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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

405

Ask a Non-Monogamous Couple

What's the payoff to avoiding monogamy?

A NON-MONOGAMOUS LADY: Why don't we start by casting our minds far, far back to the world of monogamy?

A NON-MONOGAMOUS DUDE: Time travel!

ANML: Flashback!

ANMD: Wavy lines!

ANML: Why didn’t monogamy work for you?

ANMD: I liked monogamy! In retrospect, it’s comforting in that it is possible to not discuss a lot of complicated feelings about your relationship, and you can enjoy a comfortable, loving union whilst minimizing territorialness and jealousy.

ANML: "Comfortable" being the operative word.

ANMD: Yes. It's comfortable. Unfortunately, in my experience, comfortableness often becomes complacency. And as the relationship persists, it becomes unhappier by barely perceptible degrees, and I find myself becoming discontented — though I’m not sure exactly why — and I get to a point where I feel that my relationship is being held together by inertia alone. I take my partner for granted, I get taken for granted, and we’re doomed. I have a feeling that monogamy may play a substantial role in this degradation.

ANML: It may! Is it my turn now?

ANMD: Lay it on me, co-skipper.

ANML: My experience with long-term monogamy was similar to yours. I didn't hate being monogamous, and I didn't have a hard time staying faithful or anything. For me, it wasn't so much that I hated monogamy — it was that I LOVED being single. It was a complete amazement to me, how much I loved being single.

ANMD: You had been in a relationship for a long time, so singledom must have been quite a revelation.

ANML: It was like night and day. I loved flirting. I loved one-night stands. I loved the feeling that life was full of endless possibility, and that on any given day I might have a threesome, or go home with a stranger from a karaoke bar, or hitch a ride on the back of a Vespa and then kiss the driver.

ANMD: (NB: All these things happened.)

ANML: I'm not a very adventurous person in most ways. I don't have much of a yen to travel. I get agoraphobia if there aren't enough buildings around. Extreme sports are anathema to me.

ANMD: But man — X-treme sex?

ANML: That’s my adventure! I didn’t know it until I was single, but that’s what makes me feel alive and curious and engaged with the world. So I was incredibly happy with my life, with no intention of changing it. But then I met you.

ANMD: On the day of our meeting, an eagle dropped a snake on a rock in Washington Square Park. All sorts of portentous.

ANML: I agonized over it. Christ, I didn't want to be in a relationship again! But on the other hand, I was crazy about you and wanted to be with you every second!

ANMD: This was reciprocated. My situation was a bit different. When I started dating you I was just out of a long monogamous relationship, and I was not at all ready to dive into a similarly monogamous relationship immediately.

ANML: Non-monogamy was the obvious solution.

ANMD: In an open relationship, not only are you not shackled by your partner, but also, excepting occasional emotional roadblocks and Feelings that need to be addressed, you're on your adventure with them!

ANML: And that makes it even better.

ANMD: It's so awesome. And the communication is amazing.

ANML: What?

ANMD: Ha.

ANML: Sorry. Go on.

ANMD: Only in this relationship do I realize how little I communicated, how emotionally closed I was with my previous partners.

ANML: Yes!! I look back on my previous relationships and I can't believe how uncommunicative I was. It's like I had taken a Vow of Silence about my feelings. The only thing that mattered was getting along, avoiding conflict, never being high-maintenance or, God forbid, needy.

ANMD: An open relationship is Communication Bootcamp. It can’t survive without free and frequent airing of feelings, so it forces you to talk, talk, talk.

ANML: Which is more fun than it sounds, I promise!

ANMD: Talking becomes easier and easier, and you become happier and happier with the solid emotional foundations you’re building with your partner.

ANML: It's the most incredible feeling, knowing that you can say anything and still be safe and loved.

ANMD: Tell me something crazy about yourself!

ANML: Okay! Then you tell me something you've never told anybody before! And then let's hold each other and make out!

[SUPER INTENSE CONVERSATION REDACTED]

[SUPER INTENSE MAKEOUTS REDACTED]

ANMD: I’m going to run out of secrets!

ANML: We should all have such problems.

ANMD: Shall we talk about Reclamation Sex?

ANML: Sure! You know the way monogamous couples have sex after one of them returns from a long trip away? That's how we have sex all the time.

ANMD: Seriously. It's ridiculous. The first time I ever saw someone outside the relationship, you were worried that Everything Would Be Ruined between us. Instead, it was electric — I just couldn't resist you. I longed for the familiarity and the closeness we shared, but at the same time I wanted to frenziedly reaffirm my love. And it was awesome. It’s like makeup sex, but there wasn't a fight.

And it seems like that's the way it always is. I adore you. Nobody captivates me like you, and nobody can fuck me like you can. I'm with you because I want to be with you, because you are the best for me.

ANML: It's really just a game, because we know that at the end of the day, no matter what we do with other people, we're always going to come home to each other.

ANMD: Yes. It’s wonderful.

ANML: We don't know how long it will last. We've talked about the possibility of eventually becoming monogamous, but neither of us feels ready. Maybe one day we'll decide that our adventure has changed and doesn't involve sex with other people anymore. But right now this is the adventure we're on, and I can speak only for myself, but it's the greatest adventure of my life.

A Non-Monogamous Couple live in New York City. If you have a question for them, send it here. (300 word max, please.)

Photo by Lisa F. Young, via Shutterstock



405 Comments / Post A Comment

tortietabbie

Rock on, you crazy kids!

JessicaLovejoy

[Comment about how no offense, but, in my experience, non-monogamous types are self-righteous blowhards who think everyone in a monogamous relationship is a dull loser]

Neptune

@JessicaLovejoy Probably because the low-key non-monogamous types tend to keep their mouths shut. It's funny, as a member of a poly family (similar to non-monogamy) and knowing other poly people and non-monogamous folks, I tend to find that our circle of people are open-minded to the point of "if it works for you, great!" -- poly, mono, or whatever you want your life to be. So, on behalf of the self-righteous assholes - I apologize. They're just that - self-righteous assholes.

JessicaLovejoy

@JessicaLovejoy Also, I hope my [ ] are read as a fair approximation of sarcasm tags.

redheaded&crazy

@JessicaLovejoy [Comment about how monogamous couples are just jealous that they can't get it right okay gawd i can see how green your face is from all the damn way over here]

leastimportantperson

@JessicaLovejoy At some point Nicole is going to have to step up and make this official. Nicoooole, open up a Word document, this is writing itself.

nate@twitter

@JessicaLovejoy Please allow me to share with you my fascinating generalizations about how non-monogamy is always easier/harder/honest/dishonest/fair/unfair/risky/actually less risky when you think about it/feminist/sexist/exciting/boring!

Nicole Cliffe

@leastimportantperson Heeeee. No! There is no way I'm getting pulled into this. Do you know how much non-monogamous people love processing things written on the internet? JOKE JOKE JOKE DON'T COME AFTER ME WITH YOUR SUPERIOR COMMUNICATION AND G-SPOT ORGASMS.

Nicole Cliffe

@Nicole Cliffe Also, I was about to be a liiiittle knee-jerk aggravated by this couple, but if I had to identify my relationship preferences in three/four words they probably would be "complacency and not-communicating." Communicating really distracts you from the more important work of hooting derision at the same op-eds and engaging in "Game of Thrones" role-playing.

Daisy Razor

@Nicole Cliffe Ask A Game of Thrones Roleplayer?

Nicole Cliffe

@Daisy Razor "Footballs painted green make GREAT dragon eggs."

Daisy Razor

@Nicole Cliffe For your Dothraki warlord makeup, how much kohl is too much? (Trick question: there is no such thing as too much kohl.)

Megasus

@Daisy Razor Oooh when I went to the George Martin signing a couple of weeks ago, they paid a guy to be shirtless and wear silver paint (I guess he was supposed to be Dothraki, although he actually looked like a Dragon Age Qunari. It was a very confusing thing for me), we should ask that dude!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

So many exclamation points! They are in love! Also, I think I really want them to be the fishing couple at the top! Because she looks like she could rock a Vespa driver!

noReally

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose DITTO EVERYTHING

Oh, squiggles

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

And I am loving your username/photo combo! Exclamation point!

OhMarie

Oh god, non-monogamy just sounds so hard. Not even the obviously hard parts, like communication and all, but just finding new people to date. As a normal person, I have found one person who I find super hot and fun and who finds me super hot and fun. Frankly, this seems miraculous. Just thinking about trying to find another exhausts me.

Reginal T. Squirge

@OhMarie Word. Nothing to add really because I feel exactly the same way except I'm still doing the exhausting work of finding that one person.

Daisy Razor

@OhMarie Yeah, I am completely okay with anyone who wants to be non-monogamous, but for me personally, the idea of dating AND having a partner is pretty much the worst of both worlds.

ayo nicole

@OhMarie Honestly. Sounds fun and everything, but I would probably end up not finding anyone else and then being jealous of my dude and all the fun he was having without me. :/:/:/

melis

She just wants to try it, she says, but we can still date. Like this is supposed to cushion the blow. I mean, I got married so I could stop dating. So I don't see where we can still date is any big incentive since the last thing you want to do is date your wife, who's suppose to love you, which is what I'm saying to her, when it occurs to me that maybe...she doesn't. So I say to her, "Don't you love me anymore?" You know what she says? "I don't know if I've ever loved you."

Oooh, that's harsh.

OhMarie

@ayo nicole YES, this too! I'm not that bothered by the idea of him having sex with someone else, but what he is out having a great time and I am at home being lonely by myself??

plonk

@OhMarie for serious, i don't even have one boyfriend, how do some people manage to have MULTIPLE?
(non-monogamous couple sound like good people though, no hate.)

JanieS

@OhMarie Word. DATING IS AN AWFUL SLOG OF DESPONDENT MISERY. Why would I want to CONTINUE doing that after finding a compatable fellow? Poly people must be so extroverted, I'm getting a headache just thinking about it.

SarahP

@JanieS Forget having to be extroverted; the time management alone would scare me away.

datalass

@JanieS Same here. Dating, for me, was always an exercise in getting dressed and going out on cold nights, when I'd much preferred to have stayed in and read. To have someone to stay in and read with or talk to is pretty much the manifestation of all my hopes.

lora.bee

@melis No, I'm a writer, I know dialogue, and that is particularly harsh.

WaityKatie

@OhMarie Yes. This is my thing with non-monogamy. I know I would end up being like, "ok, I finally found one I like, done," and the guy would be like, "I have 100 other people who want to bone me right now, see ya later," and then I would respond, "Oh crap, you mean I have to be in this relationship and also start dating again?"

I can see how people might get bored with each other after a while, but I feel like open relationships maybe only work for super hot extroverts who can meet viable matches everywhere they go. I meet maybe one viable match per year, TOPS.

themmases

@OhMarie Yes, I read this thinking, "Oh, that sounds lovely if only I weren't... Me."

H.E. Ladypants

@OhMarie My boyfriend and I had a serious conversation once about our feelings about poly-amory etc. Basically it boiled down to him saying, "I don't have TIME to see other people! I have so many hobbies!"

Everytime I start thinking about what it would be like to include other people on the plate I just start panicking about schedules and wondering where oh where I would find the time.

H.E. Ladypants

@ayo nicole Yes, this. I also have this fear.

And I also feel a little weird about it? Like part of my brain is all "ahhhh if we were to open our relationship up at all, he'd be up to his neck in all the ladies and I'd be at home knitting, staring at an ignored OKcupid profile! I'd be so jealous!"

But then I'm not sure if that comes from a genuine comparison of histories (the boyfriend used to pick up dates like a katamari picks up stuff while I occasionally fell into bed/a relationship with people who happened to find their way into my social circle) or if it's just my own insecurity talking. And if it is my own insecurity, is that a really lousy thing to bring into a relationship?

Man, the hours I have wasted wondering about this.

WaityKatie

@H.E. Ladypants And also, this Lady's experience of being single was pretty much the direct opposite of my experience of being single, so...that probably doesn't bode well for me. I mean, just replace "flirting and one-night stands" with "watching The Wire for the 4th time and mild despair" and they're kind of the same.

werewolfbarmitzvah

@OhMarie All of this, ALL OF THIS, yes! I mean, occasionally I get a teensy twinge of, "Oh! The single life used to be so exciting! I wooooonder what it might be like if..." but then reality comes crashing through. I have a fulltime JOB, man. And a fulltime relationship. And some friends, and a really needy cat, and books to be read and laundry to do and whatnot...when the hell is there supposed to be time to go out cruising for extra dudes on top of everything?!?! And I mean, it's a near-impossible feat to meet ONE person you want to have sex with who also wants to have sex with you; it's gotta be like a SUPERHUMAN feat to find multiple people you want to have sex with who also want to have sex with you! I think this came up on another thread some weeks or months ago, but if I seriously tried to fit in "cruising for extra dudes" on top of my existing 9-to-5 job and marriage, the dishes would be piling up, the laundry would never get done, I'd never get enough sleep and I'd probably get fired from my job eventually...it'd be a total madhouse.

MilesofMountains

@WaityKatie Seriously. My singleness did not once involve jumping on a vespa to have a threesome with its driver or whatever. It involved far more awkward first dates, self-esteem crushing lack of dates, and boring conversations on dating websites. Having all that while also not having the freedom of knowing that no one knows or cares that I'm happy watching trashy tv by myself on a Friday night sounds like the worst.

Ophelia

@werewolfbarmitzvah Totally. God, that would be exhausting. My husband and I just flirt with strangers in bars if we feel like we need to remember what it was like to be single. And then we go home to our normal life of monogamy. Plus, right now, I'm tired and all allergy-y, and I'm just happy there's ONE person out there who loves me like this.

D.@twitter

@OhMarie WHO HAS TIME? I mean, I get that they're not carrying on multiple relationships, but maintaining the one relationship I do have, going to school, & working, leaves little time for anything else. Where am I supposed to fit in all this trolling for casual sex?

WaityKatie

@MilesofMountains "Boring conversations on dating websites," hahaha!

betsythemuffin@twitter

@OhMarie See, I am pretty introverted/homebody-ish, and so I spent the longest time being all "well that sounds interesting, but godddddd I would get so worn out." Except it turns out that I spend most of my time with my girlfriend playing board games or reading or something, and most of my time with my notaboyfriend watching shit on YouTube. So... basically it's still very much *me* in both of these relationships? And I don't need to be super extraverted? Anyway there are enough extraverts in the poly community that you can just kinda let them do all the work there.

Time management never stops being a bitch, though. SO MANY SCHEDULE CONVERSATIONS, fml.

iceberg

@Ophelia That is actually literally as far as I would be able to go with openness. I think flirting is great and fun but the rest of it nothankyou who has time?!

maggagie

@Daisy Razor ha! well said

EpWs

@D.@twitter DITTO THIS. I barely have time to see my boy, and when I do have time to theoretically go out to bars and such I really just want to either stay home and sleeeeeeeeep or hang out with him or my girls. The thought of...effot? GYAH.

thebestjasmine

@WaityKatie Seriously, how do these people FIND all of the people out there to be sleeping with? Non monogamy feels like it would take a whole lot of energy.

WaityKatie

@thebestjasmine Energy plus low standards, at the very least. Low standards for the "others," I mean. Or do all of these people live in places with abnormally high levels of attractive, available people who are interested in being one-night stands to someone who is committed to someone else?

thebestjasmine

@WaityKatie I feel like it must involve a lot of scheduling and charts? I still don't even understand the mechanics of getting to that point, though. Is there some pocket of the world that has a lot of attractive non assholes to sleep with?

redheaded&crazy

@all you people are my people. my boring old monogamous people.

