Guest Post – A Non-Monogamous Origins Story

Every so often I read an origins story that is raw, real and touches on the true spirit of the non-monogamous journey.  And today, I was lucky enough that the person who wrote it, is not only a friend, but granted me permission to share his series of Tweets on my blog.  Every non-monogamous journey is unique and what struck me about his, is that it is so different from my own.  I don’t want to give too many spoilers, but as many of my readers know, my relationship was non-monogamous from the beginning, whereas his was completely monogamous, and yet, years later, we find ourselves with many more similarities than differences.   

@LustinForya thank you for allowing me to share your series of tweets in the original form, as I feel there is much to be gained by your journey exactly as you shared it!

First off let me preface with the fact that I am 35, have been in a relationship since high school with my best friend. 18 years and 4 kids, and we still have sex daily/multiple times daily. Never thought there was anything “missing” and in the normal sense there still isn’t.

We had both always considered ourselves strictly monogamous. About 6 years ago, we decided to start a dirty anonymous Twitter account up to explore a little of our kinkier sides her being an exhibitionist and me a bit of a voyeur, it seemed like a safe place to begin.

We had YYC in our @ so it didn’t take long till we were chatting with local folks from the naughty side if Twitter Very shortly after that we discovered @capcyyc and were intrigued, a little research, and a few chats with Twitter locals that had been and away we went.

We suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a place where, at the time we didn’t feel like we belonged, we were intimidated and almost bolted Luckily one of our Twitter followers happened to be there that night, we chatted and they were similar to us and really put us at ease.

We ended up having sex for the first time in “public” and it was game changing… the sexual energy it introduced to our already very satisfying sex life was amazing. She was able to be seen, and I was able to enjoy her, and watch others play. It was like the perfect result.

We started making “the club” a regular thing. We met a few cool people but but were still fully monogamous. Fantasy, time and understanding slowly weakened our desire to stay that way. We both expressed a curiosity, and started looking for other couples who were interested.

The lessons we learned weren’t easy ones to handle… communicating needs, wants, and boundaries being foremost But then there’s the rejection… and here’s s a couple posts by @K_Ghislaine I wish I had read back then.

Part I: Rejection in the World of Monogamy

Part II: Rejection in the World of Non-Monogamy

Fast forward through some trials, and we found ourselves out at a different local club and we were invited in to an orgy. This on its own was amazing, but in the middle of a pile of people, we were still just having sex with each other. Not really sure what else to do.

Thankfully, at least for shy inexperienced us, the opportunity for the Mrs. to give another guy oral arose ( yes bad pun I know) And after a quick silent conversation with me, she indulged. All the fear of the unknown that held us back melted away after that moment.

And baby step after baby step over the course of nearly 6 years, we went from monogamy to “full swap” swinging. But that doesn’t make things easier, finding couples that all jive together is so beyond difficult it’s hard to put to words.

The closest thing I can think of… is the difference between our eyes, and the eyes of a mantis shrimp Here is a great video if you don’t get that reference https://youtu.be/F5FEj9U-CJM  Needless to say 99% of the time we went home without any “extra” action.

That 1% though… We ended up making connections with a few pretty amazing people, some of which are probably reading this as I write it. And you can out yourselves if you want you sexy fuckers. Aside from them, for us, the swinging scene just didn’t quite fit

It started to feel like a 5 hour race; Show up, drink, socialize, drink, try to find a couple we are interested in, drink, small talk, drink, chat to see if things click, drink, find a space, and then play All in the span of about 5 hours. Getting too drunk is a easy issue.

Now, I think it’s important to mention, I’m sapiosexual, introverted, and have social anxiety… and I drink very little, 1 or 2 tops. So these “5h races” didn’t sit well with me. The Mrs clung to liquor to calm herself, but it’s a double edged sword, and too drunk was often.

Something needed to change, but returning to monogamy wasn’t in the cards. We looked at our relationship and started talking about casual solo play. We both decided it was something to give a chance and explore.

