Open Relationships - Principles vs Practice.

MindMusic

New member
Hey there everyone,
Please forgive me in advance if I'm in the wrong sub-forum or wrong forum entirely, but I could use some advice. I've often noticed that polys are usually principled folks and masters of time-management and jealousy management... so I thought it might be appropriate to ask my question here.

Some background... My significant other and I (of 6+ years) are in a period of transition in our relationship. Historically we have long been practicing swingers as a couple (ie open swinging) and we have agreed on the principles of polyamory but have never pursued it actively. We have always intended to open our relationship further and trust each other with more freedom and recently we have started doing so. This trust basically means "no rules" short of basic safety (tell me where you are with new partners, condom use, etc.). As such, we have both started dating solo, attempting to develop relationships with other partners. We are principled folks and talk a lot about our relationship direction... as such (and in accordance with principles as we understand them from http://www.morethantwo.com/polytips.html) We tend to make our relationships "descriptive rather than prescriptive", letting the relationships evolve as they want to, rather than trying to force those relationships into a given mold. As such (and since we're both swingers), many of our relationships tend to emphasize friendship and sex, but only because we haven't yet met anyone for whom we've fallen in love with, not because we're opposed to the idea. Hell, I'd be happy to go to dinner with a pretty lady, just for the privilege of seeing her smile... I'm very much a laid back guy that's into letting relationship evolve as they feel right... :)

So that's the background... we've been at this new phase of our relationship for over a month now, and I can already see a pattern emerging. My partner has only to spend 15 minutes on the internet and she has a dozen men that want to take her to dinner and see where things lead... she's beautiful and 30 years old. On the other hand, I'm an attractive, engaging 40-year-old man that looks far younger than his age and has a lot to offer. I'm charming and considerate but after a month of pretty serious attempts at "internet dating" I'm having virtually no response from women, and it's starting to make me feel like a nosferatu... LOL. I'm dealing my best to diffuse and reason away my jealousy, but the more discouraged I get the harder it becomes to do so... I'm still learning and growing as a person after all, and I'm sure not perfect ;) I'm beginning to worry that the principles upon which I try to better myself are leading me to a place that in-real life (where functionality matters too) will leave me in a completely lopsided relationship. I'm not about playing even-stevens, but it's starting to wear me down and get me discouraged. I don't like where the relationship's going... My partner is considerate and asks me if she should slow down, but I don't want to impede her freedom and I don't believe in "rules" (apart from safety) because I'm an idealist.

How do you balance idealism with functionalism to address discouraging one-sided relationships? It's only started and I'm really struggling here. LOL. Any advice welcome. Just go easy on me... I'm new at this. ;)

MindMusic
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
Welcome, you are on the correct board!


Patience, my friend. Your dilemma is pretty much par for the course. Men are more aggressive at asking others out, and the women you try to contact are going to be cautious. One month is nothing. This will be the pattern forever.

Keep in mind that most of the guys messaging your wife are douchebags who aren't worth the time of day. Both your chances of finding someone right for you are about equal, your wife just has more weeding through to do.

Check out the thread "your most recent okc messages" to see the caliber of men us women regularly get contacted by.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
What Magdlyn said. Sure, I *could* go out with someone new every week or even more, but it'd just be a waste of time. On the other hand, my husband has only gone on one first date that didn't turn into a longer relationship.

Quality vs quantity...
 

MindMusic

New member
Thank you all for your responses and experience.

Seeing as we're a swinger-poly couple (I'm not hung up on labels just yet, and quite frankly don't wanna debate it) and lean towards the friendship and sex aspects of relations, it's easier for us to find matches than a typical poly couple. Her and I just need to find attractive people that we can be true friends with, not necessarily deeply emotionally involved with (though that would be welcome too)... :D Regardless, your points are all valid.

I could not and would not put the genie back in the bottle and start restricting her freedom. She's had a half dozen dates with a variety of guys over the past month, and I can't even get a "Hey it's nice to meet you" response email. To PolyInPractice who said that I am viewing sex as a competition, you are mistaken. I had thought (in my unfathomable naiveté) that opening our relationship to include more people would make me less lonely, not more. Unfortunately, so far it's just meant me hardening my heart to overcome my irrational jealousy, and seeing far less of the woman I love. I'm hurting right now, but trying very hard to unlearn all this monogamist societal conditioning and to be the better person I know I can be. One that loves enough to let her go.

