Open Relationships: Partners, Threesome, Swinging, Polyamory and/or Including Any Additional Partner In Your Sexual Marital Relationship
No, the answer is NO – DO NOT, I repeat in capital letters: DO NOT have any additional partner/person in your marriage.
Threesomes, swinging, polyamory, any inclusion of any one in addition to your spouse as a sexual partner in your marriage–the answer is no, do not do it! Through my 18 years of providing couples counseling, with consistency couples who report they decided to have some form of open relationship rather than a monogamous relationship have ended up in an awful mental place and have destroyed their marriage.
Gosh, in my nearly 22 years of marriage we did have some trouble, honest no kidding. We even considered breaking up.
Stopping the poly didn’t cure it. GROWING THE FUCK UP AND LEARNING TO COMMUNICATE sure as shit did.
We’re still poly, we’re happy, and we have a relationship that works and makes us happy. Sorry if that doesn’t work for you, but hey, we’re not dating you.
(Remember y’all — Be a credit to your kink if you’re gonna reply directly. You’re the Face of Poly)
22 thoughts on “More Anti-Poly Advice”
[face-palm]…. A counselor is someone who assists people in working through their issues. Everything I read in her blog suggests this woman is a crusader, hell-bent on imposing her view of morality on others. I can only imagine the harm she has caused to people, and truly feel for anyone who might wander into her office expecting genuine support and understanding.
Well, of course all her clients have ruined marriages—not many people go to couples’ counseling when their marriages are going well.
It sounds like the people she sees who have tried it, did so for problematic reasons
Opening up a broken relationship seems unlikely to help. This seems like a helping of clinician’s fallacy.
I don’t know if you’ve run across it or not, but for the readers that haven’t, there’s a cliché for opening up a failing marriage: Relationship Broken; Add More People.
Like turning into a snake, it never helps.
The cliché exists for a reason. Sometimes one just doesn’t realize how badly their marriage is failing until they open it up – at which point it starts falling apart even faster. Unfortunately, I’ve been there.
In a way, I suppose I agree with her. Polyamory as a bandaid for your relationship will probably always fail. THAT’S WHY YOU SHOULDN’T USE IT AS A FUCKING BANDAID! *steps off soapbox* I digress.
I agree with not using polyamory as a relationship bandaid. You’re right. It bloody well doesn’t work!
The idea that one simply should never have multiple partners? Not so much.
(x-posted from LJ)
Since this woman seems to be editing comments with a liberal hand, I’ll post my full reply to her here, so that it will be visible in case she chooses to hack it up.
Dear Dr. Karen:
I think that the problem you’re running into is something that’s known in the poly community as “relationship broken, add more people.”
It’s something that very rarely works, but unfortunately is a very common manifestation of a monogamous marriage suffering serious cracks and trying to patch them up by “spicing things up” with another person.
I absolutely agree that people whose only experience with monogamy should NOT, if their marriage is on the rocks, add another person/people to the mix. They should work on getting their dyad into a position of strength, love, and mutual support.
However, your assertion that *no* couple should ever decide to open their relationship, because it will inevitably destroy them, is flawed. You say “There are couples who so desperately want to succeed in their new venture of having an open relationship that they try to sell their choice like a product and offer to others that this lifestyle is a healthy way to remain married.” — so, in other words, anyone who is telling you that they’re non-monogamous and happy is fooling themselves. That makes it very difficult for you to accept any proof that people can be non-monogamous and happy, fulfilled, and secure in their relationships . . . because you’ve already built up a structure that says that anyone who says that is (a) “trying to sell their choice like a product” (i.e., proselytizing), and (b) is
I strongly disagree — I’ve had poly inclinations since high school, and beat myself up emotionally for being in love with, and desiring to be in a relationship with, two men. I tried being monogamous, and I was miserable. I am now in a very happy set of relationships with three partners (two of them married to each other — I’d been a part of their relationship since before they got married, and we’ve been together for 8 years with no major hiccups — and one relationship of going-on-four-years duration with a man who came into my life as an openly polyamorous person, and who has a girlfriend who has become a good friend of mine.)
The thing is — there was never an issue of “being married and opening up a relationship,” which is where a lot of the trouble and strife can happen — we all came together as people who wanted to live in ethical, loving non-monogamy.
There are two children between us (one 19, one 4), who benefit from the love and caretaking of multiple parents, and who are stable, emotionally healthy, bright, intelligent, and well-loved. My daughter even wrote an essay response regarding what it was like growing up in a poly household (she’s monogamous, btw — so much for “proselytizing”, because I respect her choice and am happy that she is happy and fulfilled), and talked about how beneficial it was growing up with supportive adults in her life — I’d be happy to link to it if you’d like to read it.
I sincerely hope you re-evaluate your stance on polyamory, in particular — because you have only seen a self-selecting sample of people who are coming to you because they ARE having problems, particularly married couples who are struggling. Trust me — not all of us are like that, and I would love to see you amend your statement based on actual results.
If you’re interested, I can link you to a scientific study done on children in multiple-adult relationships, and how they’re actually very healthy and happy, because they’re often not shuffled around to day-care because both their biological parents are working to support the family. In our case, I was a part of the birth of my partners’ daughter, I helped care for her while her mother/my girlfriend was recovering from a difficult Caesarean, and their daughter has known me as a member of their family since before she was born. I call her my heart-daughter, because I love her the way I love my own child.
With respect, I believe that your sample is flawed, and that your opinion on the potential success of polyamorous relationships (I’m not addressing open marriages/threesomes/swinging, because they are not my personal experience) should hopefully evolve based on theexperiences of the many people who are writing in to share their lives and their relationships with you.
