Columns Jun 1, 2011 at 4:00 am

Poly Poseurs


the monkey is tryin to read a book, OK
Had a similar thing happen to me years ago. Husband thought it would be quite the fantasy to share his wife with another woman. She and I fell in love and she left his ass for me. This is a risk you "poly" types take every time you roll the dice. And you deserve the anguish. Wanna be a whore, be a whore. It's a valid life style. But when you get married, pop out a kid or two, then decide to tell yourself "poly" is the hip thing to do...enjoy your misery. It rarely works out.
Someone needs to tell angry lesbian that Polyamory can also mean Poly-Heartbreak and trying to split up a married couple aint cool.

Find yourself a single available lady
Really?!, you walked into a husband- wife with kids in suburban america and thought " here's my happily ever after"?

I would keep that story to yourself.
They have every right to fuck other people if they want, but hey should have been up front about it. That's part of being responsible. Just a quick, "Hey, we think you'd be a great addition in the bedroom, but this is just for fun," in the beginning would have prevented this.
I've fallen in love with the lady my husband & I brought into our relationship with the idea of our tryst being just for some sexy fun. She has as well, as has he.

So, these things can work out, but I kind of feel like I won the lottery. Communication, open and honest discussion of even the difficult and trying feelings one might experience through such a progression of a relationship were vital as well.

But mostly, I feel really lucky.
It never ceases to amaze me that so many people have no real concept of polyamory. My last boyfriend, after being inconsiderate, selfish, abusive, and unable to commit (the least offensive problem), left with a "I think I'm just gonna be poly or something." While I wanted to laugh in his face that he thought there would be less respect necessary, and that polyamory is *easier* than monogamy, I just rolled my eyes and hung up the phone.
@3: why do you assume she was trying to break up the marriage? it was the hubby who vetoed the arrangement because it had turned into love. the lw is right, polyamory does mean "many loves," not "as soon as there is love, two people must split off into a monogamous duo."
Maybe this is why so many lesbians hate dating bi women: boy drama.
Love the tentacle.
This is why I will never, ever, ever, EVER be a third for a straight couple looking for a hot bi chick to spice up their sex life. And why is it that this kind of bored straight couple is ALWAYS looking for a woman to fool around with? Statistics say there must be a lot of bi men married to women out there. What gives?
"Hear no...see no...oh, oh OOOOOHHHH!!!"
@12 - lol
@11, my husband pushes me out the door to fuck men. I suspect that someday I'll get to see him fuck guys too (my fantasy), but for the moment, I'm enjoying how hot it makes him when I come back and describe in detail what some guy did to me. As for the bi men out there, many are closeted, and terrified of their wives finding out. That's changing, though.
@7 - It is horrifyingly true that most people have absolutely no idea what polyamory actually is. How long have we been in the information age? Google is there for a reason people. Read something educational once in a while. It's good for you.
best i anon in ages!
Okay, so this was your first poly- experience; was it theirs as well? Even if it wasn't, I can understand someone's fear of losing one's life-partner and co-parent to a third party. Odds are pretty good, from my limited experience with people I know that the result would have been the same if you and the husband had "fallen in love."

How did things work out with your first sex-partner of either gender? First boy/girlfriend? First live-in lover?

Poly relationships are difficult, because for every added person, the number of ways people can decide they "like" or "dislike" another member of the group grows exponentially. Two people have 2² ways they can decide how they feel about each other both like, one likes/one dislikes in two variations, and both dislike each other. Add a third person and you have 2³ possibilities, and the one you wound up with Annon. is two members liked each other, two members liked each other, one member liked one and disliked the other. I don't know how to do charts in HTML, sorry.

Kudos to @5, my rule is, "Before you start adding other people, make a floor, then you can let the ceiling take care of itself.
ahem... I should say that I have fallen in mutual love with *one of* the ladies my husband & I have brought into our bedroom for fun sexy times.

We actually still fool around with at least one other pretty lady on a fairly casual and friends-with-benefits basis. All 4 of us have had good times together as well.