I think I took this article really way too personally cuz I was like "HEY I DON'T GET COMPLACENT SPEAK FOR YOUR -- oh wait you did say in your experience" and like "HEY I LIKE TO COMMUNICATE ITS SUPER IMPORTANT FOR ME TOO SPEAK FOR YOUR -- riight ... k ..."

anyway I also think nonmonogamy sounds too exhausting for me. like ALL THE FEEEEELINGS my heart only has the capacity to direct all of that at one person. (poor guy)

Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter

@OhMarie Wow. Thanks for saying the non-monagomous people who dated non-monagomous me just had low standards.
In my own experince, being poly actually made me pickier about who I date/fuck.

(apropos of nothing, I used to comment here awhile back but can't remember my login, so, twitter.)

JanieS

@WaityKatie I think I am you. Except switch out The Wire for Doctor Who.

Statham

@OhMarie Hahahaha. I was thinking something very similar.

sevanetta

@werewolfbarmitzvah and everyone... oh my god. yes. the time. I have done 3 rounds of online dating over 5 years (the last two times for 10 months each) and it's taken me all that time to find ONE awesome guy (who is the most awesome of awesome, but still, ONE). Who incidentally I have the best communication ever with of any relationship because he wants to talk about things, not because we want to fuck other people. Also agreed that it definitely sounds like a nightmare for an introvert... and in terms of emotional support... god. I have enough emotional support for one partner, and myself, and my friends, I don't have anything
left to even draw boundaries with multiple dates!

And I'm sorry, poly woman, but I find it hard to like you because MY single experience involved a whole lot of awkward first dates with sexist/rude/psycho dudes, months and months having intimate pillow talk with... my pillow, and going to events and realising that most people out and about in my area are actually 40 years older than me because everyone else my age was at home with their partner and kids. But sure. You loved being single. Congratulations. How wonderful.

Craftastrophies

@redheaded&crazie See, this made me think that actually I might have a non-monoganmous relationship, except instead of sleeping with other people, I still have half of my single life/all my hobbies. I was like YES! I LOVED BEING SINGLE TOOO! Oh, wait, you loved the flirting stuff? I hated that stuff, it made me anxious. I loved the 'I am at home and I will not speak to anyone this weekend except my cat, and I will get into the zone with making things and drink lots of wine and hang out by myself'. I seriously loved that, and I will book in weekend with my sweetie where we don't see each other, because I want to hang out by myself.

And then we have reclamation sex.

I mean, having a medium distance relationship sucks sometimes, but I barely have time for ONE relationship, let alone multiple, so it works pretty well for me in a lot of ways.

sevanetta

@Craftastrophies hahaha I am a bit like that too - my new boyfriend keeps apologising for being a person who likes a lot of alone time and I'm all 'I think this is why we like each other, because I want to go do MY alone stuff now kthxbai'. except we keep failing because of new relationship energy. at some point I see us hanging out in the same house in separate rooms doing our own thing for hours, haha.

Craftastrophies

@sevanetta Yes, this is the thing I liked most about living with my ex. We could be hanging out together, in different rooms. Introverts forever!

OhMarie

@Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter Oh, I am sure that it is possible without anyone lowering standards! My statement is AT LEAST 50% being convinced that nobody else would like me.

TheMongreloid

@sevanetta "And I'm sorry, poly woman, but I find it hard to like you because MY single experience involved a whole lot of awkward first dates with sexist/rude/psycho dudes,"

Do you find it hard to like other people because their experiences with parts of their lives differ with yours? Isn't that what like, life is about? Different people with different experiences creating a better world with more understanding (blah blah let's all hold hands and sing)? I will tell all y'all monogamous folks congrats, sincerely! For finding a model of relationships that work for you. I won't say "But sure. You loved being in a relationship with one person. Congratulations. How wonderful."

I think maybe this poly lady is just offering some insight into why nonmonogamy was right for her, because it's been brought up in comments and posts on The Hairpin before.

Daria Morgendorffer

@OhMarie I've just never gotten the impression that the crossover between the people I want to sleep with and the people who want to sleep with me is larger than like 20 people. So non-monogamy always seemed for more charming, fuckable people. But whatever, sleep with everyone if you can! I didn't and still got HPV.

rocknrollunicorn

@WaityKatie I actually enjoy dating, and I guess I have "low standards" (I prefer to think that I find many different types of people fascinating and don't really have a physical "type"). But non-monogamy still doesn't really appeal to me. I think the #1 issue I'd have is constantly explaining the nature of my situation to my dates, sex partners, Vespa riding partners, or whatever.

Like, haven't we all received those messages from dudes in open relationships on OKCupid? And found them gross and deleted them? I don't think I need to involve other people in this kind of thing. Meanwhile, I know there must be people open to being involved in this kind of thing, and I'm not sure I want to sleep with those people, you know? Like the types who are secretly happy that I have a boyfriend because it means they can just bang me once and leave. That was my 20s, yo. (Sans boyfriend.)

Edited to add that I'm sure my previous paragraph is full of stereotypes, and that the non-monogamous are simply capable of greater nuance, or something like that. This is like the one area in which I am a total prude and really conservative, I think, and I obviously have knee-jerk reactions to the concept.

Jane Dough

@OhMarie Non-monogamy (especially poly) is EXHAUSTING! Person A on Tues/Thu/Sat, Person B on Wed/Fri/Sun, one day off to frantically do laundry and try to catch up with the rest of your life. The "processing". The negotiating (who do I take to the special event?) The etiquette quandaries ( is it OK to ask my girlfriend if I can use her razor to shave for my date with my boyfriend?) Gah! I'm so glad to just be married and monogamish.

rougemarie

@OhMarie it's cool that you want to be monogamous, but did you have to say that "as a normal person" you'd found one person you were happy to be exclusive with? Non-monogamous people are normal too.

OhMarie

@rougemarie I meant normal in terms of not extrordinary in any way--i.e., not absurdly hot.

Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter

@OhMarie Oh shit! that was supposed to be for WaityKatie a couple comments above mine who made the "low standards" comment. Sorry I didn't catch that when I replied.

Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter

@OhMarie Wait, you do realize that poly people cover the whole range of physical attractiveness, right? Just like monogamous people. Also covered are all levels introversion/extroversion and shyness (not the same thing as being an introvert).

WaityKatie

@Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter Maybe "low standards" was a bit harsh, but my point is just that I don't meet that many people that I am attracted to, and when you consider the number of those who are attracted to me and available, the number goes down usually to 0-1. So I can only assume that the people who are finding allll these others all the time whom they want to bone are either extremely attractive themselves, extremely sociable and outgoing, or have low standards? I just can't really picture a medium-attractive introvert like myself ever succeeding at this! I don't meet enough people? But, if it is a situation where you know a bunch of other couples who are into this and just "hang out" with them, that would be different. I just don't see finding all these attractive and available people on the bar scene or internet, I guess.

Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter

@WaityKatie
1)Being non monogamous doesn't mean you ALWAYS are dating multiple people.
2)(in my experience) One night stands are about as standard in non monogamous people as in monogamous people and I had a whopping zero one night stands when I dated people who were already part of a primary couple.
3)Maybe listen to other people when they are talking about their own lives and not assume your own experiences are universal.
4)Saying that people who date non monogamous people have low standards and that's the only way the non primary person is involved is not "a bit harsh," it's fucking insulting.

Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter

@WaityKatie "I just don't see finding all these attractive and available people on the bar scene or internet, I guess."
I'll give this one an actual, non stick-up-my-ass answer. Sometimes it's hard. Like I said in point one, just because someone is poly that doesn't mean they're dating/boning multiple (or any!) people at any given time. But like finds like? I won't speak for any places other than Austin and Houston that I have experience with, but in those cities, just like there's a gay scene and a lesbian scene and a BDMS/kink scene, there's also a non monogamous scene.

WaityKatie

@Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter Ok, ok. We clearly just have different perspectives, and I apologize for implying that you have ever had, or anyone has ever had, low standards. If it works for you, go to it. I was merely trying to state (however offensively and incorrectly) that I, personally, find it impossible to find more than one person at a time that I can potentially be getting in on with, and that I find dating horrible. I know that many people in the world are MUCH more successful at dating than I am, and actually enjoy it. And for the record, I actually do have pretty low standards myself! But that doesn't help me find more people that I like, paradoxically.

Neptune

@Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter thank you. thank you, thank you.

For me, I think it's the opposite - I think we have higher standards because there's more than one person involved (in poly) - if my partners want to bring someone on board, we ALL have to agree to it, we all have to look at what's best for us as a whole. And that's not to say that just because Person A likes someone that Person B and C don't, Person A gets shut down - it's more like, Person A is more concerned about their relationship with B & C to realize what works and what doesn't work. I guess for me if I'm attracted to someone and they don't like my partners, chances are likely I'm not as attracted to them as much anymore (in terms of wanting a relationship) as opposed to my partners saying "NO YOU CAN'T HAVE PERSON D."

Also, in Poly, I feel like it opens us up to more people in terms of "standards" - suddenly it's less about looks and age, and more about how compatible that person is with ourself and our partners. So, are we banging the hottest chick in the bar? No, we're banging a person who brings their honest, fun, funny, creative, smart, loving selves into the mix. I guess if that's what you mean by standards (you being @WaityKatie), then maybe you need to adjust your definition of standards.

(again speaking from the poly standpoint, not just non-monog).

WaityKatie

@Neptune Again, THAT IS GREAT that you can meet so many fun, funny, awesome people to get it on with! I would like to know where you find them. I'm guessing the answer is "in poly circles," though, so that wouldn't really help me that much.

Neptune

@WaityKatie by the way, I met my people online (and I wasn't even looking for an open/poly relationship - I've been monogamous my whole life before this - we started as friends, and then things meshed, and we got together. And since meeting them, I've met a ton of other people in our local scene. And I'm not from a big city, either - my state doesn't even have our own national sports teams.

WaityKatie

@Neptune And also, you have no idea what I meant by "standards," so you're getting a bit judgmental yourself, here. But I'm going to remove myself from this thread, as I am clearly causing nothing but trouble.

upfish

@OhMarie You'd be surprised? I know lots of way cute, fun people, and I don't travel in poly circles almost at all. My only connection to that is the boifriend who lives in Oakland now (I'm in Houston.) It's a lot of dancing and making out, and sometimes that leads to other stuff and sometimes it doesn't.

But I'm mad promiscuous and extroverted, so like DVDs and knitting or whatever have never really been my thing.

Neptune

@WaityKatie I'm sorry, I'm honestly not trying to argue with you or call you out on things, I'm just trying to get on the same page as you and share what I went through. I didn't mean to try and kick you out of the conversation by any means.

AndSomethingElse

@Neptune and other non-monogamous folks - I just read through this whole thread, and one thing I saw come up repeatedly was the idea that one might have to be extroverted in order to enjoy / be successful at non-monogamy. I feel like I saw several people saying, "I'm more on the introverted side, and I don't think I have the energy for more than one partner." In your personal experience, do you think there's anything to that? Are poly scenes tipped a bit towards extroverts?

Jane Dough

@Alexander I think it depends on HOW you are non-monogamous if you are in more than one relationship at a time, you kind of need to be an extrovert, because an active poly lifestyle doesn't leave much alone time for recharging your energy. On the other hand, if you're not having relationships with more than one person-- just sexual encounters-- that's easier for an introvert to handle. But it depends on how introverted you are-- most really introverted people just don't want to spend that much time/energy on meeting new people.

Craftastrophies

@Jane Dough I'd say this reflects my experience perfectly - I'm an introvert, and I need a lot of alone time to process. I can enjoy being with others a lot, if I can have that alone time. I cannot imagine having more than one romantic/primary relationship. But sexual/casual relationships are different.

Just a throw-in about the 'standards' thing. My long term poly FWB was someone who I would never, ever have dated. He would never, ever have dated me. I wasn't attracted to him as a person. I like and, more importantly for me, respect him, but he's not a perfect physical adonis or anything. But I wasn't planning on tangling up my life with his, or presenting to the world as a unit, and I find that changes what you are looking for in a person. I mean, I didn't have to think about whether he'd pick up his dirty socks and do the dishes, or be nice to my family, or remember my birthday. Those things were irrelevant. I DID have to think about whether he'd be honest with me about his other sexual activities, be responsible, and communicate well, but it's sort of a different framework. I find that a lot of my trouble with casual sex/being attracted to randoms is the whole 'but I don't even KNOW you, can I trust you??' thing. If you know you only need to trust someone for a specific amount, about specific things, I personally find it easier to be attracted to people. YMMV of course, but I'd say my limited experience was that it was moderately easier than looking for a life partner.

WaityKatie

@Craftastrophies I came back. I agree with all this. It's not about "standards" (I shouldn't have used that word, arggghhh) but more about attraction for me. I am attracted to very few people, and I trust even fewer people (often the wrong ones! Joy.) But when I said the standards thing I was actually thinking about this super-extrovert friend of mine who went through a single phase after her divorce and literally was able to hook up with almost every guy she met during that period. I mentioned to her that I was amazed that she could find so many people she was attracted to, and she admitted that she wasn't actually attracted to a lot of them, but just did it anyway? I mean, cool, she had fun so that's fine, but I personally just can't imagine doing that. I am an introvert and being around people exhausts me, but she is the direct opposite and loves meeting and talking to (and sometimes hooking up with) new people, so it was fun for her. I just imagine successful poly people being more like my friend and less like me in personality. And also, the time thing. I need a lot of time by myself to do my STUFF, you know? And extroverts don't usually seem to need or want any of that, they'd rather be at a constant party. Fortunately for them our US culture is very biased towards them.

Craftastrophies

@WaityKatie I assumed it was coming from a place of frustration and exasperation with the lack of honeys flinging themselves at you, rather than judgement. :) (Oh no, does that sound like I'm judging you? I just mean... I feel you. I have been in serious attractive-person droughts and it is terrible).

I was always mystified by people who could have lots of casual sex. I just can't - I wouldn't enjoy it, I'd be too busy thinking about other things. I mean, the first time is always awkward and terrible, why would I have lots of first times? But I can do long term casual sex friends, it turns out.

Cinnamon Girl posted a good comment, and it's not turning up? But it's in her profile so I don't think she deleted it? SO I'm copying it in from my email, I hope that's ok:

"One interesting way to look at it is that if you decide to be poly/non-monog, then your "standards" change a bit because you're not looking for someone to fulfill Every Single Thing You Want In A Partner. The entire framework changes.

And rather than looking at it as "standards," think of it as who we are drawn to. I think some people, and WaityKatie probably falls in this camp, have trouble finding available people they are interested in. Others, regardless of whether they are non-monog or monog, are drawn to more people. Attraction doesn't necessarily mean standards. It could just mean that you are attracted to a broader range of people, or that you are attracted to a type of person that is more common in society/your area/whatever.

I write all of this as an entirely monogamous lady, if that's of any importance here.

Peace on earth and in Hairpin land. Come back, WaityKatie. We want you here."

