Author Topic: Open relationships  (Read 2832 times)

Retinend

  • Member
  • **
  • gettit done gettit on gettit done when you do it
    • Goodreads profile
Open relationships
« on: May 15, 2020, 09:23:47 AM »
Apologies for the DM link, but it's an interesting article:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-8321423/Olivia-Fane-stark-warning-tempted-open-marriage.html

Two toffs fall in love at Cambridge in the early 80s. They are bohemian toffs and he gives her a book about his father, the baron, who was also a bohemian toff - who part of the tradition of open marriages amongst the literary intelligentsia. They agree to continue the tradition and as 8 years of marriage go by (producing 2 sons along the way) the rules become pretty codified:

two weeks maximum.
it should take place far from home, preferably abroad.
each of us has the power of veto: we can just say ‘Stop!’
kisses don't count

8 years following the rules didn't stop the baron from falling in love and divorcing her in 1992.

Quote
The first rule was the time limit: two weeks maximum. The second was that the affair should take place far from home, preferably abroad.

The third was that each of us had the power of veto: if we felt even the remotest bit uncomfortable, we could say to the other: ‘Stop!’

And kisses didn’t count. Kisses were just for fun.

These were the rules of my open marriage — rules I followed during the eight years I was with my husband, the writer Adam Nicolson.

And rules that ultimately led to our very painful divorce eight years later.

Of course, anyone reading this will scoff: well, of course it led to divorce. What did she honestly expect?

But to the young 20-something bohemian me — and, it would seem, a surprising number of couples today — it wasn’t obvious at all.

How pleased we were with ourselves, Adam and I. How smug. Only we knew the truth about things: love was for life, sex was for pleasure, fidelity was for the dull.

We’d chat about it, fine-tune it, laugh about it. We would say how alive it made us feel, like the whole world was ours.

I remember looking around me at a railway station, in a lift, in a library and thinking, gleefully: ‘Any one of these men could be my lover, if I wanted.’

I relished that power, that sense of limitless possibility, while feeling safe in my belief that my marriage was indestructible.

Only . . . it didn’t work. Open marriages very seldom do. For all our safeguarding rules and our conviction in our perfect relationship, in the end my husband fell in love with someone else and left me. And it broke my heart.

So it was with some sadness and fascination that I read of the case of Professor Neil Ferguson. Were it not for his embarrassing indiscretion, as the health adviser who helped order the nation into lockdown and then broke the rules by allowing his lover to visit, we would not have known that they were keeping the concept of open marriage very much alive in the UK.

It emerged that he and Antonia Staats, a married mother of two, had an understanding with her husband, Chris. She was free to have a lover — as presumably was he.

The two men even met: Chris is a Cambridge graduate and senior lecturer in Arabic Linguistics at SOAS, and Professor Ferguson an epidemiologist and professor of mathematical biology. They are said to share an interest in data science —among other things.

When the story broke, everyone seemed so outraged, not just by the flouting of the self-solating rules but also for the decadence of their lifestyle.

But how can I wag my finger censoriously at them when they are only enjoying a way of life I was once certain was the ‘right’ one?

While I’m in no position to judge, I fear it’s rather too late to warn them. If Ms Staat’s young children don’t know the true state of their parents’ relationship, they will do soon and they’ll be hurt.

Professor Neil Ferguson's lover Antonia Staats is pictured above   +5
Professor Neil Ferguson's lover Antonia Staats is pictured above

The world as they know it will suddenly crumble. They won’t escape. The world of my three very young sons crumbled, too.

Yet it’s not just the children I care about. They will weather it in the end, and even learn something from it: my own sons are now in their mid-30s, all married, and most certainly monogamous.

It’s Antonia and Chris I care about most. I wonder how they’re faring really. How blithely one enters an open relationship; how bitterly one regrets it.

I met Adam at Cambridge when I was 18. He came from a long line of bohemians; his grandparents were Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West, whose own open marriage was celebrated in their son Nigel’s book Portrait Of A Marriage. Nigel gave me a copy the first time I met him.

