do-able. Enforcing the end of a relationship between two other people. Not do-able.
do you ever feel lonely? Lonely as in missing someone who is devoted to you only, or having someone you know will be there until the day you die.
I was extremely lonely when I was "trapped" in a loveless marriage. Since I am sort of a simple person, it is difficult for me to feel lonely if I spend most days in the company of one lover or another. Wednesday morning I went out with two of them at the same time, and it was a little bit odd, but definitely not lonely. I would say that lately it is more like I have some slightly opposite feelings, along the lines of " human cuddle toy." or "S-P-O-I-L-E-D." There is a cultural myth that sexually promiscuous women are treated badly, but I have found the reality to be quite the opposite. Many men who want to be my friend want to be my lover, and many men who want to be my lover want to be my friend too. I understand that I may eventually have to add some younger men to my circle if I want somebody to still be around when I die, but even with older men, my odds are much better with 3 than 1.

George the original one
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by George the original one » Sat May 07, 2016 7:46 pm

You need some ground rules on infections and precautions.

There's also the availability issue. As in, "I was available, but you preferred to go with that other person."

George the original one
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by George the original one » Sat May 07, 2016 8:31 pm

Never underestimate that jealousy can happen from the oddest angles, when you least expect it. Usually along the lines of "I don't see what makes you interested in them." I found it never happens when your partner picks or proposes matchups, but be prepared for the stuff from left field when you choose your own matchup.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun May 08, 2016 7:51 am

@Gtoo: All good points. I think part of the reason that availability hasn't been much of an issue in my relationships (yet) is due to the fact that my availability is much greater than that of any of my partners, due to the fact that they work full-time. It's interesting how the conflict of "possessiveness" vs. "freedom" can play out in relationships, just like in the financial or "stuff" realm. The reason why the rule-of-thumb Taleb offered of "You should lease, not buy, anything you fly, float or f*ck.", although true enough to be funny, doesn't hold up is that all free adult parties, always and forevermore, own their own sexuality. One of my current partners once "kept" a young Sri Lankan woman for a year, and one of my former partners once contracted for marriage with a virgin bride. I have been in strict monogamous contract with an overt Dominant. There are no circumstances under which anybody can own the sexuality of another. There is no way to secure your emotional "investment" in a relationship. Once you truly comprehend this reality, you also comprehend the irrationality of the jealous reaction.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun May 08, 2016 11:28 am

Further note on the loneliness point. All 4 of my circle wrote to wish me a Happy Mother's Day : )

wood
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by wood » Mon May 09, 2016 8:46 am

@7Wannabe5.

You say every relationship you have exists for reasons other than sex. I'm not equating sex with love, but in one of your later posts I see you call them lovers. The way I interpret it is that you have sex with all of them. Is this because they have sex as the main reason for their relationship with you? I get the impression it is a bit of both - one or more shared interests creates the foundation for your relationships while sex and practical favours (like handyman work) seem to exist as part of the trade (?) I am assuming most men have sex as their main motivation for multiple partners but I might be very wrong. I just have a hard time believing that a man who is ok with a polyamorous partner would not have sex as one of their main drivers.

You also mention that your partners can have multiple partners themselves. This is part of the contract I suppose. But if I remember correctly, I think you mentioned that one or more only have you as their partner, because they are more tied up with their job than you. How does this work in practice? I see a potential problem in which such a partner would end up demanding more from you than you can give. And regardless of whether your contract is strong or weak, can't this be a potential problem anyway? Humans typically pick other favorite humans to spend more time with. How do you regulate this in the contract, if at all? I guess you work out a routine and try stick to it, and if someone puts an ultimatum of "more time together, or we stop contact altogether" you can always take comfort in the fact that you have 3 other partners waiting in line. Have you been the person to want more time with someone who can/do not have enough time (apart from the marriage)? I understand that you cannot secure emotional investment in a relationship. But it can nevertheless hurt to lose it. With multiple partners at once I am assuming it will happen more often. Does it, and have you developed a smart way of dealing with it? I think the availability issue that George-the-O.O. brings up could be very much related to this and he does bring up a good point there.

I was very intrigued by your statement: "(...) all free adult parties, always and forevermore, own their own sexuality". I would very much appreciate it if you could expound on this, because from my own experience I think you are on to something, I'm just not sure if I understood it the way you meant it.

