I wish that I’d feel jealous and a little insecure when someone was showing my girl a little too much attention.
I wish I didn’t feel those little sparks of attraction when I meet someone new, wish I didn’t mourn holding back words and gestures of affection when they felt right, wish they didn’t feel right.
I wish I had my one true love.
I wish the bonds and connections didn’t form that same way all the time, wish that I only had room in my life for just one, room in my heart for just one.
I wish I wasn’t poly.
When I was younger, I didn’t understand these feeling, didn’t have a name for it. I fell in love with my best friend’s girlfriend, I even introduced the two of them after I’d met her and started caring about her, after I’d kissed her. It made me happy to see them together, to know they were both happy. I wasn’t ever going to try and steal her away, never even crossed my mind, but I still wanted to kiss her, still did sometimes. Stolen kisses during quiet moments, when comfort turned to intimacy, turned to that feeling. It wasn’t what the movies told me about, it wasn’t what my parents had, it wasn’t even what my best friend felt about her, but it was something.
Time passed, life moved on, and I found myself with a girl of my own who was far away and I felt so strongly for her, but I met a second girl, and we drew close. I knew the rules; you can’t date two people, its cheating, its wrong. So first I broke one girl’s heart by telling her I cared about another, and later I’d break the other’s heart by telling her that no matter how much I loved her, I needed the first girl in my life as well. In the end, I was left with nothing but my own pain and a lot more confusing feelings.
The self recrimination was the worst. Feeling guilty for not feeling guilty, calling myself a bad person for being so selfish for wanting to be unfaithful, for feeling that way about someone who wasn’t sharing my bed.
I struggled constantly with the idea that I had to choose my feelings for one person over my feelings for another. That one of them was real and right, and the other one was the wrong choice. That it was just hormones, or horniness, or that she was just a bad girl for tempting me, or that I was just a bad guy for being tempted.
I did a lot of dishonest things in the days before I had a name for all of it, for those feelings.
Things broke down in my life. Infidelity happened. At first it was a rarity; things would get out of hand with a female friend, but we wouldn’t make a big deal out of it, and then life would continue on like it never happened.
Eventually, I found myself drawn to two amazing women, and this time I didn’t pick one over the other when I met them. I just told one of them that I was going to continue to peruse the other, while keeping things between her and I quiet, and she accepted that, at first. My girlfriend and my mistress were friends; we did things as a group, had fun together, and behind closed doors I was sexually involved with them both. I juggled that situation for almost a year, and did a real disservice to us all. I had a couple of emotional breakdowns during the time, we all did. In the end, it’s the way I treated the ‘other’ girl that still haunts me; she deserved so much better, but I held back so much of how I felt because she was just my dirty little secret.
Life moved along and I had moved in with someone I loved deeply, when I found myself having feelings for a mutual friend. The hardest, scariest day of my life was the day that I risked my home, my job and my relationship to tell someone I love that “I want to have sexual relationship with her.” From there we learned about polyamory, about what it was and how people managed their lives. It was hard and complicated and things didn’t quite work out, but finally it wasn’t those feelings that were to blame.
I’ve tried to ‘just BE monogamous.’ I’ve tried to avoid the ‘temptations.’ I’ve tried to ignore the feelings.
I’ve beat myself up for wanting to be with the people I care about.
I’ve seen the look of distress on my partner’s face because I’m being too friendly with a friend without even realizing it.
I’ve felt the stings of distrust when I tell someone that I’m hanging out with a girl.
I’ve had partners be hurt at the stark reality that their story of a guy hitting them didn’t make me jealous.
I’ve had most of my relationships fail in part, or entirely, because of my feelings for another person.
My most trusted friend once told me, “if I ever get a girl, I’m never leaving you alone in a room with her.”
He meant it, and he wasn’t wrong.
Now I’m Poly.
I’m never going to have all my loved ones together for the holidays.
I’m never going to get to introduce my parents to who I’m with.
I’m not going to have my white picket fence, 1.0 wives and 2.3 kids.
I’m never going to be able to talk openly about my home life at work.
I’m never going to be above suspicion.
When I tell you I’m polyamorous, I’m not being trendy, I’m not into it because I wanna fuck whomever I want, and it doesn’t make my life more fun or easy. Its been fifteen years of bad decisions, self recrimination, and painful realizations to get to that one truth.
It’s what I am whether I’m single, seeing one person exclusively or if I’m seeing multiple people. I’m poly, all the time, every day, whether I want to be or not.