Has Ask Amy come around?
What are the odds that both partners will find other fulfilling sexual partners at the same time, have relationships of the same duration and intensity, and not damage their marriage? The prospects are not good. Open marriages don’t work because the “openness” more or less negates the “marriage.”
I urged you to write her and clarify matters, and at least a few of you did. Maybe it worked! Because this week she has another column on the topic. A reader sent in a question that invites easy snarking about "commitment," but Amy ends up saying
...In some "open" or nonmonogamous relationships, the "primary" romantic partner gets a vote on other potential sexual partners.... I think committed relationships can work alongside almost any other kind of behavior as long as the commitment and the relationship come first. You and he need to define very clearly what the word "commitment" means to each of you.
If you want to play with him and other consenting adults, then go for it. Always use a condom with all partners....
Here's her whole column (May 15, 2015).
While we're at it, here are some other advice columns since my last roundup of them:
● The V-Spot runs in the Valley Advocate of Western Massachusetts:
Hopin’ 2 Open
By Yana Tallon-Hicks
My husband and I were married in May. We’ve been together for eight years.... I’d like to be able to have a “monogamous-ish” (thanks Dan Savage) type thing while he’s gone. How do I bring that up to him? I’ve tried in the past in a casual way, and I don’t think he’s okay with it. How do you start a real conversation about that? I’m totally okay with him doing the same while he’s away, and I’d want a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Any tips?
—Hopin’ 2 Open
...You’ve shown a lot of bravery and openness to change in these actions, yet your question drips of very valid fear.
Opening your relationship whether it’s through a “monogamish” relationship, or “clopen” relationships as I like to call them, polyamory, or something else, can be scary. But if you can’t be brave and honest with yourself and your husband, an open relationship will never work.
You say that you’ve “casually” brought up having an open relationship in the past and “don’t think he’s okay with it.” Your road to monogamish will be a bumpy one if you can’t directly present your desires to your husband in a way that makes no assumptions about the way he feels. In an open relationship, assumptions are kryptonite.
Which brings us to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or DADT.... DADT is based entirely on fear — fear of your own jealousy and of what may be triggered within yourself when your husband bangs someone else. DADT also gives the false sense that it protects us from doing what’s hard: telling our partners that we’re attracted to someone else, being accountable to our partner’s needs, and facing their jealousy head-on. You think you’re shielding yourself from your own insecurities, but you’re just denying and feeding them....
Some of my hardest open relationship moments have been meeting my partner’s other partners. But they’ve also been the most soothing: You meet a real human....
Read on (Feb. 18, 2015).
● Ask Dr Nerdlove:
Ask Dr Nerdlove: She's Poly, And I'm Confused
By Harris O'Malley
Dear Dr NerdLove,
...We kept talking all night up until she had to get to bed for work in the morning. The next day we text some more and she mentions her boyfriend. OK, it’s cool she was talking about being in a poly relationship before and I am similarly inclined myself. So I ask her if he would be upset that some random guy is sending her texts. “Oh no, I told him all about you.” Promising....
...This next part confuses me.... She then tells me how she decided poly wasn’t for her, and that it just takes too much energy. OK she has two partners but isn’t polyamorous any more? Maybe it’s just open, I’m not sure. She then says she understands why I’m looking for more and keeps talking to me all night.
I can’t really tell what she wants.
Polyamory is one of those areas where it really helps to have everyone define their terms. Polyamory is a wide, wide descriptor for many different relationship styles....
The single biggest commonality of poly relationships is the generally accepted assumption is that it’s primarily romantic, or at least emotionally committed. And when you add more individuals into a relationship, the relationship maintenance involved (not to mention the potential for drama) scales up exponentially....
Not surprising then that your friend declared that polyamory was exhausting.
...Being clear, open and direct is much more desirable than trying to read the tea-leaves and guessing at what other people mean. When in doubt: ask. You may not get the answer you were hoping for, but you’ll get an answer.
The whole column (May 4, 2015).
● Miriam Katz writes, "I was on your site the other day and noticed you have a section for poly advice columns. I have one as well: askmiriam.ca. I do blog on there about poly as well — it's not just advice.
● Some previous posts on advice columns (includes this one; scroll down).
Labels: advice columns