the tale unfolding... (work in progress ;)
My "poly story" is that I was monogamous (hetero)for the majority of my life. I would meet a woman, we'd have a relationship, the relationship would end. I'd meet another woman and the cycle starts over. Sometimes there would be two or three women I'd meet around the same time and I'd make a decision about which one I thought was "best" and go for that one. Typical monogamist. After a while I got a little frustrated, because it seemed like I wasn't finding "the one" that I thought I was supposed to find. Or I found a partner that I thought could be "the one" but then it didn't work out! I met Nyx actually when I was about 18 and was very taken with her. But, like others before and after, we parted ways.
In a period of solitude I examined the process. I thought "Is there something wrong with me?" Upon consideration I didn't find anything to be terribly out of sorts. I was a reasonable enough person, with no major hang ups like addiction, violent behavior or other intolerable vice. Next, "Is there something wrong with the women I'm meeting?" Not much to criticize there, either. Sure, some were insecure or demanding, got clingy, temperamental nor other such minor flaws, but nothing world shatteringly horrible, surely. Mostly sweet, intelligent and attractive young women whom I still maintained respect for even after parting ways. So what the heck was the problem? I thought, "If it's not me and it's not them, then there's something wrong with how we approach relationships." That was sort of where the train got stuck for a few years at the station because I didn't know what else to do.
I'd heard the term polyamory in passing, a friend of mine told me she was poly and had a couple b/fs. My response? "That's cool, but I'm not really into that. I'm a one woman sort of guy." But in reality I wasn't. I had a love, a connection with many of my ex-g/fs. Some of whom, like Nyx, I didn't even see but I cherished the memories of what we had been. Others I became friends with or on again, off again lovers.
When I was about 25 I was several months into a relationship with "Leto", completely smitten with her and content in our relationship. I had a four day weekend and wanted to go visit an old friend in Monterey, "Sinope". Leto couldn't go so as I left I pondered who might possibly be able to join me and my thoughts turned to "Maia".
Maia. This was a girl I had met before Nyx; she lived on the coast, down the street from my friend's aunt's house. We spent a few short days together, and as we said goodbyes she procured my mailing address. A confession of her attraction to me arrived in the mail shortly thereafter, which I reciprocated with a similar declaration of my own. The letters flowed like water through the causeways of Venice. We exchanged handcrafted "wedding bands" via mail and in the years that followed visited often but never were official b/f&g/f. Usually one of us or both was dating someone else, but we always walked and talked and shared a deep connection... never cheated on whomever we were with. That is to say we weren't physically intimate more than platonic friends would be.
So fast forward back again about 9 years, I'm in my car on my way to visit Sinope and I give Maia a call. As luck would have it, she has a four day weekend as well so we decide to meet @ my sister's in San Francisco and carpool down.
The ride down is great, we chat about our lives, I tell her about Leto and how in love I am, how wonderful Leto is. Maia tells me about this man she's dating from her work and how glad she is to be in a new relationship away from the guy she had been previously seeing for years off and on.
We get to Monterey, tie in w/ Sinope, but she is having a housing issue, moving from one place to the next and her new roommate is a little odd. We end up staying at Sinope's ex's house, Maia and I share a space on the floor. A little cuddling and talking, very innocent and we go to sleep. The weekend is great, we enjoy Monterey and PG, but the last night there is a breakdown as Sinope has to go to study w/ a friend and Maia and I are left on our own at her new place. With the odd roommate, who is OCD and paranoid. Sinope asks us to stay in her room, that is don't go in the rest of the house, except to use the bathroom.
So home after a few drinks at the pub, and there we are in Sinope's room. We talk and lay in bed and the holding turns to caressing turns to kissing. I am thinking that I can't do this, I want to sleep with Maia but I can't betray Leto. But Maia and I are so close, it doesn't feel wrong to be physical with her, other than it feels wrong to do something that will hurt Leto.
We get to the point where Maia is going for her belt buckle and I say "Stop. I can't do this." Maia objects, don't I want to sleep with her? I confess that I do but I love Leto and somehow I just shouldn't do this. Maia says she loves me and I tell her I love her as well, but I just can't go that far with her, even though I want to.