@George the original one.
Never underestimate that jealousy can happen from the oddest angles, when you least expect it. Usually along the lines of "I don't see what makes you interested in them." I found it never happens when your partner picks or proposes matchups, but be prepared for the stuff from left field when you choose your own matchup.
Very good point. I usually like the ones my wife picks, but she doesn't always approve the ones I pick. It correlates heavily with what you said.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon May 09, 2016 8:41 pm

wood said: You say every relationship you have exists for reasons other than sex. I'm not equating sex with love, but in one of your later posts I see you call them lovers. The way I interpret it is that you have sex with all of them. Is this because they have sex as the main reason for their relationship with you? I get the impression it is a bit of both - one or more shared interests creates the foundation for your relationships while sex and practical favours (like handyman work) seem to exist as part of the trade (?) I am assuming most men have sex as their main motivation for multiple partners but I might be very wrong. I just have a hard time believing that a man who is ok with a polyamorous partner would not have sex as one of their main drivers.
I understand that some polyamorous people have non-sexual romantic relationships. Highly unlikely that would ever happen with me unless there was some sort of temporary barrier to proximity. I do currently have 3 lovers. I tried the 4th I was considering, and it didn't work (for me.) I've been having sex with the Permaculture Manager about twice a month since last August. We probably meet for other purposes about 1X/month. I've been having sex with the Peacemaker about once/week since October. We probably meet for other purposes about 2x/month. I've been dating the Deadpan Neurotic Cowboy for a month and we have had sex twice in the last couple weeks. (Obviously, I am not including "waking up in the morning and having sex again" or anything remotely resembling total orgasms, etc. in this calculation.) Lots of other stuff happens besides sex in the course of meetings when we do have sex. For instance, last time I spent the day with the Peacemaker we went to the Farmer's Market, had coffee, went shopping for a bike for me, had sex, took nap, had sex, went out for Mexican. The last time I spent the day with DNC he brought me some strawberries he dug from his garden, we went out for coffee, we had sex, we went for a hike, we took a nap, we went dumpster diving for cardboard to sheet mulch my garden, we went out for Thai. The last time I spent the night with the Permaculture Manager we drank wine and talked about permaculture, we had more wine and popcorn and watched a movie, we had sex, we slept, we had sex again, we woke up and had tea and watched permaculture videos.
You also mention that your partners can have multiple partners themselves. This is part of the contract I suppose. But if I remember correctly, I think you mentioned that one or more only have you as their partner, because they are more tied up with their job than you. How does this work in practice? I see a potential problem in which such a partner would end up demanding more from you than you can give. And regardless of whether your contract is strong or weak, can't this be a potential problem anyway? Humans typically pick other favorite humans to spend more time with. How do you regulate this in the contract, if at all? I guess you work out a routine and try stick to it, and if someone puts an ultimatum of "more time together, or we stop contact altogether" you can always take comfort in the fact that you have 3 other partners waiting in line. Have you been the person to want more time with someone who can/do not have enough time (apart from the marriage)? I understand that you cannot secure emotional investment in a relationship. But it can nevertheless hurt to lose it. With multiple partners at once I am assuming it will happen more often. Does it, and have you developed a smart way of dealing with it? I think the availability issue that George-the-O.O. brings up could be very much related to this and he does bring up a good point there.
I assume that the Permaculture Manager has other partners, but I do not know. The Peacemaker occasionally has sex with his wife, but I am his primary partner. DNC is not having sex with anybody else at the moment, but I told him we are not going to be exclusive, so I assume that he may find other partner(s.) The Permaculture Manager understands that he doesn't deserve first dibs on my time. The Peacemaker understands that he is more limited by job and wife than me, so he makes absolutely no objection to any lack of availability on my part. DNC is out of the country for business half the week, but he does seem to want a lot of my time otherwise, but I told him he needs to appreciate his post-divorce freedom a bit more, and encouraged him to continue communication with other women. My emotional relationship with the Permaculture Manager is lust-like. My emotional relationship with the Peacemaker is love-lust. My emotional relationship with DNC is likey-like-lust. I'm just a little bit "in love" with all three of them at times. Mostly, I imagine a future enjoying my own company- plus some attractive other(s), so I'm not all that invested, yet loath at the moment to give any of them up because they are all so damn attractive in different ways. I guess breaking with DNC would be easiest since I haven't known him very long, and the Peacemaker would be the most difficult since we do love each other. But he is married, so I don't attach any plans to the feeling (except maybe he will take me camping for 3 days next month : ) )
I was very intrigued by your statement: "(...) all free adult parties, always and forevermore, own their own sexuality". I would very much appreciate it if you could expound on this, because from my own experience I think you are on to something, I'm just not sure if I understood it the way you meant it.
Well, sex is different than many other realms of existence because we often impart more value to desire than actual behavior, and you obviously can't control the desires of another. The "best" you can do is demand dishonesty in that regard.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue May 10, 2016 6:00 am

