On Facebook, I am listed as being in an ‘Open Relationship’ with Kirsty. It’s something we are still figuring out, and it may change in the future. I’ve had some brief conversations with friends and family but really, what does it mean?
Ultimately, that’s a question I can’t yet answer and, knowing that relationships evolve I’m not sure I ever will. However, I’m lucky enough to know some people involved in a polyamorous relationship and they, and other people in similar circumstances, are writing some fascinating posts.
The series is called Poly Means Many (http://www.polymeansmany.com/) and is picking apart the misconceptions and misunderstandings around what these relationships are about.
Since my divorce, the whole concept of what a relationship means to me has changed (I guess it was changing whilst I was in that relationship but I didn’t recognise it at the time). One aspect of a polyamorous relationship which, and this is the best way I can describe it, just ‘feels’ right and sits well with me, is that, simply, it’s not monogamy. The notion that one person, one relationship is going to meet every need, every desire, and every circumstantial want just seems a bit weird.
Don’t get me wrong, I know many people who are monogamous and seem happy to be so. I know that for many years it was all I needed but equally, when I started challenging my own feelings about my relationship it was then I realised that something, somewhere, was lacking. It wasn’t so much the feeling of missing out, just that something wasn’t right.
When Kirsty and I first got together, she too was out of a long term relationship and it was her that first broached the topic of trying an open, polyamorous relationship. We talked about it at some length (and still do), and as we have a similar mindset on how it could work for us, we decided to be open (pardon the pun) to opportunities.
Note that I said it ‘could’ work for us, as we are still at the ‘dipping our toes in the water’ stage but, as we are both aware that communication and honesty is the key to any good relationship (both very hard things to get right all the time) then we are both happy that time will tell. Whatever happens, we will talk it through and figure out what to do.
In the meantime, we are absorbing information, processing our own thoughts and emotions, and talking about it all. We’ve both seen other people, and are both happy that a lot of this falls into the category of “we will see”. There are further opportunities that opening this door brings, as some of the people who are also happily non-monogamous are also willing to reject other traditional boundaries or labels.
In that sense, a polyamorous relationship is no harder, or easier, than a monogamous one. If anything, having to confront some things before entering an open relationship has made us stronger. We are aware of some of the pitfalls, and that too has made us stronger, both individually and collectively.
Is it all win-win?
We will see.