Women Discuss: Polyamory and Open Relationships

Chances are you probably know someone in a polyamorous or open relationship. You may not be aware that you do, but you probably do. And chances are, unless you are the someone in a polyamorous or open relationship, you may not know as much as you think you do about how such a relationship works and what some of the biggest benefits and challenges are. Below, five different women discuss their experience with polyamory and open relationships (they aren’t necessarily the same thing), and some of the biggest misconceptions people have about the lifestyle. For example, jealousy is NOT generally the biggest challenge people in polyamorous relationships face. Find out below what is.

The Women

In a poly marriage of four years. She also has a boyfriend of almost a year. Her husband has one other partner he has been with for 18 months. He and his other partner of a year recently broke up. Jill’s boyfriend has no other partners; her “metamour” (husband’s partner) has several other serious and casual partners.

Currently single, but dating a man in a polyamorous (hetero) marriage, and also seeing a man who is not poly (“I have not discussed exclusivity with him yet.”). Earlier this summer, Jill was seeing both the same man in a poly marriage and also another friend who was in a poly relationship.

Currently in a monogamous relationship with a man but was in a poly marriage with her ex-husband. They dated for a year, were married for five years, and were open for five and a half of those six years.

She is currently single and looking. She dated a polyamorous man for about a year and a half, ending the relationship last fall.

In a poly marriage with her husband of five years.

People have different reasons for adopting a polyamorous lifestyle (or dating someone who is polyamorous)

For Kacie, it was a way to experiment with her newly-realized queer identity without cheating on her husband:

“The spring of 2016, I realized I was queer. I talked to my husband and expressed my anxieties related to cheating. He asked me if I wanted an “open marriage.” I told him I didn’t even know what that would look like, and wanted to explore the idea together for at least six months, before jumping into anything. For those six months we read books and blogs and articles, we met with my therapist, and the two of us talked. And talked. And talked some more. After months of this, we decided that I only wanted to date/sleep with women while my husband had no interest in dating outside our marriage.

This lasted a few months. I had a few experiences, ranging from mediocre to great. Through this, we landed on the conclusion that we were both more “polyamorous” than just non-monogamous (less about sex, more about meaningful relationships). Around this time, I had a girlfriend I was seeing seriously, and my husband and my best friend (who also happens to be married to HIS best friend) started to have romantic feelings for each other. We tried hard to make that work, but in the end our friends decided being poly was not for them. At this point, my husband and I jumped feet first into the dating world (mostly online) where I met my current boyfriend and he met his partner.”

For M.R., dating a polyamorous man for about a year and a half after ending another relationship allowed her to be involved without being monogamous with anyone or have what she felt would be a “full on” relationship.

For Jill, opening herself to non-monogamy was motivated by wanting help communicating, setting boundaries, and overcoming anxiety, after a few mildly traumatizing relationships:

“I was also tired of selectively dating men one at a time, because when it didn’t work out I would be irrationally crushed. My friend mentioned she changed her profile to “open to non-monogamy” and began seeing a poly man. I was curious. I figured people in sustaining poly relationships are more likely to be adept at open communication.

Therapy helped, but I wanted practice. I also thought it would be a great way to try dating multiple people without leading someone on. I changed my profile, too, and within a month was chatting with a man in a poly marriage. ”

There are a range of benefits

“Our marriage has benefitted greatly. There is no longer the pressure to be “everything” to each other, and we have other partners we can rely on for emotional support. My husband and I are much closer than we have ever been. When he went through several really hard break-ups, I was there to support and love him through it. I have learned so much about myself. There is so much more love and happiness in my life. My husband and I have mismatched sex drives, and having multiple partners alleviates that. With the seriousness of our relationships as well, we have become slightly more financially entangled, and four incomes no kids means we are doing well in that aspect. Same thing with chores!” — Kacie

“The biggest benefit has been the fact that it essentially forces you to learn how to clearly communicate with your partner, while also being open and honest with yourself. Being able to recognize my feelings, boundaries, wants, and needs and express them well has helped me in every relationship in my life.” — Michelle

For Christine, who identifies as a swinger (as opposed to polyamorous), the biggest benefit has been spicing up her marriage: “We have been together for eight years and that is a long time to stay spicy. When we are with other people (same room, full swap), we enjoy watching each other and enjoy each other’s pleasure. Then when we are alone, it is hot to talk about it.”

