Opening Up About Not Being Active in Non-Monogamy

Opening Up – Non-Monogamy

I wrote a little while ago on Twitter, that I missed waking up with “random marks on my body from a passionate night of sexy shenanigans from the night before” (My Twitter feed is pretty random if you are not already following me).  It was a random comment that popped into my head as I looked down upon my pale legs, and thinking how strange it was for it to be summer and still without the dings of adventure, be it sexual or otherwise.  Further to this, anyone in a long-term relationship knows that sometimes life just gets in the way and you don’t just drop everything to jump on your partner, forsaking all thoughts of where, when, or how you will look or feel in the morning like you do when things are newer.  Shortly after posting this, I received a comment from a follower saying “this surprises me. I thought you were active”.   This response jarred the shit out of me.  He wasn’t wrong in his thinking based on my blog, and my non-monogamous lifestyle.  But it brought to light something I have been struggling with in my personal life, and that is keeping active in non-monogamy when I feel like my home life is a complete mess (feel free to scroll through some of my recent posts to see a few reasons why).

I firmly believe that I should be in a good dating state of mind, in order to meet someone new, and be ethical about pursuing something beyond a fling.  Please note that these are rules for myself, and myself alone.  I do not ever judge or criticize other humans for how they seek to find happiness.  Again, I don’t personally subscribe to the idea that I want someone to make me better or pull me out of my funk.  Instead, I want to be funky, awesome, and attract a person who see’s that light in me because it’s already glowing.  Not a person who wants to fix me, support me, or hold my hand through the tough times.  I approach that from a place of already having a partner, and if I am honest, when I was single and dating, I always attracted people who reflected my current mood.  It wasn’t until I started getting laid regularly from my incredible fwb, that I was able to meet my current partner.  I needed the sexual confidence and devil-may-care attitude to shine through, rather than the, holy crap, I will jump anything that moves mentality.

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So here I am, admitting, that while a little date here or there during this really rough winter may have boosted my energy and confidence, I just didn’t feel right about it.  Since our Christmas holiday, I think we have only visited the lifestyle club once, and gone on 2 couple’s dates?!?  Those number are really low for us.  And quite indicative of the mindset I have been finding myself in.  I just wanted to keep to myself, focus on breathing, and definitely zero interest in finding anything fun or relaxing.  You know that low, where you just don’t feel you even deserve to be happy or to take a break?  So yeah, obviously I was not keen on meeting new people.  And again, that twitter comment really hit me hard.  Why wasn’t I active?  Why was I stopping myself from having any fun?  How was that possibly helping me feel better?

So here I sit, puzzled over why I felt the need to punish myself.  And why I hold myself up to these incredibly high standards that I always have to be in an amazing place in order to meet people, and have fun.  Looking back on my life, I cannot think of a single time when I was prepared to meet the incredible people that I have closest to me.  They were random, unplanned, and un-calculated.  So, with this post, I am admitting, what many of those in non-monogamy already know, and that is life happens, lows happen, and that shouldn’t make you feel like you need to hand in your open relationship, swinger, polyamory, or all the beautiful relationships variations cards just yet.  I am still an active member of this community of sex positive people, even if my legs don’t show the evidence of all the sexy time’s I wish I was having.

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The Pride Badge

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Yesterday, I was doing one of my favorite things, getting paid to talk about beer.  I was having a lovely day, out in the sunshine, chatting with really rad people.  And then suddenly, I was faced with a situation I was not prepared for, a seemingly nice man with whom I was chatting with showed a very ugly side of himself.  I was shocked, horrified, and in that moment, I felt all the importance of pride month and why there is still so much work to do.  While the following story may seem insignificant to many of you, I think dismissing these small offhanded comments shows apathy, and we as a society need to do better.  And for my part, writing a post that clearly defines my position on equality, in that I believe every adult, consenting, human should have the right to love whom they want without judgement, hatred, or bigotry. 

Pride Badge

So here is the story that sparked this little thread.  There is a beer app called Untappd, and this seemingly nice man in his 50s was showing me a few of his recent badges and favorite beers.  We had a few laughs, and the conversation was pleasant overall.  As he was working through my samples of beer, he picked his favorite and added it to his recommended beer list.  When he pressed that little button, a badge popped up, and that’s when I saw him for what he really was.  The badge was decorated in bright rainbow colours, with the word pride printed boldly in the middle.  He immediately exclaimed that he “was not fond of that one, wished he could delete it, but shhhhh don’t tell anyone because that could get him shot!”

