Swiped Out

There’s a trial underway in Auckland involving the murder of an Englishwoman at the hands of an Australian man whose name is suppressed by a New Zealand judge who may not realise the internet is global:

British backpacker Grace Millane died after being strangled by a man she met on a Tinder date, who later buried her body in a shallow grave, the Crown says.

Grace and the accused met on Tinder and went to a number of central city bars and eateries that night.

The pair were “plainly comfortable” in each other’s company and Grace had messaged her friend saying so, McCoubrey said.

CCTV footage captured from the Bluestone Room bar showed the pair kissing.

“She was plainly enjoying the date, at that stage … there’s clear evidence that both parties probably anticipated sexual activity,” McCoubrey said.

So she was travelling alone in a foreign country, met a total stranger online, went to his apartment to have sex, and wound up dead. Did she find hugging crocodiles in the Northern Territory a little too sensible, or what?

This blog’s resident Kiwi David Moore points us towards this related article:

A witness who wept after being told she would have to return to the High Court in Auckland will continue giving evidence on Tuesday in the trial of the man accused of murdering Grace Millane.

The witness told the court on Monday how the 27 year-old accused of murdering Grace sat on her face as she performed a sex act on him, inside his apartment in November 2018.

The Crown says Grace was murdered about a month later in the same room.

Okay.

On Monday the witness, who has name suppression, said she had drinks with the accused at his apartment in CityLife Hotel, after the pair connected on the dating app Tinder.

Hey, let’s go to some random bloke’s hotel room, what could possibly go wrong?

Giving evidence by CCTV, she told Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey the accused said he loved her and wanted to be with her.

“He grabbed my arm and I said: ‘We’re not having sex’.”

Then why go to his apartment?

The pair moved to the bed and she performed a sex act on him before he sat on top of her.

Because the natural response of someone who declares “we’re not having sex” is to perform a sex act on the chap she’s just yelled at.

The witness said she exchanged messages with the accused in the days following the incident but decided not to mention the suffocating episode because she didn’t want to aggravate him.

Unless she’s exchanging messages with him while they’re sat in the same room, this is a level of imbecility impressive even for the antipodes.

Under cross-examination from the accused’s lawyer, Ron Mansfield, she was asked why she exchanged over 700 messages with the accused, in the month following the sex act.

She told Mansfield she was leading the accused on and was scared that if she cut him off, he was going to turn up in her life.

I’m beginning to think those mullahs may have a point about letting women out on their own. Perhaps this is why Jacinda Ardern was encouraging Kiwi women to adopt the burkha a while back?

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Unprotected Sex

I’ve long thought that the numerous articles appearing in fringe media about polyamory are part of a campaign to give legal recognition to such relationships. Now CBS, a mainstream channel, are putting out a documentary on how wonderful it is:

“One big orgy.” That’s the stereotype about the lifestyle of consensual non-monogamy — an arrangement where committed partners openly agree to have sexual relationships with other people.

But people who have practiced non-monogamy for years say it’s not all wild sex — or even all that wild. It takes a lot of work, and it carries a lot of stigma. There can be serious consequences for the family life and even careers of those involved.

The consequences for family life aren’t so serious they consider quitting the practice, though. Apparently the right to have multiple sex partners trumps all other considerations.

“Many people are trying to create families in different kinds of ways. And a lot of people see that as dangerous,” Diana Adams, a Brooklyn-based lawyer who represents polyamorous families, says in the CBSN Originals documentary, “Non-monogamy.”

Brooklyn, eh? There’s a surprise. And yes, a lot of people do have the welfare of children and wider society in mind when looking at deviant behaviour. We’d not be much of a society if we didn’t, would we?

She advises clients in non-monogamous relationships to be careful about telling their employers. She’s seen some lose their jobs over it.

“There are places where it’s not safe to tell people that you’re polyamorous, and many people are not out,” Adams said. “I think employers are aware that they don’t have to allow employees to express themselves, in terms of their relationship status. Because that isn’t a protected class.”

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what it’s all about. Polyamorists want their sexual preferences – which are less lifestyle choices than coping mechanisms – accorded special protections from the government.

There is no legal framework for polyamorous families to share finances, custody of children or the rights and responsibilities that come with marriage.

That’s because they’re not married. Similarly, I rarely get tax relief on pension contributions I don’t make.

Likewise, there are no legal protections against people facing discrimination for being in a non-monogamous relationship.

Nor for people holding conservative views.

Mahdy, a man who lives in Brooklyn, New York, had to end his marriage to keep his relationship together. He is part of what’s called a triad or thruple — a polyamorous relationship between three people who are all actively involved with each other. But because it’s illegal to be married to more than one person, only two people in his triad can be married.

Imagine the oppression!

Mahdy, who did not want his last name to be used, met his first partner about 14 years ago and married her in 2011. One year later, the couple met another woman, and the three formed a triad. But it could have fallen apart after the second woman ran into problems with her immigration status, he says.

For her to remain in America, Mahdy and his wife divorced, and the wife married the second partner. It kept them all together — but he is still reeling from the ordeal.

This is about par for the course for Brooklyn polyamorists: mentally ill foreign woman arrives in the US, gets into polyamory, someone agrees to marry her when her visa expires to keep her in the circle. It’s hard to see how this obvious gaming of the system benefits American society.

