What was your parents’ relationship like growing up and how did that influence your outlook on relationships?

My parents are super loving humans and still married after 50+ years. They are monogamous and I saw kindness, teasing and love infused in their partnership and equality when it came to various tasks around the house, especially raising three independent and empowered daughters.

However, they were super involved in their church, which was not as supportive of women in leadership and had some very antiquated ideas about marriage, love, sex and sexuality. Mostly I was taught that sex was only meant to be between two married people and that certainly shaped how I thought about relationships and what was taboo and off limits. I saw kindness but not a lot of passion and what seemed like my mom giving up her dreams and independence to support my dad.

What are your thoughts on the idea that monogamy is a social construct?

Strongly agree with this statement. I think we see historically how marriage and monogamous relationships were about preserving land, titles, family lines and religious orders. And I may be feeling a bit snarky as I answer this, but I think monogamy was also a tool of the patriarchal heteronormative systems of power intended to keep women in line. 

I don’t think it is innately evil and I think some relationships can work this way. Although I know that no one person can meet all of another person’s needs and so why else except to control bodies with less power, would we only limit sex but have societal support for other relationships to exist on a spectrum within families and friendships?

In your mind is there a difference between polyamory and ethical non-monogamy? What about polyamory versus just identifying as single?

I think there can be and given language is powerful but shaped by where we live, some folks may use these terms interchangeably whereas others may distinguish between them. In my mind ethical or consensual non monogamy (ENM/CNM) is an umbrella term for a number of things that are not monogamy. Polyamory (multiple loves) is one thing under this broader term and category. 

Also under that might be open relationships, swinging/lifestyle, relationship anarchy. For me poly means I believe I have the capacity to love more than one person at a time. Those relationships can be romantic, sexual, platonic or more.

Solo poly is a thing that is distinctly different in my mind than being single. There are folks I know, even in my constellation, that while they may not be partnered or be in more of a committed relationship, consider themselves available but wanting to and open to dating multiple people.

Some of these folks may be solo poly until they find the right for them partners, and others may have no desire to find a nesting/primary partner and always want to be solo and partnered if that makes sense. That is different in my mind than someone who is single and looking for ‘the One.’

When did you start identifying as polyamorous and what brought you to that conclusion about yourself?

It is difficult for me to pinpoint when I started claiming this title. I met someone in 2014 who was poly. My husband at the time and I were curious if this guy was interested in dating both of us. I was openly bisexual and my then spouse was a straight cisgender man. The year before we had opened our marriage for me to date women so in a sense we had explored ethical non-monogamy, but my spouse reacted badly when he realized I could fall in love with other people.

I think he was under the impression that me claiming my bi-identity was more about not having kissed any women in college. (A typically dismissive attitude towards bisexual people that it’s about exploration only.) I began reading a lot from Ethical Slut and More than Two and Sex at Dawn. We attempted to open our marriage that year, as I didn’t want a divorce and wasn’t going to cheat but also didn’t want to not be me. But after I had sex with someone else for the first time upon both agreeing to try (we also had a large age gap and wildly different libidos) he immediately said he wanted a divorce as he identified as a serial monogamist. So I became solo poly for a while while going through a divorce and healing. 

A few years later I attempted to date someone monogamous again and found that situation was not for me for a variety of reasons. My now spouse is pansexual and I am bisexual, we were both divorced, and during our first phone date we discussed wanting poly to be an essential part of our life and partnership. We have been together more than four years and married for nearly two and have various loving relationships with people outside our marriage. We consider each other home base and are each other’s nesting partner. Plus we have relationships with other beloved partners, satellites and comets (to stick with a constellation metaphor).

What advice would you give to a friend who wanted to give polyamory a try?

This is not just about sex, it is about multiple relationships that require communication and often hard work. Mostly when you have multiple partners, you begin to see a mirror into your own issues. So I have done more work during the last several years on myself as part of the work to be in complex beautiful relationships. I would not recommend this as a solution for folks who are struggling, nor would I say it’s for the faint of heart. And dating even one other person creates many new dynamics so I would say be prepared for time to talk, debrief, grow, and enjoy. 

It is beautifully layered and worth it, but as a former partner said almost like getting a graduate degree in relationships. It requires epic honesty, respect, communication, love, dedication and a willingness to look at your own shit/trauma/areas for growth. And it is such an opportunity for support and abundance and love and pleasure but not to be taken lightly. I would say slow down and do some reading and research and find someone to talk to about challenges and beauty and know that relationships you step into are with people with feelings and families. Be caring and kind to yourself and others.

What would you say to the polyamory haters who claim that you are choosing non-monogamy due to unresolved trauma from past relationships and/or an inability to commit?

For me as I mentioned above, I have looked at so much of my trauma from past relationships more deeply in this dynamic than I did in my monogamous marriages. So that does’t apply to me. I have committed to a spouse who is committed to me and our marriage and partnership. We want to grow individually and together. I think some folks may confuse inability to commit with poly but they are not the same thing. Being poly and doing it will require a great deal of commitment.

