Inside the Mind of a Polyamorous Woman

Oh look, another puff-piece on polyamory, this time from The Guardian:

It was the hardest thing I’d ever had to say to my husband, Marc. Three years ago, I sat down and told him: “The idea of having sex just with you for the next 40 years – I can’t do it any more.” But I had come to realise that my life was built around something I didn’t believe in: monogamy.

We had been together for 12 years and had two children, now nine and seven.

Can you imagine a guy saying this to the mother of his children? Well, actually I can, it does happen, often following an assignment to Russia or a golf trip to Thailand, but such stories rarely get featured in The Guardian.

I love being a mother and I set the bar high from the start – cloth nappies and cooking from scratch. But I needed something more in my emotional and sexual life.

Oh, so it’s all about you. Got it.

Marc’s reaction was remarkable; he agreed to support me and open our marriage to other partners, although it wasn’t really what he wanted.

Perhaps he was concerned you would initiate a divorce leaving him penniless, homeless, and unable to see much of his children? At the end of this piece, Marc gets his say:

I did a lot of reading around the subject of ethical non-monogamy. It makes a lot of sense intellectually, but it doesn’t resonate with me emotionally. It didn’t feel right. I was prepared for our marriage to continue, with me being monogamous and Anita having other partners, but that proved more difficult than we envisaged.

So he dreaded the prospect and found it was even harder than he imagined? This I can believe. Why is his wife putting him through this, exactly? Oh, we know already: she doesn’t give a shit about anyone other than herself. As she says:

Sex is a big part of a relationship, but it is only a part. We didn’t want it to scupper us.

The only thing I can see scuppering this relationship is her sense of entitlement.

I quickly embraced the dating scene and discovered another side of my sexual self.

I’ll leave my readers to guess what she means by that.

I think most people’s reaction was that Marc should have kicked me out.

If the divorce laws weren’t so stacked against him, I suspect he’d have done just that.

People who choose to be polyamorous often do so after delving deep into themselves and their desires, so it runs close to the kink scene, which was also something I wanted to explore. There’s a temptation to think that, had Marc and I explored these things together, our marriage might have worked without opening it up. I’m not sure that it would have, though, given that he wasn’t into it. It can seem quite intimidating, but I was so ready for it. The first time I went to a fetish club, I felt like I was at home – that I’d found my people.

I can’t help thinking people ought to work all this stuff out before they get married and have kids.

I now have a partner of two years, Andrea.

Oh, she’s hooked up with a swarthy foreigner. How original.

We work as a couple, but we also have sex with friends. He’s the only partner I have introduced to my children. I love Andrea and I’m very lucky to have him, but I don’t want to live with him – we both value our solitude too much. He and I can flirt with other people and ask for their number, but I still feel jealous sometimes. He went away with another woman and, yes, it was difficult.

My research on polyamorous people has led me to believe they engage in the practice to address issues which might better be dealt with in other ways. The above paragraph doesn’t do much to convince me I’m wrong on this.

Meanwhile, Marc and I realised we were no longer compatible. I had changed too much. We still share the family home and parent our children together. We still get on. We have counselling together, we spend Christmas together – we are still reading and learning as we used to. We wanted to keep all the bits that worked.

I suspect in reality this woman has told her husband they are no longer compatible, and “the bits that worked” are those that she relies on him to pay for.

We have had to learn so much about communicating better, and I think the children have benefited from that. We have explained that Dad needs one person to be with and Mum needs more people to make her happy. The talk is ongoing; we won’t wait to sit them down when they are teenagers, expecting them suddenly to get it.

And if they don’t? Well, who cares? Let’s see how they turn out after spending their teenage years with their mother chasing multiple lovers around.

You can craft your own polyamory, but I’m not sure I would want more than two or three other partners. I’m hoping two people I met recently will become lovers, but there’s no rush. People assume that I’m constantly having sex, but it’s not as simple as that. I want an emotional and mental connection with someone, so it takes time to build up to that.

