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 Post subject: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:53 pm 
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Lately I have been doing a lot of reading and thinking on non-monogamous, poly-amorous, sexually adventurous relationships.

Currently I am in a long term relationship with someone I love dearly, and trust completely, and see myself being long term. The feeling is reciprocal.

The sex is good, but our sex drives differ quite a bit, and I have only ever been with my current boyfriend and one previous in the sexual sense. I am feeling if we're both in it for the long haul, it would be great to mix it up a bit once in a while, and he feels similarly.

We've been talking about it for a while now, and both seem pretty comfortable with the idea of adding a third party for adventure time, and I am comfortable with the idea of my boyfriend seeing certain other girls on the side (mainly mutual trustworthy friends, older more experienced ladies, etcetera). In fact just the idea has added a little bit of something something to the bedroom atmosphere, if you know what i'm saying.

The PPK has a vast wealth of knowledge about things from vegan cupcakes to sexy adventuretimes, so I'm assuming some of you out there might be able to share some of your anecdotal evidence on the perks/downfalls/horrors of "monogamish" relationships.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:25 pm 
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102 views an no experiences?


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:35 pm 
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I'm interested in hearing some peoples' experiences. I've always been a proponent of open-communication open relationships, but I've never been in one myself.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:17 am 
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Personally, open relationships are not for me. Except that I'm in one.
The guy I'm with is my best friend, and we've been friends for years. I love him soooo much, but he has a long term girlfriend, and that is his primary relationship. I feel like our relationship is very asymmetrical and it's not what I want at all. I'm not happy with it, but I won't be happy if I leave him either.

I'm sure your situation will be very different from mine, but I think it's good to keep in mind that it's possible you and your boyfriend may develop strong feelings for other people, and that can be very complicating if it's not what you want.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:26 am 
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I know I could never handle an open relationship. I keep checking in when someone posts in this thread out of curiosity, but I have nothing to contribute. Sorry!

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:30 am 
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Oh yeah, I also want to say that I know I am monogamous at heart. I just wanted to try the open relationship because I'm in love. But I should have known I wouldn't like it.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:57 am 
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Ok, so, I have more experience being in a nonmonogamous relationship than a monogamish relationship. I dated my now-ex partener for 4 years as a monogamous couple before we decided that we wanted to try dating other people. It sounds like our reasons were very similar to yours- we started dating when we were 18, were still in our early 20s and I wanted to be with him for a long time still, but didnt want either of us to feel like we missed out on something important. I also had been with one person before him who I dated for a couple years, he had very minimal dating or sexual experience before me. I thought having sex with and/or dating other people and being in new kinds of relationships would be good for both of us individually as well as us as a couple.

Over the following two years, he dated one mutual friend of ours for a few months. That was our first nonmonogamy experience. It was good, but also it was kind of hard for me to adjust, even though abstractly I was totally on board and excited. A big part of it was that he started seeing her right away and wanted things to progress (what felt to me like) really quickly, while I was eyeing a couple of people who seemed abosolutely uninterested in me. Several times I felt jealous of him successfully dating someone else, but not particularly jealous of our friend spending time with my partner. For the most part, though, I totally enjoyed hearing about my partner's crushes and makeouts and etc. I wasn't ready for him to have sex with her for a couple months though. I finally got to the point that I was ready, and she declined and they stopped seeing each other. I felt like it was partly my fault for making them wait but also, it would not have been good if I hadn't made it clear what I was and was not ready for.

Then a few months later, I started dating a few people casually. It was fun, I enjoyed hanging out with new people and sexy smooches, but I didn't really super click with any of them. It also took me a while to get to the point where I was ready to have sex with somebody new. (I had only been with two people at the time! And only one of them was a dude! And we'd been together for over 4 years! And what if I had no idea what to do with somebody new!) Around the time that I was finally ready, both people I'd been hanging out with regularly totally stood me up within one week of each other and I was pissed and didn't really want to see either of them after that. I figured maybe I just wasn't up for casual dating or casual sex and that as much as I liked the idea of seeing people besides my partner, maybe seeking out new people just isn't worth it.

