Today in Anonymous Relationship Advice


... wow it's amazing how anyone makes this work when it's *obviously* so fucking stupid. For most people. The ones who make it work do it well.

Also, this is why most people have a primary partner.
Almost every poly relationship I've personally seen has been one partner convincing the other that it's a good idea, and the other just being miserable with the situation in the long run.
@doceb Then the ones you're seeing are doing it wrong. If all partners aren't committed to it, or if there aren't some circumstances that make the uncommitted partner very understanding, then it'll never work.

I for one happen to be in that latter group and it's been wonderfully successful so far. :-)
Ain't it da truth! The emperor has no clothes indeed.
@3: I know they are doing it wrong. I've seen it done wrong often enough that doing it wrong seems to be the standard, though.
@5: Yeah, I think there are actually plenty of cases of "open" relationships that work out great, but there's definitely some truth to what you're saying and this letter.

Even if I wouldn't express it quite that way. It's more that "polyamory" hasn't been figured out yet. If it's going to be figured out at all. We'll see.
if you ain't poly, don't date poly. really good advice.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that some cultural norms, such as Monogamy, exist for a logical reason. Our ancestors weren't completely backward and uptight. They were just trying to avoid exactly what Anonymous describes.

I'm not saying everyone needs to be monogamous but it is certainly recommended by 9 out of 10 dentists
Eh. The real lesson here is: "don't date self-centered, inconsiderate jerkwads."

If your date leaves the party with someone else, that's not poly, that's just being a fucking jackass. DT(P)MFA.
And yeah, I'll admit: "poly" does attract a certain large minority (at least) of people who seize on it as an all-purpose philosophical justification for never having to consider the feelings of others. You generally develop a sense for that particular strain of asshole after a little while, and they're pretty easy to avoid if you keep your eyes open.
Yeah, non-poly people dating poly people is a bad idea. It's way too much work if you arent committed to the idea.

and if you are just going along with poly because you think the other person will change, then you deserve what you you do whenever you think you can change another person to match your idea of how love should be.
Filed under: problems other people have.
I'm glad we question monogamy every time someone has a bad monogamous relationship.
I have seen it done wrong (hell, I've done it wrong) and I've seen it done right. Like any relationship if you don't work on things and check in with your partner(s) things will go south. I can think of three relationships,off the top of my head, that have been practicing poly for 10 year, 19 years and again 10 or so years. If one considers a traditional monogamous marriage of 19 years successful, then in my opinion I'd have to consider the poly couple I know that have been together that long (with a stable third in the mix for like 15 years now) just as successful. But the sad thing is that if they ever do break up, many will immediately take that as proof that poly never works regardless of the real reasons.
If you go into a poly relationship with your eyes open, what's the problem? If you decide you can't share, there's the door. No use pissing and moaning.
My guess is the successful poly's keep their mouth shut about it, because the only poly's I've personally met insisted on telling me about it, and were selfish assholes.


tiktok: it's not far off. New Convert Disease and all that...
Jesus, lady, I'm supposed to spend 24 hours a day with you?
Can we be honest? That picture looks like the Abbey Road cover. Nice.
I don't really care too much about the actual subject matter, but that was one of the most well written I, Anon I've read in a long time. It was nice to see someone try to be witty and succeed rather than come off as whiny and self indulgent.
First rule of Poly Club: talk way too much about Poly Club.
Yes, yes, do NOT DATE POLY.

Because monogamy works perfectly for everyone. Right?
Might I add that it's probably not a good arrangement for people who like to have a partner around 24/7. But if you're someone who enjoys an occasional night to yourself it might be easier for you. It's not impossible for two people to have a stable committed relationship while also maintaining their autonomy, in fact it can be very healthy.
@22 you didn't think that was whiny?

3, 7, 9 - right on.

I think relationships can be done well by healthy (mentally) confident people who know what they want and are open about it. Mono or poly doesn't matter - both have their difficulties.
@18: That was such the wrong thread, me.

I was in poly relationships many years ago. It ended when one possessive partner, who had full disclosure about my being poly and involved with more than one person from about the day I shared my name, quietly sequestered me until I couldn't easily make contact with my other partner. I DTMF and never looked back.

