This is the sixth in a series of interviews of everyday people who are living a poly lifestyle (either polyamorous or polysexual), from their individual perspectives. They were each given a series of questions, and asked to pick several questions that they would like to answer from their personal experience.
This sixth interview is of a 47-year old female friend of mine from San Antonio, TX. She is in the education field, and is a wife and mother of two young women. A link to her recently created polyamory blog is at the end of the interview for more information. I hope you enjoy it! Feel free to comment.
Q: What lead you to ethical non-monogamy?
A: This is an interesting question for me and kind of a complex one. My journey into ethical non-monogomy began because in my first marriage, there was infidelity, dishonesty, and continued heartache. After many years, a divorce, and some time learning to love myself, I remarried. Early on, my second husband, Mr T. and I realized that we shared this painful relationship history. Because of this, and after much discussion, we decided that we would have an open marriage and be honest with one another if we ever wanted to be with someone else sexually. We established rules to keep us from getting too close to our partners so our marriage would never be harmed. We established a kind of friends with benefits lifestyle. We both had issues along the way because we both often wanted to get closer to our partners than our “rules” allowed. The boundary lines and rules we established often didn’t work well for us. Because of this, we actually closed our marriage and remained monogamous for many years. We both were restless and unhappy. Finally, we decided to reopen our marriage and try again. We continued to maintain our rules to protect our marriage because neither of us were really familiar with the idea of polyamory. However, this time I met a man who was already poly, Mr. Z. He opened my eyes to a new way of thinking. I actually fought falling in love with him. It was a struggle for many months. It required much reflection and many, many discussions with both Mr T. and Mr. Z. On one hand, it simply happened. On the other, it took much thought and self-reflection. I now realize, that I am polyamorous. It is who I am! It makes me happy, content and fulfilled. Mr. T. and I have had some difficult times and he still doesn’t totally identify as poly. However, he is very happy for me and my relationship with Mr. Z., and he and I are stronger and more stable than ever. Both of these relationships continue to grow, and evolve as we learn and grow in trust and open communication.
Q: If you care to share, can you describe some of your relationship structures? (eg. do you consider yourself polyamorous? Polysexual? Open relationships or closed?)
A: I consider myself polyamorous… my relationships are about love and intimacy and sharing all aspects of life with those I love! I really am part of two sort of separate families; although, we all know each other and do interact socially from time to time. I am married to and live with Mr. T. He does not really identify as poly. We have an open marriage and have had one for most of the past 14 years. Although he doesn’t really identify as poly, he is more comfortable operating on the level of close friends with benefits. He has a couple of close friends and these relationships kind of ebb and flow over time. Due to circumstances, one of his girls has recently moved into our home and is renting a room from us and she helps out around the house. My other family is the truly poly one. My poly partner / boyfriend is Mr. Z. He and I have a long-term committed relationship. He likewise, has long-term, committed relationships with two others. They are my sisters and neither of them is attached to anyone else at the moment, although this isn’t out of the question for the future. In the beginning, there were others who were part of our family at different times but not all relationships last forever. The four of us are stable and all committed for the long haul together. None of us live with Mr. Z. but each spends one night a week and one weekend a month with him. We also plan and spend a weeklong vacation annually with him. Scheduling is sometimes fun for us, especially since he often travels with his work. We all know each other and do things together. We have girl’s nights on occasion and have our own individual sisterly relationships with each other. We also frequently have “family” days when we all get together to do something fun together. Sometimes Mr. T. joins us and my families get to be all together.
Q: Have you “come out” to your family and friends and if so, how did that go? Do you recommend it?
