17 Men And Women In Open Relationships Confess To How Being Poly Works Out In Real Life



“I’m a guy who’s dated a sizable number of women in open relationships/marriages.

For every stable, open relationship with solid rules that are adhered to very well, there are 10 more trainwrecks in action.

I’ve noticed some interesting patterns. Many times, the man initiates it, but the wife/gf ends up getting way more dick than he does pussy, and it alters the dynamic of the relationship considerably.

The ones that seem more solid and lasting in the open state are the fully open ones. That is: Multiple full on relationships, not just fucking around. (I suspect that this is because both people are truly committed to the lifestyle, and not just satisfying urges)

I’ve also noticed a lot more stability in relationships that aren’t fully open where the openness has the rule where it’s only open on mutual attendance aka swinging, and threesomes but not with just individuals.

The reason the fail rate is so high is not because it’s inherently ill-intentioned. It’s just way fucking harder than a normal relationship. You have to be super on point and self-aware at all times with your communication.”



“We set up a lot of ground rules initially, things like you can’t hang out with that person all the time and sleep with them more than 3 times etc. Things that would mean that you were now in a relationship with someone else (we wanted open play, not poly relationships). Now we just can’t be bothered seeing other people and the sex was never as good as with each other. We might bring in a person to jointly play with once or twice a year, but we’re kind of just ‘over’ seeing other people lol. Honestly, mostly the same as before we were open.”



“Old guy who did all that free love bullshit back in the 1960’s and grew out of it. Here’s what I learned over many years: People don’t know what the fuck marriage is. They think the purpose of marriage is to be happy. They have no idea what they are committing to. Every time a young couple asks me how I stayed married for so long, my answer is like this:

When you get married, you are saying you want to share someone’s life with them. When they stop wanting sex, you’re going to be ok with that. When they get cancer, you’re going to nurse them. When they can’t walk, you’re going to wipe their ass.

Marriage isn’t about being happy. It’s about finding happiness in the duty of commitment and building a business/life/family with another person.

For those of you with healthy relationships with parents, when your parents don’t make you happy you don’t dump them. You don’t go get more parents. You don’t even imagine that. Mom and Dad are your parents forever. Marriage is the same. Your wife/husband is your family forever.

That doesn’t change until their there is abuse/danger/destruction and you’ve tried and failed to help them (not too much). Addiction, repeated adultery (I think someone confessing can be fixed, someone getting caught cannot, repeat offenses are too much), physical abuse, constant debasement and name calling are all grounds for cutting the cord.

The same as with parents.

The problem most people have with marriages that fail is that they go in thinking, ‘This person will make me happy.’ The fuck they will. That person is going to change. You married an athlete?? Watch them get fat, melt, and decide to pursue music. You married a stay at homebody bookworm? Woops! Now they think they want to pursue acting! You think they are going to cook and be clean – uh oh – they have cancer and now you do EVERYTHING because you are a live-in nurse.

Frankly, if that scares you at all, you should not get married. Because you aren’t signing on for happiness. You are signing on for sharing human life, and a human life is a complete chaotic crazy mess.”



“After a lot of arguing between my husband and I about the lack of sex in our relationship (I have a very low libido because of medications I have to be on), we finally came to an agreement that he could find a FWB. We agreed to some ground rules beforehand, like he couldn’t spend more time with her than with me, he had to be safe, I wanted to know before he did anything (not immediately before, but I needed a heads’ up that he was interested in someone), and if he started developing feelings, he was to immediately drop it.

He started looking, and everything was fine. He’d show me some steamy texts he’d been exchanging every now and then, and it was fine; I really wasn’t jealous and I was glad he was having fun and was at least somewhat being satisfied when I couldn’t help him.

Then he came home and told me he was leaving me for someone else. He hadn’t even had sex with her yet but had met her while looking for a FWB. And now he’s gone.

I’m not at all saying that open marriages are bad. I think, if he had been happy with the rest of our marriage like I was (and maybe had been more mature, who knows), it could have worked. I really do believe 100% that I would have been okay with it; I am not at all a jealous person and I’ve had FWBs before. But I do believe that if we hadn’t opened the door, so to speak, he wouldn’t have left. Or at least not nearly as soon, and not for someone else. But who knows.”



