The Paths We Choose
Yeah, I borrowed the title from Sully Erna's autobiography. Sully Erna is the vocalist of Godsmack. I'm guessing most of you either know that already or don't care.
Actual content coming shortly.
Excellent reference.. not to mention a great vocalist..
^ Thanks. Sully is somewhat of a personal idol of mine. Also, I have trouble coming up with my own titles for things, as evidenced thusly:
My Journey Thus Far as it Pertains to Polyamory
As I stated in my introduction thread (which I am too lazy to link to), in some ways I have always been polyamorous, and in others it's new to me. This is true both in practice and in how it relates to my personal philosophy.
From a very young age I realized that much of how relationships usually work wasn't right for me. Like with a lot of things, I initially dismissed the way I felt and accepted "the way things are" like so many do and never break free of this way of thinking. I've always thought of myself as an "I think for myself" kind of person, yet I discover more and more that that isn't the case. I now think of myself as an "I try to think for myself" kind of person, and I'm making progress.
When I was a kid, I never went through that "girls are yucky" phase that little boys are supposed to experience. From what I could tell, no one else I knew experienced it either. As such, I and many others had plenty of "girlfriends" throughout elementary school. It really didn't mean anything, it was more "playing relationships" than anything else. Of course, I got into a few arguments with these "girlfriends" about how I was only allowed to have one "girlfriend" at a time. It didn't make any sense to me, but I eventually just accepted it. Although, that's not the main reason I mentioned this, and not what started me on the path to monogamy disillusionment.
Forth grade or so was the last time I had a girlfriend until my last month of high school. As the people my age entered and progressed through puberty, the relationships transitioned from pretend to real. However, they still seemed to start the same way: asking someone "will you be my girlfriend/boyfriend?" and then if they said yes, then the two people were in a relationship and in love. This struck me as complete bullshit. Yeah, it's fine when it's all pretend, but real relationships take time to develop. Any time I got to know a girl enough to determine that I liked her a lot and could possibly love her, it always seemed she "just entered a relationship." It was frustrating. There was one girl, Cindy, that I had a serious thing for, but she always seemed to have a boyfriend. More on her later.
I began to realize that the "pretend relationships" thing from elementary school never ends for most people; they just pretend it's real. This is what we typically call "romance" which, as I've mentioned elsewhere, means "fictional." If this works for others, good for them, but it doesn't work for me. If I enter into a relationship, it has to be real. Or so I thought.
During my senior year of high school, my friend Jack introduced me to a girl he was dating: Succubus. Her and I quickly became friends. Jack and Succubus went from dating to a relationship, and eventually got an apartment together. During this time, the three of us spent a lot of time together. Succubus and I had become pretty close and Jack was cool with it. I eventually became the guy Succubus would come to to talk about arguments she and Jack had. Which, Jack thought was a good thing, and it seemed they resolved things quicker with me acting as mediator. We even joked occasionally about how I was her "Secret Other Boyfriend," but I figured there was no chance of that happening.
One night, Succubus told me that she was not happy with her relationship with Jack at all. She wanted to end things, but with them living together and all, it didn't seem simple. She also confessed that she wanted to pursue a romantic relationship with me while she figured out how to minimize complications with leaving Jack. At this point I had known her for a few months, and I did like her a lot. However, I was not willing to do that to Jack. I told her I'd consider the possibility of her and I getting together after she and Jack break up, but until then we were just friends.
Succubus was very persistent, and yet I resisted her advances. At first, anyway. She then started telling me things that I later learned were lies. She said that Jack had become physically abusive and threatened to kill himself if she ever left him. She manipulated me into hating him, at which point justified seeing her behind his back. Her and I were "almost caught" several times, but it seemed I was able to talk my way out of it each time it happened.
A month or so into my "relationship" with Succubus, I started dating another girl, Samantha, which was my first true experience with polyamory. Samantha was fine with me having a "girlfriend," she had one herself. When I discussed it with Succubus, her initial reaction was bad, but she decided it wasn't fair of her to expect monogamy from me, given the situation, and said she was fine with it.
Eventually, I got tired of Succubus saying she was going to leave Jack and never doing it, and I stopped talking to both of them. Samantha and I continued dating sporadically, but it didn't really gone beyond that. Succubus had called me a few times, asking me to come over, but I refused to see her until Jack was out of the picture.
A few months later, I got a call from Succubus. She told me her and Jack had broken up and he'd moved out, and she wanted to see me. So, I went to see her. We had decided to resume our relationship. It was an Open Relationship at first, but she decided she wanted to be monogamous. I agreed, and ended things with Samantha.
From that point on, I was miserable. Things had changed. Communication had broken down, and Succubus and I always seemed to be arguing. She became physically abusive. She'd slap me in public even, and then acted like I was being unreasonable when I'd get upset about it.
Things didn't last long. I also found out she was seeing four other guys that I know about, probably more. I realized that in itself didn't bother me, it was that she was dishonest about it and didn't want me seeing other women.
Jack and I started talking again about a year ago. He knew pretty much everything, but realized I was being manipulated. He doesn't blame me, and has forgiven me.
After that situation, dating didn't work out too well for me. I started seeing Samantha again briefly. Once I finally had sex with her, I realized I actually didn't like her all that much; I just wanted to have sex with her. Aside from that, I went on many first dates, but not a lot of second ones. Never a third.