(Maybe I only think it's interesting because she's saying the same thing as me :P)

I am with you on the introvert thing. Basically, I like my own company a lot more than I like almost everyone else's company, so there has to be a REALLY good reason that I'm spending time with people. I was living by myself, and then with my sister who had basically opposite schedules so I never saw her, most of the time I was doing the poly-ish thing, so I did get a lot of time by myself. And actually it worked pretty well for me because when he was over was designated movies and sex time, no feeling guilty about housework etc. But I did have another relationship at that time that did not have such good boundaries/convenient circumstances, and it was Too Much Other People, and was a total disaster, so....

WaityKatie

@Craftastrophies No worries, there IS a decided lack of honeys flinging themselves at me. It's just, that's wonderful for the Lady that being single for her was all about making out with hot guys on unicycles or WHATEVER, but for many single people (most?) it is not that way at all. I'm glad for her that she is (probably) very conventionally attractive and outgoing and very fun at parties, but...it's annoying to hear about for the rest of us. Grumble grumble grumble.

Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter

@Alexander I know both introverts and extroverts in my poly friends. Personally, I'm more on the introverted side of things (but very outgoing? I like to hang out with my friends at a show/bar then excuse myself with a smoke break to recharge for a bit) but I also tend to lean more towards the sexual/casual relationships (regardless of whether I have a primary partner or not) instead of romantic like craftastrophies mentions. Trust me, I need my alone time to do my stuff too, no matter how many partners (if any) I have.

thebestjasmine

@WaityKatie Yes, thank you! I mean, that's great for people who loved being single and found people to bang all the time, but when there's a long list of people who are single (or were) and say "That is not my experience at all, I have a very hard time finding people to date and/or have sexy times with" I'm not sure if we really need to hear again and again how great and easy it is for other people. I don't care if you're monogamous or not!

Craftastrophies

@thebestjasmine Yeah, I must say, I can see how the word 'standards' made people defensive, and also that there's often a lot of 'poly/bi people are STEALING all the hot people! They're GREEDY!' which obviously makes people get defensive early.

That said, I was basically like 'yes, finding people who I am willing to get naked for is not so easy, and often those people don't want to see me naked'. Even before the naked times, just getting on with other people is difficult! So, you know. It's different, I think, when it's a differently defined/possibly more 'limited' relationship, but you've still got to talk to and get along with other people!

This is not my strong point.

Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter

@Craftastrophies
"One interesting way to look at it is that if you decide to be poly/non-monog, then your "standards" change a bit because you're not looking for someone to fulfill Every Single Thing You Want In A Partner. The entire framework changes."
Oh yeah, this is spot on.

@WaityKatie I'm glad you're back too. As far as the single experience goes, maybe it's how different personalities view it as opposed to how attractive/outgoing someone is? I've gone through plenty of dry spells myself and most of the time (not all!) I tend to treat singleness as an adventure because (usually!) I don't care if I'm in a relationship or not and I've never stopped traffic with my looks. But I know other people prefer being coupled to not so they might notice the annoying/bad/dry spells more?

sevanetta

@WaityKatie YES. OK, I was asleep (in Australia) while a lot of this commenting was going on and I have been looking for a point in the conversation to jump back in and say WAITYKATIE I'M WITH YOUUUU and anyone else feeling a bit dumped on. There is a proportion of 'Pinners for whom being single has been a challenge, we've all vented to each other about always meeting coupled people, having all or nearly all coupled friends, awful awful online dating, nights alone, and hardly ever meeting anyone you are attracted to in general. thebestjasmine put it well as well. It's great if people are non monogamous and great if they enjoyed being single. but very hard to hear over and over how much you enjoyed having conversations and fun times and sexy times with all those people when I just took three years of total angst to find one great bloke... I read probably more than 1000 profiles, went on heaps of ok to bad to awful first dates, and even took breaks because I realised I was happier NOT online dating, JUST TO FIND ONE PERSON. ONE.

I don't think poly/non monog people are stealing all the people, but it's a bit rich to be accused of being insensitive and saying insulting things when basically that's how :I've: felt reading this thread.

I said it before, I'll say it again. It makes me just want to sum up by saying 'Congratulations. How wonderful.'

Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter

@sevanetta Just curious, but did you see the previous Ask A Lady column were non-monogamy was shat all over? I'm assuming this couple did and requested to tackle those questions in the future, or the staff noticed the response in that post and sought out these people to tackle those questions in the future.
I am genuinely sorry that this article and thread is hard for you to read. But honestly, it's not about you.

thebestjasmine

@Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter Yes, is is about her! This whole thread is people saying "Wow, that's great for you, but for me, being single sucks/sucked." That's fine if that's not the case for you, but yes, people who have the opposite experience being single are also allowed to chime in with our experiences too.

Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter

@thebestjasmine Parts of the thread are about people trying to actually discuss the topic of the post: non-monogamy. Other parts of the thread involve people hijacking a post on non-monogamy to talk about being a monogamous single because of one or 2 lines in the post.

sevanetta

@Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter No, I didn't, good of you to pick up on that. But there have been previous discussions on the hairpin where the tone was more like this thread has been (hating on singles) so I felt a bit like 'my God, haven't we done this already?' so that's possibly influencing my views as well.

And no, it's not about me... it's not about any of us... it's kind of you to sympathise so thankyou... I am genuinely sorry that people seem to think that those offering different views or criticisms hate poly/non monogamous people, because I'm pretty sure we don't, I certainly don't. My frustration partly comes from that people in relationships (poly and non) are privileged over singles in direct and indirect ways all the time, and honestly, I'd love to see a column like someone suggested below - Ask A Single Lady. And I'm not even single anymore!

Craftastrophies

@Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter Guys!

:'(

sevanetta

@thebestjasmine thank you thebestjasmine! have been trying to do this politely.

sevanetta

@Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter really, hijacking? I'm sorry that you feel that way/attacked. I think everyone commenting on that topic was just wanting to contribute their experience to the conversation. I mean there's no rule saying that people who choose monogamy can't comment on this thread.

Like WaityKatie did, I'm now going to opt out of this thread for a bit - I might check back but I feel like it'd be good to stop here.

Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter

@sevanetta "My frustration partly comes from that people in relationships (poly and non) are privileged over singles in direct and indirect ways all the time"
I get that I really do. I said before I (usually) don't care that I'm single when I'm single. But when I do care? It fucking sucks. But in the same way being coupled is privileged, so is being monogamous. And that's what I'M getting frustrated with here. On that note, I never said monogamous people can't/shouldn't comment. But can there for once be a conversation that actually focuses on the non-monogamous?

TheMongreloid

@sevanetta Dude, seriously? You said you couldn't "like" the non monogamous lady in the post because her experiences are different from yours! "And I'm sorry, poly woman, but I find it hard to like you because MY single experience involved a whole lot of awkward first dates with sexist/rude/psycho dude..." you wrote that! You are doing your fair share of dumping shit all over an unfamiliar lifestyle choice AND the people who choose to live that life style. No one here is saying monogamy is an invalid life style! I don't want to just single you out, because other people are slinging their fair share of shit on non monog choices, but let's add some level of respect to these threads. Remember! This is supposed to be the lady blog sleep over that welcomes all, not the one with commenters making glib assertions about people who have different experiences than us.

sevanetta

@excitablegirl

Last comment.

Actually, I have really tried to be respectful. I apologise that it didn't come across that way. I did not see it as 'dumping shit', or that I was 'making glib assertions about people who have different experiences than us' at all. I feel pretty attacked for having an opinion now, to be quite honest. That's why I decided to stop commenting. But, I wanted to defend myself from this last bit - it was NEVER my intention to be disrespectful. I love the hairpin for that too.

I have not said that non monogamy was invalid - if you wanna search through my comments, I've said a number of times that it's great if people are non monogamous, have at it. I do feel like the discussion inevitably takes on the tone of dumping on monogamous people. Which is exactly what I feel like right now, that people are making glib assertions about me.

:sigh: so yeah. did not intend to be disrespectful. similar to waitykatie and others. my apologies again.

WaityKatie

@Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter Or, in my case, being single is not an adventure, it's more like, "my life." Being single is just the way I am, so when coupley people have single "spells" and start talking about how fun and adventurous it is, it's kind of like, "Blah, tourists!", you know? Because this is my life and it's not some merry go round of boning everyone and going to parties? I just happen to not have a partner, pretty much ever, and that's pretty much it!

WaityKatie

@sevanetta I can only speak for myself, but I did not intend to imply that poly people were making invalid choices or that their lifestyle was not ok, and I'm happy to have this post to discuss these relationships, which I am curious about. I think the issues of whether this type of relationship works better for more sociable and outgoing/extraverted people is an interesting one and would like to know more about it. And hey, if I'm ever in a situation where I have two hot dudes who are interested in me and want to have some kind of poly thing, HECK YEAH I would consider it. That sounds freaking great. Implausible that this would ever happen to me, but great. I think maybe we need an Ask an Introvert or something, though? Because the lives of extraverts are pretty thoroughly covered in every aspect of our media and society, and I think sometimes extraverts just assume that anyone who isn't comfortable doing all the things that extraverts love to do is boring or weird or lame. We're just different. Beautiful rainbow of difference, etc.

sevanetta

@WaityKatie I'm totally failing at stopping commenting in this thread!

thankyou for articulating the frustration about being 'single' being this adventure, I have spent a lot of time explaining to people IRL that single just happened to be my life, it wasn't this massive adventure and I didn't choose it - just how things turned out.

I would love to see Ask an Introvert! Here's to the beautiful rainbow of difference! lol

you know what other spectrum of non monogamy I would be keen to hear about... non monogamous couples with kids... so far there is a lot of discussion of couple life but not how people negotiate non monogamous relationships with having kids.

_questingbeast

@WaityKatie I agree with you. I'm in my first proper relationship, but in my years of being single I found someone to sleep with, maybe, once or twice a year? And I didn't even like them that much always. I could decide to be non-monogamous tomorrow, but what would be the point, why would there suddenly be lots of people up for it? It seems the people getting angry at you are completely glossing over the fact that yes, they must be particularly outgoing or attractive or both to make it appealing or worthwhile.

WaityKatie

@questingbeast Haha, yes. I'm just going to announce, "I'm non-monagamous now!" and it will be...crickets...and then, "Oh, that means I have to go on even MORE okcupid dates? Wahhhh-wahhhhh..."

pollykettle

this makes me yearn for my younger, less shackled days (last summer)

parallel-lines

I suspect if I shared a hot tub with these people it would probably be creepy and uncomfortable and I would be forced to discuss topics like the waxing of the moon while refusing offers of spiced meats.

Katie Heaney

@parallel-lines I missed the "hot" the first I read this and I was like, as opposed to the NON-creepy way to share a bathtub with a couple??

Reginal T. Squirge

@parallel-lines At the Welshley Arms?

parallel-lines

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter Why is there so much COMMUNICATION in this hot tub! I am just on business trying to relax AGH!

annepersand

@parallel-lines Why, though? I mean, presumably they're dishing like this because someone asked them, not because they wander around all the time talking about their Relationship. And just because they both seem to have PhDs in Communicating With Each Other doesn't mean that they feel some similar compulsion to Communicate At Everyone Else. But maybe they do, in which case, stay out of the pool area and probably also the sauna, just to be safe.

JessicaLovejoy

@parallel-lines If there's anything I hate, it's hot tubbing at gunpoint.

parallel-lines

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter "Oh, eagle on a rock, sure sure...hm...is that...is that your toe reaching for my nipple?"

parallel-lines

@annepersand The makeout interlude seems to hint at what's to come.

saythatscool

@JessicaLovejoy Should have mentioned that to me last weekend, Jess. But then again, I guess I couldn't have heard it through the ball gag anyway.

oohdarling

@parallel-lines LOVAH.

Daria Morgendorffer

@parallel-lines AGGHHH my back!

batgirl

@parallel-lines I've been hot-tubbing with a non-monogamous couple. Let me tell you there was very little discussion of anything in that tub aside from who had to get out and be the one to refresh the cocktails.

melis

"An eagle dropped a snake on a rock in Washington Square Park" doesn't scan quite as well as "a nightingale sang in Berkeley Square," but I'll see what I can come up with.

saythatscool

@melis But enough augury, let us cut open the lamb and see what his liver tells us of these swingers and their future!

bangs
bangs

See, I would take an eagle dropping a snake on a rock as a positive omen.

okaycrochet

@melis BRIEF NERD OUT: In the Iliad, an eagle drops a snake amongst the Trojans, which they know to be a bad omen. The snake fought the eagle in the eagle's element (the sky), and even though he survived, he would now never be able to return home. TROJANS! DON'T GO FIGHT THE GREEKS AT THE SHIPS!! STAY IN THE CITY!!! And don't accept discarded wooden animals. And start an open relationship?....

purefog

@melis Maybe if you pronounce "park" with a Boston accent something will start to jell. . . .

Megoon

@okaycrochet That was awesome.

Bitterblue

@Ham Snadwich That's what I was thinking!

Oliver St. John Mollusc

Yaaay! This made me so happy I almost teared up a little. I've been single for aaaages because of a lot of things, but mostly because monogamy is almost never as good as being single (which is AWESOME). I am totally resigned to keep being single for as long as that is the case and forever if necessary, BUT it makes me so happy to hear that there's a third option. Good on y'all!

joie

bravo, Hairpin. (and Non-Monogamous Couple)

Reginal T. Squirge

Correct me if I'm wrong here: I feel like these people are saying that the lack of communication ruined their monogamous relationships. And that monogamy was the cause of that communication problem. But couldn't a whole shitload of other things have caused that communication problem (like incompatibility)?

Neptune

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter I think you're right - because incompatibility (eg, one monogamous person and one non-mon) would breed poor communication (non-mon resenting their situation but feeling unable to express those emotions)....

SarahP

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter I interpreted it similarly to the way Neptune did--they were less communicative in their previous relationships because they were not as invested (because that type of relationship wasn't working for them).

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter I read it more like, monogamy gave them an excuse not to communicate? Which I can totally understand because I kind of hate Talking About Things, so I always err on the side of keeping things light and not discussing problems until they're too big to ignore. Now they have to communicate, because their situation is such that it will get really messy really fast if they don't communicate the hell out of everything.

kickupdust

@quickdrawkiddo yes this! (I wanted to put that in caps but then it seemed way too intense. but just know that that is how much I agree with you.)

Reginal T. Squirge

@quickdrawkiddo It just reads like they think monogamy and communication are mutually exclusive. And they don't have to be.

heyladies

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter I read it as they were having a lot of taboo thoughts about others in their monogamous relationships that they are now free to divulge in their exciting non-monog relationship. For me, it sounds like turning the relationship into a game--one that I can't understand how it remains balanced. Nor can I understand how the other people involved here aren't essentially being treated like sexual pawns in said game.

wallsdonotfall

@heyladies Uh, because they consent? Which is a reply to both of your questions, really: if it becomes unbalanced, this sounds like a couple who can talk that out. And some folks really get off on being pawns (or fully-aware, independent sexual partners, whatever.)

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter I feel like they weren't as communicative with their previous partners because they wanted to bone other people are were worried that would hurt their previous partners' feelings or bring up guilt/shame/etc. So, in a way, monogamy and communication ARE mutually exclusive for them? And it's good they found each other so they can Do All The Communicating?

themmases

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter Yes! And also, I mean, not everyone's relationship issues are necessarily about jealousy/wanting to bang other people? I'm sure if we had to my boyfriend and I could have a lovely intense, honest conversation about Whether He Should Fuck That Lady. But that would be a new thing we'd have to communicate about, not a tool to deal with some other area where we don't usually open up, you know?

Neptune

@wallsdonotfall "Uh, because they consent?" this. Accountability. You are your own self. Consent means you choose to do something, and by choosing, you are a participant, not a victim.

heyladies

@wallsdonotfall Sure... we can asssume the outside sexual partners are being communicated with as openly as the couple communicates with one another, although they don't specifically say that's the case. In terms of the "how does it remain balanced", i.e., how do their sexual encounters remain relatively equal, I'm just amazed it all works so well though congrats to them for their outside-the-relationship sexual symmetry.

wallsdonotfall

@heyladies I don't see why they would need to be equal. Maybe Lady really likes sex with all sorts of people and Dude has a much lower sex drive and doesn't go out much. The point is, people in healthy relationships--monogamous or not!--don't keep score like that. Any imbalance of sex drives would be just as much of a problem in a monogamous couple. (Or more. At least in an open relationship, the person with a lower sex drive can do their thing while the higher sex drive person gets satisfied.)

sevanetta

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter Yes, major logic flaw there. Sorry Hairpin, it is really hard not to see this article as a choice to just stir the pot. Non monogamous people think it's awesome and want to preach about how awesome it is; monogamous people just want to be left alone; single people just get another kick to the guts. How many meta comments did we get on this already?

I mean I just got into a lovely relationship after 3 years of being single, and I'm super happy, and my reaction to this article is STILL 'god, it took me all that time and angst and nights spent alone to find ONE person, and here are these people merrily telling me I need to go BACK to dating in order to communicate better? GAHHH'.

Craftastrophies

@sevanetta Huh, I didn't read this like that at all. I can see why you would, but I read it more like... hmm.

Like, communication is important to maintain a healthy relationship. A non-monogamous relationship will force better communication earlier, because there will be overt things that need sorting out and negotiating. It's not that monogamous relationship necessarily foster non communication (which on reflection, is sort of what they said) but that you can put it off until it's a bigger problem.

Personally, my monogamous relationship involves a fuckton of overt, conscious communication. But I used to participate in the poly community online because it was one place where I saw a lot of smart people engaging purposefully in relationships, practising good consent and processing their own baggage. Obviously lots of mono people do that, too, but there's not as big of a community, and it's often not so... urgent. There's a blueprint for monogamy, so most people assume that they and their partner are working from the same plan, and might not realise for ages that they've actually made some assumptions about boundaries or expectations that the other person doesn't even know about.

Basically, the thing I liked about poly relationships was that the deal had to be negotiated overtly. I have seen many good mono relationships that do that, and many shitty poly relationships that fail to do that, but I'd say there's more emphasis on it in poly communities, because the stakes of not doing so are... not necessarily higher, but become an issue sooner.

sevanetta

@Craftastrophies Yeah, I get all that. :sigh: the article just rubbed me the wrong way.

rocknrollunicorn

@sevanetta I'd say the Hairpin is looking to address an already-over-stirred pot; in some of the other advice columns, non-monogamy has been dealt with in a way that kind of offended some people, I think? So this kind of answers that and maybe A Lady won't have to answer a question about a community with which she is not familiar and/or empathetic.

Kristen

I think it would be cool if the NMC re-answered the question that was addressed to Ask a Dude last week, about the lady who was afraid she might get hurt if she started hooking up with the guy in an open relationship! How do sensitive NMCs deal with an outside partner who is having confusing emotions or experiencing jealousy? How do you welcome another person into your relationship in a respectful way, and not just as a tool to bring the two of you closer together?

#questionsthatwillneverberelevanttomylife

yamtoes

@Kristen Along those lines, is this arrangement one in which they are each other's primary partners but they have other partners in addition? Is that how it usually works? If so, is there always the danger that one person might meet someone else that they like even more and would rather have as their primary partner? Just curious about the logistics.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@yamtoes That would be a good one to email them with! I too would be interested in the answer. My understanding is that the arrangement you described is the most workable, and I doubt this couple would consider themselves A Couple if they weren't each other's primary... but who knows?

Neptune

@Kristen I think this is where a lot of communication comes in...I've been the "new-to-the-poly" person and I'm now the "I'm-in-the-poly-and-someone-new-is-joining-us" stage and for me I have to be in touch with my partner(s) about the times that I feel insecure or scared or worried, both rationally and irrationally. And because my partners are always looking out for me, and are caring and loving, they can reassure, talk it out, and most importantly, not take those insecurities personally. And at the baseline of all of our communication is this foundation of LOVE, honesty, humility and caring, I know that my partner(s) won't ever do things out of spite or out of jealousy - and I have a commitment to do the same. It's not always easy to stand at the crossroads of a fight and take the "communication" vs "be petty" route, but at least I know that I can communicate and will receive fair and honest communication in return (eg, there's never that feeling when you take your wall down and try to be open and honest and are only met with pettiness).

AndSomethingElse

@yamtoes That seems like a really good question. It's probably one of the things at the core of most objections to nonmonogamy, right? The fear that your partner might find someone better.

On the one hand, that's a terrible thing to think. Doesn't it mean, "I may not deserve this person, but as long as I keep him or her under wraps, maybe he or she won't figure that out"? And isn't that just horrible for both of you?

On the other hand, human nature. At a certain point, you should be entitled to say, "I realize there are six billion people out there and some of them may be even awesomer than me, but I believe we're happy together and I'd like to quit being paranoid about it." And at that point, does free reign to make out with whoever smiles back at you on the bus constitute unreasonable temptation?

I find the idea of nonmonogamy incredibly seductive and tough to wrestle with.

Kristen

@Neptune That's really cool! I think that actually, the idea of being in a poly relationship, where everyone loves and cares about each other, and the relationship just happens to contain more than two people, seems maybe more familiar to me than the idea of an open relationship where two people are primary and everybody else just comes and goes.

Like, does this couple communicate this fully and intensely with everyone who comes into their relationship, even if they're only there for a short while? For me, intense-sharing-of-feelings + hooking up= straight shot to lovetown, so it's not hard to imagine connecting with a couple like that and ending up feeling way more intense about it than I'd originally intended. But maybe they don't engage very deeply with these other people? They just lay out the boundaries, do the deed, and come back home and talk about it with each other? That seems exciting and good for the couple, but maybe runs the risk of misjudging or hurting the outside person? Or maybe not? But how do you know without talking about it a lot? I feel like there must be an exactly-right level of intimacy with the people outside the relationship, and I'd really like to know more about how you figure those things out.

#Ishouldhavejustsentinthis300wordquestion

Neptune

@yamtoes I've found that I love people in different ways...and that there's enough love to go around. Obviously logistics dictate a lot of situations (people living with other people, etc), but at the end of the day my heart is big enough for both my primary, his girl, the non-monog who I have a huge crush on, etc etc. Love doesn't divide, it multiplies.

Neptune

@Kristen I think it's a case by case basis...eg, if someone is feeling insecure (the girl on the Ask a Dude question), they'll talk it through (that would be me. talking talking talking emoting crying etc), but if the person doesn't care/is okay/no probs - no big thang. As long as everyone is respectful of the individual situation, it's all good. (I'm just guessing here - as poly & non-mon are probably super different).

Megasus

@Kristen I was thinking the exact same things! It's all well and good, but what about the people who AREN'T in the nonmonogamous relationship with you? What about their needs? They are people too, not robotic fuck dolls.

Anita Ham Sandwich

@Kristen Well, the outside people usually have their own additional partners. As an example, I'm married to my husband, but have an additional boyfriend and a partner. The additional boyfriend has a serious girlfriend and a casual girlfriend, in addition to me. My partner is part of a trio (two men and one woman), in addition to me. So it's not usually set up as one nonmonogamous couple and the singletons they bone.

Neptune

@Megan Patterson@facebook I think it's the same as any other relationship whether it's dating, a secret affair, a one night stand, or anything. Be respectful. Be accountable. Don't lie. That goes for both parties - if you aren't comfortable sleeping with someone, don't do it.

JoanTition

@Neptune Oh Neptune... I think you're my new favorite planet.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@JoanTition For serious, I am just hovering around this part of the comment thread because the rest of the comments are making me feel like a bit of a freak for thinking non-monogamy is the Best Thing Ever.

Porporina

@quickdrawkiddo I'm having the same feelings! So many FEELINGS!

Megasus

@Anita Ham Sandwich OK, mostly being with people who are also in non-monogamous relationships is probably the best plan. Because bringing someone in who is unattached just seems kind of unfair, and rife with potential Problems. Unless it's just for a short time and they are looking for a lay and nothing else.
Also I am happy it's working for you!

Anita Ham Sandwich

@Megan Patterson@facebook I've dated a couple single people, but didn't really click. My two current "external" partners are both poly, also. It just makes dealing with STI talks and scheduling problems a lot more difficult. I also really like the other women in their life, so it's like I get a bonus friend along with a boyfriend!

redheaded&crazy

"How do you welcome another person into your relationship in a respectful way, and not just as a tool to bring the two of you closer together?"

I think this is a VERY GOOD question that should definitely be answered (I know lots of people have answered it above)

As a single girl doing some adventureteering, I think be respectful and be accountable are both top notch pieces of advice. What I think is the biggest problem, maybe only for me, is hooking up with 2 other people and them being all super coupley and PDA and ahhhhh please dial it down in front of me because now I feel weird and excluded????

That's MY advice for having your hot piece on the side stick around for more.

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie pay attention to the spare is what i'm saying.

sevanetta

@Kristen now that would be a different and useful thing to write about... and it doesn't direct the 'you are dull' message to monogamous couples and the 'oh well sucks to be you' message to single people...

sevanetta

@Kristen yes... some of us can't shag without falling in love... just how it is.

superboi

@Neptune @Kristen I should perhaps just send in a question to ask a NMC but I would really like a poly perspective. Also, I hope I am not too late to join in on the conversation. This stuff is so complicated and I have so many feelings about it.

"For me, intense-sharing-of-feelings + hooking up= straight shot to lovetown, so it's not hard to imagine connecting with a couple like that and ending up feeling way more intense about it than I'd originally intended."This is pretty much what happened to me, and to be to clear with just one member of the couple.

When it became apparent that there was feelings between us, the idea of polyamory was put on the table about a second, but then fairly quickly taken off as it seemed too scary and likely to blow up in our faces. So we took the only alternate route we could think of which involved cutting off our relationship and trying to get rid of feelings. It is not working for me so far. I realize that I am fully accountable for getting myself into this mess of emotions and "adventureteering" into this relationship was poor choice for me personally (mainly because there is no way I could have had such a relationship without feelings).

I guess what I am looking for some more perspective on being a single person in a poly relationship. Are there instances you know of it working out? Of it not working out? Why didn't it work out? Also, Neptune, and anybody else in a poly relationship, how did you get into being poly? (if you don't mind me asking)

redheaded&crazy

@8daysaweek oh god i really hope that "adventureteering" did not offend people

*anxiety*

superboi

@redheaded&crazie Oh no! Not at all! I liked it, thought it summed up the perspective that I had going in nicely. I am all for adventures!!!! Just didn't work out for me.

AndSomethingElse

@redheaded&crazie I was pretty much planning on using that word all the time from now on.

superboi

@Alexander this^ maybe I shouldn't have used the quotes?

*first time commenter anxiety*

AndSomethingElse

@8daysaweek You're both beautiful and articulate, and now you're friends!

This has been the internet anxiety fairy, fixing all your problems.

redheaded&crazy

@Alexander oh thank god for the internet anxiety fairy

@8daysaweek adventureteering didn't really work out for me either? i would say more but uh, public internets, i feel like i've said too much already!

superboi

@redheaded&crazie word. looking back at the wall of text I posted up there. Def said too much.

Neptune

@8daysaweek Just saw this... I'm going to start a blog that talks about my own situation (it's been about 8 months now so I'm finally at the point where I am getting the hang of it). feel free to send me an email at itsplanetneptune@gmail.com if you want to talk one on one instead of on here...happy to share some of my thoughts.

Verity

@redheaded&crazie I was wondering about this as well. This bit - "It's really just a game, because we know that at the end of the day, no matter what we do with other people, we're always going to come home to each other" - made me think that it sounded really hard for the other sex partners. I'm sure poly people work hard on not excluding their non-primary partners, and making sure everyone knows what they're getting into and doesn't have misguided expectations, but I would find it really difficult. (I'm pretty sure I'm not cut out for polyamory, though, nice as it sounds in a lot of ways. I have only ever had one partner; we went to the same university, got together when I was 19, have been together for three years and both basically assume that This Is It. I don't have a clue how to date, or how to have sex with someone I'm not in love with (not to imply that all poly people do this; I just have no idea about the "sex as casual fun" thing), or anything; it is all terrifying.)

Chesty LaRue

@redheaded&crazie I'm currently adventureteering, and it's working for me in a lot of ways. My couple is awesome, and we're all really good friends, and we did have to talk about Feelings at the beginning, like I shouldn't get too attached, etc. I also had to tell them if I met a dude in the meantime, I would break up with them romantically (not as friends, they're great). It's pretty casual, but it's working for now.

AndSomethingElse

@Chesty LaRue How did you meet these people, Chesty? (I feel like a dork calling you "Chesty.")

Chesty LaRue

@Alexander I met them at a neighborhood bar, they live in the building across the street from me.

lolalemon

Man, I feel like a buzzkill for being super not into this. I can’t get into the Dan Savage mentality of ‘if you’re monogamous, you’re missing out on the glorious buffet that life has to offer’. AAACK, I DON’T KNOW WHY THIS MAKES ME FEEL JUDGED, IT’S CLEARLY NOT PERSONALLY AIMED AT ME.

SarahP

@lolalemon I haven't ever interpreted it this way. Even Dan Savage's view of monogamish always came off to me as "there are people who are not monogamous. And if those people are in monogamous relationships, they are missing out on the glorious buffet life has to offer."

Anyway, that's how I don't feel judged, despite being 100% into only 1 person (whom I married).

JanieS

@lolalemon I think I could get over that feeling-judged issue if I could stomp on Dan Savage's toes and call him a condescending assbasket JUST ONCE.

LeafySeaDragon

@JanieS he was epically jerky on drag race last night.

Lyesmith

@lolalemon "ANMD: In an open relationship, not only are you not shackled by your partner, but also, excepting occasional emotional roadblocks and Feelings that need to be addressed, you're on your adventure with them!" It's probably this part. I mean, in this specific article.

fabel

@lolalemon yep. Cannot read Dan Savage. I feel like for every person writing in for advice, his answers are "Well DUH YOUR PROBLEM IS YOUR STIFLING MONOGAMY"

parallel-lines

@JanieS And he deserves it. Especially if you're a fat person becuase he really hates fat people.

lolalemon

@Lyesmith Thaaaat’d be one of the reasons, yeah. I keep trying to articulate my feelings on it in the least judgment-sounding way ever (so....what am I even doing on the internet, then, right?) I’m single right now, but when I haven’t been, I don’t think I’ve ever considered my partner a shackle and I’d be incredibly sad to know that I felt like one to them. And maybe this is bringing personal crap into it, but I feel like it’s getting less and less cool in my peer group to say “I’d like to be married one day. I’d like to only sleep with one person, who is only sleeping with me, one day.” Like this marks me as some kind of future repressed Betty Draper in training.

JanieS

@Lyesmith No kidding ... monogamous people cannot be on a Fun LIfe Adventure with their partner? They are all shackled? Bzwuh?

leonstj

@Lyesmith - EXACTLY. My brain is 100% okay with non-monogamy, I really do not care what consenting adults do behind closed doors.

But ugh, there is NO WAY to scan that without also getting: "In a non-open relationship, you are shackled by your partner."

Look - it's time we grow up a little bit. Not to sound too much like my grandpa (pictured above), but just because you can't do everything in the world you want doesn't mean you are "Shackled".

Not being able to fuck strangers? Not a shackle. Not being able to just try on the suit I want and walk out of the store even though I can't afford it? Not a shackle. Not being able to skip calling my mom on her birthday because I have plans immediately after work with a cute lady? Not a shackle.

Shackles are heavy metal things people use to hold you against your will in captivity or human bondage. Not choosing to fuck people who are not someone you are in a monogamous relationship with is not that thing. Perhaps the "judging" of non-monogamous folk would not be so harsh if there was not this tone of "but our way is better!"

I'm not saying it's worse. It's just different. I have no problem with you wanting to be non-monogamous, but for the love of peat moss, please stop calling my one-lady-at-a-time-wanting dick boring.

The Lady of Shalott

@JanieS I am hope hope hoping against hope that this is not what was meant!!! Because when I am with a partner, I would hate to think that they are considering me a shackle or something weighing them down. If we'd like to go with a sea-related metaphor, I don't want them to be the person with a millstone around their neck, drowning them. I want them to be the person on a fun yacht adventure sailing the seven seas!

Oh I could go so much further with this but I'm stopping here.

JanieS

@lolalemon like button x1000

Hooplehead

@parallel-lines: And women.

City_Dater

@leon.saintjean

If you're doing it right, there's NOTHING boring about wanting to be a one-lady-at-a-time kind of dude.

My main issue with the non-monogamous is that it just looks like epic, non-selective, horniness. It's nearly impossible for me to find even ONE guy I'm interested in meeting for a second date, so the idea that these people actually know that many people they find attractive enough to bone outside of a primary relationship is slightly astonishing.

leonstj

@City_Dater - I mean, I don't presume to say that my way isn't boring for SOME people. I just wish it would be couched in "I Feel This Way..." not "You know what? Monogamy is boring and Swinging is not!" or even "You know what? The comfort of monogamy is WAY BETTER than the anxiety I'd get from being in an open relationship."

I have no problems, in theory, with non-monogamy. What I have a problem with is people (regardless of their view on this issue) who think their sexual lifestyle is better than other views in a prescriptive, beyond their own life, way. Liberal, forward-thinking people would not accept this when viewing various "gender of partner" preferences, why do they feel like (on both sides of the argument) they are allowed to do this in "quantity of partners" preferences?

Ophelia

@leon.saintjean I'd actually be really interested to see how many people who are into non-monogamy are extroverts vs. introverts? Because the idea of dealing with multiple intimate relationships simultaneously exhausts me, but I definitely have some friends who would probably think it sounds exciting/fun.

D.@twitter

@leon.saintjean Think of it this way: the monogamous people get this: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/the-brain-on-love/?hp

I've never tried being an open relationship, but I would think that it's intrinsically more anxiety-inducing b/c it's not just that there's a chance your partner might meet someone superior, he is actively LOOKING to do so.

MoonBat

@leon.saintjean In all fairness, we (serial monogamist, here) rarely have to defend our choices, and non-monogamous or poly people probably have to defend theirs A LOT. Until they begin to assume a super defensive tone immediately while explaining their choice(s).
Like you, I really don't have any issue with situations other people enjoy, and I admire their commitment to honesty. But like you, I don't want to be accused of having less honesty and communication and excitement within my one-on-one relationship, just because their past experiences were negative. What would we call that .....choicism? Don't be choicist, non-monogamous Leon's grandparents!

Veronica Lemmons

@fabel That's a pretty selective reading of Dan Savage's advice. Yes he has helped bring the idea of nonmonogamy to a mainstream audience. I don't see how providing options to people who clearly need them is a bad thing. I've seen him defend monogamy or actively discourage nonmonogamy in many instances. The point is it all depends on the LW's circumstances. Anyone who chooses to ignore that and instead fixate on the imagined shade of it all doth protest too much, methinks...

themegnapkin

@City_Dater "My main issue with the non-monogamous is that it just looks like epic, non-selective, horniness. It's nearly impossible for me to find even ONE guy I'm interested in meeting for a second date, so the idea that these people actually know that many people they find attractive enough to bone outside of a primary relationship is slightly astonishing."
Totally agreed. I'm definitely a monogamist, and incredibly picky + an acquired taste (bad combo), so I rarely make it past 3 dates with someone. But it makes sense that non-monogamists would have a significantly lower bar for their non-primary partners, right? Like, you're not looking for everything (or everything important, at least) to align, the way you might with a one and only.

Neptune

@lolalemon I think this is a misconception - it isn't about someone else being "better" it's about loving someone else. Think about friendship - you don't have just one friend, do you? While I don't think that everyone is hardwired to be non-monogamous, I think that people who are tend not to see it as a "I'm with you for now but just waiting for something better to come along."

Porporina

@Neptune you stated that perfectly. Thank you for that!

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@lolalemon Dan Savage is pretty divisive for sure, and while I agree with him more often than not, I can totally understand why his advice raises the hackles of all y'all monogamy-doers out there. On the other hand, NMC never references Mr. Savage at all, so it seems kind of unfair to read his judgey-ness into their story (and I fully admit he can be super judgey) just because they do something he advocates. All they're doing is explaining why this non-traditional lifestyle works FOR THEM. I don't really see any reason to read judgment into it, any more than I, a mostly-non-monogamous lady, feel judged when my more traditional friends tell the story of how they got together (I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has told me about how glad they were to settle down so they could stop dating because UGH DATING IS THE WORST, and I'm like, butbut I kind of like it?). Everyone makes choices based on what they feel like is the best option for them at the time (hopefully!), and most of them are still choosing monogamy anyway. So I think you're safe from judgment, at least from NMC and from me :)

EpWs

@lolalemon ALL THESE THINGS. Thank you. I was beginning to feel the familiar feeling of "I am a dweeb in the corner" here. I totally respect people who get their non-monogamy on and can be happy and healthy about it. I am generally pro-do what makes you happy. But the thought of this is not even remotely appealing to me, personally--I can be a ball of crazy at the best of times, and knowing that my dude was out fucking other ladies? No bueno.

We have our own adventure, and I kind of love that it's just the two of us.

Also I am way too lazy to hunt down and/or juggle multiple partners. For serious.

Neptune

@JanieS btw... I HATE this idea that people are saying "monogamous people can't have their own adventures." That's total BS and anyone who says that is crazy and has their own issues to work through. What I think (or, what I hope) they meant by saying adventure-adventure-adventure yadda yadda is that they feel comfortable in their own skin, finally, after being in monogamous relationships where they didn't feel that way, and that's why they finally feel okay about the world...kind of like being gay and coming out? And life feels good?

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@Neptune Yay thank you for pointing that out! I totally agree but comment was running into novella territory :)

TheMongreloid

@City_Dater What something looks like does not mean what it is! It can be (and should be, in my opinion) very selective or it can get really messy reeeeal quick.

To a lot of commenters in this thread (and on this article in general), remember that monogamy is the mainstream and consenting adults in nontraditional relationships get a LOT of shit from friends, family, republicans, democrats, and most people in general. I don't think this couple is passing any judgment on monogamy or people who choose to be in monogamous relationships, but are trying to offer an insight into nonmonogamy. There's a lot of judgment happening from commenters here and it's a little disheartening! It's unfamiliar to a lot of people, but it's amazing this couple and The Hairpin are going to open a dialogue, and hopefully one that will be filled with respectful and positive comments, like most other contributers to this site receive. Obviously criticism can be respectful, but keep an open mind :)

JanieS

@Neptune ... and now that I re-read, I realize that was probably what was intended.

shantasybaby

@quickdrawkiddo I'll be the Savage defender and say that he isn't that judgey- people who are unhappy with their sex lives write into him and thinks that nonmonogamy could be the solution to alot of their problems. He isn't out there suggesting that happy couples who aren't writing into his column switch to nonmonogamy and he fully admits that it's the right thing for alot of people.

sevanetta

@leon.saintjean thank you for articulating it all so well!

AmbiSinister

@The Lady of Shalott what about the person with the albatross around their neck?

Craftastrophies

@excitablegirl Yeah, I'm finding these comments fairly judgey and... defensive? I mean, if you are monogamous, then this is not about you, and the couple aren't saying it should be. It sort of makes me wonder why some people feel the need to defend their life choices from this? Not everyone is engaging in that tone, obviously, and it's not like mono people can't have things to say, or reactions to share. But I feel like I read a totally different article to a bunch of people here, the other one being titled 'why being monogamous is totally stupid, you big stupid head'.

I feel like being monogamous/poly/whatever is sort of like sexual orientation. You are or you aren't. You can or you can't. I can totally do a polysexual relationship, but polyromantic? Noooope, I just cannot, I do not have the desire or the resources. I don't see that changing any time soon. I'm sure it's a little bit more fluid than it feels, like sexuality. But I have seen some amazing poly romantic relationships, that work really well for the people in them and are full of love and joy.

I feel about Savage the way I feel about Dawkins - I share many of their views, but I think they are judgemental and fundamentalist. Also, I am a bi fat person, so Savage thinks I am 1) a unicorn who doesn't exist and 2) revolting. So, WHATEVER DAN SAVAGE, you can bite my delicious fat arse. Except no, you can't, it's too delicious.

EpWs

@Craftastrophies "I feel like being monogamous/poly/whatever is sort of like sexual orientation. You are or you aren't. You can or you can't."

This just made something click in my head, and I feel a lot better now. Thank you.

TheMongreloid

@Craftastrophies Thanks for that! That is a great way to explain nonmonogamy and certainly describes my experiences pretty accurately - it IS like a sexual orientation, one that is fluid (and sadly misunderstood).

upfish

@City_Dater are you being real right now? It's not a constant fuckfest to be nonmonogamous. And there are loads of cute people everywhere? How do you not see them? A smaller set of them are also totally rad, and a smaller set of those people are also into making out with me.

packedsuitcase

@Craftastrophies I love this. I'm happily monogamous, and kind of scratching my head at some of the responses here. Honestly, I'm thrilled there is a column like this, if only because it gives me a peephole into a world I'm curious about but could never inhabit. I think there are a million and one ways to Do A Relationship, and whatever works for people works for them. I think that culturally, "relationship" and "monogamous" are generally synonymous, and I don't think that is nearly as accurate as many of us think. While I admit it stretches my boundaries, and I would have trouble talking to a friend that was having issues in a polyamorous relationship (more because my brain cannot handle the logistics, and I would end up focusing on the problems in one part of the relationship/with one partner and be totally lost as to how to approach the relationship(s) as a whole), so I love that this column will be out there.

packedsuitcase

@upfish Ah, but approximately zero are into making out with me! At least on a repeat basis. (Kidding, kidding, I found precisely one person that is into making out with me, and I snapped him up!) How do you find these subsets? I don't intend on being single again, but you know...shit happens, and a girl's gotta be prepared.

arlette

@City_Dater Two points:

"My main issue with the non-monogamous is that it just looks like epic, non-selective, horniness."

For some people, it is. For some people, it isn't. Some people are so delighted to discover there's another way to do relationships that they run around in little circles screaming with delight about it. They are loud. You tend to hear more from them than from people who're in nonmongamous relationships and maybe go on a date every few months, or bless their stars they can meet up with an old lover, or hook up with a friend in another town every once in awhile.

Not everyone's a lifestyle dater, and it's a mistake to think nonmonogamy means signing up for a parade of first dates with awful strangers. You make a relationship that suits the people in it, same as with monogamy.

miwome

@Craftastrophies I feel like I read a different column too! I'm 100% monog, and nothing in here bothered me? And I guess I don't hate dating the way some people here seem to, but I don't, like, super enjoy it either. (I could go on and on about how I don't really Actively Date, I just pursue people who interest me when they come along, but this is not really the time.)

Also, I don't understand the whole "this post and thread has been slapping me upside the face constantly" thing? Like, there are a jillion posts a week on monog datin and relatin. This post is very, VERY obviously specifically dealing with non-monogamy. Sooooooo why are we having this conversation? Like, if non-monogamy is so so so so SO not for you, maybe carry on and read something else?

I am very terrified that the foregoing paragraph is the equivalent of, like, privilege-blind people saying that if a racist post bothers some readers, they should just not read it, but...I feel that it's not the same. I DO NOT MEAN TO BE TERRIBLE IF I AM BEING TERRIBLE, SORRY EVERYONE (kindly help me understand why this is terrible, if it is terrible).

Craftastrophies

@miwome Thank you. I was starting to feel like maybe I am a bit thick, because while I can see where a lot of the reactions are coming from, they seem over-reacting to me. Oh, god, that sounds so accusatory. Basically, it seems like pretty much everyone is coming to this with their attitudes pre-prepped and defensive - on both sides. Which is totally reasonable but also not helpful? Like, I see the point of 'this is not about monogamous people' but also, the thing I like about the 'pin is that everyone can share their experience? I keep getting update emails that are making me SAAAD.

I think it's a clash of privileges thing, as was mentioned in another thread. Single people feel persecuted by society, poly or non-mon (sounds rude hee :P) people feel persecuted by society, lots of people in modern couples feel like their relationship is being judged as not traditional enough/too traditional. And everyone's just working it out as they go, so sometimes it feels like you've got to defend your shakey ground. It can be hard, no doubt.

But I 100% do NOT understand the people saying that they found the tone of this article judgey of their monogamous relationships. Dudes and dudettes. If it's not about you, don't MAKE it about you. That doesn't mean you can't use your own experience to relate to this subject, but the fact that someone else's life is different to yours does not invalidate yours! Let's all have glass of wine and relax!

I wish to point out that I don't have anyone in particular in mind, or any one comment. Just the general tone, on both (all) sides.

I think it is different to your example because the privilege is on the other foot? In general, our society privileges monogamous people and relationships. I think it's more akin to people saying that gay marriage is threatening the sanctity of traditional marriage, myself - if you don't want a gay marriage, don't get one, limiting what real relationships are jut make them LESS relevant, why is this so threatening to you? Except maybe I shouldn't say that, because those people always say we can't have gay marriage because WHAT NEXT, POLYGAMY? To which I say, as long as we can also have polyandry, I have no problem with that.

Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter

@miwome Thank you. Seriously.
@Craftastrophies, I know you're including me on the other side of things and I appreciate you trying to find a middle ground here, but really I just get tired of defending my existence to people who refuse to listen, and I'm not going to play nice when I see that. How many times in the mini thread above did this happen: mono person - NM peeps are all like X. Chorus of agreement. non-mono person - Actually I'm nothing like X, more like Y and I know plenty of people both X and Y. Mono - NO! NM people are all X. NM - No, we're all not. Mono - You're attacking me!
It's incredibly frustrating that on a thread ABOUT non-monogamy, monogamous voices are being centered in the comments and non-mongamous voices are being drowned out.

Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter

@Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter I mean, people are STILL implying that I'm evidently awash in a sea of the genitalia of my choosing when I repeatedly said I'm not.

Craftastrophies

@Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter Oh, I feel you. I am lucky in that I feel comfortable enough in each camp to not feel attacked, if that makes sense? It comes with its own sense of vertigo, but it's a pretty big privelege. But I completely opted out of that thread below because man, it made me SAD and TIRED.