But it is, mostly, about sex.

Monogamy, meanwhile, feels more like a competition where you need to bag someone before anyone else does. None of that applies in a poly setup, which is incredibly liberating.

There’s no doubt being free to fuck around as much as you please is liberating; the problem is in doing so you lose the benefits of a monogamous relationship. It’s a trade off, and one that most people figure out in their mid-twenties.

Think how strange it would be to have only one friend. You can’t get everything from one platonic relationship. Why would you try with one lover?

The few hundreds of millions of people who do just that might argue certain benefits come from a monogamous relationship, and trying to “get everything” is a fool’s errand. But what would they know?

On top of that, the amount of work involved in maintaining multiple relationships, sexual and platonic, is huge.

I’m sure none of this will impact the care and attention she gives to her kids.

Andrea and I look to the future, but there are no expectations.

I imagine Andrea made that point very clear from the outset.

I don’t see myself sitting on a park bench at 80 with one other person.

Oh, nor do I. I imagine you’ll be very much alone.

We seem to want a silver bullet for everything.

Says the woman who thinks polyamory is the answer to what looks like normal marriage blues combined with quite staggering selfishness on her part.

Appetite, a novel by Anita Cassidy, is published by RedDoor at £8.99.

Oh, this woman has a book on polyamory to flog? As it happens, so do I. Do you think The Guardian will run a puff-piece on my novel?

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41 thoughts on “Inside the Mind of a Polyamorous Woman

  1. Well Tim, as you imply, you only have to imagine this piece with the sex of the protagonists inverted and its utter moral bankruptcy becomes crystal clear, even without your surgical fisking.

    It really is demeaning that a national newspaper the remains of what in the past (rather a long time ago) was a genuine quality paper should give space to shit like this, and appalling to think of the ten thousands of cat stroking harpies who will be lapping it up.

  2. Wow. Just wow.

    Utterly uncompromising behaviour, knowing that she has the upper hand should she divorce him or vice-versa.

  3. Not polyamory but another “signs of the times” thing: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-42665317

    There are lots of these pieces in the media where the writer seems to expect that the reader is automatically “on their side” and inherently sympathetic to their situation, but if you aren’t reading from that perspective then that expectation seems rather self-entitled.

    Do wish they’d publish more of these emotional/relationship stories from a male perspective, then I’d feel less of a dicky misogynist for my lack of sympathy with the authors.

  4. I still feel jealous sometimes. He went away with another woman and, yes, it was difficult.

    Stunning lack of self-awareness right there

  5. Jessica, in the BBC story, sounds like a coldly calculating (fill in the blank).
    “[Kids] can act as insurance for when you get older.” I feel sorry for her kid!

  6. > I love being a mother and I set the bar high from the start – cloth nappies

    Cloth nappies are nothing to do with being a good mother. They’re to do with you getting to feel virtuous.

    Basically, in modern media circles, we have this:
    Men who screw around or practice polyamory = awful sexist sleazebags who cause nothing but pain and who should be ostracized.
    Women who screw around or practice polyamory = Heroines, in touch with their feelings like no man can be, who should be listened to and feted.

  7. Everyday I seem to come across an article that reinforces my long held belief that left wing people are maladjusted and suffer from personality disorders.

    Within past year, there was an articles at Guardian about mothers who resent their children because they don’t like being moms. I couldn’t believe it, a few women were even photographed, imagine having a mom that goes to journalist to tell world that she resents you because she can’t go out drinking two or three times a week like she used to.

  8. ” . . .imagine having a mom that goes to journalist to tell world that she resents you because she can’t go out drinking two or three times a week like she used to.”

    Imagine living in a society that rewards such a mom with sympathetic Guardian spreads.

  9. “I quickly embraced the dating scene and discovered another side of my sexual self.”

    A definition of this might be, er, prostitute. The moment Mr X, Herr Y or Monsieur Z gives her a reward, it’s being a hooker.

