What’s love got to do with it?

•2009/11/12 • 1 Comment

This rather cynical question was poised to me today, by one of my loves. The answer, of course, is “Everything”.
Seriously… if it wasn’t for love, would I really bother with the time, energy, and effort of maintaining even a single relationship? Nevermind three! Sure, I might keep one person handy just for sex, but I’m not even sure that’s worth it. I can pleasure myself. It might not be as good as sex, but it’s quicker, cleaner, and I never have to worry about anybody else’s satisfaction. Reduced income would be matched or surpassed by reduced expenses. I have no problem living in a small house or apartment and eating ramen noodles, hot dogs, and mac & cheese. I can find companionship on the internet aplenty. Love is not just a reason, it’s the reason. Without it, I’d just as soon put a bullet in my head. It’s what makes life worth living, the reason I keep a job, and why I put up with bullshit I’d rather not put up with.

It’s also a good Tina Turner song.

By the numbers

•2009/11/09 • 4 Comments

When I talk about my partners, and my partners’ partners, I use numbers. This is purely for anonymity’s sake, and should not be confused as any sort of hierarchy within the family. I’ve been meaning to say this for a while for the sake of clarifying, but it suddenly became a whole lot more relevant.

I had a major conflict with #2 this weekend, and it all seems to stem from the idea that #3 is more important to me that she is. This perception stems from the very real fact that I hold the two of them in equal status in my heart, and #2 was expecting that she should hold a higher position because we have been together longer, and live together. Yes, from a practical standpoint, she does hold a position of more importance because we share a house and expenses, but from an emotional vantage point I do not hold her any higher or lower than the others. This displeases her. 😦

In fact, all three of the ladies feel that I should hold #1 highest in my heart. I feel bad for disagreeing, but I do. Would you ask any parent to love the oldest child more than the youngest? Why am I being asked or expected to love one mate more than another based purely on amount of time spent together? I do not understand this.

The same holds true when I refer to #3’s #2. I refer to him as such because I was involved with #3 before him (from my perspective… he is actually an ex of hers from years ago). I do not expect her to accord him a lesser status. Indeed, I suspect he holds a higher status, though that could just be NRE, coupled with the fact that he’s rarely in town, and so when he is in town, his immediate needs outrank most of mine, which can wait until he is gone again.

I just wish I could figure a way to resolve this issue with #2. Her perception that I love #3 more may not be real, but her hurt is. And I cannot fix it by proving she is an equal, she wants to rank higher, and my heart does not work that way. I’ve told #3 I need some time to work on this (without explaining what “this” is, which I think would damage things further), and so I will not see her this week. She was understanding and more than willing to help in any way that I ask. I’m hoping that my doing this helps #2’s peace of mind in some small way. I’m not sure what more I can do.

Discovering jealousy

•2009/11/03 • 2 Comments

I used to say that I am not a jealous person. I believed it quite thoroughly. I sent my wife off on a date with a younger man with an impressive physique, and did so with a smile on my face as well as in my heart. So why have I started to feel jealous from time to time these past couple of months?

Well, for starters, my relationship with #3 is less secure than my other two relationships. Not only have we not been together as long (hence the #3 designation), but she is also the one partner I do not share a residence with. So the potential for loss is (or at least seems) greater. But even that doesn’t really explain it, or explain why I am normally very happy for her, and OK with everything, but then I get a flash of jealousy out of the clear blue sky.

Today I think I nailed it down. For most people, sexual contact is a trigger for jealousy. Or intimacy. Or love. For me, none of that triggers jealousy. What triggers my jealousy is unavailability. When I want attention and can’t get it, I get pissy. I short, I’ve realized today how much of a spoiled brat I am. When I want to talk to #3 and she’s unavailable due to the necessities of life, I get pouty. When I want to talk to her and she’s unavailable because she’s with her #2, that translates into feelings of jealousy. But now that I’ve identified it, hopefully I can conquer it.

Is the problem really polyamory?

