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Ours


[I have to admit my question bloomed from another thread. I feel it’s differentt enough that it can open a new discussion if not just delete.]

 

Open / Polly is suggested enough here from both aces and allosexual I wondering how aces feel. 
 

my partner of 20 years isn’t sure it’s for us. He is worried that it would beak us anyway. So it would just make a more complicated relationship rather then fixing anything. I don’t want badger I just want to have a discussion stem. 

 

I haven’t seen any aces feeling this way. 
 

So for aces how does it look in your relationship. Do you feel threatened? Did you just agree to it to keep the relationship going? What makes you feel secure in your open relationship? ( i love him and his happiness is as important to me as my own) Do you have an another ace in your Polly relationship? (I’m thinking maybe wrongly that, that might be important) 

 

open and Polly are so vastly different that I wondering for the ace what feels more comfortable.

 

i realize that the questions I ask are very personal and will be as varied as human beings themselves. But it’s would be conversation  stem for us. I don’t want to badger him or force him.  


 

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Sam Serif

Generally, if two people decide to open a relationship to save it, your chances of success are low. Successful open relationships are usually undertaken with both parties engaged, enthusiastic, and fully onboard. If there are already a lot of problems, opening it up will likely exacerbate those.

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anisotrophic

An interesting distinction is to observe the existence functional vs. nominal in “open/poly”.

 

That is to say, some couples nominally monogamous, but one or both partners has “affairs” which are considered transgressions.

 

And some couples are nominally open/poly, but functionally monogamous. Neither partner is sufficiently motivated, for whatever contextual reasons.


My own relationship has been the latter sort. Early on, we did have interactions with others & were supportive/positive with each other about that, but these were very minor/brief & then nothing after that. (Well, I fell in love; that didn’t turn into a romantic relationship, but it’s a friendship I highly value.)

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Mountain House

Your question projects your situation onto a broader discussion.  So first, let's not mire ourselves in the distinction between open and poly but commit ourselves to ethical non-monogamy [ENM].   It turns out that when a relationship is considering ENM due the wishes of one party in the relationship and not the other it is a monogamous/non-monogamous split.  We cannot assign sexuality even if we overlay an asexual/sexual relationship.  Sometimes, it is the asexual person that is polyamorous.

 

To directly answer your question:

There is at least one asexual forum participant here on Aven that attests that opening their relationship has been the perfect solution for their relationship.

There is at least one sexual forum participant that has tried opening their relationship with the consent of their asexual partner and attests that it is not a solution in their relationship.

 

Food for thought:

Opening a marriage is tough.  Really tough.  I am bellybutton deep in this myself and cannot yet decide if this is the approach we (including my wife in this decision) will do.  If we do, it will be enthusiastic as @Sam Serif has suggested.  "Isn't sure" from your partner means you have room to discover.  Work together on that.

 

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Memento1

I'm not in a poly relationship myself, but have become open to it (no pun intended, haha).  I don't know if that helps.  I was pretty fully asexual until my late 20s, and I would have denied outright opening a relationship, or only agreed unwillingly.  I very slowly with exposure and reading became skeptical but curious, then fully embraced  the idea.  It takes a lot of emotional intelligence, though.  I had to first work through my own emotional neglect/abandonment issues from childhood.  So I know it is possible to come around to the idea, though not easy.  I'm with those above: an enthusiastic yes is where you want to get.

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ryn2

I mentioned this indirectly in another thread but, if you want more feedback from ace posters, you may want to post your ace-directed questions in Asexual Relationships.  Many ace posters do not frequent SPFA.

 

Not to say the ones who do won’t have good input; there just aren’t nearly as many of them.

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Serran

Yeah, asexual relationships tends to be where aces hang out. SPFA is for sexuals and many aces will not venture here, because the material makes them feel bad / triggers them / repulses them etc. 

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Serran

To answer your question though....

 

No one will have a catch-all answer and you just have to discuss it with your partner. If your partner is truly monogamous, not poly-flexible or poly by nature, then it's unlikely to work well. He is right that it is not band-aid and if the relationship is weak, poly will break it faster than anything else. If it is strong and both people are into it, then it can work great.

