My husband and I have discussed swinging, but it didn't really fit into what we were looking for. We were not looking for recreational sex partners, rather we were looking to explore ourselves through relationships with other people, not just our own.
Polyamory, or “several loves” is about having multiple intimate partners at the same time, and being open about it with everyone involved. Please note that both partners in a poly relationship can have one or multiple other partners.
Polyamory doesn't have to focus on the sexual aspect of a relationship. Most poly people really enjoy the emotional connection that monogamous people usually reserve only for their significant other.
Basically, a poly relationship is about being open to having multiple loving relationships, and letting your partner(s) do the same.
Look at it like this – if you can't invite all of your partners and have a lovely meal together without someone getting hurt, you don't have a poly relationship. These relationships are always open, honest, accepting and consensual.
It's not for everyone
Poly is a very niche, alternative lifestyle. It requires openness, understanding and compassion from the parties involved, and not just on paper. For instance, I'm sure you can see how people who easily get jealous can't get into polyamory.
Polyamory is about giving your love to multiple partners. About giving them your heart, your whole heart. Don't feed into the bull that you can't give all your love to more than one person at a time. I can love my husband, my parents, my children all at the same time, and I am giving them my whole, unconditional love, to all of them, at the same time.
How it all started for us
As already noted, my husband and I have decided not to “swing”. I was surprised when he was the one to pull the plunge on the idea, as he echoed my sentiments that having recreational meaningless sex is, well… meaningless.
We knew a little bit about polyamory and decided to educate ourselves on the subject further. After a while we sought local groups, met with and talked to people living the lifestyle to learn more about what we could expect from it.
It was fairly easy for us to find people interested in polyamory, though it did take a few months for both of us to find partners we shared a real bond with. It wasn't as easy as me choosing a man and my husband choosing a women he likes – we all had to be involved in the process and we all had to like each other.
Trust and honesty
Trusting your partner enough so that you can be honest and open about your feelings is key here. Maybe you know how destructive a small lie can be between people in a monogamous relationship. Think about how destructive it could be between three, four, six or however many interconnected polyamorous relationships.
Husband and I gave each other the green light to go ahead and give this lifestyle a try, with the option that we could back out at any time, no hard feelings.
How can one explore polyamory and remain connected with their partner?
I am wondering at this point – have I given you enough that you are able answer the question from the heading yourself?
In my mind, that may be a valid question looking from a perspective of a monogamous relationship. But looking at it from the perspective of poly relationships, it should be easy to understand that we can maintain the connection the same way we always have – by being loving, honest and accepting.
Other partners we both have usually strengthen our relationship, as, at least in our case, we felt more satisfied with our lives, and thus with each other. I understand that this may be hard for some people to wrap their brains around, but I also know I am talking to people who will look at it with an open mind and who will make their own decision about polyamory without letting prejudice cloud their thinking.