Renaissancesun pointed this thread out to me - I'm not really a full-time poster here, but I seem to be fairly qualified to answer on this thread.
Let's see what I can do with this. As a bit of background; I am 29, married to my high school sweetheart. We have been together solidly since we were 16 & 17 years old. This year we will celebrate 12 years "together", 9 years married. We became polyamerous just before we got married, so our marriage has ALWAYS been open, but it was prefaced by 3.5 years of solid monogamy.Why did you choose an open relationship? Would monogamy have been significantly difficult for you in terms of the quality of your daily life?
I had always had thoughts about multi-partner marriages since before I can remember. I heard the phrase "If you love someone, set them free" early, and the idea stuck with me to the degree that it seemed backwards and contradictory to say that since you truly loved someone, you had to keep them all to yourself.
I COULD be monogamous, and have been in the past. I have never cheated, on anybody. I have a very strong loyalty streak in me that has prevented that. But I am happier and feel more "natural" when I am allowed to express and develop feelings for people other than my husband.Do you have children? Would you continue an open relationship if you had children?
No, we have no children and do not plan on having any. We would continue to be open if we did, but things would definitely be a little different.Is your relationship open to "extramarital" emotional fulfillment as well as sexual fulfillment on the side?
Absolutely. Not to brag or anything, but my husband is fan-frickin'-tastic in the sack, I don't NEED sexual fulfillment from anybody else. I sure do enjoy it though.
But yeah, the main focus is on the relationship, on forming a loving bond, prefferably for a long-term relationship. The longer-term the better, in my books.Do you or your partner get jealous? How do you handle jealousy? Are you able to handle jealousy such that it is 100% settled with all of the bad feelings gone?
Sure, jealousy is natural and it happens to everybody sometimes. BUT, it does not have to be an overwhelming force. It can be guided. Communication is the great jealousy-killer. Issues come up and have to be dealt with, but I'm happy to report that we are able to calmly discuss the problem. I hate hurting my husband, that is NEVER my intention, so if something is bothering him I'm never reluctant to fix it. 99% of our jealousy issues spring from poor time management - "I expected to be able to spend time with you tonight like we usually do, but you weren't here, and I was lonely." Clear, open, honest communication is the solution, paired with a willingness to be flexible and cater to the needs of your partners.
And yes, once an issue is settled, it's settled. We don't stop until we both are happy with the solution.Do you feel lacking as a person when your partner find fulfillment emotionally and/or sexually with other people?
Hahaha...absolutely not!! I am THRILLED when my husband has a girlfriend. It puts an extra sparkle in his eye, and an extra spring in his step, and believe it or not makes him extra fun in bed.
People gain energy from new romance, and that energy my husband gets from his girlfriends always comes home to me, too. I love seeing him get all twitterpated over a new girl. It's cute, and charming, and sweet, and reminds me all over of when he and I first fell in love. It doesn't threaten me one bit, it just takes some of my time with him away. But it's not a big deal, as soon as I miss him I just have to tell him and he's all mine for as long as I need him to be. Does your partner get to meet and know your dates? Your boyfriends, girlfriends?
Absolutely. My husband is an EXCELLENT judge of character, and sometimes when I'm all excited about someone new I miss warning signs. So I do my best to get my husband's opinion on someone before I feel too attached, just in case my "other set of eyes" catches something I missed.Do your relatives, friends, coworkers know about your open relationship?
Friends all do, some coworkers (who I consider friends) do, and just a couple relatives know. I'm about to "out" myself to my mom as both bisexual and polyamerous though, we'll see how that goes. She & I don't always get along so good anyway, so it should be interesting.Since you are committed to your SO, what do your dates, boyfriends, and girlfriends get out their relationship with you?
I can kinda draw an analogy - say you have a best-best-best-best friend who has known you for years and who you love & trust completely. Does that preclude any other friendships?? Maybe you will never find another friend that is quite as compatible with you - does that mean your other friendships are not worth persuing, or are somehow less worthy? Would you avoid becoming friends with someone just because you knew they already had a long-term best friend that you could never replace?
So what do they get? They get love, affection, fun, deep friendship, support, hugs and kisses and romantic nights alone, long phone calls, help with their kids, recipe swaps, the occasional weekend alone on the coast, a shoulder to cry on, a companion to celebrate with, someone to share their life story with... insight, compassion, empathy... another layer of protection between "us" and the cruel outside world...Do they ever feel like they are just a hobby to you or in a second class relationship with you since you do have permanent partner?
Not just a hobby, ugh, that's a pretty distasteful thought IMO. How could a person be a hobby? I hope to the gods I've never made anybody feel like a hobby. "Second Class" gets harder...anybody who dates me has to understand up front that my husband must come first. If I don't sense that the person fully understands and is okay with that situation, then I cannot in good conscience date that person.
So what works best for me, is if my boyfriend or girlfriend is ALSO married or involved with one or more people. I am most comfortable when we are both in that "secondary" position with eachother, because there is a nice natural balance that way. My current girlfriend, for example, is also very happily married and has a 9month old son. She has a VERY busy life, so she only has a little time here or there available for me to be there in person. (It's a fair journey, so when I go, I stay a full day & spend the night, and she works 6 days a week...) We keep the bond going by frequent phone calls and emails. We definitely miss eachother in between visits, but it's not unbearable. And in the meantime, I am VERY glad to know that she's not lonely when she's away from me. She has a great husband who loves her to pieces, and that makes me sleep very good at night. If your relationship also acknowledges emotional polymory, then what is the rational in having a marriage if you are free to seek emotional and sexual fulfillment with others? Is that your partner fulfills you the most such that you both want to make the sacrifices to stay together as a pair?
Well, I firmly believe that my husband is my soulmate. He and I bonded together extremely tight and neither of us have any desire to let that lapse. We fully intend to live together until the day we die, and hopefully we'll die on the same day 'cause neither of us want to be apart. If we have any say in the matter, we'll reincarnate together too, lol. So why not get married, and enjoy all the benefits? My husband is my constant, he is ALWAYS there in my life. Others may come and go...but he and I will always be toghether. We ARE married in our hearts & souls...I don't know how else to describe it, LOL.Do you and your partner actively look for dates as opposed to having an open policy towards people who just happen to cross paths with you in your lives?
Ehh...kinda depends on how busy our lives are and just how the fates work things out for us. If one or the other of us finds we have a lot of spare time and the right someone hasn't crossed our path yet, we look around a bit.Do people you approach for dates turn you down because you are married/partnered?
I have not yet had that problem, probably because I'm female. My husband, on the other hand, has. I think single women percieve a married guy who's flirting as a creep no matter what he says. I know cheaters often tell their girlfriends that their wife is "okay" with it, so he can't even really say that without looking like a philanderer. For him what usually works out best is for him to put a move on someone who is a friend of ours already, who has seen our relationship in action and will hopefully have a more accurate view of what it's all about.
Okay, and now I have to head out of town for work for the day. I'll check up on this thread when I get back. Feel free to comment & question as honestly as you wish; I'm quite open (and flame-proof) in this regard.