The Mrs, being the sweet, bubbly, extroverted, drop dead gorgeous, social butterfly. Has always had men tripping over themselves for a chance to take her out. She found a guy she was interested in immediately and started seeing him regularly. Me, no such luck…

I’m glad things played out that way, as I was able to stay objective and and got a chance to explore my feelings, expectations, and projections as they came up, unencumbered by my feelings for another human in the mix

That brings us to our most current relationship evolution. Turns out that the guy the Mrs is seeing is a cool cat, and she’s developed some feelings for him, and him for her She still meets all my needs, and when some aren’t met, we talk, things adjust, and we get closer.

And, even socially anxious, introverted Me, has been able to use online dating (OKC), to make a couple really awesome connections, with some amazing women, who are so incredibly different than my wife, and have been able to satisfy needs that I didn’t even know I had!

I guess that’s the end for tonight, as it’s closing in on midnight and I’ve got to be up at 6, and my thoughts are taking a little longer to make coherent statements Next time… trials of jumping into the dating pool for the first time EVER as a 35yo man.

 

Is it OK to Flirt When You’re Married?

One of the social constraints that monogamy places on a relationship is the notion that once you are married any sort of flirting is suddenly taboo.  That you must close off your sexual identity to everyone except your life partner.  I can see the beauty and sanctity in the ideology behind this thinking, and more I used to subscribe wholeheartedly to it.  You found your soul mate, and all your love should be saved for them.  On paper, it’s sweet, endearing and a fantasy that many of us longingly thought about in our youth.  But, is this practical, real world behavior?  Does this actually make the relationship healthier, and stronger or does it instead plant a seed of jealousy and possessiveness?

Depending on if you are a monogamous or a non-monogamous reader your relationship biases are going to play a major role in answering that question.  The beauty and trust in knowing your partner will never flirt with another human could be an integral part of why you got married.  That idea that you never have to worry, can be incredibly comforting and allow you to explore many other facets of your relationship.  Pair bonding is an incredible experience and not something I want to diminish the importance of as it’s critical in all partnerships.  I fondly remember how incredible it was for me, to tell people, that my first boyfriend and I were each others firsts and only sexual partners (well until our first breakup around year 6 anyways).  We were fully committed to each other in every single aspect of our lives.  And that was a really significant factor in us staying together for 9 years or so.  It gave us something extra to stay together for, something meaningful and gave our relationship an almost added importance.  Additionally, in the no flirting when married school of thought, I must add that many people hate dating and flirting, so they were all too happy to give that all up with marriage and not think about it again.

Now let’s talk briefly about the other side of the issue, the married people who think it is OK to still flirt.  And there are tonnes of us out there, many who would identify as monogamous too.  These are the people, who like me, absolutely love to flirt.  To push the envelope of friendship just slightly past the normal everyday pleasantries.  I for one, see, just how freeing and liberating it is to flirt.  How much a part of my sexuality comes alive when I get to talk, and be playful with new people.  It not only invigorates me, it also revitalizes my relationship with my partner.  Any swinger will tell you that often, they have the hottest sex with their partner when they come home from the club or a date.  So, the idea of flirting actually strengthens many relationships in direct conjunction with a solid foundation.  Having been in long term relationship on both sides of the spectrum I believe flirting, even when married is a true sign of a relationship that trusts, and ultimately has their shit together.

But the reality is that, what I think doesn’t matter.  What really matters is what we as a society publicly do or say.  And that is where I think the meat and potatoes really are because as much as you may agree with me in your head, what you support publicly is what gets noticed.  Take a fellow blogger, who shared her experiences with “bigger than friendship” feelings for a married man.  The public outcry from her followers, on Twitter, was predictably close minded.  The shame, finger wagging and instant judgement that she crossed lines by even talking to this guy, because he was… wait for it… married, was quick and very decisive.  And further that he was in a moral obligation to never have a female friend outside of his marriage, period.  Of course, there were a few open-minded comments speckled in, but until she came out with the piece called Aftermath the critics were outraged.  Was she and the married man engaged in some form of flirtation, how scandalous!  But was it harmless?  Well that depends on your prerogative and what you have negotiated as your own personal marriage terms and boundaries or your base belief system.  Wait scratch that… it actually has nothing to do with anyone but him, his wife and Lucy.

