Swinging, Polyamory, and Open Relationships: Approaching Fellow Individuals in Non Monogamy

When online dating, I have to filter through all sorts of people.  Although there are many who are just  blatantly disrespectful and rude, I find that the people in the “lifestyle” can be the most judgmental.  I cringe when I see an opening message, that starts with, “hey, I’m in the lifestyle too.  How long have you been swinging for?”  Why does something like this make me unhappy?  Because, I then foolishly feel compelled to engage into an annoying and usually pointless discussion whereby I explain that open relationships, swinging and polyamory are not all the same thing.  I mean, if they were, we wouldn’t need different names for them right?  And yet this is a seriously difficult concept for many people in the lifestyle to grasp.

 

It seems that they are so excited to find someone in a non monogamous lifestyle, and then ironically revert to this monogamous notion that all people in this spectrum are looking for the same thing.  A profile stating multiple anything, like partners or sex or love and those blinders go on.  They forget that even within this spectrum we are all individuals.  We all have our own relationship norms.  And the label I choose to use, currently open, is my choice.  It is not for a stranger to tell me what my partner and I are, or are not.  And what’s more, we are growing and changing ourselves.  So perhaps the titles and labels we started out using may outgrow us.  Again though, this is our choice, and I will update my profiles accordingly when I am ready or feel the need.  Not at the whim or at the unsolicited advice of a stranger.

 

Maybe you are wondering, just how bad or annoying could these conversations really be, right?  Am I just making mountains out of mole hills and the like?  Well, let me put it this way, I almost rarely block or delete users who are monogamous.  But I have about a 50 percent rate of blocking the so called non monogamous.  The messages start accusatory, then quickly escalate into un-solicited sexual advances, towards name calling and slander because I am not interested in them.  There is often very little flirting, just a full on attitude of “well you’re a slut and I’m a slut, so lets go fuck”.  Conversations are at a minimum, and it feels like the non monogamous on dating sites are in a breeding Zoo.  Just because you are of a similar stripe then you must procreate on demand.  It’s a harsh reality of the current scene and as a result I have taken a huge step back in looking for new partners.

 

 

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It would be easier of course for me to just block these users, however I cannot help trying to re-educate them.  I want to explain that we are not all created equal.  And that within this spectrum of non-monogamy there exists an abundance of different scenarios and relationship types.  That non-monogamy  does not always equal slut.  In fact, I often feel that I am more selective now because I take into account not just my wants, but those of my partner.  I no longer wish to explain myself to people who fall within the non monogamous umbrella and pass judgement, but I know that I will probably continue on doing so.  And I feel somewhat responsible for protecting other females from the same crap I deal with.

 

There is one other thing stands out for me as confusing when faced with critical non-monogamists online and that is in the reverting back to the black and white mentality.  My reasoning behind this is that polyamory is not a definition that exists naturally in our society.  It is one, along with compersion, that exists within a world found through research, nearly exclusively.  Quite often, an individual or couple begins trying to find ways to help them deal with urges that seem unnatural from a monogamous founded society.  We seek blogs, podcasts, and every book we can to help us understand that these dispositions are not merely urges to cheat.  We then educate ourselves to discover that the possibility does exists to have a loving relationship outside of monogamy.  So it doesn’t sit well with me, that persons who seek education into non-monogamy would therefore bring with them the bigotry of their former selves.  Or to go right back into a cookie cutter mold of one size must fit all, after spending the energy to gain insight into all these other lifestyles.  Or did I just stumble right upon the very issue of internet research.  Are these individuals researching until they find something that hits home and stopping right there?  Do they find a meme, or blog that strikes one chord and then closing their minds to any further digging due to sheer laziness?

 

 
In summary, my PSA is this, if you’re out there, exploring new partners and ways of existing in non monogamy, please stop trying to apply your labels onto strangers.  Break free of the black and white, because this world has a spectrum of colour as vast as in the world of monogamy.  Leave judgement where it belongs, in the past.

Behind the scenes photo’s of this post are now up in my private gallery!

Unhappiness in the Wake of Closure with our First Couple

For being such a personal blog I do keep anger at the minimum because often I sort out my anger and move on.  Rarely does it linger anymore.  I worked very hard on that, and with a very supportive man by my side I can see a real difference even within the last few years.  However, I find part me still feels some anger and resentment even with a few months of space.  I am not happy the way things worked out.  I am not pleased that I watched my partner put in so much effort while I felt like a cheerleader, rather than part of the main event.  I felt as if I was merely a bonus to one party at the expense of another’s efforts.  And these are not words that I like to have in writing.  I don’t want my anger to stick with me, to be thrown in my face at a later time, or worse published.  So I remain soft spoken and balanced with reflection in my tone. This post though, will go against that grain.