Jill says: “It’s also made me a kinder and more understanding person to the men I date. Before I would want it to work so badly that I didn’t sit back and get to know HIM, and I didn’t check in with what my real feelings were. My interactions with me are a lot more authentic now and I appreciate the individual in front of me, not the potential boyfriend. Also, having great sex without the strings attached is pretty nice too.”

The biggest challenge across the board tends to be managing logistics

“It’s a lot of people’s schedules and needs to juggle (google calendar helps!). I’m an extremely organized person, and that makes it smoother. I think a lot of m/f couple experience emotional and social labor imbalance, and sometimes I feel that even harder. Reminding my husband about his relationship with his partner (like did you buy a Valentine’s Day card for them?) or planning meals and social engagements for four people at a given time can be exhausting. But we both make steps to ease this.” — Kacie

“My biggest issue in the relationship was time. Besides the fact that he was seeing other people, he was very social. After the initial ‘honeymoon period’ wore off it became very difficult to find time to spend together. We’d have to plan dates a month in advance.” — M.R.

Another challenge is “coming out” to people (family, friends, co-workers) or keeping it a secret:

“I’m a high school teacher, and my husband also works in education, so there can be some potential pearl-clutching. I am blessed to work in a school whose whole mission is about personal freedom, expression, and diversity so when I am out with my boyfriend or husband, I act the same, without worry about “who sees.” It has led to some awkward situations, but I am happy and open to set the record straight with anyone and everyone curious.

We are also out to our families. This was a necessity since we live very close to my in-laws and did not want them to think someone was having an affair. Again, at first it was awkward, but we’ve attended functions and meals with my in-laws and our other partners, and it’s usually a pretty chill time. My own family lives 1000 miles away. I told them over the phone. It hasn’t gone super well, and my dad has made it his personal crusade to let me know he disapproves of “My Lifestyle,” but I am old enough and independent enough to set strong boundaries with them.” — Kacie

“Keeping it a secret is hard as only other lifestyle people understand. I feel like I lie to my vanilla friends and family.” — Christine

Here are some common misconceptions:

Misconception: It’s all about selfish sex, lack of boundaries and “free love.”
“For an open relationship to be successful there has to be plenty to thoughtful communication and agreement on both sides.” — Jill

Misconception: People in poly relationships will have sex with anyone
“[When I was in my poly marriage,] I got propositioned by a lot of men who could not understand that I could — and even would — say no; my least favorite men were the ones in monogamous relationships who would argue their point by saying “come on, you cheat on your husband.” That’s another misconception (that we’re cheating). Each poly relationship has it’s own rules, so it is possible to cheat on your significant other, and that’s why communication is especially important in poly relationships.” — Michelle

Misconception: Poly couples feel superior toward couples in traditional relationships
“Poly couples are prone to the same feelings and make mistakes as we all do. No one touts the “right” way to approach relationships, except jerks.” — Jill

Polyamorous relationships generally exploit women and benefit men
“UGH. This annoys me the most. Women have full agency in good poly relationships, as they do in good monogamous relationships. I’m as feminist as they come. I’ve met my partner’s wife before, and I’ve listened carefully about their life when it comes to dating, family obligations, chores, children. They seem to have a more solid understanding of household equality than most.” — Jill

Thank you to the women who contributed to this post! If you’re interested in learning more about polyamory and open relationships, here are two books to get your started: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Polyamory: Everything You Need to Know About Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy, and Alternative Love; and Eight Things I Wish I’d Known About Polyamory: Before I Tried It and Frakked It Up.

