Dating a man in an open marriage blogs about dating and relationships
Does it always mean wasting a limited amount of emotional and psychological bandwidth?Is it possible to be happy as a "secondary," as wince-inducing as the word is?Her new partner's version of "super polyamory" was different from the secretive multiple-partner dating she'd been doing back in New York: this was all out in the open, with lots of discussions about boundaries and agreements; what was okay between them, and what was not.She became his polyamory protégé, and has since had four open relationships.
Although it's hard for many to imagine being a sort of auxiliary lover as anything other than agony—as a competition for time with an adversary who holds the best cards: the years together, the marriage certificate, the kids—Beth and many of the other women I talked to said it's much easier being, shall we say, number two rather than number one.
The rise in interest in open relationships has been chronicled in countless print and online outlets over the past five-plus years ( The recent media glut notwithstanding, an important voice has gone missing: that of the extracurricular partner, the lover, the girlfriend or boyfriend—people like Ivy.
The focus is always on the couple—how their adventures in nonmonogamy fuel their partnership and heighten their sex lives; how they're able to navigate sleeping with others without breaking their sacred union.
In her second open relationship, her boyfriend already had a serious girlfriend.
Ivy was, for all intents and purposes, the "secondary." She was more curious than turned off: "I've always been one to question relationship paradigms, and I thought, well, the only way for me to really understand this is to try it," she says.
But they didn't have to play the classic mistress role, either.