And as a poly person goes, here's a stunning myth-breaker: one can be just as happy with no partner, one partner, two, or more. Negotiate, communicate, and be straight-up honest always, or just don't bother with relationships at all. Shockingly, the same advice is just as useful for monogamous partners, too.

Bottom line: if you're not poly, don't con a poly person into thinking that you are and then selfishly cut them off from their other loved ones because you weren't really ever on board with that idea. That can needlessly sour a lot for everyone. It's reminiscent of watching someone trying to make a gay person straight because they think they're somehow the "special one" to change it all around.
"if you don't work on things and check in with your partner(s) things will go south."

That's too much work... Relationships shouldn't feel like an equal opportunity job... I barely have enough time to make myself happy let alone one partner...
I'm sorry you got burned, and I'm even more sorry that you can't tell the difference between being burned by whatever individual and having been burned by an entire community, most of whom you've never met. I've been happily polyamorous in two stable relationships for almost four years, which is much longer than many of my monogamous friends' track records. Better and less whiny-sensationalist advice would be: Know what you want; know what your partner(s) want(s); know what works for you. When did Slog and its commenters go back to the idea that all relationships work the same?

@27: couldn't the same be said about not conning a non-poly person into thinking that they are?
>> Almost every poly relationship I've personally seen

The critical bit there is what you are personally seeing. Not every successful functional poly relationship is out. People decide whether to be out or to pass for mono based on what seems appropriate, pragmatic, or just plain worth it to them.

And, of course, flame outs tend to be highly visible.

@the original poster
It's always fun to be grouped together with some individual that's behaved badly, even though I don't know the person, have no control over their behavior, and couldn't fix it even if I wanted to. Love that.

As much as poly works for me and mine, the thing is I generally wouldn't _recommend_ poly. If I'm talking about the subject with someone not poly, and they say they don't think they could handle it, I believe them. Responses generally follow along the lines of: Well, then you probably shouldn't try that.

Sheesh. If you don't want to do it, that's fine, but do you really have to get into identity slamming? I don't think I could handle climbing a mountain, but that doesn't mean I need to say mean things about mountain climbers to justify that decision.
This is very sound advice.

From the I, Anonymous poster that is.
Polyamorous relationships are a mystery to me personally, but I like a lot of one on one time. I have to agree with @28, poly is too much work for me. Relationships are so hard anyway. I have a question for you Polies though: Is it just me, or do all polyamorous relationships seem to be multiple women with one man? That's all I've ever seen, and it seems a bit unfair to me. I think if a woman had more than one man, people would be assholes about it. Is it because women are able to share their partner more or just have better friendships with other women? I'm just curious.
@30: Sure.

In looking back to my own experience, I know that everything was on the table from day one. They were "unsure, but willing to try," which I said was problematic (more like, "Srsly, you better be sure about this, ok?"). This was also during my more unconditionally trusting younger days of yore, prior to being toughened up by relationships such as that very one totally being a bait-and-switch.

Short story long, my mistake was trusting what they said, and not heeding what they actually did. That they had been previously married (in a "happily monogamous relationship," until of course, they suddenly realized that they weren't heterosexual, but that's another matter) should have been a minor warning sign for me, but I believed what I was being told.

Oh well. Learn from the error, then move on and make sure you won't let it happen to you a second time.
Roadflare: I think what you're seeing is more a tendency of men to be loudmouths. (I'm occasionally guilty of this myself; possibly I'm doing it right now.) Obviously my experience may or may not be representative, but I know very very few cases of a poly dude dating multiple women who have no other partners than the dude. (And the cases I do know of tended to be transitory.) The guys just tend to talk about it more.
@34: ah, so you were taking the approach Judaism takes to converts. Good on ya.

I see people taking the evangelical approach and I cringe.
@36: Yeah. Evangelism is so adolescent.

I just want to love and be loved, that's all. Everything else is just distraction.
Just be safe, the backwards transference of STIs is a real risk for those with multiple concurrent partners who have multiple concurrent partners. One is more at risk for an STI in a polyamorous relationship than one would be from visiting an oft' visited prostitute. This is because the network of exposure is greater in a poly-poly relationship.…
And belatedly, a big, big thumbs-up to, ah, poopoo@25. If you're the sort of person who gets antsy if you're not spending every evening with your partner, for the love of god don't date poly, or at least make it clear to your partner that you're okay with sharing other lovers but not actually dating outside the relationship.

