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Author Topic: open relationships
LollipopPoRNchik
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My ex boyfriend and I had an open relationship. Well the thing is, I'm hoping we'll be getting back together soon, I don't know if he wants one still, but I do. Someone told me about this thing...I forget the name of it....It was just like an open relationship , total love and care for your partner, but sex with other people is optional. There was a name for it. Ok so anyways- does anyone have any opinions on open relationships, and if anyone knows what I'm talking about w/ the name thing, could you tell me?

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Lace

Scream Life.

"Just my soul fly free, and let me be what my god wants me to be. Just let my soul fly free, and let me see the great things I'm supposed to see." Soulfly "Fly High"


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Heather
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In general, here is the verbage you are looking for:

Monogamy: A relationship construct in which the two people in volved have an exclusive sexual partnership.

Polyamory: A relationship construct in which the two people involved have an inclusive sexual partnership, or more than one sexual partner.

Bear in mind, neither of those means you have "total love or care." That's a whole different thing all together, and no matter what your sexual agreements are, no sexual agreement can guarantee success or love.

But polyamorous realtionships allow for more than one sexual partner, based on whatever terms you and your partner agree to.

Caveat: In general, poly relationships take MUCH more work, way more communication and way more responsibility and general watering. They involve both parties being able to be really honest about what they want and need, as well as involving a MUCH higher level of safer sex practices.

A good poly relationship doesn't usually mean that two people just sleep with who they want to and that's that. It involves negotiation not only with your primary partner, but with your secondary partners as well.

I'm going to track down Erin for this one. She's excellent on this topic.

------------------
Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


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ErinK
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Why thanks, Miz Scarlet!

As Miz S previously mentioned, polyamory is the practice of having "multiple loves." People who are involved in polyamorous configurations define "love" in many different ways -- for some people, it may mean that they have one primary partner and other seoondary relationships, for others, it means having a web of relationships that they feel are equal in importance. Still other people have differing definitions -- the idea seems to be that you and the people you love work together to develop healthy and sane working relationships.

In addition, not all polyamorous people or relationships necessarily involve sexual activity -- as Miz S previously mentioned, it's not like you have a big sexual free-for-all. (Some people will make the distinction between being polyamorous and being polysexual if all you want is the big sex free for all and aren't so much into the developing relationships bit, but labels are more useful for jars than for people.)

However, for many poly people, sexual activity and other forms of intimacy are something that they choose to share with more than one people. For example, I have three people who I consider my partners/sweeties/boyfriends. They are all aware of these relationships, and we work very hard on communicating honestly and taking good care of each other. It's a lot of work! (And don't get me started about the need for bulk Valentines. :)

But like any relationship or relationships, it's work. Hard work. And it doesn't mean that things always work out -- I've broken up with partners and had problems with partners while involved in polyamorous configurations just as much as I did when I was being monogamous -- or that it's a way to "fix" a relationship. But it requires a lot of honesty, a willingness to negotiate, communication skills, and a real awareness of what your limits are. And, if you are having sex with more than one partner, it means that all of you have to be committed to safer sex practices.

If you'd like to read more information about polyamory, you can visit http://www.polyamory.org, which has a lot of different perspectives on the subject. There's also a newsgroup, alt.polyamory, that discusses the subject.

Erin


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StarryRedhead
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Well, I'm not a big fan of having relationships where you do everything that you would do in a monogamous relationship but you're also free to have sex with or date other people. Most of the time one or both people wind up getting hurt. And if you can pull it off, there's always the worry of STD's and STI's, even if you are having safe sex, there's that risk. I think you should really really think things through before making any final decisions. I'm sure you're thinking it would be nice to just be able to have him, even if the relationship isn't monogamous, but what happens if/when you want something more? Just think about it first. And talk to him about it, make guidelines, rules, discuss concerns, possible future circumstances (i.e.-he decides he wants to be in a monogamous relationship with someone else, where would that leave you? Things just don't work, etc).

