We probably did more communicating the year before we opened our marriage than we had ever done before or since. And it was where I learned the most valuable lesson about communication that I could have ever hoped for—you can never, ever be prepared for people's reactions, the responses—whether negative or positive that always say so much more about the speaker than about us.
No matter how well you might think you know your partner. It's almost impossible to know what they'll say when you say, "Honey, I've been thinking. And what I've been thinking is that I want to sleep with other people." Seems to me, if you can say that to the person you promised to love, honor and cherish until death do you part, you can say ANYTHING to them. And once you can say anything to them, well, it's a heck of a lot easier to say anything to other people too.
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And that's why as unprepared as I was for people's reactions, those reactions brought out, I think, the best in me. Their comments—no matter how harsh or unkind or unfair—make me calmer and stronger and smarter. And they honed the skills that I had been working on in my marriage. In turn, I brought those skills back to bear on my marriage and my relationship with my current girlfriend Jemma. Being with her has taught me once and for all that love isn't a limited commodity. That being poly is about honoring one's sexuality not exploiting it. And that just because you feel like you're alone in the world, alone in your views about love and sex and life and relationships, doesn't mean that you really are.
Of course, just between you and I, she's always teasing me that she's more of a duo-amorist rather than a poly one.
All of this has made me acutely aware of how much the people who came before me in this fight have done. How much all of you have done just by living your lives without compromise. How tirelessly those who have long been fighting the good fight have inspired all of us to communicate honestly in all of our relationships, with intimates, friends, or family. How they have taught us how to communicate with the rest of the world so that there might be more acceptance and less hate as we move forward. This is not to imply that we have to tell everyone everything. But it does mean being true to ourselves when it comes to the messages we convey to others.
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This is never easy in the best of situations. But what I have learned is that it's worth it, what it teaches us as a community is that we are worth it and so I try every day to live fully and honestly and authentically. To, as an old theater director used to tell me, "Really be there. Be where you are." All of you have been my guides in doing that, and though we will continue to face those whose lives are controlled by hate and fear, we must rise above and show them by example just how delicious life can be.