Thank you all for your comments and questions about my recent blog "Open Marriage Benefit: A Three-Parent Household." I thought that this week I would answer one of the questions I received based on that piece. MaliMali asked, "Is she mainly your girlfriend? Is it like he comes home to two wives? Have you ever shared a boyfriend in your marriage?" The answer, after the jump.
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The economy has forced me to do some corporate writing alongside my "real" work which means deadlines and company politics and stress. Combine that with a spouse who is in town for less than 48 hours a week and who wants (and needs) to do little more than rest during that time and you're likely headed for the looney bin—or worse. But because I am in an open marriage, a polyamorous relationship, a polyfidelitous vee, I am not alone…at all.
You're in an open relationship, and you have both a husband and a girlfriend. What if your girlfriend or you or your husband all fall in love with someone else? According to polyamorist Jenny Block, "although they are very good friends, my husband and my girlfriend are not in love or involved with one another. And my girlfriend and I are very much in love. The thing is, we don't think of love as a limited commodity. So, falling in love with someone else is not so much of an issue."
Maybe the answer isn't getting rid of porn, but exposing ourselves to more of it. And not just porn, all things sexual. Time and again, I hear that being exposed to porn dulls people's connection to true sexuality, that it skews one's understanding of reality, that it turns honest men (and women for that matter) into creepy perverts. I don't buy it. Not after hanging out with and talking to porn vendors and stars and fans and production people. I think just the opposite happens.
My girlfriend was browsing Facebook and found herself "face to face" with friends from her childhood and from college, all with wives or husbands, and babies and houses. And when we went to bed later, she cried. "Sometimes, I just want to be normal too," she said to me with sad, green eyes. "I want to put up pictures like that. I don't want to have to explain myself. I don't want to worry about what other people think." It made me sad. Really sad. Here was this incredibly strong, intelligent woman who was feeling pressured by these images of supposed normalcy and correctness. She felt bombarded by messages that seemed to be about the "right" way to do things and made her feel as if all of the love and happiness we have was, in that very instant, wrong. It's hard not to feel that way when the conventions that everyone accepts are staring you in the face, taunting you. "You don't have a husband. You don't have a baby. Your girlfriend's married. You should be ashamed. You're doing it wrong," their happy pictures and messages seem to say.
I have a lot of friends and readers who ask me about dead-end relationships. They know they're in them but they're not sure how or if they even want to get out of them. It seems like the start of a new year is the perfect time to look at the makeup of the breakup.Here's the short version. If you know it's done, get out. I know, I know. There are all sorts of considerations—housing, pets, kids, years of history together, familial relationships, fear of being alone. But, if you don't want to be there, if you can no longer remember why you're there in the first place, if it's just plum not working, how can you stay together? Truly. How?
YourTango's open marriage blogger, Jenny Block, thanks her readers for giving her a forum to write about open marriage. Jenny writes that, "We are a part of change. Changing the way we think about love. Changing the way we think about marriage. Changing the way we look at one another. It has been a difficult year—or several years even—for most of us. Change is needed in so many realms. The world of love and relationships deserves no less attention."
"Monogamy Is Good, And It's Here To Stay." I was leery about this piece the minute I saw the title. But as soon as I read it and saw the word "fad" used to describe the kind of relationship that I have been deliriously happy in for years (and the kind hundreds of other people I have met have been in for decades) I knew I was dealing with a classic case of fear and misunderstanding—a dangerous mix. I thought I might simply reply in the comments section, but I quickly realized that I had way too much ground to cover. So, below I have gone section by section in responding to Ms. Cline's piece.
What about jealousy? It's the question everyone asks. I thought I would focus on two emails I received on the subject, one from someone who is not married and one from someone who is; both people are dealing with the issue that always seems to come up whenever polyamory is discussed: jealousy.
On October 4, 2008 Jenny Block spoke at the Poly Pride Rally in New York City. The rally was part of Poly Pride Weekend, a gathering for polyamorous people, those who maintain multiple loving relationships at the same time. Jenny is the author of Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage, which all started on Tango, in her essay, Portrait of an Open Marriage.