Right now I am in a non committed relationship with my best friend. I don't mind it, my life right now is too crazy to be totally committed to one person. We don't date other people though, I could not handle that. And we talk about every aspect of our relationship. Lately we took a relationship break, went to being just friends, and now we're going back into a relationship. Just be prepared of the fact that it might be frustrating, and if you can make it work, make sure you can always remain open and honest with him.

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}{*Starry Ali*}{
"D'you get scared to feel so much? To let somebody touch you? So hot, so cold, so far, so out of control. Hard to come by, and harder to hold."
~Starry's World


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babyblue2g1
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u know i'm only 15 and i don't know so much about relationships but i think the reason ur not together now is because u have an open relationship with him.that gives him a great chance of cheating on and bringin some STD.I HOPE U TAKE THIS ADVICE FROM ME CUZ U ONLY NEED SEX FROM 1 PERSON AND THAT MEANS WHOEVER YOUR MAN IS.
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LilBlueSmurf
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Oy ... you're extremely closed minded!

First of all ... I don't see how you could cheat in an open relationship. I'm not exactly sure, but isn't that just dating? Not being comitted solely to one person?

And yes, the more partners you have, the more likely you are to pick up an STD/STI. This is where the whole condom thing comes in. Safe sex is good sex. Use a condom and your chances are something like 99% lower ... Get yourself and your partner(s) tested and you'll have no worries


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ErinK
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Well, it depends on what kind of a relationship you're in, and how you define cheating.

If you define cheating as getting involved with other people without the knowledge and consent of your other partner(s), then yes, it's very possible to cheat in an open relationship.

However, if you're getting involved with other people while everyone knows about it, while you take everyone else's feelings into consideration, while you respect each other and look out for each other and take care of each other, and communicate a lot, then no, it's not cheating.

And...relationships aren't just about sex. They're about friendship, and love, and caring for each other, and tickle fights, and sharing time, and going on dates, and being with another person. One could, in fact, have multiple relationships without all of them, or any of them, being sexual.

And yes, getting involved in multiple relationships does increase one's risk for STDs and STIs. However, a long string of one night stands, or heavy serial monogomy, also increases one's risk, all within the "one relationship" paradigm. The important thing in any of those cases is to know and minimize one's risks, and to be honest and up front with one's partners or potential partners.

I have three partners. They are all important to me. I love all of them, like I love my friends and my family. And I was happy in a monogamous relationship, and I could probably be happy in that kind of situation again. But I'm happy now, through a lot of hard work and care, and I resent being told that it's somehow making me a worse person.

Erin


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KittenGoddess
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Well said Erin.

~KittenGoddess

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"You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover's arms can only come later when you're sure they won't laugh if you trip."
~Jonathan Carroll


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LollipopPoRNchik
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well baby blu, I think that since i told you NOTHING about the reason our relationship ended, I don't think you can make that decision. Our relationship ended because neither of us had time for relationships, he's a senior who needs to struggle to graduate, and I'm a sophomore who is also struggling to get extra credits. Thats why we broke it off. And trust, I will not take your advice. I am open on things. And right, he couldn't cheat. There was no such thing as cheating for us.
Thanks Miz S and everyone else.... It helped....

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Lace

Scream Life.

"Just my soul fly free, and let me be what my god wants me to be. Just let my soul fly free, and let me see the great things I'm supposed to see." Soulfly "Fly High"


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qitelremel
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quote:
Originally posted by LilBlueSmurf:
Oy ... you're extremely closed minded!
Give the kid a break. S/he's only 15, as s/he stated; and s/he is probably just repeating what s/he learned as a child.

quote:
First of all ... I don't see how you could cheat in an open relationship.
Obviously, by being dishonest about whatever you were doing.

quote:
I'm not exactly sure, but isn't that just dating? Not being comitted solely to one person?
Commitment does not equal monogamy.

quote:
And yes, the more partners you have, the more likely you are to pick up an STD/STI. This is where the whole condom thing comes in. Safe sex is good sex. Use a condom and your chances are something like 99% lower ... Get yourself and your partner(s) tested and you'll have no worries
Now that was right on. Use more than one layer of protection (i.e. spermicidal cream/foam) and the risk is reduced even further. (Sex is never entirely risk-free!)

