“My husband and I both are very intrigued by the idea of polyamory. We both believe love is exponential and we have amazing communication. The problem is I’m far more sexual than him and I think it would be impossible for us to do this with equality. I could much more easily find a partner and I don’t want him to feel left out, especially because he’s more go with the flow- and could honestly be content with monogamy. I would love to see him date someone first because I had the idea and I don’t want to be hypocritical, but I don’t want to be too forward about finding women for him (he’s very shy and work focused). Maybe it wouldn’t work for us, but we both express a desire to try it. We both acknowledge that jealousy might flare up, but more than this we fear bitterness. If it didn’t work, would it be possible to go back and reset? What’s the best way to test the water? I only fear to lose my partner on this journey, who I love and respect more than anything.”
It sounds like you have an incredibly strong foundation to work with here. In particular, the perspective you have here to let your husband go first since it’d be easier for you to find a partner is so admirable. I am really happy for you.
In my own personal polyamorous journey, I have met some amazing people who have opened up in all variety of ways. Some started dating together and decided polyamorously dating as individuals made more sense for them. Some just jumped in without any reservations. Some carefully dipped their toes into casual dating first before gradually opening themselves up to more emotional and intimate connections. And in my experience, there are just no one true correct way to open up.
Like any new interest, first steps are going to feel very difficult. You didn’t mention how long you’ve been with your husband, but there will be a lot of “unlearning” both you and your husband will have to undertake, especially regarding sexual exclusivity, social conditioning around monogamy, and learning to manage your own emotions. So take things slowly and communicate every step of the way. Doing regular check-ins with your partner every week or month is highly recommended.
For many, polyamory is not always the right fit for them. Some work better in a more monogamish setting while others thrive in full-fledged relationship anarchy. I talked a bit about different styles of ethical non-monogamy in a previous column if you’d like to take a look. So keep your options open.
Lastly, I have heard of one couple who was able to successfully close a relationship back up after a bad experience. They had a very strict hierarchical approach to their relationship that allowed them to rollback almost all of the changes in fear of losing each other. But opening up will change both of you. It’ll become a more conscious effort to keep pace with each other’s growth and to actively date each other. If things really don’t work out, there is nothing wrong with going back to monogamy. But please understand that change is inevitable and going back might not always be an option.
Most importantly, have fun! Dates are supposed to be fun. Sex is supposed to be fun. It is invigorating and life-affirming and sometimes depressing.
Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.
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