One of the main reasons why I am currently practicing poly-amory is that I have had to give up a garden twice (or sort of 3x even) due to break up of a relationship, and I am NOT going to let that happen again. My primary attachment, at least until the end of the growing season 2022, will be to my land. I can be happy in my garden with a book all by myself, but I doubt that will happen until I get super round and wrinkly.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon May 23, 2016 7:12 pm

Some of you may have scientific interest in how the complex system of my poly-amorous web so very quickly underwent metamorphosis into duality of monogamy? And then further devolved into a complete muddle?

1) Day 1-The Cowboy communicates that he no longer wishes to "date around" and requests that I agree to see only him. He is less than a year divorced, also less than a year out of a passionate affair with the love of his life, and there was also a year long relationship with a young Sri Lankan woman he "kept" while working in Dubai in there somewhere, so I was not of the opinion that he was "ready", even if inclined towards exclusive relationship. However, I likey-like him because he is a very attractive mix of dorky and dominant, and we are very day-to-day, meal-to-meal, walk-to-walk, talk-to-talk, spoon-to-spoon compatible except for the fact that he often votes Republican. His feelings for me are also at the level of likey-like.

2) Day 2- The Peacemaker informs me that his wife has become aware of growing romantic feelings between the two of us, and had thrown down the "threat to marriage" card. His reflexive-reactive solution is for us to temporarily curtail the sexual part of our relationship until he can calm his wife down. I was a bit blind-sided, but at first responded understanding. He also reveals important bit of information that his career in IT only commenced in his late 40s and until then he was a Presbyterian Minister, causing me to suddenly understand certain aspects of my attraction to him. I inform him that the Cowboy has requested monogamous contract.

3) Day 3- I agree to monogamous contract with the Cowboy. He is happy.

4) Day 4- I inform the Peacemaker that I have agreed to monogamous contract with the Cowboy. He is not happy because he is in love with me, but he understands. I inform the Cowboy that the Peacemaker is not happy, but he understands, and the Permaculture Manager does not know yet, but I doubt he will care.

5) Day 5- The Permaculture Manager contacts me to make plans related to managing permaculture. The last time I saw him also involved a day managing my permaculture project followed by informing him that I already had plans (with the Cowboy) when he inquired. His response was something like low-key amusement and acceptance. I agree to work with him again on Tuesday (tomorrow) but do not inform him that I have entered into monogamous contract with anybody because I do not believe that he will care because he gives little sign of being that into me. However, I suspect that he may be a bit miffed because the Cowboy is experienced Engineer/Gardener, so I will likely let him take over some management/partnership on my permaculture project.

6) Day 7- The Peacemaker informs me that he is really, really not happy, because he is really, really in love with me, and we need to meet. I inform the Cowboy that I will be meeting with both the Peacemaker and the Permaculture Manager and he is cool with that. I write this ridiculous post on this forum not really believing that anybody will be able to offer me any rational assistance.

7) Day 8-??????

George the original one
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by George the original one » Mon May 23, 2016 10:24 pm

What a tangled web we weave, said the spider to the fly... ;-)

wood
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by wood » Tue May 24, 2016 4:12 am

It seems the cowboy and the peacemaker both want exclusive relationships, and the permaculture manager might ask for the same in the future. I don't understand why you on day 3 accepted to be exclusive with the cowboy, when you already like the other two and lead a polyamorous life.

Option 1: Go exclusive with cowboy and dump the other two to some extent. Peacemaker is a potential loss anyway, because of his wife.
Option 2: Change your decision on the cowboy and reject his proposal. This means potentially losing him + peacemaker because of his wife.

The permaculture manager seems like a keeper, but you don't know whether he will ask for exclusiveness in the future.