Formerly in Women Discuss: How to Express Condolences (And Why It’s So Important!) and Lessons from Divorce.

* If you would like to contribute to future Women Discuss posts, shoot me an email at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com with “The Hive” in the subject line. If you want to share your age, marital status, where you live, and whether you have kids, that would also be great. And if you’d just like to share ideas for topics you want to read more about, feel free to pass those along, too. Thank you!!


  1. I was always curious about this with young kids. I make the joke all the time that the relationship wouldn’t bother me as much as the time away and leaving me with more work. I know my phase of life is a season but between work and the gym and being a parent, I have a hard enough time connecting with my husband without being responsible for another partner.

    1. I already knew polyamory was probably not for me, but the line from Kacie about having to remind her husband to get a Valentine’s Day card for his other partner confirmed it.

      1. Ya, that one struck me as well.

      2. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        I have to wonder if that was also her way of reminding him that Valentine’s was coming and he needed to not forget her. If they were planning Valentines together why would he need a reminder about the other woman.

      3. I mean, I remind husband about his ex wife’s birthday and cards for holidays, but that is ONLY to remind him to go take our son to get one for her. Even that, once in a while, I roll my eyes at myself, but I know that it makes her happy and feel loved and her being happy makes everyone’s life better. I surely wouldn’t be able to handle reminding him to get a card or gift for another woman.

      4. A couple of points:

        1.) My husband’s partner is Non-binary, not a woman. Pronouns they/them (just prefacing this to avoid confusion)

        2.) My husband struggles to remember to buy his mother a bday card. It’s a memory/social labor thing. I care deeply about my husband and his partner, so I remind him out of love, not out of obligation or whatever. It’s definitely not a “poor me” situation.

        It seems like a lot of people are looking at this like “The Other Woman” situation, like his partner is an affair or a mistress, which is exactly what polyamory isn’t. While a lot of people might practice parallel poly, where their partners never interact, even people who aren’t romantically involved in the polycule have close platonic relationships.

      5. 1. Got it!
        2. And I didn’t think “poor me” – only that managing social/ emotional stuff is sort of the bane of my existence as a wife and mother (not that I necessarily dislike doing it – only that it is a lot and often feels like a full-time job); the thought of adding another significant other/ multiple significant others (my own, my husband’s) to my list of close people to consider in terms of social and emotional obligations just isn’t fun. More than jealousy, the sheer logistics and emotional labor of polyamory deters me from the lifestyle. But I can appreciate the benefits and don’t judge others who make it work!

  2. Ooof, for sure could never handle that. I am not a jealous person by nature but no way I’d not lose my mind if my husband was out with another woman, let alone sleeping with her.

    My husbands take (since he is working from home due to more bad weather) is “I have one high maintenance wife, that is all I could ever handle”. He was being mean, I really am fairly high maintenance, I just work hard to do for him as much as I need, since him being happy makes me happiest!

    1. I meant was NOT being mean.

  3. I would say that a pretty significant percentage of open marriages involve situations where one partner doesn’t want sex and lets the other partner sleep around. These people may be less likely to identify themselves for a polyamory article.

  4. BOF* and I had another couple over for New Years. Halfway through dinner they announced that they were getting separated. They told us that a year earlier she had asked for an open marriage and started dating. She eventually found a girlfriend and forced him to go to social events with the girlfriend and girlfriend’s husband. She eventually decided that she wanted to separate so that she could pursue romantic relationships unencumbered. It was an awkward evening.

    *Bride of Fyodor

    1. Wow, some things really don’t need to be shared with others. I am thinking the specifics of this one are on that list.

    2. The worst part is that before this disclosure, BOF always criticized the wife of this couple as flighty and self involved. I always defended her and BOF turned out to be right.

