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Life, Living and Loving: When Two Becomes Three (or more)

https://ddjennifer.wordpress.com/2020/03/25/342-kayla-part-i/

https://ddjennifer.wordpress.com/2020/03/27/343-kayla-part-ii-kayla-ours-the-new-addition/

https://ddjennifer.wordpress.com/2020/03/31/344-kayla-interview-part-iii/

If you’re at all interested in what it’s like to be married and having a new person join the relationship, take some time and read these three posts. While the content is about domestic discipline, the posts are rich with a sense of what it takes to break some rules and doing some sundering – on purpose – and for the benefit of one and all.

I know for myself, it was the adventure of a lifetime, both one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done and one of the most insane things. Some might think that these… arrangements are just about sex but there’s much more to it than that although, yeah – the sex is probably unlike anything you could experience since it’s a lot more than just the much-dreaded threesome.

You go along, just the two of you… and somehow, some way, and for some reason, two becomes three (and not counting any existing children). It’s an option that’s becoming more of a thing these days and, in my opinion, it’s the ultimate relationship and one that will put everything you thought you knew about love, sex, and relationships to one hell of a test. Man, talk about life-changing? Talk about how much you’re gonna find out about yourself, the person you’re married to, and then whomever was chosen to join you?

I’ve sometimes thought that if I knew then what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have done this – easy to say, right? At the same time, I do know and the question I’ve asked myself has been, “If you could, would you do it again?” The “bad” part is, yeah – I would… because there’s nothing else like it, nothing you can compare it to. It takes being in an open relationship and seriously expands it; many find that being in an open relationship is difficult enough and, comparatively speaking, being in an open relationship is easy.

This isn’t. Jennifer and her clan figured it out; they’ve made it work and is, in my opinion, the perfect example of how to do it and she’s been gracious enough to share her experiences in this and how she deals with things and how her extended family works. I think you’d have to hit her archive to get the full flavor of her journey in this, to see the high and low points, a few personal struggles, but with the commitment to not only go this route, but to do her part to make it work.

For me, her domestic discipline thing is icing on the proverbial cake; you don’t have to have a “kink” to be able to do this but the gist of it all is that you sure as hell have to be willing and able to step way out of the box and be so unconventional in this kind of relationship… while making it look and feel like it’s been like this since “the original” couple got married and instead of two “standing at the altar,” there were three – and all committed not only to each other but to the scope and vision of the expanded relationship.

I know that, as more people found out about what we were doing, they said that I was either the luckiest motherfucker who ever lived… or the most insane one. One guy told me, “Having one wife is bad enough… and now you have two? What the fuck were you thinking about?” Well, I had three but that’s not really the point. There is so much stuff you have to deal with, so much stuff you have to learn – like I said, everything you thought you knew about being in a relationship gets rewritten to the point where you’re pretty much always in unknown territory.

While one can search the Internet and find all kinds of information on how to form such a family, at best, it’ll be more of a guideline, more like suggestions, because how the dynamic works depends on the people involved, why they’ve come together like this, and being able to work out how this is gonna work… and with the sure and certain understanding that there are going to be sinkholes – not bumps – in the road to be traveled.

You not only have to deal with the internal stuff – but if you think you’re gonna do this and other people aren’t going to notice or figure it out – and then start asking questions, I’d say you’re sadly mistaken. One of the hardest things I had to do in this was explaining it, sometimes in detail, sometimes being rather vague about things like someone asking, “Hey… are the three of you in a relationship?” and me responding with, “Yeah, we are…” – and leaving it at that.

“How the hell did that happen?” My answer? “You really don’t wanna know and you’re probably not gonna believe me.” I caught a lot of flak from women who’d roast me for being such an arrogant asshole to have a harem and it would piss me off big time and more so when I would try to explain the dynamic… and now I’m not only an asshole but I’m a liar on top of it. I got so “used” to be some kind of bad guy that whenever some woman figured it out and wanted to read me the riot act, I’d just ignore her because I saw no point in trying to explain something that they’d refuse to believe, oh, like the fact that doing this wasn’t my idea to begin with.

I just agreed to it. Then I had to figure out how to make it work and I’ll ask you to once again believe me when I tell you that it might sound “easy” but it’s anything but. I remember too many nights when I laid in bed between the two of them, watching them sleeping… and wondering just what the fuck did I get myself into and trying to peek into the future to see what tomorrow was gonna be like; to borrow a phrase I read in a book, the only easy day was yesterday.

When I’ve written about this in the past, I’ve pointed to some skills that are very necessary: Time management along with problem and conflict resolution. You have to be a negotiator, a referee, an arbitrator and if you know something about psychology, that’ll help. Dealing with different personalities, well, it’s a bitch and a half and dealing with the emotional aspects, and, oh, my god; it didn’t take me long to figure out why someone would think I had lost my mind in being a part of this… because I questioned my own sanity quite a bit. Along the way, I learned some very important shit and in terms of what not to do; I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it.

If you’re not grown up enough, don’t even think about doing this. If you are unable to get rid of emotions like envy, jealousy, selfishness and possessiveness, well, bluntly, you’re fucked – and not in a good way. And if you have no idea how to deal with these things in others, well, what do you think? Doubly fucked would be a good way to put it… and that doesn’t even come close to what it’s really like.

The sex? Not as easy as it sounds. It’s hard enough “keeping track” of what one woman likes, doesn’t like, whatever… but for two of them? Ha… I know some of the guys who knew would tell me how lucky I was and I’d say, “Well, yeah… if you say so.” This ain’t like an one-off kind of threesome thing; this is an everyday part of your responsibilities in the relationship and while some might say that it’s not all about the sex or it’s “not really that important,” well, guess again. It is important and if you really want to have your limits put to the test? This will do it… and it is humbling. And let’s not talk about sexuality issues… unless you’ve got something for the headache you’re gonna get handy…

And that’s being nice about it. Oh, yeah – you also have to be to “see the future” or, perhaps more accurately, you have to see the problems before they show up. It’s not enough to know that some shit is gonna get and be fucked up – you have to figure out what’s gonna get fucked up, when it’s gonna happen, why it’s gonna happen… then “see” what’s gonna have to be done to fix it… and if it can be fixed. Then you have to be as proactive as you can be to head off any issues you feel, think, and/or believe is going to show up… then convince those who are with you that whatever you’ve “seen” coming down the road is gonna happen.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This is an experience to top and end any experience you’ve ever had; like I said, there is nothing else like it. It is rewarding beyond belief but is also like walking a minefield in the dark… and blindfolded. When things go right, sheer heaven… and when they go wrong – and things will go wrongly… yeah: What were you thinking about when the two of you decided this would be a good thing to do?

What makes this even more difficult is the fact that we barely learn how to have a relationship with one person; while there are, again, loads of guidelines and suggestions on how to make your relationship simply stellar, that’s all they really are – guidelines. Suggestions. Lots of pie-in-the-sky shit and every relationship is more like on the job training than really knowing how to do this… and keeping in mind that the person you’re with has their own ideas about how this is supposed to and gonna work.

Then add someone else to the mix. Then, for shits and giggles, add someone else. Then try to take everything and everyone and mold it all into one “seamless” thing. Is your head hurting? It should be. And it will. It’s the reason why I say that you not only have to be really grown up, you have to take everything you think you know about relationships and throw it all away so you can learn a very different way to be in one.

And if you can’t to this and can’t manage to get and keep everyone involved on the same page, well…

Jennifer and her clan figured it out. In fact, a lot of people do. It is, without a doubt, the hardest thing one can ever do as well as the craziest, most insane thing you will ever do in your life…

And it’s worth it. It really is even when you will have moments where you’ll be wishing you never decided and/or agreed to do this. But if you can make it work, it just doesn’t get any better than this.

If you want to get more of a real-deal perspective of this, go read Jennifer’s blog. Most people who try this don’t last very long; our relationship lasted a couple of decades and Jennifer celebrated five years of being in this kind of relationship so as far as I’m concerns, she’s a heroine of the highest order and so are the members of her clan – and especially her husband.

Do ya really think it’s heavenly to be the only guy and “surrounded” by women? It is… and not so much. Are you of a mind that this is totally and completely insane? It is… and probably more than you can imagine. Don’t think you could do this? You probably can’t and more so if you believe in the way relationships are supposed to be… and this sure as shit ain’t the way things are supposed to be… but in many way, it also is. It’s polyamory… but much deeper; it’s not “just sex” but way much more than just that. Monogamy? Forget that shit – not gonna work.

