O Brave New World!

I’m sitting here, waiting for the bath to run, listening to the pitter-patter of rain and the exploding Halloween fireworks outside, and I am feeling so incredibly lonely and alone.

I question my life choices far more than I should.

What if my mom was right? What if ‘sexually deviant’ people can never be happy? What if there really is no silver lining in all this. Have I been foolish? My heart yearns so badly to have connection with one person, let alone multiple people, and at every turn I find myself feeling disillusioned, disappointed, distracted, defeated.

I want to love with every pore of my being. And I don’t want to limit it. And I’m tired of feeling the connections of love that I build cut short.

WordPress says that the writing assignment this week is to write on the theme “I wish I were”.

Some days, I wish I were monogamous and straight.

I wish I could have had a more ‘traditional’ life. That I could be like the happy housewives, starting their families, looking after their homes, their babies, their husbands; preparing large festive meals for their family and friends; attending community functions and being a productive member of their society. I wish I were able to fathom what that life could be like with me in it.

I wish I were able to stay focussed and devoted to just one person in an intimate monogamous relationship. That I were content with one man and one man only.

However, that isn’t my reality. I tried the mono-hetero thing. 8 years. I was miserable, unhappy, and only began to find joy in my life again when I started to see the possibilities of a poly and bisexual lifestyle.

I spent some time today hanging out with my ex-husband, Finn. People are sometimes surprised that we are still friends, that we still talk, and share with each other what’s going on in our lives. Our separation was so entirely mutually amicable that there’s not really any ‘bad-blood’ between us, and for that I’m grateful. I do miss his company some times. Not the pot-smoking, or his body odor, or boring sex, or frustrating way of doing things, but I do miss his company.

We used to cuddle up on the couch almost every night and watch a tv series, usually sci-fi. We went through Stargate, Farscape, Battlestar Gallactica, Fringe… sometimes we would watch comedy movies, like Blades of Glory, or epic action adventure superhero movies like The Watchmen. He knew my ups and downs, understood my frustrations with my mother, and over the years he learnt how to read when I was just tired versus really depressed. Out of every one who is a regular feature in my life today, he has known me the longest. And so it really hit home this afternoon when he shared with me that he’d had a dream a couple of weeks ago that we were sitting on the couch, cuddled up, watching a movie just like we used to do, and that he missed that- because I miss that too.

Not that we are going to get back together. That’d be a most resounding “no”. We’ve had a good laugh at the very divergent relationship paths we have taken. He’s in a really beautiful, loving, monogamous relationship with a woman who I think is a perfect match for him. They compliment each other in wonderful ways, and I’ve seen that she brings out some of his best qualities, qualities I never saw come out when he and I were together. And I, on the other hand, have been a wild child- this summer especially- diving into the deep end, in many ways, to a world that I had for so long yearned to experience, and yet, never had, till now.

I miss the companionship. The comfort of that reliable relationship.
When I have longed so much for the freedom that this poly lifestyle affords me, when I have spent so many years with my real self pent up, why is it I feel so discontent and unhappy now?

I wish I could have more emotional detachment in my poly relationships. It’s a common misconception that poly people have some kind of immunity to feeling hurt, jealousy, anger, or any of those more shadowy-side of the emotional spectrum. Well, I can’t speak for everyone, I just know that I most certainly feel all of those, as equally as I feel the happier things like love, adoration, joy and contentment.

I can’t help but love someone. And love them completely. And want to share that love all-the-time. And maybe its the impatience in me that causes me so much grief, perhaps I want things so immediately that I rush into things with a wild abandon, only to grind to a halt when I realise I’m moving too fast and should stop to think things through.

What on earth do regular, normal people do? You know, those straight and monogamous ones? Is there some massive chapter in life skills, covering patience and virtue, self restraint and thoughtful consideration, and maintaining one’s emotional well being that I somehow missed out on entirely? Are there bi and poly people who have those skills too? If they do, how on earth did they learn them, and where can I sign up for the next course please?

I wish I were able to take a peek into the future. To look at myself in 10, 20, 50 years from now, and see what I’m doing. My hope would be that I’m happy, and content. Surrounded by people I adore and share mutual bonds of affection and love with. It would be so consoling to know that, despite the momentary ripples and tremors I experience day-to-day in my here and now, somewhere down the road there’s equilibrium waiting for me.

So much of my self-work the last few months has been about receptivity and my inability to be open to receiving. This has manifested in many ways- even down to my ability to let someone else give me an orgasm. Somewhere in my subconscious lies a pattern of diving into connections and then shutting down when they might be reciprocated fully, of refusing help from people who love me lest I seem weak, of stubbornly persisting in courses of action that I know will lead me nowhere and/or could cause me harm, a pattern of lashing out in anger at the people I care about the most when I feel my most vulnerable and scared.

