After publishing my first entry in this series, I received an email from someone who chastised me for living this kind of life. Rather than be discourteous, I figured I’d post the email here and address his points, which while stated in an almost infantile fashion, are nonetheless the questions and points I hear all the time. So, here we go.
SO I DON’T KNOW WHT YOU CAN SAY THAT YOU LOVE YOUR WIFE WHEN YOU WANT TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS. I MEAN DOESN’T YOUR WIFE MEAN ANYTHING TO YOU. YOU CANT BE LOYAL TO SOMEONE AND F**K OTHER PEOPLE. THAT’S NOT THE WAY IT WORKS. PEOPLE LIKE YOU VIOLATE THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE AND YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO CLAIM TO BE AN AUTHORITY ON ALL THINGS ABOUT SEX. DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT A COMMITMENT IS?
Okay, I’m going to stop right there, simply because the rest of it was peppered with Bible verses, and I have no wish to make religious people angry during my tenure with GMP, I do enough of that in my private life.
I don’t understand the implication that you can be in a polyamorous relationship and not love your wife. If anything, loving your wife is a prerequisite of being in a polyamorous relationship, but I digress. Unless of course, the inherent assumption is being made that my wife was being coerced somehow, which I assure you is not the case.
The fact the matter is, regarding the genesis of our polyamorous relationship, my wife actually came to me about it. The fact of the matter is that my wife is actually a lesbian, but I just happened to be her bi-curious relationship, which is in itself kind of cool. The biggest factor in choosing a polyamorous relationship is the fact that not all of her sexual needs can be met by me and me alone. To combat that, we allow other lovers into our lives.
Contrary to the implications of the email, my wife means a great deal to me. In order to understand how you can love someone and do things with other people, you have the kind of redefine what the phrase “cheating” means.
A sexual act does not a cheating make. The act of concealing any kind of act sexual or otherwise constitutes cheating, in my opinion. For example; if I went out for a drink with my friends and my wife asked me where I was, had I replied with anything other than the truth, that will be concealing the truth, and I would, in fact, be cheating on her, regardless of the fact that no sexual action took place.
You’ll find with a lot of divorced couples that what made them get a divorce was not the fact that someone actually had sex with someone else. What made them divorce was the fact that they concealed it. It’s not necessarily the act itself, but the concealment of the act and the blatant disrespect for the other party in the relationship. The act can be forgiven, the broken trust is harder to repair.
The relationship my wife and I have is very unique in the sense that everything that we need to say, we say, and are brutally honest about it. Consequently, honesty is one of the key ingredients in having a polyamorous relationship in the first place. So, if you don’t understand honesty there’s a good chance that you don’t understand the true implications of polyamory to begin with.
And as far as violating the sanctity of marriage, when the divorce rates of monogamous couples end up falling below 30% in monogamous couples (as opposed to the 40-50% national average), we can then have a discussion about how something else is violating the sanctity of your marriage.
As far as claiming to be an authority on all things sexually related, I think it’s kind of stupid, and to be perfectly honest, that entire claim is not even worth addressing without laughing my ass off. I never claimed this. I wrote a book about it, but I make the point that I’m still a student.
Regarding the comment about the commitment my wife and I have, we’ve been together for 10 years. Probably more than 10 years at the time of this writing. Honestly, time flies by so fast with her but luckily it’s slow enough to where I get to relish everything with her. But, during the entire tenure of our relationship whether married or friends, it is always been about honesty for us. It is always been about the idea that she and I come first within our relationship, everything else is secondary.
One of the main ways in which this is illustrated is in the “get out of jail free” escape clause. Basically, this is one of the fail-safes in our relationship— if my wife or I have any issue with anything that is done within the tenure of our polyamorous relationship, we can do one of three things;
- we can either stop what’s going on and talk about it
- we can talk about it while the act is going on, whatever that act may be
- or we can completely pull the plug on the polyamorous relationship in the first place.
Granted, when you consider the idea that we have to consider other people’s feelings, obviously the decision to terminate the polyamorous relationship with someone else is something that is ill-advised, if not something to be carefully considered to make sure that we’re not hurting anyone’s feelings. But what this does, is it shows my wife that above all, I respect her first. She is my first priority; the first and last thing that I think about in any given situation.
So, I think I’ve pretty much dealt with everything within this email except for one thing and it’s that one sentence right in the middle. Essentially, you said, “that’s not the way it works.”
Here’s the deal, and there’s really no way of getting around this.
The idea of a polyamorous relationship or responsible non-monogamy revolves around the fact that not every relationship works for everyone. Different models of different relationships mean different things to different people. The implication that I think I’m the authority on all things sex also has a similar implication that I’m an authority on all things regarding relationships. In either case, I am not.
What is good for one person’s relationship is going to be completely disastrous for another’s. The fact that people like you think there’s a “one-size-fits-all” policy when it comes to relationships just goes to show the small mindedness of most people who wouldn’t even consider that maybe the traditional model of the nuclear family isn’t for everyone.
Now, the reality that I can look at myself in the mirror and know that I’m giving my wife the best possible relationship that I’m capable of giving her, gives me a great deal of satisfaction. Whether polyamorous, monogamous whatever you choose to call it, I know that the decisions we are making together, are the decisions that make sense for us. They probably won’t make sense for you, they probably won’t make sense for my friends, or your friends, or anyone else that you know. But in the end, these are the decisions that make perfect sense for us at the moment. Your understanding is not a requirement, nor a consideration.
The biggest issue right now is the fact that everyone wants to get so knee deep in everyone else’s business, they can’t even look at the situation for what it is; two people, trying to relate on some level that makes sense for them.