I've learned that emotional involvement can change and grow in directions you weren't expecting. Being open to that is part of being poly, but so is communicating boundaries early and often.
Saw the title. Expected a rant about hipsters in polyster. But this works, too.
Didn't realize there were so many pervs that read The Stranger...
Threes a crowd. It just is and will never work out. I promise you there will not be threesome couples in the retirement home together in 40 years. Have your fun but know that somebody is going to get jealous and mad.
@12: LOL!!! Spot on!! You nailed it!
I'm one of those"hipsters" My first experience with poly was a fail from my experimentaly poly marrige to another marrige that was supposedly good at it. When the wife of this other couple started falling for me *nd getting treated better than her husband treats her. We were vetoed out of their lives. Some people should stick to swinging
They should have been more upfront with you, but the husband had a right to be wary. When there's a new love, it's very difficult to give the old love the same kind of time and attention because new infatuations are so much more exciting (more chemicals flooding the brain). Most likely, the vast majority of people are not capable of dividing their love, time and attention in this way. From what I've read online, even most polys talk about having a "primary" (old love, usually) and then a "secondary."
she's reading 'Codependent no more'...

I Anon.. I understand that you are hurt, but really. They were married to start with and they told you that their marriage was for keeps and was their primary relationship. Then you 'fall in love' with just one of them and presumably that makes things difficult for them. So then they decided to close their relationship back up again, and honor their commitment to their primary relationship. That's their choice, there's nothing wrong with it, and there's no 'wrong' way to do polyamoury.

Sounds like your feelings were much stronger than those of the other person. Sorry for your loss, this has happened to me too, but I have also been on the other side where my partner who I am in a primary relationship with has started seeing someone who is 'in love' with them and tries to break us up. It's gross and it shows you have no boundaries.
Gee, if only there were more communication going on. You didn't think to ask them anything else about their marriage before jumping into fucking the wife? And now you want to preach to them about the meaning of polyamory? Grow up.
WAH. Polyamory is a complete and total lie malcontents tell themselves to feel better about whoring around. One whore to another, let me clear it up for you, anon - you were always and only a fuck. The wife didn't love you - she just got off on messing with your dumbass head and creating the perfect, guilt-free, exit strategy. That marriage will be fine, and then they'll go and get another dumbass girl and do it all over again, and when it's time to discard, the wife'll 'fall in love' all over again.

But don't be sad - a few more years of the 'lifestyle' and you'll be running, screaming, into a 'matched-set blah blah blah' marriage. And the real whores out there, people like me, will continue to enjoy ourselves without being pestered by the likes of you.
@11 Sea Otter
Bi guy married to straight woman here. She knows I'm bi but we are monogamous. Her deal is she's mono and can't fathom poly, i.e. she thinks that if I start up with a third person then she is automatically left behind. It's one lover at a time exclusively.

@13 EricaP
*wistfully sighs*
So, Husband finds himself being edged into the position of "secondary" in his own marriage, and yanks the emergency brake. Golly, who could have predicted.

If these two really are "the child-rearing automatons that you are," what was a totally evolved creature like you doing falling in love with such losers?

Bitterness highlights your asshole side so nicely.
Sounds like she just wasn't that into you. Whaaaa. Get over it.
Wow, you got dumped by a married couple? There has to be a term for that. Let's try "loser". Yes, that fits nicely.
How is this different than being in a monogomous relationship and then getting dumped and feeling bitter afterwards? Sometimes we get into relationships that evenutally fail, and we feel hurt and resentful for a while. It doesn't matter what kind of relationship it is. Sometimes you put yourself and you get shit on and mistreated. Welcome to life. Lick your wounds and move on to the next one. Its all you can really do.
@28 Applause! Bravo!

I won't argue as to whether the couple did or did not do poly right or communicated effectively, but a casual perusing of Stranger columns might have set her right.

That said, this column should be printed out and framed by anyone who wants to "renegotiate the terms of their relationship". The game had better be worth the candle, because you have a better than average chance of negotiating yourself out of the relationship in the process.

Of course, I strongly suspect that LW tried to "renegotiate" the relationship on the sly, since True Love Conquers All, but that's just my nasty personality talking.

Just remember, LW, that he didn't dump you. She did. Her marriage is worth more than your hurt feelings, to her - just as your feelings were worth more than her marriage, to you. Surprised?
@18 me too! I wanted to here about how, polyester is for posers and real hipsters wear cotton!
Whaa, quit your crying. That's what happens when you get in the middle of a marriage where you don't belong! Go find someone single.
"But I'm hot! It's not fair that I should get dumped!"
Its obvious those so called poly married folks don't read Dan Savage. Gotta follow rules people!
Dear Anon,

