By Kendra Holliday | January 5, 2022
(For some background on polyamory, please read my article Love Like An Ocean: Diving Deep Into Polyamory.)
My partner and I have been together for thirteen years.
We first met July 2007, at a friend’s wedding. We are in a long-term, committed open relationship. We started our relationship open. We don’t live together – we keep our families, homes, and finances separate. We see each other about 2 or 3 times a week. We are open to countless possibilities when it comes to sharing intimacy with other people. We deeply enjoy and appreciate our non-traditional relationship.
But it certainly isn’t a reckless free-for-all. In order to keep it healthy and drama-free, we constantly communicate with each other to ensure ways we can exercise our freedom while operating on mutual respect.
Outlined below is an arrangement that works for us.
It can be difficult balancing everything, but this is how we prioritize:
3. Our relationship
4. The people we are dating/close relationships
Sometimes we will date a person or couple once or twice, or just for a weekend when they come visit. Sometimes we will date a person or couple for a few months or longer. Usually lives change and shift so much that we ebb and flow into things naturally. It feels very fluid. We can date other people solo, or together.
Anyone we date must respect both of us.
Condoms with vaginal penetration
We’re ok with being fluid bonded with others on a limited basis, as long as everyone knows their STI status and is on the same page.
No BDSM play with others without discussion (he considers BDSM to be even more intimate than sex, especially when I’m in the submissive role)
Wednesday night is our sacred date night.
We try and keep each other informed of events before they happen, but if something feels right in the moment, it’s acceptable to act on it, as long as we notify the other person as soon as possible.
Sleepovers are okay.
Out of town visits are fine.
Meeting the people the other person is dating is preferred, but not mandatory.
We do our best not to preclude time we could be spending with each other. This usually works out fine due to our kid and travel schedules.
The two most important things we’ve learned for ourselves when it comes to polyamorous dating:
1. Be patient.
2. Don’t be greedy.
For instance, a couple recently asked me out on a date. A few days later, another couple asked me out on a date. I’ve been very interested in both of these couples for a long time, but I knew better than to quickly schedule two dates. That would have been too much new energy for my partner to handle at once. So, I booked one date for a couple weeks out so we would have time to discuss and mentally prepare with the new development. I let the other couple know I would need to wait a bit for us to process before scheduling a date with them. They were totally cool and understanding.
It’s good to take it slow. We space out our other partners so that we don’t get overwhelmed. But what about our other partners? Are they just sitting in a closet until we get around to spending time with them again in a few weeks? No. Fortunately, they all have busy lives and other relationships as well.
Right now, I’m dating a couple, we’re dating a couple, he’s dating another woman on a regular basis and another woman sporadically, and I’m interested in dating a couple of men. It’s frustrating how quickly the calendar fills up – I’m not trying to be coy, I swear!
Just trying to be responsible and thoughtful to everyone involved.