I just stood there, shocked, and completely silent.  Did this man just admit to me that he was homophobic, didn’t support pride, and was actually worried that he would have violence inflicted on him for sharing this view?  What the hell?  Without any reaction from me, the guy thanked me for the beer and left.  It was over as fast as it began.  For him, it was a passing comment, that he inappropriately shared with a stranger.  But for me, it left me with a true uncertainty for those around me.  A day later, I still have this terrible feeling in my gut, that there was so much more to that sentiment.  And I am horrified to imagine that there are so many out there just like him.  Of course this troubles me.  How could a badge that means so much for so many, also illicit such hate and spite from another?  Why, are we so polarized on this issue as a society?  What can possibly be gained from hate?  Why is there still so much fear from a group of people that have actually done nothing that I am aware of, to deserve it?  Oh, that’s right, we as a society still fear sex.

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Pride Parades

When I have been a spectator at my local pride parade, it usually feels like an incredible celebration that I feel like to be a supporter of.  I feel so happy that people are coming together and proudly proclaiming that freedom and love go hand in hand, decorated in bright colours.  Even as a child I would get really overwhelmed at parades, and when I went to my last pride day, it was no different.  I had to choke back tears as I watched all these beautiful people, proudly marching down the street, in unity. 

I am sorry to say, I’m not sure I fully understood all the backhand, snide comments, that people who are openly LGBTQ+ have to face every single day.  For me, this was but a disgusting moment in my life.  And please do not misinterpret what I say next.  I chose to be offended by this man’s comment.  I could have just ignored it, dismissed it, and gone on with my life, choosing battles that directly affect me.  But the reality is, I don’t think being apathetic or just ignoring these comments is working.  I was silent in that moment, because I was shocked, and truly did not know what to say.  I didn’t have the words to educate, stand up for what I believe, or to give the guys head a vigorous shake.  I felt powerless.  I say I believe in equality for all humans, but here I am, admitting that in those precious moments that followed his outrageous behaviour, I just hoped he would vanish from my sight.

The Takeaway

What I do know, is I am thankful that this app has a badge that proudly supports pride.  And that it brought to light this man’s prejudices.  And I hope that the next person he shares this story with is better equipped to educate him.  To show him that equality and diversity actually make us a better society, and provide us with a richness far beyond what our comfortable, close minded beliefs default to, a fear of what we don’t understand.  And I hope that someday soon, we will not need pride month, because we will just all be equal human beings who celebrate our diversities on a daily basis with the mantra, you do you, and let me do me (or all of us in a big consent fueled group doing each other!). 

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Making an Honest Woman Out of Me

Black rings are so sexy!

When I first used this phrase in this 2012 post, it was akin to its original meaning, whereby I was told that getting married was the only way to make an honest woman out of “me”.  Well, I am here to celebrate the fact that I am honest woman, I am not married, and, are you ready for the actual bombshell here?  I am very attracted to married men/people.  I have been reluctant to admit this for a while, because I have worried about being called a homewrecker, or having friends of mine worry that I am trying to steal their husbands, or worse, the entire post I needed to write because apparently being married should mean you may never flirt again!

The thing about it is, I believe in ethical non-monogamy.  So when I meet a person who is married, and they are willing to chat with me about open relationships, ask intelligent questions, and then show me even the slightest bit of humanity I swoon!  I cannot help it.  Everyone has a type and this one seems to be mine. 

I can only describe the feeling as “safe” or even secure, when I chat/flirt with someone who is married. Further, I just find it super attractive that they are willing to settle down.  I love the family man as someone to flirt with, have some fun, and just basically get those incredible butterfly feelings.  The other aspect is that a married person typically puts zero pressure on you. Why? They have nothing to lose, as no matter what they have someone amazing to go home to. So, it can be far more relaxing and organic if you will.

Now, if you want to me lay down on a couch and bear out my soul and delve deeper in the psychology of the married man and why I find them so easy to let my guard down with, it is probably because in my long-term relationships I choose men who are not looking to get married.  I find people who believe in autonomy and self confidence, and all the things that I strive for (and if I am honest have been failing at hard core these days).  But back on point, my long-term men are stubborn, self assured people with whom I have never chosen because one day I will get my fairy tale ending and be swept off my feet. The long term attraction is something very different, it’s chemical, and more often than not it gets my little heart hurt.

So knowing that dichotomy of what I choose for myself long term, versus what I fantasize about in the short term (or longer if that’s possible and we can get the wife and my partner and… OK, I need a moment here) is again, dare I say, swoon worthy for me.