 

Personally, in my previous relationship where I wasn't very into sex and my partner ended up being poly by nature (I ID'd as asexual for 5 years before realizing it's more demisexual / sexual but need a lot of trust and comfort)... their interest in other people cancelled all my feelings beyond platonic. And it did break our relationship pretty instantly. Kissing him began to feel like kissing my brother. He belonged to other people, so it just felt wrong to be romantically into him. There was nothing special anymore about our relationship to me. And I could have remained friends, but I had zero interest in anything more within about a day of him pursuing a crush on someone else. Our relationship ended about a week later, because any and all romantic feelings I had for him were just completely gone. I didn't even really find the break up upsetting. It was an oddly... non-emotional thing for me. It was like that time a few months after a breakup where they move on and you see them with someone else and you realize you're over it cause no jealousy etc. Only, happened during the relationship when they "moved on" to someone else (even though they wanted me to remain their primary). 

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Ours
7 hours ago, ryn2 said:

I mentioned this indirectly in another thread but, if you want more feedback from ace posters, you may want to post your ace-directed questions in Asexual Relationships.  Many ace posters do not frequent SPFA.

 

Not to say the ones who do won’t have good input; there just aren’t nearly as many of them.

I agreed to have the tread moved but admin decided to keep it here after all. 

it does seem difficult to get the other sides perspective in mixed relationships. 

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Ours
9 hours ago, Memento1 said:

I'm not in a poly relationship myself, but have become open to it (no pun intended, haha).  I don't know if that helps.  I was pretty fully asexual until my late 20s, and I would have denied outright opening a relationship, or only agreed unwillingly.  I very slowly with exposure and reading became skeptical but curious, then fully embraced  the idea.  It takes a lot of emotional intelligence, though.  I had to first work through my own emotional neglect/abandonment issues from childhood.  So I know it is possible to come around to the idea, though not easy.  I'm with those above: an enthusiastic yes is where you want to get.

I agree or would take a lot of introspection. I feel l plants the seed for thought and he knows were I stand. I’ll bring it up again in a few months and see were it goes. But ultimately it’s his choice and it’s not a deal breaker for me 

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ryn2
29 minutes ago, Ours said:

I agreed to have the tread moved but admin decided to keep it here after all.

If you poke around over there you will find people discussed/discussing it in existing threads.  Might still give you a broader set of responses.

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anisotrophic
10 hours ago, Mountain House said:

I am bellybutton deep in this myself and cannot yet decide if this is the approach we (including my wife in this decision) will do.  If we do, it will be enthusiastic as @Sam Serif has suggested.  "Isn't sure" from your partner means you have room to discover.  Work together on that.

A couple thoughts...  one is that the nature of attachment bonds is really different after many years together. When people consider adding open/poly in a relationship that’s still pretty fresh, I guess I’d feel a lot more skeptical?
 

Also, yeah open/poly creates more problems and is unlikely in itself to strengthen a primary relationship, but... it occurs to me that discussing and planning it together might be a strengthening experience.

 

idk, I’m not walking the walk here. I’m happy having a hypothetical I never bother with, between being genderwtf and exhausted parent.

 

oh, also want to add, @Ours I don’t think it’s realistic to discuss open without poly, or at least the reality that someone might fall in love — idk, my personal experience is that you don’t get to control falling in love, limerence can strike and might as well expect it.

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Traveler40
3 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

Also, yeah open/poly creates more problems and is unlikely in itself to strengthen a primary relationship, but... 

This is true in my experience, but it’s interesting given I wouldn’t change a thing. So much thought and energy went into the selection process that our lives and lifestyles were accounted for from the outset. The original charter remains intact: We are lovers, and our lives with our respective families remain undisturbed for the most part.


I have never been so fulfilled in my life in any other relationship and am so grateful to have allowed myself to expand. I have no regrets.

 

3 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

I don’t think it’s realistic to discuss open without poly, or at least the reality that someone might fall in love — idk, my personal experience is that you don’t get to control falling in love, limerence can strike and might as well expect it.

Yes, and at least in my case, the journey has been so much better for it. Sure, it’s certainly more complicated, but living a simple version of a half live wasn’t better. It’s a risk to be aware of I suppose, but every situation will be as different as the folks involved.

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Serran
10 hours ago, Ours said:



it does seem difficult to get the other sides perspective in mixed relationships. 

Can look up old members who were poly ace. TheGreatWTF, KittenPuff. I linked a thread from kittenpuff on opening up her relationship and how it went in the compromise thread recently. 

