What follows below is an email I received last night from a colleague. I’m sharing it because in a lot of ways it reflects why I try to be so open and honest about my life, I hope that by being open I can provide support for people who may not be as outspoken and help encourage people to view things from a different place. Being a poly, open, hippie, anarchist, kinky, sex-positive, love seeking, spiritual atheist does not always mean I feel welcome so it is nice to support the community online and offline. I did respond to the letter below but decided not to share it, while I don’t mind sharing my views in the abstract I try to keep the specifics of my life personal (except for naked bike rides of course) and my response involved personal details. So, here is the letter, I hope that it can provide hope, insight, and discussions among anyone who reads it.
We’ve never really talked before, but I’ve followed your blog for a while so I can’t help but feel as if I know you in a sense. I wanted to thank you for being so open about your life with the world. Its really admirable and personally just helped me through a really hard time in my life.
My boyfriend of two years recently confessed to me that he is interested in seeing other people. We’ve only ever been with each other and he isn’t comfortable with that anymore. I have also had my doubts about monogamy, though it hasn’t been a problem for me yet. We truly have a great relationship and while his confession initially really hurt me, I have finally accepted that his feelings have nothing to do with me being inadequate or him being immature. I know this because we’ve always had a great relationship and we have no major complaints about it. We’re brutally honest with each other about everything and have very good communication. (He’s terrible at understanding and expressing his feelings, which can be hard, but he does his best and I like to think I have enough emotional intelligence and fortitude for the both of us).
Initially, we broke up, but after talking through it, we decided we want to try an open/polyamorous relationship and I feel 100% better since making that decision. I’ve realized that the pain I was feeling was exacerbated by the pro-monogamy conditioning society engrains in us. I felt that because he was interested in seeing other people, I had to cast him out of my life entirely, since that’s just what people do. But I’ve always supported polyamory in theory and it felt entirely unnatural and morally wrong to try to stifle and put out our love.
I never imagined how difficult it would be for me to come to grips with actually walking the walk of polyamory, but I’m so glad that I have. Of course, I don’t know if it will work out. Considering we’re going to be graduating soon and our lives will likely be moving in different directions, it probably won’t if I’m being honest with myself (though I also think the flexibility of polyamory will give our relationship the greatest chance of surviving change). I also know that I might come to realize that this isn’t the right kind of relationship for me. I’m sure the most difficult aspects, such as dealing with jealousy and navigating a society that won’t understand or support my relationship, are still to come. But no matter how it turns out, I feel so good about this decision and I can honestly say I probably wouldn’t have made it if I hadn’t learned about polyamory through your Facebook and blog. So thank you
Here’s hoping we continue to always choose the less beaten path, be it in our political views or our personal lives, even when it feels as if all the odd are against us.
Your sister in solidarity,
p.s. you’re free to share any of this on your blog or whatever if you feel so inclined