“I am not in the relationship, but I am in a FWB with a guy AND sometimes the girl in an open relationship. They have been together since high school, and we are all in our 30’s now. They do have a kid together. I have been with one or the other, or both, but I have never even met the kid. If it’s with both of them, they send the kid to a sitter and we go to their house. If it’s one or the other, we either get a room or go to my place. It seems to work very well with them as long as the 3rd party is cool with it. He has tried numerous girls over the years, but they always want more, or don’t like the fact that his SO comes first. I don’t want a relationship right now, so it works out great for me. (It’s been going on for about 7 years now, off and on).”



“Trying an open marriage was the last nail in the coffin for us.

I have since been in relationships that allow group sex (including current one) but won’t ever do an open marriage or relationship again.

Current gf has slept with 6 other guys in front of me and gave one guy a blowjob when I was in the other room and that last one was the one I ended up having the most issue with.”



“I was.

My ex tried to convince me that being gay and monogamous isn’t natural and monogamy was a system I had been brainwashed into. Every fiber of my being was telling me that I wanted to be monogamous but he was so damn convincing.

I resented him. He would bring home guys and fuck them while I was studying in the other room. I specifically told him that I didn’t like when he had relations in our bed while he wasn’t away on business. He told me I was being too jealous and that I shouldn’t be such a prude.

So I gave him a dose of his own medicine. My ex was a very superficial homosexual. There was a 6’8” 32-year-old built like a brick shithouse who was very endowed. This man would make my boyfriend cry. So When the ex walked in on me getting piped like there was no tomorrow by a big daddy who was much better looking than him, he lost his shit.

The relationship ended that night

Polyamory isn’t for me and never will be. You can call me regressive or brainwashed but fuck it. I enjoy a committed relationship with ONE man.”



“I was in polyamorous relationships for about 10 years, and for 5 of those years I was married.

When I met my ex-husband we were both interested in exploring non-monogamy and didn’t see the need for strict monogamy in long term relationships. It was fun, terrible, super sexy, really difficult, and at some moments felt like the best thing ever.

Things I learned that you will likely need to do in poly/non-mono relationships: -plan/schedule/g-cal everything, your life gets super busy -tons of time will also be spent talking about EVERYTHING -negotiate and renegotiate rules, people’s boundaries change -be endlessly committed to self-reflection and personal growth -be ready for exercising your patience for DRAMA, even those trying to avoid it have drama because if you and your partner are dating multiple people you end up with a huge connected network and drama surely happens somewhere in that network at certain points.

I feel like I gained some valuable skills and insight during my time practicing non-monogamy(like communication skills, managing my emotions, learning more about what’s most important to me, learning how to be good at being alone, being super awesome at negotiating sexual boundaries, etc). While in my heart I still feel like I’m more naturally inclined toward non-monogamy than monogamy, I’ve actually found that monogamy suits me better in this current world/reality.”



“It’s not as cut and dry as that for most couples that practice something besides strict, classic monogamy.

I have a low sex drive and my wife does not. I am a lesbian and my wife is not, she is bisexual. She remains attracted to men, despite being married to me.

With those two things in mind, we developed a method (with strict boundaries and rules) for her to explore her interest in others. It’s usually a friends with benefits situation, but there has been a one night stand (which violated several rules and we had a heavy argument about it).

Our rules are as follows:

  • No surprises. I want to know when you realize you’re attracted to someone and to know in advance when you plan to or want to pursue something.
  • No dating. I don’t want my wife having another relationship, I just want her physical needs met where I cannot meet them.
  • No unprotected sex, unless we’re very familiar with that person. And even then, birth control is required on her end.

That’s pretty much it. I want to know when it’s happening, who it’s happening with, and that she’s safe. There are some other nuances that aren’t exactly ‘rules,’ but that I prefer. I would rather it not happen in my house so that I don’t have to look at it or go somewhere else.

Keep in mind, this has only happened a few times and she’s currently in between FWB.”



“Not married, but been together 7+ years and have a kid. Is going pretty good although I’m a bit frustrated that I’m finding it difficult to date outside the relationship while she finds it easy. I feel like I was monogamous before meeting her simply for lack of opportunity and not because I had any real need to be monogamous. It takes a LOT of work for me to meet someone and I haven’t gotten any better at it over the years. So basically I’m monogamous in a poly relationship. So that’s kind of awkward.

Dating is actually even MORE difficult because not a lot of women want to date a poly guy. I might as well have herpes.”



