Re: Open Relationships

1

I can never figure out how grownups (people with jobs, other responsibilities) have time for polyamorous relationships (of the multiple-committed-relationship variety). I suppose multiple partners all cohabiting would be logistically easier, but cohabiting with one person and seriously dating another seems like there wouldn't be enough nights in the week to pay enough attention to both of them and still get your laundry done.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:33 AM
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(Come to think, that sounds judgmental and conversation-shutting down. I didn't mean it that way, and am fascinated by anything anyone in a non-traditional relationship structure might want to share.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:35 AM
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I can never figure out how grownups (people with jobs, other responsibilities) find time to play golf.

What should non-traditional relationships be compared against? Everyone's amazingly happy, always conflict-free marriage? What shall our baseline be?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:42 AM
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Based on my limited experience, polyamory is way more fun than golf.


Posted by: a president | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:43 AM
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I feel exactly the same way about golf.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:43 AM
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5 to 3.1. My direct experience with either polyamory or golf is too limited to compare the two, as in 4.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:44 AM
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3.2 Contented infidelity maybe, which is logistically similar but missing the honesty.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:46 AM
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The OP question is boring, because it seems like some sort of trolling about asking on a topic generally instead of asking about a specific situation. And this is a topic where ISTM details make all the difference.

Since the question was asked, though, I'll cop to being generally judgmental about polyamorous whatever. Not because of capital M morality, do what you want and whatever works, but because such situations seem to lend themselves to being emotionally crazeballs and/or requiring a lot more lying/selling yourself on the kool-aid than monogamously coupled relationships do (not that monogamy requires none of this). I'm skeptical that these are manageable long-term solutions for anyone but a very very tiny minority, which if you're in, great, but tbh I also associate being vocally and stridently in favor of polyamory with being basically a nutjob with problems. You asked for an honest answer!


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:46 AM
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And similarly, with a nod towards what I think is Dan Savage's position, to what extent do people in non-monogamous relationships have an "obligation" to be "out" about their relationships so as to make it more accepted?

I am not really compelled by arguments of this form.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:47 AM
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I'm skeptical that these are manageable long-term solutions for anyone but a very very tiny minority, which if you're in, great, but tbh I also associate being vocally and stridently in favor of polyamory with being basically a nutjob with problems.

I agree if you add "or monogamy" after "polyamory."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:49 AM
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I have heard the most shocking and, frankly, intriguing story concerning a birthday party the poly friend of a friend had a few years ago.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:52 AM
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And that story was?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:53 AM
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Yes...and...


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:53 AM
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See, I told you it was intriguing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:54 AM
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I think that there's a lot of tension in thinking about marriage, because there are many disparate goals that a stable monogamous relationship is seen as satisfying.

Economic cooperation, with and without family creation and childrearing as considerations, against emotional bonds between individuals being most obviously different directions.

Basically, absent strong external considerations (economics probably, maybe community ties where extended families rather than nuclear ones are how people live), I'm personally pretty suspicious of anyone with strident general opinions about interpersonal relations. Whole lot of particular variety in that part of life.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:54 AM
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I kind of agree with 8.1 -- the form of the OP kind of sets up the thread for vague maundering (like my comment 1) by people who don't have much interesting to say on the topic. To get a meaningful conversation going, I think we'd need a substantive post from someone like the original poster, with direct experience, but we didn't get that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:55 AM
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Like, if I were married to a stridently anti-dog person, I might get a side piece who had her own dog.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:55 AM
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I suppose multiple partners all cohabiting would be logistically easier,

Group housing with open relationships and group childrearing seems like it would be great, but then I remember that's basically the formula for a cult.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:56 AM
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So, not clear on how judgy people are about polyamory, but we're definitely judgy about people's ATM requests.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:57 AM
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So, President, tell us about your situation! How did it arise? Who initiated the conversations? How long did it take to come to terms you both were happy with? Is there asymmetry between you and the primary spouse in terms of the current arrangement? or have there been periods of assymetry? What's the hardest part? How do the other people feel about all this?

Sooooo curious!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 11:59 AM
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8/16: I read the OP as asking, more or less: "I'm in a non-monogamous relationship and feel pretty happy. Is that sort of thing frowned upon around here?" I think the answer is no. Also the OP is asking: "Do I have a moral obligation to tell my parents?". No, you do not. End of thread.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:00 PM
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And similarly, with a nod towards what I think is Dan Savage's position, to what extent do people in non-monogamous relationships have an "obligation" to be "out" about their relationships so as to make it more accepted?

Even aside from the overall merits of this form of argument, I think you'd be hard-pressed to argue that polyamory* is in the same category as homosexuality, or other gender/sexuality identities. Or maybe I'm being judgy and closed-minded, but ISTM that it's basically a relationship framework, not an identity. If I thought that tens of millions were yearning to sleep free, I'd be more open to the claim that those who can proclaim their status should for the betterment of all, but I'm pretty sure it's just a tiny minority doing their own thing, and there's not really a collective action problem.

*just using this as a catchall term


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:00 PM
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I know a lot of mid-twenties to mid-thirties poly people, some of whom have kids, all of whom have functional lives (one is even a tenured professor!!!!!). The one linking factor is that none are straight, although some are in heterosexual relationships.

In theory I myself could date other people; I have trouble finding the time and the emotional bandwidth. It's nice to know that in theory I could, though, and really does help me process all the "but that other person is so attractive feelings that are inevitable in any relationship.

I surmise that the real issue with poly relationships is whether or not you're in a social milieu where it's both accepted and somewhat common. If it's not, you're always explaining or hiding and you're much less likely to have a reasonable dating pool or any models for managing the whole thing.

I know some people who are pretty...unconventional in how they choose to regulate their emotions, let's say, who are poly; but I also know people like that who are monogamous.

One thing I notice and do not care for: bisexual women who have a primary straight relationship, a child, a house, etc, who are on OKCupid looking for a girl on the side. I'm sure that individually many of those people are very nice, but someone would have to be especially charming for me to want to date them because it just seems like the usual "women's sexuality is only serious when it's directed at a man" routine.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:01 PM
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OK, I'll be a bit more specific, as the person who brought this to Heebie in the first place. I'm in a polyamorous relationship (well, two, technically, I guess) and have told a bare minimum of people about it. Part of my (our) hesitation about being more open is the fear that people will react like 8.2.

I was wondering, at a minimum, how many people here are in non-monogamous relationships, or know people in such relationships, as a way of figuring out just how freaky-deeky we are.


Posted by: a president | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:02 PM
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Seen while browsing OKCupid profiles many years ago: "Polyamory and Burning Man are both things that sound great in theory but in practice dudes who tell you they're into either are inevitably creepy. Not interested."


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:03 PM
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I've been in two non-monogamous relationships. One was the best relationship of my life so far and the other was my most painful breakup. So a mixed bag.

The best relationship of my life was with a woman who was committed to another man, but he was in Hungary studying for a year, so they agreed that in the interim seeing other people was OK. We hooked up in what she'd planned to be a one-time thing but apparently I'm relationship material so we ended up together for a year, with a brief interlude when she went to visit him. Having a drop-dead date for the relationship made it easy to just relax and enjoy the moment without concern for the future. When her primary boyfriend came back I just stepped out of the picture and went on with my life. He and I actually shared a hotel room for her wedding (to another guy, the original relationship having run its course).