Fresh from an Anglican all girls’ boarding school, I was as innocent as can be. My own family background was conservative and conventional. Yet I wasn’t at all shocked.

I read about how his father Harold had taken male lovers, while Vita’s lovers were women. Yet his parents adored each other, and when Vita died in 1962 Harold could scarcely be bothered to go on living.

I think my mother thought this strange family was corrupting me. At one point she said: ‘They’re all homosexual in that family, Olivia! I thought you wanted children?’ But I was in love. And I also thought the Nicolsons were right.

I’d come to the conclusion — as a 16-year-old virgin — that love and sex were totally disparate entities while studying for my English Literature O-level. Our teacher must have been at least 70, blind, fearless, and — as far as we girls were concerned — right about absolutely everything.

One day we were giggling over the phrase ‘make love’ in Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice. ‘The phrase means “to court”,’ our teacher barked.

‘It may come as a surprise to you lot to know that the word “love” once pertained to the human spirit. Now it seems to be about “fancying” someone.’

Suddenly, it all made sense. At school dances I’d always been drawn to the good-looking boys, not to the ones who were clever and had something to say for themselves — boys I could grow to love.

I began to think of ‘fancying’ as a hobby, making a bee-line for the sexiest boy in the room, to see if I could nab him for the slow dance at the end of the evening.

Portrait Of A Marriage, therefore, just confirmed what I thought I already knew. Desire might overwhelm you, obsess you, take over your life, but ultimately it didn’t matter. What mattered was love.

Adam and I made our open contract almost as soon as we started going out together. Both of us enjoyed short-lived flirtations with other people, but nothing serious. Our contract was still firmly in place when we took our vows, at a church wedding in 1982 (the forsaking all others bit we simply parroted on autopilot).

I didn’t feel like a fraud: I loved Adam with all my heart, and thought we’d be married for life.

It was to be three years before our rules would be tested. Adam was in the U.S. researching a book. The phone call came, the permission was sought.

‘Of course!’ I said. ‘Go ahead!’

I never met the other woman; I didn’t even know what she looked like. She was 20 years older than me and married. I didn’t care about her at all. I cared about us.

Adam came home, we congratulated each other on how brilliantly we had handled it and never spoke of her again.

The next affair was mine, four years later. By then, our lives had certainly lost their bohemian edge. I had recently given birth to our third son; our older boys were still under four. Our house smelt of nappies, with toys scattered everywhere.

Perhaps Adam thought: ‘What happened to the girl I married? What happened to that romantic life we envisioned for ourselves?’

Whatever his motives, he suddenly said: ‘You look like you could do with an affair.’

I laughed. I was lying on the sofa in my baggy maternity clothes. ‘You’ve got to be joking,’ I said. ‘Me? An affair?’

‘It would do you good,’ he insisted. ‘You look terribly mumsy, if you don’t mind me saying.’

‘And who exactly would I have an affair with?’ I asked him. ‘Look in your address book,’ he suggested. ‘There must be someone.’ So that’s exactly what I did. I sat on our double bed and searched through my address book looking for a possible lover.

Was I angry with Adam? Not in the slightest. I even thought he was right. I had let myself go. It was time to get my life back.

The man I hit upon was called Peter, someone I’d kissed at university. I remembered an Italian boy, with huge, expressive dark eyes and a swarthy complexion. That very night I rang him. Remarkably, he picked up.

We chatted a while, he told me about his life — he’d married, had a son, separated — and I told him about mine. We arranged to meet in the summer. We could rent a cottage on the Suffolk coast. We both agreed it would be a lot of fun.

I  had four months to prepare for our ‘family holiday’ (we took our boys along, who were around the same age, and far too young to understand what was going on).

I never shared my plans with Adam, though he might have picked up a new lightness in my step, even a new wardrobe (I gleefully put a stop to ‘mumsy’). If he did, he never mentioned it.