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Now of course, at this point I need to mention that this can be very dangerous territory.  My partner and I have dated a few married couples and I think we are sitting around the 50% mark for them getting divorced.  And while I won’t go into any details here, the overall theme, in its most simple, base form, is that they got into non-monogamy to save their marriages and it failed.  Nothing to do with us.  But that does make the waters a little murky.  I don’t want to be a homewrecker.  I don’t want to put a strain on anyone else’s relationship, and I want to be free to explore and build something awesome without the fear of ruining what already could be an amazing thing.  And that really makes this tricky.  I am leery when I see couples fighting or not showing respect for each other when they are out in public, or not fully in love with each other.  I want to expand on the love, add something beautiful, or hot to it.  NOT be that person who is a catalyst to the end.

At this point, I am going to say flat out, I do not want to be messaged for threesomes.  I am not looking to be a third wheel, a unicorn, or anything of the sort. For myself, I find relationships in even numbers much easier to navigate, and by that I mean pairs, foursomes, or moresomes. In fact, I will say, I am not soliciting for anyone to reach out to me for relationships or hookups.  It is not what I am looking for right now, I am simply celebrating the fact that I can be open with digging the married men that I have met.  Making an honest woman of me has nothing to do with the antiquated belief that I need to be married to be whole.  Nope, nadda.  Instead I need partnerships, and to admit that I love married people, who also believe in ethical non-monogamy is one of the more bold statements I have made of late, and I look forward to what adventures this new realization may bring when I am ready!

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Beware of the Nice Guy

The Only Nice Guy I Trust!

I can be an intense, and passionate person.  I articulate my thoughts and feelings in a way that for most new people in my life seems attractive, confident, and refreshing.  I approach people and their relationships in a thoughtful, attentive, and what comes across as a well-balanced way that gives off the impression that it just comes naturally to me.  The truth is, it took me decades to reach this point.  To understand myself, and articulate my thoughts and feelings in such a way that I know exactly when to ask for a hug, ask for space, or just break down and say I have no idea what I need and require help or support. 

Now, having this personality is refreshing to people.  I blossom in one on one conversations, and usually, I can get a persons life story or deepest secrets within a first meeting.  And the range of people I meet this way is fascinating and incredible.  But for purposes of this post, I need to shed light on a specific personality type that has plagued me, over and over again, the nice guy.

When I meet a nice guy I usually steer clear of them, because I will admit, I know the pattern our friendship will take, and I never like the final outcome.  First, we will become super fast friends.  He will feel an incredible high knowing I shared something intimate about my life, and will cling onto that.  He will share, what he feels is similar information and create this overly powerful bond in his head.  Instead of feeling that we are equals, he will start to idolize or fantasize that what we have is special and unique.  And it is.  But… there is a catch.  Men like this, do not recognize that the are getting a high from this.  And that they crave this feeling of being special.  So they start asking more intimate questions.  They start to delve deeper into your world, in an almost invasive way.  Not out of malice but to re-play that initial feeling.  And they poke, and prod into your relationship looking for cracks and dirt so that they can “return the favor” and help you solve some monumental moment in your life.

They, in short, feed off of your negative situation and crave it more and more.  They want to feel special, and the problem is that it is not in your accomplishments but in your failures.  That’s where their emotional boost comes through most strongly.  That’s the role they have found in your life, and the experience that they want to relive. 

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Now, as I mentioned, I avoid these people whenever possible because the reality for me, is I hate having the confrontations with these people.  A few more noteworthy ones include, telling a guy exactly what he has been doing and watching him just melt.  It was gut wrenching and I couldn’t handle it.  Or the guy who got so angry that he called me a tease, and bitch, and well… it got really messy.  Then there was the guy that I tried to coach and deal with more gently.  For this particular guy I ended up having to finally end the friendship because I got so sick and tired of calling out his bad behaviour because he was incapable of breaking this cycle.  And the more I write these the reactions the more I solidify why I just am not equipped to handle this personality type.  It’s icky for me, and I would rather just close the door from the onset.

But, here I sit, realizing that there are situations that I cannot avoid.  Co-workers, mutual friends, and the worst of them all, the men who I thought were normal friends, but see opportunity in something I shared and basically preditorially pounce, thereby changing the entire relationship dynamic, the wolf in sheep’s clothing, feigning as the nice guy to get closer to me. 

