I figured I better post this pretty quickly after my first entry to clear up any confusion.
Brad and I were a totally normal, typical couple up until recently. We’d both moved to Raleigh for jobs after college.
We lived in a high-rise apartment building downtown. I was on the fourth floor – he was on the fifth.
We met at a singles mingling event our apartment managers put on once a month in the courtyard. I’d written it off as a corny, but my sister Katie – who was staying with me for the summer – convinced me we couldn’t pass up free beer, wine and music. Although Brad initially asked for Katie’s number – she was the drunker and friendlier sister – by the end of the summer, he ended up falling for me.
The rest is history. Six months later I was pregnant. At the time, abortion was something I refused to consider. Brad, although terrified, was supportive and started the search for a new job and a proper house to have a baby in.
I had a few good friends through a natural parenting group I joined, but for the most part, I was home alone with a toddler, washing dishes, doing laundry and cleaning way too many toilets.
My neighbors were deathly boring with too many cars and too nicely manicured lawns. They were all so uptight from their long days at work and – I now realize – sexual frustration.
Brad resented me and I resented him. We blamed each other for our unhappiness. Between his long hours at work and my breastfeeding, co-sleeping baby, we didn’t have as much sex as we wanted, and when we did, it was forced and rushed to coincide with our daughter’s nap or screen time.
We didn’t spend enough time with friends, and when we did, we spent it complaining about our spouses.
We were bored, frustrated, and in a rut.
Then, one day, I came across an article about the “conspiracy” of monogamy. The basic message was that monogamy is not natural or healthy and that it’s been pushed on us since the advent of agriculture, private property and patriarchy, to keep things streamlined and simple for our overlords.
He studied cultures around the world and found that the ones with the most sexual freedom were the most peaceful and happy, while those that pushed monogamy and punished extramarital sex were the most violent and warlike.
Soon I learned the word “polyamory.” Having no real-life examples of it, I didn’t know how it worked or what it looked like. I started Googling it and found some fascinating articles, documentaries and the YouTube mini-series – The Ethical Slut.
I told Brad about my discovery.
“Wait a minute… Are you saying you’d be into this? You’d be ok with me having sex with other women?!?” he asked, half shocked and confused, half thrilled.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I just want to know more. I think this could be the solution to all of our problems, to everybody’s problems!”
Over the next couple of weeks, Brad revealed all the secret desires he’d been repressing since the day he found out I was pregnant.
He’d felt like the noose had been tightened around his neck that day.
His days of adventure and exploration were over. I was his first real girlfriend, the first woman had any significant emotional and physical intimacy with.
He’d been secretly dying for a new sexual/romantic experience for nearly four years, and denying himself out of obligation to his family.
“I still love you and never want to lose you,” he said, a couple weeks later, when we decided to open our relationship. “I just want both.”
But neither he nor I ever knew – until then – that “both” was an option. Both the excitement and butterflies in your stomach that come along with new romances and multiple intimacies, and the stability, security and comfort of long-term, stable partners.
He seemed thrilled to learn he didn’t have to choose anymore – he could have his adventures without fear of losing me. And so could I… although – because of the social conditioning of women – my desire for sexual freedom had been repressed much deeper.
At the same time we were learning about polyamory, we were making plans to sell our house, quit Brad’s job, buy a food truck, and start a new life in a new town.
Part of the reason we chose Asheville was because of its apparent friendliness to polyamorists. We figured it’d be a more socially acceptable environment for us to explore the possibilities.
When we arrived, five months ago, I immediately signed us up for the local polyamory meet-up group. The people in it seemed like some of the happiest I’d ever met.
Soon, we started to discover that some of the friends we were making in other circles were also polyamorous.
I started reading Sex At Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships” and joined a book club that was reading “More Than Two: A practical guide to ethical polyamory.” I became obsessed with the reality TV show Polyamory: Married and Dating.
I created accounts for us on poly-friendly dating websites, and encouraged Brad to go on a date with a girl he’s had a crush on since before we met. I had lunch with an older man from the meet-up group.
Even though Brad said he was ok with me dating, I wanted him to “go first” to convince him I didn’t cook this whole idea up solely for my sake.
I wasn’t having much luck matching him up with a woman who met all of the criteria – polyamorous, but not poly-saturated, attractive, not too close of a friend, comfortable with him being basically married with a child, not halfway across the country, and, again, not monogamous.
“Maybe we need to find an easier, no-strings-attached kind of a girl to break the ice,” I finally suggested. And that, my friends, was the inspiration of my first blog post.