Sex & Sociability

Question and commentary on connections, both sexual and social

Monogamous/Open Relationships

Can an open relationship and a monogamous one exist simultaneously? Read More

My thoughts...

"The answer to “why” is for love and companionship, the same reasons many people couple"

Marriage is not for love & companionship. Obviously, if you were lacking that 100% before being married, you should think twice and probably not get married.

Marriage is in essence to put a "bet" on it -- which yes, does include, by default, exclusivity.

I think people who are content and even sometimes happy with one person getting porked by others, while the other remains exclusive to them is that they're running in different gears, and the person who isn't having sex with others has:

a) A low sex drive
b) A high emotional dependency and is in love with them as a non-platonic partner, but not in love in every sense of the word, possibly due to (a)
c) Kind of "lying" to themselves much like someone who cheats periodically or regular lies to themselves yet are happy with their significant other

Is it (technically) possible for person A to be monogamous with person B, while person B is open getting ball-banged rather fruitfully by multiple people? Yeah. Just about anything is. Is it MUCH more likely they are not completely happy with it, and only OK with it under certain conditions during certain phases? Yes.

Re: My thoughts...

There are many more variations than your a, b, c options which all seem to reflect some pathology. What about a poly person who genuinely experiences "compersion"? I don't think they'd use the cold-sounding word "pork".

As for not being completely happy, I'd say a lot of people in straight monogamous married relationships are not completely happy, so you're not making much of a point there.

Re: My thoughts...

Sure -- one would get married for kids... or a "this is best for lifestyle; we'll stick together whether we like it or not", etc. My point was that marriage is not *to make it* have full love & companionship. That's not it's purpose.

Yes, "pork" sounds cold-sounding, but the reason I use it is to purposely NOT be "PC". Essentially, let's call a spade a spade. Let's not pretend it's on some level of innocent-no-big-deal flirting & mingling that some people would want with the opposite sex to feel wanted, to get attention, etc.

And yes, many people aren't completely happy in monogamous LTRs (married having less of an escape route). Just because that's true does not at all mean "anything goes" and it solves everything. If you aren't happy in one, after giving it extra time to resolve things, a temporary separation to jump-start something, etc -- get out. No need to let attachment keep you in it and have another one on the side. There's a reason why those FAIL almost every time. :)


I don't know if I am polyamorous, or simply dissatisfied in my selection for a wife. I know I settled, and as I have made a life for myself and rose up in economic and power stature, I have many options available.....and many temptations. I want to act on them all!

My question, if I really was attracted to my wife, deeply, from the start, would that add a layer of protection?

I need to toss in another phenomenon that I can't explain. There have been several examples where I actually did not recognize my wife in a crowd. I think I have always wanted her to look different to the point I have a false image of her in my head that does not match reality. Sounds crazy, I know!

Anyway, I feel my dissatisfaction with my wife's looks are what drives me to harmonize with the polyamorous mindset.

Re: Trev

If you're wondering whether you're dissatisfied with your wife, you at least aren't completely satisfied -- that's a no-brainer. :)

Your many options & "rise" in economic & power stature -- yes. It's a reason most Hollywood people can't, in the end, stay in an LTR for too long and many like shorter-term relationships and LTRs are just a change of pace. We aren't built to have tons of high-quality options consistently over time. We'll be in non-monogamy mode.

IF you aren't attracted to your wife, deeply from the start -- don't make her your wife in the first place. :) Don't get married to have kids or to appease parents & peers, or to feel complete in lifestyle. That'll only burn you later on.

You don't want to leave your wife, you care about her, and love her (although missing important ingredients which requires attraction for full-circle). You're in a tough spot. I think that's why some people cheat -- because it's dam*ed if you do, dam*ed if you don't, and it will at least make something "give" in the end if it's continued and they find out.

Re: EyesAlwaysWander

Your feelings are very common among people who think about cheating or do it. Lots of people do that. It has little to do with polyamory.

A real test of whether you are polyamorous is how you would feel if your wife wanted to have another man as a good friend with benefits. If you genuinely could take joy in knowing that your wife experienced fun sexual pleasure with another man, in addition to the pleasure she has with you, then you would be considered to have a polyamorous attitude.

Another test would be, if you found someone else you wanted to sleep with, would you share those desires honestly with your wife before you do it and get her approval? That approach would be another sign of being truly polyamorous.

I get the impression that you would pass neither of these tests.

Response to Trevor

Having a wandering eye is not the same as being polyamorous nor does how you feel about how your wife's looks really affect that. I would try focusing on what you do like about your wife and her looks; try to fall in love with her and see how that affects your wanderlust.


No. This arrangement is a divorce waiting to happen. Next question.

Beware, you might be with a narcissist

This type of desired lifestyle is common among narcissists. So before you agree to it, listen to your instinct (how does this open relationship proposition make you feel?), and definitely read this research on how narcissists perceive commitment: Much love.


It's amusing that it's called things like polygamy or polyamory if you're having sex with more than one person, monogamy if you're having sex with one, and STILL called monogamy even when the marriage is sexless! Should be called "zerogamy"!

The concept of someone sexually shutting off their partner and yet insisting on "monogamy" seems contradictory. :)


Insisting on chastity within the context of what is supposed to be a sexually exclusive, life long romantic relationship is immoral and one ought not allow themselves to be abused in such a manner.

If one does not believe in adultery then one does NOT believe in a sexless marriage. They will bust a gut to ensure their partner is satisfied.

If one refuses to keep their partner satisfied then they, by default, believe in adultery because eventually the probability is high that it will happen.

You cannot insist on both chastity and sexual exclusiveness (unless BOTH agree).


When one person sexually "shuts off" the other and requires fidelity I call that selfish. See my new essay on loss of libido.

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Isadora AlmanM.F.T., is a Board-certified sex, marriage, and family therapist, lecturer, author, and syndicated advice columnist of "Ask Isadora."


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