So, let me be clear, I believe that the majority of people can change their behaviour once they recognize it for what it is and actually see value in overcoming it.  I’m an optimist and do see overall good in individuals.  From what I have seen, people are mostly devastated when I point out this energy cycle to them, and honestly, I don’t enjoy crushing people like that, because I do not have the energy, expertise, or drive to help anyone like this fix themselves.  This is a hard limit for me.  And why, whenever I have full control, I give a hard NOPE to this particular negative thriving person (again, I know it’s not on purpose, but that doesn’t make it better!).  So, what then do I do with the unavoidable nice guys?  What do I say to them?  Why do I constantly have to be clear, put them in their place, or worse, re draw lines in our friendship to ensure I don’t become prey to their need to “just help me”?  I am not someone who wants pity.  I just want equality in my friendships and authentic communication.  I want to be free to vent about another person in my life without having a reaction of judgment, and the horrible “if I were you” or the life draining sentiment of “ I would never treat you like that”.

Can we just be there for each other during the rough times, and build each other up on the day to day?  Can we find a way to communicate without putting others down?  Or better yet, realize that humans have a great capacity to hold more than one soul dear in their lives.  We don’t need to always vie for that one coveted spot of primary or best friend, or any other of these titles.  Just be a good friend, a good person, and stop the cycle of feeding off of negativity!

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Breaking Free From Gaslighting

Gaslighting

First off, I am a survivor and not a victim.  I say that out loud to myself from time to time, because I find it helps me regain my power and control over the situation that I found myself in a few years ago (sorry I cannot give a specific timeline due to circumstance outside of my control).  Why did it take me so long to come out and write about it?  Because, it was difficult for me to put a label on it, and publicly address what happened to me, especially as, until recently, many of the people I considered extended family read my blog and knew this man.  The silly thing is, the fear of not writing this post, is a key reason why I need to.  I need to break any and all control that my former mentor, and confident has/had over me, and I need to do it from a place of serenity and autonomy, and try not to let the fear of him getting upset and isolating me any further (I still am keeping his full identity anonymous as this is about healing and not about starting a witch hunt). This is my experience as I am Breaking free from gaslighting.

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What is Gaslighting?

When I first read about the term gaslighting, I dismissed it as the latest buzzword.  A trend to label behaviour that was most likely a form of abuse and required a person to just get out of the situation.  For the most part, I dismiss labels, and by doing that I feel that I can be more fluid and not allow them to define or trap me.  However, as I recently discovered, I needed this term in my life, to come to full terms with what was happening to me, and just how bad things were about to get.  If you want a fuller description of gaslighting, please check out this link, but for the context of this post it is someone who never apologizes without making you feel guilty.  It is someone who makes you feel isolated and that everything wrong is your fault, and claims to love you unconditionally with caveats that are completely unachievable.  They lie repeatedly, refuse to take any personal responsibility, and what for me was even worse, they tell everyone that you are the crazy one.  Honestly, there were times that the magnitude of how cruel the whole situation was, I could barely catch my breath.  And being isolated from all my family friends, and not realizing how deep the isolation actually went, I would naively turn to them for help and end up making an even bigger hole for myself, by proving that I was the crazy one who was off kilter. 

All I can say, is that even though he tried numerous times to turn my partner against me, and drive a wedge between us, my partner has the most incredible B.S. detector I have ever met and he called him out for exactly what he was, and what he was doing to me.  Without my partner, I may have crumbled and gone crawling back to this man because I honestly was left with, a feeling of complete nothingness. 

Where Am I Now?

While I still feel the weight from time to time of this person’s years of abuse, and occasionally find myself asking if I am stupid or weak, I have far more good days than bad. I have incredible friends who ensure I do not feel alone, and are happy just to sit in silence sipping a beer with me if I need to, sometimes it’s not enough.  There are moments, that I dream about him, and honestly wake up believing that things are back to how I idealized they were when I was younger.  I feel this incredible calm, that maybe this nightmare I have lived is over, and I am free.  I go back and forth between fantasy and reality, sometimes worried that I will never know the truth.  I am not fully free of this man, and for my mental sanity, I have to just accept that for the time being and continue to find peace in what I can control.  And that, is how I move forward with my life, and how I can forgive myself for living so long with the mental hell of my past.  

And please, out of respect for me, and my families privacy as I continue to work through this difficult time, do not guess who this person is, or try and reach out to that individual.  There is zero good that can come from that.  And I have learned that the only person that I can control is myself.  I am not looking for apologies, answers, or even acknowledgment.  I am simply taking care of my own mental health by writing this very painful post out, and continuing to heal with purpose.

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