This is ninth in a series of interviews with 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 ninth interview is with a close female friend of mine in her 50s who happened to introduce me to the book The Ethical Slut. She is the mother of three adult children, and grandmother to three babies, and lives in Northern Virginia near me. We have been friends for over a decade and I think she’s the bomb! We’ve also been taking pole dancing together for over two years now, which has been fabulous! I hope that you enjoy her interview.
A: I was lead to ethical non-monogamy (ENM) through a former boyfriend who had always wanted an open relationship. It wasn’t something that I was comfortable at first with as I was coming from a traditional family background and marriage. The idea that you could honestly and openly have a sexual relationship with someone other than your primary partner just did not compute. Even though I had never been completely monogamous in my pervious relationships, the cognitive dissonance I experienced around the concept left me very confused. How could my boyfriend say he loved me but still be ok with me having sex with others? How could I be sure he wouldn’t leave me for another woman? (which ultimately he did, but that’s a story for another time). It took me a very long time to work the whole thing out in my mind. It wasn’t until I stumbled across the book “The Ethical Slut” that I came to understand that ENM was a relationship style that other people were living, and that it didn’t have to be scary.
Q: What one thing (or things) did you learn along your ethical non-monogamy journey that really helped you?
A: Around this time, our dear Kitty and her husband were also starting their journey into polyamory, so I’ve been very lucky to have close friends to turn to when things felt confusing. I believe that supportive relationship has been a key factor in how easy the transition into polyamory has been for me, and I would recommend to everyone interested in exploring this way of being and relating to reach out to the polyamorous community for support.
Q: If polyamorous, do you find it is more like a relationship choice, or more a statement about who you are inside?
A: I have always been a sexually adventurous woman, but until very recently, I didn’t identify as polyamorous (this makes Kitty laugh – sometimes our friends know us better than we know ourselves). And I certainly didn’t think I could be a secondary partner with a married polyamorous man, but that is exactly where I’ve found myself. Funny how life works, huh? I would say that polyamorous is who I am on some basic level. It’s always been easy for me to be affectionate and loving with many people.
Q: What has been the biggest surprise to you about it?
My polyamorous relationship is the easiest and most satisfying relationship I’ve ever had. I’m constantly surprised at how quickly I’ve been able to open up and be vulnerable with my boyfriend, something that has never been easy for me. It’s quite amazing how different it feels from my past monogamous / semi-monogamous relationships. The element of commitment to honesty and communication required for a successful polyamorous relationship makes such a difference. I also have a good relationship with his wife, and I enjoy spending time with their children which is a happy bonus.
Q: What’s the most challenging thing in your relationship(s)?
A: I think the most difficult part for me is the time factor, and the fact that he is not always able to spend as much time with me as I would like, due to family commitments. But it is what it is, and I accept that. In my experience, acceptance is a key to successful poly relationships.
Q: What do you find is the most rewarding aspect of living an ethical non-monogamous lifestyle?
A: I find poly to be very freeing. I no longer look to my romantic relationship for fulfillment, and I believe that is an important factor in my happiness. I have created a life for myself that I love, with wonderful friends, children and grandchildren whom I love and love me in return. My polyamorous relationship is the icing on the very delicious cake of my life. Polyamory has reinforced for me the importance of living in the moment and enjoying what is right in front of me. No one knows what tomorrow will bring anyway, so why not enjoy the moments we are given?
Q: Have you “come out” to your family and friends and if so, how did that go? Do you recommend it?
My closest friends are polyamorous or poly-accepting people, so I am very lucky in that respect. I have told my daughters about my boyfriend and our relationship, and they are fairly accepting. I think they just want me to be happy, and they can see how happy I am now. I have not yet told my son or brother and sister-in-law, but I expect I will at some point. I do think it’s important to live as authentically as possible.
I hope I will be able to share more of my experiences with you soon. Until then, enjoy the journey, it’s worth it.
Thank you so much, my dear friend! Thank you for introducing me to the concept of polyamory all of those years ago right here in The Outer Banks of NC where we are both vacationing right now. And I really appreciate you taking the time during this wonderful vacation to finally write that interview for me. Conducting the interviews is so rewarding, and I think the poly community really enjoys hearing from different perspectives how this poly thing can work. If anyone in the community who is currently in a poly relationship of some sort would like to be interviewed by me for this blog, please hit me up the via the contact link here on “Loving Without Boundaries.”
Wishing you peace, love and happiness,
(and thrilling, fun sex too)