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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Opening Act

Dear Mistress Maeve,

I have recently begun having an affair with a married woman. She has had other affairs with women, which her husband knows about. She wants to be open with him about our relationship so that she doesn’t have to “juggle” in secret. We have talked about their relationship, and it is solid. They have great communication, and more importantly, they are in love.

I have never been in a polyamorous relationship, and the thought of not having to hide is very intriguing. There are emotions involved with her and me; it’s not just about the sex. What kind of support and resources are out there to educate myself in regards to situations such as this?

Best Regards.

Dear Pollyanna,

I'm hearing a lot about what your lover wants, but not a whole lot about how you feel. I’m sure the idea of not hiding your relationship makes you feel relieved and more validated as a lover, but what about the idea of sharing the woman you care about with another person? You’ve hit the nail on the head: If the husband is made aware of your relationship and accepts it, you’ll be moving from an affair to a vee-style polyamorous relationship — meaning that the three of you will enter into a relationship of sorts, even though you many not be involved with the husband sexually.

Polyamory has been around since the dawn of time, and it just works better for people who feel too constrained by monogamy. That said, polyamory is not for the faint of heart. Being emotionally and sexually invested in more than one person at a time takes a great deal of care and integrity — something your girlfriend has not shown she has thus far by sneaking around behind her husband's back with you. You say that their relationship has great communication, but how can that be so if she’s hiding an affair?

If the idea of polyamory is appealing to you as a life choice, you should pursue it. And I highly suggest picking up The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities. Authors Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt outline polyamory best practices in this must-have guide for first-time poly participants.

On the other hand, if you’re only entertaining this idea because you’re smitten with this woman and you’re ignoring your own wishes, you need to wake up and do some soul searching. Are you willing to accept that your lover will need to split her time and affection equally between you and her husband? How will you feel in your bed alone when you know she’s with him? Sometimes what we have to give up in order to get what we want is more precious than the prize.


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