 

A lot of aces are monogamous (just like for sexuals monogamy is the norm). So, poly is a minority within a minority and doesn't get as much attention as the other.

 

You can post in asexual relationships in a new thread asking specifically for the ace side of your relationship btw. Don't need the mod to move it. 

 

 

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Ours
5 hours ago, Serran said:

Can look up old members who were poly ace. TheGreatWTF, KittenPuff. I linked a thread from kittenpuff on opening up her relationship and how it went in the compromise thread recently. 

 

A lot of aces are monogamous (just like for sexuals monogamy is the norm). So, poly is a minority within a minority and doesn't get as much attention as the other.

 

You can post in asexual relationships in a new thread asking specifically for the ace side of your relationship btw. Don't need the mod to move it. 

 

 

Ironic no?

everyone suggests Polly/open as one of two best options but other then a scant few no discussion of it. 
I find this disheartening as really the only option that has much support from both directions is split. 

 

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Ours
11 hours ago, Traveler40 said:

This is true in my experience, but it’s interesting given I wouldn’t change a thing. So much thought and energy went into the selection process that our lives and lifestyles were accounted for from the outset. The original charter remains intact: We are lovers, and our lives with our respective families remain undisturbed for the most part.


I have never been so fulfilled in my life in any other relationship and am so grateful to have allowed myself to expand. I have no regrets.

 

Yes, and at least in my case, the journey has been so much better for it. Sure, it’s certainly more complicated, but living a simple version of a half live wasn’t better. It’s a risk to be aware of I suppose, but every situation will be as different as the folks involved.

I don’t want to live a half life I also don’t want to hurt my partner. He is the love of my life. I just want to see if other aces feel hurt at the thought or if Polly is better then open. Would a Polly relationship with another asexual feel better then just one sided open. 
 

 

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Ours
On 8/1/2020 at 1:18 PM, Mountain House said:

Food for thought:

Opening a marriage is tough.  Really tough.  I am bellybutton deep in this myself and cannot yet decide if this is the approach we (including my wife in this decision) will do.  If we do, it will be enthusiastic as @Sam Serif has suggested.  "Isn't sure" from your partner means you have room to discover.  Work together on tha

Yes I have to agree not sure isn’t a hard no. But neither of us have anyone to talk to about it. 
 

 

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Serran
11 minutes ago, Ours said:

I don’t want to live a half life I also don’t want to hurt my partner. He is the love of my life. I just want to see if other aces feel hurt at the thought or if Polly is better then open. Would a Polly relationship with another asexual feel better then just one sided open. 
 

 

For open / poly to work, it tends to require both sides be open to it. So, even if the majority of aces were into it, if your partner is not... it wouldn't work. It really is up to how your individual partner feels. 

 

But, unbalanced open tends to fair worse from what I can tell. If you were to open it up to poly and your partner had another partner, would you be OK with that? 

11 minutes ago, Ours said:

Yes I have to agree not sure isn’t a hard no. But neither of us have anyone to talk to about it. 
 

 

There are LGBT therapists with experience in poly relationships. If you find one familiar with Brotto and Asexuality research could be a good place. 

 

The poly aces I know also recommend the books more than two and ethical slut. Not sure if those books would help, but could try using them to discuss ? 

 

Also the thread I linked in the compromise thread your partner could read through and see if it looks like a thing they could handle ? It is a log of transitioning from mono to poly from the ace side. 

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MrDane

I couldnt choose celibacy as I think that would come with a depressionlike state and then I would not be worth keeping and would loathe life itself. If my ace wife eventually had to pull a full stop Forever on sexual activity, then I would lovingly respect and accept. But the final solution would not be celibacy. I would openly and honest pursue having sexual relations. Having sexual relations with someone who chooses to have it with you for their own sake, will be a danger to the exclusivity of my relationship with my ace wife.
How the sex was going to happen and with who and how often, would be a part of finding the best possible solution.

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ryn2
3 hours ago, Ours said:

Ironic no?

everyone suggests Polly/open as one of two best options but other then a scant few no discussion of it. 
I find this disheartening as really the only option that has much support from both directions is split. 

 

The other thing to keep in mind is that happy couples and polycules are less likely to be on here looking for answers, venting, etc., than unhappy ones are.  A lot of people here come here at - or at least close to - the end of their ropes, whereas a lot of happy people are... out there being happy, as trite as that sounds.