Plus, I was obeying the rules. Only a week. Miles from anywhere. Adam could veto it at any stage.

Peter and I had a wonderful time. Walks along the beach hand in hand, sunsets, the full works. And I fell madly in love. But even then I knew, this is only the madness I’ve read about — ‘lovesickness’: a disease, something to be got over so that one could resume normal life.

Yet when Peter confessed at the end of our glorious week that he was in love with a girl in Tuscany, I was surprised by how much it hurt. I never saw him again.

When I came home, Adam and I fell back into our routine. He barely asked about the holiday. I thought obsessively about Peter, I just couldn’t help it. Adam and I had prided each other on never having secrets from each other, but here was one I could never share.

The only aspect of our marriage which didn’t suffer was our sex life. But spiritually, we were drifting apart. We may have been as intimate as ever with our bodies, but no longer with our hearts.

A year later, it was Adam’s turn. He wanted to go skiing with a group of friends. I wasn’t a very good skier, so I agreed to stay at home with the boys. A few days in, there was a phone call. He said he’d met a woman he wanted to sleep with. Was that OK with me?

Yes, of course it was, I said. Only a week, preferably overseas and never to be repeated. Those were the rules.

Only a very different Adam came home. He could barely look me in the eye. He seemed distracted, absent. Then he told me he wanted to see her again. Just once.

This was a flagrant breach of our rules, but I so wanted to please him. I wanted him to come back and say: ‘Thank you! I’ve sorted things out now!’ So I agreed.

But, of course, he didn’t. That’s not how this kind of passion works. He was in love, and I couldn’t bring him back.

For the next nine months we limped along. He stuck to the rules; he didn’t see her, but the atmosphere at home was unbearable.

There wasn’t any nastiness — tempestuous rows and reconciliations I could have coped with — it was the politeness and emptiness that I couldn’t tolerate.

We both knew the marriage was unsustainable.

Eventually he said to me: ‘I have done everything I can to get over this, but it’s no good.’ So he moved out and we divorced on the grounds of his adultery.

Both of us suddenly found ourselves having to grow up at last. Both of us became better parents than ever before. I was determined our foolishness wouldn’t destroy our boys’ lives as it had ours.

I married my second husband, Mark, three years later. We had been undergraduates together: we used to kiss in the library. We’d met again when he’d been training in obstetrics at the hospital where I’d delivered my third child. And he made it quite clear from the outset: he was having none of this open relationship malarkey.

It’s funny to call ‘fidelity’ an adventure, but that’s how it felt. His body and soul belonged to me, and my body and soul belonged to him, and neither of us has strayed.

Adam went on to marry his skiing holiday fling, and they’ve stuck together very happily.

All four of us meet up at our sons’ weddings and there are regular phone calls, too. I would like to think of us as friends.

For years I wanted Adam to confess he had made a mistake, but he never has.

‘Being married to you was like being married to air, to fire,’ he once explained to me. ‘I needed to be with someone whose feet are firmly planted on the ground.’

Perhaps we wouldn’t have lasted the course even if we had been faithful to one another. We shall never know.

I’ve been married to Mark for 27 years, and what I’ve learned is that fidelity is more important than sex. We have this idea in our society that you have to be permanently thrilled — and if you’re not, something must be wrong.

If your sex life isn’t sparkling and ever new, it must mean it’s time for a new partner.

But married sex is just different. The media forever tells us we have to ‘spice it up’, as though the very love you have for each other depends on it, but the truth is very different.

Marriages require openness, honesty, mutual respect and affection. Sex is simply part of that package, and a good part, too. You may not get the goose-bumps of an illicit encounter, but something infinitely richer and longer-lasting.

In fact, I only really understood what a wonderful thing a marriage is, a family is, when I lost them first time round. I feel so lucky to have been given a second chance.

Olivia Fane is the author of Why Sex Doesn’t Matter, published by Mensch in hardback and as an e-book.