Personally, I'm down with a mini-thread on a post like this that is mono people saying why NM is not for them. That's cool, it doesn't need to be, and there's a space here for people to talk about their own, not exactly the same experiences. But not them saying NM is not ok, or people who are NM are all like whatever.

Thing is, while I think things got too heated and personal on both sides for my tastes, I also think that that is more reasonable on the NM side, because mono people have plenty of spaces to talk about monogamy and how their relationships are normal, etc etc. I feel like mono people should have the same attitude that I expect from dudes on this site - they're welcome and encouraged to have a voice, but they have to LISTEN first, because this space is not primarily about then, for once. Basically, see Leon's comments on this page, I think they hit an appropriate tone of interest, personal sharing, and not judging or needing to be a centre of it.

Argh, I probably shouldn't even post this, I don't want to inflame anything. But I just don't understand why this is a difficult thing for people?

Marzipan

super cute! I thought they were going to tell us something they had never told anyone else before, though, so now I'm disappointed. I GUESS ALL THAT COMMUNICATION DOESN'T EXTEND TO THE HAIRPIN COMMENTARIAT, HUH??? whatever, non-monogamous couple. whatever.

AndSomethingElse

Totally brought this up with my girlfriend...she vetoed it. I would enjoy the freedom to make out with that very pretty lady who smiled at me on the bus today, but not as much as I enjoy being with my girlfriend, so...sacrifices must be made, I guess.

(Also, the girlfriend offered as a compromise, "What if we just had a threesome?" so maybe I should quit whining.)

SarahP

@Alexander YUP, quit whining. ;)

LeafySeaDragon

@Alexander i would prolly really enjoy dating and random makeouts, but i enjoy stability more. there is something to be said for a stable relationship. and i would not feel stable if my main squeeze was dating. or i was, what if i liked the date-ee more and broke up my own home?! (disclaimer: i drag around broken home baggage)

whizz_dumb

@Alexander no really, you have nothing to whine about.

AndSomethingElse

@LeafySeaDragon Yeah...ha, funny you say that. I was just saying the same thing up above somewhere. Not so surprising actually...I suspect this is the major thing people need to talk about when they talk about nonmonogamy. "What if someone better happens?" No one wants to live in fear.

packedsuitcase

@Alexander Umm, yeah, quit whining! Seriously, though, that's awesome if she's comfortable with it. Y'all could have so much fun!

leonstj

A One Act Play, Starring Leon

Leon sits at his desk, bored from working. He looks at his twitter feed.

Leon: OOooh. I've always wondered how people manage to be in a couple where they bang people other than each other - I could never, but I also don't feel there's anything wrong with it, I love reading about ways of living other than my own narrow path.

Leon clicks on the article. Next to the word "non-monogamous" is a picture of people who look so exactly like his father's parents, down to their very dress, that he has to stare for a minute or two before realizing, no, that is not the man who is the "Leon Saint-Jean Sr." to Leon's "Leon Saint-Jean III". Next to the word "non-monogamous." As in, having sex with people they're not married to.

Leon: Well, guess who won't be wasting any more money on condoms? LEON! Because he's never going to have another hard-on again.

FIN

(this was very great to read though, thank you for sharing!)

MoonBat

@leon.saintjean
Guess who will also never be able to look at a Vespa without feeling slightly nauseous?
Ahhh, Leon. I adore you so much, I really do. Sorry you had to find out about Gigi and Pops this way.

carogriffin

@leon.saintjean You're a "the third"?! In between that and the last name "Saint-Jean," you practically have the name of a Bill and Ted character in the best way possible. I live in envy of your awesome name.

sevanetta

@leon.saintjean oh dear god

packedsuitcase

@leon.saintjean Maybe the condom money can pay for therapy? Condoms are damn expensive these days...

Ophelia

@packedsuitcase It's OK, because aspirin are so cheap.

julia

Really looking forward to the advice-giving portion. And to the haters: could a monogamous couple give this little intro to how they came to be and not annoy 90 percent of the world?

SarahP

@julia Yes! Oh, wait, are constant smooches annoying? Nevermind, nope.

JoanTition

@julia I'm drafting about a million questions for them right now AND I CAN NOT WAIT.

chickaboom

@julia Yeah yeah. Double standard. But just like the Self Righteous Vegan (not all of you vegans! <3 you), the Self Righteous Poly Person is doing zir movement no favors (not all of you poly people! <3 this post).

Craftastrophies

@chickaboom Yeah, it's always the loudest idiot who gets remembered.

FoxyRoxy

I think non-monogamy is great but I am a terrible communicator, get very jealous, and am extraordinarily lazy, or what they call a catch. Monogamy, it is! But I can't wait for these Q & As. Also, I would happily read this couple's banter for ever and ever. So romantic.

Passion Fruit

@FoxyRoxy Hahaha, I loved your honesty about yourself.

I am a good communicator, sometimes demanding (from whence came the communication skills!), kind of a homebody and awkward introvert, can get very jealous, and will get physically sick (perhaps die?) if my Monsieur Petit Ami bones another lady. If he decides to bone another dude, I will die.

AND GO TO HEAVEN.

Craftastrophies

@Passion Fruit I was never ever jealous (envious, yes, jealous, no) until I got with my current partner. About two months in, a mutual friend made a vaguely fishing comment about open relationships and a red haze literally descended. I had to leave the room and give myself a talking to about how she was a good friend and respects our boundaries, or I would have SMACKED A BITCH. Thinking about either of us sleeping with another person makes me feel ill in my tummy area oh god I might vomit. Even though in my brain I am totally ok with the idea. I mean, I can think about a hypothetical threesome or adding another lady to our couple, but then I think about him looking at someone else like he looks at me and

oh god I'm going to barf.

Also, I know many couples who seem totally ok not communicating with each other, pretty much ever. One of the worst relationships I know is between someone who is a communicator, and someone who isn't I feel like maybe if she doesn't want to talk about her feeeelings, maybe she should be allowed to be repressed? It's a perfectly valid life choice.

Passion Fruit

@Craftastrophies True! Being a non-communicative person is a valid life choice. There are definitely men and women who prefer to keep it under wraps, for whatever reason. Maybe they're uncomfortable sharing their fifis, maybe they just don't have alot of angsty churning going on. Who knows. I am definitely not one of them.

And sometimes, I'm like, "Hey! Let's have a threesome! Except you will just watch. Me. Just watch me. ... HEY! ARE YOU LOOKING AT HER HAIR? Oh my god, don't you love me???? Aaahhhh!" [End scene.]

packedsuitcase

@Craftastrophies I can't even think about another girl touching Dudefriend. Like, I can think about it in a totally separate, that-used-to-happen-and-won't-happen-again kind of way, but thinking about that happening in the present tense? All kinds of gut churning anxiety. And sometimes it's even hard for me if he admits there are girls that he would sleep with if he was single, because we are long distance, and imaginary sex is basically all we get so it bothers me to think about him having imaginary sex with anybody else. Which I feel like is maybe super ridiculous and cray cray, but whatever. So he is nice and doesn't tell me if he has those thoughts, and laughs at me for being jealous because he is so far from the type to cheat he finds it absurd that I would worry. But ugh. Thinking about...nope. Can't finish the sentence. Gotta go to my happy place.

Craftastrophies

@packedsuitcase I feel like I don't get much moral high ground here, because he catches me out perving on ladies all the time. (Roller derby starts again this weekend yessssssss.) He is super crazy monogamous and bond-y, so I think I would be worried that he would bond with the other person if we had a threesome. I... weirdly, I would be less bothered by this if it were another dude? Even though this is unlikely, because if we were to do this it would probably mostly be because I miss the ladies. But what if he liked the other lady MORE? What if she was prettier and neater than me? OH NOES.

Brb, going to breathe into a paper bag nao.

xxAnniexx

This was a thrilling read! I feel so electrified by you two.

JoanTition

I am currently venturing into this world for the first time and it's weird and awkward and WONDERFUL AND EXCITING and brimming with communicationnnnn.

<3<3<3

SarahP

@JoanTition I have heard so many good things about the Ethical Slut from my friends who are also just starting to venture. Check it out!

JoanTition

@SarahP I will! Thanks for the heads-up.

Neptune

@JoanTition Ditto on Ethical Slut!!! It has made a world of difference. (& good luck!)

JoanTition

@Neptune So... it's totally a smutty blog and COMPLETELY NSFW, but herdirtylittleheart did a world of good for me thus far and I highly recommend it.

Anita Ham Sandwich

@JoanTition Yay! I'm about a year in and loving it. In addition to the Ethical Slut, try Tristan Tamorino's Opening Up. It was a big help.

JoanTition

@Anita Ham Sandwich @Neptune @ SarahP
I AM SO EXCITED FOR LIFE AND BOOKS AND EVERYTHING.
THANKSS.

my caps lock is totally out of control, but to be fair I *am* shouting on the inside.

Neptune

@JoanTition we are all just so full of love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :)

SarahP

@JoanTition We're on the same page! My caps lock is always out of control.

rianne marie

@Anita Ham Sandwich So many thumbs up for Opening Up. Best open relationship book ever. Ethical Slut is good but sometimes makes me feel like to do it right I need to live in a commune.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@JoanTition Me too! Y'all are super helpful and awesome with the book recommendations.

Craftastrophies

@SarahP I had a dream about Tristan Taramino the other night. It was AMAZING.

Also, I would like to point out that many of these books are pretty good monogamous relationship books, too. Same principles apply a lot of the time.

JoanTition

@all y'all

ORDERED THE BOOKS.
Can't wait.
I also told my (primary! I get to say that now!) gentleman friend about this whole thing on the Hairpin and the book suggestions and he was so damn excited and we high-fived and then went and got tacos. So good.

THANKS HAIRPIN.

Neptune

@JoanTition oh man i am totally craving tacos now!!!!! high five!!!!

Anita Ham Sandwich

@JoanTition Another internet win! Yay for high-fives and tacos! Also, I will be stealing that to use as my imaginary band name. "Hello Detroit! We're High-Fives and Tacos, and we're here to rock!"

arlette

@SarahP GAH NO NOT "THE ETHICAL SLUT." I have compared it to hearing someone say "y'know, I was thinking of selling these hats I made on Etsy" and handing them a copy of "Atlas Shrugged" as a manual. No no no no. "Opening Up" is way better.

hotdog

This column is reminding me of the chakra conversation I overheard in the elevator this morning. Perhaps my spirit animal is a cynic.

saythatscool

@hotdog Spirit animals AND open communication are encouraged at my fisting parties, hotdog.

hotdog

@saythatscool huzzah! I'll bring my copy of 'the prophet'.

redheaded&crazy

@saythatscool +1 rsvp

(although i call them patronuses)

Nicole Cliffe

SPACE COWBOYS.

Craftastrophies

@Nicole Cliffe D: :D

Nicole Cliffe

You be That Person all you want! The world needs Those People.

Craftastrophies

@redheaded&crazie ps is your patronus a weasley?

Porporina

Well this makes me happy. Oh Hairpin...you know just what I need. Always.

noodge

i like unprotected sex too much to be non-monogamous. (i know, i'm a bad role model)

SarahP

@teenie haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha

SarahP

@teenie I liked that too much just to "like" it.

noodge

@SarahP that was - honestly - the WORST part about dating for me. I'm a pretty successful dater, but my kink (which isn't really a kink) is riding bareback. It's made for some tense moments in my past.

Clare

@teenie I have a question about this I should Ask A Dude.

noodge

@Clare ...you want i should pretend to be A Dude?

Craftastrophies

@teenie ME TOO.

It is the best.

deb
deb

what about the other people you are having this sex with? what if they start to like you? i am worried about that part too. but you guys sound great.

parallel-lines

Okay, so I'm asking this nonjudgmentally: how do you handle the topic STDs? Condoms, while great, aren't 100% foolproof and what if you brought something home from one of your side pieces?

PotatoPotato

@parallel-lines: I also wonder things about this! What do non-monogamous people do when they have STDs? The non-monogamous lifestyle always sounds like this spontaneous, happy go lucky party, and that doesn't leave much room for things like The Talk about STDs and such.

Anita Ham Sandwich

@parallel-lines Speaking only from myself (as I'm sure that different communities approach this differently), my poly community is great about this. It's just _expected_ that you'll talk about STIs with anyone you date. Most of us are tested every six months, and often stagger our tests with our other partners.

PotatoPotato

@Anita Ham Sandwich: What about something like, one person has HPV, or herpes, or something they can't really get rid of? In a monogamous couple, it's pretty easy for the non-positive person to decide that they think this new potential partner is worth the risk for them. But in a poly situation, in a way they'd be accepting that risk for all or their partners.

noodge

@Anita Ham Sandwich and it sounds like non-mon is a bit different, so there isn't a "pool" of people per se, it's more allowing of more casual encounters with outsiders. still potentially risky i guess.

Anita Ham Sandwich

@PotatoPotato Well, HPV is a tough one, since most people probably have it, just don't know it. If someone has ever found out they have it, they inform potential partners. I know several people for whom HSV 1 or 2 (both herpes simplexes) is a sex deal-breaker. Each couple also negotiates the barriers they'll use (condoms for sex, no protection for oral, for example), and informs their other partners of any new partners and the precautions they use. Basically, talk about it ad nauseum and err on the side of overinforming vs. underinforming.

PotatoPotato

@Anita Ham Sandwich: Thanks for your insight! I'm not sure how much of the population is poly/non-mon, but considering how much of the population carries various viruses around, it seems impossible that they wouldn't overlap at least somewhat. Better informed decisions, ftw!

charizard

@parallel-lines We do what single people do (hell, we do more than most single people). We get tested, only have safe sex with other people and put the kibosh on sex with each other and go in for a checkup if something looks weird. We don't use condoms with each other, though. Our partners know exactly what's up with our arrangement and are free to walk out the door if it's not safe enough for them. I pretty much assume that we both carry at least one strain of HPV, but then again, so does most of the population by our age. Life goes on.

PotatoPotato

@charizard: Sounds super practical. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Craftastrophies

@Anita Ham Sandwich When I was in a poly relationship, he got tested every three months (he was more active) and I every six. And it was the most comfortable I've ever been discussing this stuff - it was just nbd, assumed that we'd be using protection and we discussed being responsible with our other partners, etc. As Anita Ham Sandwich said, there's a lot of being explicit about what your boundaries or deal breakers were.

Our attitude was, our partner's sexual history/behaviour is our business, because it affects us. I didn't need to know details or, like... emotions, it wasn't that kind of relationship. But every time we slept with someone new, we let each other know, and any important details like protection used, STD talks, etc. It was a pretty small group so this helped with social situations, too. We also had a rule that we let each new partner know that we were long-term FWB, before we had sex with someone new. It's only polite that everyone knows the general landscape.

Oh, squiggles

Healthy relationships exist in many forms! Yay for evidence of that!

Neptune

@Awesomely Nonfunctional this sounds really silly and overemotional but reading this comment makes me feel profoundly better about my world.

Mingus_Thurber

@Neptune I've been reading your comments through this thread and I'm impressed. By you, by your take on poly or non-mon relationships, by your thoughtful analysis and explanations. I don't think anything non-monogamous is for me, but I admire how you go about things, and how you convey your experiences to other folks.

Neptune

@Mingus_Thurber Thank you so much... I'm in a really good place right now and feel like I have handle on something that has taken me a long time to get the hang of. I appreciate this entire discussion!!! Also, maybe I'll start a blog...