    3. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      What an awkward dinner!

      It sounds like she wanted to test other relationships before dumping her husband. Keep him there until you find that you will do okay without him.

      1. I think that this was part of it. They married young and this was her way of transitioning out if the marriage.

    4. ele4phant says:

      Offfpphh…no matter what kind of relationship they were in, nobody needs to give anyone outside their relationship a postmortem on why the relationship failed.

      Just – we’re separating, it hasn’t been working a long time, we’re not happy anymore, we want different things, we appreciate your love and support.

  5. My husband and I are monogamish. No relationships outside of each other, but we sometimes have sex with others. Always in the same room. I would lose my mind if he bought another woman a valentine, but watching him bang one makes me hot. We don’t do it often, and if we never did it again I would be completely satisfied with just my husband. I know it’s not for everybody (understatement ha!) I’ve never told anyone but my best friend. Im not ashamed of what we do, I just don’t involve people I’m not sleeping with in my sex life. I couldn’t imagine telling my parents!

  6. Northern Star says:

    I would be so pissed if my husband was wasting valuable time and mental energy on dating some other woman. It’s hard enough just to coordinate with friends to split a season ticket package, for Pete’s sake.

    And taking time away from our daughter to fuck someone else=HELL no.

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      None of these people mention kids but I’m guessing they don’t have any. I think adding kids would blow the entire situation up. I can’t imagine being the new mom at home recovering from an episiotomy or c-section, sleep deprived and having the husband out having sex with someone else.

      If any of these couples do decide to have children there would always be the possibility that the wife gets pregnant with the outside partner rather than the spouse and her husband is the father of a nonbiological child. If he’s fine with that okay but if he isn’t I don’t think the marriage would last. The same for the husband getting his outside of marriage partner pregnant and the wife watching income that was earmarked for vacations or mortgage suddenly streaming out as child support.

      I doubt that lots of communication can fix those kinds of stresses.

      1. Bittergaymark says:

        Honestly? It’s TWO THOUSAND FUCKING NINETEEN. So my point is it’s REALLY not that fucking hard NOT to get whoopsie pregnant any more. Though — admittedly — many heterosexuals are either too dim or too lazy to figure this out…

      2. My husband does more than have sex with his partner. They have an actual relationship. We often spend weekends together. We all chip in and do chores.

        Lots of people who are poly do have kids, and find multiple adults raising children actually alleviates stress, not makes it worse!

        We are not in that boat, are childfree by choice and plan on staying that way, but that would be case if we were monogamous as well.

      3. @kacie – I can see if you lived in a single home that the sharing the load might work. I often think I just need a wife. However, I think that it is in establishing the relationship is where I see the time problem. Like the time it takes to court someone would be what would be tough or the amount of money spent out of the family budget. I think these things get more complicated with kids.

      4. I’m curious how the sharing of the domestic load works when couples live in different homes. Do you treat your partner’s home as your own and vice versa? Do you do chores at each other’s homes, and if so, are the chores designated in some way or do you just jump in and do what you see needs to be done? How does it differ, if at all, from how you do chores/ contribute to domestic duties at your own/primary home, with your primary partner?

      5. Wendy I once or twice jokingly told my husband that if he ever thinks he is getting a girlfriend she better know that she is expected to help around the house, make dinner a few times a week, etc. Of course we would never do this, but no way I am letting someone else get all the benefit with no hard work.

      6. I’m the Michelle in the article. We were poly both before and after the birth of our daughter in 2012, but my husband wasn’t out banging someone while I was recovering from childbirth – he was helping me out, bringing me water and snacks, making sure I was comfortable, you know, like a good husband does. It’s part of those misconceptions that one partner will immediately go out when the other stops putting out for whatever reason, but the thought of him (or me) leaving our partner and newborn never crossed either of our minds.