    One thing I do note however from the piece reported here, was all the ‘positive’ words. They just tumble out (in no particular order): Liberating, connection, learning, counselling, relationships, emotional, craft, parent, partner… and so on.

    Without these lefty-liberal hooks the piece would be just another bit of pron about someone shagging around for the lolz. Or, if she gets lucky, being rewarded with some scary disease.

  10. Anyone who would willingly suffer the terror that are cloth nappies when disposable ones are so cheap (and are already pretty horrific to deal with) has to be a loony.

  11. I suspect that 11 years from now, as soon as the youngest kid turns 18 and hubby isn’t on the hook for child support he will kick her ass to the kerb citing her multiple infidelities plus of course 11 years down the road her SMV wont be anyway near as high as it is now and once she realises that the kind of men that she finds so exciting now don’t want 40 something women when they can have 20 something women she might then begin to realise the catastrophic mistake she`s made. but hey…empowerment right?

  12. The husband has choices here and at the end of the day he needs to be able to sleep with himself, who the fuck in their right mind would want to live in that domestic hell just to make the financial separation at some unknown point in the future more palatable. If it were me and my wife wanted to go that way and I didn’t then she needn’t expect things to pan out her way either. First up I would be telling the kids that mummy wants to fuck other men and that is not what we agreed to and I still don’t agree to it and I couldn’t stand her using the shower let alone stomach sharing a bed with her. Then I would be running that big an interference on the whole legal and financial side of the procedure thing it should knock her little plans for six. The husband is still a man and he stills needs to set examples to his children.

    I remember say ten years ago when my missus was watching a bit too much Oprah and started discussing what we would do if we separated, I said that if I didn’t want to and she did then don’t think I would cooperate. I made it perfectly clear it wouldn’t be a case of me coming every second such and such a day and picking up the kids for the weekend and us splitting the sports driving and the assets 80/20 and a garnish on my salary. No fucking way, I would talk to my boys, make sure they were okay, do some massive things with my investemnst such that it was only the dbet that was left to share. I leave the country and the jurisdiction and sit around the Himalayas or Manali or something and the like maybe even buy a motorbike and a big bag of mind bending drugs and a pillion passenger and go and rediscover myself and recalibrate my life objectives. By the way we are still very happily married as much as any nearly thirty year married normal couple are and we never had that type of discussion again.

  13. I suspect in reality this woman has told her husband they are no longer compatible, and “the bits that worked” are those that she relies on him to pay for.

    In a nutshell, yes.

    No doubt when asked about their mother in the future, the children will simply reply “…my mother? Oh. She was a whore…”.

    I’ve always believed that it is mothers that create what misogyny does exist through exactly this sort of whorish behaviour.

    In times past, the guy would have been able to get rid of this whore without financial or legal penalty (albeit a social one for being foolish enough to marry a whore), but nowadays the cards are so strongly biased in favour of the female and the likelihood of post-divorce alienation of the husband that it would take a strong character to kick the cunt to the curb.

    Maybe this is why marriage has been in terminal decline since the 1970’s?

  14. Maybe this is why marriage has been in terminal decline since the 1970’s?

    Make it easy to get divorced, and you quickly discover that most women were only staying in their marriages because the alternative was worse for them, yes. Well, perceived as worse, anyway; divorce is almost always worse for them financially, emotionally and healthwise in the long run.

    As for the rest, I only have two words: shit test.

  15. All I can see in this is;

    I want!
    I want!
    I want!

    Shortly to be followed by “Where have all the good men gone?”

  16. ZT
    “Stories like this make me think the Muslims have the right idea about how to treat women.”

    To a degree, stories like this make me think feminists want to be treated the way ‘Muslims’ treat women. There is almost a silent scream behind this story for someone to man up and stop her from this path. The more of these stories I read or hear, the more convinced I am of this.

  17. It’s the permanency/frequency of the multiple arrangements that grates. I honestly think, if my SO once shagged someone she met in a bar on a business trip I’d have a hard time getting more than mildly annoyed.
    Having a regular partner on the side for years (or shagging people met in bars on a regular basis) would be a totally different matter.