I’ve seen stuff written about this that talks about the core relationship and how important it is to preserve it and there’s some good sense in this… and it’s also a good way to fuck shit up because it tend to evoke an “us and them” kind of thing when, in reality, there should only be “us” and regardless to how many people are involved. I’ve seen where single folks are going about this and, um, it’s not all that easy when there’s no real core relationship to build upon… and even harder when there is a core relationship to build upon. And harder still when you and your “partners in crime” live under the same roof.

Glorious. Beyond anything you could dream of… and it can be your worst nightmare made real if you’re not willing to see it all through for as long as it can go. You have to be committed… which also means you probably should be committed because this shit is beyond crazy.

But if you can do it – and do it as right as everyone can make it – there’s just nothing else like it and nothing else will ever compare to it. A long time ago, our family of five became a family of nine with five kids, three wives, and me. Holy shit. I would think that if someone had told me I’d find myself up to my pretty brown eyes in this, I would have laughed so hard and told them they were out of their fucking minds.

I’m not laughing and maybe, just maybe, I was the one who was a few fries short of a happy meal. Absolutely the most wonderfully insane thing I’ve ever done and been a part of.

Thanks go to Jennifer for the inspiration to write this. You rock, Jen!

 
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Posted by on 2 April 2020 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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Today’s Bisexual Thoughts: Are Bisexuals Polyamorous?

The answer to this question could, on the surface, seem easy to answer when you consider that they’re bisexual because of their feelings toward men and women.  But if you were to go looking for the definition of polyamory, you’d probably find that what the word means and how others interpret or go about being polyamorous are different… and that’s because we all don’t look at what love means in the exact same way nor can we all agree that to be polyamorous, love has to be involved, not as we understand the emotion of love anyway.

I would say that the answer to this question is that we could be polyamorous – the potential is there – but, no, we’re not polyamorous by some default; indeed, since we’ve been taught and conditioned to only love one person at a time, I’m thinking that a lot of bisexuals would have a problem feeling anything other than lust for many people.  Having said that, there are bisexuals who discover that they are quite capable of loving – or otherwise have deep feelings – for more than one person, debunking the lie that you can and should only love one person and more so if you’re in a relationship and being physically and emotionally monogamous is in effect.

Should bisexuals be polyamorous?  Well, no… not if they can’t grasp the concept of being able to openly love more than one person.  A lot of people think about polyamory being about sex and having enough lovers to start their own NFL team and I’m not gonna blow smoke up your ass and tell you that sex isn’t ever involved… because it can be but the dynamic is complicated.  Some folks think that polyamory is about having multiple relationships at the same time and, again, no smoke up your ass on this because it can be like this as well and, yes, it’s so complex that it makes being monogamous look easy by comparison.

For the purposes of this discussion, however, I’m just talking about the root of it all – having feelings for someone (or a lot of someones) that aren’t just lust but are more than just friendship.  Way back when I discovered that I was polyamorous, I was dumbstruck because even though I was already madly and deeply in love with someone, I was in love with someone else.  One of the things I began to see was the number of times I felt love – or some level of affection – for someone other than the person I was already in love with and I saw that, holy shit, there were a lot of these moments; I also saw that because I was already in love, I was doing my level best to banish these other feelings, going out of my way to deny that what I felt for someone else was what I was really feeling.  Now, it wasn’t about doing anything about how I felt (that would come later in life) but I was kicked in the gut to realize that everything I was taught about having feelings for someone were… inaccurate, to be polite and a carefully craft lie if I care to be impolite about it.

It was yet another lesson learned about thinking/feeling and doing not being the same things.  I saw the control being exerted, no only on myself but on everyone to suppress the ability to love a lot of people; I saw some hypocrisy in this, i.e., when you’re growing up, you’re expected, required, and maybe even demanded to love a lot of people – mostly family members but at the point where you’re ready to start dating, you’re now told to never try to love more than one person and don’t even think about being romantically (or sexually) involved with more than one person at a time – and then you’re convinced that if you did, well, it’s going to be your worst nightmare.  I saw the truth in this and that it’s true because we’re programmed and conditioned to not do this… so we never learn how to deal with our emotions when we discover that, okay, I love my girlfriend… but I love this other person, too, and it’s not just infatuation.

Holy shit.  It’s my thought that bisexuals have the ability to cross this “forbidden” boundary because they are capable of having feelings of some kind for more than one person at a time and even if lust is the key that can unlock the door that we’re made to stay behind and we’re locked behind this door to that the tenets of monogamy can be upheld.  Well, that and if I’m a guy (and I am) and I have much lust for women, I’m not supposed to feel lust for men; I’m just only supposed to feel friendship for the fellas.

But we know that this is a lie as well, don’t we?  To continue, if a bisexual were to discover that they are polyamorous, do they have to do something about their feelings?  NO!  Ah, but there is a great urge to do something about what they’re feeling, from telling the object (or objects) of their affections how they feel about them to, yeah, getting naked with them and showing them with their bodies how they feel… and it is a very powerful urge and, oh, hell, yeah, if you’re already in love with someone and in a relationship with them, well, aren’t you now between a very big rock as well as a very hard place?  It can be a royal motherfucking bitch just dealing with the fact that you’re bisexual… but to learn that you’re in love with more than one person – and the rules say you’re only supposed to love the one you’re with?  It’s no wonder that this realization can fuck a lot of minds up; we’re not supposed to be able to feel multiple instances of love… but, yep, that’s how you feel and I’ve seen where it can fuck with your head so much that you start to believe that there’s a difference in saying to someone, “I love you!” and “I’m in love with you.”

I’ve had a few interesting arguments with folks about this one and I tend to find them kinda humorous because if you care to check if out, you’d see that there’s no difference; if there is a difference, it’s mostly about what you would or wouldn’t do based on your feelings; the one constant here is the word “love” and all it implies… then again, most people believe that thinking/feeling and doing are the same things so if there’s something you wouldn’t do with or for someone you love, well, that makes it different… and it really doesn’t, not where the emotion itself is concerned.  I’m guessing that there are those of you who are reading this who will also disagree with this assessment but think about the emotion and not any of the possible actions the emotion can evoke and invoke and maybe you’ll better understand what I’m talking about here.  See, I came to realize that I still love everyone I’ve ever been in love with and the only thing that has changed is that I’m no longer actively involved with them.

And, yes, my being bisexual was key to my understanding this very complex and confusing thing.  I also have to add at this point that people who aren’t bisexual have also come to understand this so, no, sexuality isn’t always the catalyst; they just were able to see through the lie we’ve all been told about having feelings for more than one person.  In this, it’s not about embracing the actions that are possible – it’s about embracing the truth of how you feel and being able to do it without feeling the guilt that we’re also taught to feel.  I’ve heard so many people say that they love their partner but they also love someone else… and they feel badly about it  I can sympathize with them because I felt the same way… until I started at looking at why I was feeling bad about it… then saw that I didn’t have a reason to feel guilty about the way I felt about other people.  If I love you, I love you; the difference, of course, is what I might do about the way I feel and, yep, sometimes, the best thing to do is nothing… even though we feel compelled to do something because aren’t we also taught that there are certain things we’re supposed to do when we love someone?

With one person, well, that’s easy and clearly cut; with loving more than one person?  Holy shit, right?  The lesson I learned and the one I try to share with others is that if there’s something you have to do, it’s just to accept that this is how you feel.  If you can act on your feelings, all well and good but if you can’t, well, that’ll make ya feel some kind of way but you don’t have to do anything if you can’t.

There are polyamorous bisexuals – but polyamory isn’t “owned” by bisexuals – it’s just that our sexuality can open our eyes about our feelings even if the feelings we have for someone else is just lust.  Still, it is damned difficult to break the conditioning we’ve received about having deep feelings for more than one person at a time, let alone being “involved” with more than one person at a time in some way – read this as sexually, emotionally, or even romantically.  In this, I am always reminded of something a woman I love so very much told me one day:  There’s nothing you can do about the way you feel; you can only do something about how you might act on those feelings… and sometimes the best thing to do is to just accept that this is how you feel.