Argh — my apologies about the formatting! I copied it from Notepad and didn’t notice it was set to word-wrap until I saw the posted comment, and I can’t edit/delete it. Sorry about that! o__@
I do not ordinarily edit comments, but since this seemed to be an implied wish to clean up formatting, I did so. I hope I was not presumptuous!
Thank you! Much appreciated! <3
(Didn't want to be taking up such a large amount of vertical space in your comments section, since that seemed rude.)
BTW, she finally took my comment out of moderation — I just checked, and it's up. She never responded (unsurprisingly), but it's at least visible. Here's hoping that people seeking her advice at least read the comments section of her post, and realize that not everyone is using non-monogamy as a relationship band-aid.
“Stopping the poly didn’t cure it. GROWING THE FUCK UP AND LEARNING TO COMMUNICATE sure as shit did.” <— THIS. 🙂
I love your blog, it has been really helping me through my journey of polyamory, keep up the good work!
It seems to me that anyone who “Appears on: The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, FOX & Friends, America Live, regular go-to for FOX Boston, and more. Can be heard on Radio: FOX News, 96.9 Boston Talks, and more” is probably never going to be supportive of ethical non-monogamy. It’s bloody irritating to see these kinds of columns posted, but as they say, living well is the best revenge.
Her website is full of anti-poly hate. Can’t believe it. By the way, some credit or a hat-tip would be nice 😉
I was working from an academic rather than blogging convention. Sorry about that.
“To be married and choose to be with one and/or multiple additional partners is in opposition to creating a world of stability within relationships, teaching our children about loyalty and monogamy, and wanting to help people to find joy and full – fulfillment, and celebrate in the beauty of monogamy. I do help people to help themselves to find that.”
Yeah, this woman is confused. She thinks she’s trying to help people, but she’s really trying to convince people that her views are correct. There’s a big difference and the most dangerous people don’t see it themselves. I mean, what she says is totally true. Polyamory is in opposition to monogamy. Duh.
also, i suggested her data set had a selection bias and that perhaps she should write a column on how to solve monogamous issues without adding new people, but it disappeared. no idea if it’s in moderation, or in the black hole of the interwebs.
I wrote a comment. She did not post it at all.
I am deeply unsurprised.
Mine finally showed up after a couple of days in the black hole, so maybe yours will eventually . . . but let’s just say I’m in “trust, but verify” mode with this lady ;P
I found it an interesting post, albeit short. I liked Ashbet’s reply. If it works for you, it works for you.
Anyway I happend on this page because I was curious about the term polyamore. The subject came up because I ran into a community that tries to live the polyamore in the old fashioned hippie way. I caught my attention, because I heard a lot of talk about it, but I never seen it in practice. Indeed isn’t it some kind of (sexual) fantasy? After some observation I felt the doom hovering overhead. Here was a group of men and women trying to go for open relations: depending on their mood and preferences of course. And here it starts to go downhill. You see…inevitable some men and some women prefer some specific men and some specific women. Some are popular, some are not. Some are more fun(not to mention… better in you know what). The cutey and the charmer vs the wallflower and nerd. Selections occur; the open relations become less open. Imagine this scene where one person gets the attention while the other can sit and watch it happen, thinking: when is it my turn to enjoy open relations or any relation at all?
Soon there is an incrowd and rites of passage will develop: you can become part of us: when we like you.
Then I need to mention the inherent competitive nature of some people. I found my for the first time in my life actually subject of some backhanded remarks on my clothes(it was implied I was cheaply dressed) because I was deemed competition. Talking to someone who is seen by another as a potential mate brings out the tiger in some. It made me laugh.
One can spot the cracks and they widen until the whole falls to pieces.
I respect the people who try to live in the spirit of the hippie idea: it is their choice… but they probably are better of without open relations.
However, i suspect some are actually not meaning open relations, but unobstructed sex. And in the latter case it is rather sad…
By the way, is it really necessary to swear? Or has it something to do with the joke that some tourists shout at locals because they think they are understood that way?
If polyamory is a fantasy, I’ve been living one since I was in my mid-teens. Since I’m now middle-aged, yeah, it’s been awhile.
As far as the competition for mates thing, friend, I’m not exactly a hot young thang, and I am happy with my own relationships, which at present have been long term and satisfying.
And swearing? I considered the choice of those words in that context absolutely appropriate to conveying an emotive message, yes.
I think you’re confusing polyamory as it is normally practiced in the modern age (relationships between two or more people, no implication that everyone needs to be open to being sexually involved with everyone else) with a group of people who tried to create a free-love commune or a new Oneida Community.
I have never seen the circumstances you describe in an actual community of polyamorous people — normally people meet, date, mate, partner off, etc. just like any other group of friends or people with shared interests — there is certainly no expectation that everyone needs to be sexually available, or that an “in-crowd” necessarily develops.
It sounds like the people you ran into *were* trying to create a free-love hippie commune, and appropriated the word “polyamory” to describe something with very different rules and practices.
(Polyamory can certainly exist in a commune-type setting, if any one person has more than one romantic partner — but communes and general expectations of sexual availability generally have nothing to do with polyamory as it’s practiced today.)
I’ve been poly for 13 (14?) years now, and I *was* a ‘hot young thang’ for a while — and I still never found myself in a situation like the one that you’re describing. I certainly had more potential partners than some, but that doesn’t mean that I chose to actually be sexual or romantic with them — mostly, I just said very nicely that I was happy with the relationships that I was in, but thank you for the compliment of your attention 🙂
— A <3