"Redefining love and sex" in middle age
WomenBloom is an online magazine "inspiring and supporting women to make the most of midlife," with midlife being the "40s and beyond." A lengthy article looks at polyamory as an option for women seeking to expand their horizons as life advances. The article describes realistic pros and cons.
Redefining Love And Sex: Polyamory
9 June 2008
...It's a lifestyle that isn't for most of us, but learning more about it is almost guaranteed to make you think differently about relationships in general.
...In talking with midlife women, I realize the extent to which we are redefining relationships to suit our needs, from the traditional to the not-so-traditional. In the western world at least, marriage and relationships based on economic necessity are on the wane. Much more so than in the past, women are, or can choose to be, financially independent. So, more and more we focus on finding partnerships that meet our emotional needs.
...Polyamorists, or polys, are not to be found on every corner, to be sure it is a challenging concept for most monogamously minded folks. But, in a recent women’s group on relationships I attended, I was startled that two of the eight women there were either in or considering such an arrangement.
...Polys look at love as an abundant commodity instead of a scarce one. They ask why can’t you be intimate with more than one person? When pressed to explain why not, I find myself grasping a bit.
...Polys also believe this lifestyle allows you to maintain a relationship with those you care about even if the relationship shifts, changes, or ends. Just because you and a romantic partner break up and you take up with someone else, it doesn’t mean you have to give that person up as it might if you were in a monogamous relationship.... Several polys I spoke with emphasized this and mentioned examples of relationships in their own lives that had undergone several transitions over a period of years. They valued and kept the relationships even as they changed forms.
...Lauren muses, “The thing I've found is that poly is a completely different game than looking for a mate. I've already got one of those. I can be so much more relaxed about a potential partner that I can focus on and appreciate what's special about him, without needing him to satisfy a whole host of other criteria I would be using if I were looking for a ‘one and only.’”
The attention she is receiving is wonderful, flattering, and has breathed new life into her and into her marriage. “Poly allows me to have my cake and eat it too have wonderful, fulfilling relationships, and keep my family together and happy as well.”...
That said, it’s easy to see that this lifestyle presents many challenges. One that is top of mind is the question of STDs....
Another challenge that cannot be understated is that sharing someone you are intimate with can be extremely difficult. Polys are very aware of what they call NRE or, new relationship energy. In the first flush of a new relationship (and going forward), it takes great care and attention to make sure the “old” partner’s needs aren’t ignored....
...And, it seems obvious that one needs very strong relationship skills to manage a poly lifestyle successfully. If communication and honesty are not top priorities in your relationships, poly probably isn’t for you.
...From initially blowing my brain circuits, exploring this lifestyle has brought a new realization of just how fluid the boundaries of our intimate relationships are. For me, the key really is that poly simply brings into the open behavior that happens in one way or other on a fairly frequent basis among us humans. No, it emphatically is not for everyone. But, for those of us in midlife who find the traditional ‘two people meet, fall in love, and get married’ scenario too confining or simply outdated when it comes to our intimate relationships, considering a poly lifestyle may, at the very least, stretch our minds to see that there are other possibilities for arranging our love lives.
Read the whole article. Once again, It's good to see poly simply being presented as one life option to consider among many.
Labels: Poly 101