The most painful breakup of my life was with a woman I was painfully, deeply enamored of, having developed a crush over the course of a couple of years knowing her. She had recently moved to another city and made a visit to see me and hang out, and we slept together. She revealed she had a love interest in her home city, but would like to arrange something in the polyamorous vein, to which I agreed. She returned home and connected with the other guy. I visited once, and everything was cool. Literally an hour before I got in the car to drive to see her for the second time she called and canceled, ending things between us. I have little information to work with, but as I understand it the other guy pitched a fit as my arrival grew closer, issued an ultimatum, and I was geographically undesirable, so sucks to be me. It was a brief relationship, but intense, and I'd been crushing on her madly for over a year. We never had a conversation that gave me closure, so there's still a bit of bitterness there.

My OKCupid profile is currently deactivated, since I'm seeing someone, but while it was active I had a little disclaimer saying that commitment is on the table, but at least in the short term exclusivity isn't. It didn't seem to hurt my response rate to initial messages when I added it, and there were plenty of women willing to go out with me despite it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:07 PM
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AFAIK I don't know anybody IRL who is, but all that tells you is that a pretty straight, SWPL group in a non-coastal city isn't a hotbed, which is hardly news.

23.1 suggests that one issue is that straight relationships are so bound up in patriarchy that it's hard to pull off polyamory that isn't some form of power trip/wish-fulfillment/etc. Or rather, that you're constantly monitoring for that, which is exhausting and not exactly a turn-on.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:08 PM
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In some ways, this thread is evidence for Savage's argument. If more poly-people were out, we wouldn't immediately assume that poly people are unhinged weirdos, because we would probably know some who aren't.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:10 PM
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I did formerly know a woman who had a long term serious relationship with a second man, but that was more a matter of, "We'll stay married until my son is done with HS, then I'm moving out and Boyfriend will join me." IIRC, she stopped sleeping with the husband once the boyfriend came on board. So really just a sort of complicated, extended breakup.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:11 PM
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I surmise that the real issue with poly relationships is whether or not you're in a social milieu where it's both accepted and somewhat common. If it's not, you're always explaining or hiding and you're much less likely to have a reasonable dating pool or any models for managing the whole thing.

This this this. It does not appear to be particularly accepted or common in my broad social circle, but I wonder whether everyone is just as secretive as we are?

Heebie has so many questions! I'm not going to be able to answer them all at once, but, basics: my spouse and I are each in what the poly-people call a "V" relationship: we have each other and one other partner. I guess that's an "N"?

More soon.


Posted by: a president | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:12 PM
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30: Ooh, diagrams! I love with when poly relationships require you to draw little network maps!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:15 PM
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The nomenclature could be simplified by borrowing from organic chemistry.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:16 PM
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If 32 is true, it suggests that maybe widespread acceptance of poly relationships won't happen for reasons of lack of comprehension.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:17 PM
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On introspection, I think I personally would have a very hard time not feeling... hurt? jealousy?... in any relationship that transitioned mid-relationship from monogamy to non-monogamy. On the other hand, I think I could be fine with a relationship that progressed from casual dating to commitment and cohabitation without ever having progressed to monogamy. But I've never been in a relationship of either sort, so what do I know.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:18 PM
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Or a "Z".

I think 28 is right. That is, I don't know anyone in a poly setup IRL, but on the other hand I present as fairly straitlaced in person, so I doubt I'd be a natural confidante for anyone who wasn't all the way out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:20 PM
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To 34, the transition from monogamy to non-monogamy about 18 months ago was not without considerable feelings of hurt and jealousy on all sides. It was incredibly hard emotional work (sometimes still is) but has been, throughout, worth it.


Posted by: a president | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:21 PM
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We are about as enthusiastically monogamous as they come (ie really into each other). We've also always been aware of, amused and not threatened by other people being into one of us all along the casual flirting to unrequited devotion why didn't I meet you first spectrum. And over the years it has been amazing to me how dedicated third parties, mostly other women, have been to policing what they perceive as a threat to our relationship. I find this bizarre, but it makes me think that there would be generalized hostility to being open about being polyamorous.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:21 PM
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36: Were you talked into it by your partner or the reverse? I'm sort of more interested on what it feels like from the perspective of the person whose idea it wasn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:24 PM
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Poly situations are moderately common in at least one of my social circles. Some of my past relationships were some form of poly. More recently I used to say that while I would self-identify as poly, if pressed, I was more likely to self-identify as lazy (along the lines of 1.1).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:24 PM
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In some ways, this thread is evidence for Savage's argument.

Yeah but why should the individuals involved at first have to undergo the extra scrutiny? Like, there are plenty of (analogical!) cases where I think it would be better overall if people did something difficult, in that it would help others similarly situated, but it means taking on extra crap, so ... it seems churlish for me to demand that they do so.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:28 PM
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38: It was my idea, and my partner was willing to let me explore an outside relationship, with significant restrictions and caveats. It was a struggle, at first. Then, when she decided to try it out for herself, it put all of my brave talk about how I wouldn't feel jealous to the test. (Spoilers: I was super jealous for a while.)

It took about two swings of the pendulum for us to land at an equilibrium we're both really happy with. We've since dropped most of those restrictions and caveats and rules, which I think of as training wheels for non-monogamy.


Posted by: a president | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:28 PM
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I've been single for about three years, and fairly committed to not dating just one person for that entire time. I am upfront about being on a break from serious relationships. It has worked out fairly well.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:28 PM
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with significant restrictions and caveats

No ATM?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:29 PM
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42: Does that count as the same thing as poly?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:30 PM
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And over the years it has been amazing to me how dedicated third parties, mostly other women, have been to policing what they perceive as a threat to our relationship.

This resonates with my experience from the same place, i.e. no serious danger but open expression of the attractiveness of others. Very threatening to some people.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:31 PM
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Being poly probably increases your chances of contracting herpes and becoming unworthy of employment in the tech industry.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:31 PM
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42 feels like something in a way different category than "polyamory," as does Togolosh's situation with the Hungary-resident out of town boyfriend in 26.2.

41 sounds great if you're happy but tbh, again since you asked, as the voice of normative bigotry on this thread I'd wait until it's stabilized as a good and happy situation for maybe like 4-5 years before going public with it.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:33 PM
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46: And I thought LinkedIn was pointless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:34 PM
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I was briefly part of a social circle (through a then-SO who was poly and committed in principle to poly relationships) in which poly was the default. There did seem to be a lot of ambient emotional drama at the time, but then again everyone was in college, and I suspect that the polyamory was not the root cause of the drama.

I suspect that (a) there are more functionally poly relationships out there than most non-poly people realize, even if the term isn't formally applied; but (b) outside (at most) a few geographical areas (at least in the US), trying to be openly poly is reliably going to be more trouble than you really want to get into, and if this is changing over time (which I'm not sure about) it hasn't finished changing yet.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:34 PM
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Thank goodness we both work in fields where having herpes isn't considered to be a moral disqualification.


Posted by: a president | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:34 PM
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Law or medicine?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:35 PM
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I'm in an open relationship, but not a poly one. To me, poly relationships would take up way to much logistical and emotional energy to work properly, and I would say I am pretty instinctually monogamous--that is, when I'm living with my partner, I have no desire for anyone else. I'm open to things on the side when we're long distance that are either really or mostly casual. I also realized that I am turned on by the idea of my partner having sex with other women, so outside of a LD relationship I am fine with me being monogamous and him having one night stands every few months, so long as he tells me all the details. I imagine this is a pretty fringe desire.