“I am not in the relationship, but I am in a FWB with a guy in an open relationship. I have known about it from the beginning and don’t have any issues with it. I appreciate that everything is on the up and up. There are no lies and no disappointment. They have each other’s hearts, and that won’t change, but they both enjoy sex with others so it benefits them to continue that arrangement. Their rules are that there are no overnights, they must tell the other person where they’re going, and they must use protection.

I have not met her but I would.

I don’t know how I’d feel if I were the GF and not just the side piece. My heart is not invested so it’s easy for me to have him over and send him home after. But for them, it removes all of the deceit so they’re not cheating on each other. They’re still happy and get to have the sexual fulfillment they want. I appreciate them for that.”



“I’m not married yet, but later this year it’ll go from open relationship to open marriage. We’re pretty lax, few rules.

  • Always use protection.
  • No romantic relationships without permission
  • Have standards
  • Primary partner (each other) always comes first
  • I need to know every detail. It’s important for my masturbatory fantasies.”



“It went okay for a while, but just became more trouble than it was worth. It seemed my husband and I were ready to quit at the same time.

I think a lot of people go into it thinking it’s all going to love and sex, and forget about all the drama of any relationship. It gets tiresome, at least for me.”



“Healthy and happy. We can have fun, although I have far more fun than her apparently, but we love each other most at the end of the day. Been together for 22 years.”



“I was in an open relationship for 20 years, marriage broke up over money & deployment to Saudi Arabia in early 1990s.

Married in mid-70s. Neither my wife or I was interested in a traditional marriage so we excluded fidelity from vows. We both enjoyed MFM situations with her as the pivot. She also enjoyed one night stands, I preferred LTRs with women (I enjoyed learning how to push their button…) In the 80s we hand to dial the churn rate back quite a bit due to the onset of AIDS. We had two-decade-long relationships with two men, one of whom lived with us for much of that time. It was an extraordinary experience and I miss it.

It wasn’t easy but it was intense. Given the circumstances, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Currently, in a monogamous relationship, wish it were otherwise but my present wife just isn’t into high intensity sex.”



“LTR, not married but definitely in for the long shot. We both think of honesty and trust in a relationship as VERY important. None of us had ever cheated or were cheated on by the time we met in our mid-twenties, and generally didn’t bring any trust issues into our relationship. We started out monogamous, neither having had any non-monogamous experiences before.

Pretty quickly we noticed how good of a match we were. Ridiculously compatible. We absolutely didn’t feel any jealousy or threatened by other people because we were so comfortable and happy with each other. So about a year in, we decided there’s no harm in having some fun with other peeps, with our only rule being that everything is okay as long as it doesn’t influence our relationship negatively.

We never explicitly declared what flavor of non-monogamous relationship we’re having, but over time we moved from non-serious flings to also having feelings for another person. By now I’d define it as hierarchical polyamory, with us being the primary partners. It was and still is surprisingly uncomplicated between the two of us! :)
[With other love interests, well, not so much, but that’s a different story.]

I think the fact that we started from a place where we were stupidly happy (-and not trying to fix a rocky relationship) was what made it so easy. Sure, there were some insecurities first when telling our hearing about each other’s experiences. But we both felt like being close to other people made us appreciate each other even more. Like thinking: “Yeah, this is fun and super nice and everything, buuut it’s not the same as with [me/them]”.

We really lucked out big time, and from what I see in the poly scene it’s definitely not standard that couples transition that easily or find polyamory that manageable. But I still feel like out of all relationships I personally know, I’m in the happiest and healthiest. I couldn’t wish for more.”



“All my relationships have been open so far.

Major relationships: One that lasted 10 years, one that lasted 5 years with a married couple that ended when they moved provinces, and one that I’m in now, coming up on 6 years.

Minor relationships: various FWBs over the years, anywhere between 1 month and several years.

Current relationship is dandy. We’re open in that we can pursue opportunities if we choose to do so, but honestly, we’re in our 30s and we’ve got shit to do, so it doesn’t come up very much. I haven’t chosen to take advantage of it, and he’s only dated 3-4 other women since we became serious.

Dating and scheduling is a lot of work. I’m not interested in putting in the effort to find a fuckbuddy, and eventually most women that he’s dated want to find a primary relationship so there’s always an expiry date there.”

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Lisa Woods

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