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?