You would be the tertiary relationship, if you were actually in a poly relationship. They were looking for a f*ck buddy by the sounds of it, sorry if they didn't make that perfectly clear or you didn't pick up on that. The husband and wife had a primary relationship with each other already, along with their children. Primary relationsihps are always put first. That's why they're called "primarys". Oh, and they have children...they're probably not looking for another to emotionally baby along. Don't mistake your desire for a surrogate mommy and daddy as a poly love affair.
Another home wrecker is shown the door, perhaps you should try to find a nice single lesbian and have your own relationship. When you ruin that one you can finally have that reason to jump off the Ballard bridge. Until then STFU, loser.
Makes me wonder if the part she is not saying is where she told the wife she was in love and added the fact she didn't want the husband along for the ride. #38 had it right when he said she was not the primary relationship. In this case the unicorn was let back out to pasture.
Wow! My wife and I have talked about another girl joining us, maybe a couple, possibly a swingers bar/club. We just have one problem, our communication is so great, we can't ever go through with it because of jealousy. While we both think it'd be hot to have all these fantasy's, we know we're better kept to ourselves. Once there's marriage you're just asking for trouble. Get all the kinks out before hand. Communication is the key! Buy a damn hooker for your third wheel. Could cost a lot less in the long run.
@41 - have you read Tristan Taormino's Opening Up? The book helped us see that jealousy isn't one emotion, it's a mix of needs and wants, and you can work to figure out what your partner is really asking of you.
I just got dumped by a partner whose partner had (unbeknownst to me at the time) been planning to turn their (our, my) open relationship into a monogamous one by hook or by crook from the get-go. She finally resorted to emotional manipulation and ultimatums, and he fell for it, but not before telling me he could only be with me if I made it worth his time to leave her. I'm kind of new at this (I must be, to have fallen into THAT), but fuck em both.
You're clearly hurt that you got broken up with that and I get that and I'm sorry that it's been so painful for you. But people are allowed to break up with you. You can end a relationship whenever you want for whatever reason you want. No one has to stay with anybody, ever. And it's better that way.
Although personally interested in looking into Poly, I am so confused on what seems to be such a grey area between it and swinging and whoring and experimenting. I just don't get it.

Why I was interested was because I thought it meant having multiple "loves". This appeals to me because I feel it unfair to expect on person to fulfill all your different needs and vice versa. not multiple sex experiences. This just turns me off completely :( Just go be a "swinger" then! You can fuck anyone and everyone you want!

Is it possible to be Polyamorous without bringing everyone to bed together??? :/
@45 I think so, but you have to be sure you fall in love with other polys. I accidentally fell in love with a monogamous guy. Luckily it hasn't gotten messy yet, but deep down I know it will.
@45, the two most important things are honesty and communication. Be honest with yourself and your partners, and demand the same from them. You're not going to fall in love with everyone you fuck--you don't now, do you? But if you are honest with your partners about the fact that you are *open* to that, you'll be in a better space emotionally.

I'm not hung up on labels, personally--poly, swinging, tricks, whatever. But I am damn sure honest with my partner and my girlfriend, so they can be honest with me. I like my life, and being dishonest would screw that up in a hurry.
@45 AdoniaT

You sound poly to me. While I understand falling in love with more than one person at a time I don't understand how you can separate sex from romantic love. Usually one hears about swingers who have sex without romantic attachment. Polys just take the normal love/sex relationship to more than one person at a time.

How is loving without sex different to you than friendship?
Let me add one more thing that might help you make a distinction. Poly relationships can be open or closed just like monogamous relationships. In other words you can be poly with or without swinging. Furthermore you can be poly and be in a monogamous relationship. I am bi and poly yet I am monogamously married. Having options doesn't dictate the choices we make.
@45 have you tried this thing called Google?
I don't think getting left is really the point, and I'm on good terms with my former partner. I don't find it unreasonable to be upset when a person claims to be someone they're not in order to manipulate those around them, and harms others in the process of achieving what they want. This girl did it with the claim that she's poly. Particularly since this IA is about "poly poseurs" and this gal certainly is one.
# 9, that's right pin it on the male. Typical woman, thinks with her blamestormer!
I truly am saddened by so much loin attention in our society and I love sex. I love making love. I love the idea of making love. I love the memory of making love. I love it when others make love too. I think it is incredibly healthy. I really do. It is amazing to me that there is such energy poured in to our lower halves when there is so much good that we can do in a deeply committed relationship and then in the world at large. Maybe many of us really are 3 year olds and need to have every lolly pop in the grocery store line. It truly sickens me. Grow the f up people. Get a life. Man up. Woman up. The world is so about so much more than you and your loins.

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