-Qit

[This message has been edited by qitelremel (edited 10-14-2003).]


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drAmA quEEn
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All I can say is that I personally wouldn't be able to handle an open relationship, or at least I don't think I could, I have never been in the situation. Usually if I get into a relationship with someone I like to think that it could progress and perhaps go far. Again though I haven't been in lots of relationships.

I think it is ok as long as the two people both want that, and both discuss between them what is and isn't allowed, so they both know where they stand and to avoid upset.


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wobblyheadedjane
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quote:
Originally posted by drAmA quEEn:
I think it is ok as long as the two people both want that, and both discuss between them what is and isn't allowed, so they both know where they stand and to avoid upset.

Bang on, except I would widen that to include the third/fourth/fifth person too. If the 'other' people in the relationship aren't brought up to speed on where the original couple stand, then it's difficult to have a healthy relationship, on either side.

I had an open relationship for a weekend, and the break down happened even faster than that, because? Lack of communication. So communicate, communicate, communicate! I can't stress it enough. Things are on the up and up, but it would have all been better if we had talked things through from the start.


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sublime_15
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I honestly cant see how these relationships can work, arent humans by nature jealous. Wouldnt you be naturally inclined to prefer one partner over another? Wouldnt the other person care that their not liked as much? I would not care for this type of relationship at all.
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KittenGoddess
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quote:
Originally posted by qitelremel:
Now that was right on. Use more than one layer of protection (i.e. spermicidal cream/foam) and the risk is reduced even further. (Sex is never entirely risk-free!)]

Just btw, we do not encourage the use of spermicides because they actually can increase the risk of STD transmission for many people. Spermicides contain the same ingredients as dish soap. Dish soap inside your vagina is a very bad idea. For many people (both men and women), these products cause irritation and allergic reactions...which makes you more prone to STD transmission.

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Sarah Liz
Scarleteen Sexpert (and Labia Lady)


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Heather
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There's no evidence to state that sexual or romantic jealousy is innate, no.

For example, I get professionally jealous somewhat often (for example, when other colleagues of mine get jobs or assignments or contracts I'd love to have). Yet in my 33 years here on the planet in this lifetime, I've never really experienced sexual or romantic jealousy between partners, myself.

Jealousy is tricky business. Lots of it is based in insecurity or entitlement and other issues (and some studies have shown differences in terms of jealousy between genders, orientations, socioeconomic strata, in the kind of families people grew up in, birth order, you name it). It's not a simple thing, and it isn't universal like you're thinking. And it's actually not a healthy thing: it's something we should all strive to get past (which doesn't mean romantically, you have to be poly to do that, for the record).

In terms of what you're asking about preferring one partner over an other, think about it like this: how do you feel about your friends? You may have one or two best friends, and you likely have a big pile of others that aren't quite that close you feel pretty simiarly about. But mostly, you aren't going to have one single friend through your whole life who "ranks" above all others, or who you insist has no other friend while they're your friend: you might feel jalous now and then, but you work it out. Your frienships are just bound to be different based on differing personalities, histories, locales, etc. than on hierarchies. And having more than one partner doesn't make a given person less important as a given, any more than having more than one friend does.

Romantic partnerships need not be different than that, though some people choose for them to be or have their heads set on the idea that they must be to be important.

Poly isn't for everybody. In our culture, right now, actually (especially where serial monogamy reigns supreme), it's really for very few people (though truly functional long-term monogamy isn't either, statistically-speaking). And it's not right for those who enjoy it in all situations all the time or always.

But neither is monogamy.

So, ultimately, it's just a matter of what models work for what people at a given time or in given partnerships, and like anything else with people and lifestyles, because people are incredibly diverse, so are their choices and what works for them.

------------------
Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 10-14-2003).]


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logic_grrl
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quote:
I would not care for this type of relationship at all.

And that's fine too . These sorts of relationships are not for everybody, that's for sure.

quote:
Wouldnt you be naturally inclined to prefer one partner over another? Wouldnt the other person care that their not liked as much?

