Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

April 12, 2013

"What Open Relationships Can Teach Us About Fidelity"

HowAboutWe / Date Report

Here's another instance of how poly relationship ideas are diffusing into the wider culture, where other people see them as awesome ninja-quality practices for monogamous relationships too:

What Open Relationships Can Teach Us About Fidelity

By Jo Piazza

...The very concept of polyamory — engaging in open relationships in which a person can be involved with more than one partner — can seem terrifying to the lifelong monogamist (which most of us are). I met my first open couple about a year ago and it made me nervous in the way meeting steampunk enthusiasts makes me nervous: I didn’t understand what made them tick.

In the time since, I’ve gotten to know several non-monogamous couples, and they not only seem very happy but also extremely devoted to each other.

That’s not to say I’m giving up monogamy anytime soon. But there are lessons to be learned about long-term fidelity and communication from couples who decide to bring in partners outside the relationship.

Here are takeaways from three polyamorous couples that are valuable for any relationship, open or no.

1. You are allowed to make your own rules for your relationship....

...Polyamory comes with a lot of baggage, but then, so does monogamy.

The difference is that monogamous couples don’t think about the fact that they have the power to shape the rules for their relationship.

Diana Adams is a family mediator and family attorney who works with both monogamous and polyamorous couples. In her personal life, she has been in a happy open relationship for six years (both she and her boyfriend are free to see other people). She encourages all couples, monogamous or not, to create an intentional agreement about their relationship. “One of the most important rules that polyamory can bring to monogamy is that you don’t have to take society’s definition or your parent’s definition of what a real marriage should look like,” Adams explained....

2. Your partner doesn’t have to be your sun, moon, stars, best friend, skiing partner and massage therapist.

Michael Buble was wrong: Your soul mate shouldn’t be your everything. There is a pervasive idea that when we fall in love and choose someone to be our longterm partner that that person will be a tremendous lover, talk to with us about Tolstoy, take long walks on the beach with us, raise our children, manage our finances and have very long and serious discussions about the state of our soul. No pressure.

Open couples are very aware of the fact that their partner does not have to be absolutely everything to them. Because they can go outside a relationship to have their needs fulfilled sexually, they are often more open to having other needs fulfilled by other people, instead of defaulting to the kind of codependence that grows between a monogamous couple....

3. If you want a great relationship, embrace radical honesty and be an emotional ninja.

Open couples make an effort to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations. Because there is no room for jealousy in an open relationship, it is paramount to identify your personal insecurities and fears and take responsibility for your feelings. Even if you aren’t in a relationship where you and your partner act on your desires, identifying your feelings about those desires and discussing them with your partner can only serve to strengthen your bond.

Mara had been dating Mike exclusively for about a year when she began feeling an intense attraction to Erika.... “After I said it, I didn’t even really want to do it anymore. It became this intense desire because I thought it was so taboo. But once we talked about it, I kind of lost interest,” Mara said. The pair have been together for five years and have since had relationships outside of their relationship, but Mara still credits that one drunken admission to keeping them together this long.

It’s counterintuitive, but being honest about having desires for other people can actually lead to less infidelity.

“I believe in radical honesty and radical listening. If your partner has a desire that you might find upsetting, you still need to take the time to listen to it. [Open relationships] require a level of emotional ninja skill. You have to work hard at being a self-aware person,” Adams said....

Read the whole article (March 27, 2013). I can't agree with Deborah Anapol's argument (see her recent Message in a Bottle) that the mainstreaming of poly ideas into conventional relationships only helps to perpetuate a failing, patriarchy-derived world.

Here's more on do-it-yourself designer relationships, from Aoife O'Riordan in Ireland:

One of the biggest things, you see, about being in a Non-Traditional Relationship(TM) is that it can be difficult to work out what you’re supposed to feel at a given point in time. This is, by the way, as much of a feature as it is a bug — working without a script leaves immense freedom to make things up as you go along and to shape what you’re doing to the needs and preferences of the actual people involved. It’s awesome enough that I’d advise throwing the script away to the rest of you as well. Write your own damn scripts. They’ll probably fit you better....

Read on (March 27, 2013).




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