If you’re capable of this, does it mean that you’re being unfair to your partner in some way?  Most people would say yes… but that’s because they believe that your love should only be directed wholly at one person.  I know I can look into my heart and see the people who I love and I know that it’s all very real… which doesn’t have anything to do with my love for Linda and I do love her so very much.  I’m not engaging in emotional infidelity; I accept that there’s nothing I can do about the way I feel and I don’t know about anyone else, but I take a dim view of someone – or something – that seeks to control my feelings.  But just because I feel the way I do doesn’t mean I have to do something about it, well, actually, there are two things I can do:  Accept that I feel this way and to do nothing about those feelings except, of course, when it comes to Linda – then all bets are off because you can bet your asses that I’m gonna do something about living Linda.

And I can’t honestly say that my bisexuality is the sole reason why I feel the way I do – but, as I said, being bisexual opened my eyes to things that are way outside the box a lot of us are made to stay in.  For all I know, I could have reached this same place without being bisexual because, yeah, it’s an emotional thing but it’s also an intellectual thing as well.  Anyone who is polyamorous has asked themselves if, logically, it made any sense to deny that they love, say, a partner – but they also love other people to some degree; they’ve questioned whether that which we were taught is the whole truth and they’ve found that, no, what we’ve been taught about this does make sense… from a certain point of view but, no, it’s not the whole truth:  We can love more than one person at a time and we can do things because we feel the way we do… if it’s doable to begin with because I’ll keep saying this until y’all get sick of me saying it:  Thinking/feeling and doing are not the same things.

As always, you don’t have to agree with me or believe any of what I’ve written.  All I can do is tell you what I’ve learned in this and to point out that, no, I’m not even the only who has learned this; if it’s impossible for me to be the only Black, male bisexual in the world, it’s also impossible that I’m the only polyamorous person in the world.  You can, if you choose to, use the comment section to give your stance on what love means and all that – and your comments are welcome even if you wanna fuss with me about this.  I’m not saying that anyone – and regardless to sexuality – should or has to be polyamorous… but I do know that people can be and that’s not conjecture – that’s a fact and all you have to do is go ready the blogs of other polyamorous folks here on WordPress, like Seattle Poly Chick, or Rougedmount, or Ann St.Vincent just to name a few.  Don’t pay a whole lot of attention about what these women are doing – pay attention to their feelings about the people they’re involved with.  It’s not about right and wrong so much as it is that they are polyamorous – they have the capacity to love (or feel affection) for more than one person at a time.

 
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Posted by on 2 August 2015 in Today's Bisexual Thoughts

 

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Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome

I haven’t written much about this lately and after reading a blog written by a guy about being able to deal with things like trust, fear of loss, and jealousy in (I presume) their budding poly relationship, I got to wondering about a few things connected with this.

For a lot of people, having an open relationship is anathema to them; the thought of having to share their partner with someone else is enough to trigger projectile vomiting and can make one’s bowels quite watery.  I cannot begin to give voice to all of the horrible thoughts going on in someone’s head when faced with this drastic change in the relationship dynamic and I’d have to say that, usually, if someone put this on the table for discussion, a shit storm of biblical proportions is going to take place.  Things like a lack of trust, that fear of loss, jealousy, insecurity, and a few intangible emotions come to the front and I can tell you that none of these things feel good, not when you were raised to believe that monogamy is the best and most right thing.

A lot of people totally and utter fail to open their relationship because they have no idea of what has to be done in order to make it work; it requires some very serious changes, not only in the relationship’s dynamics but at the person level and once you firmly (and even rabidly) believe in monogamy, making these changes can seem to be impossible… and it’s not impossible… it’s just very damned difficult for most people to do.

Here’s the rub:  If you love them – and I mean you really love them and, going into the relationship, you know in your heart that you (a) love them unconditionally (most people can’t do this, by the way – there’s always a “but” somewhere) and (b) you know that short of doing something highly illegal – like committing murder – you’d do anything for them, when hit with the open relationship/swinger/polyamory things, you have some choices:  Do nothing and let whatever is driving this change continue to poison the relationship; divorce or otherwise leave them because your personal values are more important than the joined goals of living long and prospering with each other come hell or high water; or you can improvise, adapt, and overcome the difficulties in this because your love for each other demands that doing nothing or dissolving the relationship is not in the best interest of things for either one of you.

As I’ve written about in the past, I had to get through this change in the relationship dynamic and it wasn’t even close to being easy to do.  I learned that instead of approaching this from a purely emotional standpoint – and that’s the “normal” reaction, I had to approach this in a way that would bring every bit of intelligence and logic I possessed to bear.  Once I got over the initial emotional tidal wave, I asked myself a question:  “If you love her (and there was no question whether I did or not), what are you willing to do to keep her and to keep the relationship alive and as well as possible?”  The emotional side said, “Not one damned thing!” and went on a rant about being betrayed and all that… but the intelligent side said, “Well, now, there is a way this could work and here’s what I’m thinking about…”

Was this a trust issue?  Nah, not really because I’d routinely trust her with my life and not give much thought about it.  Was this about fear of loss?  Oh, hell, yeah it was!  Emotionally, my gods, that’s a bitch (putting it mildly) to have hammering at your but, logically, I realized that I was getting upset about something that is an occupational hazard of being in a relationship with someone:  There is no guarantee (and despite marriage vows) that you cannot lose them to someone else and, really, nothing is forever – everything ends at some point.  For me, it became an issue of whether or not I wanted to continue to be bothered by this fear when, in the face of cold, hard, unemotional, logic, there’s not a whole lot I can do about loss other than do whatever I could to prevent a premature loss or, if I did lose her to someone else, it wasn’t going to be because I did (or didn’t do) something to precipitate it.  And, my mother was quite right when she once told me, “There is always someone out there better than you…” and, yep, emotionally that is so fucked up to get a grip on but, logically, it makes sense so if you think that just because you vowed to keep only unto ourselves and this will prevent this loss, you’re just sadly mistaken and pretty damned arrogant to believe that you will always be everything they’re ever going to need in life.

But because we do tend to think like this, we’re ill-prepared to deal with things; there’s the way things in this are supposed to be… and then there’s life’s harsh reality that’ll let you know that you are really clueless if you really believe that something can’t change or shouldn’t.

Was my reaction a jealous one?  I’ll eat a little crow at this point and say it probably was even though, in my mind, it didn’t “feel” that way.  Was I pissed because she wanted more than I alone could give her?  Damned right I was!  Was I scared and worried about what would happen if I didn’t “cave in” to her demands?  Oh, you just have no idea and even I can’t begin to put into words what was going on inside me.  I asked myself, “What’s going on with you about this?” and, nope, it wasn’t an easy question to answer but I had to question whether I was more insecure than I believed myself to be – emotionally, the answer was, “No fucking way!” but, intelligently, the answer was, “Yeah, you are…” and then figure out how to banish jealousy or anything that resembled it because as long as I was feeling these things, all the other fears would just feed off of it.

I can “simplify” this:  Emotionally, does changing the dynamic make sense?  Nope, it doesn’t.  Does it make sense logically?  Yes, the logic isn’t all that hard to figure out:  If you don’t, you’re gonna lose them because you’re either going to leave them or they’re gonna leave you and if you forbid this, fuck, they’re just gonna do it anyway.  If you do, yeah, you could still lose them – remember, there’s always someone better than you and nothing is forever – but, ah, is there a way to do this and (a) keep them by your side (b) make the bond you share stronger while (c) not letting everything go down the drain?  Yeah, there is but even when the logic is sound – and in order for it to be sound, it cannot be tainted with emotional input – there’s still one very important thing that must be done:

Communicate.  And I mean communicate like you’ve never done it before and you’d better be ready to talk about shit that (a) couples somehow never really talk about in-depth and (b) that just pain cause you some emotional pain along the way.  And this is just in the beginning – should things get off the ground, communication becomes even more important and any failure in this is, bluntly, just gonna fuck all your shit up.  I know some folks get into the open/poly thing and invoke “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and this is an act of self-preservation… and a mistake that shouldn’t be made.  Through our communication process, I saw that while this push to be open was “about her,” there was a way to make this about “us” – it was something we could experience together and I worked out the “growth factors” and some other really deep shit – but the thing here is that if we didn’t redefine the meaning of “open communication,” then I would have no information to work with; were I to invoke DADT, I was really disconnecting myself from everything and then only to preserve my own sensibilities.