    Sure, I’d behave like a jerk outwardly, and take identical revenge, but purely for pedagogic reasons. That said, the only couple I know in this position (she had an affair, so he had one to get his own back) are divorced.

    This woman is with a weak epsilon minus male who isn’t even prepared to sleep with one other woman to (a) make a point, or (b) get his side of the new bargain, and that is basically why she is doing it. He’s an epsilon minus. He literally doesn’t have the balls to do anything about it.

  18. Many, if not most, women subconsciously want their man to set limits and boundaries. They don’t want him to be domineering, but they do want him to be dominant to some extent. Even my very sensible wife will sometimes see how far she can push me. If I get angry, she claims the moral high ground and becomes shrill. Yet if I calmly but firmly say No, she backs off respectfully.

    I suspect that Marc the Mangina never said No firmly to Anita Cassidy, never set any limits and boundaries, and so she’s become a narcissistic wife who expects to be able to satisfy her every whim and desire, while he has become her doormat.

    When she suggested non-monogamy to Marc, he should have said firmly that this was not acceptable, and, ignoring any tantrum, he should have slapped her on the rump, tied her to a bed and given her a jolly good seeing to. That’s clearly what she wants and needs.

  19. More on Anita Cassidy:

    http://www.anitacassidy.uk

    I am a writer, a relationship radical, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a friend. I am also a lover of old books, new music and (mostly) clean food. Whilst I understand the limitations of labels, I do identify as bi-sexual, polyamorous and kinky. Above all else, I am curious about everything: about life, about learning and about love.

    And:
    http://nomoradicalrelationships.club/resources/the-manifesto-of-radical-relationships

  20. The husband has choices here and at the end of the day he needs to be able to sleep with himself

    Unlike his wife, who is able to sleep with everyone else.

    Three years ago, I sat down and told him: “The idea of having sex just with you for the next 40 years – I can’t do it any more.”

    Obviously doesn’t need saying, but had the sexes been reversed then the tone of this article would have been very, very different.

    The Guardian now is just a lifestyle magazine for how to fuck up your life as completely as possible. I wonder if their editor looks at a submitted article and thinks “how much will this fuck people or society up?” and if the answer is “not much or not at all” then it gets spiked.

  21. I did a lot of reading around the subject of ethical non-monogamy.

    Uh-huh. The moment you called it that, I realised you were a cuckold.

    It makes a lot of sense intellectually

    A cuckold who thinks he’s clever and enlightened.

    but it doesn’t resonate with me emotionally.

    Men who use the phrase “resonate with me emotionally” have a big target for selfish females to aim at, and she did.

    I don’t know if that photograph is them, but it perfectly reflects the piece – me me me female, older cuckold husband and the younger model, all staring adoringly at the centre-piece of the action.

  22. Just gob smacking. What a cunt.

    Yes. Utterly shameless and selfish behaviour dressed up in a load of progressive bollocks and the Guardian laps it up.

  23. Many, if not most, women subconsciously want their man to set limits and boundaries. They don’t want him to be domineering, but they do want him to be dominant to some extent.

    Yes, Jordan Peterson made this point in his now infamous interview with Cathy Newman (no relation, I presume). Women who completely dominate their partner may enjoy their dominance in the moment, but over the long haul it makes both partners miserable.

  24. Not polyamory but another “signs of the times” thing:

    Good grief. I might need to blog about that.

    There are lots of these pieces in the media where the writer seems to expect that the reader is automatically “on their side” and inherently sympathetic to their situation, but if you aren’t reading from that perspective then that expectation seems rather self-entitled.

    Indeed. The whole piece seems to lack a certain self-awareness, never considering how this will look to anyone who doesn’t think a woman with two kids going of to shag around is a good thing.

  25. Stunning lack of self-awareness right there

    Isn’t it just? Never stopped to think “maybe this is what my husband feels, multiplied by ten”.

