Poly? – A Swinger Feels The Tug of Polyamory

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sexy kissPolyamory freaks me out. To be totally honest, I am needy. I require a lot of love and attention from Anne. Lots. Anne and I have discussed polyamory some before. I am uncomfortable sharing her emotionally on that level with someone.

I have read Tristan Taormino’s wonderful book Opening Up. The stories and information contained within it certainly helped to calm some of my fears. However, recently I have developed what I would call a crush. This crush has certainly shed some light on the poly thing for me. I certainly don’t love Anne any less, but I want this other person there too. The odd thing is that this cannot lead anywhere. It is simply a dead end because of who this person is. She is a very close friend that is married and not in an open relationship.

Anne is interested in polyamory much more than me. I told her in the past we can discuss and decide whether or not to cross that bridge when it comes up. I certainly didn’t think I would be the one bringing up the conversation again. So, I told Anne of my feelings. After hearing about my crush, her response was, “Well that is probably good for you.” I love Anne.

I have always kind of flirted with this crush. Before Anne and I started swinging I always had to check my behavior so as to not make things uncomfortable. Now, it is checked less. My feelings for my crush seem to ebb and flow between just friends and crushing (god, I sound like a middle schooler). They know we swing, but I still don’t want to cross boundaries. This time the tide seems to have come in hard on the crush side. The reason for this is probably because over the past weekend we were very drunk and talking to her about swinging and other such things. I ended up kissing her. Not really romantically more just a peck on the lips (dammit, I still sound like a middle schooler). This probably crossed a boundary that I would not have crossed sober. However, both she and I told our partners. I knew Anne wouldn’t care, but the next day I was quite concerned that it might stress my very good friendship with her or more likely her husband. I talked with him and she talked with him and everything seems to be fine.

I won’t do anything about it, because as I said polyamory still freaks me out. My feelings will continue to do what they do and I will continue to only think on them and not act. She and her partner are not in the same place as Anne and I. Even if they were, I am not sure I am in a place that I could handle this.

I feel like this is a tiny step for me down Polyamory Lane. It still really freaks me out, and honestly, I know it is because on some level I am afraid that I will lose Anne. We started this journey to strengthen us and on some level to me, polyamory seems counterintuitive to that goal. I will continue living, loving, and growing on this journey. This particular experience even surprised me.

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An average suburbanite barely into his 30s, Jack has recently begun a more exciting secret sexy life with his wife, Anne. These experiences have led him to preach the gospel of sex positivity and safer sex to anyone who will listen.

3 Comments

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    I can understand the fear that you are seeing….this is all about trust….and the trust of know that if you choose to add someone(s) to your marriage, that all will be cared for, and nothing will be lost! I and my wife Jezzy, are starting to walk down this path again….we have come very close once before to having this….its funny, because my fear comes from the idea of a 100% completely “open relationship”……lol
     Great read, thank you for putting yourself out there for us to read!

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    First of all, it’s good to see you and Anne still doing well in the lifestyle. 🙂

    Admitting to deeper feelings for someone outside an established relationship is never easy, even when you’re already in an open relationship. That you could talk about this with your wife is a good thing.

    One of the big differences I perceive between swinging and polyamory is that swingers tend to abide by pretty strict rules, and challenging those rules can be difficult. That’s not to say anything goes in a poly relationship, but there’s often more flexibility when it comes to admitting new loves or changing and rearranging the relationships. Moving from a “play-oriented” focus to a “love-oriented” focus is part of the process of blurring the line between swinging and polyamory. (YMMV, of course.) You seem to be taking a step or two along that axis.

    Recent developments in my own relationship with my wife, Dawn, have given me the opportunity to consider the feelings you are experiencing. Dawn has been monogamous her entire life; she still has difficulty understanding my polyamorous nature. And yet she has developed a very strong attraction to someone else (deeper than a crush, I would say). In a very short time she’s gone from strictly monogamous to strongly desiring nonmonogamy. These new feelings and the sudden shift in her worldview have been extremely disorienting for her, leaving her confused and uncertain about many things. The best I can do right now is ride out the waves of NRE with her, reassuring her that we are still primary and that our relationship is strong.

    (I realize the previous sentence sounds odd considering that she’s the person going through NRE and I should be the one seeking reassurance, but in a way the situation is as surprising to her as if I had been the one to fall for someone else. She needs just as much reassurance about the rapid changes to her own feelings.)

    As I was telling my wife tonight, my personal belief is that everyone has the potential to be polyamorous. (Yes, I realize that opens up a huge can o’ worms.) I see that potential in the simultaneous loves we already have: for our spouses, our children, our families. When it comes to intimate/romantic love with more than one person at a time, however, most people hit a roadblock. I can only blame cultural programming. From the time we are born we are taught it is unacceptable to love more than one person in that “special way”, and deviants are punished or humiliated by adherents to the status quo.

    I sometimes wonder if the openness my wife and I have enjoyed discussing nonmonogamy and my willingness to explain how my poly feelings work helped break some of that conditioning, allowing her to have feelings for others even if she didn’t quite understand the concept to begin with. If that’s true, then I would think that open relationships in general foster an environment that makes polyamory a more likely (if still surprising) possibility. As I read more stories of swingers (and monogamous folks, too!) drifting into polyamory, I consider this more and more likely.

    Anyway, enough of my musings. 🙂 I don’t envy your situation. Unrequited/impossible love is at the heart of nearly every tragedy, but characters in those stories don’t seem to have the knack for open and honest communication—as you do—so perhaps something good will come of it. Continue checking your feelings, continue checking with your wife, and continue talking, and you’ll find all the support you need to get through this emotional time.

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    Go you for admitting those feelings and go Anne for supporting you!  My husband and I are also swingers leaning towards polyamory and, as Brian called it, riding those waves of NRE.  He has his first crush, and I have one as well and it doesn’t feel any less complicated than your situation of unrequited love just because we sleep with them.  This is new territory and I think the best nugget of advice I have seen is in Brian’s post about reassurance.  Mutual reassurance that your relationship is strong and primary is what we have found is critical.  

    In the meantime, enjoy playing with the fantasy with your wife! It will be fodder for some hot sex!

    ~Kristy

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