By Kendra Holliday | June 26, 2013
A thoughtful guest post from Lisa, a single woman exploring polyamory.
Throughout my life, I’ve found that I was attracted to more than one person at a time, but society (and my ex-husband) had names for women like me – slut.
After my divorce, I went through a wild, fuckfest phase, and while that taught me a lot about my body and my sexual preferences, it was just that – a phase. Hot, unrestrained sex was amazing, and while sex without relationships can be a real “in the moment rush,” after a while, those types of encounters left me feeling emotionally empty.
I longed for a compromise that didn’t leave me feeling as confined as my monogamous marriage, or one that was so buck wild that I was playing face/name/penis mental matching games. No matter how fabulous the sex is, it’s not a good thing to respond to a text a week after the act with, “Jason who?”
I found the balance when I began exploring polyamory. I had finally found a happy place where I could embrace my inner slut while respecting myself and my partners emotionally. The first time I read the Wiki definition of polyamory, I thought, “That’s me, and I’m not a bad person for feeling this way!”
I like to think of myself as someone who has so much love and sexuality that it overflows to multiple people. Happily, I have found a relationship with a married man who fulfills me both sexually and emotionally. We have mind-blowing sex and a deep, loving, emotional connection, and I fully accept and respect his other lovers. I also have friendships with other men that sometimes include sexual encounters that provide me with the thrill of the occasional one-nighter thrills reminiscent of my past.
While this self-discovery has been enlightening, there have also been pitfalls and definite growing pains as I’ve been stretched emotionally. I liken it to being in a constant state of self discovery and therapy which can be mentally exhausting. I have uncovered more suppressed hurts and emotions than I ever could have imagined and am sometimes reduced to sniveling nights of tissues and chip binges till I come back to my better senses. I am grateful for brutally honest discussions with my lover, wonderful resources, including group meetings, books, and am most thankful for people like Kendra who love without restraint and share their true emotions (good and bad) with all of us so that we might learn from them.
My biggest hurdle has been, as Kendra so aptly named it, “that yucky little twinge.” It’s the one that whispers in my ear, “Your lover is with his wife today; he’s not thinking of you, and oh yeah, he’ll be with her on Christmas morning, not you!”
It has taken a lot of courage and diligence not to give in to that ugly little bastard (sometimes I fail) and remind him that my lover always makes me feel special, makes me feel like I’m the only girl in the world when I’m with him, puts up with my growing pains, pleasures me like I’ve never imagined possible and always encourages me to do what is best for me. That is especially hard for new polys like me that don’t have a primary relationship. When I feel vulnerable, I don’t have the waiting arms of a primary partner there to comfort me.
My dating profile “hints” at my poly lifestyle, but I’ve found if I come right out and directly state it, most single men don’t stick around long enough for an explanation. On the flip side, some poly couples are hesitant to allow singles into their equation because they’ve had bad experiences with drama and many have encountered singles who claimed to be poly then realized they were, in fact, monogamous and in love with the idea that their lover would leave his/her primary relationship in favor of them. This sometimes leaves the single poly with a very narrow dating pool.
All I can do is continue to weigh the comfort/discomfort ratio and ask myself on an ongoing basis, “Is this worth it?” So far, the answer has always been a resounding, “YES!”
Because of my choice to be poly, I have grown more as an individual, benefited immensely from the lovers and friends that I’ve met and gained a loving relationship that I can’t imagine my life without. I encourage anyone who is new to poly to read as much as you can on the subject and its challenges, attend poly group meetings, and above all, communicate with your lovers and take time together to process those feelings no matter how absurd they may seem.
One resource that has helped me with ongoing jealousy challenges is the “Managing Jealousy” article from the More Than Two website. As the article states, “You are responsible for your own actions and for the consequences of those actions; no matter how strongly you may feel threatened or insecure, you still have a choice. Choices which give in to insecurities strengthen them; choices that take a stand against insecurities weaken them . . . Choosing to behave in the ways that a secure and self-confident person behaves takes you closer to being secure and self-confident.”
I look forward to becoming more secure and self-confident, and I am blessed to have friends and lovers that are helping me become a stronger companion who will, in turn, be able to give that overflowing love right back.