Thank you, Joe Duncan, for always sharing your insight.
I have little patience for the folks bemoaning terminology exhaustion as though trying to understand one other is just too depleting to bother. I want to learn and I’ll admit it is much easier to learn from people who share stories from their own lives. We can see the real people and real relationships in those otherwise virtual dioramas.
I think like a lot of people I didn’t know there was a difference between swinger, poly and open. And before I met people who variously self-identified these ways I don’t think I would have been terribly motivated to learn.
The first couple I met I think used all three terms interchangeably, (some 15 years ago, maybe they don’t anymore.) Their relationship, and ultimately their marriage, failed because of one partner’s purposeful choice not to communicate and willingness to deviate from the parameters they had set for themselves. I learned that you can cheat in an open relationship and that betrayal is always devastating.
The most successful poly relationship in my orbit endures as a couple because they proactively communicate and they actively respect each other. And they respect the ongoing rules and parameters they chose for their dynamic. Their relationship and your stories about yours are what made me realize how much us monogamous folk take for granted and assume that monogamy will create and maintain for us.
Thank you for teaching by example!