Is this story awful for polys, or exactly our point?
Here's one that some people will see as confirming the worst stereotypes about the danger of open relationships ("This never ends well." "Totally playing with fire." "Reeks of 1970s narcissism."). And others, if they read the full text to the end, may see it as exactly what can turn out great about what we're doing.
It just appeared in the popular online women's magazine Your Tango, "Your Best Love Life."
Asking For An Open Marriage Made Me A Better Wife And Mom
The wild calls to us like a far-off wolf pack and most of us have forgotten how to answer.
We are scared of the dark forests, of our own depressions and ecstasies, of anyplace untamed and free … and yet we ache for freedom....
After a decade of being saddled by picket fences, a fine marriage, taut physique, moderate career success, and an enviable collection of high-end shoes, my body and heart yearned for real unleashing.
Then, four years ago, I heard my desires howling.
Not knowing how to be wild, I headed to amazon.com for ideas in book form, eventually landing on a topic light years away from my good-girl tendencies: open marriage. Intrigued and intimacy starved, I followed my curiosity into what would become one of the most surprising experiences in my life.
After devouring books about polyamory, open relating, and primordial urges, I sat my husband down to have the talk....
He, also being slightly unsatisfied, eventually agreed to opening our relationship....
For a little while, the theory of openness played out like the books said it would: I felt immense gratitude and newfound attraction for my husband for trusting me enough to set me free, even as he struggled to make any connections beyond ours. One morning after waking from an encounter, I was absolutely flooded with emotion; not toward the man in my bed, but toward my own husband.
It seemed to be working. I looked like I had light beams pouring from my body. I was purified by my own discomfort, by the permission I gave myself to explore, by the ruthless honesty of terribly uncomfortable conversations I could no longer avoid.
And then, one day a few months later, this new wild life began to unravel.
It started with a profile photo from an online dating site that I joined as a joke.
His face appeared in my inbox and a lightning bolt shivered down my spine. I immediately knew I was in trouble.
I said yes anyway....
...So, I leapt, extracting myself as gracefully as possible from a marriage I never intended to leave.
...My tiger man moved to Peru, following a lifelong dream to live and work in the Amazonian jungle. I moved into a small artistic apartment and started rebuilding a life of my own. My practice husband lost his job, moved in with his dad, and we worked through how to lovingly co-parent our son amidst chaos and upheaval [yes there's a kid in this –Ed.].
...My Tiger and I eventually married (three times, just for good measure), laying down roots in a new home together after his stint in Peru.
We are expecting a child together. Big brother (and his dad) are genuinely excited for us.
...Together we have built a golden life out of the ashes of what came before.
My open marriage gifted me with so much: I learned how to tell the truth, to stand up for my hunger, to be brave. Those few precious months were the doorway to my forbidden life: the life I couldn't have dared to believe in....
Read the whole story (Aug. 15, 2014).
The very first commenter writes,
Soooooo grateful for the telling of your story, Emelie... for now I realize that I am not alone in what occurred in my own marriage. I entered into my marriage deeply in love and fully intending that it would last 'forever'. Yet as the years went on and our personal growth and changes occurred, along with extremely different parenting styles not known before we had children... we both began to recognize that a change was occurring that we could not control. We still loved each other as close friends... but what was apparent is that we were not compatible as lovers and life intimate partners any longer... and trying to force it was making us both miserable, which was spilling out onto our sons. Yet we didn't believe in the usual love/hate, married/divorce models. We didn't hate each other. We were close committed friends. We also didn't want to cause the psychological schisms in our kids' lives the divorces we saw happening around us did to theirs. So we sought another way.
For a time we chose to open our relationship. And then, over time we each chose new intimate partners... and continued to live on the same property in separate houses, gifting our sons, their friends, and our community with a new way of love and family in the world. One that doesn't pretend that love does not change when we grow. Or pretend that now the one we once loved, we now hate and thus take them for all we can. Our sons now in their 20s have thanked us repeatedly for choosing this way. And many in our community have come forward to tell how us deeply touched and inspired they are by experiencing a 'new way' of living family into a community that flourishes from a ground of love.
The "game-changer relationship" is a tough issue that Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert address head on in their book More Than Two. As they stress, you cannot wish this risk away or successfully rule it away. I don't know if they invented the term "game changer," but I'm seeing it enter the poly vocabulary even before the book's official publication date.