Polyamory: Labels

In recent post Polyamory, I outlined intended topics:

Devil lives in the details. How do you define a complicated, delicate and very important agreement? Do labels help or do they make a mess of what is most assuredly very particular to any two people or agreement with more people?

I am currently not practicing “ethical” nonmonogamy as my marriage partner is not aware or consenting. I will leave my marriage for this reason among others not related. There are labels within ethical nonmonogamy:

  • Open relationship – There is a primary relationship that takes priority, but each consents to sexual partnerships outside of the primary. Generally speaking, the primary partners don’t date or seek emotionally charged partnerships outside of the primary. Infrequent activity might fall under the Dan Savage term “Monogamish.” Subset of rules to be negotiated.
  • Swingers – The couple plays together with other couples either at parties or in private hosting events. Subset of rules to be negotiated.
  • Polyamory – This is a practice of be open to or actively engaged in multiple relationships of a more emotional nature, and there are varied levels of commitment possible. Tiered relationship structures sometimes denote some sort of hierarchy, or equal footing a in polyfidelity, or just agreed upon lack of definition while in a relationship with more than one person.

So then I browse the shelf, and say, “I think i will take a little polyamory but will try to shake out the hierarchy, maybe I can learn a little swinger for my partner if he digs that.” But maybe I don’t know what I am doing or what I want and I am paired with people who also don’t know what they are doing or what they want. So fuck it…put a label on it and make me feel more at ease.

I am in an era of intense feelings. I cannot see my way to make sense of any of this even if it were clearly defined. I just know I love my people and I need them. So maybe I don’t worry about all the other stuff. I just open my mouth and call them by name.

My name is Aria Scarlette. I am a practicing polyamory to the best of my ability. I have a love a world away and a local partner. There are people who have come and gone…many doors. One is maybe not closed all the way. They feel important and significant and vital. They show up for my shit show and tell me it is magnificent…not sure what to think about that, but I will accept for now.

Today, I must make a cut. It will be very painful, but I am not going to accept the label of cheater. I am not going to accept that I am responsible for the emotional work of another whose primary language is that of dismissal. It isn’t the only reason…but today, I leave my husband of nearly a quarter century.

9 thoughts on “Polyamory: Labels”

  1. This was powerful. Married for over two decades, as well and feeling that this chapter is closing. Maybe, the door isn’t quite shut yet, but it’s inching closer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have found it difficult to have more things in which we don’t mesh. I learned some sexuality without my husband. I learned a fair amount of kink. I learned communication and awareness skills. These are things that came after the initial conversation that was uncomfortable. Lord knows we are well into the land of discomfort now. The door…If you want it open, you have to open it. If you want it closed, you have to meet that with intention too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Initial conversation that was uncomfortable”…that’s the stumbling block, isn’t it.


        What about if you want out? The sexual attraction isn’t there and you know deep down it can’t be made? But there’s kids and property…

        I don’t know. I’ll keep reading here. 🙂


      2. Wanting out is definitely a thing. We change. Loads of reasons to stay. We have to balance the acts and needs as best we can. I don’t want to throw away the good stuff, but I also don’t want to miss out on the good stuff I should also have. Kids grow up and have lives of their own…and stuff, well, that is just stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My breath caught as I realized what you were leading up to. I too am on the cusp. I’m not the same person I was two years ago when I started cheating. But he is. Even after revealing to him that I had been unfaithful. And so, I feel left with one choice. Me.


  3. It’s like you live my life. I write this under a pseudonym, I can’t out myself right now. Almost every scenario you have outlined is what I’m doing now. I too don’t want to be labeled a cheater, but what I’ve done so far online is going to be interpreted that way.

    I need to make a clean cut. But first a few ducks need lining up.

    My main fear: will I ever know sexual fulfillment and satisfaction if I keep everything status quo?


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