Why We Decided to Close Our Relationship & Go Back to Monogamy

For nearly three years, my partner & I have been seeking to merge our strictly monogamous relationship with what we have found most intriguing: polyamory.

It all started with a confession on his part, where he very carefully confided in me that he felt that his capacity to love was deeper than just me. I remember listening to him speak & feeling like my heart was being pulled slowly out of my chest.

So many emotions washed over me in that moment—confusion, devastation, admiration (that he could speak so confidently his truth made my heart swell full with respect), deep violation. My entire world was collapsing before my eyes, & at the very height of my emotions, I contemplated divorce.

It took several days before my heart began to soften, which was prompted by the realization that his confession, though incredibly emotionally disruptive, was merely a confession, not a request to switch over to free love right that moment.

We had a series of conversations, most of them gut-wrenching & sob-inducing, & came to one final agreement: His fuller capacity to love was noble, but not mutual, & I simply wasn’t OK with his polyamorous tendencies being actualized.

He understood & agreed to essentially “shut off” his desires to open.

And so it was. The topic wasn’t discussed very often after that.

Several months later, I fell in deep love/lust with a female companion. It was completely unexpected. It shook me to my bones. I felt like a hypocrite, & that, once more, my entire world was falling out of orbit. It was then Jonathan’s turn to be compassionate, & he gave much so much grace & patience as I worked to figure out what all of it meant.

Even though nothing ever physically manifested with my love interest & I, the overwhelming emotions I experienced during that time were enough to change my idea of polyamory. Suddenly, I understood what it meant to both love & lust after multiple people at the same time.

During this time, we sought through books, lectures, podcasts, & hypothetical conversations to make sense of the truth that was circling throughout our consciousness: That perhaps polyamory was more ingrained in us (in me!) than we thought. Our minds spun even more so after reading the book Sex at Dawn, which pretty much proved scientifically that monogamy amongst humans wasn’t the most natural. We couldn’t help but think that we somehow didn’t fit into exclusive partnering very well.

Thus began our experiment into opening up.

I went on a few dates with women. He declared his attraction toward close, unsuspecting friends. I put up a “Married & Available” profile on OK Cupid. We attended Poly Meetups, unabashedly flirted with a lot of good-looking people, & had many intense discussions together as we went through every sort of What If? scenario imaginable.

We played like this for about three years, experimenting with how far we could go, opening ourselves up to people & experiences, & in some cases practically holding up a neon-green signed that screamed, “We’re open!”

And it never got us anywhere.

I was having brunch with a friend a few months ago, & we got on the topic of relationships. I mentioned to her that my partner & I had been seeking to have a polyamorous relationship for a few years, & as I did, I was surprised at my indifference toward the admission.

Usually, this was a time for me to chat buoyantly about my lifestyle, partly with the hope of finding another comrade who upheld the same notions, & partly because I was curious to see if my confession would elicit an invitation for our friendship to possibly go further.

But strangely, everything about polyamory suddenly bored me. I had been feeling for several months a slight repulsion in continuing these flirtations, but it wasn’t until I was retelling my story about what brought my partner & I to explore non-monogamy that I realized how done I was with it.

“I think I’m over it,” I blurted out without thinking.

“Well, you know,” said my friend gently, “it’s OK if you are, honey. You tried it, you gave it a shot. There’s no shame in walking away from it for a time.”

I let her words linger in my mind for a few moments before finally uttering once more, “Yes, I think I’m done.”

We parted ways after brunch & I continued to repeat those words in my head as I walked home.

I’m done. I’m done. I’m done. But why?

I’m done because opening my relationship became too labored. What I was looking for was synchronicity & serendipity—an accidental kind of friends-turned-lovers partnership that would whisk me & my partner away & into a fiery love affair. But it was becoming too contrived, too well-thought out.

I’m done because I simply was not finding what I was looking for. No matter how much I tried, no matter how fervent my lust for expansion & experimentation, the people that came into my life continued to be imperfect matches, people who were not emotionally available (or sound) enough to give me what I deeply yearned for with this experience. I have grown tired of my heart being broken, & of having my hopes sliced by rejection.

I’m done because it’s all been very emotionally exhausting—the wondering, the seeking, the hypothesizing, the desiring; oh, the desiring has been the worst part of it all. Wanting so badly to experience something that you have no earthly idea what it will ultimately bring you, or if it’ll be at the demise of a relationship, or if this is the path meant to be taken, but the desire is still there, strong & unrelenting. Yes, that has been the hardest part for me.

Opening our marriage gave us a lot of things (like juicy conversations & a glimpse into what our partnership could be like with the addition of another), but the one thing it most certainly did not give us was what we were initially looking to experience: physical explorations (i.e., sex).

Not one kiss, not one grope, not one one-night-stand was had in all the three years we were playing. Only emotional affairs that kept our minds & our bodies wound tight with sexual tension & the gnawing What if? thoughts that made our imaginations run wild.

I’ve always seen our lack of polyamorous sexual activity as a negative thing, something that proved to us harshly that we weren’t meant for this lifestyle. These days, though, I am seeing this reality to be more of a blessing as I move into full attention on my partnership. Transitioning back into monogamy wouldn’t be as easy for me, I think, with vivid images constantly flashing through my mind of my lover in the arms of another.

What I realize now more than ever is how incredibly sacred my union is with my beloved.