        And here’s the thing about accidental pregnancies… they are pretty easy to avoid with proper birth control usage. So that was never a worry. And if the condoms plus whatever hormonal birth control his partners were on failed, then it would be more of him to love. Or more of me to love if the condoms +IUD failed. We weren’t doing anything (or anyone) that the other didn’t know about, so in the off chance a pregnancy did result, no one would be getting blindsided.

        I don’t know if communication would “fix” those situations, but good communication prevented these situations.

      7. Ok, I don’t practice polyamory or have an open relationship, but something you said about the husband going out to have sex with someone else with a new baby at home, etc. irked me. Polyamory is more than sex; it’s actually having a full-blown emotional, romantic relationship with more than one person at once. Having another romantic relationship with someone usually (not always) entails more than sex.

    2. Yeah, I appreciate and respect that these folks probably have amazing communication in their relationships for this to work, but I cannot ever imagine being able to pull this off if kids are in the picture. I used to feel angry with my husband if he spent too long in the bathroom! (Or if like, we’d be at the airport waiting for a flight and he’d say, oh, brb, I’m going to grab the coffees – and leave you here in the packed gate area with our fussy squirming toddler, backpacks, diaper bag, stroller, sippy/snack cups, random stuffies etc. Daggers!!) Not to mention the drain on our financial resources from taking someone else to dinner or possibly for a weekend getaway, etc. The sex honestly would not be as big a deal to me; I’d feel more cheated out of time and money, not just for myself but for our child’s parental bonds and future financial security. Not to mention what Skyblossom said about unintended pregnancies – I feel like open/poly hetero relationships require not only excellent communication, but excellent birth control!

      1. Northern Star says:

        Yes. I have never NEEDED my husband like I do right now. Infants will do that to you (I’m sure it’s even worse with toddlers). It just seems so incredibly selfish to take time, resources, and mental energy away from your kid at home to put in the effort needed to maintain a separate romantic relationship.

        Spouse, child, friends, AND girlfriend? You can’t juggle all of that without shafting someone. And it had better damn well not be the child or spouse.

  7. One of my best friends has become poly over the last two years or so. He met a poly woman through online dating and began exploring it from there. He’s one of the most honest and self-reflective people I know, so this didn’t surprise me at all. It did contribute to the (permanent) end of a complicated on-again, off-again relationship he had with a woman I really liked as a person, but who was not being a good partner to him in a lot of ways. And I think being poly helped him understand that because he was forced to communicate his needs and feelings so much more clearly. I admire him for it, even if I don’t think I could live that way myself. My boyfriend and I have discussed being poly, more in a theoretical way, and came pretty quickly to the conclusion that we’re not interested in opening our relationship up haha. We’re on the same page, which is what matters!

  8. Bittergaymark says:

    Poly clearly isn’t for the insecure or fragile — which, apparently, is damn near everybody these days. Whew. Good thing monogomy has a long and proven track record of always working out so well for damn near everybody…
    Oh, wait.

    1. I don’t think you have to be insecure or fragile to not find pleasure in the image of your spouse having sex with someone else. I feel zero jealousy toward any interaction my husband has with other women. I see it often we he goes to play in his pool leagues since they are at bars and could care less. The image of him nude on top of that woman, eh, it just weirds me out, I wouldn’t even call it a jealous feeling, just kind of, yuck.

      1. With polyamory, sex is a minor component, not the most essential part. It’s being free to love and be intensely emotionally involved with more than one person. Personally, I’d be more upset about my husband taking someone out on a romantic dinner and buying them a Valentine’s Day card than if he were to just have sex with someone. Because the former implies a strong emotional, romantic attachment. Even if he still had that attachment with me…I wouldn’t want him to have it with anyone else.

  9. anonymousse says:

    I really don’t have an opinion what other grown adults do in their bedroom. I’m glad these ladies have found relationships that fulfill them.

    Some people are polyamorous. Some aren’t.