“Dissolving the marriage … that was really, really difficult for me,” he says. “I don’t have the legal protections I had when me and my first partner were married. In fact, I don’t think I’ve had health insurance since.”

I’m of the opinion that polyamorists are generally f*ck-ups. That this chap has two “wives” and doesn’t know if he has health insurance doesn’t do much to persuade me otherwise.

For many people in non-monogamous relationships, there’s nothing strange about their arrangement. It’s just romance — plus one or two other people, or more.

There’s nothing strange about Siamese twins. It’s just a person, plus another head.

“People think that there’s this magical thing happening all the time,” says Brooke Houston of Kansas City, Kansas, who has been in a triad for more than a year.

More than a year. I guess they couldn’t find anyone who’d managed to keep it up longer than that.

“And half the time we’re just chilling. … Whoever has the energy for a big orgy 24/7, let me know. Tell me your secret,” she joked.

In 2018, Houston formed a triad with CJ and Brandi George, a couple who have been in an open marriage for four years. She has a sexual relationship with both CJ and Brandi — sometimes individually, and sometimes all together.

LOL, we don’t have orgies! Just threesomes. We’re normal.

It’s not all about sex, though. The three of them live as one unit — sharing a bed, but also sharing dinners.

It’s not all about sex: sometimes they eat food.

Brandi said that years ago, someone wrote an anonymous letter to the school district where she works as a teacher, outing her for being in an open relationship. The district called her in to discuss it. She didn’t end up losing her job — but she feared that she would.

In other words they couldn’t find anyone who’d actually lost their job for being polyamorous. This hardly sounds like an oppressed group desperate for special protections.

“I was terrified that I would be let go from my job or that I would have people that wouldn’t accept me,” she said. “My students, like, they give me oxygen, they give me life. And so to have that taken from me would have just like devastated me. So I was just very aware that that could happen and that I would have nothing. And how could I provide for my kids if I don’t have a job?”

None of which actually happened.

CBSN Originals spoke with two women in Durham, North Carolina, who have been in what they call a polyfidelitous closed quad for more than seven years. That means the two married couples are romantically involved with each other — each woman has sex with the other’s husband — but outside of that the couples don’t see anyone else. The women asked to remain anonymous to protect their families, and for fear of consequences in their jobs.

Which is pretty much where Trump supporters stand in many professions.

“It’s not just about sleeping with each other’s husbands. Our lives are meshed together,” one of the women said. “Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays are the nights we spend with our extramarital partners. And Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays we spend with our marital partners.”

I don’t want to ask how often they change the bedsheets. My guess is the sheets wait for a window of opportunity before walking themselves to the washing machine.

One of the hardest parts of the arrangement is the children. One couple does not have kids; the other does. The couples care for and parent them together, though there is no question about who their biological parents are. And those children had to have all of this explained to them.

Because God forbid the parents and their sex partners adjust their lives so children don’t have to get their heads around the intricacies of sexual degeneracy.

“It involves a lot of trust,” the woman with children said. “I, as a mother, have to think, ‘Do I trust these people?’ This could really, really impact my children’s life for the worse.”

But I’ll take the risk anyway because, frankly, it’s all about me.

“What we were hoping for was that giving the children more adults in their lives that love them would counterbalance giving them a strange life, and would outweigh it,” her partner added.

And thus began a whole new parenting philosophy which went some way to explain the rash of suicides and instances of clinical depression 15 years later.

Last year, the American Psychological Association created a task force on consensual non-monogamy to promote awareness and understanding of non-traditional relationship structures.

“Finding love and/or sexual intimacy is a central part of most people’s life experience,” the APA website says. “However, the ability to engage in desired intimacy without social and medical stigmatization is not a liberty for all.”

I suppose the APA is wholly uninterested in 1) the effect on any children caught up in this and 2) the psychological state of polyamorists to begin with.

People who engage in or support non-monogamous relationships argue that it’s simply an option that should be available for those who choose — just as monogamy should be an option. And for now, they’re just asking for acceptance.

For now. Then as soon as you’ve got that, compulsory celebration and outlawing criticism will follow.

“It’s never gonna be equal for us,” Mahdy said. “I only ask that people don’t interfere with what we have.”

Erm, they’re not. But you want the law changed so you can marry some disturbed foreigner without having to divorce your current wife, all so she can be permitted to live in the USA.

This whole campaign is just the latest battle in the war on traditional marriage which, once won, will usher in a Utopian society in which anyone can sleep with everyone willy-nilly, and the children all take part and are happy. What could go wrong?

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Venus Lie Trap

A couple of weeks back I wrote a post about a woman who’d failed to find a suitable partner online despite lying about how old she was. It’s hard to think of something more dumb than starting off your very first interaction with someone with a blatant lie, especially one which is impossible to keep very long. Unless, of course, you’re not really interested in pursuing anything serious with them in which case you can say you’re an off-duty astronaut who regularly saves baby seals from burning buildings.

Some of my readers will recall I was left rather mystified last summer by a Russian woman I’d met in the US who pursued me with gusto for a month, spent a week with me in Miami during which we got on fabulously, only for her to end it via text message the day after we parted and block me on every platform and communication system she could think of.