Emotionally, that makes sense… but intelligently/logically, it doesn’t – well, it didn’t to me because I’ll admit to being a bit of a control freak and the fear of not having any “control” over the whole thing scared me more than anything else did.  The real challenges for both of us were (a) are we smart enough to make this work and (b) are we – can we – be grown up enough to not only make it work but make it a thing about us instead of just a me thing.

You improvise, adapt, and overcome because if you don’t, you will make your lives miserable at the least or lose them at the worst.  There are many people who just cannot do this; their own mindset about love and monogamy can instantly put them in a defensive posture.  I’ve heard other who have been faced with this accuse the asking partner of being selfish – they’re only thinking about themselves – and being greedy – what, I’m not enough for you? – and one of the things that has to be taken into consideration – logically, not emotionally – is whether or not your rejection of this is, in fact, you being selfish and only thinking about yourself.  Of course, most of us wouldn’t think that we’re being selfish if we pitched a royal bitch about this but, yeah, step back from the emotional storm for a moment and then think about what you’re seeing.

This is not an easy thing to do and I strongly suggest to anyone thinking about doing this not to do it unless you seriously have your shit in order before you open your mouth to your partner about it.  But if you believe your shit is together and your love for your partner is strong and true and you can argue logically and your logic – your overall plan – is sound  and you are willing and able to talk about everything that has to be talked about, then together you will be able to improve, adapt, and overcome the hardships so that your relationship and life together will continue to grow and not become dangerously stagnant.

 
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Posted by on 7 April 2015 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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Revisiting Being Poly

The first thing I’ll say – again – about this is that being poly doesn’t sound like an easy thing to get into and it’s a lot of more difficult than one might believe and that, at least in my opinion, being poly makes being married to one person look like a very easy thing to do.  We are taught to only love one person at a time; not only does it enforce the rules of monogamy but, historically, it’s not very hard to find instances where loving more than one person has had disastrous results and all because this is something that’s not really taught to us past a certain point in our development.

Being poly isn’t just a thing to do; it’s also a way to be and it’s been my experience that doing it but not being able to think in this way can be problematic.  I’ve talked a bit about management and communication skills, things that are extremely important when you’re actively involved with more than one person but they are also things that apply to one’s self as well, i.e., dealing with the multitude of feelings being shared among however many people you’re involved with… and that’s not as easy as it seems either because we will, without thinking about it, allow our past experiences with relationships get in the way of doing something that is, for all intents and purposes, so far out of the box it isn’t funny.  It’s easy enough to be poly for the sex alone but there are times when we do something that, in a lot of ways, doesn’t make a lot of sense:  Act as if we couldn’t or shouldn’t fall in love with a poly partner and because, say, we’re already in love with someone.

In my mind, this is inevitable and despite whatever rules a couple may enact before stepping onto the poly playing field, rules they must put in place in order to preserve what I’ll call the “core relationship.”  You could think of this as having something to fall back on if the poly venture doesn’t go well or, if you’re more of a “the glass is half full” kind of people, see this as where you poly adventure begins.  In any way you look at it, it is important to realize and understand that going from being monogamous to not being monogamous isn’t really as simple as finding someone – or a bunch of someones – to be non-monogamous with.  You’re now engaged in a balancing act, doing things to preserve and maintain the core relationship while making it possible for one or both of you to get out there and develop poly relationships.  It’s my opinion that some folks who try to do this bring along their monogamous thinking and behaviors and, um, you might want to leave those behind since they’re more likely to get you into trouble more than help you because, simply, you just don’t “belong” to one person anymore; this poly thing isn’t just about you or you and your partner like it’s some one-on-one venture that’s more like having an open relationship.

No – everything you do in this will not only impact the core relationship but everyone else involved with you.  The problem isn’t the sex that can be had; the problem is those deeper emotions that can come to the front as you are more exposed to your poly paramours (or metamours, if the shoe fits).  That you could fall in love with them – or them with you – should be seen as a high probability and not so much of a given or, to be simpler, love can happen and if you think it won’t or otherwise behave as if it’s not supposed to happen, um, guess again and, personally, I think denying the prospect of love invading the scene truly defeats the purpose of being poly – but that’s me.  You may not go looking for love but it will eventually find you and now you have to deal with all the issues that come along with being in love and more so if love has ever shredded you in the past or has otherwise made you afraid to love and, in this case, accept love from someone other than the person you’re having the core relationship with.

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When you can have your cake and eat it, it calls for a change in behavior, in the way you think and in what you believed in.  I’ve run this next thing into the ground over the three years I’ve been blogging but when it comes to be poly, you have to unlearn everything you’ve ever learned about love, sex, and relationships so that you can learn a new way to do it.  You cannot bring your fears and other baggage along with you; you have to understand that while you might already belong to someone, in order to do this, you will belong to others, too, and while gaining those necessary management and communications skills is so very important, you have to learn how to manage yourself and not impose so many limitations that will make sharing yourself with others a hard thing to do.  I’ve said many times that I know people who have tried to do this and they’ve not only failed but they’ve crashed and burned because monogamy just doesn’t work in this situation so approaching being poly and doing so with monogamy’s rules on your mind just might bring you more pain than happiness.  Yes, if you have a core relationship, you want to preserve that because it does provide the stability and structure we seem to need in our lives but other than that, leave monogamy behind and if you can, never look back at it.

Being poly is such a complex dynamic but a lot of what will affect the complexity depends on why you’ve decided to be poly but if you’re not going to give yourself to the relationship just as you would a “normal” relationship, then what’s the point?  If you’re afraid to love, then why get into something that’s fertile ground for love to be seeded, take root, and grow?  If you don’t want to lose what you already have – and this is already rife with opportunities for loss all by itself – why open yourself up for more of the same?  Some folks tickle the shit out of me (no, not really) when they try to pick and choose the parts of being poly that they want to accept while trying to diss some of the more, ah, uncomfortable things about this type of relationship and I’ve learned that this is a mistake that will, at some point, come back to take a huge bite out of your ass.  You still have to deal with things like love, rejection, jealousy, envy and a whole shitload of negative emotions just like you would if you were still monogamous… only this gets multiplied by the number of people involved; if you are not prepared to deal with these things or willing to accept that these things will want to come pay you and yours a visit, then I’ve suggested that you don’t even bother trying to do this and more so if you don’t have what it takes to deal with these demons that are the bane of any relationship.

It’s a pain in the ass; it’s stressful having to deal with so many different people, their personalities, likes, dislikes and, yes, their fears and resistance to a few things.  But it’s an occupational hazard and, really, not all that different from the good and bad things you’d have to face in a monogamous relationship and, oh, yeah, you still have to deal with yourself on top of it all.  I know that in my own experience in this, dealing with the other people was a motherfucker but the hardest thing was having to deal with myself because, of course, if I couldn’t get my head around all of this wild and crazy shit, how was I going to be able to interact with the others joined together with me in this?  I still say today that doing the poly thing is the most incredibly stressful thing I’ve ever done in my life… but because of the “rewards” I’d do it all over again because, the sex aside, there’s no such thing as loving too much or being loved too much and if you think this isn’t true, well, maybe poly isn’t for you; maybe just a plain, ordinary open relationship would best suit your needs or maybe joining the ranks of the swinging community and, yeah, just remaining monogamous in your dealings with others.

Not desired.  Not “wanted” in whatever way you want that word to mean; not lusting or being lusted for.  Loved and loving and in what I’ve called the ultimate relationship and the greatest test anyone who dares to love and be loved will ever face.  In this the question isn’t so much about one’s ability to manage multiple relationships – it’s whether or not they can manage themselves in this.  Are you ready, willing, and able to do whatever’s necessary and for the sake of love alone?

 
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Posted by on 1 November 2014 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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Just Don’t Want to be Lonely

Enigma wrote a blog – http://peaceinwords.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/oh-side-chicks/ that referenced this blog – http://lakeshawomack.com/2014/04/29/is-there-a-future-in-being-a-side-chick/ and, of course, I commented on it but felt that taking over Enigma’s blog with a seriously too long comment was just being rude – so I decided to monopolize my own blog on the subject and a subject that I think is good as much as it is controversial… and y’all know I kinda like controversy.

So the title of this blog was borrowed from a song by the same name, done by The Main Ingredient back in the day and if you’ve never heard the song, go find it and give it a listen; if you have heard it, then you have an idea why I think the song is relevant (or could be) on the topic of being a side chick.  To begin, I want any woman reading this to know and understand that I am very much aware of what a lot of you think, believe, and feel where relationships are concerned and that being monogamous is the only way to be… and I’m here to tell you that this isn’t actually the truth – it’s just the way someone a long time ago figured out would be the best way to keep the human race going; then someone came along and put a shitload of restrictions in place in order to control sexual behavior, not that it really worked, but y’all already know this.