Our deep, unchanging love, our amazing, spiritual, cosmic sex, our never erring devotion to each other. . . I do not want to share this gorgeousness with anyone. And because I know how powerful erotic energy is, I don’t want to give my body to anyone else.

Rather, I want to focus on other things, like the electric connection I have with Jonathan, & cultivating lasting platonic yet love-filled relationships with my friends (because it was getting so murky that every single person I knew became a “Potential Lover”).

All of this isn’t to say that we’ve given up on polyamory completely. Our curiosity was never quenched, & so, at least on my part, there will always be a sense of wondering. We might come back to it in the future, we might not. When I was speaking to Jonathan about moving back into monogamy again, he said to me, “I could die without having ever expressed polyamory & I’d be fine.”

As for me, I don’t know if I could be OK with dying without ever having actualized my fluid sexuality. But. . . I am learning to, at this point, be OK with & luxuriate in what I’ve already got.

On Desire & How to Harmonize Yourself With Your Hungers

“Desire is the engine of creation. Desire is an evolutionary impulse. Desire leads the way home.” —Danielle LaPorte

We live in a culture where we glorify & congratulate those who follow the rigidity of schedules, diets, regimens, & to do lists; where we’re more prone to denying our needs because in doing so we nobly show self-control & temperance; where our imperviousness towards macarons, reality television, & sleeping in past 6am make us to be a warrior of some kind—one who has the composure & sensitivity of a robot.

I don’t think I have to tell you that we are not robots, yet we regulate, govern, & maintain strictness with our delicate needs as though we were.

Many of us are suffering silently the callings of our hearts to indulge, to feel, to impulsively & deliberately quench the thirsts of our souls. We suffer because we choose to go against our inherent tendency for pleasure, for goodness, for ecstasy, for joy, that which is meant to be our natural state of existence & thriving.

I’ve been working with women one-on-one in the realm of sexual liberation, but we almost always end up on the subject of desire; specifically, what it is they want, what it is they crave, what it is their bodies, minds, & spirits are begging for, & how they can attune themselves to Desire’s whispers (or boisterous bellows) so that they can finally feel harmonious in their bodies & in their sexual expressions.

It always starts with this one simple question: What are your desires?
And then. . . What do you yearn for, crave for?

When I hear these questions, my mind is swarming with its own ideas & visions. . .

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How to Love Your Yoni

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I was reading the newspaper a few weeks ago & saw an ad on the outer corner of a page with the headline “Love Your Lady Parts.” Reading that, I became instantly filled with joy that there was something somewhere in local media that would herald such a positive message to the women of Portland.

But then I continued reading.

“If a large or thickened labia is keeping you from doing the things you love. . . you don’t have to suffer silently. Labiaplasty is a safe solution & is performed right in Portland.”

What a horrendous letdown.

How could slicing off one’s inner labia possibly be the answer to loving one’s lady parts? In my own mind, I cannot imagine how this could be an answer. But I have a personal inclination to love my yoni. Not all have that perspective.

I do not condemn those who choose to get a labiaplasty in order to find peace & acceptance with their vulvas. What I condemn is the idea that getting a labiaplasty is the only option one has to finding peace & acceptance with their vulva.

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I Am Not Bisexual

(IPDATE: I’ve recently made peace with the word bisexual as it is used to describe my sexuality. See this post for more.)

There are words in my language that I do not like. Words that, when said, grate on my nerves as if I had been cut open & had tiny bits of shrapnel put inside my wound.

One of these words is bisexual.

The moment I typed out that I was bisexual, I felt a jolt of energy pulsate through my body, as if I had just licked a battery, as if I had been startled by a noise outside & a million tiny hairs on my body stood on end with alertness. I could feel my breath halt for just a few seconds at the utter realization of that one truth: I am bisexual. I ruminated over this one sentence & the rest of the writing for several days after it was composed, not entirely sure if I had the guts to publish it.

And when I finally did decide to publish it, I felt that same jolt of electricity, that same zap of in-the-moment presence that accompanies any hard or exciting or scary choice I make. It’s hard to explain the feeling. It’s part exhilaration, part queasiness, part soulful elation.

I felt those three things again, coupled with that jolt of electricity, when I actually spoke the words I am bisexual to a listening ear. Only this time, the sensations that moved through my body lingered longer. It made me dizzy. I couldn’t stop wondering if I had spoken too spoke, said too much, revealed a part of me that perhaps needed to rest longer.

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Honoring the Darkness

To sit in the illumination of the sun is easy. It warms the skin, its streams are pleasant & becoming. Everyone looks like an angel when golden rays of light are peering down on them.

But to sit in darkness is difficult. To succumb to the cold, deafening silence of solitude, the misery of depression & confusion—to admit these terrors & to speak of them openly feels like a sick glorification. And there is no glory in darkness.

I sit in sunlight with abandon. I sit in darkness with shame.

When I am lightness, I am as weightless as a feather.
When I am darkness, I pierce infinite nothingness.

I do not want people to see my darkness. I do not want them to know the depths I’m capable of. But to deny that it exists within me feels like a gross disavowal of my truth. And my truth is this:

What I feel right now—& have been feeling for months—is a gnawing hunger, one that aches inside my belly as if it were ravenous & craving nourishment. It is a longing I cannot shake, an intense kind of desire to do, to feel, to experience. It is driving me mad. It is keeping me restless.

I have dreams that are wild, borderline nonsensical. I lust for things I have never experienced. I know what it is I want. I know what it looks like, what it smells like, & what it might feel like to have those experiences in my possession.

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