•2009/11/02 • 3 Comments

One of the worst things about polyamory is that there will be times when your partner just isn’t available to you because she’s with another partner. It’s needy and selfish, but it really kinda sucks. I don’t mind that she’s with another man. I don’t really care what she’s doing with him, except to hope that she’s enjoying it. But I’m having a bad Monday at work, and she’s the one partner I can usually count on to be available to talk to me when I need somebody to talk to, and I can’t talk to her. Well… technically I could, but that would be rude of me, unless it was genuinely important, which it isn’t. He’s only in town for about 24 more hours, so I don’t begrudge him some quality time with her while he’s here. I just wish I had somebody to bitch to about my shitty Monday. But if it wasn’t for poly, I wouldn’t have this problem.

Bullshit.

This isn’t one of the worst things about poly. It’s not even really about poly at all. My #3 is “unavailable” to me right now because she’s with her #2, but my #1 is unavailable to me right now (as she usually is) because of the constraints of her job, and my #2 is unavailable as well; possibly because she hasn’t woken up yet, or possibly just because she’s simply not at her computer. The one partner who is normally available to me while I’m at work is currently unavailable because we are poly, but she’d be unavailable 100% of the time if we weren’t, because I would never have even dated her. Poly is getting a bum rap for being the source of the problem, but really the problem exists for everybody. Poly people just have more partners, and so the problem of unavailability can happen more often (today I have 3 unavailable partners, while most folks never have more than 1) and in more ways (unavailable due to work, unavailable due to sleep, unavailable due to getting hot and sweaty with somebody else). Also, and I think this is key, poly people can get to be really fucking spoiled. Because I typically have not 1, but 3 different partners to draw upon when I want or need something, it hits me a little harder on those rare occassions when I don’t have anybody available. But it’s not poly to blame, it’s my sense of entitlement.

Time to suck it up and get back to work. Lunch break’s over. I hope they’re having some fun. πŸ™‚

Is monogamy realistic? (No)

•2009/10/28 • 2 Comments

CNN has a nice article today that touches briefly on poly. I think overall it’s a very good article, although I’m disappointed with the conclusion. They quote a lot of people saying some brilliant things.

[…] is it still reasonable to expect people to pair up and stay monogamous until death do them part?

“It’s realistic that some people can mate for life in the same sense that some people can play the Beethoven violin concerto or other people can ice-skate beautifully or learn a new language,” said psychiatrist Judith Eve Lipton.

Most people think that anybody ought to be able to carry off a relationship. I think that’s bull. Statistics will back me up on this, too. Having relationships is an art, and most people are not artists. How many people are still with their first spouse, much less their first love, or first relationship? Last I heard, the divorce rate was still near 50%, and not all of the surviving marriages are happy ones, either. If we want to talk about true monogamy, how many people actually marry their first boyfriend/girlfriend? Pairing up into lifelong monogamy is a well-perpetuated myth.

“We found the expectation that one person should be our everything seemed unrealistic given our day and age. … It’s oddly pressuring to set up that scenario,” said Mark, who lives in Springfield, Missouri, and is in a polyamorous relationship.

I think it’s unrealistic in most days and ages, if not all. But the only important thing is that it’s unrealistic for us, now. Your stereotypical monogamous couple gets their needs met by their spouse and their same-sex friends. But sometimes a spouse won’t meet a particular exclusive need (such as, by frequent example, sex) that the friends can’t fulfill. Is it better to stay in an exclusive relationship and be unhappy than to have an open relationship and find fulfillment?

“People describe polyamory as ‘poly-agony’ because of all the work you have to do to maintain things,”

I recently heard somebody say (on Twitter) that “polyamory isn’t having your cake and eating it too, polyamory is having to manage the whole damned bakery”. The more relationships you maintain, the more work you have to do, and the less time and energy you have for yourself. That’s possibly the biggest knock against poly. Love is limitless, but time is not.

“It’s just not normal to look over and see your wife with another man. I know a lot of people would have a real problem with that. I really don’t.”

