Polyamorous op­tion still car­ries re­la­tion­ship risks

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­vice.com DEAR EL­LIE

Q . I’d like to present an op­tion to cheat­ing: polyamory — hav­ing more than one ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship with the full knowl­edge of all in­volved.

I’ve been mar­ried for 10 years to a won­der­ful woman.

We have two kids and have been polyamorous for five years.

The idea that one per­son can fill all the needs of an­other is one that I find lu­di­crous. My wife has wants and needs that I can’t and don’t want to ful­fil.

She gets those needs ful­filled by her boyfriend. I get some things from my girl­friend that my wife can’t or is un­will­ing to pro­vide. Ev­ery­one’s happy!

A. I be­lieve that you’re happy. And it may well be that your wife, her boyfriend and your girl­friend are all happy too.

You didn’t ask for ad­vice, but you clearly seek a re­ac­tion.

To me, polyamory re­quires even more skill than a one-cou­ple re­la­tion­ship since this type tries to “ful­fil” more peo­ple and juggle them time­wise (an ar­range­ment that may work for a while but can be af­fected by chang­ing cir­cum­stances).

Its clear ad­van­tage against “cheat­ing” is that no one needs to sneak around. And yet there are still some fa­mil­iar re­la­tion­ship risks.

One of you could find there’s greater sat­is­fac­tion from the added lover than from the spouse, and not need the work and bother of main­tain­ing two re­la­tion­ships or more.

Also, not ev­ery­one’s emo­tion­ally suited to this level of in­clu­sive in­ti­macy and ac­cep­tance.

Nev­er­the­less, it’s your choice and no­body’s busi­ness if there’s mu­tual agree­ment with your part­ner(s).

There are enough peo­ple who iden­tify as polyamorous that an es­ti­mated 500,000 such re­la­tion­ships ex­isted in the U.S. as of July 2009 (in a then-to­tal pop­u­la­tion of 306.8 mil­lion), ac­cord­ing to Newsweek Mag­a­zine on­line, ref­er­enced in Wikipedia.

The um­brella term “polyamorous re­la­tion­ships” cov­ers a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent ar­range­ments.

Ex­am­ple: Some who pro­mote polyamory have writ­ten to me that firm “rules” must be set, to keep bound­aries in­tact within the spousal agree­ment, e.g. no fall­ing in love with oth­ers and never hav­ing sex with them in the mat­ri­mo­nial bed.

I’m sure many read­ers will have an opinion on all of this.

Learn more about crush

Q. I have a crush on this guy who I’ve only known for a lit­tle while.

We don’t see each other that much as we both are busy (I work and go to school. He also works).

But when we do get to­gether, we have a blast.

We met through an ac­tiv­ity we both love to do — line danc­ing.

Once we in­tro­duced our­selves, we be­came friends. Not long af­ter get­ting to know his per­son­al­ity, I started to have feel­ings for him.

I want to tell him, but he keeps giv­ing me mixed sig­nals on whether he likes me back.

I wish I knew if he liked me or not, and I wish that I wasn’t scared to tell him how I feel.

A. It seems you don’t know much about this guy’s life out­side of line danc­ing. But there is one im­por­tant fact you need to find out: Does he al­ready have a sig­nif­i­cant other?

If yes, it can be awk­ward and em­bar­rass­ing for you to share your feel­ings at this point.

In­stead, work the line danc­ing con­nec­tion.

Say how much you’ve en­joyed it, and how much you’ve en­joyed it with him.

Ask if he has time for pur­su­ing more of it to­gether.

If he hes­i­tates or mut­ters about be­ing “too busy,” I sug­gest you con­sider your “crush” as a pri­vate feel­ing, un­til you know more about him.

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