Obviously the DM would have you believe this can't work out. Maybe it can work out, but not when your husband is an academic rockstar. Any sort of fame distorts the bare question of whether open relationships do in fact usually work out. Do you guys have any direct experiences of open relationships, or know people who have? I know someone who is very loudly this way inclined, but she is young and I'm not (pushing 30) and so I can't help but feel it is just a youthful phase. You don't see OAPs hanging around à trois (ou quatre). edit: I'm mixing up open marriages and polyamory there, come to think of it, but the point stands

phes

  • Member
  • **
  • operating as a shape
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2020, 09:49:20 AM »
What is a relationship that works out? I guess the answer is that one of you dies.

Paul Calf

  • LOTION MAN
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • วชิราลงกรณ์คนงี่เง่าแห่งฆาตกร
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2020, 09:53:44 AM »
* Daily Mail publishes article documenting how a non-traditional relationship has fallen apart.

* Readers tut loudly while masturbating and secretly resenting their life choices.

* Nothing changes.

Buelligan

  • STOP being afraid
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2020, 10:13:11 AM »
I didn't read anywhere near to the end, it, kind of, irritated me. But

Quote from: that article in that disgusting rag
So it was with some sadness and fascination that I read of the case of Professor Neil Ferguson. Were it not for his embarrassing indiscretion, as the health adviser who helped order the nation into lockdown and then broke the rules by allowing his lover to visit, we would not have known that they were keeping the concept of open marriage very much alive in the UK.
...
When the story broke, everyone seemed so outraged, not just by the flouting of the self-solating rules but also for the decadence of their lifestyle.

Quote from: another article in that disgusting rag
So how many children does that make Boris? Mystery STILL surrounds the Prime Minister's number of sons and daughters (with even Wikipedia guessing at 'five or six')

You can't play a game if there are no rules.  It's not a game then.  Anyone who treats other peoples' emotional wellbeing as not particularly relevant, something to be traded for ones own pleasure, be they bohemian toffs, intellectual idiots or overgrown privileged children, are also probably narcissists.  Don't marry them, it's terrible, worse than terrible, to be married to a narcissist whether the marriage is open or not.

Stay free of them, take them as lovers if you like but don't marry a narcissist.  And never buy the fucking Daily Mail, it's morally bankrupt.


Johnny Yesno

  • Perfume of a critic's burning flesh
    • Lines Horizontal
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2020, 10:15:29 AM »
* Daily Mail publishes article documenting how a non-traditional relationship has fallen apart.

* Readers tut loudly while masturbating and secretly resenting their life choices.

* Nothing changes.

* DM finds an excuse to mention Neil Ferguson again

phes

  • Member
  • **
  • operating as a shape
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2020, 10:33:57 AM »
Apologies for the DM link, but it's an interesting article:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-8321423/Olivia-Fane-stark-warning-tempted-open-marriage.html

Two toffs fall in love at Cambridge in the early 80s. They are bohemian toffs and he gives her a book about his father, the baron, who was also a bohemian toff - who part of the tradition of open marriages amongst the literary intelligentsia. They agree to continue the tradition and as 8 years of marriage go by (producing 2 sons along the way) the rules become pretty codified:

two weeks maximum.
it should take place far from home, preferably abroad.
each of us has the power of veto: we can just say ‘Stop!’
kisses don't count

8 years following the rules didn't stop the baron from falling in love and divorcing her in 1992.


Obviously the DM would have you believe this can't work out. Maybe it can work out, but not when your husband is an academic rockstar. Any sort of fame distorts the bare question of whether open relationships do in fact usually work out. Do you guys have any direct experiences of open relationships, or know people who have? I know someone who is very loudly this way inclined, but she is young and I'm not (pushing 30) and so I can't help but feel it is just a youthful phase. You don't see OAPs hanging around à trois (ou quatre). edit: I'm mixing up open marriages and polyamory there, come to think of it, but the point stands