Thanks again everyone for your advice. In the meantime, I'll just try to be patient and trust that it'll all work out in the end. If nothing else, it's good to know that I'm not alone. ;)
 

PolyinPractice

New member
Of course she'll spend time with others. The idea is you get more freedom, too. She'll have an easier time, yes. But you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you want other women, you have to realize you'll get less time with her during her periods of success.
 

WhatHappened

Active member
We tend to make our relationships "descriptive rather than prescriptive", letting the relationships evolve as they want to, rather than trying to force those relationships into a given mold.

When I hear this, it usually has some unspoken qualifiers: Letting the relationships evolve as they want...[except for marriage, children, living together, sharing finances, more than two dates per week.] Letting the relationships evolve as they want...[except for more than one overnight per week, except for meeting my family and being treated as a real girlfriend/fiance/wife, except for coming to company picnics and parties with me.]

My first question is: are you really willing to let these new relationships evolve as they naturally would? Have you and your wife considered what the limits are?

If one of her new relationships evolves to the point she and the new boyfriend want to buy a house together...get married...have children...move to the Caribbean...will that be okay with you?

As such (and since we're both swingers), many of our relationships tend to emphasize friendship and sex, but only because we haven't yet met anyone for whom we've fallen in love with, not because we're opposed to the idea....
Are you seeking to fall in love? Hoping to fall in love? Looking forward to the new energy of being 'in love?'

... I'm still learning and growing as a person after all, and I'm sure not perfect ;) I'm beginning to worry that the principles upon which I try to better myself are leading me to a place that in-real life (where functionality matters too) will leave me in a completely lopsided relationship.

For most women, this isn't going to have anything to do with whether you're perfect or not. It has to do with the fact that you are married. Men in general are much more willing to have sex with a woman, and not worry too much on those first few dates if she's available for marriage. Women, in general, are more likely to be looking at the fact that you are not available for marriage, children, and a complete life together.


Her and I just need to find attractive people that we can be true friends with, not necessarily deeply emotionally involved with (though that would be welcome too)... :D

She's had a half dozen dates with a variety of guys over the past month, and I can't even get a "Hey it's nice to meet you" response email. To PolyInPractice who said that I am viewing sex as a competition, you are mistaken. I had thought (in my unfathomable naiveté) that opening our relationship to include more people would make me less lonely, not more.

The fact that you specify very clearly that you want an attractive person, not necessarily anyone to have any deep emotional involvement with, suggests to me, at least, that you're looking for hot sex with a hot woman. This isn't going to appeal to a lot of women on a dating site, except of course, for the ones who are there strictly for hot sex, themselves.

What do you have to offer a woman? I'm asking in all seriousness, because it may help you to focus your profile, to be able to say exactly what it is you, as a married man, have to offer a single woman, such that she should overlook this rather major 'detail' that you're married.

Other than that, you're going to have the best luck focusing on the pool of married, poly women. It's not a large pool, but those are the women most likely to consider dating a married man.
 

SlowPoly

Active member
Maybe spend some of your new free time not being lonely but going out in the real world to do things you like and meet other people who do those things, too?

I think it's a mistake to characterize the relationship as one-sided. The relationship is what you have together, and you express satisfaction in that. You have less time with her than you did, but you don't want to demand more. What she has with others doesn't have to get weighed against what you have with others, or your satisfaction in your career, or your teacup collection, or anything else that is yours on your own vs. what is hers on her own. The problem is not the shape of the relationship with her. The problem is the shape of your life, thanks to your skewed perspective. Why don't you have as big a house as your neighbor? Are you really gonna let that eat away at you?

Figure out what's missing, and find a way to fill that need. If you need more human touch time (or more partners, or more newness), branch out in your methods of finding humans who want to share that with you (since online dating isn't giving you the immediate results you crave). Remembering you can't control whether anyone will want to share that with you, also work on fulfilling yourself in as many other ways as possible.
 

Oreadne

New member
I think you're taking some really positive steps and trying to deal with your issues constructively.
Women on dating sites get just bombarded with attention really, and I can hardly even begin to filter through all the messages I get. And turns out the most "sucessful" date I had was with the first guy I messaged myself, he didn't contact me. And apparently has been on OKC for like a year with not a whole lot of interest from women. He's a married poly guy, it's a tough market for guys like you. His wife of course gets a lot more attention, but he and I fell in love, and she hasn't made many real quality connections with people even though it is technically easier for her to get dates.

Your time will come. Its definitely normal for one person to get a lot more attention than the other, but I think it often ebbs and flows. Also, you might want a friend to take a look at your profile to see if there are any things that might not be helping you out - unflattering/no pictures, not enough detail, boring, etc.