Do you think your polyamory is just a phase, i.e. if and when you meet ‘the one’ you’ll be ready to go back to a monogamous way of life?

I have no desire to be monogamous, as I get great fulfillment from what I learn about myself in this relationship paradigm and from the unique connections with various partners. So this is not a phase for me, just like being bisexual is not a phase. I think some people claim to be poly until they find their one but I don’t think that is poly. Perhaps they are exploring a form of ENM. Sometimes I want more time with my husband as our lives are full and I wouldn’t trade our life

How early into dating do you usually tell someone you’re polyamorous?

At this point any dating profile I have says married and poly or ethically/consensually non-monogamous. However, I am not seeking additional partners and many people in my life know that I am poly, including coworkers, neighbors and family. So this is not a surprise for folks in my life.

What’s it like telling someone you’re dating that you are polyamorous? Are people generally cool about it or do they get pissed?

When I was solo poly and dating I would tell people on the first date and people weren’t usually pissed. However, some people definitely were not into it and so sometimes (just once for me) I would be disappointed. I found that being up front from the get go worked better for me. Some folks are curious and nosy and others just don’t understand. Most people immediately say “I could never do that” or “Don’t you get jealous?!” 

Do you think being polyamorous is still stigmatized or are we living in truly liberated times?

Definitely still stigmatized and presented as caricatures more than normal complex people. I think we may be at a turning point as younger people seem more chill with it than older generations. But there haven’t been a lot of healthy models. I had a friend tell me I’m her model, but that means we still have a long way to go before it is more normalized and accepted. I feel a bit like the queer community may have felt before there was any healthy media representation about being gay straight or bi (still a dearth of that representation). It’s out there, people know about it, and there are a lot of funky misconceptions.

How many people in your network of friends and family identify as poly/non-mono vs mono?

That’s tough to say, as my polycule are poly and they are my chosen family, however, most of my family of origin, coworkers and other friends are definitely monogamous. I do meet more people though as time goes on.

Have you ever hung out/hooked up with multiple partners at once? If no, is this something or you would like to try to do you prefer keeping your relationships separate?

This is a whole topic in and of itself. I have had group sex (FMM, FFM, FFMM) on various occasions and for me this is layered. I tend to prefer to focus on one person at a time and my poly relationships are unique so the dynamic I have with various partners wouldn’t necessarily be conducive to a group situation. I have sometimes found enjoyment but some of my own triggers are more present in this type of situation. 

There is still some toxic heteronormativity and toxic monogamy at play for me, so it’s easier for me to see my nesting partner spouse with another man than another woman. Layered I know (thanks patriarchy). I’m open to it and the most fun I ever had was a threesome years ago with two men I didn’t know well and I found that to be super empowering but it was more casual, which is not usually my jam these days. 

A more recent threesome with two different men led to some challenges in those individual relationships so I have found lately I prefer to stick to 1:1 interactions. My spouse however has some regular partners he plays with in more of a group.

Do you ever get jealous and how do you handle that? What about when other people get jealous? 

Jealousy for me is a human emotion and typically an indicator there is a need I am not getting met. I think it actually gets conflated with envy and for me that has been helpful as I recognize if there is an experience I want with my spouse that he is having with another partner.

Sometimes when experiencing new relationship energy (NRE) after that fades and that partner begins to experience NRE with another new person I might have some feels. Again this is usually an opportunity for me to explore what’s going on and what I need and whether I can provide that need to myself or ask another partner for support.

Married, plus I have two partners I see on a semi-regular basis who are both kinky. I’m a switch and one of them is a Dom and the other is a sub and they are both sexual partners. Recently I met a soulmate at a conference in another state, and we have begun a long distance relationship and continue to navigate what sustainability looks like in that relationship. All of those are sexual and romantic. I also have a girlfriend who I have been sexual with and am not currently engaging in that way but she is still an essential part of my family. 

Also one of my partners is married and his wife is dating my husband so that is a unique quad. We don’t all play together or have sex, but we spend time all four of us. And my partner’s wife and I also have a uniquely special relationship. On another note, the first woman I ever kissed is now one of my husband’s regular partners and we had group play in the past but don’t any longer.

Describe your dream poly roster.

Pretty happy with the abundance in my life. Often wishing for more time with all of them.

What’s been your most fun adventure since becoming poly?

Oh so many. Really not sure I can decide on one. We did get to go on vacation with the married couple we date and that was special as it felt like family vacation but we also got to have sex with our spouses and each others’. We don’t identify as swingers but I suppose that dynamic has some similarities.

What about your most cringe?

Probably me fucking up or not communicating. Sometimes I still default to people pleasing and so that takes time to root out and not continue staying in something even if it is no longer healthy for me.

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Jules

Jules

Author

Based in Brooklyn, Jules has dedicated her twenties towards harnessing her pussy power, exploring the muse, whore, and wild woman archetypes along the way. When not blogging, you can find her sweating the toxins out in a hot yoga class or sipping a matcha latte at a pretentious coffee shop, whilst she scribbles away in her journal.


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