Posted by: Mrs. Robinson | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:37 PM
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Same Mrs. Robinson?

I also realized that I am turned on by the idea of my partner having sex with other women, so outside of a LD relationship I am fine with me being monogamous and him having one night stands every few months, so long as he tells me all the details. I imagine this is a pretty fringe desire.

I've heard of this more with the genders flipped, but I think as mildly offbeat desires go, that's actually not very uncommon.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:40 PM
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I would think that the emotional jealousy thing would be really hard to predict in advance.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:40 PM
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I imagine this is a pretty fringe desire.

This is what happened in Breaking the Waves but with genders flipped (and a whole lot of other stuff also), right?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:41 PM
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I'm somewhere between polyamory and a more traditional(?) affair, but it's a situation somewhat like JRoth's friend in 29 except that the relationship sex ended years before the outside sex in both primary relationships and there's absolutely no intention to turn it into anything more than stress release and FWB. The good kind of polyamory would require more conversation than my primary relationship can handle and it seems preferable that none of the children find out.


Posted by: A Different First Lady | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:41 PM
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Full-on poly relationships also seem like they're a minority compared to what Savage calls "monogamish" situations - just relaxing some of the assumptions around monogamy and tolerating-to-encouraging sub-relationship-level outside contact. Those are also going to be a bit less visible.

As he likes to point out, plenty of relationships are already not monogamous, but one party doesn't know about it.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:44 PM
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"Most of all you've got to hide it from the kids."

(Which I won't attribute to Opinionated Mrs. Robinson for the sake of not being confusing).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:44 PM
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57: Yeah, my issue with 'how do people find the time?' doesn't apply to monogamish situations (which I understand as monogamy but allowing for extra-relationship casual sex). If you've only got one partner who's entitled to object to being neglected, adding in occasional outsiders doesn't seem as if it'd be a logistical problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:48 PM
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59 speaks to one of the benefits of poly. The other person isn't always bugging you for attention, physical or otherwise. Not everyone wants constant attention from their long-term partner.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:51 PM
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I share the belief that there are certain personality types that can make polyamorous relationships (in general, not specific ones) work, and that I definitely don't have any of them. I have two close friends who are openly poly and have known a number of other people in non-monogamous setups. I have always had basically no expectation of monogamy from partners -- I have a very fucking strong expectation that I not be lied to, though -- but I'm happy to work with the monogamy on offer. I don't judge anyone for polyamory as such (for getting into bad relationships, sure, just as you would with anyone). I cheer on their happy relationships and always hope they work out. It seems like it would be really fucking great if it even worked at the same rates as monogamous relationships.

I cannot imagine posting the Ok Cupid requisition that Frowner describes, twisted myself into knots trying to figure out and explain why, and gave up. As I said, the topic depresses the fuck out of me. I definitely believe the frustration and longing is real, but the whole thing is just sad.

(...actually, the issue may be very simple, that I can't imagine using OkCupid.)


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:53 PM
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I would think that the emotional jealousy thing would be really hard to predict in advance.

I can predict that I'd be very jealous!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:53 PM
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Last year we were invited to a party hosted by a friend of friends (whom I'd met and liked) and learned, in the course of small talk, that he's in a poly relationship. I have since become a bit friendly with his ex-wife -- we serve on a non-profit board together -- and while she's never said anything to me, I'm reliably told that she's somewhat bitter about the whole thing.

I bet there is a whole lot more of this kind of thing going on than I imagined last year.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 12:56 PM
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Has anyone here read The Ethical Slut? That seems like it would add value! But I have not read it. And my phone's about to die, and I have only started reading this thread. The sorrow of it all.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:02 PM
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53
The one and only.

I was worried about opening my relationship up, because I have seen it blow up otherwise reasonably functional relationships (think the first scenario in 26 but with a really terrible ending), but it actually worked really well. I had fun with the teenager, and Mr. Robinson had some fun too. I also realized that I was turned on by Mr. Robinson's extracurricular exploits, which I hadn't expected.


Posted by: Mrs. Robinson | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:04 PM
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I can predict that I'd be very jealous!

Well, so can I, but how much of that would pass? My gf described me somewhat early on as being admirably non-jealous, and I was not much later perturbed by the habit a friend of hers has/had of putting his arm around her when they were seated next to each other and revealed that I may be more jealous than she thought—but I'm not sure that that same set of actions would arouse the same response in me now. The … N- or Z-shaped arrangement a president describes seems as if it would be easier to deal with, too, than one in which all have either (a) multiple multiples of partners or (b) there isn't a clear primacy of the one relationship (which I'm I guess merely assuming is the case in the described one).

(It may be significant too that in wondering, "well, how jealous would I be?", I basically exclusively frame the situation as one in which my partner is with someone else too—i.e., not one in which I too see another person.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:08 PM
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for getting into bad relationships, sure, just as you would with anyone

I don't judge people for getting into bad relationships, but that's probably just self-protection.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:09 PM
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Yep, I can see jealousy being unpredictable. Specifically I can see how, if you were "sharing" your partner with someone else, you'd have to become fairly assertive and communicative about your own emotional needs from him or her, and I would personally find that very challenging. Keeping the relationship rationalized and optimized like that... I really do want that part of my brain for other stuff. (I don't at all intend this to be normative; this is just the non-rational, non-optimal way I function, and I can see how others would see the rationalization and improved communication as a clear benefit.)


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:09 PM
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||

Hey Smearcase is "Marie's Crisis" named after oh look I had that thought two years ago too.

|>


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:11 PM
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67: I'm actually really curious about that, since I'm in a, um, suboptimal relationship and have started wondering to what degree I'll be judged harshly as more comes to light.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:11 PM
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There's a rating scale based on log-transformed BOGFs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:12 PM
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this relationship is failing so here's a hail mary

I doubt the Catholic Church would have this kind of hail mary in mind.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:13 PM
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I just mean that the level of detail and intensity in communication would be irritating to me. "Ok, so, it bothered me that you've been so absorbed in the poem cycle you and Svetlana are writing while I've been blocked for weeks. I guess I, uh, need you to express more sympathy with my writer's block? And maybe take a break from writing your poems? Which you love, and which are good? Let's get divorced, I'm exhausted and hate myself and everyone else."

70: I think the judgment is something along the lines of "it's too bad people get into bad relationships," or "bad relationships are, unfortunately, more bad than good."


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:16 PM
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I am home sick from work and really need to stop commenting here, wow.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:17 PM
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32: "We tried a cyclobutane for a while, but it was just too unstable."


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:18 PM
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64: Just finished reading it last month. I'm currently reading Opening Up by Tristan Taormino, which is another book that gets bandied about in these conversations. There's also More Than Two, which is fairly recent and I know nothing about it other than that it gets mentioned in the same breath as the other two.

The Ethical Slut is pretty easy reading, and a lot of what they talk about is fairly commonsensical. They emphasize communication and honesty, unsurprisingly. They talk about relationship models and relate some experiences they or friends have had. It's worth a read if you're interested in the topic. Opening Up has more stories about how people are living and negotiating non-monogamous relationships, which I find more helpful and interesting than the simple statements of fact in The Ethical Slut.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:18 PM
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So it's not so much judging the individual people as judging people-as-a-whole-and-their-sadly-fallen-state.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:19 PM
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They emphasize communication and honesty, unsurprisingly.