  26. Everyday I seem to come across an article that reinforces my long held belief that left wing people are maladjusted and suffer from personality disorders.

    Polyamorists certainly are, from what I’ve seen of those whose lives are presented online.

  27. but hey…empowerment right?

    Modern feminists are good at encouraging young women to engage in sexual practices they say are “empowering” but are in fact the precise opposite. Having meaningless sex with a string of substandard men they met online is likely to be more demeaning than empowering in the long run.

  28. Stories like this make me think the Muslims have the right idea about how to treat women.

    They certainly add power to the elbows of conservatives in foreign countries who can say to reformists “Look at where this leads”.

  29. I remember say ten years ago when my missus was watching a bit too much Oprah and started discussing what we would do if we separated, I said that if I didn’t want to and she did then don’t think I would cooperate….By the way we are still very happily married as much as any nearly thirty year married normal couple are and we never had that type of discussion again.

    Good for you!

  30. I honestly think, if my SO once shagged someone she met in a bar on a business trip I’d have a hard time getting more than mildly annoyed.

    As the narrator says in my book:

    “Everyone has a history at our age; I don’t expect the women I meet to be virgins, so they’ll have a past, ex-boyfriends and so on. If an ex was important to them or they were in a serious relationship, then I’d expect them to tell me about the guy, and I’d be okay with it. But I don’t need to know everything. For example, if a girl went on holiday to Mexico and fucked a waiter, I don’t want to know about it. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with it, but she should keep it to herself. This sort of thing isn’t my business.”

  31. Many, if not most, women subconsciously want their man to set limits and boundaries. They don’t want him to be domineering, but they do want him to be dominant to some extent. Even my very sensible wife will sometimes see how far she can push me. If I get angry, she claims the moral high ground and becomes shrill. Yet if I calmly but firmly say No, she backs off respectfully.

    There’s a passage in my book which talks about the importance of parents setting boundaries for their children to stop them going off the rails. Even if the boundaries are breached, the mere effort of the parents trying to impose them is enough to send the kids a message.

    I should probably say, Theo, that a portion of the passage in question is based on a comment you left at David Thompson’s place during a discussion on the same. Thanks.

  32. “I should probably say, Theo, that a portion of the passage in question is based on a comment you left at David Thompson’s place during a discussion on the same. Thanks.”

    Thank you, Tim. Fame at last!😉

  33. “Yes, Jordan Peterson made this point in his now infamous interview with Cathy Newman (no relation, I presume). Women who completely dominate their partner may enjoy their dominance in the moment, but over the long haul it makes both partners miserable.

    But I don’t think Dr. Peterson was arguing that men ought to be the dominant party. I think he was arguing more for an equal and temperate relationship – that one-sided domination in a partnership cannot be the norm as it transforms a partnership into something else.

  34. @Tim,

    I thought your narrator was dating a divorcee.

    In which case her being a virgin would surely set off far more alarm bells than it would silence.

  35. She sounds deluded & self absorbed. Unfortunately a person like this is unlikely to have an epiphany and realize she is throwing away precious time with a likely loving family to set up dates & run her merry go round liaisons.

    “Many, if not most, women subconsciously want their man to set limits and boundaries. They don’t want him to be domineering, but they do want him to be dominant to some extent.“

    It’s 2018 in a Western Country. Surely we have evolved sufficiently that both partners appreciate care from the other and reasonable intervention when they are making questionable choices.

  36. She sounds deluded & self absorbed. Unfortunately a person like this is unlikely to have an epiphany and realize she is throwing away precious time with a likely loving family to set up dates & run her merry go round liaisons.

    “Many, if not most, women subconsciously want their man to set limits and boundaries. They don’t want him to be domineering, but they do want him to be dominant to some extent.“

    It’s 2018 in a Western Country. Surely we have evolved sufficiently that both partners appreciate care from the other and reasonable intervention when they are making questionable choices.

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