Yet Another Demographic
What you are about to read will challenge you!
Lately I have had a lot of inner turmoil about some things in my life and I can’t seem to get my thoughts straight so decided to write them down. Normally I would just talk to my very loving wife (who happens to be a therapist) about any of my problems. She really is my best friend and I tell her everything, but I can’t talk to her about this. The reason I can’t talk to her about it is because I love her so much that I don’t want to hurt her. So here I am writing it all down. I want to share my thoughts with someone but I just don’t know who I can share this with.
I am a polyamorous person trapped in a monogamous world, and it really sucks. Most people who I try to explain my ideas on sexuality and commitment to just can’t grasp what I am saying. They always ask me, “Why did you get married?” I’ll address that in a little bit.
I have no one to talk to who truly understands me. I have met a polyamorous person but it was a long time ago and at the time I thought it was just a fancy way of saying “I have sex with this woman and her husband on a regular basis.” I knew that I liked the idea of having sex with more than one woman at a time, and I knew that I had problems committing to a monogamous relationship but I thought that was just “commitment issues.”
Well, I don’t have commitment issues. I am in a committed and loving relationship with my wife. I have no fear of letting myself be loved or of loving her. In fact, I love my wife more than I ever imagined that I could love anyone. It would kill me to hurt her so I try very hard to avoid doing the things I want to do. To be fair, I did tell my wife about some of my issues. I told her that I didn’t think I could be monogamous for the rest of my life (that’s pretty open ended), and we have discussed things such as swinging or having a threesome.
These ideas are not something my wife would naturally gravitate towards, but to her credit, she has remained open to discussing them. She is not open to anything more than discussing them at this point and I completely understand that. These are ideas she never thought she would have to ponder and now her best friend and someone she deeply loves is asking her to consider them. I feel guilty for putting her in this place, but at least I am trying to be honest with her. The love I have for her makes me want to be able to just make these thoughts go away, but I know I can’t fight this and succeed without being miserable. I successfully squelched this for years, and I was miserable during that time.
That brings me to my recent realization that I am polyamorous. I have not told her about this because I had not realized this about myself until the last couple of weeks. I was thinking about several different girls who I had been in sexual relationships with before I met my wife and I realized that I often experience a sense of loss and heart ache when I think of these women. I was never monogamous with any of them and would never have asked them to be monogamous with me, but I had a genuine connection with them that our sexual encounters seemed to enhance. Considering that I was sexually active with several of them at the same point in time that seems to fit the definition of polyamory.
Just to be clear let me define polyamory in my own terms. Polyamorous people are capable of having deep, meaningful relationships with several people at a time. These relationships are sexual relationships just like any other relationship between people who fall in love; they just have more than two people involved. I am very certain that I am completely capable of this kind of love and I am also certain I have actually experienced deep, sexual love for more than one partner at a time. I also believe that this is a sexual orientation, just like the fact that I am heterosexual so also am I polyamorous. This was not something I chose. Yes I can chose to not to explore this part of myself but I can’t get rid of my desire for more than one lover.
I know there are plenty of men who have a desire for more than one sexual partner. For that matter, there are lots of women who desire more than one partner. Some of these people are probably polyamorous and don’t know it, and others are probably just horny people. I used to think that was my problem; I was just had a really high sex drive so I wanted to have lots of partners.
Anyone who has studied evolutionary psychology knows that men are biologically hard wired to want to have sex with as many women as possible in order to enhance their chances of successfully passing on their genetics. I think that plays a part in what I experience but I also feel like there is more to it. I have had my share of meaningless, emotionless sex and it was never all that satisfying. I always wanted a connection and friendship with my partners and I succeeded in finding multiple sex partners who I actually felt a connection with. Because I was not willing to choose one of those partners as a monogamous partner I never allowed my relationships with them to develop past friendship, but I now know I could have.
Because of my difficulties with monogamy I have read about human sexuality extensively. Most books I have read agree that monogamy does not come naturally to most human males and even some females. A few books that I have read even make a case that monogamy is not the normal state of affairs for any human. I tend to believe that humans are not naturally monogamous, and there is a lot of evidence to support that, but I am obviously biased towards my own inclinations. One thing I know for sure, there is not one way of doing things that is vastly superior to any other. The demand of monogamy versus the biological urge to spread one’s genetics seems to lead to a lot of broken relationships. Polyamorous relationships are way more complicated just from a mathematical standpoint. There is risk involved in both types of lifestyle and in every other lifestyle in between those two.
