by Somerset

Somerset is a man in his seventies who has only recently begun to search for compatible women for open relationships. He prefers sexual variety and treasures his independence. This is the fourth in a series of articles exploring open relationships. The entire series is archived for reference.

What seems to me to be the most important feature of the polyamory movement is the idea that couples, heterosexual, homosexual, or both, feel free to custom design and live lifestyles that suit their specific natures and preferences, continually modifying their lifestyles as their circumstances change.

In previous articles Iíve noted that I am attracted to many of the ideas in polyamory since these tend to balance my preferences for isolation and independence with those for variety and intimacy, and that Iím striving to be worthy of the challenges of a higher calling, based upon polyamory. In this article Iíll put some flesh on the bones of that skeleton by describing, at least for this moment, what my ideal lifestyle looks like. Iíll try to breathe more life into that body in future articles.

How do I relate? I like a form of network in which each nodule (i.e., person) chooses his or her owns links (i.e., lovers) independently. In this way, there is a large network within which each lover creates his or her own smaller network of carefully selected lovers. Consequently my lovers and the lovers of my lovers may or may not ever relate to one another, except indirectly through their links to me. With one lover I may choose to go dancing; with another I may enjoy some intellectual conversation or share some spiritual insight; with another I may choose to shop, or golf, or play chess, or simply hang out. Each choice is spontaneous or planned, whatever our mood may happen to be at the time; each occasion fits the moment, mutually. We each have visits to or from each other. Weíll often want to begin with, intersperse, or conclude with sex.

Now that is my idea of independent, joyous living!

What about jealousy, children and STDs? And where do caring, and love, and being-in-love, and heart-ache fit into this picture? These matters will be addressed separately.

How many links (lovers)? This is largely a matter of logistics. Solomon, in all his glory, is supposed to have been devoted to his seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. He must certainly have been very busy! I have no such aspirations -- my aim is much more modest -- to have, say, two, three, or four lovers concurrently (during the same time-frame), but not coincidentally (at the same moment). I expect the composition of my network to change as links (i.e., members) join my small network or separate from it, depending upon each member's circumstances and preferences as these occur.

This arrangement provides almost total flexibility for everyone within the larger network!

How do we live? Each link (i.e., couple) within a smaller network makes their own decisions, including whatever rules they find appropriate. Separately? Together? Communally? Whatever! My preference is to live separately, in my own apartment, surrounded by my own books, pictures, furniture, appliances, and other treasured things, arranged in my own way. Iíll do the dishes, vacuum, dust, and rearrange my space any way I wish, but only when I choose to do so, if at all! Each visit to or from a lover is by prior arrangement so that I won't be embarrassed by unscheduled, overlapping visits.

Networking implies that each person has several support structures (lovers) and yet may live without being tied to any apron strings other than those that he or she had specifically agreed to, for whatever period of time.

Who is responsible for what? Each person accepts responsibility for his or her own employment, income, assets and liabilities, financial and living arrangements, interests, friends, entertainment, and so on, except to the extent that each couple may mutually agree. Each person makes independent choices about how to live within a larger world that includes, for examples, spiritual, community, national, educational, economic, political, and legal systems.

Letís live inclusively, not exclusively! Thatís living freely, yet responsibly!