I can’t say I spend much time thinking about her, mainly because I barely knew her, my life has changed a lot since what with my moving to the UK and meeting someone else, and sand and sunshine is so far from the wet streets of Cambridge it might as well have happened on the moon. But the other day I was discussing it with someone and suddenly it occurred to me that the most obvious explanation is she’d told me a pack of lies about her life, circumstances, and who she was and if things had gone any further I’d have discovered the truth. Hell, there were plenty of red flags as I’d mentioned, and if you took an uncharitable view of any of them it would be enough to send any sane man running for the hills.

So I expect her life decisions had forced her into a trap: tell the truth from the beginning and never get a date, or lie and accept it can only be a short-term thing. I expect the reason she’d been on 60+ dates without success is because she’s tried everything from telling the truth to lying through her teeth, and always with the same result. By now she’s probably got the narrative so polished she believes it herself, but retains enough wit to know to exit before the truth comes out. In hindsight, it’s easy to see where the lies were; some things didn’t make any sense, and there were more than a few inconsistencies.

Why I didn’t see this back in the summer I don’t know. Perhaps I was too close to the subject, so to speak. But I can imagine a lot of men getting into this situation, too. If a married guy wants an affair, when does he drop the bomb that he’s got a wife and kids? From the outset, and only pick up the desperate, the insane, and the French? Or later, in which case she’ll go nuts, tear up his clothes, and phone his wife? Or not at all, in which case the whole thing’s got about a month to run unless he’s very smart or she’s very stupid.

For men or women, it must be an exhausting way to live. It’s probably better to make decisions you don’t have to spend a lifetime lying about. I’m kind of glad that for the most part I have. The only questions which have me skirting the truth are “How were things at your last place of work?” in interviews and “What kind of music do you like?” on first dates.

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Equality of the Grave

I’m a little late to this article in The Guardian about how women ought to be content with dying alone in a flat being eaten by her cats, but here goes anyway:

Not long ago I had a discussion with a friend about why she married, and ultimately divorced, someone she knew wasn’t right for her. She said she bought into society’s deafening message that being with a man – any man – is better than being alone, and certainly better than dying alone, which is allegedly the worst fate anyone, especially any woman, can suffer.

Society’s message is not that women should be with any man, but that making the effort to be in a functioning relationship and putting up with some degree of inconvenience is better than being alone.

When I told her that I’ve never feared dying alone, and in fact have sometimes feared the opposite, she told me I was incredibly lucky.

The author is 40. I wonder what she’ll say when she’s 50?

Because this meant I wouldn’t end up settling for a life that doesn’t actually make me happy, even if society tells me it’s supposed to.

There’s always the option of shacking up with that strawman she’s built.

Apparently I’m not alone. (Pun intended!) Data confirms that more women have begun to realize that there are far worse things than dying alone, which is great news for women but bad news for the patriarchy.

Women accepting they will die alone is great news…for women? Hurrah for modern feminism!

“Broke men are hurting women’s marriage prospects,” the NY Post recently declared, citing a study from the Journal of Family and Marriage. The article claimed that “most American women hope to marry” but there is a shortage of men with stable incomes and lives, making it tough for women to do so.

Why does the modern woman need a man with a stable income? After all:

CNN reports that there “are more single working women than ever,” and by 2030, according to the CDC, “45% of working women ages 25 to 44 in the United States will be single”.

If more women are working, why the insistence on a man having a stable income? Sounds a bit old fashioned to me!

Contrary to decades of prevailing wisdom that those who marry are better off, a 2017 study published in the Journal of Women’s Health found that women who stay single or who divorce are actually healthier than those who stay married. By contrast, married men are healthier than men who are not. Why the discrepancy?

Divorced women have more time to go to gym classes (alone) and they’re able to eat lettuce every night without a man demanding meat and potatoes?

When a man divorces, he may see his physical and emotional health slide. He loses the person concerned with keeping him healthy and much of his social network.

Until he remarries, which is usually the case.

By contrast, women who divorce just see their relationships evolve from investing in a man to investing more heavily in other social or community connections.

A community of bitter divorcees who talked her into it in the first place.

For years, the feminist writer Linda Hirshman courted controversy by advising that marriage, unless to an exceptional man, is often a “bad bargain” for women. With every child a woman has, she sees her pay and long-term professional opportunities decline, particularly if she leaves the workforce for a significant period of time.

Because every woman knows that a promotion to Assistant Head of Marketing in GlobalMegaCorp’s Bristol subsidiary and the accompanying 3% pay rise (pre-tax) is worth more than having a lousy kid.

Furthermore, marriage has historically presented women with two options, neither good: marry a man and sacrifice your autonomy and career goals to become financially dependent on him. Or marry a man and maintain your own career but be prepared to have a “second shift” career taking care of him and the home.

Whereas single motherhood is just peachy.

Even among more open-minded millennial men, the female spouse still ends up doing the majority of caregiving and housekeeping.

That’s because men spend longer at work supporting their wives and families.

More women, however, are foregoing marriage and motherhood. In doing so, they trade in their “second shift” and instead begin taking care of themselves.

The sharp rise in the use of anti-depressants among the same demographic is probably just a coincidence.