Over the course of his and my shortlived secondary relationships, we talked a LOT about what we meant to each other (this was probably the best part, as that's not a conversation most people have 4 years into a relationship!) We also set up a lot of boundaries and then renegotiated as we saw fit. (For example, we decided not to spend the night at anyone else's house at first, but a while later we reevaluated and decided to limit overnights to once a week so that we could still wake up with each other most of the time, but also have a little more time and flexibility with other partners. Plus sometimes it's nice to have your own bed all to yourself.)

Theeeen, I had a huge crush on this boy and we hung out a few times and went on something that I wasn't sure until I was on it was a date and it totally was and lots of exciting things happened and then I started falling for him so hard. Unexpectedly hard. And he's an excellent woo-er. It was not at all what I was looking for but thinking about what a long-term relationship with him would be like, combined with other career and where-to-live and big life choices, made me re-evaluate my relationship with my primary partner. I had already decided to spend 6 months away doing an internship and my partner had already decided he didn't want to live in Chicago anymore, but partly because of my new relationship I decided I wanted to stay here. (Or rather, return here from my internship.) And now I'm not dating the original partner anymore, but have been with my excellent woo-er sweetheart for over a year and am still so head over heels.

While I was away at my internship, I had a few very short flings with people who I knew wouldn't be in the same state as me in a few days/weeks. Since coming back, things with my sweetheart have gotten a lot more serious and he is not comfortable with polyamory so I'm mostly taking a break from it, although he's ok with me pursuing a friend of mine who visits Chicago from time to time (I'm not very successful though.) Maybe as he gets more confident in our relationship with each other, he'll be more open, but for now my romantic life is more or less limited to him.

Um. I don't know if any of that is useful or interesting, but what I learned is that I'm still probably not cut out for casual dating or sex, despite my continued interest in the idea of it. It turns out that I'm not really that interested in making time to see people who aren't totally awesome, and if they are totally awesome it's hard to not want to spend A WHOLE LOT of time with them. Hard to make that much time for romancing amongst my other interests. I think I should stick to flings with people who I know I'll only be around temporarily, which will also diminish potential for drama. That's just me though.

Ok, there is a rough and rambly account of my experience. I don't really know what are the important things to say, but I would certainly answer questions. It sounds like you might be looking for different types of experiences though- although my partner and I had talked a few times about adding a third person to some of our adventures, I never got comfortable with that idea and preferred for us each to have independent adventures.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:30 am 
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If you have not read "the Ethical Slut", please do so now.

Very little personal experience (I can't find one girl who'll date me, never mind multiples) but I have a bunch of polyamourous friends and even a few swingers. Lot of drama with most of them. If your primary relationship is super super solid it can be great, a couple super super solid couples have told me, but if there's any distrust, jealousy, insecurity, or resentment—even if it's tiny and unconscious—non-monogamist fun times are liable to act as a catalyst and blow them way out of proportion.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:35 am 
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osito wrote:
Personally, open relationships are not for me. Except that I'm in one.
The guy I'm with is my best friend, and we've been friends for years. I love him soooo much, but he has a long term girlfriend, and that is his primary relationship. I feel like our relationship is very asymmetrical and it's not what I want at all. I'm not happy with it, but I won't be happy if I leave him either.

I'm sure your situation will be very different from mine, but I think it's good to keep in mind that it's possible you and your boyfriend may develop strong feelings for other people, and that can be very complicating if it's not what you want.


This is sort of my experience, only my partner was married. We were together for 3 years. I always wanted more from him than I knew I could get, but I definitely didn't want to disturb his primary relationship. His unwillingness to own up to me as girlfriend to his friends and parents was finally the breaking point. I felt like a mistress, not a girlfriend. I did some dating in the aftermath of the breakup, but I think the experience mostly destroyed my desire to be in a relationship. He quickly became involved with someone else, and he and his wife bought a house with her within a year of our breakup.

