As part of my research into all kinds of dating, I started reading the Bible of Polyamory “The Ethical Slut” a few months ago because I was interested in polyamorous dating from an academic perspective. If you are interested in polyamorous dating I highly recommend this book.
I had heard about this book while reading personal ads for fun on Craigslist when I was married, and I imagined that it was a torrid text book about wild sex with random strangers and why it was so great. I was surprised to find when I started reading it that, while it does have some sex manual type sections, it is largely a relationship book written by two women, one of whom is a therapist.
I tend to read several books at a time usually, so I was reading this book slowly over the course of 6 months. While doing so I joined a social group that had a number of polyamorous people in it and realized they were just regular folks. Reading the book, I realized that anyone with an open relationship is actually polyamorous and that anyone who wants a “casual relationship” that is not exclusive, as many middle aged, post divorce daters do, is also polyamorous.
I actually had an open relationship with my husband for a few years before we separated. He was slowly coming to realize that he was gay and so having what I called a “semi permeable” relationship helped us deal with this transition.
While reading the book, I also started realizing that my husband’s and my current relationship, which is very amicable separation, could actually be considered a polyamorous relationship even though we are no longer intimate. We still share money, a child and care about each other deeply and that alone qualifies him as one of my poly partners. He is dating other people and so am I.
I recently met someone who is polyamorous and have been dating him. While I did not consider myself poly when I accepted the date, once I did and realized I liked him, I decided to find out what poly was all about from a less than academic standpoint. The part time relationship seems to fit my needs for the moment since I am still pretty involved with my husband and child and am probably not ready for a full time relationship; certainly not a live in one. I was really glad to have the book to guide me through some of the stickier points of dealing with such a relationship in an assertive and loving manner.
The book pointed out that polyamory is currently less sociably acceptable than being gay. I live in a very liberal town however and it is fairly well accepted and common here.
Common problems in Polyamorous Dating
The book comes up with lots of solutions to common problems such as:
I found this book to be the most mind opening book of any I have read since I got separated. While this book has very different ideas than some of the other dating books I have read, it also can be used in addition to these books as long as you are clear on what your ultimate goal for a relationship is.
While I am still figuring out whether poly is for me or not long term, I certainly think for sure that it is the right thing for a lot of people. It may even be the answer for you as to why your first, second or third marriage did not work.