The following quote, courtesy of http://www.blackandmarriedwithkids.com says, “By being the “side chick” I was putting myself front and center in the middle of someone else’s pain and setting myself up to play a starring role in my own.” and my first reaction to this – because when you see the blog, it’s the first thing that catches your eye – was, “Oh, really?” because I’m well aware that it has been pounded into us that being monogamous is the only way to be and to do anything is, well, wrong and bad.  Indeed, we have this in mind because we’re taught that cheating is bad and that there have been plenty of examples where being the side chick – or even the side dude – has gone terribly wrong so, yeah, we have it in our heads that this is a bad thing to do and should never, ever, be done for any reason.

Women have big time issues with this and even here on WordPress, I’ve read blogs by women who can’t get and/or keep a man, feel as if they’re being used as a piece of ass and that getting involved with a married man erodes their integrity and threatens their self-respect.  I’ve read about them swearing off of dating and even giving up any hope of finding someone they can call their own because their belief in monogamy will not allow them to be someone’s side chick.  There’s a saying:  It’s better to have part of something than all of nothing and, like it or not, there is some truth in this depending on what you’re applying the saying to… and it includes relationships as well if one can get their head around it and since a lot of women can’t, they’d rather believe that it’s better to have all of nothing even as they ponder the fact that they are all alone, unwanted, and unloved.

I get that women, in particular, have great angst about sharing and being shared; I even think I know why and the answer is rooted in our sexual history – sperm is plentiful, but eggs aren’t and women are put into the position of protecting their eggs and not allowing just any man to have access to them – part of that whole natural selection thing that is still in effect today and probably always will be if we want to keep having babies.  But when it comes to love and happiness, monogamy isn’t always the perfect answer and even when we know this to be true, we continue to put our faith in a system of behavior that really doesn’t work the way we’re told it does – not everyone lives happily ever after being monogamous.

One could look at being the side chick as reaping all of the benefits but without any of the other responsibilities and the questions that pops into my head is, “Well, what if girlfriend can’t handle the responsibilities?  What if she doesn’t want to deal with that mess at all?  If she’s someone’s side piece – or has one of her own – is that necessarily a bad thing and more so if she’s happy?”  The truth is that there are a lot of women who are quite happy in this – and you can find them here on WordPress, too, so you don’t just have to take my word on this.  It’s really polyamory, a relationship state that we’re all capable of but are conditioned not to engage in.  It’s cheating, it’s denigrating, it just goes against everything we’ve learned and have seen… yet a lot of women are not only looking at polyamory to find that piece of happiness in their lives, they’re very much into it because they believe that it is better to have part of something than to have all of nothing or “Why be alone and miserable when you don’t have to?

Sure, there are pitfalls even in this:  No relationship strategy is perfect, not even being single.  There are so many pitfalls that it’ll make you think that it just isn’t possible… but it is – go ask Seattle Poly Chick and Lifeofalovergirl.  Of course, I’m not even suggesting that all the lonely women out there run out and jump into this relationship aspect – you have really got to have your head in an entirely different space and there are other skills that must be learned in order to make being a side chick a good thing instead of the bad thing everyone says it is.

Is it immoral?  They say it is since it spits in the face of monogamy but is it really immoral and more so since humans used to live like this before the concept of monogamy came along?  Is it bad for a woman’s self-image, their self-worth, things like that?  It can be if they believe this to be so and can be compounded if she’s been the chick on the side and the other person just basically screwed them over – which is what usually happens because, again, not everyone knows how to do this and what it takes to do it; not everyone wants to go through the mental exercises and change that is necessary to be a part of something and be happy in that part.  At some point, the women who have done this and made it work for them asked themselves an important question:  “What is the price of my happiness?”  And a lot of women do put a very high price on it, placing their integrity far above their desire and need to be loved, happy, and needed – and it’s understandable… but even I have asked, “What are you willing to do for love?  Would you really do anything to achieve that desirable goal?”

Usually, the answer is no… and they still wonder why they don’t have anyone in their lives.  There’s nothing wrong with sitting on their cute asses and waiting for Mr. Right to come along… but where is it written that you can’t have some fun while you’re waiting?  Why would you want to be alone and miserable when you don’t have to do either… but you’re gonna let your belief in monogamy control things instead of applying some logic or even following one’s heart.  What’s wrong with getting your own side piece?  Not one damn thing but as with any relationship, one must weigh the pros and cons and have a plan – one of the skills that has to be learned and mastered is time management.

You need exceptional communication and conflict resolution skills and if all of this sounds too much like work, well, it is – do you think any relationship is self-sustaining.  If you wonder why relationships often fail, it’s because the people in them don’t have these skills and, importantly, they don’t know how to work with each other because, most of the time, there are separate agendas – she has one idea of how the relationship is supposed to be and the other person just ain’t on the same page with them.  Being the chick on the side – or the dude on the side (and I’ve been that guy a few times) takes work to make it work… but you have to want it to work.

What about someone else’s pain?  Unless you plan well and choose to deal with people who also believe that monogamy ain’t the only answer to happiness, yeah, you’re gonna cause someone some pain because their monogamous rules against cheating are firmly in place, right?  So it’s not about just accepting any offer that comes along – it’s about selecting the right offer or creating your own environment for this and, yep, there’s a shitload of homework that needs to be done and everyone involve must be appropriately educated.  If you do this, is it settling for less than what you want?  Some say it is but the truth few people want to acknowledge is that there’s what you want to do in this… and then there’s what you can do and they are not the same thing – nor should they be, when you really think about this.  And if you believe that you can’t do it, um, aren’t you settling for the worst possible situation – being alone and having no one?

What about your own pain?  Well, what about it?  What is it that would make this be so painful?  How does this fuck with your self-esteem or your self-image?  The only way it does is if you allow it to because being a successful side chick or side dude can be done and with little or no emotional impact to anyone… provided one wants to be successful in this; I’m just saying that it is possible – I’ve been there, done that – wanna see my T-shirt?

Enigma said that she’s been propositioned by individuals who want to be her side piece… and I say to her, “Why the hell not?  If you can be happy, go for it!”  Why do I say this?  Simple:  Because she can.  I’d even go as far to say that if she’s been so propositioned, she’s giving it some thought and along the lines of, “How can I make this work for me?”  I’d go even farther and say that at some level, she knows or understands that monogamy isn’t always the answer nor is it always the best way to take care of one’s needs and that, perhaps, she’s aware that she could do this and make it work – even if she doesn’t know that a plan is forming in her mind.  Should Enigma do the unthinkable?  Many people would say she shouldn’t… but aren’t we talking about Enigma’s happiness.. and who the fuck are we to decide for her  on the matter of what would make her happy?  Is she in charge of this… or is the high ideals of monogamy going to forever dictate to her how she can be happy, not to mention all of the people who, honestly, may not have what it takes to make such a thing work.

And the only way to know that it won’t work for you is to do it… but you still have to have your head in the right place because if you go into this think that it won’t work, that quote I mentioned becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, doesn’t it?  By not having your head in the right place – or just flat-out being unable to get it there – you’ve already set yourself up to fail because while careful planning and some re-education is necessary, if you don’t believe it’ll work, it just won’t.

For the record – and before I forget – side pieces don’t have to already be married – single folks can be their own side pieces as well.  Does it seem right or justifiable to reap all the benefits and slide past the responsibilities?  Well, yeah, if doing so suits your needs and the needs of anyone you’d relate with in this fashion.  Yet – and I gotta tell you this part – you don’t really escape the responsibilities – you still have to manage the relationship just as you would if both people were single.  And the benefits, such as they are, can go beyond just love and affection; in some situations, having side pieces can have some financial benefits because many hand make short work or, the more people working on a thing makes the work easier… but one must avoid “too many chiefs and not enough Indians,” a situation that will guarantee failure.

If you really and truly don’t want to be lonely, why not do something about it?  Because you can do something about it if you’re bold and daring enough and if you don’t put a price on your happiness.  The author of the blog Enigma shared, from a certain point of view, is right in what she says about being a side chick or even a side dude… she’s just not totally right, just one of many other people who believe that not being monogamous is a bad and dangerous thing.  Is there a future in being a side chick?  Yes… if you’re willing to make your future and not let ancient thinking decide that for you – it’s your choice.

