Saturday, April 14, 2007

In the beginning, or how I got here.

Hello, and welcome. Some of you may have seen me around polyamory and other alternative lifestyle events. I sometimes give programs on polyamory relationship skills, and I've been living a polyamorous life for 11 years now.

I have been married and divorced twice, the second time over 20 years ago. The second divorce hit me hard. I loved my husband, and leaving my "second chance" marriage behind left me with a sense of failure, ineptitude, and disillusionment. Where was the fairy tale love they promised me? Instead what I got was a mixed bag, part happiness, part misery, and the eventual realization of just how hard it is to be all things to one person over the long term.

Oh, and of course what contributed to my disillusionment was cheating. I saw how much crushing pain and suffering it caused in the marriages of friends, of family, and yes, in my own.

Two things I knew - one, that I was very afraid of falling in love only to have it all go to smash with all the pain and suffering again, and two, that I wanted nothing whatsoever to do with cheating - ever.

With the love cards seemingly stacked against me, I told myself that love just wasn't meant for me, even though I'm a very loving, open-hearted person in general. I believed that I wasn't good at it and should just save myself and others the inevitable hard landing.

For years I avoided becoming romantically involved, choosing instead to concentrate on raising my daughter and excelling in my career. But, as time passed and my daughter was due to leave the nest fairly soon, I came to recognize that no matter how much fear I felt about falling in love again, continuing to deny myself the very human need for emotional and physical intimacy had its price - and it was a big one. Thus came my moment of clarity when I realized that the first thing I had to do was to learn to overcome my fear of being hurt again. The second was to come to terms with the lessons I had learned about what poisons relationships and what helps them flourish.

Until a bit after that point in time, I had never heard the term polyamory and had never imagined that I would want this way of life for myself, even actually embrace it with great enthusiasm. In my next post I will tell you more specifically what I did next and how what for over 40 years had been a monogamous life was transformed into a polyamorous life.

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