If, on the other hand, the idea of a regular evening when you get to stay at home and read, or play videogames, or work on personal projects and eventually go to bed whenever the hell you like sounds awesome...
I've seen so many people doing monogamy wrong, and so few doing it right, that I wonder if monogamy is just a cover for jealousy and insecurity. Do not date monogamous people! You have been warned.
I wouldn't presume to tell other people how to handle their adult, consensual relationships. But, I do know that polyamory and/or non-monogamy won't work for me- and I've tried it. I'm monogamous not because I believe society expects it or because I think it righteous and wholesome, but because that's how I'm most comfortable.
@33 the 19 year relationship I mentioned consists of a woman and her husband and her boyfriend of 15 years. I am also the point of a similar triangle, which actually overlaps theirs. Some one once asked me, when we all go out to dinner, who gets the check? :)
Only date polys if you have no illusions about having your emotional needs being met (they won't be) and you find stories about what they wore to Burning Man to be incredibly interesting.
I thought that this I, Anonymous was hilarious and very well written. But ...

@27 I completely agree with you. To quote for truth
"And as a poly person goes, here's a stunning myth-breaker: one can be just as happy with no partner, one partner, two, or more. Negotiate, communicate, and be straight-up honest always, or just don't bother with relationships at all. Shockingly, the same advice is just as useful for monogamous partners, too."

I, too, have been happy in a polyamorous relationship. And, at one point, I wasn't getting enough attention from my primary partner. So, guess what? I ended the relationship. Not because poly doesn't work, but because I wasn't getting what I needed from that relationship. That poly relationship is a very positive memory for me, including the fact that I was able to leave it when it stopped working for me.

I will never forget my memories of joy in looking with a partner for a particular flower for another partner, of having and being a sex caddie (turn on a fan, get a towel, get the phone or the door), and of having multiple trusted, involved people to hash relationship issues out with.

Remember, monogamy is exactly what it looks like -- you can only go to bed with one person at a time -- when you need three or four people you'll be left high and dry.
@44 Your emotional needs won't be met unless you let people know what they are. This is true if you have one partner or two or three. I found that out the hard way and it was a valuable lesson. Oh, and don't even get me STARTED on what I wore at Burning Man! I was a TOTAL Sparkle Pony, we'll be here alllllll day! :)
The vast majority of failed poly relationships fail because the original monogamous relationship was already deeply flawed or damaged. "Relationship broken, add more people" is a guarantee for failure.

And there are many, many quiet poly folks out there, not out to their non-poly friends, not talking about it on blogs, not proselytizing. Those are the ones who are stable and happy and don't give a flying fuck whether other people think poly relationships are sick and wrong.

Oh, and the letter-writer was obviously involved with an asshole who would have probably been an asshole in a monogamous relationship too. "Ever wonder why they all will fuck any damn thing that will hold still long enough?" and "your date goes home with someone else—or worse TO someone else—when you need them" - that's an asshole, not a poly person. Ethical polyfolk do not leave their primary partner high and dry when they are needed, and don't fuck "anything that will hold still."
Thanks for the responses! The writer of this I, Anonymous clearly had been severely hurt by her primary partner. I feel bad for her, but she's clearly not poly material.
What a needy, whiny, wheedling piece of shit you must be, anonymous.
Hmmm, brilliant reaoning. Also, don't date people with kids. There is this myth that one can have time for children and still mantain a healthy, loving relationship, but having kids doesn't grant you 48 hours in a day.

Also, don't date people who really love their jobs and want to spend a lot of time on it.

Also, don't date people who really care about their family or friends, because that will distract them from you.

Don't date people with time-consuming hobbies.

Unless, you know, you want some time for your own stuff too.

All the rest about how poly people will fuck anyone and act inconsiderately sounds like this person has just had the misfortune to only date people as immature as s/he is.
Man, I could have written this several years ago when I was first introduced to the poly scene here. I got so fed up that I got out of that relationship and that scene and swore up and down that I would never get into an open relationship.

Four years ago, I met my girlfriend who was in an open relationship and much to my shock things have worked out. Emphasis on "worked". And there are still negotiations and still the occasional egg shell moment.

