Varying Stages of Attachment

download (2)

Note: Someone told me recently that being kinky and being poly are not orientations. In this post, I want to describe how my brain works as a poly person, and why it is fundamentally different than that of a monogamous person. It is absolutely my orientation, and I can’t understand or accept the way monogamous people see relationships.

First you should know that I move around a lot.

This did not start because my husband is in the military. In fact, that actually causes me to stay places longer, since we have to stay until he completes a set of orders.

Long before my husband was a part of my life, I moved a lot.

It started because I was poor and lived in a neighborhood that was in the process of being gentrified. I would sign a six month or one year lease, and then at the end of the lease, the apartment complex would try to double the rent and I would have to move.

After awhile, I just got used to moving a lot. I ended up really liking it, since it is a chance to go through all the things you own and figure out what really matters to you. Do you actually need to keep that receipt from that one date? How much do you really care about that book you read that was only so-so?

Suitcase

However, the older I got, the farther the moves got. I actually even traveled from state-to-state with the Renaissance Festival for awhile.

This kind of lifestyle means that you will leave people behind. I know that in the movies and on TV, you would never leave someone if you really loved them. But in real life, it’s pretty normal to choose travel and adventure over a person. In particular, it is pretty normal if the relationship is less about love and more about sex.

Don’t get me wrong- I am not some heartless bitch. I have at least a fondness for everyone I sleep with for any respectable length of time. I mean obviously you don’t always get names at an orgy, but other than that, I get names and remember birthdays and cultivate an emotional attachment to some degree.

images (2)

And yet, an emotional attachment does not mean that I will stay with that person no matter what. In fact, the one time I chose a person over an experience, I really grew to regret my choice and resent the person I made it for. I had been offered the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica for a semester via a scholarship my Spanish teacher put me up for. I said no because the person I was with at the time would have failed out of college without me to wake him up and kick his ass to class. It was a huge mistake, and I wish I would have spent that semester in Costa Rica.

So that being said: What happens to a relationship or attachment when you leave the place where the other person is?

It turns out that most people consider the relationship to be over at that point. I find that extremely sad. Maybe it is because I am poly, but when someone matters to me, they just keep on mattering to me no matter where they are or where I am.

partying3

Example:¬†There is this guy who wouldn’t like me using his name, so let’s call him Chris (just swapping one common name for another.) I met Chris in South Korea when I was a teacher and he was a medic in the air force. We had sex and talked and stuff, and then he got deployed to Afghanistan.

He did two tours in Afghanistan, which was hard for him.

Then, he was shipped to a base in Tucson Arizona when his enlistment was up. I came to see him while he was out-processing from the air force, at his tiny little house with no air conditioning.

Later, he came to see me at a fetish club in Phoenix.

We met up for sex, but also for company.

When someone travels similar paths, you share a bond. We had lived some of the same places, for one. And for another thing, I had seen a lot of violence and death in my teens. We had common ideas because we had common experiences.

Leaving on a jet plane

When he got out, he moved to Kansas and I moved to Oregon. Both of us had families to go spend time with after our time abroad.

However, we still talked on the phone and kept in touch.

Later, I moved to Guam. He is still in Kansas. And yet, we still keep in touch.

The other day, I sent him a picture of me in the bath to try to cheer him up on Valentine’s Day, and promised that he was always welcome to visit my bed whether it was here in Guam, or in Hawaii when we move there.

And I meant it.

See, my thinking is this: If you had sex with someone and it didn’t suck, why wouldn’t you do it again? And if someone moves away but you still like them, then why wouldn’t you still talk?

sunset-2611749_960_720-e1510506362517-1

This has gotten me into trouble here and there. Sometimes a guy will stay “in a relationship” with me, but start dating a monogamous girl. Then I will turn up to visit and we will have sex (because he does not tell me about the monogamous girl,) and then she ends up getting hurt.

Now first, that is on the guy for not telling me that he started a new (and monogamous) relationship.

But second, why does it have to be this way? What is actually so bad about borrowing someone when you are in town?

I mean, if I had known about the girl, I would have asked her permission (obviously) but it just seems to me that people you have had sex with are part of ongoing relationships until someone says stop.

201111-orig-ending-a-relationship-600x411

Example: There was a guy that I dated on and off for fifteen years. We were never soul mates or anything, but he was pretty and I liked to have sex with him. I also liked to just sit and talk with him and stare into his eyes, because he always looked so loving and devoted.

