How did I get here & Where am I going?
I don’t presume to be one of the cool kids...
Nor do I presume that many will care about what follows...
But for some reason I’ve been told by some very important people in my life (ie my wife) that I should write more on the forum...and that they want to know what goes on inside my head...since it’s not something that many people are privy to.
I don’t know if it’ll answer their questions...but perhaps it will help organize my thoughts to make more sense to me when things get complicated. And between the rants, musings, philosophy, experience, and questioning, perhaps it will trigger an answer that someone else is looking for...a piece of the poly puzzle that they can use to complete their picture.
How’d this all start??
First there was the Big Bang, which led to chickens, which begat eggs….then there was omelettes and bacon and pancakes, which lead to brunch...
I grew up in a pretty conservative part of the country...a far cry from the hippy paradise I’m at now...but not nearly so redneck as places I’ve visited since. While generally non-religious, I don’t recall ever really questioning monogamy...or the trappings of society that went with it. It was just the way things were done, and my value systems were setup under those familiar assumptions. I did spend a lot of time hanging out with a variety of unconventional type people though (at least relative to the rest of cowtown anyways)...so while I’m sure I’m not the most open minded person in the world, my neck isn’t nearly as red as it could have been.
This is a good example actually, since part of my first exposure to poly was from this group of varied associates…unfortunately they were a bad example which served to keep me from exploring the concept further for a decade or so. The 26 yr old fellow in question used poly as an excuse to screw minors while his wife was pregnant. The story ended with the 14 yr old having his second child a few months after his legitimate child was born, a vasectomy (only a year too late) and a divorce...(even later).
The details are a little fuzzy about how I got married...or at least how I ended up with such an awesome woman as my wife. She was a friend, then a FWB, with a negotiated non-monogamous framework...and then we went exclusive, and that should have been it. We would have been happily married monogamous couple with the red sporty kids and the unfenced house and 1.4 cars ever since...
And then there was Con...
Sci-Fi conventions are great fun...there’s dancing, drinking, and if you roll the right dice, there’s some kissing...hot tubs, and after some heated discussions if you play your cards right, you can send your wife off with a cute girl to start experimenting with bi-curiousness and all is well.
And so the discussions about non-monogamy were re-opened for the first time in about 10 years... and into a few years of negotiating, educating, re-evaluating, self-analyzing, etc. etc.
I think it took about 3 years to go though the phases...we started out at unicorn hunters, trying to find some HBB to join us for NSA fun...but while I can get very focused on things, my wife was far more laissez faire about it...saying it would happen when it happened. My reckoning was that if threesomes just ‘happened’ then everyone would be having them. This caused a lot of stress and arguments in the initial steps into non-monogamy. Given how hard it is to find unicorns, we turned to the swinging scene to see if there was some fun to be had there...and that didn’t turn out much better. Showing up at the meet & greets it felt like it was more like greet the meat! My wife got a lot of attention there, since we were amoung the youngest in the crowd...and since my youngest aunts are within 10 years of my age, the average age of the swingers group seemed just creepy to me...averaging 15-20 years older. (this is my own personal neurosis...I’m not overly ageist in general) I don’t think my wife liked the attention much either since she was wanting to explore her bi-curiosity at the time, and instead there was just a lot of old guys looking to screw her.
Don’t get me wrong...there were plenty of decent people, and we made some friends, but regardless of what we ‘thought’ we were looking for, it was a bad match for who we actually are, and the whole experience ended up being unsavoury.
It was a good learning experience though, and we came to a few realizations eventually.
1) My wife and I have very different tastes in women. There’s not many that we’d both find attractive and be interested in.
2) We’re not really the NSA sort (well, I’m not actually sure if I am or not, but I suspect it’s the case)...at the very least we didn’t like the idea of hopping in bed with complete strangers. We wanted to at least like the people we’d be liable to sleep with, know a bit about them, have some kind of relationship/friendship, something.
And then there was another Con...
Are we detecting a theme yet?
The con in Vancouver one year had an after hours program run by a local educator on all things kinky. The next year it wasn’t part of the con, but we went to one of her regular workshops between the closing ceremonies and the dead dog party. We couldn’t stick around and extra day for the ‘how to have a better threesome’ workshop (can you say ‘cart before the horse’?), but she was running one on polyamory instead, and we thought it’d be worth taking a look, since we hadn’t given poly much thought previously given the example we had seen decades previously (Mr. Snip).