I wouldn't ever do it again, but maybe you'd have more success where we failed.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:39 am 
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I've been with two guys who were in open relationships, and it's not really been pretty.
i had genuinely crushy feelings for both of them, but they could not offer me anything at all. besides, both guys fell in love with me, and kind of considered leaving their primary relationships, which I didn't really want, because I couldn't promise them anything at all, and it's been really messy and with a lot of heartbreak and sadness.. so they have both stayed in the relationships, even though they were in love with me. i guess they were both allowed to have sex with other people, but not overstep the boundaries, which they both did when they initiated dating-ish situations with me - ice skating, going to parties together, talking about their other relationships (which is really awkward and weird, since I felt like i was invading the privacy of the other partner..)
that being said, i am pretty sure that one of the guys would have left his girlfriend if i had told him i wanted to have a relationship with him, and they are still together today (he mentioned once that he really likes the safety of the relationship - i wouldn't be cool with that, if i was her!)
(how does that happen twice?)

i have quite a lot of friends who have had open relationships in the past, and a few that still have. it seems like it's a lot of hard work, and it takes some pretty special people.. no jealousy, a crazy good communication, the relationship needs to be built on a really solid ground, and it seems like it works best if there are very very clear rules (which I think was the problem with the guys I dated - they hadn't talked about "what if I fall in love with the other person?"). in the open relationships i've seen, when it's bad, it's really really bad - sleeping with people because one person is pissed at the other, not talking about the feelings that are coming up, jealousy, sleeping with friends of the significant other even if it wasn't cool.. lots and lots of drama.

I guess part of putting yourself out there is opening yourself up for falling in love with someone who is not your partner - which of course can happen any time, but it seems like it happens more often in open relationships than monogamous relationships - i guess because you get really close to other people, which opens up for some emotional connections you wouldn't otherwise make with people outside of the relationship?

I think defining a clear set of rules, such as if it is just sex, or dating? How will we talk about it? Can we ask each other to dump specific people? What happens if one gets uncomfortable? Can we see people we know, or do they have to be strangers? What happens if one person falls in love with someone? that kind of stuff.

but i have also seen it work, and when it's worked, it seems like it's pretty great. kind of like any other relationship that is functional and awesome.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:11 am 
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My husband and I have been together for 20 monogamous years (I'm 40) and have just started exploring monogamishness. So far we have had one threesome with a woman friend, which was really fun. We have given each other permission to sleep with other people but it hasn't happened yet. I don't know if it will. I mean, the last time I slept with someone else was TWENTY YEARS AGO - I kind of think I would be freaked out and not know what to do. But then I think that's a reason I should do it: for the challenge! My husband said that the threesome was really interesting because the other woman liked different stuff than I do and he kept having to adapt.

I don't know where this will go but like PonyPal said, even the idea of it is exciting. I am not the jealous type AT ALL and I trust my husband 100%. He can get a little jealous but not that bad. I think our relationship is awesome, and we've always been good at talking about stuff like when we have a crush on someone. We haven't worked out all the rules yet, but the rules so far are: use condoms, it's just sex (not a relationship), and we can veto people.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:02 am 
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Disclaimer: I am not in a non-monogamous relationship. However I do have many friends for whom various arrangements work.
For some it works exceptionally well. And the key always seems to be communication. Very open communication.
For the ones that it does not work for the key seems to be not understanding what it was they were getting into. And no communication. Feelings can get hurt.
My dear friend is just starting the process of determining what she and her partner want and they have pretty frequent check ins and that is without it progressing to more than talking. They are establishing boundaries and looking at new ways to determine what those are before they are crossed.
They can work. But you really need to be willing to bare parts of your soul.
Good luck

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:05 am 
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Just curious, if even those who have done this successfully still admit it's a lot of work, what's the pay off? I mean, more sex obviously, but why not just have some porn and a wank and call it a day?

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:41 am 
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hoveringdog™ wrote:
Just curious, if even those who have done this successfully still admit it's a lot of work, what's the pay off? I mean, more sex obviously, but why not just have some porn and a wank and call it a day?


Well, any good, healthy relationship is a lot of work.

But for some, like my friend, not all of her emotional needs are being met in a monogamous relationship. So the extra work does make her healthier as a person and less likely to engage in risky behavior.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:41 am 
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I'm curious what people see as the difference between "monogamish" and "polyamorous". Most of what I've heard described in this thread as "monogamish" sounds like relationship models that are relatively common in polyamorous relationships.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:47 am 
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choirqueer wrote:
I'm curious what people see as the difference between "monogamish" and "polyamorous". Most of what I've heard described in this thread as "monogamish" sounds like relationship models that are relatively common in polyamorous relationships.