However, a few years ago he started seeing a girl who convinced him that I was “taking advantage of him” by not wanting to marry and be committed, but still wanting to hang out and have sex sometimes.

As a result, he made a huge show of saying “We are breaking up and I never want to see you again.”

This hurt my feelings. I don’t like breakups. Wandering away from someone but still keeping the connection open is fine. I like to explore and try new things, so I am always moving forward. But just because I am wandering, doesn’t mean I sever ties with everywhere I have ever been.

He broke up with me.

So I did the rational thing: I decided that he was dead to me, and I moved on with my life.

Divorce

Several times since that day, he has written me e-mails and Facebook messages and whatnot trying to reconnect with me. He keeps saying that he misses me and that we were good together.

But for me, the relationship is over.

It ended when he hurt me and I stopped seeing him as an ongoing relationship and started seeing him as an ex. It cannot be restarted again, because in my mind, a relationship is over once it ends. It is a final thing. I have to set a boundary (which I have few of) and tell myself “this is really over.” After that, I cannot change what has passed because boundaries stay in place or else nothing makes sense.

Besides, there was no reason to say that he never wanted to talk to me or see me again. He could have just said: “I want to go for this monogamous girl, so we need to keep this friends-only for a little bit to see how things go.” I would have been fine with that because we were living in different states at the time (although he was only in Washington state and I was in Oregon, so it was a short drive.)

Anyway, the point is: There could have been the lesser boundary placed of “no sex right now but still friends,” or even “Let’s take a break for a few months or a year.” But that was not what happened. Instead he placed the boundary of: “I never want to see you again.” And I respect boundaries. Forever.

images (3)

My point is this: How you view relationships is probably different from me.

Monogamous people tend to do this really uncomfortable thing where they feel that they own a person. They do not want to share that person with anyone, and they expect that person to terminate all other relationships as a condition of “being in a relationship.”

This is idiotic.

Think of it this way: I have always been a guy, but I live in a girl’s body. I decided to just accept this, and so I am (as the Native Americans would say) “of two spirits.” It’s fine, but it means that I really need my guy friends to go drinking and blow off steam with. I need time to get my male energy out, particularly if I happen to be dating men at the moment.

Two of my oldest friends are male. One is a few years younger, and one is a few years older. I have never had sex with either of them because they are my designated male friends. But in order to keep them as friends when dating, I have always had to call them my younger brother and my older brother. This is because both men and woman that I have dated have found our relationship to be “too close.”

 

As an introvert, I happen to feel that I value relationships more, since I have to stretch so far to make them. But more than that, being close to another human in a non-sexual sibling kind of way should not be considered unnatural.

Yet monogamy dominates society and so we are all expected to whip ourselves into a frenzy of jealousy for every little thing.

I adopted a kid as well. He was homeless and his mom was in jail. I grew up homeless, so I had a desire to help him based on personal experience. However, everyone I dated saw him as an “unrelated male” and I have been accused of sleeping with him since he was thirteen (who fucks a thirteen year old anyway?!?)

Jealousy is seen as some sort of value in “normal” world, and so the fact that I would run my fingers through his hair when he had a nightmare was seen as “wrong.” But he had been literally tortured as a child by a meth-crazy mother, and he had awful nightmares about days of being duct taped and locked in a closet without food, water, or anywhere to relieve himself. What kind of care-taker doesn’t show sympathy and compassion for a torture victim? And after I had similar experiences when I was on the streets!

I think you can see that jealously is often beyond the rational. It can be so unbelievably uncalled for at times that I have been utterly incredulous with people. Their heartless expectation that all relationships outside a romantic one should be cold and without touch is unreasonable. I think any sane person should be able to see that.

In the same way, I do not think it is reasonable to expect people to just stop communicating with a person that they wandered away from. If I made a connection with someone, sexual or otherwise, and then wandered out of their country and into another, this does not stop them from being part of my life.

To me, relationships are threads in the fabric of my universe, and they should run continuously in an unbroken cloth from the point of entrance in my life until my death. I hate to cut a thread out of the tapestry of my life, and a person must do something pretty bad to get me to do so.

Plus, I think relationships can (and should) evolve over time. Sometimes it is harder than others. For example, I have this ex who I just really like having sex with. I don’t know why. We just had awesome chemistry, and he intuitively understood what my body wanted. It was awesome.

He has decided that we should no longer have sex (no reason given.) I respect that, but it doesn’t mean that I want to lose the relationship. After all, he carries some of my memories, and therefore a part of who I am. So he is still a Facebook friend, on my Christmas card list, and someone I visit when I am in the same country/state. But the relationship has evolved from sexual to friendship.

