I have had some interesting thoughts the past few days. I guess it would help to start with how I came to be non-mono and how I came to the realisation that pansexual fit better than run of the mill bisexuality.
First, I always identified as a lesbian. Matt was and to date is the only male I have ever been with. When my school mates were talking about the cutest boys in our class and all this and that. I was looking at our female classmates. It stirred something within me. I can remember experimenting with two of my close friends. One who lived right down from my house, and the other lived one street over. We were in the same year, and my neighbour was one year lower than us. This was around age 10. We used to touch each other and stuff. It felt right. I thought it was a phase, but when I started dating five years later at 15, I only dated other girls. I was friends with males, but I was not attracted to them at all. I had no problem with being around them. Some of my best friends today are males.
I knew that being exclusive to one person was not my cup of tisane. I was always honest with people. It felt right to be ethically non-monogamous. At that point, poly was not what I called it. Non-monogamous still fits better today.
I met Matt right before I turned 19. I met him by chance encounter. He was a family friend of some of my paternal relatives (namely cousins), but at that point, I had no contact with them, so I had no knowledge of him. We locked eyes as I was walking in. We were flirting the entire night. I remember dancing, and he was standing by the door watching me. I passed by him in the hall, and the chemistry was explosive.
At the end of the night, we exchanged numbers. We were supposed to go out and continue the celebrations, but we ended up talking on the phone the entire night. I was immediately drawn to his personality and charm. I knew we would be great friends. I was sexually attracted to him, but that was a foreign concept because I had only been involved with females. I was not listening to my hormones.
We spent 11 months building our friendship and feelings progressed naturally. I fell in love with him, and it was a welcome experience. I am so grateful that we took our time and did not rush. I was courted like a lady. I was shown that chivalry was not dead. When I would excuse myself from the table, he actually stood up. Arriving at a restaurant? Opened car doors. He helped me step over puddles if there was one, pulled out chairs, kissed my hand, sent me flowers every week, wrote the most beautiful letters, etc. I had my friends buzzing in my ear. "Men like that are from a dying breed. When some men do those things, they want something." He did not. That was just how he was raised. We established a bond that still defies all logic. He broke down who I was pretending to be and showed me who I really was. As cliché as it sounds, he did contribute to me being a better person. He raised the bar and made me want to up the ante.
I found out about pansexuality awhile later, and it was like, "That is ME." Bisexuality just never fit perfectly. It implied that I was intentionally playing for both teams, when I had met this person with no intention of anything romantic happening. Once it did, I could not explain it. I never care about Matt's gender. I fell in love with everything about him and who he was as a person.
I saw Si for the first time in March of 2000 at a party. We exchanged "hello's." I officially and formally met her in May. I was properly introduced by a mutual friend. I remembered her because I was instantly drawn to her. I am sure it would never be advised, but I started two relationships in a short time frame. I was attracted to her, and I wanted to know more. By this point, Matt already knew I was non-monogamous. It was sort of like the transition from theory to practise. He always knew I was, but for almost a full year, it had been just the two of us. I think he probably got used to that. Being in NRE with me probably blinded him to anything outside of that love bubble.
Matt and I became a couple on 11th May 2000. We are celebrating this weekend. Si and I became a couple on 24th June 2000. Matt proposed in 2001. We got married in 2002. The rest is history.
Si actually believes in non-monogamy, too. When I met her, she had ended one of two relationships that she was in. The other ended a few months after we got together. (It was none of my doing.) I am good friends with that ex, and we see each other all the time. For her own personal reasons, she opted not to have another primary or serious partner outside of me. She did have tertiary partners over the first few years, who I knew and had met. She ended all of those, and I never asked why. The option for her to have another primary was there until she asked me in 2006 if we could close with the option to discuss if feelings changed in the future. That did not change until 2012 when she became romantically involved with Matt. To this day outside of time reasons, I do not know why she wanted to close our polyship. I respected it, though.
At times, I feel like I am not cut of the same non-monogamous cloth. I look at some people like how in the hell do you have time to be a parent to younger children, balance a quad, balance a triad with your spouse, and have other relationships, too?
These thoughts came about when I realised how hard it was to integrate the way my life used to be with the way it is now and with Matt's life. Matt took up hobbies and what-nots to fill the time when I was off with Si. When my relationship with her ended, I found myself with a shit load of extra time. It actually saddened me on those nights when I was sitting at home with just our children, and he was out continuing with those activities. Before, I had date nights, so we were both doing something. The shoe was on the other foot, and it made me sad. I realised just how much I was gone and why he said what he did during the first session or two. He said something to the effect of only getting 20, 30, or x % of me and my time and the other 70-80% went elsewhere like my career, our children, my own hobbies, and my relationship with Si. I was looking through rose coloured lenses, so I did not see what he meant at first. Then, I thought about my schedule. I wake up around 5:30 and leave home around 7:45 AM, and I return anywhere from 5-9. Sometimes later. Imagine if I had a date scheduled for 7:30 on an 6 PM night. The time at home had to be divided between my children and my husband. There was no guarantee he would be awake when I got home either.
This is partially why I felt so selfish in the beginning. I realised just how lonely I felt when he was gone, and I would imagine he might have felt the same way. I felt a void. The one person I wanted to be around was out doing what he wanted, while I was sitting at home sometimes alone. To some, meeting with friends or having another relationship would be enough to fill that void. For me, that was not the answer. I wanted to be around my husband, and there was no one else I even wanted to be around more than him during some times. Those people would have been place holders.
Once we talked about it, and he knew my feelings, he changed his schedule, so that we are at home together more. He still has his hobbies. He still gets to go to the gym for two hours. He still gets to go have a beer with his friends. He just checks in with me to make sure I am feeling okay with it that night and always asks if he needs to reschedule if I need some time with him. We make a special point to eat dinner as a family every night. After that, he is free to leave to do whatever he wants. I just ask that he text me to let me know that he is okay and a rough estimate of what time he will be home. He usually tells me, and sometimes I even stay up so we can talk before bed or watch the telly. I like to cuddle with him, have a glass of wine, or just unwind before we head up to bed.
Thursday's are now "our" days to do whatever we want. Going to the cinema, spending the day with our children at the aquarium, romantic lunch for two, spending a day at the park and having a picnic, etc. Whatever we desire. It used to be counselling day, but since we are taking a break, we have tweaked it a bit. We are also setting time aside to just talk and address any issues before resentment builds. Things are much more balanced and slowly levelling out.
I am happy with the progress we have made. We have been utilising the communication skills learned in counselling. We talk to and not at each other. To make sure I am listening and heard the right things, I repeat it back and/or form a question based upon the information just given. It has helped. I hope we can continue to move forward. He seems to be softening towards certain things. I think Matt just really needed to be heard and shown that he is important to me. He is much more relaxed and kind of going with the flow now.