Open relationship, multiple partners, AMA

Google macropolo
Jul 29 76 Comments

I posted on a different relationships thread about my open relationship and got a few dms about it. So I figured I'd try to answer in a way that may be useful also for others who may be curious.

My gf and I are in an open relationship. We also have other partners we play with, solo or together. We are exclusive wrt unprotected sex.

Most recently, we ve been exploring power Dynamics in the bedrooms.

We do not engage in relationships with coworkers.

There's nothing exceptional physically about either of us, we blend right into the tech crowds, generally.
We re also v high on empathy and very low on judgement. Anything else you want to know, ask away.

Oh, because blind: combined tc 800k, combined yoe: 18

Edit: today's a vacation day for me, so I'll gladly answer qns through the day, except when I have to drive.

Edit 2: guys, please skip the various requests over dm. While we enjoy sex and the various novel styles and group organization schemes, we are slow to add new partners.

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TOP 76 Comments
  • Apple / Eng omgaapl
    How are you dealing with the risk of HSV, which is readily transmittable even with condoms?
    Jul 29 16
    • Apple / Eng omgaapl
      Guess what? Seronegative for both HSV1 and HSV2. You are correct in that it's not routinely screened for -- you have to request it.

      As someone who is HSV1 negative, I'm particularly succeptable to getting it genitally. Given that 60%+ of the population has it and are shedding 5-20% of the time, I don't dig the odds.

      But hey. Have fun with disregarding that "nonsense".

      By the way, if you think guardasil has any decent efficacy, you should read some journals on it. It's marginal at best.
      Aug 1
    • Amazon dhhs8737
      Look how defensive you are! You know you’re f’d. Lol.
      Aug 1
    • Apple / Eng omgaapl
      It's just really shitty to encourage people to "not worry about it" instead of having a healthy awareness and letting them make their own decision on degree of concern. That's where the tone is coming from
      Aug 1
    • Amazon dhhs8737
      I wasn’t saying that. I’m saying your HSV prevention efforts are false comfort and that you should get vaccinated for HPV so you don’t spread it. Your non-monogamy makes you a disease vector. I shouldn’t blame you for being defensive. When someone you love ends up with cervical, oral, or anal cancer from yours or their adventures, you might see where I’m coming from. Monogamy isn’t as fun, but it sure as hell is less risky.
      Aug 2
    • Apple / Eng omgaapl
      You're speaking to a monogamist here.. We're in agreement
      Aug 2
  • Booking.com B.Hindu
    bro this is the definition of being a cuck, your gal is on full hypergamic spree and you're just gonna get hurt on the long run. cut the cord till you're still relatively unscathed.
    Jul 29 2
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      I appreciate the thought. We feel comfortable and happy so far.
      Jul 29
    • Booking.com B.Drastic
      godspeed anon
      Jul 29
  • Google Devil
    What sites you tend use to find partners
    Jul 29 8
    • Apple hdGe53hg
      What kind of social encounters? I struggle enough to meet people for monagmous relationships through social encounters , this seems even a step further.

      Do your friends know? Or people you sleep with are now your friends ?
      Jul 30
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      I've thought about the first point you mention and wondered whether it would have been easier or harder to approach folks if I were monogamous. I suspect it would be harder. In particular, I've noticed that some folks (both genders) really appreciate the freedom from the worry of being judged.

      The social encounters span the regular range of social encounters. Barbecue at a friend's, sports tailgates, an evening with friends, an evening at a bar/club, etc.

      Some of my friends do know, some don't. Most of their SOs don't know (afaik). And we certainly have some friends that we ve been with (both directions).
      Jul 30
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      This reminded me of a funny story. My gf had been to a giants game (I wasn't there), and had flirted with a guy who was there

      There was a barbecue at a mutual friend's the next day and she was interested in seeing if he would be interested in going further. We were going from different places, and she got there ahead of me, and apparently the flirting had gotten a bit heavier when I showed up. She jumped up and planted a big kiss on me, and by the time she turned to introduce me to him, he'd left that area. Apparently, he left a bit later, and told our mutual friend how embarrassed he was for having flirted with my gf, and that he needed to get it off his chest, but to please not tell me. We've never actually met him since, but that was so sweet and funny.
      Jul 30
    • Apple hdGe53hg
      I thought it would be harder for monogamous guys (or even women). There is still social taboos attached to open relationships. For monogamy it’s simple, if you know they are single you ask them out. If they are not, it’s alright its very common.