Another example is literally laying in my bed right now. She is my ex girlfriend, and she is visiting with her husband. Her husband is not the sort to be interested in sex with me or my husband, so even though we used to date her, she is now off-limits.

That doesn’t mean I want to stop talking to her! She is this amazing and talented person who I admire. Now, does she still make me turn into a complete idiot around her because she is so beautiful and refined? Yes. Totally. But pretty girls have always done that to me, whether I was sleeping with them or not.

My point is, both of these people are part of my tapestry, and I value them as people. They are not just pieces of meat to me. And so, I prefer to keep them woven into my life in whatever way is appropriate at the time.

wallup.net

Anyway, this is how a polyamorous person views relationships. They are ongoing. They may go in and out of being sexual, but they continue.

It is worth noting that some relationships never really get started, and those don’t count.

I have a habit of meeting people and having sex with them pretty soon after, because I want to see their soul and decide if I like them. Sometimes I decide I don’t like them. Those are the ones who don’t get a call back. One guy just stuck me as a shit person. Another was angry and became violent when I asked to change the nature of our relationship because the sex had lost my interest. A girl I used to date started cutting herself and saying she was a sinner for being a lesbian, and I quietly backed away from that because gods are not my thing.¬† So, I do end relationships with people that I don’t really like.

However, for the people who are good people, I see no reason to ever stop being attached to them.

This brings me to the final thought on the matter. People ask me how many people I am dating, and I am never sure how to answer this. To me, dating means:

Staying in touch with the person, have had sex with them, and would have sex with them again if the opportunity presented itself.

I feel that this is “dating” because it is closeness with the potential for sex. And, by that definition, I would say that I am casually dating W, Z, other Z, M, J, and R. So, seven people. And yet, I am only in one in-person relationship at the moment because I am stuck on Guam.

I guess you could say it is shades of dating.

Currently I am engaged in threes shades of dating, but there are others:

1. Level One: Dating in-person, with all the in-person obligations. (R)

2. Dating, the exchanging of gifts on holidays and birthdays, and sex when in person. (M,J,W)

3. Dating and keeping in touch, with sex when in person. (Z,Z)

Is that too complicated? Maybe for you. But, it is how the world exists for me. I did try to be normal when I was young. I tried to end old romantic relationships with people when I started a new romantic relationship, as the monogamous folks tell you that you must do. But when even that wasn’t enough and people were accusing me of sleeping with my brothers and my kid, that was it for me. Monogamous people are insane.

 

Sexist Bullshit

I was trying to write a post about something to do with my husband and I as a poly couple, so I looked for a picture to illustrate the idea. I Googled “polyamory,” and was really unhappy with what came up.

Nearly every image that appeared on my search was of a guy with two women!

Even the images that were not people somehow implied that polyamory means two woman and one man.

Google is portraying polyamory (loving several people of any gender) as synonymous with the type of polygamy (the term used for the men who marry several women) in Mormon and other cults.

This makes me angry because it is some sexist bullshit.

 

I disagree with Polygamy as it is practiced in cults like the FLDS, because I used to volunteer at a shelter for homeless teens. Over the years we got several young boys who had been run off the Mormon compound in Colorado City. They nearly all killed themselves because of the horror of being rejected by their cult, and because they were taught that they would be nothing in the after life unless they had several wives.

Why were these boys run off? Well obviously, that would be so fat old men could marry the girls their age.

Gross.

Polygamy is always bad for boys from families without power, and bad for women overall. I base this on reading Under the Banner of Heaven and Escape in part. But I also base it on statistics and personal experiences. I have a lot of data that I have collected over the course of my life, and a lot of it relates to how Polygamy is the main cause of abuse and child abandonment everywhere it is practiced.

So to see my relationship orientation of Polyamory portrayed as a man with multiple women and nothing else in Google makes me sick. I actually felt physically ill scrolling through the pictures.

Not only did the search results conflate Polyamory with Polygamy as if they are the same, but I had another issue as well.

As a woman, I felt underrepresented.

Where are the pictures of women like me with our many boyfriends at our feet? Why was there no woman at the center of a bunch of men? Where were the pictures that accurately depicted my life?

Feeling angry, I did a Google search specifically for polyamory MMF (male-male-female) couples. Only then did I see a few images of a woman with two men.

I was disappointed that there were no women with a harem, but at least Google thinks a woman can date two men. (Although the default is a man with two women.)