To use Hirshman’s language, they are rejecting a “bad bargain”. This new status quo frustrates men who feel entitled to female companionship, such as angry male “incels”.

Women who reject men who don’t have stable incomes to support them complain those same men feel entitled?

Women have more economic power and freedom to set standards regarding the men they will be with, and what they will put up with from those men, than at any time in history.

And having set those standards, they find nobody is willing to meet them – at least with them. Apparently this is progress.

More women are deciding that being in a bad marriage, or trying to co-parent with an irresponsible man, is much worse than dying alone.

This is nothing new. It’s been the case since divorce laws gifted women the house, the kids, and half of everything the man ever owned.

Once dying alone is no longer scary to women, men lose power.

Fighting the patriarchy by dying alone.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that some incels are outraged.

Fighting the patriarchy Annoying some incels by dying alone.

It’s no different than those who mourn the days when they didn’t have to compete for jobs against women and racial minorities.

No different, and just as imaginary.

It must be frustrating to lose power you once had but didn’t necessarily deserve.

As you likely found when men stopped being interested in you.

That’s not to say women shouldn’t marry and have children. It is to say women should feel empowered to do so, only if they truly want to and with partners who are worthy of them, who champion and nurture their success, not hold them back or drag them down.

Or, apparently, can’t pay for their upkeep.

More women are embracing that message, and that could ultimately do more for women’s equality than any government policy ever will.

And the fox didn’t want the grapes anyway: they were too sour.

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50 Spent

Via William of Ockham, a tale of middle-age dating woe from that well-known city of love and romance: Paris Brisbane.

Brisbane mother Lorrae Carr says she has a good reason to lie about her age on dating apps.

The 51-year-old, who works in recruitment, says meeting a worthy match on Tinder when you are over 50 was like “finding a unicorn”.

There’s a lot going on here. Firstly her parents appear to have called her lorry car. Secondly, there’s the rather startling contention that a “good reason” for lying is advancing one’s personal interests. Thirdly, this woman works in recruitment: presumably she’s happy with people lying on their CVs if it lands them a better job. Finally, I suspect she is meeting plenty of worthy matches, but she is deluded as to her own attractiveness as a partner.

“The reason is once a woman hits 50 she becomes invisible,

50? Try 35.

I have done an experiment on this to prove it,” Ms Carr said.

“I posted identical photos and profiles, just changed my age by two years and got about five times the amount of responses as my younger self.

Woman discovers people use round numbers when setting age filters on dating apps.

“For a long time now I put myself as 49 not 51, because men don’t just search in that category and if they do they are in their 60s.

They don’t search in that category because they don’t want women of that age. This isn’t hard.

“I kind of felt guilty about it, it is not because I want to be dishonest I just want to find someone my own age.”

Most men want Taylor Swift; most men are realistic.

Ms Carr believes the 50th birthday milestone is a mental barrier for men,

In the same way 60 is a mental barrier for her?

and says she fesses up to her real age after meeting her dates in person.

The fact she’s got enough experience of this to write a newspaper article suggests this approach hasn’t delivered the results she’d hoped for. Who would have guessed?

She is not alone, data published by the The Australian Seniors Insurance Agency this month found four in five Queenslanders over 50 lie about their age on dating apps.

Are we sure they’re not just innumerate?

Clinical psychologist Matthew Worthington said while it was not healthy to lie about your age, it wasn’t uncommon.

Most people are terrified of being alone and fear rejection, that is why they lie,” he said.

I’m sure this is true, but it doesn’t describe the woman in question. She’s not in fear of being alone, she’s complaining the men she wants aren’t interested in someone of her age. What’s wrong with a bloke who’s 60? She’s hardly a spring chicken, is she?

He said the more people felt disconnected, the more likely they were to turn to online dating apps to feel validated.

Ah yes, serial online dating as an alternative to addressing psychological problems. Hi [name redacted]!

Ms Carr, who is the mother of two teenage boys,

Yeah, she sounds like quite the catch.

said in her experience, about a quarter of men her age used online dating apps to find casual sexual partners

What did she think Tinder was for, marriage proposals?

and many others to find partners 10-15 years younger than them.

Well, yes. Grandma could have told you this without switching on a computer.

“The biggest challenge is just trying to find quality people, there is not a shortage of men but there is a severe shortage of quality men – it is like finding a unicorn,” she said.

Yes, because quality men aren’t hanging around on dating sites, or if they are they quickly get snapped up by pretty young women who may or may not be from a place where they like sheep and mix their vowels up. Like many women featured in articles I’ve covered on this blog, this one seems to have an inflated view of her own value in the dating market.

“I think the older you get the more baggage people have.

Like two teenage sons and no mention of their father? Yeah, I bet men are just queuing up to get involved in that.

“There are also lots of married people using it and people who claim they are in open relationships.

I know Brisbane is backward, but do its residents really need a newspaper article to tell them this? What will they run tomorrow, a feature on how shopping is sometimes done online?

“Then there are people who are still in love with their former wives or girlfriends. People get on to Tinder after a few months of being separated and then find they are not ready.”

Is that what they told you? Heh.

Ms Carr said she had tried a host of online dating apps and websites, but was yet to meet her Mr Right.

