The stories I will be telling

In this blog you will have a chance to get to know some people whose relationship styles could be called Open Fidelity. They have gone about it in many different ways, but they have all had more than one lover, or had a partner who did, and have all been honest and responsible about it. I will also give you stories of some of them being less than honest, before they knew how to manage things better.
Where have I found these amazing people? It isn’t easy to find them, because many are reluctant to make the complexity of their relationships public, for fear that others will judge them as cheaters or worse.

  • A few are the friends whose stories first inspired me to look into open relationships.

  • Some are Quakers whose stories I heard about through the Quaker grapevine.

  • Some are friends of friends, of lovers and of former lovers.

  • Some I met in the bisexual community.

  • Some have contacted me after hearing about the project from web communities and e-mail lists, volunteering their stories.

The curious thing is that, whenever I’ve told someone new about the project, the chances are they say something like “Oh, I have a friend/I had an aunt/I know a couple who are doing exactly that!” Most of these friends or relatives haven’t publicised their open/multiple relationships, but those close to them knew about it and could tell me.

I then had to persuade people to talk to me to the book. The fact that I am not a journalist probably helped, as was the fact that I have had an open relationship myself, and in some cases my Quakerism helped. I guaranteed that I would do all I could to keep their identities confidential, which means nearly all the names (and some biographical details) have been changed.

Most of the stories came to me through recorded interviews. Some people wrote to me and I extracted and slightly edited parts of what they wrote. When someone is quoted here, the text has always been seen and approved by the person who provided the quote (or in a few cases a partner). Where I have edited someone’s words, this was to improve the grammar or sentence structure or make the meaning clear in the final context, and I have been careful never to change anyone’s meaning.

As the interviews have taken place over the course of several years and I have kept in touch with each interviewee, one problem that arose was that their circumstances quite often changed over that time. Some of the couples in open relationships decided to be monogamous; others split up, sometimes amicably and sometimes not. A few stories turned out to be not as good examples as I had thought, as people turned out not to have been as good at honesty and keeping promises as they had originally seemed. This is inevitable when you are dealing with real human beings. In some cases I have focused on the period when a relationship fitted the description of Open Fidelity and omitted other periods of the protagonists’ lives. Sometimes I didn’t know the later story, or could only hear one side of it, so it didn’t seem right to include it. But I am pretty confident that stories I tell are still valid – the relationships were open and faithful at the time, whatever happened later. In other cases I have been able to get a reliable update on the story, so I will talk about several phases of the relationship here.

I am still interviewing and looking for stories for this blog, so if you think your story of honest (or even dishonest) non-monogamy would be useful for others in your situation to hear and you would like to share it anonymously, do get in touch.

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