And yet there was something even worse:

It was literally all pictures of three people. Just three. So apparently that’s all you get! My husband can date or I can date, but we cannot both date different people. And that cuts to the heart of it:

Polyamory is more than two.

I have boyfriends and girlfriends. My husband has boyfriends and girlfriends. Those people also date other people. So it is a lot more than two people involved.

Another important point:

Polyamory is not about orgies. I am sick to death of my husband and I saying we are poly, and guys turning to him and saying “You must get so much ass.” First, he really doesn’t because he is kind of a disaster of a person a lot of the time.

Second, it is not my job to “share” the people I date with him. I do not look for people to convince to join us. I look for people who want to date me by myself. So there are nearly no orgies and there are not even a lot of threesomes.

We date other people. But, the important point is: We do it separately.

See, it’s not about orgies or threesomes. It’s about how we love the feeling of falling in love. We love getting to know people in that way that you can only do in bed. We love variety, and we love learning new things about the world from new people.

For example: I have a thing for scientists and engineers. I love laying in bed and talking about experimental particle physics or aerospace engineering with the guy next to me. I love hearing about the latest in gene research from the girl in my bed. I love getting to hear their innermost thoughts on how our species is progressing.

And the thing I love the most about my husband is that he understands me, and he respects that I like to go off on tangents and explore things.

In fact, he likes that I come back with cool stories and facts. He enjoys my adventures from the perspective of a friend sharing exploits, and as a husband who likes to know that other men and women find his wife desirable.

From my perspective, I like him dating because he gets to be around girly girls who like makeup and hair. I will never be one of those girls, but I know he loves all of that. Plus I know he likes to be dominant in bed sometimes, and that is just not our dynamic. So, I like that he can have that with other people. And like him, I like knowing that the person I am mated to is desirable to others.

In other words: Polyamory is more than two people. That doesn’t mean three. It means more than two. (Sometimes lots more than two.)

And, in spite of the sexist bullshit, it can be just as rewarding for a woman as it can be for a man. I believe very strongly that this is my orientation, and that I have always felt differently about relationships than monogamous people. I don’t feel at a disadvantage as a poly woman. I don’t think the Google search results reflect my experience at all. And, I hope other women won’t be discouraged by the fact that cultural feelings about polyamory are widely sexist.

Views on us might be sexist, but we are not.

Note: And for the record, both my husband and I are feminists.

Valentine’s Nightmare

16508602_373454056367869_2375666491985520809_n

Every year Valentine’s Day looms; that pain-in-the-ass day where you feel obligated to honor all of your intimate relationships. Yuck.

Personally, I am much more interested in buying gifts for people when the mood strikes me (if I see something they would like.) And yet, if you don’t get a gift for your significant others on Valentine’s Day then you are an asshole. Also, it has to be a gift they would like; not something that you want (Example: Do not get your girlfriend lingerie and then ask her to wear for you unless she asked for it.)

If you are monogamous, then you really only have to worry about one person, so that is a relief. In this way, you can stress about Valentine’s Day like a vanilla person, with only the concerns of what to get and where to go. It’s still uncomfortable pressure on what might otherwise be a comfortable relationship. But at least you only have the one person to concern yourself with.

Poly-Card

If you are Poly, then you either put a lot of thought into planning something special for everyone you are dating, …or you are me.

Normally I am pretty good at this stuff. I have been poly for a long time, and I know that I need to make sure that everyone feels valued on important days. But sometimes (like right now) I am a little overwhelmed and it all falls apart.

The story goes like this: I just got back from Australia and I am still recovering from the trip. I won’t bore you with the details, but I am not as young as I used to be and I have medical issues that make traveling hard. So, I needed to catch up on doctor’s appointments and sleep.

I bought my husband a card and some chocolates and I thought “that should be fine.” After all, the rest of my relationships are long-distance right now, so what are the odds they will want to exchange gifts? I guess I knew in the back of my mind that I was lying to myself, but it felt so good to choose the option that didn’t involve getting out of bed, so I did…

il_570xN.723871923_cq41

Then a very sweet card arrived from one of my guys in the US, with a gift card inside.

Fuck.

So of course, I panicked like the basket-case that I am at the moment.

I jumped on Amazon.com and send him a gift that is probably over-the-top because I feel guilty. Then I grabbed my address book and picked out a book for the other guy I am in a relationship with as well (just in case he got me something.)

Then, sitting by myself on my floor having just spent $100 on amazon, I wondered if I am also expected to call.

Probably.

On the day, or the weekend before?

I have no idea.

Le Sigh.

