Oops! I Read the Comments Section When a Dating Blogger Mentioned an Open Relationship

So of course, just when I think people are starting to come around to the acceptance of non-monogamy, I go ahead and read a few words of “wisdom” from the real world.  Ugh!

Let me preface this by saying proudly that I am exuberant over the love, support and acceptance I have found in my real life, and my social media world.  I have worked hard to surround myself with educated and loving people, with whom I respect even at moments of disagreement and with whom I have convinced myself that they show the same respect for mine.  But in the last few weeks, I have seen something that takes me back to a time before I found this incredible community and it’s heartbreaking.

There is a dating blogger who is sharing her story about being in her first open relationship (the specifics about committing to this or trying to run away screaming are not really relevant here).  So, I will simply summarize by saying she is sleeping with a man who is polyamorous and engaged to another women, and whatever her actual motivations are, she is sharing this experience on her blog.  And as such, I have been reading and following along, with a bit of nostalgia, going back to when I first met E, and all the ups and downs that I experienced learning about non-monogamy for the first time.  And that was all well and good, up until I saw her comment section explode and I made the horrific mistake of reading a few opinions on the matter.

The majority of the male comments reflect the notion that this guy is a creep and manipulating the dating blogger for sex.  This sentiment is echoed by the female majority saying things like, “run now”, or “I’ve been down this road and it only leads to heartache”, and “why are you wasting your time on someone who could never love you?”.  All in all, it is doom, gloom, judgement and criticism from a monogamous side of the world that I don’t often see. 

How is this possible, you may be asking yourself, given the content of your blog?  Honestly?  I’m not 100 percent sure, so if you want to weigh in on this, please be my guest (in the comment section would be lovely!).  What I do know is that my blog didn’t evolve to non-monogamy, and thus I have never captured this broader monogamous audience.  I have been very open and honest right from the get go about what content lies within.  And whenever I write something controversial, I try to do my research ahead of time, and aim to present a balance of ideas whenever possible.  Again, this really is a point that you, dear readers are welcome to share your rational for coming back week after week.

But back to the comment section of this particular blogger.  You see, she is doing something incredibly tricky, which is to explain a situation to an unwilling audience, and that is what directly challenges their core beliefs about the evils of non-monogamy.  It is so easy to use words like cheater, manipulator and user.  So much so, that I believe if this guy ever found out about her blog, he would end things immediately.  Some perceptions you just cannot come back from regardless of your intentions.  So I sit here, reading comments and feeling heartbreak and shame that this is the world that open, polyamorous and swingers really fear.  This judgemental, and hate filled place, shouting uneducated opinions and all manor of unsympathetic close-minded views really exists.  For you see, this is a place were logic fails, and fear takes over.  This is the black hole of the social media internet that all writers and bloggers fear.  This is the place where your level-headed sanity begins to question things and your resolve wanes in the face of public opinion.

I want to tell myself that I should never read the comments.  But the reality is that I needed that reminder that the world is not as advanced as I have been leading myself to believe.  My readers are amazing.  My supporters are wonderful.  But there is an entire world out there that is going to judge first and ask questions never.  When I finish writing my first book, this is the world I will be facing.  This is the place I need to be aware exists and this is the land I need to learn to rise above. 

In the meantime, thank you for reading, supporting and doing what you can to build the sex positive community.  I need people like you and I hope on some level you need me too!

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My Holidays, My Family, My Way

In just a few weeks, my partner and I will pack up our car and begin our annual road trip south for the holidays.  It has become our tradition and something that I just couldn’t imagine not doing.  But when I tell people that we are doing this, the very first question I get asked is, “oh are you going to go visit family?”.  Well, let me just preface this by saying, my partner and I are a family.  For us, Christmas isn’t a time for visiting our family.  It is a time for us.  We go down there because we love it, it gives us a chance to relax, do whatever we want without any obligations and simply to have just a total and complete reset.

It’s funny though the looks you get from friends and acquaintances who just cannot imagine ever not spending the holidays with their family.  It is almost a moral obligation.  We are outsiders, again, straying from the norm.  Here’s a familiar term within my blog, I am once again an outlier in the way I do things.  Just because you have always spent time with your family does not mean that you have to continue to do that.