 

That’s part of why people refer those considering poly and other forms of ENM to some of the more helpful books on opening relationships.  Those books are action manuals for success, in contrast to a lot of our sad chronicles of failure.

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anisotrophic
11 hours ago, ryn2 said:

Those books are action manuals for success, in contrast to a lot of our sad chronicles of failure.

Agreed.

 

I’m also mindful of a broader sentiment that’s out there, that some Western marital relationship patterns might generally place too much ... emphasis? expectation? ... that a partner be “everything” for the other: ally in household development, best friend, sexual partner, co-parent, romantic partner — as if one person is supposed to fill *all* of another’s needs. And that it’s not healthy, one person can’t fill all of another person’s interpersonal relationship needs, especially over the course of many years.

 

Usually that sentiment is raised with the need for other friendships outside the marriage, but it’s also a point made by the “more than two” book (which applies it to sexual/romantic experiences as well).

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Serran
2 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

Agreed.

 

I’m also mindful of a broader sentiment that’s out there, that some Western marital relationship patterns might generally place too much ... emphasis? expectation? ... that a partner be “everything” for the other: ally in household development, best friend, sexual partner, co-parent, romantic partner — as if one person is supposed to fill *all* of another’s needs. And that it’s not healthy, one person can’t fill all of another person’s interpersonal relationship needs, especially over the course of many years.

 

Usually that sentiment is raised with the need for other friendships outside the marriage, but it’s also a point made by the “more than two” book (which applies it to sexual/romantic experiences as well).

Does society put that expectation ? Most people I know have a best friend and a partner. And other friends outside the marriage. Every monogamous couple I know has a friend group. If you watch media representations (so, stereotypes), the best friend being the person you go to is extremely common. Girls have the close friend all girl group. Guys have poker night friends and a wingman. 

 

My Uncle isolates himself in the mountains with his wife and not a lot of contact outside. He can't stand being away from her for more than a few days. He is considered a very odd person by society around him for wanting to spend his free time with his wife. 

 

I mean, yeah your monogamous partner is expected to be primary in your life. But, from Dick Van Dyke to modern romcoms media portrays friends/family as important to married couples. And literally no one I know IRL considers their partner everything- they all have close friends that matter a lot. 

 

My wife is the person I want to spend time with the most. And only romantic partner in my life. And, for monogamous people, that is preferred and healthy. But, that also doesn't mean you're expected to *only* have the partner. Support networks outside the relationship are important. In fact, it is considered unhealthy and abusive if your partner doesn't support that, from every source I have heard. 

 

Only wanting one person romantically and sexually is the only societal expectation I know of. Which isnt unhealthy, unless you are poly and it isnt natural to you. Friends and family are expected to fulfill other emotional interpersonal relationship needs. I mean, even my university classes on how to teach children to grow up and live in society focus on the importance of multiple types of interpersonal relationships. If you're meant to learn it in school, you get the message from media and general people you're around model friends / family still being important, how does society expect your partner to be everything for interpersonal needs? You go to couples counseling and they push life outside the marriage as well. My cousins were told they rely on each other too much by their therapist. So, what source tells us to only have our partner and not friends and other interpersonal relationships? 

 

These sort of statements is the main thing that annoys me about the poly community. One person is not meant to meet all needs. Just all sexual and romantic needs. Which, for people who are naturally mono, is perfectly healthy because one person does meet our needs. For people who are poly, it is stifling and unhealthy. Just like society expects sex - which for most people is a healthy thing, for aces it is unhealthy. So aces twist it into "all sexuals care about is sex". People who feel stifled by something see it as unhealthy, even if for the majority, it is exactly what they want and so perfectly healthy and not an issue with society, beyond not recognizing minorities may be different from the majority. 

 

The other annoying bit being "anyone can learn to accept poly, they just have to introspect and enlighten themselves". Well. No. Some may be totally fine with the philosophy but will never feel fulfilled in a poly relationship. It isnt as if poly is this heightened state of mind that people should strive for. It is either a thing you're inclined to, or not. Some find they are after life experience, or research. Mono should not be taught as the default only choice (anymore than hetero should) because then poly people suffer trying to fit it and they don't. But, mono people should not be pressured or shamed for being mono, either. 