At least half of those are pointless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:20 PM
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"bad relationships are, unfortunately, more bad than good."

And, O my son, be, on the one hand, in a good relationship,

And do not, on the other hand, be in a bad one;

For that is very much the safest plan.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:20 PM
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There was a pretty interesting NYT architecture article about a decade ago about the challenges of building a home for polygamous Mormon families.*

*In Arizona maybe? Some unauthorized actively polygamous splinter community.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:21 PM
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73.2: I specifically worry that people will think there's something wrong with me because it's not my first ungood relationship. (Possibly I worry because I think this about myself.) And then there are my helpful friends who think I'm essentially exposing my children to abuse and setting them up for abusive relationships as they get older, which is also encouraging and makes me feel great about life. None of that really has a bearing on anything and being increasingly open about the bad parts and about why I haven't left yet has been emotionally helpful to me, which is what I care about most now, but

And to Lee's credit, since I've been sick she really has stepped up her involvement at home. But that still means I do dinner and bedtime every night and then she has gone to a bar every night but one in the last week. She's coming home earlier than usual, closer to midnight than four, and half the time I can wake her in the night if Selah is up. These are huge steps but they're making me even more depressed about how bad things are most of the time. The one thing I asked her to do to make my life easier was unload the dishwasher and she can't even remember to do that. But I slept 21 hours Saturday night and most of the day and that sort of thing helps. Plus we've done activities as a family three times in the last week, which is close to unprecedented. So good and bad?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:23 PM
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81.1 at one point had an end, but I really don't care or remember.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:24 PM
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The Ethical Slut and Opening Up seem like books that might cause me marital difficulty merely by appearing among the recently viewed items the next time my wife opens the homepage of our shared amazon account.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:39 PM
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I have a couple friends who say they were in an open relationship until they moved across the country and left behind their previous network of friends. I may not have the reason exactly right, but I think that was the gist of it.

My first thought was the same as 1, who has the time. But more seriously, for all that I'm feeling busy these days, I admit I find the time for hours of computer games per week, occasional card games with friends, and a fair amount of TV. Lack of time isn't the reason I'm in an exclusive relationship.

81/82: That sucks. Sorry. For a while I've wondered why Lee ever agreed to parent at all, since you very often make it sound like she isn't interested in it. I've refrained from asking for two reasons: because I put my foot in my mouth badly in some parenting discussions and was gunshy after that and didn't want to pry, and because I realize that my idle curiosity isn't more important than whatever the issue of the day is.

However, there have been so many days with so many issues that I might as well ask eventually.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:40 PM
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I dunno, Cyrus, and have asked myself the same thing a lot. She thinks she's interested in parenting and she'll do some of the fun parts. (Oh, and while I was napping she took Nia to the park to play basketball. That's legitimate parenting and was really good for both of them. Extra points!) She just absolutely refuses to do the harder stuff, so won't give medicine or change nasty diapers or provide food, all of which I see as pretty basic, if I'm physically in the house. And so I don't feel like I can break up and split custody or even spend more time away from the family like she thinks I should to make things more even because it doesn't seem fair to the kids. And obviously I'm enabling and so on but until I find a better way to keep them safe and cared for, I feel stuck. And she feels no incentive to do anything at all except complain. She thinks I'm an exemplary parent but thinks she's a pretty good one. I think I'm adequate and she's bad. I am trying not to complain so much here, but don't feel like I have to mute it completely.

In other things-I-whine-about-too-much-here news, I really thought the lesion part of the shingles was over and then an itchy patch started on my neck this morning and even though the itching/poxiness is the least bad part, I am sad to the point of weepiness about this. But I'm resting and taking my medicine and doing what I'm supposed to do and eventually it will get better.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:47 PM
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Oh god, shingles? Poor you.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:49 PM
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Some people choose monogamy, some people have it chosen for them.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:51 PM
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It's all just a ploy to get out of starting CrossFit, heebie! A really painful and annoying ploy. (And I'm being extra whiny because I have a hangup about not wanting my neck touched, and turns out that includes weird electric pain shooting up and down it and across my skull. Who knew?)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:51 PM
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And so I don't feel like I can break up and split custody or even spend more time away from the family like she thinks I should to make things more even because it doesn't seem fair to the kids.

When you've left her alone with them, are they okay when you get back, or does she actually neglect them if it's her or nothing? If she's actually importantly neglectful (they've missed meals, or whatever) when she's left alone with them them, that seems like a huge problem. But if she steps up adequately at all when left alone, this really sounds as if split custody would be better for her, them (because they'd have a better relationship with her), and you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:52 PM
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I'm sorry, Thorn.

I/we liked the Ethical Slut a lot for dealing with jealousy, and the other books for showcasing interesting relationship models. Recommended reading!

59/60: exactly Will's point. Sometimes one party or the other wants a little space, and then there's someone else to tend to your partner's emotional/physical needs without anyone feeling neglected. Then there's the relaxation of the assumed obligation of shared interests: "I don't really want to go to that restaurant/concert/sex party. Take your boyfriend/girlfriend." Polyamory!

62/66: we have found that our predictions about whether and how we'd feel jealous have been pretty inaccurate, although that's not to say you shouldn't trust your instincts.


Posted by: a president | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:53 PM
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I don't know, LB. It's not neglect to the point where I have to report it to the state, obviously. But she will make the big girls just stay in their room all day so they can't make a mess and she doesn't have to deal with more than one child at a time. They do all love her very much and I try to set things up so they do get one-on-one time with her, which they adore. Also I don't want to leave the house and don't want them to lose another parent and don't know how well I could manage as a single parent when I have so few friends or other supports. It's complicated.

Lee still wants a boy and I think part of her extra bad behavior recently is that she's grieving the idea of the family she thought she'd have. Part of that has included how I'm not the partner she'd want, but there's more and I suspect that's it.

Our plan was supposed to be that I'd get some sort of weekend away this year to regroup and feel better, but I don't know if that's going to happen. She's going to Spain for two weeks, which might have the same clarifying effect for me.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:56 PM
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Thorn, let me give you a little tip about relationships I've learned from my many marriages and other escapades, and which now I'll pass on to you, for free. Just do things incompetently. Like, do a shitty job of cleaning up after the kid's lunch, then say you have to do "errands" but actually go to a bar for a few hours and be completely irresponsible, like, showing up 3-4 hours later than you said you would. Leave the kids with Lee but with Lee wondering where you are and what to do and why the table is so messy. That way Lee is forced into action. The first 4-5 times will produce a fight, but after a while you'll have worn her down with your irresponsibility and incompetent housekeeping, and she'll start taking care of the kids and cleaning up on her own.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 1:57 PM
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Think of it like a gift to her. No one likes feeling like the fuck-up in a relationship. This way, she gets to feel like she's got the moral upper hand, which will make her less resentful, and you get to be super irresponsible and do whatever the fuck you want.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 2:01 PM
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TRO, that was the plot of an episode of That 70's Show, which my wife and I reference often. "I guess I'm just bad at it!" (delivered with a rueful shrug)


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 2:04 PM
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92: One gets the sense that TRO has also been advising Lee.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 2:07 PM
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I was actually super irresponsible a couple of months ago and it did work out pretty well, except the part where I felt horrible. I've been trying to keep the moral upper hand, but maybe I shouldn't.