See the thing of it is, us non-monogamous folks, we talk about these things like is flirting ok when we get married.  There are no assumptions made in a healthy and communicative partnership.  We negotiate and re-negotiate our wants, needs and our boundaries.  And what’s more, we implicitly understand that all the people we interact with in the community, are doing the same.  So, we don’t make assumptions for their relationship boundaries either. We ask, we talk, we respect what works for them.  The monogamous world, doesn’t do this.  Instead there are harsh guidelines that public opinion dictates as a result of whomever speaks loudest or often who presents an argument that involves the most public shame, and that becomes the standard.  Protect the sanctity of marriage even though we don’t talk about what that actually means!  Nowhere did anyone ask or suggest, that Lucy, and the married man have a discussion about their friendship boundaries or if that that worked with the wife.  Instead, Lucy, developed feelings, understood that having feelings for a married man was wrong, shameful and ended things.

But what if there was another option?  What if it was permissible to flirt in the married couple’s relationship?  And further what if as a standard for monogamy the conversation about what cheating actually entails occurs?  What if public opinion did not dictate relationship norms, and instead we embraced the idea that each partnership is unique, respected and we went on with our merry little lives?  What if, it is OK to flirt when you’re married?

Curious about Lucy’s story?  I highly recommend you giving this 3 part blog post a read, not only because @LucyGoesDating said I could share!  But also because her blog is super fun to read, and so completely opposite from mine that I adore it. So here is part 1 to get you started, Married Man Part 1.

*** If this piece got you thinking, or you want to support it, or even just continue with the discussion (because, I didn’t want to make this a two part rant ), I would love for you to join my Patreon community!***

 

Rose Coloured Friendships

In trying to bring the three faces of myself into one all encompassing kick ass being, I can see distinctions and traits that stand out as separate entities and need unity.  The one that has needed extra attention for quite sometime is the face of me that is still tied firmly in my past.  As I said in my last post, I have friendships that are maintained with rose coloured glasses.  Maybe a few of you have felt this, a friendship that you have had for so long, that as you grow and change through life, the rational for being friends is replaced by time, which I will call history.  You just have so much history together, that you don’t even think to analyze the friendship or see of it is really is worth keeping.  You accept that person through and through, and just stop trying to better each other.  The comfort is there, the time spent, and you could just as easily accept that you will be friends for life.  Or you could react, challenge each other and re-ignite the reason for being friends in the first place. 

If this were a marriage it would be headed for divorce or counseling.  But being a friendship, it seems different.  It seems to want to fall into the category of unconditional love.  And yet, if nothing is being gained and in fact is starting to play a detriment to one’s life, then why keep it?  Just because it is comfortable, does not mean it is a good thing.  A comfortable career is boring, the same holds true with a marriage, and with trying to bring symmetry to my personalities the same must hold true for friendships. 

I have grown lazy in my friendships.  Pretending that they did not need work, and that I was comfortable having people in my life who remind me of who I used to be.  I want more.  I want friends who want to hang out with the person who is working to master all three faces of herself.  Who want to laugh, drink, do silly things, and not accept any mediocrity.  This is who I am at work, with my colleagues and customers.  I challenge all my staff, along side myself to push through, think outside the box, and better themselves.  I am good at cheerleading when it comes to work.  I have been lousy when it comes to friendships.  And I think the common denominator is my lack of assertiveness.  I am not assertive with my friends.  I have wanted simplicity and a nice glass of wine.  Playing nice has left me with nice friends.  I want better, and I want to be a better friend.  I have broken all rose coloured glasses with my family, and colleagues, and now it is time to do the same with my friendships.  One amazing person for all aspects of my life.

Ashley Madison: A Few Gray Areas

It should be noted that I do not condone lying or cheating.  I promote healthy dialogue, and share with my readers my own open relationship through some of its ups and downs.  And with that in mind here are a few things that I feel many have missed while sharpening those pitchforks and throwing harsh words at the long list of individuals being outed through the Ashley Madison Hack. I will attempt to share a few case studies that I earnestly hope come with critical thinking and reflection as the reality is people are committing suicide over this outing of privacy.