The next day, Maia tells me she will always love me and she's glad we didn't sleep together. I tell her I love her and we have the rest of our lives to have sex sometime if we want when it won't hurt anyone. When we get to SF, she takes off and I share my story with my sister. I tell her I am confused because I believe in love and I love Maia and I love Leto but how is it that love can be bad or wrong or how can it be bad for me to express my love to Maia by having sex with her? I understand that Leto will feel betrayed but I don't love her any less for the love I have for Maia. My sister nonchalantly says "Maybe you're polyamorus." to which I respond with a smirk.
But as I leave and drive home, that statement starts to sink in and my thoughts start to race. Poly = many. Amorus = Love. Many loves. Of course! It makes perfect sense, I love more than one person! And why not? I have more than one friend, don't I? My friend Apollo doesn't get jealous that I am friends with Chronos. Why should romantic relationships be any different? I spend the next 2.5 hours in almost ecstatic, frenzied thought about how all of a sudden everything makes sense. I build utopian societies in my head, working out the details of how everyone will be satisfied, no one left out in the cold, relationships built stronger and better. I am manic.
Leto does not share my delight. She struggles and blinks away tears as I reveal my epiphany. I spend the next week in a flurry of both writing letters to her trying to explain and apologize and at the same time trying to wrap my mind around this new thing I've discovered. I forget there are other people out there who do this, the reason my sister was able to throw out the word "polyamorus" to me.
Well this is getting long so that's the beginning story. The current story is that I was setting sail from Thailand in 2007 when Nyx's sister contacted me on Myspace inquiring after my brother. I in turn inquired after her sister but couldn't drag an address or contact info out of her. I set sail and five weeks later in Yemen my inbox contained a short note from Nyx. "Remember me?" (paraphrasing) to which I responded with a slew of paragraphs all but confessing my undying love.
Nyx. This is another story longer than what I've already written here. And I have to wake up to work in five hours. After we lost contact 14 years ago or so, I thought about her from time to time, always with fond affection. With love. I idealized her, put her on a pedestal. I'm not a complete fool, I knew I was doing this. I knew I might meet her someday and she might be nothing like the wonderful, seductive, intelligent young woman I remembered and had romanticized over the years. I tried to contact her with no success. We had a friend in common but he always seemed to forget to give her my number or had forgotten to ask her if it was okay to give me hers. I took that to mean she told him not to.
During my travels the next few months, exchanged emails w/ Nyx, filling in the idealized version with an actual person. She was a single mom w/ a 7 year old daughter and recently pregnant with another. Her messages were rife with beauty, intelligence and a sense of the same sort of understanding about the glory of living that I was feeling. We were connected. I told her that I was polyamorus and she told me that she regretted to inform me that poly life was not something she could or would do. Which was disappointing, she added, because she did feel an attraction to me and would otherwise have possibly liked to see where things would go. As it was, we could never be more than friends. I accepted this on the surface, but underneath I was a roiling sea of passion for this woman who was not what I remembered but something new and more than I had hoped for.
I became a little despondent (homesick) while living in Tel Aviv, and flew home on a whim. I drove to visit Nyx almost immediately. Even now, I drive past the exit to her part of town and remember that day, the first day of seeing her in over a decade. I found her house and I would like to detail this more but I realize the point is just that I melted. She melted. I was torn.
I had two g/fs at the time I left, but both were otherwise occupied when I got back, one in a monogamous relationship and the other with a couple other men. Neither was too bothered that I wanted to pursue a relationship with Nyx, but the real issue wasn't that. I felt like a deeper betrayal was at work. To all the lovers I had promised in my heart that the door would never be shut, to them I was now considering shutting the door. I thought of them individually and one by one I realized they probably didn't care if the door was open or shut.
Still I debated, hemmed and hawed and not just with that but also with the idea of monogamy. Could I do it? Maybe. Maybe something else would happen. Maybe I just needed to believe in love, in my love for Nyx and all the other women in my life and maybe I could find a way. I was so close with Rhea, even though she was going to be married to another man in a monogamous relationship. Maybe I could develop relationships like that and be content? Maybe I was crazy in love and not thinking straight?