A story about Lee that both of us find hilarious is that she was trying to console me last week when I was sad about having shingles but then got distracted talking about how horrible it was when she got the shingles vaccine and how she was miserable for days and her skin around the injection site got all puffy and itchy and it was the worst thing she's gone through in a long time and I finally said, "I know, because I HAVE SHINGLES, not just the shot!" and it was hilarious but also sort of indicative of how she sees the world.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 2:07 PM
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But maybe my comment belongs on Standpipe's other blog.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 2:08 PM
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I may be the only person here who has directly and non-ironically asked if that blog existed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 2:09 PM
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95: She thinks there is a lot of moral value in being selfish and doing whatever you feel you need to do. She says if I wanted things badly enough I would do them and she would have to step up or I'd have to get a babysitter. In reality when I try to do anything, she sabotages it with her own selfish plans, but also that is just not the relationship dynamic I want and so we've been at a stalemate for years and years and years, with times that are better and some that are not. Ironically, I am the one going to hell for not being a Christian, which we also occasionally fight about since I think that maybe the Beatitudes count.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 2:11 PM
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I feel incompetent to participate in threads like this because my own relationships, including my current marriage, have a very low degree of difficulty. I've never tried to do anything hard, relationship-wise, and circumstances haven't put me in any super-difficult situations.

So polyamory is just out of the question for me. Too much work. And I wouldn't dream of commenting on Thorn's situation, which is obviously tricky on multiple levels.

But with that preamble, I wanted to say that 96 seems nice - it's good that you can kid around with her about her shortcomings.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 2:16 PM
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She thinks there is a lot of moral value in being selfish and doing whatever you feel you need to do

You married a randroid?!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 2:23 PM
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I feel incompetent to participate in threads like this because

There is a competency requirement for comments!?!? Damn it.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 2:27 PM
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99: Right, that's the impression I've been getting, and that's what sounds like you'd be better off by leaving her holding the bab[ies]. If her stated position is that she'll leave everything for you to do where it's possible, but she'll cope if you make it impossible, that really sounds to me like the best solution is you get out of the house for as much time as you need to stay sane: two weekends a month and a couple of midweek days? And trust that she won't hurt the kids while you're unavailable, which sounds pretty safe.

Argh. I'm hectoring you, which is unhelpful. Mostly, I want to berate Lee, but she's not reading this, so I'm taking it out on giving you advice. Obviously, you should disregard me unless it sounds useful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 2:29 PM
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Officially we are both socialists. I'll let Smearcase figure out the "socialist in the streets" thing he's so good at. We both know things aren't good but are okay when we can laugh, which still happens. I love her, though I'm totally fed up. She'd say she loves me too and this may just be near the best she can offer, in which case I'd prefer she be a better parent than a better partner. Both of us think this would be a bad time for the girls to have us break up, but there may not be a good time.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 2:30 PM
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Sorry, prez, for derailing. I'm very sure your relationships are more interesting than mine.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 3:02 PM
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I agree with the people worried about jealousy. Thanks to the prevailing interpretation of the second amendment, even a brief tinge of jealousy can be fatal. Probably lead to some pretty good Law and Order episodes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 3:10 PM
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We should all do our best to act as if we are totally approving (or at least not at all disapproving) of open relationships/polyamory/whatever the kids are doing lately, so as to find out who a president is, thereby satisfying our salacious curiosity.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 3:13 PM
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107 to 11.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 3:17 PM
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I'm on to you, nosflow.


Posted by: a president | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 3:25 PM
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(And there's no need to apologize, Thorn!)


Posted by: a president | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 3:27 PM
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I have a friend who is very out and positive about his poly nature; it's relatively frequent among his FB posts, for example. He's clear that he gets cases of stink-eye about it, but little more. We're in a pretty conservative region, though he can drive to San Fransisco in 2-3 hours, so they've got an outlet.

My wife was clear from our first dates that monogamy was incredibly important to her. It wasn't a hard choice for us, but it was refreshing that she was very upfront about its central nature for her.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 3:29 PM
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socialist in the streets, capitalist between the sheets.


Posted by: OPINIONATED DIEGO RIVERA | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 5:12 PM
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socialist in the streets, capitalistaleatoric representative democratic republican between the sheets.


Posted by: OPINIONATED NOT XTRAPNEL | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 6:35 PM
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Seems like that would be complicated.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 6:58 PM
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I got nothin. I googled and the last one I wrote was about Mister Belvedere so maybe it's for the best.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 6:59 PM
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Charles in Charge is the kinky one, right? I don't remember much about Mr. Belvedere.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 7:03 PM
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What last one what? What are 115 and 116 in reference to? I'm pretty sure I read this thread.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 7:08 PM
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Since Standpipe's not here, I was alleging that Mister Smearcase is fond of the "x in the streets, y in the sheets" form, except I'm wrong because he reached his peak w/r/t Mr. Belvedere some time ago. I was just riffing on that because I honestly don't remember much about Mr. Belvedere beyond that it/he exists and honestly did think the Charles in Charge theme song was kind of kinky, not that I particularly had words for that in 1980-whatever.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 7:11 PM
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I think I would find poly (with multiple 'serious' relationships) exhausting, but like Mrs Robinson I've had success with cards-on-the-table monogamish / open relationships, particularly on a couple of occasions when long-distance was unavoidable and we didn't want to break up.

I personally believe that a solid majority of long-distance relationships that survive are non-monogamous, on at least one side. So for me the question becomes 'are we going to talk about this stuff explicitly or not?'


Posted by: president bird (he's the president) | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 7:18 PM
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(Probably an even larger majority of those that don't, now I come to think of it)


Posted by: president bird (he's the president) | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 7:22 PM
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I was alleging that Mister Smearcase is fond of the "x in the streets, y in the sheets" form, except I'm wrong because he reached his peak w/r/t Mr. Belvedere some time ago

Oh, I guess my problem, then, is in not having any idea that the formula and Mr. Belvedere were in any way related.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 7:30 PM
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I really really really hope that president bird's pseudonym is a reference to Three Word Phrase.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 7:31 PM
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122: wheee


Posted by: president bird (he's the president) | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 7:35 PM
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yessssssss


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 7:37 PM
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122-124 could be the beginning of a beautiful open relationship if you two love the blog as much as you love Three Word Phrase.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 7:42 PM
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I feel like seeing someone on the side for a bit during the long-distance interregnum of a long-distance relationship is pretty different than polyamory. But this may be because I've never figured out how anyone could do a long distance relationship in the first place so it seems like a reasonably legit exception born of practicality and resignation, like basically saying yeah we'll commit to trying to pick this thing up later.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 7:42 PM
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That was supposed to be "like basically saying yeah we'll commit to trying to pick this thing up later, but in the meantime, sure, I guess you can fuck the bird."


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 7:43 PM
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127: That's the president bird to you


Posted by: president bird (he's the president) | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 7:50 PM
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126/7: but yes I agree on both points: that they're different things, or at very different places on a spectrum - I was responding more to Mrs. Robinson's 52 than the OP - and that long-distance relationships should be avoided if at all possible, and if not require some degree of realism about human nature.


Posted by: president bird (he's the president) | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 7:57 PM
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I don't know what 122 was about but I have a basic grasp of the concept of Mr. Belveder and the Charles in Charge theme song.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 8:21 PM
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Three Word Phrase is an excellent if no longer often updated webcomic. It has a recurring character named president bird, who is a bird and is also the president of the US.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 8:22 PM
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This has come up in the past, with then-Bitch arguing on behalf of her self-described happy, open marriage.