That said, there are a fair number of broken, selfish people in the scene who are out there to make sure that they've "collected" everyone or make up for lost time in high school. Unfortunately, a lot of them are those zealous, evangelical types and they still make me grit my teeth when I hear/read/see them.

@17 : I agree with you wholeheartedly, but I'd like to propose a similar but opposite suggestion: If you're poly dating a non/hesitant-poly person, don't think you can bulldoze your partner into an open relationship. Throwing a copy of The Ethical Slut in their lap isn't the best way to educate. Talk about sour tastes...
@ 14

@14, 52: Doesn't Dan do that all the time?

Whatever works for a person, I suppose.

But I have to agree that any time (not many, I note) I saw up close an open or poly deal between a straight couple, it was one partner fucking other people with glee, while the other partner sat home feeling kind of sad.

Just seemed sort of exploitive. The gleeful partner wanted stability and excitement. They seemed to snag someone who only wanted stability.

I suppose someone somewhere could be doing poly really well, but that is kind of like communism: each iterative failure is waived away as the people involved are not doing it right, but the theory is still sound, don't you know. The theory is sound.

I am not saying monogamy is perfect, mind you.
ha ha! The person who wrote that was obviously hurtin.
I do have to say that my one brush with it involved a guy with no honor whatsoever... I will definitely avoid it in the future. But if it works for people thats fine too. I just haven't seen it actually work yet....
If you’re in a poly relationship with an asshole, it’s unlikely they will care enough to meet your emotional needs. If you’re in a monogamous relationship with an asshole, it’s unlikely they will care enough to meet your emotional needs. My advise, don’t date assholes.
Hi Heathen! Nicely and succinctly put.
We'll Monogomous people should never ever state a Polyamorous person. Fellings with get hurt. I think the person who wrote it:
1. is looking for a Monogonous relationship
2. has trust issues.
3. has jealopusy issues
4. Is needy.
5. Doesn't know what Polyamorous means.
6. Shouldn't date Polyamorus person.
(sp) date & jealousy
She's got an interesting point re: "When you need them, you are high and dry, and if you're angry or sad about it you can go fuck yourself. That's not allowed."

It's one of the most frustrating things for me. Logically, I see no necessity for monogamy. Logically, I'm wide-open to the idea and more than willing to give it a try. Emotionally, I sometimes get all gnarled up and unable to reconcile my logical approach to the situation with my emotional reaction.

When I try and talk about the ugly jealousy rearing it's head with my poly friends or my partner, I almost inevitably get the, "There's no reason to be jealous," or, "You're being ridiculous," answer. And hello, I know that. That doesn't automatically make me able to smush down emotions that have been encouraged and validated throughout my upbringing.

We're raised in a society that sees love as finite (something that can be parceled out to only one special person), and that sees certain forms of jealousy as proof of love. Furthermore, jealousy is one of those catch-all words, like love or hate. It can have a deep, significant meaning, or it could be, "Oh, I so wanted that shirt! Jealous!"

"The Ethical Slut," approaches the issue of jealousy wisely and with an even hand. But translating the written word into life, especially when the poly people you know are already "there" and jealousy free, makes it hard. There's so little support!

Try and talk to your non-poly friends, and they dog on you for your "idiotic" choice. Try and talk to your poly friends, and, "It's just sex, stop freaking out."

There's literally no-one to talk to when you want to be poly, but you keep jagging up against emotional pitfalls you never suspected would arise.
Lana, I could have written your comment almost verbatim. The non-poly friends are quick to respond to any difficulty by disparaging the concept of poly in general, and the poly friends are equally quick to ascribe any difficulty to the possibility that I'm "just not wired that way" (or, worse, the barely veiled insinuation that maybe I'm not trying hard enough). Sure, that's possible, but isn't it normal to encounter a certain amount of difficulty in translating the theory into practice for the first time? Finding support or even understanding for that process seems difficult, indeed.
blerg. this is weird, but i sorta feel pressured to think shit like this is ok and will totes work out and that i'm an oppressor for not wanting it myself and that people think im less evolved for not being cool with it. im straight and monogamous...i can't help it, i was born that way
The "happiest" long-term relationship that I've ever seen with my own two eyes consisted of three men and two women (just to give an example of "more cocks than twats" polyamory), the dynamics of which I picked up over a one year period of drinking at a local pub in Germany.

