Poly Problems as seen by Dan Savage
This week Dan Savage devotes his Savage Love column to readers' poly messes. Aside from his almost impossibly strict definition of "triad," I don't see much to disagree with. How about you?
...And now the real problem: His desire to bring another woman into our relationship borders on obsession.... I have this fervent wish that he doesn't find someone. So do I sit back and hope that he doesn't find another woman, or should I be upfront with him and tell him that I'm not interested in threesomes anymore? I'm afraid that if he finds someone, my jealousy — which I work very hard to hide from him — will break us up.
Just Wants To Be Monogamous
Ask yourself which conversation will be more difficult:
A. After a frustrating and protracted search, your boyfriend finally manages to find a woman who's interested in being your "friend and lover," JWTBM. At that point you tell him you're no longer interested and he needn't have bothered.
B. You tell your boyfriend today — now — that you're not interested in bringing a third into the relationship.
...I would argue that having the conversation now would be preferable.... And who knows? An honest and open conversation about the state of your relationship — including the fact that you're dissatisfied with the once-a-week routine and the waning of D/s — may [reignite your] interest in a third. Would you feel differently if it turned out she wasn't for him, but for you?...
I'm not telling you that you have to agree to the third — if it's monogamy you want, then it's monogamy you should ask for — but keep your mind, your options, and those lines of communication all open.
I'm a middle-aged, fat, and happy gay man. My partner has a best friend, and they share everything — including our bed. Most weekends, we tromp through town together, watch TV together, and share waking and sleeping moments together. Recently I referred to us as "poly and in a triad," and I was shocked by my partner's response. He claims that we aren't a triad; I say that if we're sharing home, heart, and bed, we're in a poly relationship. Sign me...
Honest Accidentally Poly Person, Yep
Perhaps it's the triad designation that makes your partner uncomfortable. That particular label implies that you're all equal partners — not just equally attracted to each other and in love with each other (which three people rarely are), but equals on the emotional, social, and financial fronts as well, i.e., equally obligated to one another....
I'm a married 28-year-old male. My partner and I are conflicted over the level of openness in our relationship. She describes herself as "post-mononormative." I consider myself GGG....
I reject the polyamorous notion that love is limitless — when she has misinterpreted conversations and transgressed boundaries, it has always coincided with the neglect of our own relationship. I have given up seeking the moral high ground and just want to find a solution. Should I have polyamorous relationships of my own? Or should I focus on cultivating shared erotic experiences with my partner? And do her transgressions mean that the boundaries we've set are not explicit or generous enough?
I don't think retaliatory polyamory is healthy or sustainable.... And while you can focus on cultivating shared erotic experiences, NNP, your partner has made it clear that she needs — and intends to have — novel experiences that don't include you. And while her transgressions may mean the boundaries you've set aren't explicit or generous enough, NNP, it's likelier that your partner gets off on transgression. Some people do.
I think you're confused, NNP, and your confusion stems from the fact that your partner is negotiating with you about her nonnegotiable terms.... Accept her terms or divorce her ass, but stop deluding yourself.
Read the whole column, which is more nuanced than these excerpts. (Oct. 15, 2015).