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Choose wisely
Over the last 14 years, my relationship has moved through several phases. Currently, I am tap dancing, trying to find an arrangement that is suitable to both my partner and myself. I wanted to make a list of what I've tried, or thought about. If you think of anything to add, please let me know.

  1. Complete monogamy (no cheating, lots of sex, “I only have eyes for you”)
  2. Monogamy with fantasies (no cheating, but one or both people think about it)
  3. Limited sex (still monogamous, but grudging. Being tired or busy often an excuse)
  4. No sex (e.g. LBD = Lesbian Bed Death, but still monogamous)
  5. Monogamy with three ways (includes “play parties”… both partners are present)
  6. Throw the dog a bone (monogamy, but several times a year one partner gets to play with someone else)
  7. The Pig and the Prude (one partner doesn’t want very much sex, and the other is always horny)
  8. Sex pigs (been together 20 years, still have searing hot sex every night with each other and anything else)
  9. Master/slave (several varieties: collared, uncollared, play, temporary, serious, sash-winning)
  10. Daddy/boy (Again several varieties: sugar daddy, Palm Desert retiree, twentysomehing whore, Bear/cub)
  11. The teasing couple (say they do three-ways, and advertise on websites, but they don’t actually do it)
  12. The internet player (monogamous, but “will perform on webcam” or give hot chats and emails)
  13. Cheating (bathhouses, Craigslist, websites, often anonymous and fleeting)
  14. “Don’t ask don’t tell” (not cheating since there is permission, but one partner doesn’t want to hear the details)
  15. Open relationship, total honesty (both partners are pigs, and love to describe their tricks, often sharing)
  16. Open relationship, with rules (written down list of things partner can/can’t do)
  17. Open relationship, faking it (trying to open the relationship without thinking about it first)
  18. “You do your thing” (one partner has a kinky specialized interest, and gets to indulge that outside the relationship)
  19. The accidental tourist (one or both partners travel a lot, and play when away)
  20. Two mortgages, one bed (separate apartments, though only one is lived in)
  21. “Roommates” (live together and love each other, but no sex. Check in with each other a few times a day)
  22. Polyamory, functional (or partly functional “as long as Mary is in a good mood and not causing drama”)
  23. Polyamory, dysfunctional (only works when one or more people are out of town)
  24. Household (like polyamory, but with a website)
  25. Single, monk (no sex, focusing on other things than sex right now)
  26. Single, whore (too busy to settle down with just one man)
  27. Single, bitter (“I’ll never be in a relationship again”)
  28. Single, playing house (occasionally fakes it by forming a weekend or one-night relationship with a friend)
  29. “Girlfriend who lives in Canada” (single, but swears he is in a relationship with someone he sees twice a year)
  30. And the current smart idea I have: the personal life trainer on the side (schedule an appointment with the coach, and train hard)

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sctmpls and I are a variant of #5. No parties so far, though.

So, you guys, how do you make #5 work? How is it working for you?

Personally, when my partner and I were on #5, all the planning and coordination fell on me. I had to find the third person for the threesome, negotiate a scene, and set up the perfect time and place. I felt like Julie the Cruise Director. Only to have my partner complain he didn't like the guy I chose.

Any help for the other people out there? I personally recommend dungeon S&M parties and leather weekends for couple fun, but that's just me.

We both share the "cruise director" job, I guess. And I think we communicate early enough in the process of flirting with various hot men that if either of us just truly isn't into Mr. Third, we don't invite them over for sex.

We keep meaning to get to the local levi and leather events but it's becoming a bit of an in-joke between the two of us because every single time they have an event one of us is sick or one of us has an event planned or it's a big night at church or we're out of town or. . . well, you get the picture. At some point you have to just laugh at the goofiness of it all. We'll get there. . . eventually!

I have a couple (very young) friends that play the "about to be off the market" card. They'll play...but just know that soon, they'll be unavailable. That is, once they finally meet face to face, the guy from 8 states away, that they're in love with from Bear411 and have been talking to for..gosh..4 whole weeks now..and this summer, they're moving in together.

that really doesn't fit into the list tho, does it?

maybe just "single, about to not be".

The sad part is...it's not just one or two guys.

No, no, that's great! It's a perfect addition. "Meet me now... last call!"

I would also add the flip side, which is the "about to be separated" couple: things aren't going well, one partner is about to move out, so it's not really cheating, you're not being a homewrecker if you fuck me, so it's ok.