In my immediate family, the holidays were about obligation, and stress.  It was about dividing time between families, and scheduling dinners, and basically pleasing everyone but myself.  I was informed that I was only allowed to make my own holiday traditions once I had children of my own.  Until then, I was on everybody else’s clock.  And for a while, I was compliant.  I spent my 20’s just driving from house to house, having quick little visits and then heading home craving that celebratory drink, thankful that I survived another year without tears or having huge blowouts with certain family members.  Writing this, I honestly cannot believe I actually tolerated this way of spending the holidays for so long.  Especially knowing what I know now.  The holidays can actually be really fun, relaxing and completely drama and stress free if you choose to do it that way, and you better believe that I do.

I love many things about Christmas.  I love watching movies, baking cookies, and drinking all the Christmas cheer I can get my hands on.  I love getting dressed up for the parties, and wishing happy holidays to strangers on the street, and just the general joy that seems to be in the air.  It has a sense of wonderment and magic that makes me so happy.  But I also appreciate that I can do all those things completely obligation free when I am far away from those that have kept me locked in tradition for so long.

Last year, we had our entire campground to ourselves for Christmas and spent the morning drinking beer, taking sexy photos and just enjoying each other’s company and the sunshine.  In the evening we got invited to a potluck for all the people who didn’t have family that year, and my goodness it was amazing!  Everyone was so thankful to be there, that Christmas cheer was overflowing.  There was absolutely zero dinner stress.  There was no bickering, no drunk aunt that was going to say something offensive and possibly ruin the rest of the night.  There was no secret sign between partners as to when the appropriate time to make your leave was going to be.  There was absolutely zero, and I mean zero drama or even a hint of it.

That is how I choose to spend my holidays.  That is how I want to celebrate this joyous time of year.  That is why I have zero qualms about driving for nearly 30 hours at a time to arrive at this little peace of tranquil perfection.  I firmly believe that the relationships in your life should enrich you in some way.  We cannot choose our family, but we absolutely have a choice in how we spend our time, and with whom.  Even if you feel the overwhelming obligation or guilt this year, try and remember to take a little time for yourself.  Spend authentic time with those that are important to you this holiday.  And perhaps you will be lucky enough to have the mindset spill over into the rest of the year.

 

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Cheating is Still a Gender Biased Issue

A few years ago I wrote a post aimed at women who cheat and how they give non-monogamy a bad name.  It’s something that over the years has come up time and time again, and the reason I wrote it pointing the finger at women specifically is that I feel there is a huge discrepancy between how we treat men who cheat, versus women.  And thus, I want to address this point again, but from a different angle now that I have grown a little older, wiser, and if I’m honest a little bolder with my recent life experiences.

Firstly, whenever I hear the sad news that a friend of mine has experienced cheating, the first thing I do is calmly remove myself from the situation and slowly gather information before forming any opinion.  I have learned that being Switzerland is a far more valuable place to sit than just picking sides and quickly reaching out to both parties in a quest to plant my flag on the winning side.  I am always available to listen, and provide any insights when asked, but as I have mentioned in previous posts, I do not go out of my way to seek out drama anymore.  I would rather be approached than provide my unsolicited opinions into someone else’s very complex relationship.

The next step I take, and the most important one to this post and my current gender blogging trend, is to pretend that the opposite gender is telling me the story and gauge how my reaction changes to the information (yes this is valuable in same sex couples too).   And why do I feel this is so important?  Because throughout my childhood and formative years, I bore witness to at least a dozen acts of indiscretions either through my mother, or hearing her talk with her friends about them.  And one clear thing always resulted, a witch hunt, and it was almost exclusively towards the male.  Whether the man did the cheating or not, he always seemed to deserve it somehow.  He either treated the woman badly and thus drove her away, or he was lying man-whore who should have never gotten married in the first place, or the ever common drunken mistake with the whole forgive and forget or divorce the so-and-so etc.

Growing up with this constant narrative, I began to ask myself why cheating was always exclusively blamed on the man.  And further to this, why the women always escaped unscathed even when they were the ones who very often cheated.  And this line of questioning started to expand further after having experiences of my own in the this very dicey place.  Every single time that I have come close to cheating it has been my own doing, and I would say 80 percent of the time, the man has been the one to put the brakes on.  Yes, this is full disclosure.  I was very unhappy in the latter part of my last long term relationship and I came increasingly close to cheating on numerous occasions.  And again, I repeat, I was the one who was in the drivers seat.  And what’s more, I was the one who consciously drank excessively in order to have something to blame if I got caught or needed an out.