I don’t expect anyone to agree with my assessment or take on this; I admit that I have a very different mindset about this; I know that happiness can be found, that one can have a future if they’re willing and able to change the way they see life and loving.  I was once so totally against this kind of thing – I believed just like everyone else does.  Monogamy can work – there are many examples of this but, still, monogamy isn’t the only answer and if that’s not been working for you, why not give some thought to the alternative.  If being a side piece can fulfill your needs, why not go for it?  If having a side piece is going to fill those empty places inside of you, why not do something that will bring you happiness, love, affection, etc.?  Is it easy?  Fuck, no, it ain’t.

But it is doable.  I did it.  Many fellow WordPress bloggers are doing it.  Rougedmount considers it all of the time – and she’s all about her duty to her family first and foremost and even as dedicated to the tenets of monogamy as she is, she’d be a side piece or take one herself if it suited her purpose.  These are all real people; it’s not just my take on the subject so if nothing else, you know that I’m not the only one who thinks this could be a good idea instead of the nightmare everyone says it can be.

What price do you put on your happiness?  Do you really just want to be lonely?  Does your pride rule over your intellect, logic, and common sense?  Are you that willing to sit and wait for something to come along that may never appear?  Do you continue to believe that monogamy is the answer when your situation is telling you otherwise?  Are you not getting all you want and need out of your monogamous relationship?  Or is suffering something you enjoy?

Now I can get back to my original thoughts of the day…

 
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Posted by on 1 May 2014 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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To Be or Not to Be… Poly

A long time ago now, I wrote a blog about relationships states, with being single on the ‘low’ end of the scale and being poly at the zenith, this being the ultimate form of having a relationship.

It’s miserably hot and my mind is wandering even as I try to stay cool and hydrated… and my mind got stuck on this one and, really, more about the mistakes in being poly than the good things relating in this fashion can bring to the table.  Once you get past the hurdle of finding others who are willing to forego monogamy for that rare chance to have their cake and eat it, too, my mind reasoned that the biggest problem after getting started is management and more so than being in a monogamous relationship.

No relationship is really self-sustaining; you don’t start one and then it just goes and takes care of itself – we learn, and often, the hard way, that relationships take constant work and attention:  They have to be managed.  If you think managing a monogamous relationship takes a lot of work – and they do – then the poly relationship will severely test your ability to manage things as well as your ability to either multi-task or compartmentalize.

In a word, it sounds and looks good on paper… but the reality can be the mother of all motherfuckers.  I’ve learned that management can be a problem when you’re trying to do your poly thing while holding on to monogamy’s rules; they are not any easy thing to get rid of and understandably so because you’re still pretty much having one-on-one relationships… just with more than one person… and we tend to deal with one-on-one relationships in the same manner we deal with marriage and being monogamous.

Doesn’t sound all that inviting, does it?

There are a few polyamorous bloggers I follow – and I point out that they are women – and you can read their blogs and see both the joys of being poly as well as the migraine-inducing headaches and mostly because management of multiple ongoing relationships is a bitch – I cannot think of a word that would accurately describe it with any more emphasis.

You’re either getting or giving too much attention or not enough; depending on how your poly relationship is formed, even having sex – which one would think is pure joy all by itself – can be problematic; again, you’re either getting too much or it’s not enough.

Management isn’t all about ‘scheduling’ or parceling out your time and energies so that each of your poly partners gets to spend time alone with you; it’s also about managing personalities; it’s about being intimate with each person in ways that have nothing to do with sex.  You all might have that shared goal of making the poly relationship work but it’s not entirely about what you’re doing or how you’re doing it – the shape of the relationship – as much as it is about the individuals that comprise said relationship… and that makes things both very different and a near nightmare to manage.

It can be done, though – let’s not lose sight of that.  But if people have tried to be poly and have failed, well, I’m the guy telling you where the failure points are.  You really do have to be an exceptional person to manage the complexities of a poly relationship; you also need equally exceptional people to not only be in such a relationship but to do their part in the management side of things.

Some have asked me what the most difficult thing about being poly is and my answer has pretty much always been trying to keep everything straight in my head – management.  As I mentioned, a ‘normal’ relationship just doesn’t run on its own – it’s not self-sustaining – and each person in the relationship must do their part to push things in the agreed-upon direction.  It’s not easy, as a lot of us have found out… but then add another person… then another… then two more and now you see how incredibly difficult managing not only the people but the relationship as a whole can be.

I’d have to say that if you’re doing things right, what others may see is you having a weird kind of relationship – and you’re making it look easy, which is so unbelievable that you’ll get asked just how in the hell you can be doing such a thing – and you get asked that a lot.  I know that when people asked this of me, I’d smile, kinda shake my head, and tell them that it’s not as easy as it might look.

Think of icebergs, if it helps; it’s not what you see that’s the problem/danger – it’s the part of the berg that you can’t see.  You know it’s there… but you have no idea of how much is really hidden.  Think of a punch in boxing:  The one you see might hurt you if you can’t dodge it – but it’s the punch you don’t see that’ll knock you the fuck out.

Trust me, you don’t handle the management in a good way, you will get knocked the fuck out.  Of course, it all depends on what poly ‘style’ you have adopted or have put in place, the more common varieties are open – anyone can add folks to the mix – or closed – it’s just us and additional entrances are debatable or out of the question.  I cannot honestly say which poly state is the easier to deal with; to me, they have their inherent issues where management is concerned.

In a lot of ways, being poly does and can mean “the more, the merrier” – and not really because at some point, you’re gonna find out just how much work maintaining such a relationship can be – it can make being married look easy but just like being married, you have to make it work because just like any other relationship, it’s only going to be as good as everyone can make it.

 

 
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Posted by on 16 July 2013 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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Really Late – or Really Early – Thoughts

It’s 0327 and a bit past my bedtime but I was surfing blogs and came across one written by a gay man – I had to start reading it twice to figure that out – who was doing the dating thing and ran across a wonderful man.  They hit it off immediately and while his last date met with disaster, he was trying to avoid a repeat… but, oops, it happened again; his new lover announced that he had a dating problem:  He didn’t want to be monogamous.

I read the blog (http://maxmosher.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/the-man-that-got-away/) and, damn, I really enjoyed it even though it also made me quite sad to see the two of them have to part ways because of a difference in philosophy that, seemingly, neither was willing to budge on.

Y’all know where my head is about such things… but as I read what Max had to say, it served to remind me of something I’ve come to understand:  It’s not that we can’t be polyamorous – we just don’t want to.  Max said the two of them were being stubborn and Max seemed to feel that “his fella” was the stubborn one by not wanting to do things in the mono way, and his sentiment sent a chill through me because this is something that transcends sexuality – that “my way or no way” mentality a lot of us have when it comes to relationships and, no, I’m not even talking about morality here; right about now, morality can kiss my Black ass and, yeah, I know I’m tired, thank you.

In a way, it’s being selfish – this is quite understandable, too, so put the bricks down.  But, when you look at it, when you’re being all nice and monogamous, um, you really don’t have that person all to yourself as you’d like because you do share him or her with other people and even other things… but, ah, that’s what being monogamous can do to you, huh?  You love them, they love you… and that’s that.  You make exceptions for family… but anyone else?  Anything else?  Nah, monogamy’s not gonna let you do that and it’s stupid… then again, I know what a lot of people don’t:  It’s not how you feel but what you do that makes the difference in this.

So Max wanted to put this hunk of a man on lock-down… and he wasn’t trying to hear any of it.  If this was boy/girl and the woman was making this “demand,” Mr. Wonderful would have gotten downgraded to Mr. Dog in a heartbeat; if the man was doing the “demanding,” Ms. Thang would have gotten immediately demoted to Ms. Skank Bitch Ho as soon as the words sank into his brain and the “lizard section” figured out what the fuck she just said.

It’s not that we can’t do it – we don’t want to and, of course, monogamy is quite happy with this arrangement.  Max’s story was a good one not just because it was two guys running into this situation but how it fell apart before it really got started good, just as it would have if it was boy/girl.  We want and need to love and be loved… then go out of our way to shut ourselves off from all that love has to offer by taking and sticking to that singular, moral view.