This is something I think about often (background - been relatively happy living solo poly for 3 years with a couple of false starts in the past). The impression that I get is that it will become harder to find like minds as I age, though I have formed this idea through observing the relationship choices of the previous generation, who appear more conservative than the younger folks that I know. Maybe things will play out differently with my generation and those younger than myself, but still within an age range that I am likely to date. If polyamory does appear as a youthful phase, why? All of the maturity milestones that people pass, marriage, home ownership, children, family integration etc all have social and institutional frameworks that favour heteronormative, monogamous approaches and if you are going to try to exist in mainstream society then a polyamorist is going to face a compounding level of complexity, pressure to conform and exclusion as time passes. Practical aspects? The people I know with children largely don't have time to take a shit, let alone to seek out and develop new relationships. Anecdotally, people seem far more concerned about the risk of loneliness in old age, and of dying alone. Seems logical, on average the pool of people from which you can find friendship, sex and romance must get smaller as we reach old age. So mounting social pressures, practical constraints and the desire for security in old age seem the most likely things to contribute to polyamory appearing as 'youthful'.

Blue Jam

  • From the mind of Ricky Gervais
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2020, 10:52:42 AM »
What is a relationship that works out? I guess the answer is that one of you dies.

Hallmark cards consider rewrite

Re: Open relationships
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2020, 10:55:58 AM »
I remember a few years back, in my last dalliance with online dating, seeing a fair number of women who classified themselves as "poly". And while I'm fine with people doing what they wish with consenting adults, my main feeling was "who the fuck has time and/or energy for  that?". I am incredibly lazy/unmotivated, though, which explains my somewhat lousy relationship history until more recent times. 

It did seem, though, that as I left my 20s and toddled through my mid 30s, that my options in terms of dating got better. I lived alone in my own flat, had a job that paid well enough so I had disposable income to do stuff and (perhaps most importantly) no kids. The flipside was that I was so emotionally jaded that I was incapable of lasting more than a few weeks with anyone until I got bored until a one-in-a-million chance sort of shocked me out of that mindset.

If not for that, I was fairly accepting of growing older on my lonesome. I'd lived alone most of my adult life and always enjoyed the freedom it brought - even when dating, I was always a "Friday/Saturday, one night in the week" type. More than that, and I felt a bit constrained, so the idea of juggling two people just seemed a bit absurd. Good luck to anyone for whom it works.

DolphinFace

  • Put it in me
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2020, 11:38:49 AM »
There were a small group of people I used to know who were all shagging each other, while at the same time in 'relationships'. All I observed was a lot of jealousy. And I heard stories of revenge sex. Anecdotal maybe, but it did leave me wondering how it all worked. I used to wonder why if people found it so easy to meet and have sex, why bother with the relationship?

Re: Open relationships
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2020, 12:08:06 PM »
I've known a few people who're in open relationships or self-described poly. It seems to work best if you're travelling a lot (e.g. actors, musicians, comedians - Kate Smurthwaite is a proud advocate of open relationships). As long as it's mainly in faraway places it's straightforward. It does seem to attract people with a strong sense of personal identity and no desire to subsume themselves into another person to form a couple: it's paradoxically a kind of solitary thing. It also requires quite a lot of personal discipline and control of your feelings, whether love or jealousy.

There are lots of obvious problems - if you're dating/shagging lots of people you're more likely to fall in love with someone else, and it adds additional instability and tension. There's who to bring as your +1 to events. A long-lasting poly relationship is even harder. Kids, intolerance, problems with bureaucracy - no chance at navigating social security, a pension, or death benefits - it's not surprising it falls apart as people become older, more settled, more worried about financial security. And then there's cases where one partner is more into it than another. Poly/open-relationship-seeking people I've known have often found themselves falling for someone who really didn't want the same, and they've often compromised (which often hasn't worked long-term). With 3 or more in a polyamorous household, the options for tension and differences multiply.

I think it's fun for a while, with divorced women seemingly one of the groups most in favour (in my experience at least), and more popular with people who don't want any (more) kids. If you're not looking for a serious long-term thing, and want to stay on your own in control of your own life, it can be great, but you shouldn't expect it'll last forever.

