Mailbag Monday – Poly-Flexible?

Posted: September 22, 2014 by Isaac Cross in Advice, Learn Something

Mailbag Monday is all about answers to questions that I have received.

Or… In some cases, questions that someone asked in my general vicinity or somewhere on the internet. But I am answering them here, because that’s where I am.

The questions are often paraphrased or otherwise edited down to the essential details or to conceal identity.

Do you Have a Question? Drop it at the Contact Me Page, or you can post to any of the social network platforms listed to the left. (Unless you are on your phone or something, in which case, you can find he list here.

Poly-Flexible? Poly-Tolerant?

Hi. I just started looking for a new relationship. I am open to being poly, I guess, but if I am I would want to be the primary ( I believe that is the correct term please correct me if I am wrong). I am interested In many things and am interested in learning many other things. How do I start?

So, the first thing that I would recommend is to do some reading on poly and be sure that you are really ok with it. The best book available right now, in my opinion, is “More Than Two” by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert. (Here is my review of that book if you’re interested) Other popular books about poly are “Opening Up” by Tristan Taormino and the immortal “The Ethical Slut“.

The term you used, “Primary”, is generally used to describe one of two things.
A) A traditionally structured relationship where the “couple” shares common relationship relationship markers, such as living together, sharing finances, and sex. While other “secondary” relationships have a much smaller level of commitment and may be restricted from developing those closer bonds or commitments. People who use this definition usually only have a single “primary” partner and require their primary partner to do the same.
B) A relationship that reaches certain significant milestones (such as having children) which necessitate greater prioritization of time or resources, but does not restrict other relationships from developing deep connections and commitments as well. People who use this definition tend to have well-negotiated boundaries, but do not restrict their partners’ relationships. Many can have multiple “primaries”.

However, a growing number of people within the poly community view hierarchical designations like “primary” and “secondary” to be demeaning or even offensive, and writers such as Franklin Veaux are adamant that ranking your relationships is a dangerous and damaging thing to do that will reduce your chances of successful and happy relationships in the long term.

I happen to have the opinion that it is counter-productive to try and define and script your relationships before they happen. Relationships, especially poly relationships, work best when all of the partners have a voice in what those relationships look like and the relationship has room to develop organically into whatever shape it takes. So when couples decide all of the rules ahead of time and then expect a third person to agree to all of them without a chance to negotiate and express their own desires, that third person then feel devalued and unappreciated, like they are an accessory to the “real” relationship and not part of it.

Like I said, if you are interested in seeking poly relationships, I would encourage you to talk with some people that have been actively involved in poly relationships for at least ten years and read some books, including those I recommended above, before you seek partners. Poly is not for everyone, and while there is nothing wrong with just jumping in and giving it a try, you may save yourself some heart-ache by really thinking it through and examining your own emotional readiness for an open relationship first, especially if you are threatened by the idea of your partner’s other partners becoming too significant and important to them.

As for everything else you might be interested in learning, I recommend reaching out to your local poly or kink community. Most cities offer a ton of classes, discussion groups, and other resources that are a great way to learn and explore until you figure out what it is that you want or need and find the right person (or people) for you.


Do you have a question that you want answered in the Monday Mailbag? Drop it in the comments or send it to us through the Contact Us page.

And Colorado people, don’t forget to reserve your seat at the full-day dominants intensive in Denver on October 25th. Info Here.

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