Conclusion: Don't accept exclusive relationships, even if given an ultimatum. Start looking for more men.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue May 24, 2016 7:04 am

George the original one said: What a tangled web we weave, said the spider to the fly... ;-)
Yeah, I had the thought that maybe it was my subconscious intention to "get the dogs running", but I truly am engaged in complex systems design, and I truly had come to a place in my practice of serial monogamy where I couldn't help but see it as being like "tic-tac-toe", or doing physics without calculus, or something like that. In overly simplistic terms, it is my belief that "til death do us part" happy marriages generally only occur when two reasonably young, relatively inexperienced people who both have quite agreeable personality types form contract. Of course, some people with disagreeable personality types believe that they are happily married, and do not quite realize that their spouse is not, and many people put up a false facade of happy marriage just like many people put up a false facade of wealth, and many people are obviously and openly unhappily married but choose to maintain relationship for other reasons such as security for children or wealth maintenance or fear of the unknown or stubbornness/sunk-cost-fallacy. Therefore, given the near 50% divorce statistic, the failure at producing happiness rate for long-term-monogamy is probably at least 79.5% overall, and much higher in my peer group. Also, I have the particular difficulty that the vast majority of men with whom I am otherwise compatible have much higher levels of wealth and income and ambition than me, and do not want to come live with me in a camper on my vacant lots, and I am equally disinterested in helping them vacuum their multiple residences and clean scum off their yachts and sort their lawsuit paperwork or some sort of listless Princess lifestyle. Also, I don't even know why these men are interested in me. I think that I am great, but I'm really not very attractive. The market around here must suck.
wood said: It seems the cowboy and the peacemaker both want exclusive relationships, and the permaculture manager might ask for the same in the future. I don't understand why you on day 3 accepted to be exclusive with the cowboy, when you already like the other two and lead a polyamorous life.
Well, for about 6 months I was just seeing the Peacemaker and the Permaculture Manager, and found that to be almost adequate, but not thoroughly. Mostly because the Peacemaker was spending most weekends and evenings with his wife, and the Permaculture Manager was spending most weekends dating with the intent to find future mother of his future children and/or continuing his multiple decade career as successful "player." So, I started dating again with vague intent along the lines of "find somebody available to accompany me to the theater Saturday evenings." Because the market around here sucks for middle-aged men, internet dating is almost like shooting fish in a barrel for me. About 90% of the men I meet for coffee immediately ask me to accompany them to dinner or on a second date. The Cowboy was the third man I met for coffee this time out. I rejected the other two due to "too soft" and "too S and pothead." The Cowboy, although on the triple-rebound and too Republican, is otherwise quite attractive and exhibits very good "boyfriend" behavior absent any sign of fawning or submission. My car door is opened, special cough syrup is procured when I have laryngitis, his fridge is stocked with cream for my coffee, list of cultural events I might wish to attend with him arrives in my e-mail etc. etc. So, my romantic attachment to the Peacemaker was a critical factor in the balance, and he caused me to go to my cold, polite, rational, angry, dismissive place with his plan to appease his wife. Also, his revelation about previous career as Pastor of large congregation had me thinking "I am like unto a lamb among the wolves if I am subject to seduction via interpersonal skills acquired at Presbyterian Seminary."
Conclusion: Don't accept exclusive relationships, even if given an ultimatum. Start looking for more men.
This was my initial conclusion based on decision matrix I created when I first sensed possibility that Cowboy might request exclusivity, prior to the Peacemaker allowing wife to pull his chain. Now I am confused. I should note that it is also possible that the Cowboy would continue to see me on non-exclusive basis. He is not madly in love with me or highly morally opposed and it is his stated intent to never marry again. I think maybe I am just resting for a while. Dunno.

Peanut
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by Peanut » Tue May 24, 2016 9:21 am

@7wannabe5: I have the exact opposite reaction to Wood. I think you made the right decision for now already by agreeing to be exclusive with the Cowboy and putting the Peacemaker on notice as it were. You are not that into the Permaculture Manager and vice versa, so your relationship with him should be treated as a non-factor IMO because it's easily replaceable. The Peacemaker is the wild card. I don't see how he can possibly be in a happy marriage at present. If he wants to leave the wife for you then you have a decision to make. If he just wants you to ask him to do that, I'd suggest refraining and moving on as you have already planned. If it doesn't work out with the Cowboy, the Peacemaker will probably still be available later on. Of course the depth of your feelings for him may complicate things, but he's the one who disturbed the status quo.