In that preview of the future, I’d hope to see a me who is able to receive: who can trust the people she meets, rather than treat them as enemies first and friends later; a me who has forgiven all wrongs, including the mistakes I myself have made; a woman who can really walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk, and fully embody the core values she believes in and espouses. A me who is gentle with herself, and with others.

Interesting to note that in expressing that future vision, I don’t seem to care if I have a life-partner or not, or whether I have children of my own or not. I think I’ve trained myself to be unattached from the notion of either, even though deep down in my core, I know I still want both. It won’t look like anything that I had in my marriage with Finn. I honestly doubt, if it happens, that it will resemble any other relationship model I’ve known. But, there’s that fantasy lurking in the subtext of my mind- of the perfect picket-fence partnership, with plenty of poly playfulness- that needs to be acknowledged.

Yes, I am still looking for a life partner. Eventually. Not right now, though some long-term security and stability would be quite welcome. Can I do this while still being poly and singleish? I wish I were certain that I could. I’m not. I’d like to believe it’s possible. Only time- and a heck of a lot of patience- will reveal if it really is.

5 thoughts on “O Brave New World!

  1. I have so been there! Really, just about every word of your post is something I have experienced. Things I have been through, am going through, will always be going through. It never goes away completely, those moments of questioning ‘is this all worth it’ will always rear up, but believe me when I say that what you want is completely possible. Learning to be patient and let it come is mostly about learning to be happy with yourself and your life, right now. Easier said than done, I know. But keep believing, keep loving, keep working on being open to the world, and the rest of it will come 🙂

  2. I too completely relate to this post. I wish I had it all figured out and that I was gentle with myself and could more easily connect. I agree that I don’t feel less as a poly woman. In fact I think I feel more. I’m constantly amazed at my new ability to feel like 3 things at once that are totally opposing or have nothing to do with each other. I haven’t mastered emotional detachment either and I’m not sure I want to. I don’t think I would enjoy having a bunch of shallow safe meaningless connections. I know that being open to possibilities is also being open to pain. I guess I’m just learning to be okay with that. I’m not there yet.. but I’m working on it. If my love is not reciprocated though I know I will be okay. If I am hurt, really crushed because I took a chance, I also know I’ll be okay. I think these are good starts. It’s really painful and difficult to grow sometimes but my past experience teaches me that this growth is worth the pain. I’m not a delicate flower who is easily crushed and my guess is that you aren’t either. It sounds like you are open and living as honestly as you can. Seems like a really good start. I hope you reap rewards quickly and in abundance.

  3. I live one of those outwardly straight monogamous lifestyles, though have asked myself all the same questions you pose for yourself. I am definitely polygamous with my emotional and social relationships, though have been monogamous sexually, to date, though there have been emotional and sexual transgressions throughout our relationship. I think a lot of the confusion about what is normal-cis-relationships are built around notions of sexuality and who you have sex with (and why) at the core of their centering. I’m far from emotionally detached and truly rely on my emotional and social relationships with people not my partner, quite a bit, as well as my sexual attraction to others. I’m not convinced a monogamous relationship is the be all and end all, but here I am, outwardly defined by my relationship (and inwardly a bit, too). I’d too, like to look into the future, to see where I’d be, but it’s nice to be here, in the moment, choosing where I want to follow my path or not. And a companion is wonderful, and despite having a partner and a child, I often find most of my companionship in myself and my ladyfriends.

    • Hi Ohsweetie,
      Thanks for your comments. I wanted to clarify something- there’s a marked difference between the meaning of the word ‘polygamy’ and ‘polyamory’. Polygamy reffers to the specific practice of one man marrying two or more women. I, personally, am absolutely *not* polygamous. Heck, the whole idea of institutionalized marriage to me is… well, lets not get into that 🙂
      I would suggest you check out some reading material, beyond this blog, about polyamory and non-monogamy, to get a wider perspective of what it is, if you are curious, and how it is different from polygamy. Sex At Dawn and The Ethical Slut are considered by many to be great ‘primers’ in understanding polyamory.
      Thank you once more for reading, and for sharing your comments!

  4. I know this was not the main point of your beautiful message, but I really wanted to thankyou for your line “…a pattern of lashing out in anger at the people I care about the most when I feel my most vulnerable and scared…”. I stumbled onto your website looking for other people’s thoughts and feelings on polyamory (I have just started a relationship with a beautiful, married couple) but it was actually this line that spoke volumes to me, so thank you!

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