the state or practice of having more than one open romantic relationship at a time
I have to admit I've been watching the new Showtime special series called Polyamory: Married & Dating. I wanted to see if it was any where close to my understanding of the poly lifestyle. This is a reality (documentary) show about the relationship of 7 (K, M, J, T, V, A, & L) main characters of which there were 7 episodes of the first season, and up until episode 3, I was shaking my head at not only the people but also some of the situations they found themselves involved in.
Wikipedia defines polyamory as: "Polyamory (from Greek πολύ [poly, meaning many or several] and Latin amor/love) is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved". You can find more information here. After watching the show, reading the wiki information as well as a few other websites AND from my own experience both personal and from very close friends who live this lifestyle. I have some things I need to say.
From personal experience and the experience of close friends I know the first unquestionable *rule* in polyamory is complete and total honesty in EVERY situation. During the season finale of P:M&D this is brought out very clearly. One of the partners (T) in the family foursome *pod* lied to the other 3. The situation was simple, he had promised his legal wife (J) to always be in their bed at the end of the night, and wake up next to her. He broke this promise by sneaking out of their bed after the wife was asleep and went to join the other couple (K&M), telling them J knew where he was, that it was OK, and ultimately fell asleep not in his own bed. When confronted by J the next morning he at first tried to lie once again, but quickly found he had no one to back him up as the others called him out on what he had said the night before.
Sounds pretty complicated, right? Not really, IF you live by the one ultimate unbreakable *rule* of complete and total honesty in every situation. I can't stress this enough! If you want to live in any alternative lifestyle, there absolutely must be 100% communication and honesty from each person involved in the relationship, no matter what their role may be.
From personal experience I know it's very difficult to find someone who is and will continue to be honest in all matters. If you are married, but also in a poly relationship with a 3rd single male or female party, it takes many months and into many years to know if there is complete honesty coming from all 3 parties. For example, a few years ago Jimmy & I were in a relationship with another female. We gave her complete unwavering honesty and shared everything with her we would have shared if we were in a monogamous relationship. Unfortunately, she didn't give back to us even a fraction of our trust. She lied to us, repeatedly. And when we called her on it, she'd cry and say she was sorry but the lies didn't stop and were just compounded. Eventually, after being repeatedly hurt and having arrived at the decision we couldn't continue to be hurt by her, we ended that relationship. It was devastating... Again, full and total honesty...
Sometimes it's more difficult for the male in a relationship to accept anything that has to do with the poly lifestyle. When I told Jimmy I am bisexual, he didn't even bat an eye. Like most men, he has jealous tendencies. I can live with that. However, I made it perfectly clear I do not have any interest in having a relationship with another couple where I would need to interact on a regular basis with the male half. On the other hand, if I *had* wanted to have a relationship with another male, the honesty rule would still be the most important thing for us to live by. I would not have put my relationship with Jimmy at risk by double talking and out right lying about the things I was doing.
The following part of the story may sound a bit sexist or even discriminatory, it's not meant to sound this way. I'm giving you personal experience, not generalizing any situation.
We had a male friend (P) who wanted to have a relationship with the female half of another couple (also friends of ours). The male (P) was married and his wife knew nothing about the *other* lifestyle her husband was wanting to live. As far as the wife knew their marriage was great, no problems or reason to worry. Because (P) wanted to pursue the other female, he told her and her husband he was getting a divorce and even though they still lived in the same house, they were not in a relationship of any kind, just room mates in order to keep the house and bank accounts. The other couple and especially the female half believed everything P told her. Eventually the husband began questioning the story and having issues with what he felt were lies.
These lies compounded, and the wife who by now thought she was in love with P and believed everything he told her, made her primary relationship a living hell. She found fault with everything her husband did, from the hours he worked at his job, to his diet and fitness habits. She began calling him lazy, no good and pretty much deflated her husband to the point he honestly thought he was as worthless as his wife told him he was. She also began sneaking around to spend what ever time she could with P at the expense of her relationship at home, she neglected not only her husband but her children as well. She lied to her employer, her family and friends. She even made plans to travel to China where P had gone on a business trip all the while passing herself off as P's wife.
I'm not clear on the things that would eventually happen in the lives of this couple. We moved away before she came back from China, and rumor has it BTW, P's employer found out she actually wasn't his wife, which caused him to lose his job, leaving him stranded in China. I do know if they had just been honest and told the truth in all of this mess, there wouldn't have been any reason for the things that happened.
It's unfortunate that some people have no concept of the truth. But it's even more devastating when the lies they tell affect so many different people. In this one case there were 6 people (two of them children) plus a major employer who had direct contact with the lies told just so someone could have sex with someone other than their spouse. I'm sure in the end this was one of the most difficult things anyone can go through. And it all could have been avoided if all parties involved would have remembered the most important rule of being in a polyamorous relationship or any alternate lifestyle for that matter. Complete 100% honesty to everyone involved.
So there you have it. I know I didn't get into much detail on my findings and experiences in living a poly amorous lifestyle. This one point has been bothering me for a few days and I just felt the need to get it out there in case there is someone who may or may not be thinking about investigating polyamory. Keep it real, keep it honest and even though honesty is sometimes the most difficult thing to do, do it. You won't be sorry...