I'm sure there's plenty in TFA, but there's even more over at the temporarily-open-to-the-public Bitch, Ph.D. archive. I started reading it during my divorce (well, before it was apparent to me that it was a divorce, when it looked like some kind of liberalization might help) and it was quite the trip. There's a greatest-hits column halfway down on the right.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 8:23 PM
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Heebie's description of bad open relationships in the OP is precisely what I was talking about in that parenthetical above.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 8:24 PM
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Thank you, neb.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-15 8:25 PM
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I wonder if any Muslim comics do a joke along the lines of: My wife and I have an open relationship. I let her go out of the house.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:28 AM
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"I miss my ex-wife, but my aim is improving thanks to all this new training from ISIS."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:31 AM
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113 was, indeed, not by me, but it is cute. I'd either never learned or forgotten the definition of 'aleatoric', so hey, bonus.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:30 AM
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My wife and I have an open relationship. She lets me marry other people, and I let her go out of the house.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:31 AM
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Lee and I had a good conversation by text today about what she wants out of the relationship and how long I'm willing to try the version where she tries harder, but I have to ask if there's some standard neg line about how someone could learn to appreciate a person's inner beauty if that person tried a little harder and stopped being so superficial because it can't be a unique sentiment, can it? (And I shouldn't say this because it makes her look awful, right? And yet it's more reassuring for me than knowing she feels that way and not having her admit it, so this is a good step as far as I'm concerned.) Anyway, status quo with her trying a little harder and then we'll check back at the end of June.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:32 AM
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I gotta tell you, Thorn. My biggest regret about ultimatum-ing my ex is that I gave so much time 'til the deadline. The whole interim was an awful assessment of how it was going and was it going to break in my favor and was I being good enough to qualify. There was nothing in that period that couldn't have been settled in a much, much shorter time. Like, a week.

If you are trying to eke out more time for your girls, this is a way to do it. But if you think you are using the time for your own decisionmaking, I'd suggest that you can get the same benefit without waiting until end of June.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:59 AM
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I think if we can have another year, say, that would be better for the girls. If it were just about us, everything would be completely different and we both acknowledge that. But if we can find a way to tolerably live together -- and the next step would be living together without even pretending to be a couple -- that would probably be the best outcome for now. Or things could get great and we'd both be really happy and that would be fine too, but I'm way too tired to imagine that much.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:03 PM
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PLATE OF SHRIMP! I just learned the word "aleatoric" the other day.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:46 PM
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I suppose any relationship, open or otherwise, has a certain degree of aleatoriality.


Posted by: a president | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 3:55 PM
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Ooh, this thread is fascinating. I moved from a community where the few monogamous couples had to be out about it, because I didn't know many people who assumed anyone was monogamous. One of my friends even came out to me just like that about his marriage, that he and his wife didn't sleep with other people, and that he worried that it was a little weird.

Now I (a woman) am in a place where everyone pretends to be monogamous but there is a lot of despair and/or actual cheating, as opposed to genuinely open or polyamorous relationships. I have been pretty open about saying I have a girlfriend, elsewhere, who has a husband, who has boyfriends, so I figured people knew I was not a couple person. Then I started intermittently sleeping with a male colleague about six months ago and our open relationship is confusing the hell out of everyone. Our students want us to just be a couple. Our colleagues want us to just be a couple. Our other attempted relationships are stymied by other people's expectation that we will stop being intimate. (And he was in one case not great at explaining me to another partner, who was pretty surprised to find out she was sharing a bed with me.) We're very much not a couple, and don't have much of a big-deal sexual relationship. We just have way way too much intimacy to call it platonic, and way way too little interest in coupling up.

It is bound to end in some tears, surely, when one of us decides some other person is worth chucking it for, but I think measuring relationship "success" in terms of permanence is a pretty poor standard, given the sorrow people endure to stay together. We're pretty turned on by other people finding one another attractive. The only really anxiety-provoking parts for me are (1) getting stabbed by some girl who thought she was the only one, and (2) our students wanting to play Barbie and Ken with us. I don't give a flying fuck what a bunch of depressed academics in miserable alcoholic death-march marriages think.


Posted by: Not Very Presidential | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:24 PM
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(1) getting stabbed by some girl who thought she was the only one

I would think that would provoke more than just anxiety.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:29 PM
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Maybe that was a metaphorical stabbing, though.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:30 PM
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That's part of the difference between where I live now and where we're both from. I'm really not used to meeting people who assume after two months of casual occasional dating that it's a reasonable schedule for getting pregnant and married. It came as quite a surprise to everyone that she had that expectation.


Posted by: Not Very Presidential | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:34 PM
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Did it come as a surprise that she had a knife? Sorry, I'm still hung up on this stabbing thing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:38 PM
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146, 148: I believe it is a hypothetical or maybe predicted stabbing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:42 PM
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Hypothetical. Someone saw me spend the night after a party when she was out of town and went to her with the dreadful news, and she flew into a rage, demanded to see me, etc.


Posted by: Not Very Presidential | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:44 PM
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Did she have a knife while demanding?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:44 PM
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"Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy.
Here's my knife. Stab you, maybe."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:46 PM
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This is a pretty good song about being stabbed.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:46 PM
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I wasn't there, but I began to suspect. I made out with her about a year ago and quickly realized she was not a good hookup plan due to crazy eyes.


Posted by: Not Very Presidential | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:46 PM
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On a different topic, why would your students know about any of this?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:46 PM
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He and I live a five-minute walk down the same street, on which literally every student we have also lives. People notice us.


Posted by: Not Very Presidential | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:48 PM
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Maybe Not Very Presidential is a language instructor.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:48 PM
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Ha! That *is* how I learned German!


Posted by: Not Very Presidential | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:50 PM
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The other way non-native speakers have learned German usually involves knives.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:06 PM
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Ugh. Yesterday a distant colleague made a catty comment about how apparently I am involved in some "extracurricular activities" (IYKWSMAITYD). Fortunately, she made the catty comment to the two other colleagues who know my marriage is open (and who reported it to me), so very little harm done, but I'm irritated to be the subject of misinformed gossip.

(How did the catty colleague find out? It is a mystery. Perhaps I am not a good secret agent.)


Posted by: a president | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:48 PM
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Maybe your husband hit on her?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:55 PM
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I found out this evening that my relationship is even more open than I'd previously realized, which is interesting and topical, I guess.


Posted by: A Different First Lady | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:08 PM
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Did you need to borrow the open-relationship knife?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:11 PM
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Turns out I'd guessed right that I'm not the type for jealousy or knives.


Posted by: A Different First Lady | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:14 PM
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That's good, because if I'm making the obvious guess correctly, the open-relationship knife is way out in the middle of nowhere.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:18 PM
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If only this country had high-speed rail.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:27 PM
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We all have terrible psueds in this thread.

Madam First Lady, what happened?


Posted by: a president | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:28 PM
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Oh, the details are not really mine to disclose and I'm not sure I was supposed to find out in the first place. Thwarted true love, that sort of thing, making a certain amount of previous weirdness make more sense.


