Cheers Sexy People!
I am a proud, polyamorous woman, but I have several times been asked: Why be married if you are in several relationships, possible acting as a free agent anyway? What’s the point of the marriage? Why bother?
The first time I was asked this, I admit I bristled and wanted to get a little defensive. But I also had to admit that it was an honest question. Why DO people in open relationships bother to get married? I saw this question come up recently in an online forum, so I thought I would dedicate an entire post to it here. As a point of interest, the poster was assuming that by getting married, both parties were saying they would be monogamous with each other and adultery would break the laws of the marriage. Thus how could she ever “trust” a married person who said they were polyamorous as they were in some ways breaking their vows to their spouse? Thus the poster deemed all married polyamorous / open relationship people as untrustworthy liars. I will address this below.
Speaking for myself, when I got married later in life (at 37), I had only dipped my toe into the possibility of an open relationship. My husband and I had attended a nudist resort together in Jamaica, very lightly fooled around with some new friends in the hot tub (who later became our very close friends and still are to this day), and generally had a fantastic experience (and we liked walking around naked for a week. How liberating!). My running joke is that a month later, he asked me to marry him. Coincidence? I think not. I think what my husband and I found in each other was an alternate way to “do” marriage. We both were former cheating serial monogamists, and we didn’t want the lies or deceit anymore. We wanted honesty, yet freedom, and authenticity. As we started planning our wedding, we were also planning our marriage. We thought: Why do we have to follow the rules that society seems to be imposing on us about how our marriage is supposed to work? Why can’t we make up the rules of our marriage amongst ourselves however we see fit? It’s a sacrament that we give to each other after all, so why can’t we make up our own vows that we are comfortable with, thus we don’t ever see us breaking them? So that’s exactly what we decided. And we created vows that worked for us, none of which included the “ole ball and chain – forsake all others” type of language. Our vows focused on promising to love each other and be there for each other for the rest of our lives… honor, love and protect ’til death do us part. And to this day, we have honored those vows and enjoyed every minute of it. Incidentally, in order to make this happen, we did not get married in a church (neither of us are overly religious), thus we also created a wedding ceremony that we were comfortable with (but it is still legally binding, etc).
It wasn’t until AFTER we were married for several years that we eventually identified as polyamorous / ethical non-monogamists. So for some, it can be a little bit of what came first, the chicken or the egg? In addition, just like any relationship, I personally don’t see why the agreements or “rules” of a relationship can’t change, be modified or negotiated over time. If both parties agree to the new “rules”, then what’s the problem? Change and being open to evolving is not only good and healthy, it’s mandatory as very little in this life stays exactly the same. Grow or die. Hopefully two people can grow together. That’s what I was banking on when I married my husband, and thankfully, we have done just that. Yay!
So here are more reasons why I chose to get married to break it down for you:
- Even during my monogamous life, I always knew that I wanted to get married for love, but only to the right man. That’s partly why I did not get married before 37. I tried on monogamous men and that type of life for size and it never felt right to me. I needed to find an open-minded man that would grow in the same direction I did. But I very much enjoy married life, having my “penguin” (in this case, my primary since we are legally bound to each other, share financial obligations, etc), and I like knowing that I have someone who has promised to grow old with me. It’s comforting. Call me silly. But I like it.
- There are many legal benefits to getting married. We share resources, decision making, mortgages responsibilities, etc. We know that if either one of us became incapacitated, we trust each other to both legally and ethically look out for the other. We each have Power Of Attorney to make decisions for our lives and well-being. And if one of us passes, it is legally efficient that the survivor easily and without question maintains control over any collective property etc. Also, life insurance policies are easy to understand and uphold with a married couple.
- I am on my husband’s health insurance policy. Even though we are married, just to get me on his plan, my husband had to show proof that we were married with our marriage certificate (maybe they wanted extra proof since I did not take my husband’s last name. I never really cared for that outdated tradition, as I am not my husband’s property. And well, I like my own last name! It’s from my daddy whom I adore!).
- People UNDERSTAND husband / wife relationships. We are easily recognized in society as a “couple”. People get it. Maybe it’s one way that I conform.
- The wedding ceremony was a helluva good time. Hey, what can I say, I love a party. Haha. And party we did, for an entire week at the beach. Then we had a two week honeymoon in Italy that was nothing short of amazing. Good times!
Where some of this becomes difficult in being a polyamorous married woman is that it thus is awkward trying to get others to recognize my relationship with my boyfriend as equally important to me. But that is the subject for other posts, including previous posts. For lack of a better term, “secondary” relationships are not understood easily by the average person in society. “What the heck is that? I don’t know what to ‘do‘ with that?” Even people that I have come out to, most of the time, they act as if my boyfriend does not exist. I think it makes them more comfortable. Some do on occasion ask me how he’s doing, but they often have a difficult time hiding the “we’re-just-asking-because-we-think-we-are-supposed-to-but-we-just-think-of-him-as-this-friend-that-you-live-with-because-that-makes-it-easier-for-us” type of look on their face. And you know what? That’s OK. They are trying. They are still my friends. And we are happy within our household, so we run with it. I also simply like that we can talk out loud about it (before the beginning of my open / poly life where I was “in the closet” as it were.)
So what about you? What are your reasons for being married, yet still having open relationships? What came first: The open relationship or the marriage? Why did you choose to NOT get married? Do you think you have it in your heart to “trust” a married person who says they are polyamorous after reading this post? If you are ever unsure, I think it is always a great idea to meet the spouse to ascertain for yourself whether everything is on the “up and up” if you have any doubts.
Wishing you peace, love and happiness,
(and thrilling, fun sex too!)