Perhaps I am just more self aware than many people out there.  Or perhaps I just have reached a point in my life whereby I would rather be honest with myself and others than sugar coat a damn thing.  Whatever the case may be, I have not actually participated in this male witch hunt.  And that is definitely against the grain.  Yes, it takes two people to cheat.  And yes, relationships are incredibly complicated, and that only supports my theory that always blaming one side, especially the men is just wasted time, energy and makes everyone involved look even more like the assholes.  So I guess where I am at right now is that cheating is an issue for the couples themselves.  If you are going to form an opinion on someone else’ relationship, I don’t think it is too much to ask that you try and look at it from both sides first.  Cheating is a gender stereotyped issue and thus we need to ensure that we flip the narrative and judgement every once in a while, if for nothing else, than to give hope to the future generations that cheating will be discussed more fairly and judged on individual merit and not just gender sway.

I would love to hear your opinions on this, or lessons that you have learned when it comes to helping friends through indiscretions, so please leave a comment or reach out to me on Twitter.

So Naïve! The Couples Quest

I’m sure I have touched on this topic before, but in light of a recent conversation on the Hunter Gash and Alley Cat show (Which you should check out at GTFO if you’re 18 or older) I feel it deserves another look.  When E and I decided to look for couples to date together, I went into it with rose coloured glasses.  In short, I was optimistic and naive.  I honestly thought that amazing people would attract each other and that finding couples would be easier than finding new singles as a result.  I thought that all you would need to do was vet one person, and then naturally they would bring to the table their equally amazing partner, just as I was doing.  We would all get together for drinks, and laugh, share stories, and sexy times would inevitably be the result.

Yes, I went into this whole thing believing that finding couples would be simple.  I never considered opposites attract.  Nor did I ponder just how one sided many relationships are when it comes to entering into non monogamy.  I foolishly assumed that if two people were ready to head out on a date, that they would have put the same level of work into their relationship that my partner and I had.  That they would be confident (after the nerves of the first meeting wore off), and sure of what they wanted.  Oh, and I thought that as couples this would eliminate all the ghosting, bread-crumbing and they would be serious, AKA not time wasters.  It after all takes work to schedule 4 people, and that investment alone should mean that we are all willing and able.  Hence, when we finally meet, everyone would have the same goal, which is to have fun, and see if we all get along to determine if we would become friends or something more.  Oh my poor little naive and optimistic heart…

I also, very foolishly thought that because I already have a partner, and was not looking for perfection, that the couples we interacted with would be on that same wavelength too.  You know, looking for fun, willing to overlook a thing or two, and just enjoy the experience of meeting new people.  But oh no!  That has not been the case at all.  In fact, just recently I was chatting to a couple that I thought would be a lot of fun, and was just about to start scheduling a meeting between the four of us, when they dropped the bombshell.  They wanted to find a couple to help them raise their family.  I replied that we weren’t quite at that point yet in our lives with family, but why don’t we meet to see if we even click and go from there.  Not only did they not respond but I got deleted and blocked!  I mean I get that we weren’t quite on the same page, however, what’s the harm in meeting or at least getting to know a couple before you start a family with them?

And did I mention that we are looking for a stable couple?  And by stable, I do mean a couple who love each other, and have a good solid foundation.  A couple that leaves the majority of their drama at the door.  Yes, we all have issues in our primary relationships, but we have come across two couples in particular who used opening up to try and save their troubled relationships.  And guess what, it didn’t work!  And it really sucked for us, as the couple coming into it.  For you see, I begin to care about the people I’m dating, and then when the relationship deteriorates I get upset too, and there are tears and then pretty much everyone breaks up!  It’s a crappy feeling!

