Everything Changed When I Told My Friends I'm Polyamorous

Photo: weheartit
explaining polyamory and swinging
Blogger
Love, Self

I never expected THIS.

So what have you been up to?

Oh, you know. Work, the usual …

I had dinner scheduled with a close vanilla friend, and the thought of having to have a conversation about what the definitions of polyamory vs. swinging vs. non-monogamy vs. BDSM — yet again — filled me with dread. After much agonizing, I had decided to come out to her about the decision my husband Flick and I made to open our marriage and explore the swinger lifestyle.

Flick and I had been keeping our non-monogamous status mostly to ourselves over the past year, but I hate keeping a piece of me locked away from people I really care about, especially because it drove our conversations to a superficial place we could never break through, so I would have been comfortable sharing our new relationship status from the get go.

I’m an open book (TMI, who me?), and my exhibitionism comes through in my words as well as in my willingness to share my body.

I’m also nosy as hell, but I almost never ask people questions, which can unfortunately come across. I simply assume that other people do what I do — volunteer any information they feel I should know.

BTW, this has never (read: this has totally) caused confusion and/or problems in my relationships with others.

Flick is much more concerned than I am with keeping things to ourselves. He worries about our being judged by our friends and family. Then in a fun twist, he began telling people about this shift in our marriage much sooner than I did. But anyway ...

Thus began my year of repeating the above-mentioned, “You know, the usual …” — which really meant I pulled away from our social circle.

Pulling away had been made easier by our closest friends having a baby and moving to Scandinavia right around the time Flick and I had our gateway threesome. Several other friends were also in baby-mode or had landed new jobs, so it was a natural time for our relationships to shift.

As I dug into the completely new-to-me world of online dating, my time became consumed by profiles and photos, figuring out what Flick and I wanted, considering rules and guidelines, and messaging with strangers who wanted to have sex with me.

Oh, and having lots and lots of sex. Wheeee!

Something I didn’t consider during this maelstrom of new was what my entering the closet cost the people on the other side of the door.

I’d been in my bubble of New Lifestyle Energy and hadn’t thought about what it might be like for someone watching the snapshots of my life on social media as they shifted so dramatically — small clues my life was becoming anything but “the usual” I was describing.

When I did beginning sharing our choice of non-monogamy with some close friends, they initially reacted with surprised, immediately jumped to declare how it couldn't be a choice for them and began a deluge of interrogations.

"I barely have the energy for one relationship."

"Don't you get jealous?"

"What if one of you falls in love?"

When I finally decided to ovary up and tell one of my dearest friend over dinner recently, her response was ... tears.

Tears of relief for me letting her back into my life.

I saw you had all these new friends and were going on vacations with them and had this whole new life and I thought I was losing you. I love you both and if this is what makes you happy, I’m happy for you.

We held hands and wept together over our dinners.I’d been especially nervous to tell her. She’s been single for a long time, and I worried she would think I was selfish for both having a loving husband AND dating. Like I was stealing all the menfolk, (even though I only date open people and she only dates single, monogamously inclined guys).

Plus, I knew she’d had a lot of creepers contacting her for threesomes online just because she’s a single woman, and I worried she’d lump us in with the people I’d heard her complaining about.

Basically, I locked her out of my life so she couldn’t lock me out of hers.

Turns out, she was neither surprised nor upset by my revelation. And it was such a relief for both of us to chat openly about what has really been going on in my life. I told her about some of my relationships. She gushed over giddy feelings for new people in my life and commiserated with me over the very real challenges of non-monogamy. I felt so much lighter when we left the restaurant and so did she. We had a real friendship back.

It was a great lesson to learn as Flick and I entered the 2nd year of our adventure.

The closet appears to offer protection — and is essential for people who live in places where their jobs or kids could be put at risk if they were out — but that protection comes with costs.

There is risk in being open about being open, but the reward is a return to authentic connection with long-term friends.

I need that, and I’m so glad to have it back in my life.

This article was originally published at Life on the Swingset. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Author
Blogger