    1. Yeah, this. I’m actually not interested in what other people do in the bedroom, really at all.

  10. Lilly Pad says:

    I wouldn’t classify myself as poly or in an open marriage, I honestly consider it Cheating just with our spouses knowledge and now on purpose. My husband and his wife know we are doing this and neither of us want out of our marriages but we have never had real discussions on what is going on. We knew each other before this started but were not friends, so we know who has had a vasectomy etc. I am surprised and would think most would start like ours did from one partners severe lack of libido, and the decision to not compromise.

  11. My hubby and I are in an open relationship and we’re poly. About 3 months after we got together, we got into a long-term 3-some relationship with my at-the-time best friend. That lasted about 2.5 years. At the time, I wasn’t emotionally prepared to be in a relationship like that, so because of my insecurities and jealousy, we went our separate ways. It’s been several years, though, and I am now more comfortable with myself, with us, and with where we stand. We are currently looking for a bf or gf.

  12. I don’t know much about polyamory, so I found this to be an interesting topic. While I’m happy for anyone who has found a lifestyle or relationship that works for them, reading this confirmed that it’s not for me (or for husband, to whom I read portions). Even some of the things listed under benefits sounded more downsides for us – for instance, we really enjoy being each other’s “everything.” Friends provide some emotional support, but there are pieces of ourselves we save only for each other, and that’s part of what keeps our bond so strong. While we don’t always want sex at the same time, delaying gratification can be very satisfying. We also shuddered at the thought of being financially entangled with more than one person.

    I can definitely see how polyamory could be a positive thing for many people, though. I’m glad it worked for these ladies.

    1. I doubt this will make a difference (and it certainly doesn’t have to, there’s not a thing wrong with wanting to be monogamous), but couples in open relationships often keep things just for themselves as well. My wife and I are sexually open and romantically closed. So we may have friends we have sex with, but no falling in love with anyone else. Some couples also have rules about the *kinds* of sex that can be had with others. Example: P in V is only for the couple, but anything else with another person is fine. This can also be helpful if one person has a kink the other isn’t comfortable indulging (for any number of valid reasons), so the kinky person goes and does the kink (which may not involve anyone touching genitals) and then go home to their partner. I knew someone in a longterm relationship who was into being caned (spanked on the butt with a wooden dowel or similar item). His partner wanted nothing to do with it, but as long as he found a safe person to cane him and didn’t discuss it with her, everything was fine.

  13. It’s interesting to hear how other people approach relationships. It makes me think about a book a marriage counselor I know recommends called Sex at Dawn. https://www.amazon.com/Sex-Dawn-Stray-Modern-Relationships/dp/1491512407

    I think the most difficult part would be letting go of the money associated with romance and dating. I hate to admit it, but I don’t love the idea of extra income being spent on outside people who aren’t in need of any help. Of course we spend money on going out, birthdays, and friendships but it really doesn’t account for a large portion of money.

    Kids are expensive and so are family vacations, charity, self-care, etc. But I think it’s great if it works for some people. From an outside perspective it appears open relationships have come along way in information, resources, and support for couples interested in the route. I’ve known a few military couples who have had arrangements, but it seems more and more people are opting for romantic autonomy throughout their lifetime.

  14. I think it’s funny that people think poly would disadvantage women. If there’s one thing I see over and over again in advice columns geared towards sex in particular it’s that the man wants to sow his wild oats so he gets his partner to open and suddenly she’s dating like crazy while he’s sitting at home stewing. Supply and demand economics for once are in our favour on that one.

  15. ele4phant says:

    Good for them, not for me.

    Polyamoury wouldn’t work for me. Even if I could get over the idea of my husband dating someone else, having to maintain multiple romantic relationship sounds exhausting to me.

    But’s just me. Not everybody is, or should be, like me.

    I have zero problem with how any of these women live their lives. If everyone involved feels happy and is getting their needs meet, that’s great.

    1. ele4phant says:

      One thing I am curious about is marriage. As in legal marriage.