"Happiness" is in quotation marks for one reason: the first member of their arrangement who I met was complaining about the fact that his second wife wouldn't have sex with him unless a dildo was involved for double penetration (for clarification, her "husband" was living in a hospice, being watched over by *the first man's* wife and *the second wife's* "second husband".) He wasn't complaining about having to use the sex toy intermittently, or of having to use it at all, he was complaining about the fact that his wife had grown so accustomed to being DP'ed by her husband and her "second" that she couldn't maintain arousal *at all*, that she missed being with the both of them and that the device was a poor substitute.


Year 1: Husband No.1 (for simplicity, he'll be H-1 from here on) travels from Germany to South America

Year 2: Three weeks before his planned return to Germany, H-1 meets Wife No. 1 in Argentina. Wife No. 1 (W-1) is all but crying over breaking up with her boyfriend.

Year 4: After receiving her parents' blessing (W-1's father's words, "At least she isn't marrying that fucking Chilean."), H-1 and W-1 marry and move to Germany.

Year 5: The Chilean arrives in Germany and pleads his case. When she refuses to divorce her husband, he decides to stay in the country to change her mind.

Year 7: The Chilean changes her mind. H-1 comes home to find W-1 and the Chilean in bed. After a very tense argument, H-1is pacified with the knowledge that W-1 will always make time for him. H-1 and W-1 stay married, the Chilean (now known as H-2) becomes their boarder.

Year 8: During a vacation in Madrid(W-1 having just given birth to her first child, H-1's), H-2 meets a German businesswoman on contract at a regional corporation in the city. After a week of romance, H-2 comes clean and gives her all of the details of his current relationship. As they part, he apologises for leading her on and tells her that she's "special" (thinking that she'll see their holiday romance as a fling. To the contrary, the German woman sees nothing wrong with it and pursues him after *she* returns to Germany.

Year 9: H-2 and the businesswoman (now Wife No. 2 or W-2) tie the knot. They move into an apartment building a few blocks away from H-1 and W-1. Six months later, on assignment in Birmingham, W-2 runs into someone who looks strangely familiar. He recognises her immediately and sends a pint her way. W-2 soon realizes that the young man in question is the "all grown up" oldest son of the couple who had hired her as an au pair during her first break from university. By the end of the trip, W-2 decides that it may be "interesting" to have a second husband of her own. To that end, she calls in a few favors at her job and gets her former friend/current lover hired at her place of business.

Year 10: W-2 introduces H-1, W-1 and H-2 to her workmate/side piece. H-1 stares in shock, W-1 stares in lust, H-2 does everything but have a stroke. After a few weeks, H-2 begins to enjoy the idea of having a couple of free nights a week. Three months after the newbie's arrival, W-1 enjoys a weekend with the newbie (now referred to as H-3) and W-2 enjoys a weekend with H-1 and H-2 (H-1's wife having given him permission to be with another woman, seeing as how the other woman was her "second's" wife.)

Year 12: W-1 and W-2 are pregnant. H-2 "introduces" himself to H-3, sexually.

Year 13: W-1 and W-2 convince H-1 to join the other two husbands by promising "hot lesbian action.

Year 15: W-1 and W-2 schedule monthly "retreats" for their families. When H-3 garners a pay raise, the monthly countryside trips (with seclusive rendesvous for the various partners) become paid trips across the Continent where the partners can mix up as they like without the prying eyes of children.

Year 16: W-1 and W-2 are pregnant again. H-3 begins to date among the locals, but stops after one date ends with the admission from the young lady that, 'Everyone knows that you're W-2's 'boy'." Noting the lack of shock/bemused acceptance, H-3 begins to escort both ladies around town when H-1 and H-2 are too busy. Having more self-awareness and spousal concern than most men, H-1 and H-2 pick up their slack and allow H-3 to enjoy the attentions of W-1 and W-2 in biweekly bursts.

Year 39 (Yes, Year 39!): After more children, more troubles and more surprises, Milbury walks into a pub in Germany and listens to a 64 year old man (H-1) complain about using a dildo on a 62 year old woman(W-2). As the man in question is the only person at the pub who speaks fluent English and Spanish, I find myself learning more and more about their lifestyle as the year passes because cramming a third language into my head was too hard. After meeting a fully recovered (given his age) H-2 and W-2(and being invited over for dinner, a request that I respectfully declined) a few months later, then meeting W-1 and H-3 for H-3's birthday a few months after that, I came to the conclusion that this story (and the various pictures) were too bizarre to be fake. Watching as H-3 enjoyed a lapdance from the most solidly-built man I've ever seen in my life while he sucked on the prettiest breasts that money could buy was icing on the cake (Interestingly enough, this took place in a regular pub and not the local strip club.)

