When I was a youngster, hearing about polyamorous relationships would probably have freaked me out. But as an older, and much wiser man, now I find them quite fascinating. That’s not to say that I want to be in one, just that I think they might have the potential to be some of the best relationships.
Stick with me on that, I’ll explain.
Cat and I got married young, early twenties. I was in the military, spending lots of time away from home and she ended up cheating on me. A lot. Part of me doesn’t blame her, because I’m not sure how I would have acted were the tables reversed.
I could go into the various mental and emotional difficulties that the cheating caused, but that’s not the point. Most of those emotions and difficulties stemmed from not feeling like I could trust my partner. She was saying one thing, doing another, and every time she walked out that door I didn’t really know what she was doing. Is she going to the gym, or is she “going to the gym”?
That kind of doubt is like poison, it seeps into every little bit of the relationship and your life. If you can’t trust your spouse, then the whole world is one big unreliable and scary place.
Then she got pregnant (a totally unexpected accident), which meant that despite our marital difficulties we needed to stick it out for the kid as best we could.
None of that was particularly fun. We were constantly at each other’s throats.
Then I got moved again for work and we discussed having an “open” relationship in the new location. We were still trying to stick it out for our daughter, but trying to maintain a standard monogamous relationship was driving both of us crazy.
And you know what? The period where we were in an open relationship was probably the best two years of our marriage. Why? Because there were no more lies. We rebuilt the trust that had been lost for so long. Everything was out in the open, if she was going to spend the weekend with a guy than she would tell me. I would arrange my schedule so I could watch the kid that weekend. Then we’d swap the following weekend and I’d be out with one of the girls I was seeing.
Obviously, we weren’t sharing the dirty details with each other, neither of us wanted to hear about the other’s sexual escapades, but there were no more pretenses. And it turned out that the lies were far more dangerous to the relationship than the cheating ever was. Once everything was out in the open there was no need to lie. We went back to being able to relax and enjoy spending time with each other, knowing that we had someone reliable to watch our back if we needed it.
Like I said, those two years were probably the easiest, best, and most relaxed of our entire ten year marriage. The only reason we eventually divorced is because she met another guy that she wanted to marry, but by then we were so comfortable with each other that the divorce was ridiculously smooth. I met and hung out with them, we all made sure to make the transition as easy as possible for our daughter, and we all have a strong relationship to this day.
And that’s why polyamory is so fascinating to me. These people must be so comfortable with themselves, with their partner, with their relationship to be able to include more people into their lives. When it’s done well, I can see polyamorous relationships being far healthier than standard monogamous ones because the communication and honesty has to be so much better. Polyamory tends to get a bad rap because it’s abused by different cultures around the world. When I say that polyamory has the potential to be really high quality relationships, obviously I’m only talking about the ones where all of the partners are honest, open, willing participants, of age, and happily consenting.
Again, I’m not saying that I want to be in a polyamorous relationship, but depending on circumstances it might be better than other alternatives. I’d rather have a partner who’s honest than one who is trying to have her needs met somewhere else and lying about it.
Things to think about.