Your dating pool as a poly person is already pretty small, but as a "solo poly" woman I am hugely hesitant to get involved with any other married men, even those who claim to be explicitly non-hierarchical. Things are working out for us (me, my boyfriend, and his wife) now, and they are both super communicative, supportive, lovely people. But our relationships have almost imploded several times due to issues with hierarchy, couple privilege, etc even though I was initially given the impression that they had very few rules, and turns out that was a big fat (unintentional) lie. Like, they also thought that they would also let relationships evolve naturally, blah blah blah, but then it is sprung on me that we can't be out. Well that's a huuuuuge deal. So I think you really need to clarify how you think things will work out when either of you start to get serious about someone else, and realize what you are potentially asking any woman you to get involved with - like "hey, we can fall in love and be a big happy cuddle puddle! but I can't kiss you in public! And I won't tell my family about you! And we can never live together or have kids!"
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
.

Keep in mind that most of the guys messaging your wife are douchebags who aren't worth the time of day. Both your chances of finding someone right for you are about equal, your wife just has more weeding through to do.

THIS! It was a huge struggle for my husband as well. My inbox was so inundated by A$$HOLES that I actually deleted my account and refuse to engage ANYONE I haven't met and built a solid (talking 1+ years) friendship with in real life FIRST.

He on the other hand had to scramble to get any replies. But of three replies in the course of a year-one became a two year long relationship that ended only because she moved away for work.

Don't delude yourself into believing that because a LOT of guys are willing to try, that a lot of them are worth the time of day. They generally aren't.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
The fact that you specify very clearly that you want an attractive person, not necessarily anyone to have any deep emotional involvement with, suggests to me, at least, that you're looking for hot sex with a hot woman. This isn't going to appeal to a lot of women on a dating site, except of course, for the ones who are there strictly for hot sex, themselves.

What do you have to offer a woman? I'm asking in all seriousness, because it may help you to focus your profile, to be able to say exactly what it is you, as a married man, have to offer a single woman, such that she should overlook this rather major 'detail' that you're married.

Other than that, you're going to have the best luck focusing on the pool of married, poly women. It's not a large pool, but those are the women most likely to consider dating a married man.

THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS!

I don't even talk to poly men in terms of dating options any more; because I haven't met one who could clearly tell me what the benefit was of me dating him. So why would I?
I have great sex with the two men I live with. I don't NEED more sex. So if all they can offer me is sex and some conceptual ideas in their head-I'm out the door in terms of conversation. It's a waste of my time.

Need to hear concrete, not abstract.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi MindMusic,

Sorry you're having some bad luck looking for someone to date. I'm just curious, but what dating sites have you tried? Also, are there any local poly groups in your area? For me it's always worked better to meet someone in person and get to know them as a platonic friend, with romance being a "bonus" if such develops spontaneously over time.

But yeah, "those darn women" are infamous for getting lots of quantity-not-quality propositions, so don't feel bad about that.

I doubt you're doing anything wrong per se, though it's possible you could try a few new things that could help. As for dealing with loneliness, well ... it seems to me that the key is getting out there and meeting people in meatspace.

Just my initial thoughts.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

nycindie

Active member
Your dating pool as a poly person is already pretty small, but as a "solo poly" woman I am hugely hesitant to get involved with any other married men, even those who claim to be explicitly non-hierarchical.
Yeah, solo poly here too and I usually avoid married poly men, because I will not stand for any metamour making rules about how I conduct my relationships. When they contact me, one of the first things I ask is whether or not they have any rules with their spouses that will affect me. There are some doozies out there, I'll tell ya. No thanks.
 

Oreadne

New member
Lol, the kicker in my current relationship (and my first poly relationship!) is that I even asked on the first date if they had rules, and the answer I got was basically "Nah, we don't really have rules"
Then I learn AFTER we have sex, that oh-yeah-I-think-I-should-mention that I can't perform oral sex on anyone but my wife. And as our relationship continued, there was a suddenly implemented rule that I couldn't see him every day. Oh and, that she has to be "special". Oh and, we can't be out publicly. WTF.
I now really care for my metamor, and we have worked through a lot of these issues (and most of those rules have been abandoned) but when I consider dating people and see they are a married poly dude my first reaction is OH HELLS NO.
 

Dagferi

Well-known member
Honestly I don't think I could be in a relationship with a poly married man. I couldn't deal with an outside party wanting to place rules upon my relationship with my partner.
 
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