Here’s my advice: 1) be honest 2) be realistic 3) don’t be a nut. Can you manage that?

“The last time I was in love was 10 years ago,” she said.

How is the ex-hubby doing?

“I have had a tonne of experience with online dating but have not had much luck, I am slightly jaded but still hopeful.”

So lying about your age didn’t work? Hmmm. Maybe you could try saying you’re from the Philippines?

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Polyockers

Once again I find my Sunday full of joy and happiness at being able to juxtapose two posts each addressing this blog’s favourite subjects. We’ve had the one on carrier bags and now, via William of Ockham who lacks the expertise to address the topic, we have one on polyamory in my old stomping ground of Melbourne:

Married couple Peter*, 46, and Liz*, 50, are sitting in their Melbourne home cuddling up with their long-term partners and laughing over a board game with their children and partners’ children on a Sunday morning.

Ah yes, polyamory and children. They go together about as well as alcohol and firearms.

“He came to me and said, ‘Darling, I still love you and still want to have sex with you, but I have this overwhelming urge to have sex with other people and I’d like you to do it, too,” Liz says.

As I’m fond of pointing out, men – and probably women too – always have a desire to sleep with someone else. What stops them acting on it is the damage it will do to their relationship which, for most people, is worth preserving if only for the sake of any children.

“I was devastated. I felt really hurt. I had been taking care of him and it had changed our relationship dynamic. I was very angry. He was suggesting something crazy and mad and it would end badly.”

Well yes, and this is entirely predictable. You therefore have to question the degree of concern this man had for his wife.

Peter spent months seeing a psychiatrist…

Do you think we’re ever going to find an article featuring a polyamorist who doesn’t have mental problems?

…and Liz did a lot of internal questioning.

Such as “Why the fuck am I with this asshole?”

Several months later, Peter decided to take action and booked them into a course with Curious Creatures, which runs workshops in sex, communication and opening up relationships.

This woman must have self-esteem lower than Anna Soubry’s chances of re-election.

Liz says she was surprised to find the majority of people in polyamorous relationships were couples in their 40s. Once they’d completed the workshop, they went to the Curiosity party.

“It was like, whoa,” recalls Liz. “There was lots of S&M and people having sex all around us.”

And once again, the narrative that polyamory is about more than sex falls apart completely. If polyamory was really just about quietly sharing love, it wouldn’t involve S&M orgies, would it?

Peter says he learnt things about Liz he hadn’t known in the 16 years they’d been together because “I hadn’t asked the questions”.

Liz was hooked and the couple became regular attendees at the monthly parties. By the third, they were playing with other people.

So he’s managed to get his wife into sleeping with random strangers at orgies. This is presented as progress.

It was at a polyamorous meet-up 3½ years ago that Liz met her boyfriend. At about the same time, Peter met the woman he also shares his life with and her child.

Because having an uncommitted sexual partner drifting in and out of a mother’s life does wonders for a child’s development.

Both Liz and Peter say they feel no jealousy towards each other, but rather a genuine pleasure that each has found someone else they deeply love.

It’s often said that couples turn to polyamory because they lack the courage to get divorced. It seems that way, doesn’t it?

They have also been open with their three children, aged 15, 13 and 10. “We came out to our kids early because we didn’t want to feel like we were sleeping around,” says Liz. “The eldest said, ‘Thank god! I thought you guys were cheating.’ ”

Well yes, kids in these articles are always fully supportive of their parents’ polyamory just as cats always seem happy with their vegan diets. But can we hear from them in ten year’s time, do you think?

Liz likens polyamory to parents loving more than one child. “I love and adore Peter,” she says. “Loving someone else doesn’t mean I don’t love him. You don’t have a finite amount of love to share.”

Only an idiot thinks you can only love one person. But there is an abundance of evidence to show that having sex with only one person in a committed relationship brings advantages, particularly in the context of providing a stable environment in which to raise children. Once again, it’s really all about sex with these people.

Having multiple relationships as well as three children makes life very busy and requires them to maintain schedules and diaries.

Which miraculously never seems to impose an additional mental burden on polyamorists, despite their being rather fragile to begin with.

They have all even taken a holiday together.

Which was only slightly less detrimental to the kids than the McCanns’ trip to Portugal.

Peter feels his relationship with Liz has significantly improved since opening up their lives to other people.

“In long relationships there is often a lot of taking each other for granted or assuming,” he says. “That simply doesn’t happen any more with us.

I expect this is because you don’t give a damn any more.

“It has helped us become less co-dependent, to be our own sovereign people, loving ourselves and being comfortable with our own company

Get a divorce already!

The couple, both 32, have been married for nine years. They are deeply in love with each other as well as other people. “I’m definitely in love with my partner,” says Claire. “We’ve been together since August last year, but were best friends for two years before that.”

If you started sleeping with your best friend while you were still married, he wasn’t your best friend. Can you imagine how the husband felt when his wife announced she was now shagging the thirsty weirdo who’d been sniffing around her the past two years? No wonder men don’t like their partners having male friends.

She says she experiences everything anyone would want in a relationship from her other partner: “Joy and fulfilment and someone to share your life with. It’s definitely a long-term.”

When asked why she stays with her husband, Claire explains: “Because I’m in love with my husband as well. I can’t imagine life without him and the home we have built together.

