One thing that really annoys me with men and women in some so-called Poly relationships is the fact that they are doing so because it makes THEM happy. Not US. Meaning for some of us the idea of being poly is so fun and natural that we automatically assume that everyone has been as enlightened as we are. We might see our relationships as being harmonious but in truth we are actually blinded by a lot of the comings and goings of what truly poly means. I always try to use examples when I speak about poly life because it helps people to follow along. I will try to do the same here with two examples. The first is one in which the couple is not truly poly but pretending and the second is one in which the couple is truly on one accord. They are all real couples but their names have been changed.
Jill and Frank have been together over a decade but in that time they have operated as a one-sided swing couple. Meaning he plays and she turns the other way. Jill got tired of Frank always going to parties and playing with a multitude of women so when Frank showed a real interest in Sheila, Jill encouraged Frank to pursue her. Jill then befriended Sheila and the three of them moved in together and built a relationship. Frank actually believes in this poly dynamic. He has embraced this life and is truly accepting of the two new loves in his life. He tries to make them both feel special and loved. Jill began to feel slighted and cheated. After all she is not playing with anyone besides Frank. She doesn’t get to have two loves. She started to doubt her place in this dynamic and wanted to establish her role as the true woman in his life. Now shoot to Sheila. Sheila likes Frank and is looking at him as her man/ boyfriend. She is not really poly at all and simply is biding her time until she assumes he will come to his senses and leave the woman that he is Obviously bored with….. Now looking at that situation which one of them is being selfish? Which person is asking to be hurt? Are they really poly or just pretending?
- Which one of them is being selfish? The answer to that is they all are…. Jill was trying to please her man so she pretended to swing at first and later to be poly. Well doesn’t that make her selfless? No actually it makes her very selfish because she tried to exert her control over a situation and curtail possible infidelity by giving permission. She is actually still very monogamous in her thoughts on the relationship. So why pretend to be poly? The fear of infidelity and him actually running off with someone else like Sheila made Jill assume that she could again control things if she allowed Frank to have her solely. Sheila was never seen as a person but a sacrificial offering to her man. One she could watch and control from within the home. Frank was selfish because the first rule of swinging is that it is a couples thing not him playing alone. If he wasn’t so caught up in the thrill of having access to a multitude of women with permission from his girl then he would have seen that she was NOT really happy with the situation. Even the most consummate actress will show displeasure if you are open to the signs. Pay attention to your wives guys. (Not just what you hear her say out her mouth. Pay attention to body language and attitude.) Sheila is simply delusional and misguided. She is selfish but mostly because she wants what she assumes she can have. She still sees this as a competition for affection much like Jill, only she wants what she assumes Jill has. She unlike Jill will not ever entertain a poly relationship once she has obtained her goal. So which person is asking to be hurt? Neither but they are opening the door to hurt themselves. Are any of them truly Poly…. NO.
The next couple is Mark and Sandra. They have been married for over 20 years and were a swinging couple (Full swap) for nearly 15 years before finally deciding that they both wanted more and they both were free to pursue it. They met and fell in love with Tameka. The two women hit it off immediately. They are virtually inseparable and are the best of friends. Neither woman is Bisexual. After playing together and getting to know one another Mark and Sandra asked Tameka to be a part of their poly love. They all are on one accord. There is no fear from Sandra that Mark will leave her for Tameka because they have already established a strong core relationship. She accepts the love that he feels for Tameka and they are happy together all three of them. Mark is constantly trying to make sure both women feel loved and does what he can to ensure they know it. What he does with one he does with the other as well. There is no competition for him. Tameka loves both Sandra and Mark. She feels lucky to be a part of their world and doesn’t feel like she is just a live in hit it and quit it session for Mark. She actually feels a part of the family and embraces the relationship wholeheartedly.
- Which one of them are being selfish? …. Neither. They are all on one accord. All three of them understand that they can love without competition or fear. They are looking beyond just a sexual fantasy into an actual relationship where they all each have a voice. Sandra and Mark have matured in their core relationship enough that when this woman came into their world they accepted her with open arms as a part of them. Would they have had the same reaction if Sandra was the one with a boyfriend. I think so. Mark doesn’t see another guy as his competition. Tameka loves both of them equally and understands that she is free to love as well. She is not an object but a loving partner. Are they Poly? …. Yes they are.
There really is no quick path to a Polyamorous Relationship. There is also no real way to pretend to be Poly. There is no grey area. Either you are or you aren’t. Trying to control or salvage a relationship by pretending to be poly is like walking in a mine field wearing platform shoes. You can’t really feel what you are stepping on but you know it’s there and will eventually bite you in the ass. If you are considering poly life think long and hard about your reasons. If you can not personally handle the idea of a poly dynamic say so. Communication is your best asset and defense. Men and women pay attention to your spouse or significant other. If they claim to be OK with something keep double checking and watch for signs BEFORE you make a move. Try putting yourself in their shoes and seeing things from their perspective. It might shock you. Good luck in your journey.