Yes, those can sometimes be issues, which is why open or polyamarous relationships require a lot of communication and negotiation.

But if you think about it, they can be issues in platonic friendships too. I think I've seen a few posts on the boards here about feeling jealous or left out when your best friend seems to like another friend better.

And yet most of us manage to have more than one friend at a time, and we don't usually insist that our friends not be friends with anyone except us .

{Mindmeld! Only Miz S said it better ... }

[This message has been edited by logic_grrl (edited 10-14-2003).]


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qitelremel
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quote:
Originally posted by KittenGoddess:
Just btw, we do not encourage the use of spermicides because they actually can increase the risk of STD transmission for many people. Spermicides contain the same ingredients as dish soap. Dish soap inside your vagina is a very bad idea. For [b]many people (both men and women), these products cause irritation and allergic reactions...which makes you more prone to STD transmission.[/B]
Y'know, I'd heard something along those lines.  But I thought that it only applied to nonoxynol-9. Or is N-9 the only spermicide on the market?

-Qit

[This message has been edited by qitelremel (edited 10-14-2003).]


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Heather
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(Nah, you said it perfect yourself, logic)

As of right now, Nonoxynol-9 is the active ingredient in all spermicides in the U.S.

------------------
Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


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wobblyheadedjane
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Yes, Nonoxynol-9 is the active ingredient in spermicide, and the one that most people are sensitive to.
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qitelremel
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quote:
Originally posted by sublime_15:
I honestly cant see how these relationships can work, arent humans by nature jealous.
No.

Let me tell you a story: I was at a dance with my ex-fiancé (boyfriend, at the time). He had been prom king in his graduating class, and hadn't gotten the last dance with the prom queen. Anyway, she was there...so he promised her the last dance.

The last dance was a slow-dance; I couldn't find another dance partner, and I was a bit miffed about having to sit out. But everyone interpreted it as that I was jealous and trying to get back at "Legs"...and I couldn't convice them otherwise.

Plus, jealousy isn't an unconquerable force. It's just another emotion.

quote:
Wouldnt you be naturally inclined to prefer one partner over another?
Not necessarily.

quote:
Wouldnt the other person care that their not liked as much?
If there was, in fact, preferential treatment going on. But that presumes that preferential treatment is inevitable.

quote:
I would not care for this type of relationship at all.
Well...that's your decision to make.

-Qit


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Heather
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It should be mentioned, in the department of preferring one partner over another, that one common poly construct is to have a partner designated as the primary partner, and another or others designated as secondaries.

So, for those who do want/have greater commitments, emotionally or in terms of time, property, what have you, to a given partner than to others, that person may choose to desingate that one as a "primary."

While I'm here, I feel like I should also add this: poly isn't easy. But then, monogamy can be just as tricky. But we see a lot of users here who clearly can't even handle dating without making dates into major relationships or dramas, or who don't feel at all secure even dating, and outside a major comitted relationship, so for those folks, no, poly or open relationships likeely are NOT going to be doable or feel right.


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qitelremel
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quote:
Originally posted by Miz Scarlet:
It should be mentioned, in the department of preferring one partner over another, that one common poly construct is to have a partner designated as the primary partner, and another or others designated as secondaries.
Exactly. But it's not inevitable.

quote:
But we see a lot of users here who clearly can't even handle dating without making dates into major relationships or dramas, or who don't feel at all secure even dating, and outside a major comitted relationship, so for those folks, no, poly or open relationships likeely are NOT going to be doable or feel right.
Yep...I know all about dates being made into dramas. I've even known a guy to create a tremendous soap opera out of a one-night stand...and he was the one who wanted it to keep it to a one-night stand in the first place.

Then again, that guy was pretty neurotic; in retrospect, I'd seen that about him beforehand and should have known better than to get mixed up with him. (He couldn't handle being monogamous because he was a compulsive cheater; and he couldn't handle being poly because he was irrationally jealous. But yet, he had himself completely convinced that he could handle either of the above. Sad.)

-Qit


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