Nyx came to visit me. I went to her. I moved in.
Almost a year later, I was starting to get cabin fever. I just felt like I wasn't being me. I wasn't talking with attractive women because I didn't want to flirt because I didn't want to go over that line. I didn't want to put myself in another Leto/Maia situation. I built a box for myself and stayed within those confines but it was driving me crazy. I started to realize I just couldn't do it. I had to behave the way I naturally felt like behaving or I would just get more frustrated and already I was acting irritated about things that wouldn't normally bother me at all. I closed up and off. In late Feb or early March I told Nyx I wanted to go back to being poly. She was crushed and pissed. She had been telling me not to come up and live with her, not to try and make myself be something I wasn't unless I was sure, so why had I come up? I didn't have an answer other than at the time I was sure that things would work out.
And I guess things have, for both of us. I have another story or two to tell to catch up to the present but my mind is wiped and I should have been asleep an hour and a half ago so I'm turning in.
so far.... excellent, all around
reading this with intrest
i really want to know more :)
Well I wouldn't want it said I left a lady unsatisfied ;)
So here's some more of the current story. I continued to live with Nyx, but was looking for a place. Well, I was sort of looking for a place but being kind of picky, not just moving in anywhere. I liked living with her but I felt like if I was going to be dating other women I definitely would have to have my own place because she could hardly stand the thought of me being with anyone else, so being with someone else in the space that was "ours" or "hers" (our apt.) would have been just that much further over the line that had already been crossed.
warning: tangent ahead!
My thoughts at the time and even now to some extent are that I would just have to live the way I want to and she would adapt or not. This of course raises some great debate because on one hand it is a very self-centered and inflexible approach. "I'm doing whatever the heck I want and you can deal with it."
But on the other hand, I have spent a lot of my life realizing you can't live your life to please people. Or maybe I can't. I like to please others, I want to please others. I can generally work other people's desires into my own agenda. Giving someone a massage is a good example, or making a quiche for someone. The pleasure I derive from those things is not just about the other person's enjoyment. It's that I created it. It was my mad quiche skilZ or massage skilZ, it's an ego boost that I did something that was pleasing.
I'm a firm believer that everyone is selfish. My Mother Teresa hypothesis: Mother Teresa did a bunch of stuff for people, giving them food or medicine or whatever, sure. Really selfless, right? Wrong. She did that because it was fulfilling. It made her happy, it made her feel good to see those happy little shining faces, to bring a moment of joy to some poor sick child. Motivation comes from within, from getting that reward. I open doors for people on occassion. Why? Because I like it. I like the smile. I like feeling that I am affirming or restoring someone's faith in humanity a skotch. I like to realize I'm not in a hurry, that I can go through the door second or even fifth.
So back to the debate. Should you adjust yourself to fit other people? Compromise? I think you should, but only if you can do it and feel good about it. And maybe even then not all the time. It's not too good for you or anyone else to get what they want all the time. It's nice to have to fight a little, to be challenged. I have to go here in a second, so I will write more another time, but I leave you with the old Arabic curse:
"May your every wish be instantly granted."
Tangent: Mother Theresa stated that she did what she did not because she wanted to or loved the people, but because she saw it as her "ticket" to eternal life. A friend of mine actually found the quote for me once. Totally changed my mindset on what she was all about.
a different sort of selfish, the point being the same though. A person does things for others not really for others, but for ones' self. I'm not judging this and saying it's "bad", just that we should be aware that our motivations aren't always so pure and noble.
*"So back to the debate. Should you adjust yourself to fit other people? Compromise? I think you should, but only if you can do it and feel good about it."
i can relate to this, it was a question i asked myself when i wanted to be poly and my partner didn't, in the end he changed his mind but at the time he felt that if i loved him i wouldn't do this to him, becusae id want him to be happy,
i do love him, i just couldn't sacrafise my own happyness for his because in the end that would mean resenting him, and so it was a choice between letting him go, or hoping he came round to the ideals of polyamoury and lucky for me he did, and doesn't want to change back :)
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