Back in my first or second year of high school I had this sex ed teacher who seemed very misinformed about the bisexual community. Being bisexual myself, and rather proud of it, I often spoke up in class to express my own feelings about the things he said or to shine the light on more accurate information. I remember very clearly one day when the teacher said something along the lines of “Being bisexual means you date a woman, and then a man, and then a woman.” The way he said it made me think he assumed we switched back and forth between who we felt attracted to (males or females), and I right away felt the need to correct him. I wanted to make sure he (as well as the other students in the class) were aware that a bisexual’s feelings are the same as anyone else’s, and that you can get those feelings for anyone at any time. It isn’t a preset thing. So I stated very bluntly that being bisexual doesn’t mean you date one and then the other and just back and forth like that, but that you could crush on any number of people (some being men and some being women). However, the way I worded it was something like “We can crush on multiple people at a time just like anybody else, only we crush on both men and women.”
The funny thing about that whole experience is…I thought I was informing the class simply about being bisexual. It never occurred to me, until sometime in just the last couple years, that perhaps other people Don’t crush on multiple people at the same time. I had been generalizing the whole thing without even realizing it. My assumption had been that since I felt crushes for multiple people all at once, that others did as well. But as I’ve begun learning… It doesn’t always work like that.
And this brings me to my deepened sense of awareness and my own feelings of truly Being polyamorous. I’ve always liked more than 1 person at a time. I guess I’m just wired that way. It’s never been intentional. And unfortunately it has ended up hurting a lot of people. I just didn’t get it growing up. I liked more than one person and I wanted to be with all the people I liked. Why wasn’t that okay? I’d skip from relationship to relationship to relationship breaking hearts because I didn’t know another way to honor my connections with people while not breaking any rules within my relationships. Holding my feelings back felt like being untrue to myself, and that hurt just as bad as causing conflict or destruction to the relationships I already had. So I was extremely conflicted.
Oddly enough though, I often dated in weird triangles. I would become close with two good friends. And eventually I would end up dating both of them, one after the other. Sometimes back and forth between the two. One and then the other and then the first one again and back and forth and back and forth. Because I didn’t want to lose either of them. It was so complicated and difficult and emotionally taxing.
Often times I would come in-between a couple of friends who were quite close. And by the time I was done with them they very much resented each other. I felt terrible! But I didn’t know what to do! I had too much emotion, too much feeling, too much passion, too much love. And I didn’t know how to contain it or change it. I had no clue I could work WITH it. I grew up thinking I had some sort of defect. That there was something wrong with me.
I actually had a few different guys call me a succubus — because of my ability to open people up and get deep inside them and truly feel their core, and then destroy them. (This destruction was their own emotional response to losing me. To losing that connection. But they saw it as something bad I was doing TO them.) And after a while I began to believe it. I thought I was just bad news. That I’d never have a successful relationship. And it actually caused me to be extremely insecure about myself, which lead to problems of dependency and insecurity within my relationships. It was horrid!
Luckily, I finally met someone who saw all the “dark” sides of me and didn’t run, didn’t turn in fear, didn’t judge me… But who actually got me. Who connected with those parts of me. Who loved me for the truest form of myself. And.it.felt.amazing!
Being one to rush into things (damn my impulsivity) we quickly became married.
Ironically, I met my husband through a mutual friend (who had become one of his closest, and who was in love with me). There I go squashing triangles dynamics again.
Of course it didn’t take long for that all to backfire. It was a LOT to take on – the crazy and complex dynamics of trying to keep both of them happy.
…I’ll note that initially I was somewhat dating my friend and when I was introduced to his friend I began to really connect with him. At first I thought I could somehow have them both. I expressed interest, and at first it seemed like a viable option. But then he jealousy set in and it all turned to shit. They both became emotional, insecure wrecks.
In the end I stopped speaking to my friend and married the other guy. For a long time we weren’t on speaking terms (or at least I wasn’t speaking to him). And this was because my husband felt uncomfortable with it. Which is retrospect is odd, seeing as I knew him first and he is my deeply close friend. All caught up in this new love I felt crazy though. And I did things I’m not proud of.
Since then dealing with relationship dynamics between the three of us has been tricky. It’s taken a long time for the two guys to be in a position where they can truly be friends again. And I’m still at a point where I feel somewhat at a distance with my old friend. My husband has worked on his jealousy (we’ve both worked on a LOT of things over the years). But I still feel weird trying to reconnect with my old friend.
And deep down I know it’s because I can’t reconnect…I’m still connected. I still love him. I still want to be with him. But I don’t want to lose my husband. And although the window has been opened for me dating women. It hasn’t yet been opened for me dating men.
Even if it had, it probably would still be a sore subject if I tried to bring my old friend into it. So I’ve tried to keep my distance. I don’t want to start anything back up that will snowball and ruin anything. But more importantly I don’t want to begin something I can’t adequately manage.
Polyamory is a tricky thing. Loving more than one person is a blessing and a curse.
I’ve got so much to learn and so far to go…and this is just the beginning.