      But for open relationship, pretty much anyone is a candidate. And you wouldn’t know if they would be into it at first place, and how would they judge. So the question comes, how do you even approach and bring up this topic, particularly with friends and people you know ?
      Jul 30
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      I'd answered something similar upthread: generally, my gf already knew she wanted an open relationship and I came along for the ride, loved it, we adore each other and stayed on it. This was in grad school for me, and she d started while in school too. So we both had friends who knew, and lots of folks were curious, had questions, and some wanted to try it out in various forms.

      Now, we usually only bring it up with people we re interested in and where we think there's been a spark that we d like to take forward and explore some more.

      Example:

      <Random flirty comment/spark>
      One of us: related story including other people and implied intimacy
      <Other entity>: wait, what?/<confused look>
      One of us: oh, X is totally great in bed/Oh we aren't jealous about that, and Y was in such a great mood after that/we are in an open relationship.
      Jul 30
  • Apple hdGe53hg
    Who gets more partners, you or your SO ?
    Jul 30 6
    • Apple hdGe53hg
      I just wondered if it's far far easier for women to find partners than men. I mean, I fee like I get into open relationship, I would probably won’t get any action while my GF would likely get plenty... which obviously would feel unfair and relations would break apart.
      Jul 30
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      Your belief is almost certainly true, although it can vary by various specifics). Neither of us are particularly into the number of partners, and are more into the quality of the shared sexual experience. Beyond a relatively small number, though, there is very little incentive to keep adding unless that's your thing.

      We have demanding jobs and any more than 4/5 would mean there would be some we d hardly be with in 6 months or so.
      Jul 30
    • Apple hdGe53hg
      This probably will be my last question. When you meet new partners, do you ever get into situation where that person is basically cheating on their partner by involving with you. Would you refuse to engage with these people? For example, I would never have an affair with a married women who is in monogamous relationship. Part of the reason is that getting cheated is hurtful, and even if their relationship is fucked I would find it weird as I’m probably kind of making a fucked up situation even more fucked.

      However, in polyamory, definitions and conventions are a different around commitment around sex, so I’m curious about that. It’s kind of like, since I’m atheist I find religious stuff stupid and likely to do whatever I please regardless that it would annoy my parents or whatever, since I just don’t see the point of endorsing something I feel isnt important or right.
      Aug 1
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      This is an involved and family philosophical an, so I'll start with the tldr response. I can clarify any followups.

      All other things being equal, we d prefer the person who was being honest with their partners. But it's not like we do tryouts lol, so it's usually this person or not, as the question. If they were honest about their personal situation, that wouldn't be disqualifying for either of us. In particular, we think one of the reasons people "cheat" is because they cannot have these discussions more openly. If they lied to us about their situation though, and we knew that, that'd probably be disqualifying for us.
      Aug 1
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      I should add we ve run into a couple of "odd" situations around stuff like this. For one woman, it turned out that she and her partner were in an open relationship, but they found the external appearance of "cheating" hot, and so she had told us that she was cheating on her bf but they weren't.

      We didn't continue that relationship because we didn't feel comfortable with the underlying Dynamics there, but that was a tricky and fairly funny situation.
      Aug 1
  • Booking.com B.Drastic
    Would your kids be proud of your deviant behavior?
    Jul 30 1
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      If I went that route, I certainly hope they'd appreciate the open, transparent, respectful, rational environment.
      Jul 31
  • Intel isnt_
    How did you first talk about the topic of open relationships with your partner?
    Jul 29 1
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      She brought it up after we d been together twice. She mentioned that she enjoyed her sexual freedom, but that she would like to continue seeing me, and felt that it was right to have a more open discussion about whether that was something I'd want to be a part of.