Polyamory isn't my idea of a feasible relationship. It has it's ups (none of the people in that group ever lacked for a babysitter or a shoulder to cry on) and downs (H-1/W-1's oldest child and W-2/W-1's youngest child firmly disapprove of their combined relationship. The other 5 children are just happy that their parents and "uncle" are happy), but all of the obstacles can be hurdled in the members' hearts are in the right place and if they're mature enough to avoid embracing the "Everything revolves around me and only me" mindset. A monogamous relationship has the same foibles, but they tend to be magnified when an extra head is in the room. Demonising polyamory (by declaring monogamy as a superior default) is senseless, as even the strongest monogamous marriages can fall apart if both parties refuse to remember that their partner is more than an extension of themselves.

To return to my first point: the quintet wasn't the sole polyamorous relationship in my town. As I learned in the next year, more than half of the townspeople had broken up/made up/realigned positions to an extent that there was a *lot* of informal "If you don't throw it in my face, and if you're always in bed on the weekdays, I'll join you/let you join us on the weekends..."-type behaviour. And unlike many of the "I'd rather lose a testicle than share you" couples, the ones who embraced a *limited* polyamorous approach to their lives acted and portrayed themselves in a much more positive light.
At least, I can say that I never witnessed or heard any of the non-monogamous partners viciously or violently complaining about their lives. Monogamous couples, OTOH, had more than their share of ex-BF defenestrating, knife fight triggering, 3 month apart/3 month together in public witnessing, "No, we just fall asleep beside each other. he has his world, and I have mine."-stating *miserable* people, the type that make marriage seem like a prison an makes both partners wish for the sweet embrace of death.
Wow, someone must have been hurt very badly, I feel very sorry for you.

I'm in a poly relationship. I've been married for a quarter century and I can still count my sexual partners (for my entire lifetime) on my fingers and I'll have fingers left over. It's not about sex, it's about love. Am I capable of loving more than one person at a time? You bet. Do I try to be superwoman and fit it all in a single day? Not at all. I have a husband and a long-term poly partner, and my partner is also married. We see each other when it's convenient for all of us. If poly is not your cup of tea, don't imbibe, but don't try to paint everyone with the same brush. It just doesn't work.
I'm a very happily polyamorous person. And I'd love to respond to this diatrib--but you know, the whole thing is just so effing leotarded I don't know where to begin. I'm sorry you apparently got hurt by trying to get involved in a poly relationship you weren't able to successfully navigate (because really, there's no other way you would have such vitriol), but generalizing your own failed experience to "ZOMG DON'T DATE THE POLYAMOROUS THEY'RE INSANE AND THINK IT'S ALL EASY AND EVERYONE HAS TWICE AS MUCH FREE TIME AND MAGIC TRUST UNICORNS BLAAAAARGH" is idiotic. I fart in your general direction.
For what it's worth, I'm sorry you got so badly burned by someone who was doing it wrong. It's not generally like that, and most of us are not insane. My saying so will not be enough to convince you to think better of us, and that's okay, you get to feel hurt and betrayed by a community that failed to intervene on your behalf if they knew you were being hurt. But if you are not cut out for poly then you aren't and that's not a judgment on your evolution. And while you personally are avoiding the mistake of thinking that polyamory is right for you, could you maybe not burn me and mine in effigy? Also, the straw man arguments kind of fail.
@33 I have two boyfriends, and one of my boyfriends has another girlfriend. If you're a visual person, think of the points of the letter 'N' as being boy-girl alternates. I've never had any backlash for being a woman, or for my lack of clearly gendered behaviors. Some girls are girly, and some men are manly, but heteronormative behavior in my community is haphazard at best.

Sexism and polyamory are two things that really don't work together, and if you're involved in a poly community, then you will have a lot of reinforcement getting someone to change their thinking. Or at least a lot of people willing to take you for drinks when you DTMFA.