Guest Post On Polyamory by rdhdbtrfly
This is the fourth in the series of guest posts that we will be doing on this blog. I have never been in a poly relationship. My friend rdhdbtrfly (that is her Fetlife name) has lived in various polyamory relationships and is currently in one now, so she is a good source of information on the topic. These relationships are hard to make work because you are dealing with not two, but three or more personalities. People have many ideas about what poly is and what it means. The following article is from her point of view. Your mileage may vary. I will add my own comments at the end. Comments are encouraged, discussion is fabulous, anything bordering on rude will be deleted. Please respect the dynamic she has chosen for herself. Have an open mind, learn something new, and help spread the word about the very positive relationships and aspects of BDSM.
What is Polyamory?
While each of us have different answers to this question I will do my best to explain some of the answers to that question (as I understand them) and share with you my experience in what makes a “Poly” relationship work and what will Kill it.
Polyamory: from the greek ‘poly’ for ‘many’ and the latin ‘amor’ for ‘love’ – literally means ‘many loves’
“Polyamory is a term that means ‘many loves’. It does not imply that people are looking to marry multiple people (nor does it exclude that they may). Those loves may be explored in a variety of relationship styles – from dating, to living together, to raising kids together, group marriages or any combination thereof. I would even go so far to say that polygamy can be considered a form of polyamorous relationship. But the term polyamory itself does not set up a goal or ideal of marriage. Marriage commitments may or may not play a role in the practice of polyamory.”…. Polyamory can be described as gender egalitarian. Sure, a polyamorous relationships may be one man and multiple females – but it’s by the choice of each involved, not because of lifestyle expectations or gender roles. In polyamory, women and men have the opportunity for equal status and choice in the matter of relationships. It’s not uncommon at all for a woman to have multiple boyfriends (and/or girlfriends), for a guy to have boyfriends and girlfriends, etc. Or for a couple to date another couple or a single together. Sure, when you combine BDSM with polyamory, you may get a dominant figure with multiple submissives… but this is far from the “norm” in the polyamory I’ve encountered. And that dominant figure can just as easily be a female as it can a male. And yes, there may be hierarchy within the practice of polyamory, such as using labels like ‘primary’ partner to describe a partner(s) who gets priority over others – but there are not determined by gender roles alone. (http://serolynne.com/polyamory.htm)
In the BDSM community we see all types of poly relationships. Even Poly families. There are V type poly relationships where one Dominant has 2 submissive that have little or no contact yet know about each other. And there are triangle relationships where all three persons have relationships with each other. When those basic 3 branch out you end up with a Family tree effect so to speak. When you combine BDSM with polyamory, you may get a dominant figure with multiple submissives… but this is far from the “norm” in the polyamory I’ve encountered. And that dominant figure can just as easily be a female as it can a male. And yes, there may be hierarchy within the practice of polyamory, such as using labels like ‘primary’ partner to describe a partner(s) who gets priority over others – but there are not determined by gender roles alone. And there are poly relationships where submissives are equal.
As I have No experience with the branching out I will be speaking from my experience as part of a poly relationship both the threesome V and triangle type BDSM relationships with one Dominant and 2 submissives.
All of us have multiple loves. It starts as a child and as we grow we love more people. At some point in most our lives we were expected to find that One love to settle down with and spend our lives together. Some people do well with that, but many don’t. We have been able to develop multiple loves with more than one person. In the alternative lifestyle this may be anything from a service, play type relationship to one that is sexual and even romantic. It is all different levels of love.
In my experience the BEST way to make a Poly relationship work is OPEN communication! Every relationship has to be Honest and open. If there is a lack of trust, understanding or communication a poly relationship will not work.
Jealousy is another very hard thing to deal with in a poly relationship. Jealousy can be helped and possibly fixed in a poly relationship if all partners know their roles and where they stand in a relationship. Are the submissive all treated as equals? Is there a primary and secondary? A strong Dom can deal with Jealousy and put a stop to it as long as He/She is aware of it. When a submissive holds feelings of jealousy in or hides them they will eventually blow and show all of their feelings. Jealousy can often be fixed with clarification of relationships and reassurance of the relationship where the problem is.
As stated by rdhdbtrfly, we all have different ideas about poly relationships. I have always thought of them as being both partners have chosen to have other relationships as well as their primary relationship. By relationship, I mean sexual. Sometimes it is a group of three who truly love each other on an almost equal basis, the almost being adding a D/s factor. I only know of one relationship like this that is truly working and all involved are content. rdhdbtrfly is in a different type and it works for her and her Sir. I have never thought of myself as poly though I have various BDSM relationships, because I have only one loving, sexual relationship and that is with my wife. While I have play partners and service submissives, we are not romantic or intimate, though I may love them with a friend type love.
One other observation I have is that the younger crowd seems to be more open to having poly relationships. If everyone involved has open communication, trust, and safe sex, then it can work. The type I see working the best are either the kind rdhdbtrfly has which is a male dominant and two submissive females, or a male dominant, a submissive female, and a female slave. I will say that in some instances, I see people (about 70% men) who want to call their relationships poly because they see it as a means to justify having multiple partners and therefore being able to have sex with many without the stigma of being a cheat or the trouble of sneaking around. I may get call on this observation, but it is my opinion.
Many of those involved in this kind of relationships have partners that come and go quickly and are not all that loving or equal. As said, these can work and they can be pretty much long term, but I do think some take advantage of the term or idea of poly being a green light to be in many relationships without giving proper care to the emotional and physical needs of all partners. I am not trying to disrespect other’s kinks, I just feel it is necessary that those involved are honest and have the other partners’ best interests at heart, otherwise they are being cheated even if it is well known that other partners are part of the equation. Rdhdbtrfly stated that jealousy can be the major issue in the ruining of a poly relationship, and I agree. Some people just aren’t wired to have the person they love be with other partners. I have seen couples go down that road and find an emotion train wreck. Sometimes it may be because the submissive wife who has another partner gets sub frenzy and the extra partner becomes more important than the primary one, sometimes it’s because one partner in the relationship finds they simply cannot refrain from being jealous or having hurt feelings like they thought they could. It can be for many reasons, and open communication can help. I think if I were to decide on having a poly relationship with Beauty, we would state that we (Beauty and I) come before any other person who might be brought in. Even then, I just don’t see it happening. I am too possessive and apparently didn’t learn to share well in kindergarten.
My thanks to rdhdbtrfly for her input on this topic. She has and currently does make this type of relationship work. We have all been in the situation where we have loved or at least been infatuated with more than one person at a time. Most of us were brought up feeling as if we had to chose and have only one mate, for some, that notion doesn’t ring true.
If you feel you can speak intelligently on a topic I haven’t covered, let me know. I am looking for someone to do guest posts on latex, CBT, single tailing, bondage (shibari), and pony or puppy play. Please contact me if you feel you can compose a post that speaks frankly on these topics as well as speaks about safety.