Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dear Abby Implies Polyamory is Insane

I sure would like to see advice columnists get more progressive when it comes to consensual adult relationships and sexuality. "HEARTBROKEN MOM IN FLORIDA" wrote to Dear Abby...
My daughters are attractive young women, both doing well in their professional careers. "Melanie," who is 27, is married to "Sam," an extremely attractive and successful man.

My 30-year-old daughter, "Alicia," has been divorced for a year. Her marriage failed two years ago because she and her husband had an appetite for sex outside their marriage.
Is that the letter writer's assumption? Some people assume that if a polyamorous couple or a couple in an open relation breaks up, it is because they aren't monogamous. However, many monogamists break up without cheating being the cause, and many polyamorists break up without cheating nor what has been mutually agreed being the cause.
While I was disturbed about that, I was horrified to learn that Melanie allows her sister to occasionally have sex with Sam.
Horrified to learn that one of her daughters "allows" the other daughter to have sex with her husband? Why is that something to be horrified about, if all three of them want that and have agreed to that? Be horrified if someone abuses people or animals, or commits arson. But horrified over consensual sex?

Melanie's argument is that Sam is less likely to cheat given this situation. When I asked her and Sam about it, he said it wasn't his idea.

Some people seem surprised that women enjoy sex (makes me feel sorry for them or their partners) or that women experience compersion.
My current husband says any man who would refuse this "set-up" would be nuts.
Well, we know what he wants! Seriously, there are probably men who are entirely sane who wouldn't want this, for any number of reasons, but it is a common fantasy.
Alicia claims she "doesn't have time" to date right now, and after she finishes her MBA, she'll seek out a more normal relationship.

These could be things they are saying to calm the letter writer down and get her to accept things gradually. Or, it could be their actual intention. Would the writer really prefer Alicia have sex with men who are essentially strangers? The letter is written with that tone. Isn't it safer with someone she knows?

I am distraught about this mess.

Distraught? Horrified and distraught? The letter writer must be living a rather charmed life for this to be her big problem and concern.
Melanie says she wants to start a family soon. She says she loves Sam, who can "handle everything," and she enjoys seeing "everyone happy."

She says Alicia won't sleep around now and, maybe, one day she'll marry a handsome man like Sam who will "return the favor"!
Sounds like her daughters may be into swapping. I'm curious as to what is really going on, since I doubt the daughters are telling their judgmental mother everything. Did Alicia's ex have sex with Melanie? Did they get together as a group? Is it that Sam & Alicia have sex while Melanie is elsewhere? Or does Melanie watch, or make love to Sam at the same time, or do they do threesome sex? Those are all possibilities. If their mother is so distraught at the idea that Sam has sex with both of them, they certainly wouldn't tell her if they are all three involved at the same time.
Should I continue to protest or let it go?

She should let it go. It is their relationship to have.
Is this relaxed attitude about sex prevalent in young people today? 
Adults of all ages are more sex-positive these days.
I cannot understand Melanie's lack of desire to defend her turf.

I doubt the letter writer would want Melanie and Sam to be D/s, so ownership doesn't apply. Sam is not Melanie's property; he is her husband, and one she chooses to share. It doesn't sound like Melanie is losing out on anything, or doing with any less.

Dear Abby's response was disappointing...
Your daughters appear to be into the concept of open marriage. Clearly, they do not view marriage and relationships the same way you do.

That was a good way of putting it. Then...

Melanie is naive to think that encouraging Sam to have a sexual relationship with her sister will discourage him from seeking other partners. Far from it.

Why is that assumption made? If Sam is getting all of the sex he can handle, he isn't likely to seek out someone else. What's more, people can have polifidelity. Many people do.
Are you right to protest? You certainly are. That's what mothers are for -- to inject a dose of sanity when everyone around her is losing theirs.
She would have told the writer to MYOB instead of implying that her daughters are not sane.

If any readers of this blog have experience with a situation like this, let us know! Anyone else is free to comment, too.
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