Tony Tony Tony

  • CaB Worm Charming Runner Up 2018-2020
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2020, 12:09:13 PM »
A few years ago my wife was an antenatal teacher, which involved lecturing pregnant women and their partners on the 'approved' method of popping out a baby and the aftercare thereof. (I won't name the exact organisation but their attitude to feeding led to the nickname The Breastazi) Many of her course attendees were of the same ilk i.e. entitled, opinionated and middle class except one particular 'thruple'... yes it is a thing, being a female cohabiting with two guys. During the classes it was clear that they were unaware as to who was the biological father which meant that she was either entertaining them separately on a regular basis or even at the same time. I would often help my wife tidy up whatever drafty village hall the class had been held in once completed and some of the group would still be around. Before she even told me about their odd living arrangement I got an odd vibe off the three as they seemed unconventional in dress sense, hair styles, and matters of personal hygiene. Although we moved away from the area they were still holding it together as a thruple after the birth when it became obvious, if only on looks, as to who was the Daddy.                 

phes

  • Member
  • **
  • operating as a shape
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2020, 12:29:29 PM »
I've known a few people who're in open relationships or self-described poly. It seems to work best if you're travelling a lot (e.g. actors, musicians, comedians - Kate Smurthwaite is a proud advocate of open relationships). As long as it's mainly in faraway places it's straightforward. It does seem to attract people with a strong sense of personal identity and no desire to subsume themselves into another person to form a couple: it's paradoxically a kind of solitary thing. It also requires quite a lot of personal discipline and control of your feelings, whether love or jealousy.

There are lots of obvious problems - if you're dating/shagging lots of people you're more likely to fall in love with someone else, and it adds additional instability and tension. There's who to bring as your +1 to events. A long-lasting poly relationship is even harder. Kids, intolerance, problems with bureaucracy - no chance at navigating social security, a pension, or death benefits - it's not surprising it falls apart as people become older, more settled, more worried about financial security. And then there's cases where one partner is more into it than another. Poly/open-relationship-seeking people I've known have often found themselves falling for someone who really didn't want the same, and they've often compromised (which often hasn't worked long-term). With 3 or more in a polyamorous household, the options for tension and differences multiply.

I think it's fun for a while, with divorced women seemingly one of the groups most in favour (in my experience at least), and more popular with people who don't want any (more) kids. If you're not looking for a serious long-term thing, and want to stay on your own in control of your own life, it can be great, but you shouldn't expect it'll last forever.


The thing with multitude of polyamorous set ups and open relationships is that really all they share in common is that they may involve more than two people at some times. The characteristics of those set ups (putting aside the character of those involved) are so different that problems encountered may be common in one type of set-up but not in another. So you end up conflating stuff up like this:

Quote
if you're dating/shagging lots of people you're more likely to fall in love with someone else, and it adds additional instability and tension

which would be less of an issue for a relationship anarchist or solo poly, where stability may not be the goal of those involved

With stuff like this

Quote
There's who to bring as your +1 to events

Which would be less of a problem for someone in an open relationship with a heirarchical structure and rules and boundaries in place to protect that.

I'm not disagreeing with a lot of the points you make, just that it's common when polyamory/open relationships comes up that people want to talk about the problems as inherent to that, instead of the nature of the relationship itself.


Re: Open relationships
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2020, 12:49:53 PM »
In my opinion absolutely no good can come of this.

Re: Open relationships
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2020, 01:12:11 PM »
Somebody shag me!

Re: Open relationships
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2020, 01:13:45 PM »
Just people kidding themselves innit.

Re: Open relationships
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2020, 02:23:20 PM »
There were a small group of people I used to know who were all shagging each other, while at the same time in 'relationships'. All I observed was a lot of jealousy. And I heard stories of revenge sex. Anecdotal maybe, but it did leave me wondering how it all worked. I used to wonder why if people found it so easy to meet and have sex, why bother with the relationship?

