on love, relationships, and the future.
by Ducky

on love, relationships, and the future.

I donít often lie in bed after I wake up, but today was one of those exceptions. Iíve had a lot on my mind, and I felt I had to write it down or I would burst.

Iíve spent a lot of time thinking about the mistakes that Iíve made in past relationships, either out of love or coersion, in the hopes of not making the same mistakes again. They were mistakes that I chose to make because I thought I was doing the right thing. I have compromised myself for the sake of the love of one person several times in my life, in the pursuit of living a ďnormalĒ monogamous life. I muted my ability to feel passion for others, I subjugated my sexual identity, I put aside lovers and sweethearts and friends and acquaintances - all because their mere existence in my life caused insecurity and jealousy in the heart of another. The anguish that took place in my heart when I believed I had to do this was almost unbearable, and yet I suffered silently because I believed I was doing the right thing. I felt like I had allowed a cage to be fashioned around me, that I had allowed a chastity belt to be locked around my heart, and that only one person was permitted to unlatch them. I allowed these things to happen, and as a result, I spent many miserable years as a fraction of who I really am.

After the end of my second marriage, I vowed that I would never allow myself to ever do such a thing again. This is one of the reasons why I came out publicly, both as bisexual and polyamorous - I wanted these things to be on record, so that I could never be tempted to let my love for another push them back into the closet. I never want to have to bargain for the right to be myself, and to be so to the fullest.

I am polyamorous. Itís not a decision that I chose to make. It is an integral part of who I am, and it always has been - even as far back as childhood, before I knew there was a word for it. It never made sense to me that love was, for some people, the most difficult of emotions to feel free to express. Nor did it make sense that a lover and a friend should exist on different tiers, with one enjoying a level of passion and intimacy that was denied unequivocally to the other. And it also didnít make sense to me that sexual expression should carry with it some kind of elite state of ďsacrednessĒ that could only be shared with one person to the exclusion of all others. This is not normal behavior to members of the animal kingdom to which we belong.

Sexual expression to me is not a conquest. Itís not a competition. Itís not a matter of comparing someoneís body, or moans, or thrusts or bedroom proficiencies to another. I understand that it can be for some people, but itís not for me - which is why I could never be a swinger. For me, sex is an expression of love. Sex is bonding. Sex is healing. And sex is biological, just like breathing and eating. We donít limit ourselves to breathing only around one person. We donít have locks on our dining room doors and we donít sit in isolated cubicles in restaurants lest someone we know should see us eating and - god forbid! - want to join us. If I want to be intimate with someone, itís because I care about them and because I love them. It doesnít mean that I love or care about someone else any less, and it doesnít mean that Iím taking away something from one and giving it to another. If anything, my expression of love for that person ripples back to everyone else that I love, as love is contagious. Love is not zero-sum.

Being polyamorous does not mean that I expect to have sex with anyone and everyone I love or care for. Polyamory is not synonymous with sex, at least not to me. At the same time, it doesnít mean that I wonít want to share intimacy with someone Iím fond of, either. The freedom to do something usually does not preoccupy someoneís thoughts until that freedom is taken away - think ďcheatingĒ. I would rather have everything out in the open. If I tell my love that I am comfortable with her having sex with others, and she has sex with others, Iím happy and eager to know that she enjoyed herself. I want her to be happy. I only become begrudging if she has sex with others, but expresses reservations with me if I should want the same freedom and the same acceptance. I prefer not to dabble in social politics. I would rather live, and laugh, and love, and enjoy life. Simple is always better.

If I commit to someone in a permanent sense, I first have to know in my heart that I am accepted unconditionally for who I am and what I am. I have to know that I can pour my heart out about anything and everything, and know that my words and thoughts will be accepted eagerly as an expression of who I truly am. I have to know that if there is something (or someone) on my heart, that my heartmate will listen and smile and look into my heart and - most importantly - want the best for me, because thatís what I would want for her. I would want her to know that I would never intentionally hurt her - but I would want her to know that I have spent so much of my life hurting myself so as not to hurt others, that in the process of learning how to love myself again, I might cause her pain without meaning to. I would want to know when I did, but I would also want her to attempt to look at it through my eyes as I will attempt to look through hers.

Polyamory is not simple. Someone once referred to it as ďthe calculus of relationshipsĒ. Even though I have been poly at heart for as long as I can remember, this will be the first time that I have ever actually been in a working poly relationship. I will make mistakes, we will make mistakes, the ones that we count among our friends and lovers will make mistakes. As long as we learn from those mistakes, we will grow - and in the process, we will hopefully bask in the light of more love than we have ever experienced in our lives.

I am committed to being the best lover and friend and heartmate that I can be, without sacrificing myself and my identity in order to do it. After all, the person that I want my heartmate to fall in love with is the person that I truly am, and the person that I must strive to continue to be Ö because I love her, and she deserves nothing less.