Posted by: A Different First Lady | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:33 PM
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168

Does your open relationship allow for emotional relationships? Do you have a deal that you don't tell each other? I think I would have a hard time knowing Mr. R was in unrequited love that he'd actively pursued and failed. I also don't think I could handle Mr. R keeping sexual exploits from me.

Before I was with Mr. R I was in an open relationship with someone who was also a serial philanderer. A few people who knew about both blamed me for his cheating by saying he was probably confused, or basically asked how cheating could occur if the relationship was open. I found it frustrating and judgey, especially coming from people who should have known better.

Thorn,

At one point you talked about splitting your house up into two apartments? Would that still be doable? That would make living together as a not-couple easier. Obviously you need to do what you need to do, but IME it's easy to normalize all the crap in a dysfunctional relationship, especially after you've forgotten what a good relationship looks like, and then when you get out you wonder why you'd put up with it for so long.


Posted by: Mrs. Robinson | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 8:48 AM
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169.2: Yes, the relationship getting a tiny bit better has made me realize how absolutely horrible it had been. Like, my counterargument was "If you don't succeed at staying home at least 25% of the evenings in the next month, we need to say that counts as failing to be an active parent and partner."

But the next step toward officially separate lives would almost definitely be one of us moving up to the third floor or something like that. (The problem there is that it makes more sense to have me be the one to do it since my room upstairs already has a bed, but I'm the one who typically deals with nighttime wakeups. I guess I could use baby monitors and go up and down the stairs a lot.) I just got us on a shared family calendar app, which should help in any outcome.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 8:57 AM
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Is it better for one's partner to unrequitedly and inactively love another, or to be physically but not emotionally intimate with another? GO.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 9:54 AM
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171: Why not one of each? No one should have to choose.


Posted by: Not Very Presidential | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 9:57 AM
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The premise of the question is that it's a forced choice. I know, in real life it could be both (or neither!) or multiples of either.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 10:10 AM
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171: And is what you'd want for your partner the same as what you'd want for yourself?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 10:16 AM
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If the partner's feelings for me are unwavering, the unrequited love seems preferable for me but sad for them, possibly sad enough that I would altruistically pick the physical relationship because I want them to be happy. This is a weird-ass question.

||
I have still made no headway on fostering close same-sex friendships. I am still really sad and hopeless about it. Granted, I'm in a mopey rut.
|>

Thorn, sorry about all the trauma and sorrow of your last couple of updates. I hope it all moves in the hoped-for constructive directions.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 10:24 AM
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If only this country had high-speed rail.

Was it you that posted the article about this at the other place? I read it later and felt even mopier than usual and then re-posted it.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 10:27 AM
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175.1: Unsurprisingly, I'd also go with having a happy partner over an unhappy one.

175.2: Ditto ditto ditto. I'm sorry you are stuck like that and have no advice at all.

175.3: Really, I'm fine emotionally. I'm much better now than I've been for the last few mopey months. Possibly that's the painkillers talking, but they're not even good painkillers so I doubt it.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 10:28 AM
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"If the partner's feelings for me are unwavering, the unrequited love seems preferable for me but sad for them, possibly sad enough that I would altruistically pick the physical relationship because I want them to be happy. This is a weird-ass question."

I completely understand this reasoning, and I suspect some version of it is behind the BH's and my mutual support of, amusement by and appreciation for evidence that each of us continues to be attractive to third parties, because it seems reassuring that if something happened to one of us the other one wouldn't be alone. We both feel very strongly that in the event one of us died the other should be happily repartnered as prontoish as the survivor is inclined.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 10:33 AM
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I don't understand how you can unrequitedly love one another.


Posted by: Not Very Presidential | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 10:46 AM
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Extremely poor communication.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 10:47 AM
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Who's talked about unrequitedly lovign one another?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 10:51 AM
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I think I rewrote this question in my mind to be about a choice between total emotional intimacy and total sexual intimacy, with no possibility of the other in each. That is in itself somewhat silly, since really total emotional intimacy is in some sense at least erotic, and total sexual intimacy in some sense creates familiarity. I've lived most of my life with access to sex without much access to love, and now have vast resources of love with minimal access to sex, and each is actually pretty good in its own way. I prefer to have both, and don't mind if it's not all in the same person.


Posted by: Not Very Presidential | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 10:51 AM
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171: "Is it better for one's partner to unrequitedly and inactively love another"


Posted by: Not Very Presidential | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 10:51 AM
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"another", as in, "not oneself", as in, here I am, and here's my partner B, and B unrequitedly loves another, C.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 10:52 AM
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179: "I think we're just gonna have to be secretly in love with each other and leave it at that, Richie."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 10:53 AM
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Ohhhhhh. The latter is better. I really don't mind if my partners fuck other people as long as they love me most.


Posted by: Not Very Presidential | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 10:53 AM
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What's your metric for that?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:05 AM
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Howard Jones wanted me to ask that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:11 AM
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The grit scale.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:12 AM
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I'm with 186. Physical intimacy isn't anywhere near as threatening to me as emotional intimacy.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:15 AM
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Was it you that posted the article about this

Almost. A friend posted it and I commented on it (while riding on Amtrak).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:19 AM
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Baring some kind of geographical or medical issue, I'd think that who you fuck the most would be a very good proxy measure for who you love the most. R^2 of .8 or so.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:22 AM
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192: Moby is a behaviorist.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:29 AM
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I'm just trying to get a metric that can be measured.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:38 AM
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There's a pretty significant difference between "partner feels unrequited love for someone else" and "partner feels that that person and not you is actually their true love." I think most people regard the latter as a deal-breaker. I am in theory fine with a partner loving someone else but feeling that I am still, even by a small margin, the best choice, or at worst an equally good choice. I don't think love is necessarily zero sum. (You may now make as many elasticity jokes about sex as you wish.)


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:39 AM
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We could count number of times you've felt like reaching for the open-relationship knife.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:40 AM
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I am in theory fine with a partner loving someone else but feeling that I am still, even by a small margin, the best choice, or at worst an equally good choice.

"By a very small preponderance of the evidence, I thee wed"


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:41 AM
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You may now make as many elasticity jokes about sex as will fit


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:42 AM
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197: The preponderance of the evidence is, in essence, a probabilistic standard about how certain you are about who they love more. Being loved just a small bit more, but being certain about that small bit, would be different.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:44 AM
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You're right. "Because I love you a teeeeeeency bit more than Amanda Jenkins, or at least no less than Amanda Jenkins, I thee wed."


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:46 AM
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It's sort of what I do for a living.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:51 AM
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201: You're a hooker?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:54 AM
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Absolute probability of greater love is going to be difficult to calculate. How about a log-odds approach, that should be simpler.

Love comes in different varieties and those are hard to compare. Thrilling and intense is different than reassuring and constant.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 11:57 AM
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202: Owner of a wedding chapel.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 12:02 PM
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204: I was close.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 12:04 PM
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A very disappointing number of elasticity jokes.

Anyway, silliness aside, it seems like the serious answer depends 100% on how your partner acts and feels and 0% on the scenario as such. nosflow, do you see it differently?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 12:17 PM
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205: There's a sign out front that says, "If they think you're too good to be true, seal the deal before they have time to form an accurate impression of you."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 12:19 PM
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nosflow, do you see it differently?

I suppose not! But I thought it might prompt more back-and-forth than it did.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 12:37 PM
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169.1: I don't think I can say much more without revealing my identity, if I haven't already. I don't know how common it is to have an ongoing relationship with someone where there isn't emotional intimacy of some sort, so I assume that goes with the territory.