Side note: It seems to me that your go-to analysis of marriage may have an unhelpful influence on your decision-making practice in your love life. Why dismiss the possibility of finding a great mate entirely? If you just don't want to ever have an exclusive monogamous partner ever again that's one thing (only you know what's made you happiest thus far), but focusing on how badly the institution works is a red herring. Plus someone has to be in the other 20%.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue May 24, 2016 10:48 am

Peanut said: You are not that into the Permaculture Manager and vice versa, so your relationship with him should be treated as a non-factor IMO because it's easily replaceable. The Peacemaker is the wild card. I don't see how he can possibly be in a happy marriage at present. If he wants to leave the wife for you then you have a decision to make. If he just wants you to ask him to do that, I'd suggest refraining and moving on as you have already planned.
The Permaculture Manager is not an easily replaceable non-factor. For one thing, we are both devotees of permaculture, which is basically something like my religion or core philosophy. Also, he exhibits the most dominant, rock-like behavior. However, he is way too bossy, not very affectionate and would likely ride over me rough-shod in significant relationship. IOW, Goldilocks says "Too cold and hard!"

Also, I would note for the record that I believe that the Peacemaker is core polyamorous. It goes along with the personality type that would be a pastor. He looks like a cross between Mitt Romney and Paul Newman. I bet the majority of the female members of his congregation were half in love with him, but he truly would have been equally interested in the well-being of his male congregants. A good part of the reason he is not currently happy in his marriage is that his wife is no longer behaving as though she accepts this reality about him. IOW, my current peeve aside, Goldilocks might be inclined to say "Too good and mushy!"

However, this does not necessarily, in anyway, lead to the conclusion that the Cowboy is "just right." Actually, the fact that I find him amusingly neurotic is likely a sign that he may have a serious mental health issue. My belief that I will never be a part of the "other 20%" is due in large part to my lifelong tendency to be attracted to men who do not have agreeable personality types by any sort of stretch of objective standard. Pretty much my picks range from Vincent Van Gogh to Yosemite Sam to men nicknamed "the Golden Penis" by their mother. Studies show that the number one factor predicting lasting monogamous union is whether the wife describes the husband as being "agreeable."

7Wannabe5
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed May 25, 2016 6:01 am

I think maybe I really am polyamorous. I spent yesterday afternoon working on my lots with the Permaculture Manager and we got so much accomplished together. If I was going to choose a partner based on consideration of most help to me in achieving my goals, then he might be best. I kind of need somebody to order me around sometimes because I am hopelessly bratty in relationship to my own internal authority. Also, he is a seriously strong, challenging frame as a "dance" partner. Like a cat playing with a mouse.

Maybe I will try to keep all 3 of them with option for 4th? It's a little bit depressing to agree to be monogamous and see all the other doors closing, leaving you alone in a narrow hallway with just one other person. Of course, I could try to form non-sexual close associations with a variety of people, but that's just not how I am naturally constituted. If I am in a private place with a man I find attractive, and there is no rule to stop me, it is highly likely sex will happen. And if the rules are too confining, I will become grouchy or sad. IOW, my ENTP temperament causes me to strongly crave variety and open options, and the fact that hyper-sexuality is the strongest symptom of my low-level inherited tendency towards cyclothymia causes me to have difficulty in not sexualizing that tendency, Pretty much fear of being stoned in the public square or not wanting to hurt other people's feelings or cause a fight is what keeps me in check. Also, I am a bit socially shy, not introverted, so I rarely approach men first. I should probably tell the Cowboy that it was a mistake for me to agree to be monogamous before he becomes too attached to the notion.

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Ego
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by Ego » Wed May 25, 2016 7:20 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:Studies show that the number one factor predicting lasting monogamous union is whether the wife describes the husband as being "agreeable."
Yep, that describes me to a T.
Mr. Agreeable.

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jennypenny
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by jennypenny » Wed May 25, 2016 7:37 am

Ego wrote:Yep, that describes me to a T.
Mr. Agreeable.
I think I just pee'd myself.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Open relationship?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed May 25, 2016 9:00 am

Ego said: Yep, that describes me to a T.
Mr. Agreeable.
lol- Well, it does take two to tango. You and I would probably last about 3 days before I would put this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cjd01Cup8ywon full-blast while eating as many cookies as I want to eat because I am a free American.

Seriously, I was thinking about how I was having such fun living in a big co-operative house full of people before I got knocked up and married when I was 22, and then I found myself alone with my husband watching basketball every night after I cooked dinner. At least I got two cute, fun babies who became two interesting, intelligent adults out of that deal. I don't see any upside at my age/stage. Forever boyfriend is the worst deal of all. All the boredom and entrapment of marriage and not even any equity.

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