In case folks have not yet caught on, I am in an open relationship. Way back in January, I announced on my blog that I was interested in learning more about polyamory and was overwhelmed with responses in the comments, over email, gchat, twitter, etc. I had no idea where to even start and months later, I’m still trying to sort through all of the thoughts and feelings I have about this. It’s taken me eight months and dozens of discarded drafts to finally pull something together.
Let me back up a bit to explain how I got to this point in the first place…
I suppose I’ve always known that my approach to relationships is a bit unorthodox. From the moment I starting having boyfriends and crushes and such, I’ve always wanted a bit more of everything. I’ve cheated on boyfriends, hooked up with guys I was sexually attracted to while emotionally attached to other guys, messed around with multiple guys at the same time, etc.
I explained to people that I don’t really have a jealous personality in the same way most people do, but they never believed me or said I was in denial. I openly checked out men and women when I was with the guys I was dating or trying to hook up with, and encouraged them to do the same. My definition of cheating at one point was something like “if what you do with somebody else does not exceed what you’ve done as a couple, it’s not cheating” — so if we have intercourse and I get oral sex from somebody, it can’t possibly be cheating! I got more than a few raised eyebrows for that one… but really, I can’t possibly be the only person who thinks this! Or, am I? (Please tell me I’m not… shoot…)
People around me have always questioned my habits, either telling me I’m “such a guy” or saying I had no heart or shame.
When I met my current guy, something told me to be patient with my weird relationship quirks. I was always completely honest, but I didn’t push anything on him that I knew he wasn’t ready for. Fortunately for me, he finally got to a point where he was comfortable talking about the possibility of an open relationship. Not only that, but he actually wanted to test it out and see what would work for us. HOORAY!
But I suddenly realized that I had no idea what it was like to actually be in an open relationship. I started conversations with some blogging buddies, went through the polyamory and compersion entries on Wikipedia, and realized that there was a whole world out there of people who thought and felt like me!
Now that I’ve gotten a chance to really delve deep into the links and resources people recommended to me, contemplated on the intimate details folks have shared with me about their open relationships, finally finished reading Opening Up and just started The Ethical Slut, I am ready to write about it.
So now you’ve got some background to refer to when I write my next two posts about polyamory. The first will be about open relationships as an appealing alternative for feminists. I honestly think open relationships are very feminist and have a lot in common with feminist goals and ideals, and I’ll explain exactly why in my post. I am also going to write a post that’s more about my own feelings about and experiences with polyamory so far. I might end up writing shitloads more (seriously, my thoughts on this are endless), but that’s the plan so far.
Anyway, I wanted to write this intro post not only to give you all some background, but really to open up this thread for any questions folks might have. People often tell me they’re curious about my opinion on this and contact me with some questions, but always tell me they have more. I am by no means an expert on open relationships, but I’m sure some of the readers out there are. I will try to answer any question, no matter how personal it is, completely openly and honestly. The only exception is if I plan to cover a specific question more fully in a post, in which case I’ll let you know. (But really, my outlines are so long, I think I’ll be glad to unload some of it before I start writing.)
I am really an open book (oops, no pun intended), so… ask away!
ETA: I forgot to mention that if you have questions you’d rather not ask in such a public space, you can always email me — frausally (at) gmail (dot) com