      I had my fears at the time, but she was very patient with everything and incredibly empathetic.

      Of course, we weren't together in the same way as we are now. The current relationship developed over many years.
      Jul 29
  • MeridianLink / Product XVrn30
    Do you attach any meaning to physical relations or is it just an act? What if one of you accidentally conceives someone else's baby?
    Jul 30 1
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      I'm interpreting your questions Independently but let me know if you meant the first to lead into the second.

      - I think I/we think of it as any other activity that brings us pleasure, and it's so much better with someone we have a great deal of affection for. We deeply enjoy the physical act both for the pleasure it brings us and our partner(s).

      - we've discussed our thoughts on this a couple years ago, but we recognize that something along those lines could be challenging eventually. We expect to be supportive of the other in such a situation along with the other potential parent. Neither of us think we want kids right now, but of course that could change in a few years. And as I'd commented earlier in this thread (or a different one), we do make the basic efforts to avoid an unexpected situation along those lines.
      Jul 30
  • Intel Mcns01
    How old are you and your gf?
    Jul 31 3
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      Both in our 30s.
      Jul 31
    • Intel Ice-cream
      Early or late 30s?
      Aug 4
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      Does it matter? If the sequence is leading to an eventual question, maybe I can try directly answering that.

      I don't particularly want to add personal details here.
      Aug 4
  • Capital One
    Drake

    Capital One

    BIO
    Nothing was the same.
    Drakemore
    Is this common in the Google culture? Or are they more conservative usually?
    Jul 29 2
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      This post is entirely personal and has no connection to Google or it's culture whatsoever. My gf and I met while I was a visiting researcher in Europe during grad school.
      Jul 29
    • Capital One
      Drake

      Capital One

      BIO
      Nothing was the same.
      Drakemore
      Gotcha, thought it was related to your work since this is on blind.
      Jul 29
  • Google Devil
    I have day off too :-) How you handled the jealousy aspect when you shared her first time ? you guys looking for another attractive couple ? Or Mfm scenario.

    Disclaimer: I have been in open relationship but with my FWB never with a long term partner and curious about it.
    Jul 29 2
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      Well, I was an Fwb when our relationship started, so the setting was ill suited for jealousy.

      However, the first time both of us were part of a group together, I was struck by her openness and honesty. She also introduced me to some others who were Fwb s with me, so that definitely helped early on.

      Over time, though, my time with her has helped me understand so much about myself that I owe her a lot for it. And for all the pleasure!!

      We look for others all the time, casually. We do not engage in relations with current coworkers though (reporting chain or not).
      I'm not sure if you were asking for yourself, but if not, yes, we're def up for group play.
      Jul 29
    • Google Devil
      Thanks for the details.
      Jul 29
  • Apple hdGe53hg
    Did you guys also do threesome ? mmf, ffm ?
    Jul 30 1
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      Yes, we do. We used to do smaller groups more often when I was in school due to more randomness of schedules and probably higher drives for both of us.

      Recently, we've been much more weekend/planned group vacation heavy. It's pretty common to be 5 or 6 although we usually split into smaller groups.
      Jul 30
  • Netflix skunk
    Do you or your girl repeat outside partners? How does that work for her or you?
    Jul 30 1
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      Most definitely yes. It's too much work finding/screening partners to not do that. We really enjoy building up the intimacy and learning how our bodies work together and what we like.

      I don't think we've had an impulse only one and done encounter in a year at least.

      It doesn't bother either of us. We usually make sure we didn't have anything planned together but that's pretty simple, we don't have many constraints. If we have minor constraints, but one of us would like to go ahead that day, we are perfectly willing to host.

      We also keep each other posted about where we will be just in case (emergency contact, so to speak), and have no issues with it. We also hang out with partners in platonic contexts which helps.
      Jul 30
  • Veritas randomhand
    Are you Mormon?
    Jul 29 1
  • Nutanix 1adja134
    Have you thought about kids and/or marriage? Does having an open relationship hinder that?
    Jul 29 1
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      We've discussed those briefly, but at this time, our parental instincts are not terribly strong, so thats been left for later.