I was involved in a toxic scene like that (albeit, not taking part in the shenanigans, although it later turned out that my partner at the time was so for all intents and purposes I might as well have been) and it was thoroughly miserable, a million miles away from the Mail story. The relationships weren't really open, just utterly broken, the "open" moniker added to keep the illusion of normality going long past the point they should have split. Everyone just seemed to be doing things to make their partner jealous or to get back at a friend who'd wronged them by shagging their other half.

Why bother with the relationship? Because not being in a relationship is sadly viewed as failure in society. It stops questions from parents about settling down, it means you always have a plus one to bring to gatherings, plus you can split the rent/mortgage.

Re: Open relationships
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2020, 02:31:10 PM »
I have friends who have made this work up to a point (ie until they realised they couldn't really handle the feelings of jealousy and decided to just be exclusive). But I imagine a partner coming and saying "I think we should try having an open relationship" actually means "I've already met someone I want to get with on the regular but I want to keep you around due to co-dependency/a back-up plan if things go tits up".

Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

  • Le corpse garlique of Hercule Poirot
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2020, 05:30:04 PM »
I have friends who have made this work up to a point (ie until they realised they couldn't really handle the feelings of jealousy and decided to just be exclusive). But I imagine a partner coming and saying "I think we should try having an open relationship" actually means "I've already met someone I want to get with on the regular but I want to keep you around due to co-dependency/a back-up plan if things go tits up".
Judging from advice columns and relationship forums this is definitely a thing that happens. There's even a slogan for it: "Relationship broken -> add more people". It's also something that people who practice ethical polyamory advise others not to do.

Polyamory always strikes me as something that works better as fiction/fantasy, but fair play to the people who make it work. See also "my boyfriend pestered me and pestered me until I agreed to a threesome with another woman, I really enjoyed myself but now he's all mad, wtf?"

kngen

  • Member
  • **
  • Fighting sleep's deathlike grip
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2020, 05:46:10 PM »
Have been in the vicinity of a couple of open relationships, and they both followed the same pattern. One person wanted to shag around, the other agreed but as they were far less outgoing than the dedicated shagger, they never really got to exercise their rights, too. It was clear that it was just a free pass for the extrovert, which their homebody partner had to endure. Until the latter, to their surprise, copped off with someone else while on a trip overseas. In both cases, the previously 'hey, it's just sex' free-loving libertine in the relationship was then consumed by jealousy, and the relationship fell apart soon after.

A tale as old as time ...

All Surrogate

  • That wo is me, pore child, for thee
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2020, 06:04:02 PM »

phes

  • Member
  • **
  • operating as a shape
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2020, 06:04:32 PM »
Polyamory always strikes me as something that works better as fiction/fantasy

Polyamory and open relationships are on a hiding to nothing. Probably 90% of criticisms that are levelled at it as a concept can also be levelled at monogamy. Such as this one.

One of the reasons that everyone has a story to tell about their loudmouth friends who believe they've found The Key to Relationship Enlightenment, or about that group of people getting it all horribly wrong is because so many unremarkable polyamorists have learned that talking with monogamists about their relationship/s predictably leads directly into a mentally-wearing critique of non-monogamy and their life choices. And a barrage of examples of how badly it goes. If every time a friend brought up relationship issues I veered off into musings about how monogamy isn't for the long-haul because almost every single monogamous relationship fails to endure, or about how monogamy is so fraught with control issues that it's doomed to result in their misery, then I doubt that person bother to bring it up again. Sure, monogamy and non-monogamy are different, but they're not all that different.

Dewt

  • The Fun House Grand Prix
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2020, 06:17:59 PM »
I cannot tolerate the formality of it all. It being a lifestyle and an identity and ugh. Can't even have sex without writing up some kind of contract.

Very often it's all driven by an imbalanced power dynamic. Usually men who wouldn't be able to have promiscuous sex outside of this construct with women who have been damaged by other men and will settle for any situation where they are wanted and ostensibly treated well, even if not realistically. Obviously not always the case and not always with that gender balance, but very fucking often.