So now I go into these first meetings a little guarded and I make a point of asking how long the couple has been together to potentially avoid that particular pain.  And while I can weed out the FWB or new partners very quickly it’s still time consuming business.  I tend to gravitate towards couples who have been together 5 plus years.  I find couples who are in love and stable to be much more attractive than just a couple of hot FWB who only have amazing sex together and no real intimacy.  Why?  Because I am not looking for one time hookups.  Scheduling is tough.  My life is very busy.  Finding partners who are in the same boat makes life much more relaxed and easy going, as you can accept everyone’s priorities and really value the moments the four get together.  For me, it is more intimate and special.

I hope in the next few years, I can lower my guard a little and go with the flow again.  But right now I feel stuck in this weird zone of too many red flags from everyone I talk to.  And I suppose part of the reason is in that open relationships, swinging, etc are becoming a little less taboo.  So the pool is getting a little fuller around the edges.  Many couples are dipping a toe in here and there.  Or testing the water, so to speak.  While exciting, it’s a little tricky when your ready to start swimming laps, and leave the water wings behind.  But hey, at least a few of those toe dippers will stick around to experience the full pool soon right?

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Swingers Rules and Why I am an Outlier Part II

Welcome back to Swingers Rules and Why I am an Outlier.  And if you missed Part I and need a list of rules I am discussing, here is a handy little link.

In the swinger community not only is drama bad, but all emotions are frowned upon.  If you develop any sort of feelings you must end things with that partner and move on.  To me, this reads like immature men created a rule so that they could ensure their wives wouldn’t leave them.  Or to hide behind this mantra and fake ignorance if they were ever caught having sex outside of a club setting.  “I swear baby, she meant nothing, it was just sex”.  I don’t buy it, and I hope no one in my community plays into this antiquated way of thinking either.  Feelings are natural, and to end things because you cannot control or compartmentalize or simple enjoy them in the moments and beyond is close minded.  It is a mentality of the swinger world I want nothing to do with.

Are swingers really still this close minded you may ask?  Only 2 weeks ago I saw a person ask on a popular swingers forum about the protocol with this rule, because she was getting butterflies for a new play partner, and thinking about them outside of the club.  The unanimous response from our swinging overlords was that the “feelings be immediately shut down.  There are NO feelings allowed in swinging.  If you have feelings then end things, move on to someone else.  This is a place for the physical only.  We are not whole human beings when it comes to play time. We are objects of pleasure and only pleasure.”  Ok, so I started paraphrasing towards the end there, but it was based off of nearly 25 respondents.  All shouting wildy that she was breaking a cardinal rule and needed to re-evaluate her wants and needs.  This was supposed to be a safe place for sex, not a breeding ground for feelings or emotions.  Yeah, see, this just will never be my bag baby.  I am much more sexual and expressive with someone I get to know, than I ever could be with a stranger.  I cannot just turn things off in order to turn things on. And I don’t feel alone here.  Things are changing.  Feelings aren’t bad and shouldn’t make me an outsider or a bad swinger.  But in this pretentious world of rules, they do.

And the last bone of contention is the never make swingers out of friends rule.  Obviously vanilla people (as the term goes) would most likely be uncomfortable with getting hit on by swingers with no warning.  I get that.  However, I have had success with making partners out of friends.  And I believe that I surround myself with people who have an emotional IQ that would allow them to be flattered and politely reject my advances rather than blow the friendship up right there and then.  Now I am not saying I have ever approached a vanilla couple with my partner, but the taboo exists.  I think if we met the right couple I would have no issue with at least playing with the idea.  Are we not all adults who can handle a little flirtation and fantasy now and then?  Or is the goal to have strict division between all your social interactions?  Boring!  Make friends out of swingers, not swingers out of friends the forums shout, again and again and again.

I know I am outlier because I do not believe that rules of swingers have ethical non-monogamy at heart.  They were created in a time and place where anonymity was more important than the consent and safety of its members.  If the rules were made to keep people anonymous and safe, why then do so many feel like outsiders looking in.  Or fear the public shaming and pain if they break any of these cardinal laws.  The rules do not work for me or my lifestyle or even my core beliefs of how to interact with my current and potential partners.  These rules currently in place need to be left behind.  To become relics of the swinging past they were created for.  They create boundaries and hinder the natural course of getting to know people and do nothing to promote the fun and safety that I seek.  But I believe I am part of a growing number of couples, dissatisfied with the current standard and ready to breath new life into a community that has so much potential.  Stay tuned for the Next Generation of Swingers…