As I’ve said, it’s stifling; it inhibits even as it attempts to do… something.  I’m tired and can’t think of what the opposite of “inhibit” is right now – but you know what I mean.  If it’s love that you’re looking for, why is it that we reject love when it knocks on our door because it might not resemble what “tradition” in this mandates?  Then people wonder why one of the worst things they can do to another person is to love them?

Not going to say monogamy is always a bad thing – that would be a bald-faced lie.  Yeah, yeah, to each his own and all that and if it works for you, great – fantastic and more power to ya; John, you can put the baseball bat back in the rack, dude.  Monogamy has made us so fucking narrow-minded in our pursuit of love that it stopped being funny the very first time someone ran to that brick wall monogamy erects between us and the true joys of loving and being loved and if you still think that this doesn’t happen, take a moment and think about it, either how monogamy has worked or you – or not – or how it’s gone with others you may now.  You do this, and you can see what I’m talking about and especially all those folks who did the mono thing… and wound up losing friends and alienating family in the pursuit of that one, singular purpose.  If it’s ever happened to you or someone you know, eh, you see what I’m talking about and, really, you can take it to the bank all night long.

I do hope that Max – and anyone else who’s run into the wall as he did – finds the happiness and love being sought in this.  I don’t knock his decision to stand pat in his beliefs; this is just a tired me pointing out to him and anyone else who cares to read this that monogamy isn’t always the only path to love.

 
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Posted by on 1 October 2011 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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Sex at Dawn

While perving another blogger’s blog, someone suggested that she (I think it’s a she) read, Sex at Dawn:  How We mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships by Drs. Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha and I gotta tell you that while this book has some really interesting concepts, man, when PhD’s write a book, my head starts hurting after a fashion, which probably explains why I’m not as far along in the book as I’d normally be when reading.

The blogger had a question or two on whether or not polyamory is a natural behavior or an orientation; responses were mixed but interesting and while I am, at this point, sure that she could find an answer to her question from a couple of experts, man, I hope she has some aspirin nearby.

One of the things I’m taking away from the book so far is that a lot of what we think about sex, sexuality, and relationships were “created” by men who had no understanding of such things at all when they came up with their, ah, revelations and a lot of them are things we still live by today… in 2011, some three to four hundred years after the first guy asked, “I wonder why this is?”

I was reading what those early “sexologists” were writing and my instant thought was, “These guys were totally clueless!”  And, by and large, that’s a correct assessment, given they were postulating on things – humans, in particular – that they didn’t seem to know a whole lot about.  Given that a lot of we hold true today is based on Victorian morals and understanding, wow, are you kidding me?  I mean, Darwin’s wife was not only his first cousin but his sister-in-law, too!

The authors are flinging citations all over the book, citing some names I’ve heard of, some I haven’t, and it’s nuts the way they were looking at humans as far as sex, sexuality, and relationships are concerned.  So many differing opinions and to the point it’s no wonder we’re all screwed up about such things.  Right now, I can’t honestly say that I agree with the authors’ point of view but, headache aside, it’s interesting reading – they kinda make it humorous along the way.

I’ll come back at a later date and reveal more of what I’ve read… once my head stops hurting long enough for me to read more of it.

 
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Posted by on 19 August 2011 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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Learned A New Word!

Okay, I was doing something Cinnamon suggested I do – go find another person’s blog that interests you, read what they have to offer, then comment; chances are they’ll come visit your blog and, voila, there’s one more person who knows you’re out there writing stuff.  So I did this and came across this person’s blog:  http://slutlyfe.wordpress.com/category/polyamory/ and saw the particular category and since this is something that interests me, well, I had to check it out just to see what someone else has to say about this.  In the process, I learned a new word:  Compersion.

Wikipedia defines compersion as, “…a state of empathetic happiness and joy experienced when an individual’s current or former romantic partner experiences happiness and joy through an outside source, including, but not limited to, another romantic interest. This can be experienced as any form of erotic or emotional empathy, depending on the person experiencing the emotion.”

Oddly enough, when I grabbed my iPod and opened its copy of the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word’s not there.  But, I like this word and once I read the definition, wow, I wish I had heard of it before now because it would have helped me explain to people how and/or why I was poly back when I was.  I know I used to catch a lot of flak about having a harem and all that or even how the situation was all about my greedy ass and while I knew that this wasn’t true and that I could explain a lot of the thought processes behind it all, there were some parts of it I just couldn’t adequately describe – but something that wasn’t totally or wholly a part of the deal.

Wikipedia’s definition goes on to say, “It is common for people within the polyamorous community to state that jealousy comes with the territory of open romantic relationships.[4] Compersion has often been referred to as “the opposite of jealousy[2][5] and some advocates state that through time and experience, it becomes an efficient method for combating jealousy.

You can find the whole thing here, if you’re interested:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compersion.

Anyway, one of the things you wind up battling in a relationship is jealousy and we learn a couple of things.  One, it’s okay to be jealous ’cause that’s just the way our emotions can run and, two, leave your jealousy at the door or else because it’s seen as such a negative emotion and who has time to deal with those things?  Or, you can be jealous… as long as you keep it to yourself because, by and large, any display of jealousy will not be seen as cute or adorable.

When my previous marriage went open, a lot of people would ask me if I were jealous when my then-wife would go get hers and while I admitted that I was at first, eh, it eventually didn’t make any sense to be jealous because I followed the simple logic that if she’s happy with this, then I should be happy for her because, really, how many wives get to experience something like this and live to talk about it and/or still be married?  That and if she’s happy, hell, that was a good thing!  And, yeah, it took some time for me to get my head around it – and then, about fifteen minutes ago now, I learn this new word and, as I said, my first thought was, “Damn!  I wish I had known this before now!” – it explains much – and so much for old dogs not being able to learn new tricks.

We have been so inured to the “one man, one woman” way of doing things that when that proves not to totally be the case, we see a weird thing happening because jealousy isn’t always cause and effect; sometimes, the effect hits you first and the cause can get fugly, depending on the people involved.  Like, if you knew, say, that your woman had a crush on her friend, eh, some guys usually get pissed first, jealous second – cause, then effect.  Ah, but you can also see that reversed in that he gets jealous first – because he doesn’t have her undivided attention in this but someone else does – then he gets angry; effect follows cause, if this is making sense.

Now, I can see where compersion can make you look like a chump because, in the way people tend to think, if your man or woman is having a “relationship” with someone else, well, you’re supposed to get bent out of shape about it, demand that it cease and desist immediately if not sooner, and a lot of other stuff that, eventually, will not be a good thing at the end of the day.  So, if you don’t, well, be prepared to get some names hung on you that are quite unkind.

It’s why I believe and say that if you tell your partner, “Whatever makes you happy makes me happy,” you’d better fucking mean it because you never know what the hell might happen that would make him or her happy or what you might have to do to ensure their happiness.

Then again, this only works – I think – when such things can happen in your relationship and you know for a fact that you’re still going to have a relationship even though something else might be going on behind the scenes, as it were, which probably why it refers to polyamory more than it would monogamy, huh?

 
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Posted by on 15 August 2011 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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Doing it Poly-style

Surprisingly, humans are polyamorous; simply, it’s the ability to love many.  It’s an ability that’s developed and nurtured at birth, beginning with the family unit, where you are taught to love mom, dad, any siblings, and other relatives.  Then, at maybe around puberty, the dynamic gets changed; you go from being told to love all of these people to restricting your love to just one person and we all do as we’re told in this regard and it’s something that gets reinforced over a lot of years until, one day, you realize you’ve been duped, bamboozled, and just downright lied to about this.

It’s an emotional conflict most people wind up living with because, again, we’re told that not only are you not to love anyone other than the one you love already, but disaster will happen if you do.  Okay, yeah, it usually does for most people – but that’s because almost everyone’s been conditioned to love in the same manner – one at a time.  I think the thing that compounds the error in this is that when people are in love, they do things without realizing that they can be in love with someone else and not do anything about it other than accept the fact.

Poly relationships, as I’ve said previous, come in many forms and are created for various reasons.  Like being in an open marriage or relationship, it takes a particular mindset to be in a poly relationship, the first thing being an understanding that you can, in fact, love more than one person and as deeply as it’s going to be.  You understand that just because you do, you don’t necessarily have to do anything about it but, ah, it’s often better if you can.  Being with other people who can share love together is a rush… and such a pain in the ass, depending on how your relationship might form in this regard.