See, I just don’t get that. I love my wife. All 3 of my mates, actually. I want them to be happy. Don’t you want your wife to be happy? If you truly want somebody to be happy, why should it matter who is making them happy? Insisting that somebody get all their happiness from you isn’t love, it’s selfish. It’s damned near abusive.

French author Jacques Attali in recent years wrote, “Monogamy, which is really no more than a useful social convention, will not survive. It has rarely been honored in practice; soon, it will vanish even as an ideal.”

I have a dream…

“Americans are too surprised by infidelity when it happens. I think we go into marriage with perhaps unrealistically high expectations about human nature,” said Pamela Druckerman, author of “Lust in Translation.”

Perhaps? Definitely. Most people go into marriage with unrealistic expectations. I know I did.

“[Americans] think if an affair happens, it’s the end of the story, the fairy tale has been completely shattered, the person isn’t the person we thought they were. The knee-jerk reaction is you have to get a divorce,” Druckerman said.

I have to somewhat disagree here. I think this stems from betrayal more than anything. A vow has been broken, and that hurts, and the trust is gone. When there is no trust, how can a relationship survive? Now that vow probably should never be made in the first place, and that’s another issue. Statistics show that most people have extramarital affairs. If you vow to be sexually exclusive, the odds are against your relationship surviving.

“There are a lot of reasons why sexual monogamy is in people’s interests,” Lipton said.

“Because whether it’s raising children or avoiding emotional chaos and drama, like what David Letterman is facing, or whether it’s building an estate and avoiding conflict about estate planning, there are lots of reasons that two people who cooperate are better off than one person alone or one person who is a cheat.”

And here we have the conclusion that goes astray. Despite talking about open relationships and polyamory, the conclusion merely pits successful monogamists versus cheaters and singles. If two people who cooperate are better off than one, wouldn’t three people who cooperate be better yet? Four? Five? At which point does adding another committed person to the relationship make things worse? That number might exist, but I think we’re a long way off from finding it. It’s difficult enough to find compatible people. The larger your family gets, the harder the compatibility test becomes… assuming a group marriage scenario. But there are many other arrangements, and the math just gets astoundingly confusing. But at no point is a multi-partner relationship inherently worse than a two-partner relationship.

Morning radio, and Megan Fox’s ass

•2009/10/26 • Leave a Comment

I like to listen to 89X on my way in to work every morning. They usually talk about at least one interesting thing, and they tend to keep their segments short so I get between 2 and 4 different topics on my morning commute. The last thing to come up today was a relationship that the radio station inadvertantly ruined.

About a week ago they did a segment on “what do you think about while you’re having sex?”, and one of the callers was a lady who said her boyfriend’s ass looks like Megan Fox’s ass. When asked if she thought about her boyfriend’s ass during sex, or Megan Fox, she admitted to the latter.

So this morning they get her on the air again. I didn’t catch exactly what she did, but it had something to do with a garter belt, and her boyfriend’s ass, and he flipped out. He talked to his buddies at work (construction workers) about it, and then broke up with her without any explanation. Might have something to do with the fact that the radio station has been replaying that clip as a promo all week. More likely to do with his buddies giving him no end of grief after he stupidly told them about it.

So, aside from making the mistake of talking to his buddies about it, I don’t get what the big deal is. If I was told my ass looked like Megan Fox’s, I’d buy two full-length mirrors so that I could look at my own ass while I masturbate. Having an ass like that is no insult, regardless of your gender. Unless he suddenly became afraid that all his male co-workers wanted to bang him from behind. If one of my ladies told me they were thinking about Megan Fox while they had sex with me, I’d say “Really? Me too!”. I’m just not seeing how this is a bad thing….

I have a drawer.

•2009/10/23 • 1 Comment

Sometimes it’s the little things that bring us joy. Mate #3 texted me today to say she’s been cleaning and organizing her room, and I now have a drawer I can keep stuff in if I want. It’s a small thing, but it’s also a very loving thing

And, of course, she set aside a drawer for her #2, too. I had to laugh when she said “he has the same size drawer as you”. Size doesn’t matter.Β  πŸ˜€