April 22, 2008

Honey, I want to be Poly

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 7:37 am by Kathleen

How do you have that conversation?  It can certainly be hard to bring up, and if you think that your partner might be unreceptive, it can be easy to slip from “I want to be poly” to “I am going to cheat”, and that ruins marriages.  Poly is, in large part, about honesty and communication, so this conversation is going to revolve around those two things.

Start making sure that your partner understands that you are not unhappy with them or bored with them.  If either of these is the case, then try counseling before you try sampling some new flesh.  Let your partner know that you have been reading about a lifestyle called polyamory, and see how they feel.  Some people may want to talk more, others will want to go look up information for themselves, and still more will run screaming and try to have you committed.  If you have a good idea of which category your spouse falls into, you can try to be prepared with a good book (I recommend The Ethical Slut, but take it with a grain of salt) or by giving them space.

Assurances are going to be really important.  Let them know that this is not about not wanting them, but about wanting to express your feelings for other people.  In the end, it really comes down to knowing your lover and speaking in a way that convinces them.  Perhaps suggest going to a local poly event (if you can find one) and just watching together.  Talk about what might turn your partner on: soft swapping?  Watching another couple have sex?  Dating someone together?

Once you find out what they are okay with, you can start slowly with that and work your way (carefully and with their feelings in mind) further into the poly wading pool.

Come on in, the water’s fine!




  1. Auria Cortes said,

    “Come on in, the water’s fine!”

    From reading this blog, I don’t get the sense that the water is fine. I’m not saying that it can’t be fine or that it won’t be fine. But it doesn’t seem to be there yet.

  2. Kathleen said,

    What do you mean by that, Auria?

  3. Auria Cortes said,

    It seems that you and your husband are new to poly. The first experience didn’t go so well. Not just because of the former girlfriend’s disrespect, but also because your husband broke the “wife comes first” rule several times.

    In addition, you haven’t had a full experience with another man (I don’t mean just the sex aspect)

    So it seems that it’s rather premature to say that the water is fine when you are still in the “testing” stage.


  4. Kathleen said,

    We have a “wife comes first” when it is important rule, which I don’t think he’s broken. There are missteps and hurt feelings when you do anything new, and this is no different. I don’t mean to imply that poly is perfect; it isn’t.

    I’m also not trying to convert anyone. My invitation was simply to extend a hand to people who are trying to figure out how to ask their spouse about this complicated topic.

    The water, however, is fine. I may still be learning to swim, but I’m comfortable where I’m at, and I’m nowhere near drowning. 🙂 Hope that clarifies some.

  5. Auria Cortes said,

    I didn’t write nor did I imply that you are attempting to convert anyone. I realize that you are not.

    It seems that we have a different defination of “wife comes first.” Out of curiousity, what type of scenarios constitutes your husband breaking the “wife comes first” rule?

  6. Auria Cortes said,

    To clarify, I believed that when your husband inserted his penis into another woman without a condom and when you had to search for him and his girlfriend at the park because they didn’t return when promised, that he broke the “wife comes first” rule.

    Obviously, my defination of rule breaking doesn’t matter. It’s your relationship so you define the rules as you wish. And that’s why I asked the question above.

  7. Kathleen said,

    I want to start of by saying that if my husband put me first at all times (and vice versa), it would be really impossible to maintain a relationship. When you are with someone, you kind of have to be “with” that person.

    Now, if I had told my husband, as he was on the way out the door to go see Becky, that I needed him, he would have been disappointed, but he would not have hesitated to hang up his car keys and talk to me. If I really need him, then I always come first. Ignoring me while Becky was over was annoying, but understandable, and the lesson I took away from that is that he should focus on ONE female at a time, which means that if I invite his girlfriend over, I should probably leave.

    EDIT: A reply to your second comment: As far as the sex went, that was a big mistake on his part, but he was not intentionally breaking rules. I genuinely believe that he didn’t have a clear understanding of where the boundaries were. When I went out looking for them, the problem was that they HADN’T had a time that they were expected back… it just didn’t occur to them that I was waiting up.

    Has that helped?

  8. Auria Cortes said,


    I’m not sure if you know of Frida Kahlo. She’s my favorite painter. Anyway, she was married to Diego Rivera, a famous painter himself. When he proposed he told her that he would never be faithful to her. She asked if he could be loyal. He said yes.

    He had affairs. She had affairs. Eventually he slept with her sister and she conceived a child. Frida was heartbroken.

    My brother in law couldn’t understand why Frida was upset. I told him because Frida asked for Diego’s loyality, he promised it, and sleeping with her sister he broke his promise.

    My brother in law’s agruement is that there was no specific rule on who Diego could and could not sleep with so Frida over reacted.

    My take on it is that just because he was not aware that Frida’s sister was off limits didn’t mean he didn’t break his promise to be loyal. He did.

    So what defined his broken loyality? Frida did when she told him that there were to big accidents in her life: the accident that crippled her and marrying Diego.

    In essence what I’m saying is that your definiation is fine. Your relationship. Your rules. Easy as that. 🙂

    I was just curious is all.

  9. Kathleen said,

    That’s a good story, and although he didn’t break anything permanent, he did break my trust on that issue, and that was a big deal. It was a mistake, but not one that soured me to poly in general. It hurt, but it also taught me how to define limits, and how much our marriage can survive. I was angrier than I had ever been in my life, but our marriage was not even close to in trouble.

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