I said in an earlier post that my wife was the one that came to me with the idea of opening our relationship. Even though I had been in a polyamorous relationship before we were married, I didn’t think that it was a model that was going to work well in my marriage. It felt too risky. But I was miserable in a monogamous box. I was in therapy talking about how I was miserable. I was wondering how this would all work itself out.
My wife talked with a good friend of hers about relationship dynamics, and that was the seed that led to a long conversation with me about opening up our marriage. I was surprised that she had changed her mind on monogamy, since she had been so adamant about it being just us. But I was very happy that she was reconsidering, and said yes as soon as humanly possible.
We did talk about boundaries, and at the time it felt like we were being realistic. But we really had no idea what the specifics were going to be. At best it was a well-meaning stab in the dark, but it felt really good communicate in such a clear and intentional way. We had been so stuck in our old patterns of communicating that even this small little shift was a breath of fresh air.
I spent that next day trying my damnedest to create a good OKCupid profile, answering as many questions as I could. I really dug into it with an enthusiasm usually reserved for kids at christmas. I had unrealistic expectations of meeting someone within a few days, and then my poly life would just unfold into this magical extension of myself. I also expected that my wife would have a harder time meeting folks, or working through jealousy.
And, of course, it was exactly the opposite. My wife immediately went out on a flurry of dates while I sat at home and had a crippling bout of self-doubt. I was feeling very insecure, but also wanted her to have fun because I was looking forward to that myself. Her phone was going off every few minutes with new message notifications from OKCupid, while I was having maybe one or two conversations that I was clinging to like they were my last hopes. Although I never wanted to go back to monogamy in those darker moments, I was definitely concerned with what I had gotten myself into. I felt like our new open relationship was going to consist of me watching her go out while I sat at home.
I tried to remind myself that we were after to very different things in our other relationships. She was looking for novelty and fun, while I was solely focused on creating big emotional connections. I was naturally going to take a longer time to get going, and she was going to find a lot of people on the internet that were looking for the same thing she was looking for. I also tried to remind myself that there was totally a gender component to this, regardless of how I might personally feel. I felt like I needed to become more stoic and detached from investing myself so heavily into a website that doesn’t exist in any rational way.
It wasn’t until the end of the second week, when I got a message out of the blue from the person who would become my first post-wedding poly relationship, that I really started to settle out and come into my own. And it was through her bringing me to poly meetups that I met the community that I consider so crucial to the way that I live my life. I had a ton of other things to think about at that point, but having that other relationship really convinced me that my insecurities weren’t a referendum on my self-worth.
I wish that I could go back and talk to the me of those first few weeks. I know that I have a lot of information now that I was aching for back then. In fact, I remember writing in my journal back then that I was jealous of the me that would exist now. I would just be living my life, having my relationships, reveling in those connections. I wish that I could just tell him to be patient, to work on himself. Go to the gym, or read a book, or take a walk of something. Let it happen. Everything in its own time.
It’s so easy to say that now, two years removed from those moments, but it’s the truth. I feel really bad for the me that existed in those two weeks, or anyone who went through something similar. What I can do now is talk with those who are going through those similar times, and try to help where I can. I guess that desire to help is part of where the wannabe poly shaman in me comes from. That desire is why I like to tell my story, in case it is helpful to others somehow.
Those two weeks were really hard. I’m glad I’m not there anymore.