First, I should mention that Catie and I don’t have letters after our names; no LPN, PhD, or MD. We are not what you would call “professionals.”
So everything we share is our personal experiences, thoughts, and opinions. Please consider this when you read our posts. Because this kind of life isn’t for everyone.
When I tell people about our poly lifestyle, I can see the shock in their expressions, the wide eyed stares. Sometimes, their hands come up to rub their lips or cover their mouth, an unconscious act of blocking the questions they want to ask.
So far, all the men I’ve told have the same response: Paul is one lucky bastard.
Okay, it’s true. He probably gets laid far more often than your average married man. Having said that, he also gets twice the headaches. Two women nagging him and pushing his buttons. But worse, two women who rotate their cycles. If one isn’t PMSing, the other is.
The women I’ve told are just curious. They have questions. “How did it start?” Or, “How does it work?” And, “Don’t you get jealous?”
The truth is, yes, I do. But not how you’d think.
I would get jealous. Not about the sex, but because I wasn’t included. (Yes, it’s the codependency thing again.) He could have sex with the entire country and I wouldn’t care — as long as I was there. I didn’t even need to participate. I could just watch! 😉
There were some issues while we navigated this new world. A lot of issues. It created small arguments. Which led to bigger arguments. And being honest equals being open and vulnerable. No one wants that. But to reconcile our needs, we had to. After all, we wanted this to work.
We talked about it. Some of us cried about it. But then we created some rules and regulations. Things we could not only live with but thrive with. And we have.
So, if you’re considering this type of life for yourself, make sure you speak with your partner about what you BOTH want.
Paul: We should get another so we have even numbers.
Me: I agree. (I give Catie a sly smile.) He should be tall.
Paul: “He?!” I was thinking of “she.”
Me: Yeah, I know perfectly well what you were thinking.
Catie and I snicker.
Will sex always be a group event? Or will it always be only two? If two, how will the other(s) be involved? Are you going to assign specific days? Tuesdays and Thursdays? Or only on weekends? (This type of thing would not work for me. Scheduling sex is such a turnoff for me.)
Is this an “open” thing or closed?
Catie, Paul, and I have a closed circle. Meaning, we have sex with only each other. Having sex outside our circle would be considered cheating. Unless we decide to add a fourth to even our numbers.
But maybe having an open relationship would be better for you. Whatever you two decide is good for you. Just make sure you guys talk about it.
Side note: For us, this relationship evolved into what it is today. We talked about it after. After the bickering, after the fights. This is one lesson I would share with you: Set up your rules and regulations before you go poly.
Lastly, all relationships need to stay flexible. Even traditional ones. People change as they age. Children are stressors. Work gets in the way of life. Staying flexible is a must for any long term relationship. So if you try this out and it doesn’t work, fix it. And if it can’t be fixed, then…
Hi there, Catie here.
I agree with Lena 110% that you should only jump into poly after a ton of research and communication. You can absolutely find a ton of helpful information online and in podcasts. My personal favorite website/podcast is Polyweekly with Minx and Lusty Guy. The Swingset is a good resource too. But here’s the thing…you can only do research ahead of time if you know that you will be going into a poly relationship.
I love research, if I had known I was about to enter a poly relationship I would have done the work and research needed to be ready for it. But I didn’t know. This was supposed to be a summer fling, remember? I ended up doing the research after the fact. In the long run it might be better that I flew into things blind. I know myself well enough to realize that I might have decided that it wasn’t worth all the effort. Luckily for me Paul and Lena already had all their relationship kinks worked out and rules established. It made it easier for me to figure out if this was a lifestyle I could deal with. I’ll admit to a whole bunch of doubts.
I understood swinging (and was more than a little interested in it.) As hurtful as I found the idea when faced with it, I understood inviting a third to spice things up for the couple. Man, did I NOT react well when that came up in a social setting. The timing of this interaction was terrible, I was just admitting to myself that I might, possibly be a little bit in love and started showing it. Hearing the comment go by but no one else speak up and say “Well, no, she’s more than that.” sorta made me want to puke and leave forever. Society cherishes the couple, the “spice” well, they knew what they were getting into, right? Right. The spice is also pretty sure they’re an idiot that should have known better. Thanks for that reminder complete and total stranger, it was lovely to meet you. I’ll just be downing 9 beers and going now.
This was my first real poly problem, something that I needed to work on and come to terms with. Was I in or out? Did either Paul or Lena give me any reason to think I was disposable? Why did one comment throw me so badly? The solution? Communication. I had to get over myself and tell them why I was so upset. We started talking it out from there. The idea that I wouldn’t become disposable was difficult for me despite Lena and Paul’s reassurances. But I decided that they were worth hanging around for, after all, I’m independent enough to be fine if I was suddenly voted off the island. It would suck but I’d be okay. Who cared what one badly informed person thought anyway?
When all is said and done from my point of view the only way poly is different from a traditional relationship is the amount of communication involved. Everything, well not everything, MOST things need to be talked over and agreed on. When you are in a couple it’s easy to have quick soundbite conversations, with three (or more) things need to be more in depth. I don’t think MORE communication in any relationship is ever a bad thing.
I really don’t think poly is right for everyone. I think it could be right at some times in your life but not others. If you honestly can’t imagine being happy with more than 2, don’t try it. If you are uncomfortable with the idea but have a partner that is pushing for it, leave them. Let them explore on their own, you don’t need that kind of pressure and there are plenty of couples-minded people in the world you’ll find someone else.
After some introspection (and serious discussion if you’re a couple thinking of opening up) you find that you do like the more than 2 idea then by all means research, figure out what YOU are looking for and then put your toes in the poly pool. Just because cannon balling into the poly pool worked out for me, does NOT mean it was the right way to do things!!