Case Study #1 – A husband and wife found each other through a shared kink, sex with strangers.  As both are high earning members of society they do their best to keep this kink between themselves and the discreet partners that they have.  They each have a paid account whereby they are able to fulfill their fantasies with full disclosure to the partners they find and more importantly to maintain the spice that fuels their own relationship.  As a result of this hack, their privacy has now been invaded and they both risk losing their careers.  They made a choice to marry, provide support for each others kink, and do so in the privacy of their own lives.  Their choice to have accounts did not affect their careers, enhanced their own relationship and now they face the scrutiny of their peers and strangers. 
Case Study #2 – A man is in a sexless marriage with a woman who is raising their beautiful daughter.  He grew up in a broken home, and made a vow not to ever divorce on account of the childhood he had.  The man has wants and needs.  Through this website he has been able to fill a physical need with woman who are in similar situations.  He has been a member of the site for over 7 years and not once has it had any negative effect on the family.  There is no emotional connections being made, just simple physical acts that allow him to raise his daughter and maintain his marriage.  All that is now at an end.  He is losing his wife, and custody of his daughter.  She will now be raised in a broken home.    
Case Study #3 – This powerful article which is a first hand account of why a woman signed up for Ashley Madison https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/08/24/email-ashley-madison-user/.
I am not naive that there are thousands upon thousands of users that are lying and cheating to their partners on this site, after all, the tagline, “have an affair” is in plain site.  I simply am putting these few examples out there to acknowledge that not all users all “evil”.  Nor are the families who now are being forced to make decisions based on societal influences.  He who is without sin, and all the jazz.  Do not support internet terrorism.  

Faith: Children of Divorce

A study just came out that children of divorce have a weaker connection to God and religion than compared with children who grow up with a married family.  The first reaction I saw to this article was, “this is the first positive outcome to divorce”.  And yes I laughed, after all we are universally born atheists.  But there is a huge underlying problem in this.  Religion and family are so delicately balanced that at the onset of divorce, it is so easy to say goodbye to religion as well.  It makes me wonder just how many people out there are getting married for religions sake being the primary reason.  This raises all sorts of societal implications regarding the true importance of marriage.  Would it be so important in our society if not for religion.
I know in my own personal experience that within the month my ex and I got engaged he was offered a promotion and a raise.  Being engaged with plans to marry says something in the corporate world, something favorable about a man’s character.  I am not quite sure this is the case with woman, as the assumption is that once that lady walks down the aisle, the kids will start popping out.  But it also says something about faith and morality.  If a person is the marrying type, then it stands to reason that they have strong family values and a good moral compass.   They can plan, see their future, which is proof of this strong foundation.  These core values are rooted in many religions throughout the world.  So it is no wonder that religion prays so well with marriage. 
“You don’t need religion to have morals. If you can’t determine right from wrong then you lack empathy, not religion.” – Unknown (I am leaving this unknown, as some people have credited this to Morgan Freeman, however there are sources that look like it was said prior to him).  With more atheists having freedom to share their views with less backlash, it is no wonder that the breakdown of marriage directly affects a child’s ability to see the value in religion.  An organization that puts such strong focus on simple human behavior is bound to see a slide in their attendance and subscriptions when eyes are opened to the notion that empathetic human beings with strong morals can exists in the absence of religious guidance.
George Carlin said “don’t just teach your children to read, teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything”.  When we educate our children to their full capacity, we provide them the most valuable gift, critical thinking.  It is not just enough anymore to follow in the political, and religious footprints of our parents.  We are not raising little clones of ourselves, instead we are raising individuals who have the chance to make a difference in the world.  To have the freedom to think, and choose to be the people that they want to be, for themselves and not an invisible being.  I clearly remember when I realized that could be a good person without the fear that something or someone was watching me all the time.  I do not think there is any direct correlation between my mom getting divorced and my lack of religious belief.  But I do feel very strongly that because my parents were breaking their ties, I learnt the skills to think critically about their situation, and this for me lead to a natural questioning of religion.