Life has been a bit of a drama recently, and I’ve not really talked to many people about it, so I thought I would write a few things down for your delectation and delight. I suspect you may read this post with the same horrified fascination with which the Romans used to watch the latest Lions vs. Christians Smackdown, but maybe you’ll enjoy it and get some good thought-food out of it.
I’ll give you some bullet points as a primer, then some more detail. Are you ready? You don’t have to take notes, it’s OK.
- Came out as queer
- Partner retaliated by also coming out as queer (but not as queer as me, ha. I win)
- Decide to open our marriage to waifs and strays
- Spend so much time talking and loving and talking we end up with serious sleep deprivation
- Invoices go unpaid so we have to raid savings to cover bills
- Have to cancel planned festival holiday because we now have no money
- Black depression and bitter disappointment in one party, and not just from the holiday cancellation
- Other party cancels fun plans to look after aforementioned party
- Shower breaks, but too soon after other major plumbing work to comfortably ask landlord to fix it
- Shit just goes wrong, OK?
- Shit goes right, depression banished, invoices start getting paid
- One party has massive meltdown as relief sets in
- Open relationship going even better than expected
So, early in April, I came to the scary realisation that I am bisexual. I’m not a teenager, just starting to explore my emotions, and worrying what my parents might think, I am a grown woman, emotionally mature (quiet, you), married for nearly 15 years, thinking Why Now? and WTF? and worrying what my children might think.
When I came out and said it to myself, and accepted my fate, I was a complete mess. Could I still be married? Wouldn’t it be better just to do as I now realised I had been doing all along and think “I have a relationship, I love this relationship, saying I’m bi will just confuse things so I will just accept that that is one path in my life I can never walk down. Now shut up and carry on as you were.”? And really, just, what does this mean?
By the way, if any of this is twanging any strings in you, I cannot recommend these websites enough – they saved my sanity:
Ask Joanne: A discussion board for married women attracted to women
Empty Closets: Coming out resources, and a safe place to chat
And search Yahoo Groups for “MMOMW” – a closed discussion group about ‘Making Mixed Orientation Marriages Work’.
Anyway, after a few days of emotional turmoil, I finally blurted it out to my partner – who said he had suspected as much, and was so happy I was finally free to be my true self, and he still loved me beyond measure. Did I want to now move our marriage to a more open relationship so I could be free to explore this more? I KNOW RIGHT?! Where did I find this Man-Deity?!
So, yadda yadda, that was… exciting I told our kids, they were as horrified as if I’d told them we’d be having chips for tea instead of beans (by which I mean, not at all. You know, just in case you have a potato phobia and were thinking I meant my kids really were horrified). I told a few more people, they were all beyond lovely, then I came out to my friends on Facebook, and then here on my blog, and so on. Bored now. Oh, apart from that bit where I developed a massive crush on Conchita Wurst and realised I might need to change my terminology from “bi” to “pan”. Which is cool too (there are soooo many labels out there!). And yes, I know he’s gay, and didn’t that just break my heart a little 😦
So, “Open Relationship” huh? Huh? OK, here’s a thing I’ve never shared: When I was pregnant with my son, I was terrified – and I mean, heart-hurtingly, awake-at-night-in-tears terrified – that once this baby was born, I would love it so much that somehow I would love my beautiful little girl (then three) less. Crazy, yes? I didn’t want to lose my daughter, I didn’t want my love for her to be diminished in any way by the love I knew I would feel for the new baby. I thought my love was finite, that I only had a limited amount to go around.
Now, how stupid does that sound now? Pretty silly. I’m not diminishing the fears I had, they were real, but I am diminishing my reasoning. Of course my love is not finite. I could have ten babies (cold sweat, cold sweat – no more babies, aaargh) and still love all of them with every ounce of my heart.
From what I have read (and trust me, I have read a LOT) about making open relationships work, the major reasoning underpinning the whole idea is exactly the same – my love is not finite. I have a partner whom I love with all of my heart. If I fell in love with someone else, it is not an either or; I am now allowed to love both of them with all of my heart. I am passing no judgement, nor saying any one kind of relationship – monogamy, non-monogamy – is better than another, I am just telling you that my heart is now wide open, and it feels AWESOME.
The first question people ask is always about jealousy, but I looked at that, and for me, any jealousy I may feel if my partner were to fall for someone else would actually just be my own insecurity. What do they have that I don’t? And I have sat with that, and listed some things that others have and I don’t; and someone else meeting those needs means that I don’t have to, and frankly that’s a huge relief. My partner is a musician, he lives for music. It is the language of his heart and the breath of his lungs (literally – he plays bagpipes). He is at his happiest and most heartfelt when he is in a room full of people playing music. Ever since we first moved here and started going to folk sessions in pubs, I have sat in the corner and people have asked me ‘What do you play?’. And when I’ve said I can’t play any instrument, they look a bit non-plussed, and ask if I dance in a team instead. No, I don’t dance. Well, do you sing? No, I don’t sing. And then they turn away, a bit embarrassed, and wonder why the fuck I’m there then.
I tried learning the flute once, but I didn’t get on with it much. I prefer drawing, and sewing, and making things, but this has always left a gaping hole in what I could be to my partner. What has just about everyone got that I haven’t? Music. Over the years I’ve hardened, and come to terms with that, and become more secure in what I *can* do, but I’ve always felt a bit sad. So, if someone came along who *could* play music with my partner, and love him well, and be loved by him, then they would have my blessing, because they could give the man I love more than anything, something I can’t.
And for goodness sake, we’ve been together nineteen years – nineteen! Since we were teenagers. We’ve grown up together, and been through some serious shit together, and have always been the best and closest of friends. I know that nothing will change that. I have no insecurities. My love is not finite, and neither is his. Whatever happens, we have every intention of growing old together, and if we can show some of our (frankly amazing) love to other people along the way, then even better. The world needs more love, we all know that.
And please, if you have any questions at all, please leave a comment. I’m not saying I have all the answers, I can only answer what is true for me, and how I’m living my own experience, but when I was unsure, I found a whole lot of stuff that helped. And I’m aware there will be some of you reading this who have known me a very long time, and may just feel moved to say WHAT THE HELL?! And that’s fine too. I’d rather people ask than make their own assumptions, because as we all should know, assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups.