I sometimes wonder how different my life could have been. Seriously…back up for a second and think about how many little moments had to occur in order to put you in this exact place in time. If even one of those thousands of decisions you made over the years were different, you may have ended up across the country, or in another job, or with another partner, or with children. Your entire belief system could be separate from the one that you carry now.
I know how I got to this moment in time, but its amazing to think about how much I’ve gone through to get here. If you had told me five years ago that in half a decade’s time, I would be living in Los Angeles, pursuing my dreams of becoming an actor and a singer, AND that I would be having deep, loving, amazing relationships with more than one person, I would have said you were crazy! Yet I always knew that the traditional way of thinking wasn’t something I was entirely comfortable with. Every relationship I had ever gotten into usually ended because I eventually realized I had become a codependent shell of the person who I once was. Instead of growing into a better individual with another person by my side, I changed myself to become who I thought they wanted me to be. Eventually, with the help of my current primary partner, I learned there was a far better way for me to create and maintain a deep connection with another individual.
Why was there so much initial challenge when it came to this way of life? Why did I have an aversion to changing my outlook on relationships? The answer is that the idea of monogamy and marriage was engrained in me from a very young age, and that it was going to take some time to come around to this new way of thinking.
We are generally taught that there is a basic trajectory to the romantic relationships that occur in our lives. You go on a first date, and if you like someone enough, you may see them again. You spend all your time together, and eventually you have “the talk,” which usually means you both are no longer allowed to date anyone else. If things progress, and the relationship continues to move forward, you may move in together. Then of course comes the inevitable goal of marriage, and finally children. All of the above is what most people want right? It is what we are taught to strive for, and most of the literature, television, movies, commercials, and media out in the world tells us that we will be happy if we achieve these goals.
But what happens after the goals are met? What happens to those of us in the world who feel static and restless in traditional relationships? Do we just have to learn to live with the unhappiness, the constant struggle to not stray from our partner, the guilt that comes from being attracted to another individual? What comes after the high of a new relationship or marriage wears off, and we realize that maybe there is more to experience in life, more to give, more to learn, and more to love?
Traditional relationships often fail when one person realizes they are attracted to someone other than their spouse or partner. They may think that this attraction means they no longer have as deep of a connection to their current partner. They may decide that this is a signal that the relationship must be unfulfilling in some way. With polyamory, this does not need to be the case. A relationship can still happen even when one of the partners finds someone else who they want to date or explore. Meaningful and loving relationships can occur with many people at once, and the quantity of the relationships does not effect the quality of each of them.
It took some time for me to realize all of these things. It was not an easy process. I often had intense visceral reactions when I witnessed my primary partner being intimate with another woman. Twinges of jealousy and accusations would riddle our initial communications. I even had us stop being poly for a few months, because I just didn’t know if it was something I would ever be comfortable with. It was only when I realized I wanted to explore a sexual relationship with an old friend, that I decided it was time to take the plunge again. Since then, I have never looked back and have continued to grow as an individual and partner in each of my romantic relationships. I have learned so much about myself in ways that I may have never been able to do with only one person. I have finally found something that works extremely well in my life and makes me incredibly happy. Struggles still happen as they would in any type of relationship, but the rewards are greater than I could have ever imagined.
Sometimes I think there may be some parallel universe out there where I moved to New York City instead of Los Angeles, where I was on Broadway instead of waiting tables, and where I was searching for some guy to become “the one,” instead of having multiple meaningful relationships with amazing people. And while some of the alternatives sounds nice, I think it is phenomenal that I never have to put that kind of pressure on the people who I encounter in my life. I can just be a whole individual and can meet another without all the expectations that are so often involved in traditional dating. Even with all of the unknowns, the challenges, and the hard work that comes with living in a non-traditional lifestyle, I am still happier now that I have been in my 25 previous years. My polyamorous life is really just beginning, and I am so excited to see where it takes me.