I previously noted that, before I even heard about the idea of polyamory, I often questioned the one-for-one model of romance. My imagination is limited; my thinking, fantasies, expectations, etc. generally fell along the lines of what society dictated: one woman + one man = one romance. However, I still had niggling doubts, some that could form into full questions or concepts, but some that hinted at ideas I could not express.
Accepting bisexuality as an orientation and polyamory as a relationship choice finally gave substance to those remaining unformed thoughts. However, polyamory in particular opens a whole new set of questions. Bisexuality, for me, is a pretty easy concept. I have the freedom to have sex with men or with women, together or separately. I have a happy relationship with a man and I do not anticipate it ending. If it does (I try not to think about that), then I could see myself dating a woman or a man, based on the individual more than on the gender. But what about dating another woman or man while I am in this happy relationship?
That question is much harder to address, as are its related questions. And there are so many related questions. Would SwingBot be okay with me dating another woman, man, or both? Assuming just one other person for a moment, would that other person date us together or would it be a “V” relationship, with me as the connecting point? Would my partners be equal in importance or would we take a hierarchical approach, with SwingBot being primary and the newer person being secondary? Would SwingBot’s needs and wants always take precedence over the newcomer’s? What if the newcomer truly needed me at some particular time, but SwingBot wanted me for himself that same time? Would SwingBot have the right to tell me to end the relationship?
And what about the demands that I could make on the other partner? Would he or she have the right to date other people? Would I have any say? If my other partner did have another relationship, then would I be included in or excluded from that? Where would SwingBot stand in that other relationship? Who gets to make demands and requests of whom? How much say would my other partner have on my actions, such as my relationship with SwingBot, my plans to stay in the swinging lifestyle, and such? Each question raises even more questions.
I understand that these questions can be answered, and have been answered by couples-plus-more who have successfully opened their relationships to include at least three participants. There is no one answer for all, and, as with any relationship, most issues come down to determining whether you all deem it worth your time and effort. For now, SwingBot and I have decided that a romance of two with a sex life of more is complicated enough.
I embrace polyamory in fantasy and in theory, but find it much thornier in reality.
Do you have experience with open or polyamorous relationships? What are your thoughts on the topic?