Yeah, I'm curious, too. It sounds the same to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:54 am 
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Same here. I have no experience in that regard, but it seems to me that monogamish implies mostly monogamous with the occasional piece on the side, which is different than outright polyamory or open relationships or whatever.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:10 pm 
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hoveringdog™ wrote:
Just curious, if even those who have done this successfully still admit it's a lot of work, what's the pay off? I mean, more sex obviously, but why not just have some porn and a wank and call it a day?


This is kind of where I stand. Like I'm sure there can be lots of fun sexytime adventures, but I would be bored before all the rules were even laid down..and all the talking and compromise. I barely have time for fun with the awesome partner I have (and I'm admittedly far too lazy for extras, even if they weren't complicated)

Seriously, though, I've just always thought that different people have different inclinations toward monogamy; some people it naturally works very well for and others it just doesn't. I guess if you're in the "doesn't" the payoff would be being true to yourself and your desires. Lots of things that are worthwhile take work, so I guess if monogamy isn't your thing, the work put into being poly would be worth it. I am always happy to hear stories about people making different/open relationships work, I know it can't be easy in a society so hardwired against it.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:13 pm 
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I interpret "open relationship" as a very broad category that includes all consensual nonmonogamy, and "polyamorous" as a a subcategory where the participants have a desire or are at least open to having multiple long-term relationships.

For me, when I started exploring nonmonogamy, I was open to dating (not just sex) but not looking for multiple committed relationships because its hard enough to make big lige decisions with two people, let alone 3 or more. I also didn't identify with the label "polyamory" because for my polyaamorous friends, that seemed to be an important part of their sexual identity, like being queer is for mine. Nonmonogamy felt like something I was interested in doing, not who I am. However, over the last couple of years it has become a more important part of who I am and made me want different things out of any LTR, regardless of whether I'm actively seeking out multiple relationships. Being nonmonogamous made me want more independence from my partner in a lot of ways, not just more sexual independence.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:21 pm 
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Also, I've only browsed through the ethical slut more recently, but my partner and I read "opening up" before, well, opening up. My newer sweetheart had aa really hard time with being a "secondary" (I don't like that word, but not sure what else to use in certain circumstances) and I think at least part of it is that there is some helpful literature on how to be part of a couple becoming nonmonogamous, but not stuff oriented to people who are learning about polyamory in the context of dating someone who is already in a committed partnership.

I realize a lot of what I'm saying is geared towards poly and not monogamishness, but I think its still good stuff to think about beforehand, 'cause you never know when you'll strat developing feelings.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:11 pm 
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bekki wrote:
I barely have time for fun with the awesome partner I have (and I'm admittedly far too lazy for extras, even if they weren't complicated)

The word monogamous just made me start singing Mah Na Mah Na in my head: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mah_N%C3%A0_Mah_N%C3%A0

Anyway, this might be a bit off topic, but these conversations always remind me of a good friend/old roommate that has had open relationships. She seemed to have some commitment problems from her childhood that kept her looking into nonmonogamous options for years. It resulted in a lot of drama as she often sought relationships with men who just wanted sex, but ultimately she found someone with similar interests to her and they've very happy together.

While I think she might be better off addressing her fears of commitment more directly the open relationship seems to have kept her from randomly breaking up or sabotaging the relationship like she had in the past. I'm sure not everyone has similar reasons for wanting to be nonmonogamous, I just found her story interesting. They have been together a couple years now and seem to have no trust issues or real problems. For the most part they're way more monogamousish than poly.

One thing I noticed though, and largely because she's pointed it out to me a couple times, is that she kind of stays in single mode all the time. One of the benefits of monogamy (to me) is that I quit being open to romantic options with other people. There's no risk of cheating because I don't even see others as potential mates or view anyone romantically anymore. In many ways that's freeing because I am able to focus on making friends and being social. My old roommate has mentioned how she tends to go to out and view everyone primarily as potential dates rather than friends. She's also had a hard time keeping up with friends while balancing everything in her life.

So that's one story. Nonmono seems way too broad to have any one answer, though I'm not personally interested in it. I am like Bekki in thinking I just have too much in my life right now to find time for anyone else. Good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:30 pm 
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hoveringdog™ wrote:
Just curious, if even those who have done this successfully still admit it's a lot of work, what's the pay off? I mean, more sex obviously, but why not just have some porn and a wank and call it a day?