(Um, I've been guilty of that in the recent past).

Edited at 2008-03-13 04:16 pm (UTC)

oh wow! YES! I've gotten in on that one before too. However, mine was..we're just roommates! Then the roommate wants to know why you're fuckin his husband.

Edited at 2008-03-13 04:36 pm (UTC)

When I was a young bear, I took a "single guy" out to the opera, only to come back to his place and fing an irate boyfriend. For a half hour, I waited nervously while they argued, was afraid I was going to have to find a taxi back home (he drove). But they patched things up and we had a slightly satisfying three-way.

Sounds like you have some serious issues Mr Kellog. I think you need to consider the option of "I've moved on with my life and I can be happy and sexually fulfilled again". That one worked for me.

Oh and I was close to the "about to be separated one" except I had moved out on the ex a week before, though we were still talking about trying to make it work. I had great sex that convinced me I *was not* living the rest of my live with the LBD.

I thought you were with randomcub doing a modified #5 (see above). Or are you single?

I wonder what kind of single person I would be. Slut? Bitter hermit? Move-in-on-the-first-date U-Haul lesbian? Would I grab a random leatherbear and try to recreate my old relationship with the exact same problems and codependency? (Answer: probably)

Edited at 2008-03-13 05:58 pm (UTC)

Erik and I are on #5. This was before Erik, after the ex I was with for 12 years. I can attest to the fact that there can be a great relationship after the long term dysfuntional one.

I think we are #5, with some of #10 and a bit of #14.

I was going to call #14 "Truth? You can't handle the truth!"

I tried to put the categories in some semblance of order, but I think I screwed up. I wonder how long each stage lasts on average.

My internet studies on gay monogamy have confused me more than helped:

You probably don't mean to create this impression, I am starting to get the idea that sex is your top priority when it comes to a relationship.

You don't know what your top priority is in a relationship?
Maybe it's worth expending some skull sweat figuring it out.

No... I wouldn't know about SEX.

I've heard about longterm couples that still have sex, but I always thought they were a mythic creature like the Pegasus or Cthulu.

I don't believe in sex after marriage - I don't believe it exists.

"No... I wouldn't know about SEX."

Yes, I figured that's what you meant.

So, are you just gonna ignore my question? :)

Hm. I guess I'm in bits of 15, 16, 22, and 24. I'm way more of a pig than my partner, but when he has details to share I like hearing 'em as much as he likes hearing mine. We've played together with thirds on occasion. We do have rules ... they're not written down so much as stated and pulled out for re-examination now and then. They're basically just about safer sex, and about honesty with new people (such as: don't lead a new "friend" on by not admitting you're in a relationship. The rough guide is, if there's a second "date" or "trick," come out about the family.)

The "as long as X is in a good mood" part from #22 is pretty important, though if X were *always* in a bad mood then it would really have to get looked at.

And of course, though these days I think of myself as part of a couple, kind of, it's a couple within a four-person household, one of the other of whom I used to sleep with too. So #24. Though we don't have a web site. ;-)

Oh dear god, I'm soooooooo 28 these days, aren't I?

Aspiration? 8 and 15 (with perhaps a soupçon of 22).

ROTFLMAO OMG I love love love number 28 LOL

I wrote #28 because I was jealous of a friend of mine on the internet. He has a new boyfriend every week, and they fly to see him. During their weekend/week together, they act jsut like an old married couple. But then my friend gets to go play again and be unattached. And that's really a tempted lifestyle.

It's like the difference between being a single mom and a grandmother. They both may take care of the baby for an afternoon, but the grandmother gets to leave eventually and do her own thing!

How bout "Single, wants a relationship, but will play in the meantime"

"Single, open to possibilities"

"Single, and too much of a freak to ever be in a relationship with anyone outside a mental institution"

seems a lot like a chinese menu. Currently I fit in 1,2,8,9,10,and 20. The life coach sounds euphemistically like a Serious Dom Leather Master - otherwise, why bother?

Yes, i think i have a Serious Dom Leather Master now. That is, if my partner will agree to me taking one on in addition to our longterm relationship.

My partner and I have been a VERY happy #16 for 15 years come this summer - except that the rules aren't written down.

I don't consider fantasies or porn cheating or even leaning toward or thinking about cheating. It's just sex with yourself and imagination.

You missed monogamous but flirty. A couple where one or both are flirty with others but never go beyond that. I think that would be us - Mr Bear is flirty.

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