by Michelle Montoro
I have lost count of how many times I have had this same conversation. The venue, the delivery, and the words may vary in each situation, but the idea is just the same. Nine times out of ten, if a man finds out that I have a polyamorous marriage, he immediately assumes that there is a chance he will be having sex with me.
I am not sure where exactly this assumption originates. Is it because I am open about my open marriage? Is there an assumption that because I mentioned the subject of polyamory that I am inviting a solicitation for sex? Really, nine times out of ten, I am just making conversation. I don’t immediately walk up to people and say, “Hey, I’m in an open marriage. Nice to meet you. (Wanna fuck?)”
In fact, I rarely bring up the topic in face to face conversations at all. I mostly just write about my experiences. But even the writing about it is like I sent a mass social media invitation stating, “I am allowed to have sex with whomever I choose and I choose all of you!” I want to be clear…this is not the case. At all. Polyamory and promiscuity are not the same the thing. One does not demand the other. Not that they can’t go hand in hand. You do whatever makes you happy. You will receive no judgments from this girl.
Yes, my marriage is open and it works brilliantly for us. Yes, I am completely satisfied with the committed multiple partners in my life. I am not actively seeking to add any more. I am merely attempting to reduce the negative stigma and judgments about a lifestyle that makes us so happy.
Yes, if I meet someone and there is a connection, I am free to explore that connection. But just because some stranger in a bar or across the lines of the internet feels connected to me does not by any means conclude that I feel the same connection. And when I try to explain this, I am so often met with confusion and a million questions as to why in the world I don’t want to sleep with every man who approaches me.
Because polyamory is working so wonderfully for me and my husband and our partners, I am more than happy to answer questions about how we do it, the rules (or lack thereof) that we implement, the scheduling challenges, the emotional navigation, and the life balance management that is necessary to coordinate multiple people in committed relationships with each other.
By nature, I am a helper and a caretaker. If I have the answers to something that someone is curious about or struggling with, I am an open book. I am not greedy with my experiences or my knowledge. I will answer all the questions openly and honestly…because I want to inform and I want to share.
Ask me how we manage feelings of jealousy. I will answer that we don’t really get jealous. If we were the type to get overly jealous, polyamory would never work. We wouldn’t even have the desire to try it.
Ask me what kind of rules we have to make polyamory successful. I will answer that we started with a list of rules and as we gradually became more comfortable and confident in the lifestyle and in each other we threw out all the rules one by one.
Ask me how we handle the situation with our children. I will answer that our children are too young to really understand the depth of it but they do know that mommy and daddy have friends of the opposite sex. When they are old enough to understand more, we will explain more.
Ask me how our friends and family have reacted to our lifestyle. I will answer that every person is different and the reactions have been varied. Some have been very accepting. Some are indifferent. Some are uncomfortable with it and prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist. And some are downright angry about it.
Ask me about my husband’s experience and I will answer that it is quite the opposite from mine. If he reveals to a woman that his marriage is polyamorous, she will most likely assume he is a lying cheater and is just trying to sleep with as many women as possible. The funny thing is, I have more partners than he does. Because I seem to need and want more. He has one other partner besides me and he is so perfectly content with this arrangement that he barely leaves the house these days.
Ask me if we get competitive about these numbers. And I will answer a huge resounding “no way”. It is not a competition. It is a matter of us doing the things that make each other happy. He is happy with one other partner. And I am happy with two other partners.
Ask me how we get along with our spouse’s other lovers and I will answer that it is the most beautiful, natural thing I have ever experienced. There is so much love between all of us. And while it may seem strange to an outsider, it is our norm and it is very comfortable.
Ask me anything and I will always answer truthfully.
Ask me if I am in an open marriage and I will proudly answer yes.
Ask me if I am going to fuck you and the answer will always be no.
Michelle is a stay-at-home mother of two boys, an Army wife, a passionate scholar, and a lover of words with a driving desire to help others in the pursuit of becoming the best possible versions of themselves. With a background that includes coaching, mental health counseling, philosophy, English, and law, she strives to reach people by sharing her personal stories of struggles and successes. By always keeping it raw and genuine, she reaches her readers on a level that is real and comforting, always accepting and never judgmental.
You can read more of Michelle’s story and what she shares about her life on her blog Shelbee on the Edge.