On "Open" Flirting and Hook-Ups
If interacting with others in the presence of your partner(s) is a source of contention, check out these five areas and my guess is that you’ll find discord in at least one of them.
Australian Comedy-Drama, Five bedrooms, featured a scene where one half of a gay non-monogamous couple, Harry, had a chance to go home with the DJ at a club they attended. The thing was, his partner, Xavier, was also present. I’m not going to give any spoilers because you should definitely watch the show, but it got me thinking about flirting (and more) in front of your partner. Here’s how and frankly, why, it works in my world.
We’re all Kinky and Non-Monogamous
Let me be clear here, my partners’ are not in committed romantic relationships with each other, and nor am I with my metamours. Aligned kinks do allow for group sex but that doesn’t underpin our polycule. It isn’t compulsory.
All of my partners are kinky as well as non-monogamous. These two identities mix and blend and sometimes conflict with each other. Overall, matching our kinks provides a level of compatibility that complements a non-monogamous lifestyle.
My partners are generally masochistic too. This allows them to process some of the negative feelings they may have about having a non-monogamous dominant partner as sadomadochism. This is tricky business. Don’t misunderstand that. But when it works, it works.
For me, my penchant for “sharing” with likeminded people satisfies some of my partners’ need for non-monogamy. But in reality, that can just look like a lack of sexual exclusivity. Something like swinging. When it comes to the polyamory end of the non-monogamy spectrum, the knowledge that they’re likely to only go towards people who have similar interests or who have needs that are otherwise harmonious is security enough. I’m certain about that now.
Our Relationships are mutually beneficial
Each of my relationships could exist singularly. They all meet my core needs. And I’m secure in the fact that all of my partners feel the same.
This isn’t just us as individual couples. But as a group, we work really well at supporting and advancing each other’s goals. It may sound arrogant for me to just declare it, but I can see it, and of course we communicate well enough to know when that hasn’t been the case and we’ve worked to change it one way or another.
This is why it’s hard to feel truly threatened by people who cannot offer anything comparable. At least without integrating in the wider group to some extent. This faith in our mutual contentment has another advantage.
We Trust Each Other To Protect The Group
This means lots of things. It doesn’t mean that we will burn the rest of the world down trying to protect our little bubble. It means that we will protect the health and wellbeing of everyone and that may include making tough choices about the future of our individual relationships.
For instance, a few months ago, during a rough patch, I queried with one partner if we’d be better as something other than what we are, since we all want to be part of the baby’s life as long term caregivers/parents. Maybe we should be platonic nesting partners. We didn’t make that choice but it seemed like it could be best for the group.
But while it’s good for all of us, I trust that each individual is content enough in our relationship and in our family life to guard it fiercely. This means I don’t have to police their side of the fence. They do it themselves.
For me, it’s much easier to take advantage of me, alone, because I’m a sap. But the minute I feel like you disregard my family commitments, or you resent them, it’s very easy for me to switch off. You’ll get much further showing me your compatibility with my family values (both my family of origin and my polycule) than showing me that you’ll be upset by them. I’ll just let you go for your own sake.
We don’t have to intervene or warn anyone off of our partners, because we trust that the other will preserve what genuinely works for them at all costs.
We Speak Each Other’s Language
You could say “love language”, but I mean it in a general sense. We do communicate well.
While it would be okay for any of us to flirt with someone or even hook up with them, there are also times when it wouldn’t be appropriate. Either for an individual, couple, or all of us at the same time. There’s very little discussion about when it would or wouldn’t be okay. We just know. And when you put that together with the other things we can depend on within our individual relationships and group dynamic, it means that we can rely on each other to manage our own boundaries.
Date night would be an obvious one. I know when I’m hitting a club with my partner and we are going to hang out and party. Even play wingman. And I know when I’m going out dancing with my partner for date night. At most, we might take someone fun home together.
We Allow For Mistakes.
If one of of us does feel aggrieved by a situation that occurred, we discuss at an appropriate time. None of us want to be the rowing couple(s) at the event or the ones crying in the bathrooms.
When all is said or done, the worst that happened is that one of us felt momentarily jealous, dismissed, unimportant or invisible. That negative feeling will pass and we’ll be again enveloped in the happy, healthy relationship that we know that we have.