Is it just me, or is Desiree overly demanding? You Gotta Be is just a list of imperatives.

Life, oh life, oh life, oh life. Doo, doo doo doo. Life. Oh life. Oh. Life. Do. Doo doo. Does anyone else Desiree me to continue? Thought not. I’d rather have a piece of toast and watch the evening news. Or just discover all those things I cast aside in the name of comedy. I’ve got friends that I forgot existed, family back home to call, a girlfriend who loves me. There are people in my life I’ve neglected and here I am trying to cram more in. Anyone remember that whole polyamory/non-monogamy kick I was on?

I’m still on it. In fact I had a few dates before shit hit the fan with JFL42. Things were going well, I met some lovely gals and enjoyed connecting with new people, the hint of romantic possibility looming in the background. My girlfriend met someone who’s supposedly nice, so I’m happy for her there. That whole compersion thing (the concept of feeling joy at your partner’s happiness) that’s been less relevant as we’ve both unintentionally acted more monogamous. That stuff. It’s been about 10 months since I started to try polyamory for myself and it’s been slow going. I haven’t rushed to anything rash, instead opting to take my time to acclimatise myself. It’s a big change and there’s no point in taking haste and making waste. Baby steps, dipping toes in, treading softly and other foot metaphors. Last week though I took a larger step. I slept with someone else.

That’s a big one, right? I’ve been exclusively monogamous my whole life. Engaging sexually with someone while committed to another was outright infidelity. Black and white, easy as pie. Cheating, simple as that. If my partner kissing someone else was enough for me to seriously reconsider the strength of the relationship, sex was so far out of the ballpark it was an entirely different game. It’s taken time to examine this worldview, to figure out what I consider to be infidelity and why that is. What governs commitment? Why does cheating hurt so much? Which feelings arise and lay waste to everything inside? What does jealousy look like to me? Through a combination of conversations with my girlfriend, therapy, self-analysis and reading on the subject, I started to outline the shape of it. I didn’t want to be replaced and discarded. I was afraid of comparing myself to others and coming up short in my own estimation. I didn’t want to hurt my partner, to make her feel any less loved or important to me. I wanted everything to be above board, so everyone involved knew where we stood. I just wanted everyone to be happy, which seemed impossible with the social script I’d been reading my whole life.

Standing now on the other side of that first sexual barrier, I feel fine. I had a great experience with a really awesome lady. We had a good rapport, took a chance and enjoyed ourselves. Everything was above board, she knew my girlfriend and knew my relationship status. I felt no guilt, knowing I had support and love flowing my way from my partner. I felt secure that I wasn’t putting out this gal by infringing on her expectations. I talked to my girlfriend afterwards. We discussed how we felt, any insecurities that arose and worked through them, figuring out whether they were valid concerns or irrational (but still important) emotional triggers. We established boundaries of what we each did and didn’t wish to know with each other’s sexual dalliances. I felt good about the situation, knowing that I wasn’t looking to replace my girlfriend whatsoever. Engaging sexually with someone new does absolutely nothing to diminish the love I have for her. Why should it? Having a positive encounter with someone else doesn’t reflexively make our relationship any less special. It was affirming and frankly I’m surprised at how smoothly everything worked out.

Oh life.

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