Open Relationships; Closed Minds (a rant)

Note: This is a rant about something I experienced today. I do not think ALL poly people are this way. Not even ALL the poly people in the chatroom where this happened felt this way. Just the very vocal ones. But I’m upset by it and I need to vent, so…boom: blog post.


I asked a question in a poly chatroom today. It was a curiosity, really. I wanted to know how poly people handle reading about very intimate details between their partners and their other partners. It came up because I’ve seen several posts on Fetlife recently where people are chronicling their sex lives in erotica-like detail, and then seeing other people who I know have been intimately involved with the star of said story write thinly-veiled expressions of discomfort and upset.

I tend to keep my smut to the imagined or the long-ago for some similar reasons, and also because writing about current happenings in my sex life means I’m writing about someone else’s sex life and maybe he doesn’t want 2000 strangers knowing what he’s up to on Friday nights, know what I mean?

I talked about this with one of my metamours once, who said they would not be too upset by reading about my latest escapades, and yet, I still don’t post it. Not on FetLife, anyway. Some of it ends up here where I suppose they can opt-in if they want to.

What ended up happening in that chatroom got me all riled up and upset, though. Because most of the polyfolk (there was one who actually agreed with me) started seeing my query as a cry for help. They started trying to solve my “problem.”

The problem was, there WASN’T a problem.

I’m not sitting here wringing my hands ’cause I can’t post about that time he did this thing with that thing and then we both did that other thing. The “no posting about current events” mantra has been a rule of mine since before I was in a relationship.

And it’s not like my metamours are sitting there feeling left out of the conversation because I won’t share all these sexy details with them. I’m sure they don’t feel a pressing need to know. And if they do, I suppose they could ask me.

So again….it wasn’t advice I was after. Just information. An informal poll of the collected polyfolk online at the time.

And what I ended up participating in was very distressing, to be honest. A bunch of people telling me that my way of thinking was “wrong,” despite my repeatedly reminding them that I wasn’t complaining and that I am asking them how they view these things as poly people because I am not poly.

I finally told one of my friends who had been one of the ones trying to “solve” the Problem That Wasn’t a Problem and said, “I feel like the fact that I am monogamous isn’t being respected in the same way that I respect that all of you are poly.”

It felt preachy. It felt like I was being told that my not wanting to know just how hard he thrusts or how far into his other partners’ throats he gets meant that I was doing relationships all wrong. I mean, would I be upset to learn that they went to the ice cream store and got a watermelon sorbet? (This is literally one of the comparisons drawn.)

And somehow it got from “I don’t want to know details about their intimacies” to “I don’t want to know ANYTHING about their relationships.”

Hi….I need to just…

WHAT THE FUCK, PEOPLE?

I get it. You don’t “get” monogamy. Fine. I get that you don’t GET it.

And yet, I still have an open enough mind to GET your relationship preference.

I still have an open enough mind to understand how YOU process love.

And yet, I still want to educate myself on how you see other things differently than I do by ASKING you how you view something in particular that I view in another way.

But no….No, no. I’m not allowed to have a different point of view. Because you just don’t GET it.

For people in such open relationships, I really was astounded at the closed minds I was exposed to this afternoon.

6 thoughts on “Open Relationships; Closed Minds (a rant)

    • Yeah. Thankfully, when this post went up on FetLife yesterday, I received TONS of helpful comments from all sorts of people, the majority of whom valued the idea of keeping private things private.

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  1. To answer your original question… 🙂

    Personally, when I write on my own blog it is not specific to individual people, in that I don’t name names or get all over-descriptive on the physical attributes of the person about whom I am writing. I find this to be overall more inclusive of my general audience (they don’t feel alienated by overshare, because I don’t make it exclusionary), and also it’s easier on my husband and my paramour. They *know* when the person/scene I’m describing is or is not about them. And they will ask questions or comment – privately – if anything they read caused concern or curiosity.

    I write to process, but typically not in real time. That helps.

    Also, I am ethical in my writing about others, in that I seek permission ahead of time. Even if I’ve been given carte blanche, I will revisit the “Would you mind…?” conversation if/when I’m going to write something I *know* is (or has the potential to be) sensitive/triggering for one of them.

    Another poly blogger friend of mine will write a disclaimer at the top of her “sexy times” posts. Basically she says, “This post is about sexy times between me and __________. My darling metamour, you might want to skip this one.”

    She knows her partner’s wife has a hard time reading the details, so that’s her way of providing a head’s up while still providing an open door to everything else that’s on the blog.

    I’ve had people write about me, and it’s always been done in such a way that *I* know it’s about me, but the rest of the world doesn’t. I like that. It’s like sharing That Look in a roomful of people, and knowing what’s behind the twinkle in his eye. 🙂

    Sorry for such a long-winded reply. Hope that helps.

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  2. Ugh… I’m so sorry that was the response you got. As a poly person, I totally appreciate and respect that poly is not for everyone, and it sucks that you were treated as though you don’t do relationships right. Ugh, ugh. That just sucks.

    Thinking about your original question, it can be tricky. Personally, when things are strong between my primary partner and I, then I like hearing the nitty-gritty details that they want to share. It makes me happy to hear them talk about the ways that they are able to explore their sexuality and sense of self in kink, and I know that I can’t always be the person present with them in those moments, so it makes me genuinely happy to hear about whatever they feel comfortable sharing. It’s when things are rocky between us that I have a hard time hearing about their escapades. But even when things are rocky, if I know that my partner and my metamour hung out last night, and my metamour suddenly has a new writing pop up, chances are it’s about their night together and I can make the choice about whether or not to engage. But most of the time, I am excited to hear about whatever they feel comfortable sharing because seeing them happy makes me happy. Also, my partner and I are super-process-y people, and sometimes we need to process out stuff together because of the type of relationship we have. But the way we do things isn’t for everyone. 🙂

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