      We do no anticipate being married in the conventional sense. An open marriage could be a consideration at some point especially if we wanted a kid together. Or, of we wanted to settle into a more traditional relationship, fully exclusively.

      Too early to know, ask in 2 years? :-)
      Jul 29
  • Facebook jpAy7hsjdn
    Do you have to plan on advance when u see each partner? What if you want to last minute meet up with another partner, do you tell your gf?
    Jul 29 4
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      We do have some set play structures that work for us.

      Yes, for any impulse meetups, we tell each other. Honesty is part of the deal, but also depending on what we do, we might need a ride back, and of course, it's safer to have someone else know where you are.

      That said, in practice, we play with others only once or twice a month, our individual jobs are pretty demanding, and most impulse situations are initiated when we re already together, like at a picnic, or after dinner.
      Jul 30
    • Facebook jpAy7hsjdn
      Wow. And you don’t get jealous?
      Jul 30
    • Facebook jpAy7hsjdn
      Also thanks for explaining!
      Jul 30
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      I had some issues with something like jealousy very early on, but it wasn't hard to work through those at all. We have a very high degree of shared intimacy so that engaging separately doesn't bother us at all. In practice though, this happens v rarely, and a significant amount is with the other person around (we live together) but not participating because they're busy, or not feeling it right then.

      It's not v different to us than any other activity, and we ve enjoyed the newness others have brought to this one.
      Jul 30
  • Apple hdGe53hg
    Right now you are still monogamous in a way that emotionally you are still attached to one person, but not physically. Can it change, and you or her end up having equal feeling for multiple partners?
    Jul 31 3
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      That's a great question. I think your characterization is exactly right. We do have other partners that we have a natural shared vibe with (ie it feels very natural), but the time we spend with each other is an order of magnitude higher.

      Is it possible to have equal feeling for multiple partners, with each being close to our mutual emotional connection? That would probably be hard just because there isn't enough time right now. We've both discussed striking out on our own ventures. If that were to happen, that would be a natural opportunity for such a change, if the energy required by the business went down in a few years from then.

      My current belief is that equal feeling with deep emotional connections with multiple partners would be pretty hard, unless we moved to more coliving situations. We re open to that but obviously coliving would bring in a lot of other basic challenges.
      Jul 31
    • Apple hdGe53hg
      Makes sense. Thanks for answering all my questions. I personally felt myself somewhere lost between believer of monogamy and polyamory. I have had other issues around commitment though which probably ain't related. But happy to have some clear insights from the other side. :)
      Aug 1
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      If you feel like elaborating, I'd be interested to hear more about where you felt lost.
      Aug 1
  • New / IT XiRl45
    hmu if u want to include me in mfm fun...
    Jul 29 2
    • Google Devil
      R u hot ? DM me .
      Jul 29
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      We don't tend to jump into new partners, but perhaps our paths will cross sometime.
      Jul 30
  • Capital One
    Drake

    Capital One

    BIO
    Nothing was the same.
    Drakemore
    Who opened this idea up in the first place?
    Jul 31 1
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      (copied from my response to one of the first qns)

      She brought it up after we d been together twice. She mentioned that she enjoyed her sexual freedom, but that she would like to continue seeing me, and felt that it was right to have a more open discussion about whether that was something I'd want to be a part of.

      I had my fears at the time, but she was very patient with everything and incredibly empathetic.

      Of course, we weren't together in the same way as we are now. The current relationship developed over many years.
      Jul 31
  • New
    sudomeme

    New

    PRE
    Walmart
    sudomememore
    How long have you two been together? Do you live together? And plan on joining finances or purchasing property jointly?
    Jul 29 1
    • Google macropolo
      OP
      We've been Fwb for about 6 years now. We've been "exclusive" ( in the sense mentioned in the post) for 3.5 or so years now.

      We currently live together, because our workplaces are in the same area, but we ve also done primary place and shack to sleep in during the week when work was further apart.

      No joint finances, no joint property, no plans to ever do so.
      Jul 29