I’m not going to pretend to know what is best for everyone else. I’m not even going to pretend to know exactly why I feel the way I do, I just know that I do feel this way and monogamy is suffocating to me. It might have something to do with my sexually repressed upbringing. Maybe I just have a lot more testosterone than the average man. It could be that I am just a selfish and greedy person, although I think my desire to love more than one person is hard to characterize as selfish. Maybe it is a genetic proclivity towards polyamory that I inherited from my Nordic ancestors. It is very likely that a combination of these things is why I am what I am.
I learned a long time ago that any attempts I made to be anything but myself were destined to fail. With that in mind I know I can’t stop desiring other sex partners, but I love my wife, so I won’t have sex with anyone besides her. I am presented with this dilemma because I know it would hurt her, and I would rather die than hurt her.
So, that brings me back to the question I have been asked so often, why did I get married? I would like to think that by reading this far the average reader would have already figured that out, but I will explain it just in case it hasn’t yet become clear. The simple answer is I married her because I love her. Love is not a cookie cutter product. It takes on many shapes and manifests itself in many ways. Just because I desire to have multiple sex partners who I am emotionally connected with does not mean I am incapable of love. Quite the opposite really, I’m capable of more love than the average person, or at least more than the average person thinks they are.
Even people who grasp that I am in love with my wife still seem confused as to why I would get married knowing all these things about myself. Just like love, marriage does not have to fit a certain formula. Each couple should define their relationship so that it works best for them. Marriage should not be put inside a set of rules that each person involved has to obey even if both of them don’t want to. Even if I had refused to marry my wife because of my issues with monogamy I would still love her just as much and still not want to hurt her. It seems painfully obvious to me that marriage does not make you love someone any more than you did before you said “I do.” Even if I weren’t married I would still be committed to my wife and would love her just as much. So, regardless of being married or not I would still be in this situation where I don’t know what to do.
At this point my options are limited. I could just do what I want and hide it from my wife, but that is more secrecy than I want in my life. I have always admired those people who are an open book. I have always wanted to be the kind of person who is honest and open all the time. I don’t want to hide things for anyone let alone from my wife.
I could just tell my wife that this is who I am and I can’t be something I’m not. That would leave the ball in her court but that is a very risky thing to do. She might see that as me forcing her to do something she’s not comfortable with. I do not want my wife to be forced into anything. I would love to have an open relationship that she is completely comfortable with but I know that isn’t going to happen any time soon. If I force her into a situation she isn’t ready for it could destroy our relationship, and I value our relationship more than anything else in my life.
The last option I have is too tough it out. To remain monogamous to my wife and deny the desires that sometimes seem to be consuming me. Most people would tell me that this is the only option. I just need to suck it up, but it is easier said than done. I have been doing this successfully for several years now and sometimes it is easy, but there are times when it feels like complete torment. I can’t really explain the mental anguish of being torn between not hurting someone you care about so deeply that hurting them hurts you, and wanting to have the freedom to express who you really are.
Because of how much the other options could hurt my wife; I really feel my only option is to remain monogamous and to talk to her about who I am. I can only hope that we can reach some kind of compromise. Maybe a few minor concessions made for me can ease my desires enough to make me comfortable. Maybe just talking about it will reinforce to me how important it is to me that I not hurt my wife. I don’t know the future, but I do know that the only way forward for me is through honesty and openness. I can’t be someone I’m not, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be strong for someone I love.
I have written this story for one reason. I would like for the people who read it to have a little more compassion towards those people in society who do not fit their mold. Yes monogamy is the norm in western society, but that doesn't mean people who chose not to be monogamous are bad. Sure, it is wrong to lie to a spouse, and if you promised you would be monogamous then you should do your damnedest to fulfill that promise. But, if someone does break that promise does that make them worse than you? Have you ever let someone down and wish you could take it back?
Relationships are hard, and what I am urging is for everyone to be a little more forgiving of their partners and even their neighbors. If you know someone who has had an affair you may very well know a terrible person, or you may know a person who has done something that for some unknown reason they felt compelled to do. Chances are they feel terrible about what they did, and they don't need the judgment of others on top of their own. I am not condoning infidelity; I am just saying we should stop acting like it is an unpardonable sin. There are many flaws that humans possess, and a penchant for other sex partners is definitely not the worst of those flaws.
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