And this is just the distress of a person who is casually dating people who she is geographically separated from. When we all lived in the same place, it was much more complicated. Who gets Valentine’s Day night? My primary? Or since they get me all the time, is that not fair? What if my primary says they don’t care about Valentine’s Day and so I make other plans, but then they realize last minute that they do care?

This is different for poly people who don’t have separate relationships. Sometimes a couple dates another person as a unicorn and they can all spend Valentine’s Day together. Sometimes two people are dating two other people and each other, and they can just double-date. There are lots of situations that can work out to be less complicated, depending.

Mine just isn’t currently one of them.

t5rtuaY

Anyway, you can tell I hate Valentine’s Day. It is, and always has been, my least favorite holiday. It’s full of pressure to have the perfect dinner, the perfect scene, and the perfect sex. Not to mention the pressure on Poly folks to decide who you see on the day, and who gets a day that isn’t really Valentine’s Day but you can pretend.

You can say that I am just contrary, (since if you know me, you know I also hate Christmas.) But I would argue that I have very good reasons to dislike the holidays that I dislike, and that I make up for it by loving Halloween five or six times more than normal.

Anyway, I hope you all have a good Valentine’s Day. Spend it with people you love and don’t let the societal pressures and expectations bum you out!

images

A Unexpected Conversation

0d239de

Part of my month-long vacation this summer involved going to see some old friends from college. After some adventures, we ended up sitting at a Denny’s late into the night and talking about “how we really are.” When the girls found out that I was in a poly-amorous relationship, they immediately unleashed a torrent of jealously at me.

I should note, these are not kinky girls. They are what I would consider to be pretty vanilla and normal (all things considered.)

And yet, when I mentioned that my husband and I occasionally slept with other people, they were overcome with wonder and asked me how I managed to convince him to allow such a thing.

16848434-Group-of-girls-having-a-coffee-and-talking-Stock-Photo-women-talking-friends

Now of course, that is just silly. I didn’t have to “convince” him and he doesn’t “allow” it. It is just who he was when I met him. It is also how I am, and so it worked out nicely for us.

At that Denny’s at 3am, the more the girls described their experiences with their husbands, the more I became convinced that being poly is an orientation. My college friends are hard-wired like me, to want multiple partners. And unfortunately, their husbands are not.

This made me curious how common it is in each sex, and so I did a bunch of digging. It doesn’t seem that the topic has been studied yet, so if you know a social scientist looking for a thesis idea, please suggest it to them. In the meantime, my anecdotal evidence will lead me to suspect that it is more common in females.

4-hearts

If being poly truly is an orientation (as many have suggested,) then I guess that means it’s something you can’t talk a partner into if you want the relationship to last. You either have to find someone who is, or become comfortable with being monogamous. At least, that is how it would seem to be.

It’s funny because when I first realized I was poly, I suspected that everyone was like me, but they were all pretending not to be. I held on to that belief for a long time, and used to get annoyed when people told me that they just couldn’t imagine it. I would blame their religion or their upbringing, and imagine that they were being held back from something they really wanted deep down.

However, after years of running workshops and counseling people on everything to do with sex, I am convinced that some people really aren’t into sleeping around. They just want one human to call their own, and consider that to be enough. I think that is really just how some people are.

Thank all the gods both living and dead that I found a mate who wasn’t monogamous.

polyamory-.jpg

Orientation Series: Poly vs Mono

poly-people-of-color-image

So far, we have talked about Kink Orientation and Gender Orientation. These are things that occur on a spectrum, where there are rarely absolutes.

In my experience, being polyamorous or monogamous is also an orientation. And, like other orientations, it is on a spectrum.

You might say: How can that be? You either sleep around or you don’t, right? However as always, the world is full of all kinds of nuance.

26open-master768

Example One: Katie is only interested in sleeping with her boyfriend. She doesn’t like to date, and she doesn’t want to have sex very often. This is not a reflection on who she is with. She just has a low libido. However, she knows that her boyfriend loves her and she is not insecure, so she doesn’t mind that he sometimes sleeps with other girls. He always tells her about it, and he never brings them home. This makes it easy for Katie to feel comfortable with dating a polyamorous person even though she is monogamous. She is monogamous but open.

download (2)