Oh, squiggles

@Neptune I love that everyone is different, it makes the world interesting. Most problems keep stemming from people not understanding that different things work for different people because (drumroll)...we are all different! So keep on doing what works for you!

foofaraw

@Neptune Please do start a blog! I've loved your comments on this.

Neptune

@foofaraw (not to make this thread all about me, me, me but i did start a blog - the link is in my profile)

the angry little raincloud

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has (inappropriate?) random sexual encounters with people I meet at karaoke bars. Now that I'm single again, I suppose it's time to get my groove on. So, who's up for the Ave A Sing Sing, too much Sapporo, and doing a duet to that fire in the disco, fire in the taco bell song?!?!

Anyone?

Bueller?

Sigh.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@the angry little raincloud Meeee! Though I have had more successful hookups at 2nd on 2nd. No joke, last time I was there I made out with a Sicilian construction worker who got up there and completely crushed some Pavarotti aria. Then he cheered and sang along when I did "Take me Home, Country Roads." Good times!

the angry little raincloud

@quickdrawkiddo Ooh! 2nd on 2nd has a great list; it's one of the few places that has "Jane Says." I've had more luck with the scuzzy Sing Sing when it comes to making out with strangers, but I'm totally willing to branch out. I am totally serious. Karaoke lowers so many inhibitions...

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@the angry little raincloud Right?? It has the same effect on me as dancing: I'm nervous at first but then I get all into it and forget to be self-conscious, and pretty soon I've sweated all my makeup off and I want to love on everyone. Woo! Let's go right now!

the angry little raincloud

@quickdrawkiddo Isn't there like a Pinup or something on Thursday? Couldn't one possibly move said Pinup-- after a few drinks, of course-- to a karaoke bar?

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@the angry little raincloud I think it's next Thursday the 5th? But it's in the East Village so you know... karaoke opportunities abound!

the angry little raincloud

@quickdrawkiddo D'oh! I'm always getting weeks of events mixed up. (I am discombobulated, befuddled, and generally confused. Traits that also carry over into karaoking). Anyway. On the 5th! I will totally karaoke, in particular since I have the following day off. Whooooo hoooooooo!!!!!
Hairpinners, come join in karaoking and inappropriate hookups!

Chesty LaRue

@the angry little raincloud Danger danger! High Voltage!

runner in the garden

@the angry little raincloud @quickdrawkiddo aaaahhh wish I could! You guys just have to have so much fun that you have to do it again the next Thursday too.

bloodorange

@the angry little raincloud OH DANG MAYBE I HAVE TO COME TOO! :D

also, happy articulate non-monog folks: <3 <3 <3 YAY

the angry little raincloud

@bloodorange Ooh! Ooh! Yes, yes! Let's totally do a post-Pinup karaoke. More the merrier! We can all sing "We are the World!" together.

whizz_dumb

After spending a good portion of my twenties single and loving it, I feel like I "got it out of my system", for lack of a better phrase. Now I actually have come to enjoy not pursuing every possibility of a sexual encounter with others. Noticing a potential hook-up and not acting on it used to be frustrating but now it's a subtle thrill? I think my non-monogamy extends no further than harmless flirting.

rocknrollunicorn

@whizz_dumb I feel so very, very similarly. Then I have to remind myself that not everyone else was single and relatively slutty for most of their 20s. (A fact that I think your comment totally acknowledges, btw). Monogamy is like a crazy adventure for me, as stupid as that sounds. And flirtation with someone I know I will ultimately have to turn down is kind of extra exciting.

whizz_dumb

@rocknrollunicorn Thirty-somethings who were single and relatively slutty for most of their 20s UNITE!

foofaraw

@whizz_dumb your icon--dare I ask--is it from Repo Man?

Party Falcon

Well, now, I was wondering who the appropriate "Ask A" would be for my swinging in-laws and their neighbors who made a pass at me, and I'm gonna go ahead and guess THESE are the folks!

EpWs

@Party Falcon Unless these ARE your swinging in-laws. Dun dun dunnnnn.

MoonBat

@Party Falcon
Raptors are monogamous, right? It's been a few years since college zoology, sorry.

Party Falcon

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Lalalalalala, my wings are over my ears and I can't heeeear you.

Waiting

@MoonBat Ask a Non-Monogamous Raptor Couple

sevanetta

@MalPal Now THIS I want to read!!!

treeskier170

Good for these guys. I personally wouldn't be able to do this, not that I've tried, but I like my SO to be all mine. Not that she can't go out and do her thing, but sex is too important for me. Sure you can have your one night stands, but when you tell someone you love them, sex for me anyway, becomes more than just sex. Sometimes you fuck, other times you make love, it's rough, gentle whatever, but it's for you to share with that person. When you're single, go nuts for sure. But when you love someone, it's different. Even getting tied up, gagged and whipped becomes something special when you're in love with your sex slave.

Waiting

@treeskier170 lol you lead an exciting (sexual) life sir/madam ;-)

"Oh baby I love you - WHIP ME HARDER!"
"I love you too, my darling slave!"

martinipie

@MalPal ...not as uncommon an exchange as you may think...wink wink...

Craftastrophies

@martinipie I had a moment where I was confused about all of MalPal's comments, and then I realised that it assumed the context that that exchange was not common.

My world is not that world...

iceberg

"Nobody captivates me like you, and nobody can fuck me like you can. I'm with you because I want to be with you, because you are the best for me."

So what happens when one of you finds someone who you DO like better? I'm not trying to be mean but like seriously what happens?

Porporina

@iceberg Well, what happens when that occurs in a monogamous relationship? I imagine something similar to that would be the answer.

Neptune

@iceberg I mentioned this above but I just want to reiterate that, at least in my case, it isn't a "better" it's a "my heart has room for more." (Again, I'm poly not only non-monogomous).

JanieS

@Neptune I don't think those two choices sound as different as you seem to. "Oh, I don't think your boring and frigid! I just think you're small-hearted!" Yeah. Thanks.

Neptune

@JanieS touche! I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that....let me try to think of a different way of doing it... I guess .... I just mean that I am a lover of people, I just fall in love with a lot of people, and the way I feel about other people doesn't effect the way I love the one I'm with. But I see where you're coming from and didn't mean to imply that it's better than monogamy...it's just how I'm wired, at least now. I don't know, maybe I'll meet someone and I'll know that they are THE ONE and ONLY THE ONE, and I am (and my partners are) open to that too...

iceberg

@Porporina Ah I think I phrased my question badly, and also I know myself... I guess whenever I meet a new person I'm all about them and I get all excited about them, so I just worry that having that door open (FOR ME) would lead to like, constantly thinking each new person was better than the last, because I'm allowed to let myself feel those new love feelings and I could mistake them for it being a better connection than with my current main squeeze, with whom I have to discuss recycling, children and who forgot to flush the toilet again goddamnit. Know what I mean?

Porporina

@iceberg Ah! I think I get what you're saying. A lot of the literature about non-monogamy and polyamory call that NRE (new relationship energy) and it's often seen as a good thing! Like...you get to give that energy back to your other partner(s) and share the excitement and what not. Kind of like what ANMC said about make-up sex without the fighting, but it doesn't have to just be about sex. It's a matter of being aware that those feelings of newness are what has you so consumed and that this new partner isn't "better" than your current partner(s)they're just, newer! If that makes any sense?

JanieS

@Neptune Oh, that explanation makes a lot more sense :) I definitely agree with the whole "people are just wired differently" thing. Despite my Dan-Savage-related grousing, I really am totally cool with whatever lifestyle/relationship choices work for people (as long as they're honest with themselves and their partner/s).

Neptune

@JanieS and lol Dan Savage gets on my nerves too :)

Passion Fruit

@Neptune Perhaps this has been said up or downthread, but maybe YOU should be the Ask a Polyamorous Person. You come across as very thoughtful and down to earth, and less "High! On! Love!" than this couple does. (Although they are cute, and I have no hate for them, I just didn't really learn/understand much from this one. Maybe the future ones will be more educational.)

Maybe you could call it, "Neptune: The Lonely Planet. NOT." Eh. Or call it something else, I don't know.

Craftastrophies

@JanieS My heart does NOT have room for more. My love is a precious, scarce resource, and I am stingy with it. There are reasons for that, but that's the way it is for now and that's also fine.

It's not like it has less volume of love, more like it has... fewer... ports? I just get full up on People real quick, I seem to even have a cap on the amount of good friends I can deal with at a time. It's unfortunate, but that's how I'm built and I'm ok with that.

Neptune

@Passion Fruit hey thanks! I hope I didn't hijack it for the real NMD & NML who I'm sure have really exciting and fun things to share with everyone. Um, I just registered this domain for a blog and am hoping to start writing there. There's nothing there now but I wanted to share it with people who might be rereading this thread: http://itsplanetneptune.wordpress.com/ I'll try to get some posts and thoughts rolling this week/end.

hotdog

...I dunno, folks, I dunno. I'm still not sold on the fact that poly-love isn't comprised of people that need a LOT of attention and are above average in their need for this particular brand of excitement. I also get a whiff of narcissism whenever I read these kinds of tomes, and the air of people that are not happy with themselves outside of that big 'ol dopamine rush that new love/lovers get you. Like, love, y'all-it's a drug. And being in the throes of a new exciting relationship does the same kinds of things that opiates do to your brain. This article doesn't dissuade me from that, what with the make-up sex analogies and all.

That said, these are my opinions, and aside from them affecting my own personal relationships, I do not actually care about how anyone else goes about theirs. Like, I have friends that are poly, and we can joke and discuss these kinds of opinions (which they have about monogamy, too, of course) but I fully support their choices because they are THEIR choices.

wallsdonotfall

@hotdog A lot of people say the same thing about homosexuals.

hotdog

@wallsdonotfall way to bring a shut-down to any dissenting opinion there, huh?
"you don't agree with this? well, have you considered that you might be a bigot?"

kapitalk

@hotdog Right, because there are no narcissistic monogamists. Monogamous couples planning their weddings or having a baby never go on and on ad nauseum about their happiness and excitement. Come on! Serial monogamy is a term that was invented for monogamists ever in pursuit of "new relationship" dopamine.

I'm not getting where all the incredibly defensive-sounding judgments are coming from in the comments. Do people imagine that monogamy is on the verge of being banned? It could not be more aggressively protected and celebrated as a life choice. No need to pathologize the choices of others - just don't do it if it doesn't suit you.

wallsdonotfall

@hotdog Considering that both cases involve making generalizations about a diverse group of people based purely on their romantic/sexual preferences? I think it's a pretty apt comparison. I mean, what you essentially just said is, "Yeah, I read all this and I have these friends BUT you haven't convinced me that poly people aren't X, Y, and Z."

Personally? I find these letter-answers not really my speed. And I don't think you are a bigot. But I really can't reconcile your first and second paragraphs. You support your friends' choices even though.... you don't think they're happy with themselves? You think they're narcissists? I mean, the ranks of the monogamous are filled with desperate jerks too, but I don't think that's what you were saying.

charizard

@hotdog Well if anecdotal evidence helps you change that (rather icky) opinion on poly-love, I'm a huge introvert, not at all a party girl (or whatever quantifies someone as a narcissistic attention whore) and only keep a few close friends. When it comes to sex, it takes all kinds.

hotdog

@kapitalk uhhhhh at what point did I imply there were no narcissistic monogamists? And when did I exclude serial monogamists from the dopamine conundrum? (for the record, I agree with your assertion) That's just not what we're talking about here. And, you know, just because I offered my opinion to a posting doesn't mean I'm being defensive. It just means I didn't post "wow, I really love this". I am completely allowed to have an opinion that is not that high of polyamory. And I am totally allowed to think ALL SORTS of people are narcissistic.

Neptune

@hotdog but why is this a bad thing? If people are in tune with what they want and what they need in a relationship and are seeking it out in a positive, constructive way? If you like ice cream, eat ice cream. If you like to drive a nice car, play on your computer, watch horror movies, drive your car, play on your computer, go to the theater! Do what makes you happy.

wallsdonotfall

@hotdog Also, I mean, what is there to agree or disagree with? We can decide what's best for us in our own lives, and I have no problem with people saying, "Non-monogamy/marriage/cilantro's just not for me, nope, can't do it." But there's a big gulf between that and declaring that an entire romantic mindset is invalid.

Nicole Cliffe

The cilantro metaphor works for so many things!

queenofbithynia

@hotdog On the one hand, opiates are terrific so this is not exactly what you would call a damning comparison. On the other hand, running down love with dismissive faux-scientistic garbage about "limerance" and "new relationship energy" and "candy brain chemicals" and whatever else is number one on the list of awful things polyamorous people do, and number one on the list of reasons I can't stand 'em as a culture even though the essential concept of non-monogamy is inoffensive and I have had my share of married boyfriends [1]

So I guess what I am saying is I kind of agree with your point, but you are using the unbearable vocabulary of poly people to make it, so your argument eats itself?

[1] that is, one. Two would have been more than my share. He was a pain in the ass but his wife was nice.

kapitalk

@hotdog I think you are being a tad disingenuous in your responses to people's responses to what you wrote. You certainly implied that the entire non-monogamous world might be comprised of narcissists (people who are above average in their need for attention). As you say, you are allowed to have an opinion of polyamory that is not high. However, if you express it publicly, people are allowed to respond to this opinion critically. That is not a form of censorship.

sevanetta

@hotdog I agree wholeheartedly

brooklynbranch

ANML says, "I look back on my previous relationships and I can't believe how uncommunicative I was. It's like I had taken a Vow of Silence about my feelings. The only thing that mattered was getting along, avoiding conflict, never being high-maintenance or, God forbid, needy." I was the same way until I met my husband. We talk often and honestly about our relationship, and we're monogamous. I don't think monogamy and communication are mutually exclusive, or that open relationships necessarily lead to more or better communication.

Waiting

@brooklynbranch I really think she is speaking for herself here - her feelings of wanting to be sexually involved with other people, she is saying (I think), had to be stifled. So, she in turn felt emotionally stifled and that communication was stunted. This is my interpretation.

Dr. Allison Absinthe@twitter

@brooklynbranch I saw that part the same way MalPal did, but I do know some NM people who do believe (and go on ad nauseum) that ms bullshit just like you point out.

The way I see it is that monogamy is the default, so you can still have a successful (however you define that) relationship without ever really having to work on your communication with your partner. Non monogamy still doesn't have any real blueprints though, and so communication gets harped on more to make sure everything's on the up and up. But there will always be monogamous people who work hard at their relationhsips and non monogamous people who don't so yeah, no blanket assumptions on either side.

Waiting

This is really so interesting. I have never met anyone who was in a mutually non-monogamous, loving relationship.

A lot of what they said here I can relate to. I feel the itch in my LTR pretty frequently. I really enjoy going out without him... in fact I enjoy it more than going out with him. I really like flirting and dancing with other boys, though I have never acted on these urges and taken it to the level where you'd consider it cheating (like kissing or fondling). After the thrill of flirting/being admired by other people, at the end of the night he is the one I want. He is the one I want to call up and watch x-files with, to talk about life with, to eat pizza and drink beer with. I don't know if non monogamy is the answer here but... I guess time will tell.

charizard

@MalPal "I have never met anyone who was in a mutually non-monogamous, loving relationship."

That you know of. ;)

hotdog

@charizard ok, I DID really like this response.

