I started reading The Ethical Slut over the Xmas period. Still going actually. I borrowed it from a friend and it’s literally falling apart in my hands. I’m definitely going to have to buy him a replacement one but that’s neither here nor there really and definitely not what I was planning on making this post about. Me breaking a book apart by accident – there’s a riveting blog post if ever I heard one.
Anyway, I’ve found a lot of The Ethical Slut to be common sense yet other bits have been quite enlightening. I especially like how the authors tell you to give yourself (and your partner) permission to fuck up. You’re entering uncharted territory (for yourself at least) so it’s unrealistic to expect it to work perfectly 100% of the time. You’re both going to make mistakes. You’re both going to unintentionally (I hope) get hurt.
The most important thing is that you talk about what went wrong and get it out in the open. Don’t let it fester. That’s what ruins things. (I’m actually queen of this. It takes me a long time to figure out how to say stuff in my head and, in the meantime, I’m working myself up into a state generally about not all that much.) So long as the mistakes aren’t malicious and they’re not repeated over and over again even after they’re discussed, then anything (I think) is resolvable as long as you’re more sensible than me and actually pipe up. As simple and obvious as this may sound, it felt nice to hear two people experienced in these matters say you should expect things to go south. Just don’t give up and run for the hills.
As I get further and further into the book (less than 100 pages to go, might try and finish it this weekend), the more I think about whether trying to find one person we can ‘share’ is really the right thing to do. The initial purpose of us opening up our relationship was that, as a bisexual woman, I’d never been in a relationship with another woman and I wanted to experience this. At the time, it seemed natural (and yes safer) to explore this together. But is it really a full relationship with a woman when there’s always a man present? Well, not always but you understand what I mean. When we would discuss seeing people separately, the eventual agreement not to seemed, to me, very much based on fear (my own as well).
But now I feel differently. I feel that if we really want to do this, if we really want to say we’re ‘poly’, as we have been, we need to at least seriously consider opening ourselves up seeing people separately. Of course, we would always inform anyone up front what our situation was. In my mind, the goal would be that, if you were going to see this person regularly (we would need to define whether that was twice or however many times), we would always meet the other person that either of us was seeing, even if they didn’t want to sleep with the other partner. We would at least need to all get along so we could hang out socially and they could be part of our social group (if they wanted to be a part of that, I suppose).
I would want Jared to tell me if he had met someone in one of his bars and was going home with them (so I wouldn’t wake up and worry). We would of course tell each other what we were doing and how our relationships were progressing (if they were progressing separately). In my mind, I have already resigned myself to being the person who would be less ‘active’ because I’m naturally less social and don’t gel with as many people as he does. Despite being a raging slut in my single days, I have mellowed hugely and have so far always been the one that wants to put the brakes on thing. I don’t know if this would continue to be the case but it’s what I think would happen, knowing both of us and how we’ve each behaved over the past close to two years. He has been attracted to many, many more people than I have and I would expect that to grow quite a bit if he was left to his own devices without me saying, ‘No, I’m not into her’ all the time and without him having to say to women on Tinder, etc. that we’re a package deal. Although, perhaps I would also have more ‘bites’, if it was just me (at least sexually/romantically/in the beginning). Who knows really?
Me ‘saying this all out loud’ (i.e. typing it on my computer) doesn’t mean I’m not terrified by it. I am. I definitely am. But if I honestly believe that Jared can love me and still pursue other relationships with other women, then why do I feel the need to limit him to only pursuing those relationships when I’m there/involved? And even though The Ethical Slut doesn’t necessarily agree with me (it says the agreements or rules you make are totally up to what each person is comfortable with, i.e. you make your own ‘poly’), it just doesn’t make sense. I don’t want to be ruled by the fear of ‘what if’. I want to trust that our relationship is about more than just who we fuck and that just because we fuck, like or eventually love other people, doesn’t mean we love each other any less.
And yes, if we went ahead with it and Jared went home with women and on dates, etc., I would expect to have moments when I felt felt jealous and miserable. But I would hope that I’d remember what I read and know that I need to look for the real reason I’m feeling that way. Am I feeling left out? Do I feel like I’m losing him? And then, once I know what’s going on, to then ask for what I need. Perhaps a date night with just the two of us or some attention and reassurance that he does still love and want me. Even after nearly 11 years, I can’t expect him to read my mind and anticipate my feelings (surely someone’s working on a mind reading app though, right?).
God, as I write this I’m actually wondering if I’m fucking crazy. Why would I want to do this to my relationship? The flip side is that obviously I get to see other people as well but is that really what I want? I suppose I do but, more than that, I want to be true to the lifestyle that we’ve subscribed to. I want us to give ourselves the chance to experience the richness of life that I believe comes from having multiple partners and a network of people all intimately connected whether directly or indirectly. A big, weird family, of sorts. And yes, of course there are going to be some fucks up – some major, some minor – and I’m sure there will be many, many tears and arguments and times when I’ll think back on this post and hate myself for even considering such a thing. But then again… what if?
Who knows if this will happen? I’m actually quite scared to date on my own. Having him there means we can share the conversation load. I don’t have to worry about filling in all the silences because he loves to talk. But, that being said, it’s definitely a little seed that’s taken hold in my brain and I’m kind of hoping it flowers.