A few years ago, I started talking to Cindy again. She was single, and after fifteen years, I finally asked her out. Our date was lots of fun, and at the end of our date was probably the only time I felt awkward kissing someone. (Hey, waiting for fifteen years is a lot of pressure.) It didn't work out. She was ready to settle down and start a family, whereas I didn't know what I wanted, and I told her as much. I still talk to her occasionally on Facebook, but I haven't seen her since.
In 2009, like many people, I lost my job. Seeing as I live in fucking Detroit, finding a new one was no easy task. Having an over abundance of free time, I decided to start college. During my first semester, I took Introduction to Philosophy. In this class, I learned about Rene Descartes' Method of Doubt. Since, I've run all my beliefs through the method of doubt. As far as relationships go, I determined pretty much the entirety of The Ethical Slut, and when I read the book I was kind of irritated that reading the book a year or two before I did that it would have made things simpler.
About a year ago, my friend Tom told me that he and his girlfriend Rachael had decided to open their relationship, and that it might benefit me. I was able to visit them a few months ago, and it did benefit me. We're still trying to figure out boundaries and such, but things are working out well there so far.
Also, a few years ago, my friend Jeff tried to set me up with his friend Krystal. That was one of those "ended after the first date" things, bet her and I became friends. I recently found out that she's polyamorous, and is interested in pursuing a relationship with me. It didn't work out because she thought I wasn't interested in her. We're both stupid like that, apparently. She's visiting later this month, so we'll see where that goes. Now, if I could manage to date women that don't live in other states, that would be great.
To sum up, I've finally begun to discover who I truly am, and it feels great. I wish I hadn't put it off for so long, but better late than never, I guess.
A Clockwork Orange
I've recently been having some problems in the relationship department (more on that later.) Mostly to do with Tom and Rachael (by "mostly," I mean "entirely.") Two weeks ago, I was venting on Facebook, and as a result, several people called me wanting to help me with my problems. Which, was kind of nice. I didn't know I had that many supportive people in my life. However, the first person that called me was my father.
Up until then, my father didn't know I was polyamorous. He knew I was involved with different women, but I think he assumed it was a series of brief casual relationships. I didn't want to tell him because I didn't think he'd approve, and that I wouldn't hear the end of his disapproval.
He was the first person that called me, and I really needed to talk to someone about what was going on. So, I told him everything to put the problem I was having into context. He took it extremely well, and doesn't disapprove of my preferred relationship format at all. Throughout the entire conversation, he was extremely supportive and understanding, and tried his best to help me. It was a side of him I had never seen before. It impressed me, and I told him as much.
He has changed over the past ten years or so; becoming much more easygoing. However, it's not really by choice. He's been having heart problems since his early 30s, and had a few heart attacks in his early 40s, at which time he had bypass surgery. He's also diabetic, and didn't start doing what his doctors told him to do until the past few years, which exacerbated his health problems. The way things are now, he has to be easygoing and understanding if he wants to continue living. If he gets worked up like he used to, at the very least he had chest pain.
My point is: becoming angry causes physical pain. This raises the same philosophical and ethical concerns raised by the novel and film that I stole the title of this post from. Has he actually become more understanding, or does he just appear to be due to inadvertent aversion therapy? And is it possible to tell the difference?
Ah well, he seems happier now. If he's faking it, that's his problem and he can deal with it as he sees fit. Although, he and I arguing less is probably a good thing, no matter what the cause.
This semester, there's this woman in one of my classes that caught my attention immediately. I'll call her... Leah. I was immediately attracted to her, but there was something else about her that I couldn't place. She's an extremely friendly and easy to talk to person. I'd talk to her occasionally, and sometimes answered questions about class work for her when the instructor was busy, and I found myself becoming more and more attracted to her. Yet still, there was something about her that I couldn't put my finger on.
A few weeks ago, I spontaneously remembered that I went to high school with her, and I had a bit of a crush on her then. Maybe "crush" is kind of strong. I'm not sure if I ever talked to her then, maybe I did once or twice. She caught my attention.
The next time I had class with her, I mentioned it to her. She doesn't remember me, which doesn't surprise me, and is probably a good thing. We ended up talking for an hour after class was over. And every class after that. Yesterday, I finally worked up the courage to ask her out. She smiled, but I could see disappointment in her eyes. I was worried she was about to say "I have a boyfriend and am monogamous," but then she said she'd love to if she can get someone to watch her kids. It took all of my willpower to remain calm and not start cheering and doing my happy dance. Actually, I don't have a happy dance... I'm sure I would have improvised one.
At 15, I thought, this girl will never be interested in me, not in a million years." It turns out it only took thirteen. I am pretty bad at math...
I'm happy about it, but I'm dreading the "I'm polyamorous" conversation. From what I know about her, I'm pretty sure she'll be willing to discuss it, and that it won't be too bad. Still, I really like her and I'm anxious.
This is one of the things I like about being in my late 20s. When I run into women that probably wouldn't have/turned me down in high school, things are different now. I've lost a hundred pounds since then, am much more confident, and am no longer intimidated by pretty girls. Leah has two kids, and recently divorced a man she describes as being "a douchebag." It's nice how priories can change over time. Also, while there are more important things, she's even more beautiful now than she was in high school.
However, there's one thing that bothers me: In all the talking we've done recently, I have not noticed a single thing about her that I don't like. This has never happened to me before, and I'm afraid I'm missing something. A few years ago, the "has kids" thing might have bothered me a little, but now I'm thinking it might be nice instead of making them myself. I mean, babies are a pain in the ass. Ah well, I'm sure I'll find something minor that I can overlook and then I'll calm down.
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