A: I have started the process of coming out. I wish I could scream it from a mountain top and introduce both of my loves to the world. However, because of my career in education, this is not wise for me. I have come out to both of my daughters. They are both in their 20s. I have also come out to one of my dear friends. I actually came out to my daughters because I was having to lie to them often about my whereabouts. When I started having overnights with Mr. Z., it became necessary. My oldest daughter is openly gay and she was very accepting. She simply saw my polyamory as another alternative lifestyle. She was the first one I came out to and I was very nervous but her acceptance was incredible. She immediately wanted to meet Mr. Z. and see who was making me so happy. My experience with coming out to my younger daughter was also a positive one. She was very accepting and positive about my lifestyle choice. She too wanted to meet Mr. Z. and had a million questions over several weeks. Once all of her questions were answered, she has been very happy for me. It was a bit different coming out to my dear friend. I knew she would be accepting, but I also knew she would have many questions. After coming out to her, she also wanted to meet Mr. Z. We all had dinner one night and since then, she has been very accepting and happy for me. All three of my experiences were positive ones. Do I recommend coming out? I think it is a very individual decision. I think there are many variables that you have to think about. Coming out affects many lives and that must be considered. I am married, and because of my career, if I were to fully come out, it could cost me my job. Likewise, Mr. Z. is in a position professionally that he has to be careful as well. However, he isn’t married and therefore, it is acceptable for him to be dating several woman. I think each situation is different and the decision to come out needs to be discussed so no one involved is surprised or hurt.
Q: What do you find is the most rewarding aspect of living an ethical non-monogamous lifestyle?
A: This was a tough question because there are so many rewarding things about living this lifestyle. However, I was able to narrow it down to three. First and foremost, is the ability to be honest and expect honesty from your partners. I began on this journey in part because of infidelity and deceit. Therefore, the ability to be totally open about my feelings and excitement about my partners and having my partners be totally open about their loves is a true reward for me. Another rewarding thing about living a poly lifestyle is the connections with others. I have two wonderful sisters now. We are not intimately involved but we are very close. These two are metamours of my poly partner. I also have developed a close friendship with my husband’s partner. So, my life has been enriched through connections with others that I wouldn’t have had if it were not for this lifestyle. Finally, in my eyes, one of the biggest rewards of being poly is having to be or expecting someone else to be the end all, be all in a relationship. It is a difficult thing to feel like you have to be the one to meet every need of your partner, and it is a great burden to put on someone else to expect them to meet every one of my needs. Within a poly relationship, this pressure is lifted and our needs can be met from more than one. In my eyes, this is a wonderful thing. When I first began this journey, I really felt for the most part that I was perfectly happy and all my needs were met. However, I quickly realized that I had unmet needs that I didn’t even really realize I had. My life is so much more robust, and fulfilling now. I am happier than I have every been in my life, and it is because of the two loves in my life.
Q: What advice do you have for anyone considering an alternative relationship?
A: If you are considering a poly relationship, there are some serious questions that you need to ask yourself. It sounds kind of funny but first and foremost, do you share well? If you can’t share well, then it could be difficult to ever feel compersion and joy for your partner and any other love interest he/she may find. If you can’t share well, jealousy could become an issue quickly. Another question: are you prepared to communicate openly and honestly and often? Poly relationships require a great deal of communication. Sometimes there are some really tough conversations that need to take place. The last of the most basic questions: Are you prepared to not be the end all, be all, one and only? Some people need to be someone else’s everything. They need to be their entire world. This is not the case in a poly relationship. I guess the best advice I can give is to make sure you know yourself well. Also, I would say to get on Facebook and join some of the poly groups and talk to some real people about real situations that arise. Then if you feel it is for you, jump in and enjoy the journey. Enjoy all of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly. In my opinion, the good far outweighs the bad, but poly isn’t all roses, butterflies, and hearts. I have heard it said, poly isn’t for sissies and I totally agree. If one relationship takes work, imagine what multiple ones take. Good luck and happy love!
If you enjoyed reading the above, read and learn more at the following link:
Thank you so much, Angel Barbie for the thoughtful interview! If anyone reading my blog (that’s in a poly relationship) is ever open to being interviewed (anonymously or not) for the sake of the poly community, please feel free to contact me via my contact page here.
Wishing you peace, love and happiness,
(and thrilling, fun sex too!)