Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Doing it Right

Inspired in part by this Daft Punk song. Feel free to listen as you read if you'd like.

Frisbee and I did a lot of talking in the beginning of 2014. We've changed slightly how our relationship works, and so far it's been going really well. The best I can hope for is that he'll still want to talk to me if his feelings change about any of it. In the meantime I'm extremely happy.

In standard "let's make this as typical of a relationship as possible even though we are two already married people going on dates together," fashion, podcast guy and I had the discussion on where our relationship was going. Because, you know, we'd been on 3 dates at this point and that's the time that you have to decide whether you've got lovey dovey feelings for somebody or not. I don't mean that last sentence to come off as critical as it probably does. I appreciated the fact that he wanted to keep communication open about the relationship, and about his (and my own) feelings about it. The timing of it was just so...typical that I thought it was funny. Final decision? There's definitely chemistry, but it's not lovey dovey type stuff. We're keeping it a lot more casual at this point, which means we'll probably see less of each other. 

Side note: I find it incredibly tricky to try and qualify people into different fields depending on relationship potential. I would be a complete mess if I tried to conduct my relationships in a more typical fashion. When people at work talk about the dates they are going on and how one person fits "more in the friend category" but somebody else "has boyfriend (or girlfriend) potential," I actually sort of admire their ability to keep all of those qualifications straight in their heads. For me, people fall into one of two categories. Those I would like to have sex with, and those I would not. I've discussed with one of the men I play with about how being open/poly might actually be the easier relationship style as compared to monogamy. But that, dear readers, is a topic for another blog entry.

What I want to talk about in this one is one specific "ur doing it wrong" thing regarding poly/open relationships/what have you. You know. The type of thing you'd see on some poly infomercial. Such as one half of a given couple making out with another person on one side of a couch, and the other person from the couple on the other side of the couch spilling a giant bowl of Cheetos on the floor. Well, okay. Not exactly those types of mistakes. Still. There's got to be a better way!

I don't want to imply by this that I've got the whole thing figured out, or that my relationships are the exact model that everyone should follow. I still drop my fair share of Cheetos on the floor, metaphorically speaking. It's just something I notice as I talk with other non-monogamous couples, or browse r/polyamory. It dovetails a bit with my recommendations on how to do this well, in addition to common misconceptions that might run through your head when you're first starting out.

What I really want to talk about is established couples who open up, and how they're doing it wrong. Keep in mind that I approached poly from a single perspective. I knew before I got into any serious "relationships" that I didn't want the monogamous structure, so when I met people slash dated people slash fucked people, that was usually forefront in the things I would tell them about myself. This worked out in several different ways. I had the monogamous people who thought they would be okay with me fucking other people until it actually happened. I had the douchebag people who liked to cheat regardless of the relationship structure, and saw nonmonogamy as a handy excuse to justify their behavior. I met people that were just looking to have no-strings-attached sex with somebody. And I had people like Now-hubby, who were open, communicative, and willing to make it work. 

I also wound up going on dates with a few couples. Which worked out in the following ways. I met the wives who were "trying something with a lady" for the sake of their husbands. I met the husbands who were looking to fundamentally cheat on their wives, and were using nonmonogamy as an excuse. I met significant others who were using me as some sort of "equalizing" chip because their partner had sex with somebody else, and they were trying to even out the score. It's taken to meeting podcast guy and his wife where I've felt I was being considered as a person instead of just some "dear Penthouse" fantasy when interacting with a couple. 

I want to make it very clear that being somebody's fantasy can be incredibly hot. Not being told that's the only thing you're supposed to be, so you expend a lot of energy trying to interact on a more personable level? That's fucking exhausting.

The main point between the two type of dating scenarios is with me and one other partner, there was lots of communication. I was fairly clear about what I wanted. To varying degrees the other person would be as well. With couples I have always been left feeling as though they've set up how they want the relationship to go, and I'm sort of this 3rd cog that they'll think about integrating into the circuitry, but they aren't in any way obligated to include me on the fitting. Which is total bullshit.

My two cents for established, monogamous couples looking to open up. (Well, beyond these helpful hints.) Really, really think about it and talk about it with each other. Recognize that you're not just applying a new word to your relationship, there are things that will have to fundamentally change in order for this to work (how the two of you approach jealousy, the way you communicate about your schedule, being more up-front about your own emotional needs). More importantly than any of that, though, make sure you talk to all of your potential partners and let them know exactly where you're coming from. They're owed at least that.

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