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This is a follow-up to my post Fantasy vs. Reality where I talked about the difference between real life and the life you share with a lover away from real life: kids, finances, in-laws, work, etc.  I think maybe in that post I didn’t express myself well enough, or some of it was taken out of context.

First, this blog is about open relationships of all kinds, not just polyamory – which Mrs. Scribbens and I have had poly relationships on occasion, but that is not the basis of our relationship being open.  As I mentioned in this post there are some that only practice polyamory and thus will not have sex with anyone outside their relationship – whatever form that relationship may take. There are also those that are purely swingers that can not stomach the idea of their partner developing feelings for someone else, and then there are the ones inbetween: Swingers who are open to a polyamorous relationship developing if it happened and polyamorists who from time-to-time like to engage in recreational sex with others for just the purpose of having a good time.

As I have said, Mrs. Scribbens and I fall in that overlap area, where we started swinging and found that we were okay with deeper meaning being given to some relationships if it developed. Sometimes that meaning was simply really good friends, and on an occasion or two it’s turned into a real, loving polyamorous relationship with someone. What we’ve never had though is a polyamorous relationship where we all lived together. And I think that is where the misunderstanding in my Fantasy vs. Reality post came from.

Dealing with everyday life, reality, occurs in a relationship where all parties live together. But when another party lives on their own they don’t have to share in the responsibilities of real life: getting the kids to school, little league, managing a household budget, cooking, cleaning, etc.  They get to be the “escape” from “real life” for a few hours, a day, or a weekend. We’ve known couples in which the wife had a boyfriend and they were truly a committed triad and did not see others outside their relationship together. The wife might be a stay-at-home mom and going to her boyfriend’s house every other weekend or so was the couple’s way of giving her a break from being a mom.  It worked for them.  I’ve never had the opportunity to talk to hubby to see what his thoughts were about it sometimes, if he felt it was a lopsided arrangement since he didn’t have a girlfriend to spend weekends with, but from the outside it worked for them and these people are all still married to this day.

And that is where my last post came from – dealing with the lopsided situations that eventually develop in open relationships. Not that there is resentment or anger or jealousy. Just that it happens and this is something that has to be dealt with as a couple if this type of relationship is going to work. Nobody’s keeping score (or at least they shouldn’t be), but sometimes one partner is going to feel left out or that they are getting less attention than the other partner, or at least that they are getting less special attention. Especially when that partner has to deal with real life and the other can just have fun and go about their life in-between “dates”. This can be in a polyamorous relationship, swingers that play separately, or just plain open relationships of any kind. The fact remains that someday, someone is going to feel a bit ignored or left out or not as special as the other person. It just happens. The difference between those couples that make it and those that don’t is how they deal with those issues. Some deal with them in a logical, adult manner. Some allow pure emotion to rule their response and how they work it out. One is productive, the other destructive to a relationship.

I’ve always believed that a realtionship cannot be defined by it’s issues, but rather by how those in the relationship deal with them.

A tough part about any sexually and/or emotionally open relationship where relationships are allowed outside the primary relationship (i.e. either party can play solo and/or have a loving relationship with someone else not living with the primary couple) is time-share and fantasy vs. reality.  There are many good articles on web blogs concerning time-sharing between parnters, and maybe someday I’ll write one myself, but this entry is going to deal with fantasy vs. reality: the fantasy of a part-time lover vs. the reality of a primary partner.

Secondary partners (boyfriends/girlfriends) that don’t live with the primary couple are fantasy. They are a retreat from reality.  They offer a place where you can go and “chill”, watch TV, talk adult talk, go out on an adult date, have sex for hours on end without interruption, etc.  Secondary partners rarely if ever have to deal with all the stress of “real life” with their lover or with their lovers private issues such as mood swings, getting sick, stress of a job, cooking dinner for a family, etc.

Primary partners (husband/wife/committed relationship partner) are the ones that have to deal with all that and more.  They are the ones that deal with mood swings, PMS, anger, sadness, kids and school and soccer and baseball and football and schedules and money and jobs and bitchy coworkers and broken down cars and never having a minute alone with your partner to talk adult talk much less be able to steal away even 15 minutes to have sex much less an hour or more.

Fantasy… Reality… Fantasy… Reality.

This is something I’ve been thinking allot about lately.  Sometimes I feel short-changed in the relationship department because at this time I don’t have a girlfriend but Mrs. Scribbens has a couple of boyfriends she can spend time with to decompress and relax and have those hour plus sex sessions with.  We don’t have that together.  At least not on a regular basis.  By the time the kids are all fed, pets are fed, homework is helped with and more, if we get alone time (meaning the youngest falls asleep before we do) we’re either too tired to put much effort into sex or forgo it completely just to cuddle and fall asleep.  If we do get the chance, 8 out of 10 times we’ll be interrupted mid-screwing by a kid at the bedroom door.

Now this isn’t a problem that virtually all couples don’t have, because they do.  The difference is that monogamous couples don’t have others they can retreat to to get away from it all – unless of course they’re cheating, which statiscally more than 30% of women do and 40% of men do, so they just don’t have to worry about it because they don’t know about it.

For this reason I’ve been getting not jealous, but envious of Mrs. Scribbens and her lovers recently.  I feel like I get the “reality” stuff and they get the “fantasy” side of her.  I’m sure that if the tables were turned she’d feel the same way, too. Goddess knows I’m not the easiest person to live with, I have my foibles for sure.

So this is something that sometimes is hard to deal with, at least momentarily.  I think to make it work you really have to give that extra attention to your primary partner when you are together, whether it’s directly through making time for sex, or even being more attentive to their emotional needs.  Everyone needs to feel fulfilled for it all to work well.

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