Translation: my rich husband has bought us a nice flat in a swanky part of Melbourne, whereas my jobless boyfriend lives in a squat out near the airport.

John says he initially instigated the idea of an open marriage several years earlier, however, at the time their marriage was in trouble and they were both looking to escape through seeing other people.

Did they not consider daytime drinking?

After two years of therapy…

Normal people folks, normal people.

…and focusing on each other their marriage was back on track and Claire brought up the idea of exploring different styles again.

Now our marriage is back on track, how about I sleep with my “friend”?

“I wanted the freedom to explore without the feeling of guilt or telling John he wasn’t good enough. I wanted to stretch my wings and see what that felt like.”

What I like most about polyamorists is their inimitable unselfishness.

John says he saw it as a growth opportunity. “I had been quite controlling in our relationship and demanding of her time and attention.”

Yeah, this guy’s definitely been to marriage therapy. I bet the poor sap paid for the sessions, too.

Now Claire sees her partner twice a week, often spending the weekend at his house. John’s partner is also married and seeing another man.

I bet John is deeply unhappy.

“We care for each other very much,” John explains. “It’s no different from any other boyfriend and girlfriend relationship. I feel very happy and excited for Claire that she has found someone that she loves and is able to express that love. Love is not a finite resource, but we treat it as though it is.”

I’ve got to hand it to whoever is handing out the hymn sheets, they’re consistent.

Adds Claire, “There is a lot of stigma about having sex with more than one person.”

Now why might that be?

Roger Butler is principal facilitator at Curious Creatures. Its workshop, Opening Up to Opening Up, sold out within a couple of days.

He warns opening up a bad relationship is not the answer to solving it and generally makes it worse.

I’m thinking I should open up a workshop on polyamory in which I get paid to state the obvious. I could call it Fucking Out, Fucking Up. It would be a fine use of my MBA.

Sarah*, 34, and Patrick*, 30, from Sydney, have been together for seven years and married for three. About seven months ago they decided to dabble in non-monogamy.

Hmmm. This is the second couple in this article in which the woman is older than the man. I think I need a research grant to explore this phenomenon. It sounds easier than engineering.

Sarah is particularly excited because Patrick’s girlfriend, Veronica*, has just joined them in bed for a cuddle before the three got up to enjoy Sunday brunch.

I think Patrick’s time in this relationship is limited.

Patrick now has a relationship with Veronica that is extremely close without them being in love.

See?

Sarah is dating men and trying to find a boyfriend.

Well, no: she has Veronica.

They are not polyamorous but have recently been spending a lot of time as a threesome with Veronica.

For now.

She says Patrick loves the fun and excitement but feels he is not capable of giving emotional support to more than one woman, which would be required in a polyamorous relationship.

You’re at a rugby match and you’ve just turned up in cricket gear, pal.

She hopes that when she finds a boyfriend he will join her and Patrick as a threesome too. “He finds me dating other men a real turn-on.”

Odd that he never thought to mention it, then. Well, that’s the end of the article. Remember folks: polyamorists are all perfectly normal.

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Playdates

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, a widow in her early forties. She said she’d tried online dating but found it a complete sewer, and the men either looked as though they ought to be on Crimewatch, or they looked half-normal but sent her photos of their dicks. She said the biggest problem was she had no idea who the people were she was chatting to, and when she met one or two of them they turned out to be completely different.

I could sympathise. I’ve met at least two women online who for the first month or so offered up Version 1: pleasant, mature, intelligent, and serious about a relationship. Suddenly Version 1 was replaced with Version 2: unpleasant, immature, dumb, and showing no sign they were even capable of having a proper relationship. I was left wondering what the hell happened to Version 1.

When I was in Florida having my recent bout of troubles, my sister made a good point. She said when she was single she wanted to see potential partners in the context of their everyday lives, i.e. with friends, family, and colleagues. For instance, if a man says he’s divorced, does he say the same thing in front of his friends? Then you’ll see who they really are. The problem with online dating is it allows people to play-act, detached from the realities of their everyday life (which is a problem with the internet and social media in general). This doesn’t mean everyone on there is play-acting, but if they are it’s hard to figure out.

It also means the medium attracts those who play-act in real life, and there are reasons people do this. For example, if a foreign woman in her twenties marries a westerner in his forties for the chance of a nice life abroad, and then later becomes self-sufficient, I can imagine the knowledge that she sold her body for a passport weighs heavily upon her. In ten or fifteen years she might have learned English, earned a degree, and got a half-decent job but she won’t ever be able to forget how all this was made possible – especially when she meets other women who didn’t take that shortcut. I can imagine it’s a bit like an athlete who’s used steroids or someone who cheated on an exam: they’ll be living with that decision their whole lives. So they make up a story: I did it for love, despite knowing him for a week and only being able to communicate using an electronic translator. He was very handsome and didn’t look his age, only please don’t make that face when I show you the photos. He was very charming, at least up until the wedding day. I never wanted to leave my country, but somehow my profile ended up on a dating site aimed at foreigners. I’ve heard them all.

