Navigating the maze of advice about polyamory – provided you can even find people who are positive about it – can be a bitch. Nearly everyone who is polyamorous now once-upon-a-time didn’t know the concept existed, or that you could have a relationship without cheating, or that honesty was possible for two people sharing a house and their lives. Some may have escaped those negative learnings, but many of us have not been so lucky.
The thing about polyamory is that there is a huge range of possibilities. Everyone living polyamorously approaches it differently, not to mention has different successes and failures with it. So when Poly in the Media wrote about a poly guidebook that was in the works, I was both intrigued and curious.
Last year Jenny Block wrote about her ‘open marriage’ (her phrase) in Tango, a women’s glossy, and is now expanding that article into a book: Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage. And, rather than just using her experiences, she wants ours as well!
I am looking for people in open relationships who might be willing to be interviewed for the book. All responses would be used anonymously. I will email a list of questions to anyone interested and follow-up as necessary. Would you mind posting this on your site and/or blog to help me get the word out? Thanks so much for your help!
Anyone interested can email me at:
myopenbook (AT) yahoo (DOT) com.
Well heck – I was in for that. I emailed her asking if she was interested in poly experiences globally, explaining that I live in New Zealand. The answer was a great big affirmative, and an attached questionnaire. And what interesting questions they are! I thought I’d post some of the questions, and the answers, for you here. Who knows, maybe it’s answer some questions for you, many-and-varied-readers that you are. Or at least give you something to think about.
4. Are you legally married?
I am legally civilly unioned, which in New Zealand imparts the same rights as marriage but is available to both same- and opposite-sex pairings.
5. How would you describe the relationship you are in?
I am polyamorous, so have various relationships. My main (primary) relationship I describe as ‘marriage’, and is with a male. I also have a lover (secondary) who is male, am friends-with-benefits (tertiary, I suppose) with his wife, and have two other female FWBs and one male FWB. My husband is also a FWB with one of the women.
6. How do you identify? (i.e. gay, straight, bi, queer, none of the above, etc.)
I identify as pansexual. Before that I identified as bisexual (for about five years), and prior to that, as straight.
9. How did you decide to be open/poly?
A friend introduced me to the concept, shortly after I left a long-term monogamous relationship. He was able to describe to me how it had worked (and not worked) for him, and what he liked about it. It resonated with me, and as I was entering a period of experimentation, I decided to try non-exclusivity in my relationships and see how it worked. The internet also provided me with a lot of information, as New Zealand media has generally not had a lot to say on the topic. That is slowly changing, though.
10. What problems/issues, if any, have you encountered?
Remarkably few, overall. Keeping communication channels open and in use is a continual process, as is time-management, and ensuring I put my well-being first, followed by my husbands, and then everyone else’s.
11. What are the “rules” of your relationship(s)?
Communication! Lots and lots of it. Honesty is needed, also. Dates and new connections can be formed as and how, but if it looks like going much past kissing or light gropage than talking with primary and secondaries is important. It’s not ‘getting permission’ so much as making sure they’re in the loop, giving them the opportunity to comment, or to meet the person if they’re interested.
12. Please describe the logistics of your relationship? (i.e. number of partners, “sleepover/live-in rules,” etc.)
There is no limit on partner numbers – although there is a limit to what can be time-managed successfully!
When bringing back partners to the house for sexual purposes (rather than to ‘hang out’), a heads-up is required to ensure the primary is OK with it.. Additionally, the master bedroom and bed is off-limits to anyone other than my husband and myself. All other sexual play occurs in the ‘play-room’ aka guest-room. Sleeping over at another partner’s house is relatively rare, and is negotiated before time, unless a health issue (such as migraine) prevents returning home.
14. As you know, many people misunderstand and/or don’t “approve” of open marriages or polyamory. What would you like to say to them or tell them in order to help them to better understand and be more accepting?
This is a way of life that works for us, that is open and honest and, above all, does not hurt the people we are in relationships with, or ourselves. It is a way of loving and living that increases our connections and the depth of relationships that we have. It doesn’t mean that we ‘don’t really love our husband/wife’. It just means that we want to share our love, and be loved by many.
16. What are your thoughts on monogamy?
That it works for some people, but is not the ideal for everyone, and shouldn’t be promoted as the ideal or default relationship setting.
There you go! That’s a small insight into how polyamory works for me and Apollo. How does it work for you? If you want to, drop Jenny an email and get her questionnaire. I, for one, will be interested in seeing the results in her book!