Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On poly, heartbreak, marriage and moving on

I have always been a sort of loner. Whether that was balking the fist fight for clarifying words, or refusing the cool jeans, or going shaggy instead of shaved; whether that was birthing choice or parenting styles or dietary decisions; whether it was speaking out or staying quiet, preferring home-with-the-kids to out-with-friends, honesty to norms. I suppose this is part of why i'm looking down my second divorce now after swearing off marriage before the first one.
So how did i end up institutionalized twice then, if my trajectory aimed me for more wide open freedom? the first time was trying to beat fate. or maybe working to meet fate. otherwise known as trying to fit in. but the mold didn't quite fit. i didn't really know why until the end of that marriage, when i stumbled upon that tome of loving wisdom Stranger in a Strange Land and the idea of open relationships. there in print was what i had always known about myself. fiction or no, i felt validated and real. as though my attempts at description, my internal strife, my mistakes had not been for naught.
I suppose in some ways my second stint inside was also about fitting in, beating destiny, working against myself for something i wanted in spite of needs pointing elsewhere. well... all that plus love. the second time around maybe i could just blame love. that intense body-hold, mind-boggling, earth-stopping utopia. and as a utopia, existing only in its own plane, and only fleetingly even there.

oh, but i was so in love with him! my soul a piece of him. if ever i needed someone else, it was him. he taught me to give over some of my needs, to share the burden of filling those needs so that resting would be more relaxing.
but still, it was my need for an open relationship that ended that marriage, as it was with the first. or his need for singular emotional attachments, as with the first. either way. perspective matters, i suppose.

open relationships - polyamorous relationships with emphasis on 'amory' not emphasis on sex (which i don't see in that term at all) - are part of me. it is not something i have chosen, not the latest fad or hip thing, just something that i am. as i am a woman, bi-curious, a 6, a mother, a virgo, a horse, a sister, a friend - so am i polyamorous. i cannot wake tomorrow and be monamorous, which is so often confused with monogamous* (which itself is still up in the air for me). Being polyamorous is different than choosing polyamory, and so i find that i am a loner again, the one on the fringe, the one ignored or talked about, but not the one talked to.

in spite of my ability to love multiple partners simultaneously, or perhaps because of it, i find myself a wreckage of heartbreak now that my second husband - my lover, my friend, my partner - is gone. incompatible. too beat up himself to even abide a friendship, though that is my general leaning after a break-up...turn it into a change up. this heartbreak leaves me scattered and pained, flighty and wary, afraid of love but knowing that i will one day stumble upon it unbeknownst, and have the joys and sorrows tossed about like spray on a windy day at the lake. that knowledge may one day make me smile: right now it just makes me weary. for a truly broken heart is not something someone did to me, it is a self-inflicted wound. thus, it is not simply a removal of the thorn to heal the prick, but an eye-opening to the briar parch and a new path to forge out of the stickers that must be accomplished in order to alleviate the pain.

*polyamory/monamory is about how many people an individual is able to be in love with simultaneously (eg, multiple spouses or significant others). poly/monamorous does not refer to how many people can be loved generally (eg, spouse, parent, children, friends). it is a term to encapsulate the idea of being in-love with more than one person at a time (poly) versus one person at a time (mono). in contrast, monogamy/polygamy refers to how many people are in a marriage -- 2 or more than 2. for the sake of my own reference (not believing that marriage is necessary or even workable as a government institution), i broaden monogamy/polygamy to include sex, as well as marriage. that is, 1 primary sexual partner at a time versus multiple primary sexual partners at a time.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. Relationships are very hard. Keep going and take care of yourself.

  2. I think it is important to look out for deep compatibility, and be rather careful when it may not be there.

    Monoamorous vs polyamorous seems like a deep incompatibility to me, and it may get more explosive the stronger the relationship grows. As maybe has happened to you.

    A more shallow relationship might have kept this more in disguise, but in the long run, that's not for the better, I think.