This is seventh 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 seventh interview is of a male “follower” and commenter here on Loving Without Boundaries, but also has a blog of his own. KDaddy23 is a blogger who spent over thirty years in an ethically non-monogamous relationship – from being open to becoming a closed poly quartet. While that relationship came to a close, he’s left with a wealth of knowledge about being in such a relationship. I hope you enjoy it! Feel free to comment.
Q: What lead you to ethical non-monogamy?
A: I didn’t have much of a choice because I learned that my wife wasn’t exactly happy with just being married – she wanted more than monogamy could provide. So I had a choice to make: Raise all kinds of hell about her feelings about this and shove her into cheating behind my back… or go with the flow to preserve our love and relationship. It was an easy choice to make all things considered.
Q: What has been the biggest surprise to you about it?
A: The biggest surprise for me was how difficult it was dealing with my feelings and hers as we went into this. We found out things about each other that were rather painful to hear.
Q: What’s the most challenging thing in your relationship(s)?
A: The most challenging thing in the relationship was managing three women who were similar but different, and learning how to divide my time with them as equally as possible.
Q: What’s the one thing that you wish you’d known before you got into it?
A: I wish I had known how incredibly difficult this dynamic can be. It proved to be much harder than I could imagine.
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: We eventually wound up in a poly quartet, with three of us living together as a family and our fourth an active participant but living a couple of hours away. Originally, we were a closed triad but we agreed to add our fourth, but not after a lot of resistance to adding her.
Q: Have you “come out” to your family and friends and if so, how did that go? Do you recommend it?
A: Oh, man – this is a good question! We didn’t really announce to one and all what we were doing, but it wasn’t all that hard for our families to figure out, either. If someone asked what we were doing, we’d tell them – sometimes just to watch the look on their face when they learn that what they suspected was actually happening. Do I recommend it? I dunno… it depends on one’s family and friends but as what happened with us, eventually family and friends are going to figure out that you’re not playing by the rules – it’s really hard to hide something like this. My mother figured it out rather quickly and the only thing she said to me was, “I hope you know what you’re doing.” My reply to her was, “So do I.”
Q: If polyamorous, do you find it is more like a relationship choice, or more a statement about who you are inside? (like being gay for example)
A: For me, it was both. As I said, I was “forced” into non-monogamy and I saw the benefits to myself emotionally (not to mention all the sex that was possible), so my ability to openly love more than one person was such a great thing for me to be able to realize. We all tend to think that there’s alot of ourselves to love, and being poly really puts that to the test.
Q: What one thing (or things) did you learn along your ethical non-monogamy journey that really helped you?
A: Actually, what helped me in this was treating the other two women in the relationship as if I were married to them. It was easier for me to do this because I was already married, so I knew how to be a husband. So expanding this mindset to include the other two really helped. It made them feel more involved in the relationship in every aspect, and this worked toward the good of all of us.
Q: How do you handle when jealousy or insecurity issues come up (either with yourself or your partners)?
A: I had a hard time dealing with this because it’s hard to explain to someone why they shouldn’t be jealous or insecure in this situation. That’s monogamous thinking and some of the rules of monogamy just cannot be invoked. The problem of “You’re not spending enough time with me!” was always present, and while I would suggest that adding another guy or two would take the pressure off of me and provide them with the male attention the “complainers” wanted, my suggestion was always turned down. As they told me, dealing with them was my job to do, so I just had to do a better job. To me, dealing with these things are the hardest part about being in this kind of relationship.
Q: What do you find is the most rewarding aspect of living an ethical non-monogamous lifestyle?
A: The comfort of loving and being loved without any reprisals – monogamous people just have no idea how totally liberating this can be.
Q: What advice do you have for anyone considering an alternative relationship?
A: A couple of things. First, if you can’t do it, don’t. If you think your current situation is messed up now, you just have no idea how it can be horribly messed up if you try this and fail. Secondly, sit down with your partner and talk about EVERYTHING until you both turn blue in the face – then talk some more. Being non-monogamous in any form is so far out of the box, it isn’t funny. It’s a complicated dynamic to grasp and understand, and it takes a very strong commitment to each other and to those you may add to your relationship to do this correctly. While there’s a lot of information on how to have a poly relationship, if you delve into this, use the information as a guideline but design your new relationship in the way that works best for the two of you: Being poly isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition because people are so very different.
Q: Have you ever tried to have a relationship with a monogamous person? If so, how did that go?
A: Well, that’s where I am now… and the relationship is working… but I miss being non-monogamous. Once you’ve been non-monogamous and happy doing it, it is very hard to go back to being monogamous.
Q: When you have issues or problems with your lifestyle, where do you normally turn for answers, or what has helped you get past it?
A: When I had issues, there was nowhere I could go for answers – I had to figure it all out myself which was part of the fun of being poly as much as it was a major headache. If anything, it made me a better problem solver than ever before.
Q: Do you find much discrimination in your community or among your friend set regarding your lifestyle?
A: Discrimination, no; but disbelief that we were doing such a thing ran kinda rampant. But, at the same time, a lot of our friends confessed to us that they wished they could do what we were doing, so I’d have to say that a lot of our friends were quite envious.
Q: How has being in a poly relationship improved your communication skills?
A: I’ve always been a great communicator… but being poly made me an even better one because even with multiple partners, it’s still a relationship and one of the core values of any successful relationship is the ability to communicate effectively. You learn to listen better, to be more objective when you’re listening, too. In doing this, you can’t be afraid to speak the truth or to hear it.
Q: Is there any other thoughts that you would like to share that I did not ask?
A: Being ethically non-monogamous is not something that just anyone can do. It takes a special set of people with a certain mindset as well as the ability to unlearn everything they’ve ever learned about love, sex and relationships in order to learn a very new and different way to do these things. I think that being ethically non-monogamous is better than being in a stale relationship, being cheated on, and just otherwise destroying relationships that could be preserved and enhanced by stepping out of the monogamous box. What do you have to lose? Nothing that I can easily think of… but the things you could gain are only limited to what a couple – or even single folks – want to do in this. They say you can’t have your cake and eat it too – and I ask, “Why not?” because it is possible.
If you enjoyed reading the above, read and learn more at the following link:
Thank you so much, KDaddy23 for the thoughtful interview! If anyone reading my blog (that’s in a poly relationship or has previous experience) 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!)