There is no resolution.  I made a decision as a result of being unhappy and feeling like I was a prize to be won in a game of chance rather than someone who was 3 dimensional and worthy of getting to know as a whole person.  There was no earning of trust, or developing bonds, likes and dislikes.  It was in fact purely sustaining the status quo, so that sex would result in a one on one intimate level.  I felt cheapened by the experience.  I hear often enough within the online community how much of a slut I am for seeking intimacy with more than one partner.  I have grown a thick shell as a result of these strangers passing judgement and hatred.  However to feel like an object or a prize by someone that I was trying to develop more with, really stung.  I truly felt that he was just going with the flow to please his partner and was putting in the requested level of effort only.  And I am angry.

To clarify, we were dating a couple for a few months.  I ended things with the man because I was unhappy.  I do not feel like swinging is a lifestyle that I connect with.  I want more than that.  I want a friend and someone that I can occasionally sleep with.  Have threesomes and foursomes with, but with friendship in place too.  I want to hang out with both parties in the couple and explore some sexual wants that I have while supported and adventuring with my partner.  In our first couple adventure this just did not happen.

One of the first mistakes I made in this was to allow the couple to know I had a blog.  I feel this may have hindered the getting to know each other phase.  It was remarked to me, that the man of the couple felt he already knew me as a result of my writing.  And unsurprisingly he had actually no idea who I was as a result.  This blog isn’t about developing me as a person.  It is sharing events and feelings that I feel are interesting.  It is showing a perspective in dating that I feel is unique.  It is not a diary.  These are not my memoirs.

To counteract this mistake, perhaps if I had written full posts, instead of ideas here and there while dating this couple, things might have ended differently.  I might have come to terms with my own desires earlier.  I might have found a way to get something specific out of the sinking ship rather than just walking away.  Instead I decided early on to just go day by day and try and make the most of things without putting too much effort.  I allowed myself to experience rather than lead.  I made a few requests at the beginning, they were all satisfied and then I stopped asking for things.  

I then stopped picking a direction.  This was my second mistake.  I did not take advantage of any situations right in front of me.  Instead I watched, waited, and just assumed that all parties were as invested as my partner and I.  It turns out I was wrong.  The story will come out, with more details and fun little intrigues along the way.  For now though, the first foray that I had dating a couple with my amazing partner is in its conclusion.  We experienced so much in just a few short months.   The posts will not be about amazing sexual escapades, and orgies, rather the experiences and troubleshooting that comes about when two people are brought into your inner circle.  But for now, I am feeling a little empty, solidified by the fact that when I ended things with the man, we are left with absolutely nothing to talk or text about.  We barely got to know each other.  And it is a mistake I will not let get so far in the future.

Dating Together: The First Date as a Team

In November E and I went on our first date as a couple in over a year.  We met up with a guy who was in an open relationship for a drink.  This was a big step for us, and one that we were very excited to start experiencing together.  We had found the guy online and his picture was quite pleasant.  His e-mails made it sound like he had a girlfriend that was open herself and that this would be the introduction meeting with the potential of the four of us meeting at a later time.  Perfect.   Also it was a great way to rip off the bandaid so to speak and just get out there, as a team.  Thus the time and place were set.

Now a few funny things happened.  One, we had a huge cold snap in this fair city.  Perhaps that doesn’t seem funny, but the fact that we braved nearly 35 below zero to go meet a perfect stranger in hopes of getting some strange has a point of humour to it.  The second is that I took the guys phone number down wrong.  So when I texted to say we had arrived, I had an awkward text conversation with a random and confused guy, plus no way to get a hold of the actual guy. 

Now here is the thing.  The guy showed up nearly 45 minutes late.  Which of course we gave a pass to given the weather.  However, when he walked up, he was easily 20 years older and also heavier than his picture.  I think he was also missing some hair, but I could be a little fuzzy on that detail.  Either way, I would never had known it was him, if not for him sitting down at our table.  I recall thinking we should just get up and walk away.  Had I been alone meeting, I probably would have just snuck out.  Judge if you want, but getting lied to in picture is a big deal breaker for me.  However, having E with me, and after a few subtle get on the same page glances we stayed for a drink. 
 
The drinks went fine.  We had pleasant chit chat and together learned our first big lesson in dating together.  And that is how to politely reject a person, and who out of the two is the person who gets to pull that trigger.  In this circumstance we decided it would be nicer if I did it while E was in the washroom to save a little face.  Rejection is a tough one to fathom, but imagine the stress and pressure of having two people reject you at the same time?  It was and is a whole new way of looking at dating for us.  And as I am starting to find out, just the first of many hard lessons to be learned.


As a side note though, I do have a social criticism of just how overly polite society is turning.  We would have been within our rights to call this guy out for the fraudulent picture and wasting our time.  Instead, we just pretended that he looked kind of, almost close and had a few beers and some friendly conversation.  We took it as a learning experience, glass half full sort of scenario.  Even the let down, we tried to do as kindly as possible.  I mean you cannot be rude or mean to a person you just met.  You cannot just call a person out, and push that limit of social norms, can you?  As I look back, on this experience, it would have been nice if I had tried not being such a pussy, and calling this guy out.  I am quickly finding out, months later, that I would be enjoying this whole couples dating thing so much more if I could remove that desperate need to take into consideration other people’s feelings before my own.   More on that to come soon.