If you tell the lie often enough you’ll start to believe it, and eventually you’ll forget it was ever a lie. The problem is, you’ll then use this technique to deal with all the inconvenient facts of your life and before you know it your default setting is to play-act. And if that’s who you are, then online dating sites hold an obvious attraction. You can enjoy being the person you pretend to be until you get found out, then you block the person and move on to the next. My guess is the online dating sites are absolutely chock-full of people like this, both men and women, who don’t know truth from fiction, who the hell they really are, or what they want. I suspect a lot of these also don’t have a whole lot of friends in real life, and if they do they keep their online partners well away from them.

Ultimately, only time will tell you who someone really is. That might take months or years, but the chancers on the internet seem to get found out in a matter of weeks, generating an enormous churn (which is good for the site owners). Given online dating is the way most people meet each other these days, it makes the whole process of finding someone absolutely exhausting. I expect people are already starting to regret the MeToo movement banned people chatting each other up at work. They might even regret that they stopped going to church.

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Penny Farthing*

Staying on the topic of deranged women in the modern dating scene:

I’m forever grateful that every boyfriend I had at Oxford dumped me. If any of them had asked me to marry them, I probably would have said yes and it would have ruined my life. In an alternate universe somewhere, there are divorce papers with my name on them.

And the fox didn’t want the grapes anyway: they were too sour.

Instead, my first foray into online dating in 2002 changed my relationships, career and world-view. I was 42.

I was completely honest about everything, including my age. To my surprise, I received an avalanche of responses from younger men. I realised I was every young guy’s fantasy – an attractive, high-flying woman, who wasn’t interested in children, marriage, or even a relationship.

Every woman I’ve talked to about online dating has told me they are surprised by the number of young men who wouldn’t mind getting ’round an older woman. This is so common that a lot of women state in their profiles that they’re not interested in younger men. Very few are flattered by this, as they realise all these lads are after is a quick and possibly interesting shag. Little did they know that if they thought such attention was a good thing they could have landed a Telegraph piece.

So began a sexual odyssey with young men aged 19 to 30-odd that would change the course of my life.

I can’t think of anything sadder than having the course of your life determined by meaningless sex with a string of people miles outside your peer group. Even ageing rock stars can claim their womanising is a fringe benefit rather than central to who they are.

I quickly discovered how differently millennial and, to a lesser extent, Gen X men view sex and relationships to us baby boomers.

I discovered this by reading articles and talking to people, but who am I to dispute your research methods?

I want us all to celebrate the messy, awkward, funny, wonderful sex we have in real life, to promote consent, good sexual values and behaviour.

This is like Peter Sutcliffe launching a Safer Streets campaign.

I am my own research lab – I date a lot of younger men simultaneously, though I have an extremely selective three-step process, which men I meet on dating sites need to pass before a date. First, sending me some more pictures beyond those on their profile; secondly, emailing until I can tell we have chemistry; then, speaking on the phone to check the same. They need to be a very nice person.

This is extremely selective in the sense that old oilfield hands only shag locals when on holiday in Thailand.

When we get to the point of intimacy, I am open with them about what I want.

To be fair, they’ve probably figured that out already having found your name and number circulating on a WhatsApp group somewhere.

I’ll happily debunk the myths they’ve learnt from porn about what “good” sex looks like.

Or a good set of teeth.

I know it might change the atmosphere between us, but I think: “I have to do this for every other woman he’s going to sleep with.”

She’s talking as though women in their twenties are completely inexperienced and therefore young men need her expert guidance in order to satisfy them properly. Which leads me to think she doesn’t understand the modern generation as well as she claims.

Even though I date casually, my relationships can often last, off and on, two, five or even 15 years.

That’s a booty call, not a relationship.

Interestingly, though they may go on to date women their own age, when those relationships end, many of them later come back.

For an hour, anyway. The irony is that Millennials stand accused of only being interested in meaningless sex while shunning stable relationships. This woman thinks she’s helping by having meaningless sex with Millennials in the absence of a stable relationship.

(Via a Twitter follower)

*An ancient bike.

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59 Flake

Years ago when I was a young, single man beginning my career in the oil industry, I was introduced to a rather attractive woman a few years younger than me who was sort of on holiday. In the circumstances of our meeting we were the only two people in our twenties while everyone else was over fifty, so naturally we got on quite well. That evening the two of us went to a nightclub, and for some reason I brought a Canadian soldier along too. We got horrendously drunk which culminated with the girl lying unconscious on my bathroom floor while I explained to the disappointed soldier that she’s getting the spare bed and he has a choice of the sofa or the other half of my pit.

The next morning she woke up with a major hangover and went home. That afternoon she called me and said she wanted to go out again, and in the evening we did. We got on very well and, as I may have already mentioned, she was rather good looking. To cut a long story short we ended up back at mine, sans Canadian soldier. From that point on this girl gave every impression she’d fallen for me and wanted a relationship. She said I was awesome, and she’d never met someone like me before, and when she left to visit London the next day she said she needed to come back ASAP and I ought to get myself over to the US pronto. Over the next couple of weeks we exchanged emails, messages, and talked on the phone. Every indication was that she had found someone she wanted a relationship with. This put her on much the same page as me. By chance I found myself on a business trip in London while she was still there and we met up. It was brilliant. She was delighted to see me, we ran all over town, and had as much fun as two twentysomethings can have when they’re falling in love. The next day she was going back to the US, and she said she’d be back out to where I was living soon. I kissed her goodbye in her hotel lobby, sure I’d see her again.