Posted by: A Different First Lady | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 12:49 PM
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194

It's very important for evidence based standards on these things so we know how to punish motivate spouses not meeting objective requirements. Love smarter, not harder.


Posted by: No Spouse Left Behind act | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 1:00 PM
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I'd only marry someone if I can irrationally convince myself that they couldn't possibly love anyone else as much as they love me because I'm so perfect for them in every way.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 1:39 PM
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I've had several conversations at munches over the past few years with people who are, or have been, in poly relationships, for some degree of poly (quite a few are more "monogamish," as noted above). I've seen that as one of the possible endpoints of my own situation, if my wife was ever willing to consider it. I think I would tend towards the "monogamish" end of the spectrum, though. I don't want to leave at this point, and I doubt if I have the time or energy to carry on a full-time outside relationship, but I would like to be able to play at least occasionally with partners who are into things I want that my wife doesn't want to do.

I've heard from a bunch of people - some in a primary relationship, some who are or were the third party in an arrangement. Some seem to have worked out well as far as I can tell, some have had issues, some have been sort of ok, but have left one or more parties feeling frustrated or jealous. I've only rarely had the chance to talk with both members of a primary couple, so I don't always know if I've gotten the full story. I haven't heard about any major fiascos so far, although I've just run across this book review, which sounds like maybe something I should read.


Posted by: EDguy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 6:31 PM
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I've had several conversations at munches over the past few years with people who are, or have been, in poly relationships, for some degree of poly (quite a few are more "monogamish," as noted above). I've seen that as one of the possible endpoints of my own situation, if my wife was ever willing to consider it. I think I would tend towards the "monogamish" end of the spectrum, though. I don't want to leave at this point, and I doubt if I have the time or energy to carry on a full-time outside relationship, but I would like to be able to play at least occasionally with partners who are into things I want that my wife doesn't want to do.

I've heard from a bunch of people - some in a primary relationship, some who are or were the third party in an arrangement. Some seem to have worked out well as far as I can tell, some have had issues, some have been sort of ok, but have left one or more parties feeling frustrated or jealous. I've only rarely had the chance to talk with both members of a primary couple, so I don't always know if I've gotten the full story. I haven't heard about any major fiascos so far, although I've just run across this book review, which sounds like maybe something I should read.


Posted by: EDguy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 6:32 PM
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I've had several conversations at munches over the past few years with people who are, or have been, in poly relationships, for some degree of poly (quite a few are more "monogamish," as noted above). I've seen that as one of the possible endpoints of my own situation, if my wife was ever willing to consider it. I think I would tend towards the "monogamish" end of the spectrum, though. I don't want to leave at this point, and I doubt if I have the time or energy to carry on a full-time outside relationship, but I would like to be able to play at least occasionally with partners who are into things I want that my wife doesn't want to do.

I've heard from a bunch of people - some in a primary relationship, some who are or were the third party in an arrangement. Some seem to have worked out well as far as I can tell, some have had issues, some have been sort of ok, but have left one or more parties feeling frustrated or jealous. I've only rarely had the chance to talk with both members of a primary couple, so I don't always know if I've gotten the full story. I haven't heard about any major fiascos so far, although I've just run across this book review, which sounds like maybe something I should read.


Posted by: EDguy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 6:32 PM
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Crappy browser not responding to Post button - sorry about the duplicate.


Posted by: EDguy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 6:33 PM
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(Sorry for posting on such an old thread, but my logistics for posting on online forums are not ideal)

I have a situation that I think could be helped by an OR of some sort. To wit:

1. I've been together for two years with someone who I met studying abroad two and a half years ago. I have since landed a good job in a developing country, and she moved here to be with me.
2. The relationship, while not without difficulties, is good, and most problems we have ironed out.
3. The one problem and it may well only be a problem for me, that hasn't been ironed out, is the sex life. First it was problem of the frequency of intercourse decreasing while my sexual appetite did not. Since, it has become a case of me just not wanting it so much anymore (with her). It is also a case of me not seeing my future sex life limited to just the little sex I can get with her, an, and only the kind of sex I can get with her.
4. Otherwise the relationship is golden, we are very much partners in crime and can seem to live together with no major problems. I very much enjoy her company all the time, am comfortable being perceived as part of a couple for all practical purposes, and can envision having a family with her (although here we disagree on the timing, we're both the same age but she wants to have children a lot sooner than I think I'll be ready to).
5. It would seem that my options are to end the relationship or to be very miserable for a long time without her, or
6. To suggest an open relationship. Mostly in terms of sex, not necessarily polyandrous.

The breaking up option is not my first, and its difficulty is also compounded by the fact that she came here to live with me and then oh what a jerk I am and she'll hate me forever. The second one may be doable, as she has agreed with me that she doesn't find it reasonable for two persons to have only one sex partner for the rest of their lives, unless of course the rest of their lives is a very short period of time.

As I said, I think an OR could help solve the problem. I'm just curious about what people here think and how exactly one goes about suggesting this without offending the other party.


Posted by: Someotherguy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 7:22 PM
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I have not known many people in open relationships only used by one party that are very happy. If one person is going out and getting sexual needs met elsewhere, and the other person doesn't have sexual needs beyond the partner, it can end up feeling (I hear) pretty shitty, even if it makes logistical sense. It seems like a way to limp along for the kids, and if there aren't kids, then, you know, be friends instead. Or roommates. Maybe you'd be great roommates. I really really have loved my roommates a lot.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 7:42 PM
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I let on to my spouse, who denied all knowledge, that I knew about the crush on Madame X, though I know more. I think the fancy Mother's Day gift is an admission of guilt. Being able to talk openly would be much better than jewelry in my opinion, but I'm not the only one who gets a vote.


Posted by: A Different First Lady | Link to this comment | 05-10-15 5:49 AM
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Your spouse and a Madam X combined can outvote you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-15 6:52 AM
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And probably outwrestle.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-10-15 7:26 AM
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Does a Madame outrank a Madam?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-15 7:28 AM
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||

This is probably the best thread to drop this in. Yesterday I saw the most TRO car ever outside of a Pagani Huayra or maybe Steve McQueen's '68 Ford Mustang GT from Bullit. It was a completely tricked out mint El Camino, or El Camino type car/pickup with a towing hook mounted in the bed and airbrushed all over. On the side it said "Little Hooker" and there was some kind of weird large rectangular box configuration on the hood with a large airbrushed picture of same.

|>


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-10-15 8:02 AM
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some kind of weird large rectangular box configuration on the hood

"Air intake."

218: I'm imagining the Kobe diamond.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-10-15 8:36 AM
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A muscle car's like a fine old red wine -- it's gotta breathe.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-10-15 9:20 AM
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223, 224 Only it wasn't open towards the front of the vehicle. At least it didn't look like it otherwise I would have recognized it as an air intake.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-10-15 10:30 AM
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Some of the Little Hooker El Camino image search results are NSFW.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 05-10-15 10:49 AM
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225: You mean a cowl hood? They make some pretty big ones for the El Caminos.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-10-15 11:04 AM
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At speed, you actually get a higher pressure just in front of the windshield, which is an air dam, than if it faced forward into the wind. That's why the scoop faces "backwards"


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-10-15 11:40 AM
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227 That's it.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-10-15 1:46 PM
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