Some poly relationships form simply for the love and sex and can include a great many people; some go beyond this to form rather complicated “marriages” and to the point where the participants are literally playing “House” together.  Unions of three or more are not unheard of but it’s my thought that the more people involved in this, the more complicated the dynamic becomes just trying to keep track of who’s who, who’s doing what, where and even when.

I lived in a FMF poly triad for a lot of years; it was the most telling experience of my life… and one of the worst I’ve ever experienced.  The funny thing about it is that if I could do it again, I would because, really, there’s no such thing as being loved or loving too much, is there?  Being involved in this, if nothing else, showed me a lot of things about myself and all the stuff I didn’t know or, in some cases, could never imagine and, indeed, it had me questioning my manhood as well as my supposed intelligence at times.

You think, “Oh, okay, well, let’s all join together – how hard can that be?”  Famous last words along the line of Custer saying, “Where the fuck did all those Indians come from?”  In my life, it was the most incredibly difficult thing I’ve ever done; getting my bachelor’s in computer science was easier; hell, recovering from a stroke was easier.  I came to realize that even with the “right” people, living a poly life such as I did wasn’t even close to being as simple as I thought it should have been.

It should have been simple; we had things in common, had a common goal and, yeah, we loved each other – how could it be any better than that?  What I learned was that even though we had all these things in common – and a lot more – there were some aspects of this that got out of hand and, in retrospect, I don’t have a clear idea of how those things could have been tamed, for lack of a better word.  The hardest part was dealing with the two personalities, personalities that were very different but also similar in a lot of ways.  I fooled myself into thinking that we were having one relationship together when, in fact, it was two different relationships taking place at the same time and, no, they weren’t even close to being the same thing.

Makes my head hurt just thinking about it…

I don’t think that any poly relationship is perfect, although the concept and vision may be as close to perfection as possible.  It’s only when you add people to the mix where things get, uh, hectic.  You’d think you wouldn’t have to deal with the petty emotions of jealousy and selfishness; indeed, those are emotions that have to be set aside before the relationship can form.  You’d think that playing favorites would never take place – but it does because even though you love the people involved with you in this, yeah, you do love them just as differently as they love you, which is both a good and bad thing.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  It’s one of those ways to live that when it’s going right, there is nothing else like it in the entire world… but when it goes wrong, oh, man, it can redefine the meaning of shit hitting the fan.  Any one man who thinks dealing with two women at the same time is easy needs to get his head examined immediately and get fitted for his straight jacket.  Poly unions comprised of multiple men and women – and, strangely, there tends to be more men than women – become more complex and probably a lot more difficult to deal with because of the varying personalities involved and how they all intermingle – if they do at all.

When I found myself neck-deep into polyamory, I spent a lot of time reading up on it, often sitting up until the wee hours of the morning surfing Internet articles on the subject to find out just what in the name of God I’d gotten myself into.  It was quite informative, too; I was able to identify what we’d become along with the other ways this could happen… but none of what I read prepared me for the reality of being able to freely love and be loved in such a way.  Of course, I read about all of the way such things can fail and how badly ill-formed poly relationships can crash and burn but, stupidly, I wasn’t concerned about that because even in the earliest stages, I knew – and had confirmed through my readings – that we had the necessary elements to make this work.

And it did work, right up until the first problems came along.  It wasn’t that they were all that difficult to deal with… they were just difficult to deal with.  In my mind, they were simple problems and, man, was I wrong!  For me, I had to learn the person who joined us; I knew her, just didn’t knew her as well as my wife did and, yeah, that was a problem because I did spend a lot of time finding out all I could about our new love.  On paper, this makes sense; having to do it on the fly – and without a lot of prior discussions – was a lot harder than I could have imagined.  But, eventually, the crime of spending more time with one than the other was set aside; logic prevailed over emotion on this one.

Sex.  Well, to think this wasn’t going to be part of the deal was just plain stupid.  Being in bed with two women sounds great, looks great in the porno flicks, and ain’t even close to being as easy as most guys think – it wasn’t.  Still, we all settled into it for a while until it became clear that something had to change – they were almost literally killing me and I was no match for them together.  One on one, well, I could manage that well enough but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something drastic was going to happen and I had no idea how the dynamic would change when it did – and I knew it was going to happen.  So when my bisexual wife gave in to the love and lust she had for our new partner, yeah, I knew it was coming and expected all holy hell to break loose when it did… and it didn’t at the moment it happened – that came later and, eventually, began our downfall.

In retrospect, even though I saw this coming, I failed to get a grip on just how the dynamic changed; I totally and completely failed to see the problems in this or even how once it kinda settled in the scope of the ongoing issues.  The thing is that if I could go back to that moment in time to correct things, I have no idea how I could have changed things so that the outcome would have been as it should have been… but again, it was a matter of my failing to take in account not only just how different the two of them were but how much alike they were.  By the time I got a handle on that, it was too late; the damage was done and irreparable and death was imminent… except it took a lot of years before the patient finally died.

I’m not the only one who made mistakes in this – we all did and, again, in retrospect, it’s easy to see all of them, easy to say what changes should have been made that would have quashed all the issues that came up.  To that end, we were born, we lived, flourished, and died, just like everything else in life.  But, we did have fun in the process which is the reason why people do this crazy thing.

A lot of people I’ve talked to about this say they couldn’t do it in any form and now I know exactly why they couldn’t.  It requires a whole lot of a person and a lot more than they know they have to give.  It’s a tremendous emotional strain to be so much in love with more than one person – and then having to act on those loves in the many ways required to do so.  It tries one’s patience, pushes their ability to think beyond that which is normal and it’s pretty fucking scary; it’s one thing to be responsible for your life and the life of one other, something stupidly different to have that responsibility doubled, tripled, or whatever.  It can be so overwhelming in almost every regard and is, without a doubt, both the best and worse way to live imaginable.

Even with things in common and a shared vision for whatever future may come, it can be the smartest dumb thing any group of people could do because while you always take the people involved into consideration, you can’t possibly foresee all of the nuances their personalities are going to bring to the mix.  Being poly isn’t something that you start and then expect to run on its own; yeah, it’s being driven by love, which is such a strong and powerful engine… but the emotions of everyone involved is a set of wrenches just waiting to get tossed into the works.

I ask myself how I’d handle things if being poly came up in my current relationship.  The first thought is that it wouldn’t… but if it did, I realize that, just like before, I have no idea how it would work, what form it would take, or what the dynamic would look like, how it would work – none of that.  In my heart – at the very core of me – I know I could do it… but it’s scary not being able to conceive the shape of it.  Even if done for the financial aspects of such a joining, which is a valid reason for doing such a thing, my mind’s a blank trying to envision it – I just can’t see it.

Such things usually start with the shape of the relationship to be “converted.”  You think, “How can we be better?  What can or should we do to improve upon what we have?”  You question yourself, think very hard about your partner, who’s been with you all this time; will he or she see the logic and/or need to do this?  Will they understand it?  Would they agree with what you had in mind or would such a joining be more of their idea of what would work?  When your mind turns to the sexual aspects – and it will – what do you know of your own sexuality or your partner’s?  Could it change?  Does it need to change?  What do either of you do if a change in this aspect occurs and how is it dealt with?

Yeah, it all sounds easy when you only think about the high-level stuff – then you find out that the rabbit hole is way deeper than you could ever dream of and, indeed, it appears to be bottomless.  But that’s exactly why looking into the hole should only be done by those who are unafraid to love and be loved in this way and by those who are willing to accept the challenges – and all the problems, both known and unknown.  It goes against everything we’ve ever learned about relationships… yet it teaches us everything about the true nature of love, sex, and relationships.  You almost literally have to unlearn everything you’ve been taught and experienced; yet, still be able to draw on these things then apply them accordingly and with deference to how many personalities are involved.

And, sure, not a lot of people can or even want to do this; it’s easier just to keep loving the one you’re with.  But, if you’re like me and believe there’s not a lot of things you can’t do, well, go for it – then be ready to get pushed way beyond whatever comfort zones you may have established for yourself.  You’ll find yourself on unknown ground pretty quick because being poly just isn’t about being in love, isn’t about all the wonderful sex to be had – it’s about maintaining all of this and a lot more.  It’s about endurance, which is why it’s a way to live and not just a thing to be done; if you just wanna do something, trying swinging; not much in the way of love or any other emotion other than lust involved in that.

 
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Posted by on 8 August 2010 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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