Example Two: Sidra really loves her husband. He is her favorite person and she cannot ever imagine her life without him. She doesn’t want anyone else to be in their home, and she doesn’t want anyone else raising their daughter. She is happy with everything about their life. However, she loves the feelings of falling in love. She loves the feeling of people finding her attractive. She has a high libido and really wants to have sex with the attractive men who flirt with her. Her husband only has eyes for her, and he is fiercely in love with her, though his sex drive is low. Thankfully, he understands that she has needs. He may not want to sleep around, but he doesn’t mind of she does. She is respectful and never brings the men home where her family might have to meet them, and at her husband’s request she doesn’t talk about what she does. They refer to it as her going on a “mini-vacation.”

highres_442200786

Example Three: Jack is bisexual. He is married to Jill, whom he adores. However, she is a girl, and he is bisexual. Thankfully, Jill is bisexual as well. She understands that sometimes Jack needs to be with a man. After all, sometimes she needs to be with a girl. Jack and Jill both occasionally date. They only date same-sex partners, though. It would hurt Jill’s feelings if Jack slept with another woman. And, it would hurt Jack’s feelings if Jill slept with another man. They know that some bisexual people are monogamous and choose a partner of one sex or the other and just settle down and be happy. Neither of them are able to do that, but that is okay because they are consenting adults who are happy with their non-traditional arrangement. They tell each other about their experiences with same-sex partners, and they both actually think it’s a really big turn on.

8094857_orig

Example Four: I am pansexual, which means that I like to have all kind of sex. Threesomes, orgies, exhibitionism, kink, whatever. I have sex with men, women, transsexuals, and virgins who have no idea what they are yet. My husband is also pansexual and doesn’t really seem to care what experience he is having as long as it is new. We have lots of sex with each other. But, we also have sex with lots of other people. Sometimes together, sometimes separately. We tell each other about it, because we both enjoy imagining each other with other people (or watching each other with other people.) Last summer he had sex with my friend, who is very straight and not interested in a girl seeing her naked. I was disappointed that she didn’t want me to be involved, but I didn’t want to deny him the experience. So, they had sex a couple nights in a row, and I hung out online. Sure, I was a little jealous. But we both have moments when we are jealous, and we recognize and manage our jealousy because we don’t want to deny each other new and exciting experiences.

404dramainbed.png

These are just a few examples of different ways in which people can be varying degrees of polyamorous or monogamous. Just remember that the key is always consent. You need to be honest with your partner about what you are comfortable with, and then make sure that they are someone respectful enough to stay within your boundaries.

Remember, it’s not cheating with consent. As long as you have consent and are respectful of boundaries, then its just good fun.

Note: I still haven’t figured out how to do Valentine’s Day, so if any of you have suggestions, feel free to let me know.

poly or

Bad Relationship Advice

FB_IMG_1459129721107

 

I guess it turns out that I can’t give vanilla relationship advice. I see everyone as kinky/poly because it’s how I am. I am prejudiced.

My cousin was here and she was talking wistfully about how she loves falling in love, and about how she’s never been in a relationship as long as her current one. She sounded bored.

Naturally, my first thought was “Oh, you could open up the relationship!”

41V-zAQaZbL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

I even gave her my copy of Opening Up, and told her about how my poly relationship with my husband works. I didn’t even think about it. It seemed like the right thing to do.

It wasn’t until after she left that I realized I made a mistake.

Telling a normal vanilla person with a relatively sheltered life to open their relationship is bad advice. I shouldn’t have done it.

So I guess this is just an admission of my own mistake, and a warning to the rest of us to try not to give vanilla people kin advice.

giphy-facebook_s

Poly vs Open

download

I am not much for terms. As a writer, you would think I would love them. But I am not a precise person. I hate specifics. I think in broad strokes about overall ideas and I hate nitpicking. This makes me a horrible copy editor.

Anyway, I was asked about the difference between being “poly” and being “open,” and I thought it was a good question so I will do my best to answer it.

I lot of couples consider these terms synonymous, which is to say, they think it is the same thing. And that is fine. You can define things however you want in your world. I am not a purist, so I believe that usage defines language. But that’s a whole other blog post…

Anyway, those who hold that the terms have different means have defined them to me this way:

Poly: Having multiple emotional relationships at the same time (this can mean a primary and secondary, more than one primary, etc.)

Open: Having only one emotional relationship, but having sexual or play relationships with people outside the primary relationship.

Again, it is up to you to decide how you feel, but I want to put in my two cents that it’s very hard to sleep with someone and not become fond of them. (That’s just down to hormones and such, so don’t think I am being sappy. Oxcytocin and Dopamine are things, you know? ) So to me it seems like if you want to have an open relationship, and you define that as no outside emotional attachments, then you should probably stick to one-night stands.



download