      I’m sure its different for every polyamorous person, but does being legally married to one of your partners mean something different in how your view your commitment to them? Do you feel more committed to the partner that is your legal spouse? Or is it just, well, they were here first so our relationship has the legal aspect, but otherwise all my partners are equal?

      Did you all (or most of you) start out in a closed marriage, and open it up, or were some of you already in polyamorous relationships and you decided to get married to one of your partners? If so, why did you marry that partner and not another? If you’re not married to any of your partners, do you think you will, one day? What will be the reasons you get married?

      Anyways, if it works it works, but marriage is of such a strong significance in our culture, I’m curious to see how its viewed when you live outside a monogamous worldview.

      What is the meaning of marriage to someone who is polyamorous? Is it not really significant anymore? Or is it still significant, just perhaps in a different way than it is for monogamous couples?

      1. Excellent questions! I’m not poly, but I think I can still answer some of them. For many (though not all) poly relations, there are primary and secondary partners. That is to say, who is your biggest priority. Often, your primary is who you’re married to, who you live with, have kids with, etc. That doesn’t mean the the secondary partners aren’t important, just that say, family time takes priority in scheduling and if your kid has a school thing come up, it totally ok to cancel date night (healthy poly relationships, like other healthy relationships recognize the impact on kids and consider that in scheduling and the like).
        Just to be more complicated, there are also relationships that have 3 or 4 equal partners who may all live in the home together. What the relationships are may vary. Example: Karen is married to Joe and her boyfriend Bob lives with them. Bob has sex with Karen, but not Joe and all may or may not have relationships outside of this trio. Another example: Josh and Penny are married and brought Becky into their relationship. Becky has sex with both Josh and Penny and sometimes the three of them together. They all live together with 2 children who are biologically Josh and Penny’s. The children may call both Becky and Penny “mom” and Josh “dad”. So, these kids have two moms and one dad. Penny and Josh are married bc that’s what came first. If it became more financially stable, Josh and Penny might divorce and Becky may marry one of them.
        Which gets into one of your questions: why marriage and to who? Like monogamous couples, there are lots of reasons to get married and finances/insurance can be part of that. If all parties involved were equal, I imagine the legal marriage would be based on finances and child custody. They partners may also hold social marriage ceremonies to signify and celebrate their bond as well. Though, also like monogamous couples, they may not marry at all, either bc they don’t care, “don’t need a piece of paper to show their commitment”, because it would be financially problematic (I tend to think of widows/widowers with their spouses social security), or because they don’t want one partner to feel less equal bc of a marriage.

        Finally the did you start poly? This one is harder to generalize, but I will share my experience. When I met my now-wife, I was having casual sex with a guy friend of mine (we were both on the same page about sex, but not dating). I figured that when I found someone I was really interested in, I would want to stop having sex with other people enough to be monogamous, but I was head over heels for her and still wanted to sleep around a bit. So, when we were talking about defining the relationship, I asked if we could be sexually open. She agreed and we’ve been that way for the past (almost) 12 years. It’s particularly good, because we’re both bisexual women and while bi people are just as capable of being monogamous as straight people, *these* two bisexuals don’t want to. 🙂

        It is not uncommon for people to open their relationship later on and that can often be good advice – stabilize your main (primary) relationship before adding more people. That being said, as poly becomes more widely know as an option, I can see more people just saying “hey, maybe I don’t want to be monogamous, but I didn’t know it was optional” and just going right into a relationship structure they want. Which is a good idea. Trying to force oneself to be monogamous is like trying to force oneself to be gay – people get hurt and it’s unnecessary, when you should just go for the person/people you want!

        I hope that answered your questions! I am always happy to discuss topics like this, so let me know if you. And thank you for asking questions and for doing so in a way that came across as curious rather than judgemental. It’s a great way to learn about things, even if you learn you want nothing to do with them.

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