Peanut Gallery From A Musical About Polygamy

I love live musicals and plays, and I love them even more when the subject matter relates to different forms of relationships so that I may write about them and share some thoughts.  In this case though it is not necessarily the subject of the show that I want to point out, but more so the questions from the audience afterwards.  The musical was called “Keep Sweet: Polygamy the Musical” and it was a work in progress reading and singing of the script.  Overall it was very well done, with a little polishing still needed but it was obviously well researched and each character was loosely based on real life people at polygamist compounds.  As I said though the point of interest here really was in the after show questions and feedback portion of the show.
I am fascinated by religion and culture, and I know I do a lot of my spare time reading in research of these fields as it is my hobby and has been for as long as I can remember.  Based on the questions of last night though, I quickly realized I may be more alone in this quest than I previously thought.  One lady in particular questioned why the play wasn’t darker as she could handle a lot more doom and gloom in regards to the compound and the way this group lived.  I was shocked, yes it is a different lifestyle and yes when it hit the media a few years ago it was due to a very sick prophet (leader of a polygamist sect in Utah) so obviously sensationalized.  But these believers in the principle of Mormonism live this  lifestyle because they believe that polygamy and large families are the only way into heaven.  The plural marriages, sister wives, hard work and family all go hand in hand for their salvation.  Why as an outsider would we want to view that lifestyle in a darker way? 
After that comment it truly became an educational hour whereby the majority of the audience wanted more knowledge on the in depth research that was done in order to create this musical.  Almost morbid curiosity as to why the old prophet was arrested, are there actually any happy people on the compound, etc.  I think most disturbing though was the question about the girl who was depicted with a hair lip and a limp, representational of a child born of inbreeding and why she was not marriage material.  The female questioner wanted to know if she was not able to marry because she was ugly or because she was visibly deformed.  The families living on the compounds are humans with 5 senses just like we are.  They clearly do not want to continue a line that has deformations in it as a result of inbreeding is a natural stigma no matter how much we may try to fight it on the day to day.  Even in nature if a gorilla for example, has a scar on her nose, it is less likely that she will be a desirable mate as a physical deformity is present.  These are basic survival skills and not some foreign entity just because they are people with a different religion and live in a closed community for the most part.
I understand the curiosity when introduced to concepts or ideas that are foreign, however it is a really important skill to do so by placing as little of your own thoughts and views upon them.  The skills of walking into a culture or situation without any biases or as little as possible really open you up to learn as much as possible and have a better understanding, appreciation and acceptance for why and how people live.  If you are seeking the darkness of something you have passed a judgment that the idea is bad and you are looking to re-enforce that belief.  By asking almost ridiculous questions as to why would someone who is physically deformed be ostracized by their community, all you have to do is look in our own community to find our curious stares and non-acceptance when we are faced with a challenged individual. 
On a cheery note the musical was fantastic and once they work out a few kinks I truly hope it gets produced.

Intermediate Openness

The other day I really began to realize that information is becoming more available for people who wish to open up their relationships or to begin exploring a monogamish type of lifestyle.  There is also an abundance of websites that are available to support the couples and their partners in the “how to’s” of polyamory.  There are also a bunch of blogs that are popping up that share the stories of people who have been living this lifestyle for years, with guest posts by their various partners. As much benefit as these sources of information are, there seems to be one area that does not seem to have nearly as much focus, and that is the in between phase. 

As expected people are less willing to discuss when open relationships fail or hit trouble spots because the societal response is to say “I told you this wouldn’t work, monogamy is the only solution towards true happiness”.  I recently experienced the same thing with one of my dearest friends.  Although she did not come right out and say these words, she did mention to me that she just doesn’t understand this and recommended a solution of serial monogamy.  As genuine and thoughtful as her solution was to her, my response was instantly one of anger and my back went right up.  This is not a solution, just a different way of dating wrought with its own problems and disadvantages which can be found among everything. 

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Thus is makes me sad that non monogamous people have a harder time being open at expressing when things go wrong in order to network better solutions.  I’m sure it felt the same way for couples in the 50s when divorce was almost unheard of.  There were so few people who were willing to openly discuss why things went wrong, and more importantly give support to the couples who were in intense and real pain.  To many outsiders the solution to avoid the pain and stigma of divorce was to stay married and tough it out.  Perhaps start a drinking hobby, or a mistress would be better long term solutions. Children grow up with much more stability in these circumstances than in two separate but loving homes. 

And thus I come back to my original point, when I have an issue that I need to work through, it is difficult to find support from anyone outside of a few faceless bloggers and podcasters.  My friends and family with as much love in their hearts do still hold the prerogative that I would have a much easier and happier life if I was monogamous.  But sadly this is just not the case for me, I must instead make up my own support network, and continue my path with the potential for so many more mistakes.  But in the end, I am at peace with the knowledge that I will have plodded through all the struggles for my own happiness.  

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