I think open relationships happen organically sometimes and are fine, and I think a lot of normal people go through a period of their lives with something that technically resembles polyamory but without it being identified as such because they're not freaks, they're just fucking around a bit. I would run a fucking mile from any who adopt the lifestyle.

Here's a relevant song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTsdKycVZZ4

phes

  • Member
  • **
  • operating as a shape
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2020, 07:53:25 PM »
It being a lifestyle and an identity and ugh.

Polyamory is still characterised by secrecy and invisibility, the opposite of visibly flaunting a lifestyle and identity.

Quote
I cannot tolerate the formality of it all....Can't even have sex without writing up some kind of contract.

Like, marriage? Some polyamorists have lots of rules, some have almost none.

Quote
Very often it's all driven by an imbalanced power dynamic. Usually men who wouldn't be able to have promiscuous sex outside of this construct with women who have been damaged by other men and will settle for any situation where they are wanted and ostensibly treated well, even if not realistically. Obviously not always the case and not always with that gender balance, but very fucking often.

You're right, it's obviously not always the case. A majority of polyamorous relationships involve LGBTQ people. You are zoning in on and exaggerating a specific kind of gendered, exploitative and arguably abusive minority behaviours that can be found in any type of relationship

Quote
I think open relationships happen organically sometimes and are fine

Good for you

Quote
and I think a lot of normal people go through a period of their lives with something that technically resembles polyamory but without it being identified as such because they're not freaks, they're just fucking around a bit. I would run a fucking mile from any who adopt the lifestyle

hateful mumsnet fodder


Dewt

  • The Fun House Grand Prix
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2020, 08:23:57 PM »
Well I guess I just don't know the same quiet, non-sociopathic buddyfuckers that you're so familiar with phes. Due to them being quiet. It's probably unnecessary to defend them with the same tone you'd reserve for an oppressed societal grouping especially when they're clearly not the subject of my post, but it seems like you enjoyed yourself and that's the important thing.

Not criticising the actions, just the making a thing of it and the clearly visible abusers that latch on to it all. If your point is that actually most don't make a thing out of it then there's nothing to defend.

I like your optimism in imagining I would bother to defend the sanctity of marriage though!

Re: Open relationships
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2020, 08:27:22 PM »
We all snigger at mormons, lest we forget

Re: Open relationships
« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2020, 08:32:43 PM »
People in open relationships are sociopathic?

Dewt

  • The Fun House Grand Prix
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2020, 08:33:13 PM »
Do you not understand subsets

I think open relationships happen organically sometimes and are fine, and I think a lot of normal people go through a period of their lives with something that technically resembles polyamory but without it being identified as such because they're not freaks, they're just fucking around a bit. I would run a fucking mile from any who adopt the lifestyle.

You are defending a set of people who only exist by the criteria that they are the worst aspect of something and not its totality. Why would you do that other than your pecker being on fire? Has your pecker caught on fire?

Shoulders?-Stomach!

  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • I meet the minimum width requirements.
    • http://jackanderton.jamendo.net/
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2020, 08:34:41 PM »
There's a practical fact which is that the more time you consciously make yourself available and see an open relationship as an opportunity to meet new people, the more and more likely it is that you will meet someone who feels 'better' than the person you're in the relationship with.

People in conventional relationships still meet people of course and there is always cheating going on whichever type of relationship you're in. Perhaps open relationships are judged overly harshly when you consider the level of dysfunction is already quite high in the vanilla type.

chveik

  • DON'T GET THAT COVID, YEAH?
Re: Open relationships
« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2020, 08:35:43 PM »
imagine having a lifestyle and an identity! absolute madness

Re: Open relationships
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2020, 08:37:20 PM »
Do you not understand subsets

You are defending a set of people who only exist by the criteria that they are the worst aspect of something and not its totality. Why would you do that other than your pecker being on fire? Has your pecker caught on fire?

R numbers and subsets, we're all experts now

Tags: