It is my favorite time of the year. The days are as long as they are going to get, and the early mornings are cool and beautiful for running. The evenings are long and stretch past my occasional bedtime. I ran this morning on a path covered by blossoms from a tree thinking it was still late Spring. I turned around early as deerflies and black flies swarmed around my head, looking for fresh blood infused with coffee and sugar. Such is summer in New England.
It has been a little over a year since my adventures in nonmonogamy began. A year since that wonderful lady in my club invited me into a life that even now challenges my assumptions and sets me thinking. My club is holding Insatiable again this weekend, and I am considering attending, if nothing else to celebrate a year of nonmonogamy and a year of sobriety.
What have I learned and how have I changed? Well for anyone who regularly reads my blog, I have tried to get out of my own way, allowing myself to experience things I would have considered off-limits. I have accepted my own bisexuality, even if I am only out to my Love and lovers. I have accepted polyamory and now have two regular loves in my life, and room for more. My wife is still my Love. My poly partner I will be calling Wisdom. I am dating, which is new and exciting. I am also a voice, one among many, about how to embrace life and living and being who we are.
So if I am to truly embrace this lifestyle (poly, bisexuality, swinger…pick a feature), how long can I live it in secret? I listen to Cooper on Swingset, asking for those people who are non-monogamous to come out, and I am sorely tempted. In truth, I am a little bit more out now than I was while writing all of my previous articles. I told my boss I am poly. Normally I probably would not have chosen a boss as a poly coming out candidate, but there were good reasons. First, some of my closest friends work with me, not just in the company, but in the department. Two of them know about my extracurricular activities (poly and swinging, though interestingly not bisexuality). We talk, sometimes about how the weekend went (one of them tells me he is living vicariously through me. I suspect he is not the only one). My boss has been friendly with my wife for a long time. I was concerned that overhearing some random snippet might cause incongruence between the ethical person I try to be and a cheater betraying a friend. To resolve this conflict before it became a problem, I consulted with my Love, and she agreed that it would be better to be truthful up front rather than have assumptions made. He was fine with it, saying it really didn’t mean that much to him. In truth I only came out as poly. I date and see other women. I did not mention swinging or bisexuality, and that omission is what sparked this entry. But it felt so good to be accepted!
I am not the first person to correlate coming out as poly/swing to be similar to what the LGBQ community felt (and still feels) about acceptance in mainstream society. Indeed our battles are similar, seeking acceptance for who we are without judgment. Having come out a little, as only one facet (only poly), how much harder would it be to come out in the other factors in my life? Bisexuality, for me, seems to be the larger hang up. There are still many subtle (and not so subtle) homophobic comments and attitudes among some of my colleagues. I suffer these in silence, wondering if they would change if they knew that they were hurting one of their own. Would coming out stifle conversations, asking others to further examine their own blind spots? Could it drive bigotry into the closet? Would it even matter to anyone other than me, and is that enough? Even if I came out as a bisexual, could I integrate the poly/swing aspects? Swinger seems the more difficult of the three for society to accept. (Sorry Cooper, but I think it is true.). But how much more urgently needed are poly/swinger emissaries to the vanilla world? And if needed, what makes me think I should be one of them?
Then there’s coming out to family, some whom might prove difficult. My Love and I have discussed how to come out as nonmonogamist to our children, by far the biggest sticking point. My children are both mid to older teenagers and are both very LBGT friendly, but very nonmonogamy unfriendly. She suggested we pair nonmonogamy with bisexual coming out. She thought it would be easier to explain that Dad was attracted to both sexes, but we both look outside of our marriage to find acceptance and additional love. My absences have been explained up to this point by saying I am going out with friends (which is true, if not complete), but my poly partner likes overnight stays (and frankly so do I). My evasions are beginning to morph into outright lies, to my kids at least. Ethical nonmonogamy is supposed to be ethical. Once out though, it is impossible to go back in again, and I realize I am afraid.
A year on my path, and it seems now there are even more questions than answers. I have walked the path without always knowing it. I am far more secure in the sense of myself, what I like, and what I don’t like. All this time, and it seems like I am only beginning to know who I am, and I struggle to define who will get to share it with me.
Salmon: I am sure there are many who are living vicariously through your experiences and your insightful writing. I have had the lets try something adventurous conversation with my wife and unfortunately monogamy is a hard limit for her. It has been a tumultuous year for you and it has been fun and insightful following along. Please keep it up.
Take care, B.