 

So, OP, if you do approach this try to remember it isnt about your partner not being "enlightened" enough. Or not "introspecting enough" or whatever if they decide they cannot do poly/open. It may just be another natural incompatibility. So don't pressure or guilt them to try to get poly, please. Don't blame societal norms for their desires (if their desire ends up being monogamy). Just explore together to see if it is a thing you both want to try. 

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Traveler40

Having been there, I think the above is way too black and white. I understand @serran knows everything there is to know about poly and has been there in the past. However, I find the above regarding poly doesn’t align with my experience. At all.

 

I am naturally monogamous as are my lover and my husband.  Yeah, I know, right?!? It STILL works. Our lives work far better than they did before our more complicated structure began. 
 

Maybe it won’t work forever, and maybe in time the differences surface, but the sexual mismatch was far more damaging to us than the lifestyle mismatch. Life isn’t so black and white many times. It boils down to the folks involved and meeting together honestly and openly to solve a problem as best as you can - or not.

 

This is a forum that mainly consists of biased opinions  - including mine. Do your best, work together and find your solutions. It doesn’t always fit with some perfect definition. My advice is you know best, just don’t stop working on it.

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Traveler40

And - welcome back Tele! You’ve been missed!

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Telecaster68
Just now, Traveler40 said:

And - welcome back Tele! You’ve been missed!

Thanks. Some people can be very persuasive....

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anisotrophic

@Serran most recently I saw the sentiment expressed as an essay that a spouse shouldn’t be expected to both spur you to greater achievement vs. be an unconditional supporter. It’s just a repeated observation that one person can’t be everything. Open/poly people say, “maybe for your marriage, that means sex and/or romantic”.

 

4 hours ago, Serran said:

My wife is the person I want to spend time with the most. And only romantic partner in my life.

That’s great for you, and might even be true for me, but those alone are two things that might not always pair up for all people. 

 

4 hours ago, Serran said:

One person is not meant to meet all needs. Just all sexual and romantic needs.

Technically, marriage is a legal status and beyond that people fill in their own definitions.

 

It’s fine that you expect it to mean this other thing. That might work indefinitely for you.

 

Couples may find that they want to be together, but this/these needs aren’t met. But other needs are — they have an enduring “partner” that is who they want to (continue to) be with in other ways. I’d interpret that to mean: this person fulfills other needs, and they want to continue with the legal status and filling those other needs (maybe cohabiting, coparenting, other forms of attachment).

 

A partner might have even fulfilled needs at one point in the past, but no longer — “predictions are hard to make, especially about the future”. Where one is after a decade or two can change, and what needs people fulfill for each other is likely to change as well.

 

The issue of sexual needs (oft entangled with romantic) is almost a defining statement of people who ask about this in the context of unhappy sexuality in their marriage. And the point I would be making is that no single “need” can be considered by us to be sine qua non in marriage, beyond that legal status, it’s really up to the partners involved to determine what needs define their marriage.

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Traveler40
1 minute ago, Telecaster68 said:

Thanks. Some people can be very persuasive....

When you’re important Tallulahcaster, you’re important. 

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Traveler40
5 minutes ago, anisotrophic said:

And the point I would be making is that no single “need” can be considered but us to be sine qua non in marriage, beyond that legal status, it’s really up to the partners involved to determine what needs define their marriage.

I think that deserved it’s own little section. Well said, and more to the point I was trying to get at. 👏🏻 

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CBC
4 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

Thanks. Some people can be very persuasive....

Persistent, too. ;) 
 

4 hours ago, Traveler40 said:

When you’re important Tallulahcaster, you’re important. 

Yep, the equilibrium is out of whack with only one of us here.

 

All right, I've surpassed my own ego-stroking limit for the day now, lol... carry on.

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Ours

I’m not arguing  for or against or if it’s right or wrong. I’m just wondering if aces feel like it’s a comfortable option. 
 

I want to investigate not force but if their is no benefits for him why investigate. 
 

Going to my partner saying  allowsexuls think this is the way to go with no real ace input can make it seem it’s all for me. Makes it seem like he has to say yes to make me happy when we need to make each other happy. 
 

I read time and time again break up or open up. Are aces just happier in mixed relationship? This sight is mostly for aces but nothing see support for mixed relationships from aces. Not even suggestions.

 

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