For the first week she was back in the US, we spoke every day. And then suddenly she didn’t pick up her phone, and she started taking longer to answer messages. I knew something was wrong and then, just like that, she lost interest. We exchanged a few emails and broke up, leaving me more than a little disappointed. I wrote it off to the pitfalls of a holiday romance – which it was for her – but it wasn’t the practicalities of a long-distance relationship which had put her off.

I was connected with her on Facebook and I watched over the next couple of years as she’d move to a new town, get together with a young man who’d gush all over her, then suddenly quit and move elsewhere. There was a musician in London who went from posting artsy photos of them kissing against a wall to increasingly desperate messages about where she’s gone and what the hell just happened. She turned up for a while dressed like a Mormon in the family pictures of a new boyfriend, before they were all taken down.

I caught up with her six years after our first meeting via the same people who’d introduced us. I was heavily involved with someone else by then, so there was no question of retracing my steps. We got along fine and didn’t bring up the past, but she did talk a lot about her amazing boyfriend who, from what I remember, was a DJ with a severe drug addiction and mental problems. A few years later she passed through town again, and we arranged to meet up. By then she was with another boyfriend, and I waited for her to confirm the meeting time until it got so late I went to bed. She later apologised to say she got “caught up in a vibe” (by now she was over thirty) but I suspect her boyfriend objected to her meeting me.

Because we have mutual friends I still know what she’s up to. She seems to be doing well but she’s still single, and she’d be in her late thirties by now. What this experience taught me is that there are women out there who say they want a relationship but don’t. For whatever reason, this girl – despite being pretty, smart, fun, and from a good family – didn’t want to commit to a relationship. Which is fair enough, but she said she did. I was there when she assured me she was ready for a relationship, and using flattery and much talk of a future together she convinced my skeptical side that she was serious. And then I watched her do the same to a succession of other men. She’d put in considerable work to enter a relationship with a man, and at the moment he’s fully committed dump him citing trivial reasons and move on. It seemed like an exhausting way to live, constantly seeking attention and the thrill of a new relationship but never taking it further.

What I never forgot was how I just knew, immediately, that the relationship was going cold. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but the subtle changes in the tone of her voice, the length and vocabulary of her text messages, and the delays in responding sounded a warning. No matter what else I told myself, I knew something was wrong and the relationship would end.

I mention this now because I found myself in a similar situation recently. I happened to meet someone who was adamant she wanted a serious relationship and pulled out all the stops over the course of a month to convince me I was the one it should be with. No sooner had I agreed when I noticed an odd delay in our correspondence from her side and a reply which should have been a touch longer. I knew what was coming. Twenty-four hours later she’d called it off for unspecified reasons and refused to talk to me any more. When pushed, she resorted to insults and blocking. Now there were red flags fluttering high in the breeze from the very first moment in this particular case, and I wasn’t daft enough to go in with my eyes closed: I just decided it might be worth a shot and I didn’t have much to lose. But the most telling of these was that over the course of about two years she had been on dates (of one kind or another) with 58 different men. I was the 59th. She was pretty, clever, and not an obvious nut (at least initially), but that statistic alone speaks volumes. This is not a case of her needing to meet the right man, but addressing the issues keeping her single.

Clearly there are women out there (and probably men too) who say they want a relationship and go to considerable lengths to find a partner, but for whatever reason can’t make the commitment and bail at the first opportunity. So here’s my question. Do they realise they spend half their time lying to people, or have they convinced themselves they’re genuinely interested in meeting someone? I get the impression it’s the latter. It’s an odd world, isn’t it?

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Polykilla

When I was in the US a couple of mass shootings took place, one in El Paso, Texas and the other in Dayton, Ohio. I really couldn’t be bothered reading the commentary on either of them because there have been enough of these lately to know exactly what everyone’s going say anyway. But a Twitter follower alerted me to this factoid regarding Connor Betts, the perpetrator of the Dayton murders:

Connor and I kept our relationship on the down-low due to the polyamorous nature of it. I was engaged to another man while dating Connor, and all parties involved knew about the situation.

I don’t think there’s much data to suggest that polyamorists go around massacring innocents with firearms; murdering beauty standards is more their shtick. But we should hardly be surprised that a mentally unstable individual such as Betts should be attracted to polyamory. The question that remains is whether the additional strain of the relationship tipped him over the edge.

Incidentally, this passage sheds some light on the standards polyamorists adhere to when dating:

A couple of drinks later, Connor asked me if I saw the video of the synagogue shooting. As someone who makes a point to never watch those videos, I hadn’t. So, he pulled out his phone and I was too drunk to care that I was watching it. Thankfully the bar was too loud for me to hear what was going on. Connor gave me the play-by-play of what was happening. Even then, I did realize that that was a weird thing for a first date, but not too weird given the context of our class.

If a normal person was on a date with a bloke who pulled out a video of the synagogue massacre she’d be out of there in a flash, returning home to delete her Tinder account and spend the next month contemplating her life choices. But if you’re a polyamorist you’ll not think it anything too much out of the ordinary. Remember folks, they’re normal people.

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