Some people feel pretty limited by monogamy, you know the whole 'ball and chain' imagery people use? Well I think it was established because some people really do feel like a monogamous relationship is like a literal ball and chain. So for those people, their ideal life would be like being single, dating, having fun, doing what you want, but them also being in love with someone who you can live with and have a family with.

Well that's how I feel anyway. Funny thing though, I'm in this non monogamous relationship I describe, yet I have never had sex with (or dates with) anyone but my partner in 6 years, and I'm not really looking to. I will if the opportunity arises but I'm sure it won't anytime soon, because I don't seek it, or care to. I'm kind of shy and a home body. I just hate the idea of not being allowed to even kiss or grind up on someone while dancing because it's against some kind of rule? I don't know, that's what makes monogamous people versus non monogamous maybe, one doesn't see it so much as a rule and just see it as the way it is, while the other like me feel like it's some repressive law.

choirqueer wrote:
I'm curious what people see as the difference between "monogamish" and "polyamorous". Most of what I've heard described in this thread as "monogamish" sounds like relationship models that are relatively common in polyamorous relationships.


I think most people are starting to lean toward polyamory meaning 'you romantically love many people, all equally, or at least some equally', while monogamish means 'you have a main person, but can do romantic things with other people'. I think most people know that both definitions technically fit into polyamory but find the word polyamory to sound a bit 'swinger'-ish. (or mormon heaven-ish)

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Last edited by Mars on Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:33 pm 
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I have no personal experience with open/poly/monogamish relationships but I also highly recommend you (and your partner!) read "the Ethical Slut". It's kind of a "how to" guide and really thoughtfully discusses jealousy, resentment, power dynamics, boundaries, health, conflict, family and social issues. It's great.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:09 pm 
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Yeah, definitely read The Ethical Slut. It happens to be an excellent book with lots of useful information...but, apart from that, pretty much anyone with whom you'd want to be in a relationship if you're practicing any form of polyamory has either read it or has learned about polyamory from someone else who read it.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Monogamish relationships
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:31 pm 
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ol' garly cooch
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:41 pm
Posts: 2828
Location: Kashyyyk
hoveringdog™ wrote:
Just curious, if even those who have done this successfully still admit it's a lot of work, what's the pay off? I mean, more sex obviously, but why not just have some porn and a wank and call it a day?



For me sex is a perk, but I find that I'm learning more and more about myself as this process continues. Yeah, porns and stroganoff can be awesome and is part of a healthy sex life, I just think it is more human nature to want to connect with other human beings. For me, I don't just want to do it, I want to have really deep relationships with other people--more so on the friend level. I mean, relationships are work if it's just two people. Throw in a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh person. Pretty soon I'll be up to a whole softball team. You're not just in a relationship with the people you sleep with, the other lovers of your lovers are part of the dynamic too, so that can get icky.

Oh, and then there's the kids. That is a little tricky too.

The Ethical Slut is a must as well as Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits by Debra Anapol. Jealousy is actually a spiritual tool for looking at my own shiitake. I learn to own my stuff more, rather than working hard to please someone, or expecting someone to make me happy. I find that my relationships at work, church, online, friends, etc. are more meaningful because I know how to assert myself without shitting on other people.

There's definitely a learning curve involved. Do I get resentful or jealous? You bet. I just can't let it get in the way of how I relate to others. I have to be honest and say, "Well--I'm worried that someone is going to make you custard harder and then you'll want out." That's really about not being good enough, fear of loss, fear of not getting my way, fear of not being loved, and I know all that Stuart Smalley shiitake.

So, I learn more about me, have plenty of sex, and have some moral support parenting. It's a really wonderful thing and will only get better as I get to have the awesome experience of making mistakes, overcoming the errors, and redefining what love is. Poly isn't for everyone, but it isn't this super weird thing that everyone thinks it is. At least to me, I mean. When I think about serial monogamy--that's a little odd to me.

I'm not super out about it either. I mean, some people know who I am, but I am closeted at work and to most people at church. It's out of respect for my kids, my spouse, my lover, and honestly--it really isn't anyone's bidnezz.

PM me if you have further questions.

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