Needless to say, the workshop utterly and completely changed the course of the journey we were on. It made so much more sense to us. Opening the hearts, and not just the bed…
It was far from a magic bullet, but it addressed many of the issues we had been having.
NSA encounters seem empty?...how about allowing for an actual relationship instead?...far more our style.
Not attracted to the same women?...how about we find our own partners to date separately?
There was still plenty of things we had to work on...the workshop only opened the door for a brief glimpse into what possibilities poly presented. It was still up to us to walk through it. And there was still other things to work on...
What about my wife dating/being with other men? Am I ok with that? How do I get over it?
Do I only find girlfriends in other towns when I’m travelling for work? What time do I have to date anyone when I’m at home?
How do I find dates? How come dating online is next to impossible for guys due to lack of responses from women(doubly so if married and not-cheating) How come dating online is next to impossible for women due to lack of responses from women if they’re bi (doubly so if in any way involved with a man). How does one approach the subject in more conventional social settings where there’s no protection of semi-anonymity.
What do we tell the family/friends? Who do we tell first?
Where to we find more information and people to talk to? (I’m thinking you can guess at least one of the answers we found to this question ;) )
So is the moral of the story go to cons more often or less often?
I really liked reading the questions you two asked of yourselves, before plunging ahead. Good Stuff. *Thumbs up*
Thanks II. Never done a con myself, but I think I could have fun at the right one :)
Interesting journey :)
Karma and I have done some cons. The right ones are a lot of fun, a provide a lot of "education".
But anyway II, I wanted to tell you have to agree with the wife stand point. I've learned so much more about how Karma feels about things, by reading his posts. They've given us a both insight to eachother, and helped forge new friendships, and get advice or another way to look at things.
I love your way of writing and relating things. Looking forward to more.
So what Happened next? Patience.
Hmmm… about double the number of readers I might have expected. :)
So, I’m trying to remember what happened after that... we went home from the Con, and started to have some deeper conversations. I should probably mention that while I don’t think my wife was entirely dragged into this as an unwilling partner to the venture, she was somewhat fed up at this point by my pursuit of unicorns. There were reasons for it, which I’m sure she could explain for herself. There was a point though where it finally got through to me...that if I wanted anything to ever happen, I had to sit back a while and let things happen. I think in hindsight it follows along the lines of going at the pace of the slowest person. I had been focused on a goal, doing whatever I could to drive towards it...and been dragging her along at a pace she was uncomfortable with, even if we had similar destinations in mind.
So I stopped. I listened. And I did as she asked. Not all at once, since I still had to figure things out for myself as well...it was an iterative process, and took a fair amount of time. I stopped bugging her about looking for online matches with me...or even finding her own. (it wasn’t a format she’s overly comfortable with) Eventually I got around to changing my search settings to better suit her needs to feel secure in our relationship. (Sometimes I don’t get things the first time around...and need to be told more than once to finally get it to sink in...fortunately she can be very patient as well). And I changed what I was looking for, and my focus of effort, from finding a unicorn, to finding out about poly. How did it work? How do you love more than one? How do poly’s manage it? Where do I find more information? How do I just ‘let’ things happen? (I still struggle with this one, since the nature of my work requires people who take control of the uncontrollable)
I tried to let go a little...and it helped. My wife isn’t entirely unlike myself some days...when getting pushed or pulled somewhere, I’ll tend to dig in my heels...even if the place destination is somewhere I don’t mind going. For me, an example is the dance floor...if the mood strikes me (and a copious amount of booze probably) I might find myself out there. Whenever someone tries to drag me out there, I’ll spend the entire night guarding empty chairs around the table, just on principle. For my wife it was online dating...and any associated activities.
When I let go, and left it alone for a while, when she was ready, she found her own way to the same place. It just seemed like one day she was willing to talk about non-monogamy/poly, dating sites, our issues, researching, reading books, etc. When she was ready to explore the local poly community, she joined me at the local meets. In fact I think she found this very forum first... which had just started up a couple months before we got to it.
Once I learned patience, it really paid off...just took a little time...and by a little I mean probably 8 months. So for anyone who would ask, ‘I’m doing all this work, but how do I get my partner to get into this’, I’d just remind them of Princess Leia’s eternal words to Gov. Tarkin, “The more you tighten your grip…, the more star systems will slip through your fingers”. Yes...I’m a gheek...get over it.
At any rate, for me, the long months were well spent working on my own issues.
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