Monthly Archives: July 2015

Multiple lovers

More of my friend Sarah: She is also “polyamorous.” We’ll cut to the chase on this one: Per Wikipedia, Sarah has “intimate relationships that are not exclusive with respect to other sexual or intimate relationships.”

“I just don’t believe we were designed to be monogamous,” Sarah says. Her sugar daddy knows. So did her last boyfriend: He also was part of  “The Lifestyle” as it’s also known.

This is brought up by the recent hacking of “Ashley Madison,” an internet site for those seeking to have affairs, a site for adulterers, if you will. The hackers threatened to release information on “clients” unless the site shut down. To those who think adultery is sport, or that you won’t get caught, all I have to say is: “Seriously?”

Sarah is honest and open about her engagement with others. She speaks of dating a “couple,” both very attractive, “he is verity sweet, she’s really beautiful.” She likes them both, and they both like her. She wouldn’t participate with them “if they weren’t both completely good with it.”

“They” were her “date” to an event just this last weekend.

Another point of view: Alice called me this morning. Because it’s Sunday, I asked why she wasn’t in church.

“I’ve not been to church in a while. It’s a conscience thing.”

“You!?” I said. Alice is one of the more devout people I know, and one of the most truly moral, not one who just wears it on her sleeve.

“I struggle with hypocrisy. It’s probably a temporary state, but living a double life doesn’t suit me well,” she said. The “double life” is caused by a new relationship — Alice and her new boyfriend have sleepovers. “I enjoy sex, but the church says I should not until I’m married.”

“I think you are more ‘Christian’ than a third of the people in church who ‘sin’ but don’t think twice,” I said. “You walk your talk.”

Alice wasn’t prepared to judge, but in our discussion of morality when I mentioned Sarah’s point of view, Alice said, “I think you just made my head explode.

“For me, having sex with someone I love is the ultimate intimacy, the ultimate gift we give each other. We give and receive a piece of each other. I don’t know how you share that.”

“We are able to separate sex from love,” said Sarah in a later conversation. “Sex is just sex. Enjoyable, wonderful, erotic, intimate. But it’s not love.”

“No. To connect two lives into one, to commit mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, completely to one’s life mate is immeasurable by any word …” says Alice.

Sarah’s split with her recent boyfriend wasn’t about sex, it was about emotional boundaries, and it appears to me she still loves him. They are just like other couples, except when they run into each other at parties, they may be having sex with mutual friends.

Obviously, I don’t have Sarah and Alice over at the same time for tea. Maybe I should, because each has the same kind of emotional and intellectual honesty I respect. I think they might like each other.

But here’s my point. Many in the “poly” community have said that the openness of their marriage actually made it stronger. Certainly, many of those not of that point of view have had relationships shatter because of infidelity.

Many of us have made love with someone we are not with today, and been in love with someone who did not satisfy us sexually. I don’t know where the gain or loss might be. Do those who favor the poly lifestyle have more or less than others? More sex but less attachment? Or are the monogamous constantly fighting their biology, denying a perfectly natural excitement of multiple couplings?

I don’t know the answers. But I do know that the responses we have go deep to the core of our lives.

~ Jessica

Sex, Love and Money

My friend Sarah has a sugar daddy. I’ve met him. I like him, though he’s not my type. “Robert” helps Sarah out with a monthly allowance, and she gives him something he wants. Sex? Sure. But much more than that, too.

Sarah respects Robert, and what he’s accomplished in life. She’s interested in how his world works, a world far different than the one in which she spends most of her days. She asks him about that and loves the stories he tells.

There’s an age difference, but it doesn’t seem to bother either one of them.

So why does it bother you? Is it the fact that money is involved? Is it the fact there’s a “soft” contract, an understanding of expectations? An “exchange?” That it’s not a relationship based solely on “love?”

Hmmmm. I’m sure you could find an analog in more than one marriage you’ve observed in maybe the last… day?

Sarah says one of the things she likes best about their “arrangement” is that Robert is respectful of boundaries in ways that boyfriends never were.

“He makes time for me in his schedule. He doesn’t blow me off to go get high, or because he has a hangover. He doesn’t make demands when I want to be with friends, family, or even ask if I have a “boyfriend.” Our time together is “our” time, and when we’re apart, we communicate, but in a non possessive way.

“Yes, he helps me out with expenses. Yes, people will judge me for that. And him. They judge us for our age difference. But I like him, I’m attracted to him, and each of us is free at any time to do something different. What’s wrong with that?” she asks.

“I like helping Sarah, taking pressure off her life,” Robert says. “Some will say I’m trapping her with my money.  I think of it as offering opportunity. Sarah can use my support to go back to school, or buy a bauble. But that’s not for me to say. A trap? What about the trap of those who say ‘marry a rich man’ and pretend it’s about love? I have no wife, too little time, and am cheating on no one. Don’t judge me.”

Marriage is a contract too, only a not very good one by most accounts, because it doesn’t stipulate the conditions under which it will end. Sarah’s “arrangement” with Robert is much more realistic. When it’s over, it’s over. And either can declare it over.

“I think our arrangement promotes a healthy relationship,” says Sarah. “I have attributes and I’m not helpless. If Robert doesn’t treat me with respect, I move on. If I fail to show up, he moves on. He’s an attractive, interesting man with resources. Many women would be interested.”

As I looked at my own bias, I discovered I can be reactively judgmental, without reason. The key was to keep pushing my opinions around until they exposed themselves as … opinions. A point of view. A set of values that often come down to, “This is what’s right for me.”

Which I believe is a perfectly logical and defensible stance.

But personal.

Sarah says she’s not going to fall in love with Robert, because she knows it’s not forever. But in this era, what relationship is forever? Marriage? Snort. Marriage isn’t forever for most of us.

Sarah has to avoid a deep financial dependance that leaves her desperate when it’s over. Robert has to understand that he’s aging, and Sarah still has many more years of vibrant life that she deserves to live. There will be loss, there will be pain.

Many of us have fallen in love with someone we are not with today. Many of us experience soft moments of mourning, a sweet melancholy, for that lost love, too, that can last years if not decades.