Waiting

@charizard oh yes, I should have clarified - no one I have ever met has made this information apparent to me.

Anita Ham Sandwich

@charizard Excellent point! Many of my acquaintances don't know that I'm polyamorous. There's definitely a bias that a lot of us just don't talk about it with people we're casually friendly with, whereas if a couple is having a big, messy breakout and is blaming nonmonogamy, EVERYONE will hear about it.

charizard

I'm so happy to see this on the Hairpin. Past discussions of non-monogamy on this site end with me mashing my face into the desk.

To the defensively monogamous: I don't care who you sleep with, or how many. Generally other peoples' sexual relationships do not register on my giveafuckometer. Everyone has their favorite flavor but I'm too focused on my butterscotch ice cream to bitch about how much vanilla sucks.

To the defensively monogamous who want to pathologize my life: I wasn't judging you for your monogamy, but now I'm judging you for your apparent lack of tact. When did it start being okay to ascribe characteristics to a person based on who they sleep with?

hotdog

@charizard You know, you may have something there. I'm enjoying your level-headed discourse on this, and I may have been too quick to 'pathologize', even when thinking that wasn't what I was doing. I think a lot of what is really important in these conversations IS being completely honest and tactless though, because I value when I'm challenged and eventually have to re-think what I thought I knew. Snide remarks are easy to make, but you've done a very good job of taking this to the next intellectual level. I'm not even being facetious when I say, this:
You're right, here.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@charizard Yes yes and yes. Thank you!

TheMongreloid

@charizard Thank you! The comments on this thread are pretty out of character and judge-y for The Hairpin. I have enough family and friends (and politicians and religious leaders) discredit and scoff at my relationship because it's nonmonogamous, and I expected at least open minds from 'Pinners.

For those defensively monogamous commenters, remember this couple is not judging you and they are putting themselves out there despite probably getting a lot of shit slung in their direction for the decisions they make as consenting adults. Let's at least hear them out here, respectfully and with an open mind. Saying you don't understand is one thing, but then qualifying that with judgmental and inaccurate comments is disrespectful.

redheaded&crazy

@charizard STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO DO

I am totally the defensively monogamous! But I recognize it. And no pathologizing here! I'm actually quite happy to be the third flavour in somebody else's sundae, as I said somewhere else I find it fascinating (here is where i put on my zoologist binoculars) to watch people engage in a style of relationship that I am just. legit. not. capable of.

redheaded&crazy

but maybe just maaaybe we all get a little defensive about our relationship situations because we want them to be the best and probably a lot of the time they're not the best and it's like how can I make this better?!?! maybe nonmonogamy?!?! oh wait definitely not nonmonogamy oh god I'm going to die alone

anyway, not to get all defensive about being defensive or anything! (sigh)

bookfreak

@excitablegirl Same here. A couple months ago my boyfriend and I were talking and we brought up "maybe if we occasionally wanted to sleep with other people there is a way to make it work". Since then I've been looking for examples just to see what relationship options are out there so I was excited to see this article here, but I'm also surprised by the tone of some of the comments.

Craftastrophies

@redheaded&crazie YOU ARE YOUR OWN PERSON. SHE'S NOT YOUR REAL MUM!!

Actually, one of the things being in a poly FWB situation did was make me realise where my line is - it's pretty close to monogamy. What I mean is, an important part of any non-monogamous relationship is knowing your own boundaries and deal breakers. Trying to be in a romantic polyamorous relationship would be disastrous for me - the relationship equivalent of straight girls making out in bars because it's 'hot'. It would be gross and distressing. I feel like that knowledge is important and hard-won. I am not sure how to bring this around, but what I mean is... props to you for knowing that it's not for you. That is not admitting a weakness, or whatever, it's admitting a strength. It's knowing the hand you've been dealt... so to speak. Your point about wanting the best relationships is a good one, also.

@charizard some of the comments on here made me sad because it made me think that if I were this couple, I wouldn't want to write another article. That's not very welcoming and hairpin-like, yaknow?

Jaya

@charizard Totally on board, but can we please get away from the idea that monogamous equals vanilla?

redheaded&crazy

@Jaya wooooord ain't nothin vanilla bout MY monogamy!

Craftastrophies

@Jaya Ding ding ding ding ding!

t. rex arms

@charizard and @craftastrophies I hope this couple feels welcomed on The Hairpin -- as a married person in a nonmonogamous relationship, I am stoked to see different parts of the relationship spectrum represented here. Hopefully the comments will calm down after this, and instead of so many people being super defensive one way or the other it will be just like reading any of the other "Ask A" columns, where maybe you yourself are not a Queer Lady but you can still learn great things from her advice? Just a thought.

martinipie

Oh man, I want to show this article and the positive, happy, levelheaded comments to all the jerkwads on my campus who say "I'm polyamorous" and just mean they rampantly cheat on some poor person (people of any gender do this on my campus, yayyyy). These jerks are totally ruining the name of a whole valid way of loving! STOP IT PRETENTIOUS FRESHMAN YOU ARE NOT POLY YOU'RE JUST A JUICEBOX!

(there are wonderful examples of polylove that I've seen here too but...not as many).

rocknrollunicorn

@martinipie I am sure you are a very mature college student and act responsibly... but in general, a lot of what goes on at college is not a good representation of people adopting a lifestyle in a responsible and mature manner ;)

Drinkin'_Water

I really appreciate seeing this on here. My husband and I started out in an open relationship but in hindsight he was just humoring me. For most of my young adulthood I had basically slept with a bunch of my friends who knew how I was and were down, and also had one night stands and flings who were also informed on the score and were down. It was really great! He said he loved for who I am and he knew that that was important to me, but after we got married he persuaded me to humor him and try monogamy. I really did try to like it, but it wasn't long before I missed the sexual freedom a lot. The last time we talked about it we had a total stalemate, and that was years ago. I'm actually going to see a counselor tomorrow because I can't talk to anyone about it, not really. I do have a couple of close girl friends I can talk about anything with and they are great, but when I talk about this I can see them get so sad, so I don't really feel like I can talk it out with them. I really don't like anyone feeling sorry for me over it, that is pretty ridiculous. I just want someone to talk with (who is getting paid for the trouble!) so that I can hopefully figure out why I'm like this and what I can do about it. I know the answer already, which is suck it up and just cope or whatever, but I'm just hoping she'll give me a little more clarity, insight, tips on coping, whatever, I don't know. I don't want to leave him and I couldn't even if I did ever want to because the guilt would eat me alive. I'm actually really lucky and I do feel grateful. I stay pretty busy when I'm not reading the Hairpin or watching Drag Race or whatever, so it's not like consuming all of my mental/emotional energy or anything, it's just something I've been putting off dealing with for too long. Ahh, anonymous internet confession. I should have done this sooner!

franceschances

@Drinkin'_Water Man that sucks. Have you tried couples counseling? It might at least get you out of your stalemate. And anyway, don't stay because of guilt. It's not wrong to leave a relationship because you can't be yourself in it.

Passion Fruit

@franceschances It's not wrong to leave a relationship because you can't be yourself in it. TRUTH.

Good luck with the counselor, Drinkin'_Water. You sound like a thoughtful person, I wish you a good resolution.

Porn Peddler

I do not have time to read this whole thread and oh my god hairpin why would you do this to me the week I'm working nights, I so want to be involved in this discussion but LET ME JUST leave you with a quote from someone in a non-monogamous relationship who was interviewed for Opening Up by Tristan Taormino: "I can live my authentic self because of her. She has transformed me. Although I occasionally date others, we are committed to each other and never have forgotten where "home" is."

And if you haven't read that book and have something judgy/nasty to say about nonmonogamy or how it's just not for you and no judging but seriously it must be secretly weird or pretentious, get the fuck out of here and go read Opening Up: A Guide To Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by HBIC Tristan Taormino. Go, now. What are you doing here being an asshole? I told you to go read.

TheMongreloid

@Third Wave Housewife !!!!

Jenn@twitter

@Third Wave Housewife but what if you've done poly relationships, repeatedly, have read all of the books, and still don't think it's for you? not due to any fault of partners, etc, but because seriously you really are just not cut out for this?

Porn Peddler

@Jenn@twitter I'm obviously not referring to that....? And yet people still feel the need to chime in and defend themselves against what is not directed at them?

redheaded&crazy

@Third Wave Housewife but see, if more people were nonmonagmous, then there would be more people for nonmonogamous people to bang, THEREFORE, I SEE WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO DO HERE

Neptune

@Jenn@twitter then you're not supposed to be in a poly relationship... I DEFINITELY don't think that Poly/non-mon is for everyone. I think in the same way that mon. is wrong for some people, non-mon is wrong for some people too! I think someone else said it elsewhere - I think it's how you're wired, like being straight or bi or gay (or flexible). Some people just aren't poly. Some people just aren't monogamous. THAT'S OK.

LydiaDeetz

When are we getting "Ask a Single Girl Who Spends Her Nights and Weekend Watching Netflix in Her Messy Studio Apartment"??? Why does The Hairpin insist that everyone is getting uber-laid but me?!

Statham

@LydiaDeetz Probably because half the website is in that state and could answer those questions themselves. (I am totally included in this cluster.)

LydiaDeetz

@Statham That's exactly why we need one because we can't answer all the questions ourselves (obviously)! What about my burning questions about whether paying for porn is ever worth it? Or if your vagina is actually capable of yawning from boredom? What do I wear to the corner store to pick up another pint of Ben&Jerry's if my outside sweatpants have a stain from the first pint of Ben&Jerry's??

Passion Fruit

@LydiaDeetz HILARIOUS! Get it, gurrrl.

("It" being Coffee Heath Bar Crunch.)

Neptune

@LydiaDeetz if it makes you feel better, I definitely got home from work last night, ate a bowl of cheerios with a disgusting amount of sugar sprinkled (and resprinkled) on top, and watched 6 episodes of saved by the bell before going to bed...only to watch 2 episodes of top model before falling asleep.

LydiaDeetz

@Neptune You can't fool me. You still have laying options (sounds like multiple ones!). Leave us untouched something for ourselves!

Neptune

@LydiaDeetz Okay, I admit.... I had three men and two women lounging in my bed watching Top Model with me, just waiting to get jumped.

In all actuality, I was simultaneously playing Draw Something (!!!) - ItsNeptune. ANYONE OUT THERE WHO WANTS TO PLAY DRAW SOMETHING, ADD ME: ItsNeptune

:) oh happiness.

sevanetta

@LydiaDeetz I really really really really wanna see this column!!!

redheaded&crazy

woah dudes ... people are like, different

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie dude, totally

Craftastrophies

@redheaded&crazie Woah, man. That is, like... so totes deep. You're deep, man!

redheaded&crazy

@Craftastrophies dude, have you ever wondered if like, stars have feelings???

wooahhhhhhhhh

Craftastrophies

@redheaded&crazie omg omg, what if stars, like... fall in love? omg what if they are watching us now?? WHAT IF A STAR IS IN LOVE WITH YOU RIGHT NOW MAN?!

rougemarie

@redheaded&crazie @craftastrophies or like, do stars ever like to be part of more than one constellation at the same time?? there are so many different ways to burn brightly, man. rock on.

AmbiSinister

I am stoked about this column.

rougemarie

This was awesome to read. Learning about what works for other couples in their relationship always opens my mind and makes me think about ways I could approach my own relationships differently. Um, on the rare occasions I actually have them, that is.

packedsuitcase

@rougemarie So true! I love reading about what works for other people. Mostly, it makes me sure that the kind of relationship I'm in is the right kind for me (mm totally fascinated by couples like this because it is so far out of my realm of understanding and I want to understand it. Plus, it makes me happy to see people creating lives that work for them and make them happy.

dr. annabel lies

"Nobody captivates me like you, and nobody can fuck me like you can. I'm with you because I want to be with you, because you are the best for me."

It's great that this works for these folks, but I can't imagine feeling this way about someone and then wanting to go out and find other people to fuck.

Verity

@dr. annabel lies Or being the person they go out and fuck.

sevanetta

@dr. annabel lies I know! I read that whole ending, the bit about being the person the other comes home to, thinking 'But that is what :I: want, I just don't feel the need to go out and find others as well'.

I must say, I know that there's all this consent stuff and everyone talks about their feelings, etc, but I'm uncomfortable with situations where clearly some partners will get privileged or prioritised over others at different points. One of the many reasons I wanted a relationship was support, I personally wouldn't feel very supported or wanted in that situation.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@dr. annabel lies @Verity Ummm... I can!

aphrabean

I've only ever considered non-monogamy when partnered with people who had zero interest in it. So apparently, my prerequisite is a partner who is totally and completely uninterested in sleeping with anyone else? Not a workable or fair option, so monogamy it is, my friends.

I will say, when looking at my long-term-relationship couple-friends, the ones whose relationships I admire the most, the ones I aspire to in their level of respect, compatibility, and communication are often times non-monogamous. So there's that, too.

HaughtyTotty

It's getting a little... Jezebel-y up in here. Think I'm gonna go clean my palate with a little Qream and Gawker.

sevanetta

@HaughtyTotty good idea...

Neptune

Oh! For anyone here still reading this thread ... nobody has brought up one really really important emotion: compersion.

I'm working on my first blog post on my experience and just started writing about what it meant for me, and I think it's important to share it here.

Compersion is the act of feeling warmth & happiness for your partner while they engage in romantic or sexual act with someone else. It's me being happy thinking about my partners in love. I'm happy for them, and thus, I feel their love too.

I didn't realize it until just now but it's referred to as the "opposite of jealousy." I hadn't thought about it that way, but it's kind of true. That's what I feel.

bloodorange

@Neptune Compersion is the best. and I'm psyched to read your blog.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@Neptune That's so cool that there's a word for that! I've never done non-monogamy but I feel like that's where I'm headed if I ever end up in a long-term relationship again, and I've always been just... not jealous ever? Not like I'm having these feelings but squelching them, but like it doesn't even occur to me to have them at all. Most people say it's because I just haven't met THE ONE yet so who knows -- I'm not ruling anything out at this point. But it's good to know that enough other people have felt this way that it got a name!

Neptune

@quickdrawkiddo yes yes yes! This! And it's totally okay to just not have jealousy. Just like it's okay TO have jealousy (and there are serious times that I really really have jealousy - it's not all flowers & daisies & sunshine every day, it's just on the good days that I feel very comfortable and compersion-y).

For anyone who asked a question that I didn't get a chance to answer, the site/email is in my profile and I'd love to keep talking but this thread is too big to keep up with (!!!) and I know I've missed some things. Looking forward to the official Hairpin Q&A too to see how this awesome, happy and so-in-love non-Monog couple.

vickcole

I was in a relationship with Ben and we loved and cherished ourselves for 3 good years and every thing was going on smoothly but February 14, 2012 a day i can call a lovers day we both had misunderstanding because i answered a call from a guy that is asking me out for a date but i refused,and he told me that the relationship is over and that he is fed up with me and i begged him because i love him so much but he refused me i was so down cast and i felt the world has come to an end for me but my friend told me about a spell caster that helped her sister out in getting her relationship back,a good job and favor in any of her endeavor but at first i was scared but i have to give this man a trial because i love Ben very much and i am not willing to loose him to any woman,so i ordered returning my love spell from this great spell caster that made me a happy woman again to say it all my ex came back to me with much love and a caring heart...i am testifying to this great spell caster The Great Esango Priest. if you need his help you can contact him on:esangopriest@gmail.com.

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