It’s early Sunday afternoon and my husband and I just got back from brunch. We went to a nice little bistro in our neighborhood that we like to visit often. It’s a quaint place. Our kind of place. The kind where most of the staff is tattooed. They dress all cool, in thrift store clothes and sneakers. And they remember your favorite type of latte or where you like to sit, even if you don’t remember having seen them work there before.
Today we sat at a cozy table outside, under a big umbrella. We met with a sweet lady who my husband has been exploring the idea of playing with. In spite of him telling her that I was comfortable with the two of them playing, she wanted to meet with me and him together and get the green light from me, in person, herself. I already like this person.
She and I have met briefly on a couple occasions. Both times were at play parties and, from what I could tell, she seemed considerate and respectful of the dynamics of various people. She’s charming and seductive and I can easily see how my husband would find her appealing.
Today was the first time the three of us have sat down together. I imagine that to any onlooker it would have appeared like any three friends sharing a delicious brunch and some good conversation together. While the food was delicious, the real reason we were there was to talk about the sex – or the possibility of it, between the two of them. So yes, I sat at the table across from another woman and discussed in detail the potential of her playing sexually with my husband while he sat there with the both of us.
At one point during our conversation she stated how in awe she was of my ability to have things so figured out. “It must be nice to always be so compersive.” What she didn’t know is, just that morning, prior to arriving to meet with her, I was struggling with my own personal insecurities around the situation. I’m full aware it was my own issue or mood. Maybe I was just tired or hungry. Whatever it was, I kept it to myself.
While it can be flattering that anyone would believe I have my act so together all the time, the thought also made me a bit sad. There seems to be this belief floating around that those of us in non-monogamous lifestyles (whether it be swinging, polyamory, or any other number of non-monogamous configurations) are somehow immune from feeling insecure or jealous. Apparently, the belief is that our communication skills are so attuned with our partners that we never hurt one another and our non-monogamous community is like living in a utopia of sorts. This may be true for some, but my current emotional state had me feeling otherwise.
What struck me most about my realization were the reasons why I didn’t feel right about speaking up. In my head, I was thinking that if I were to express any feelings of doubt or insecurity I’d be “cock-blocking” or seen as a jealous wife. Neither of these were true to me, but I didn’t want to give off any potential negative impressions. Instead, I said and did all the perfect non-monogamous spouse things.
From what I’ve seen behind the closed doors of sessions with my clients, those in the Lifestyle struggle with many of the same insecurities that those outside of it do. The difference? Those in the Lifestyle are much less likely to seek support. And the reason why? Stigmas run strong in our mainstream society and finding a non-monogamous friendly therapist can be challenging. To make that worse, many of us in the Lifestyle experience personal shame when admitting we’re struggling in these areas.
Let’s be honest, most of us in this Lifestyle wouldn’t choose to live differently if we could. But if my sixteen years of experience has shown me anything, it’s that it is necessary to be kind to ourselves as we grow. While it would be nice to have it all figured out all the time, that’s just not going to happen. The truth is we’re human. We are going to have days where we just don’t feel like playing with others or entertaining extracurricular sexual activities. Sometimes we can feel needy, insecure, and just plain ‘ole not sexy. Sometimes we may want a partner’s attention only for ourselves. Sometimes we may want no attention at all. And sometimes we may desire the attention of everyone in the room. All of which is okay. All of which is perfectly normal. What is also normal is that it can take a lot to figure out where our feelings are coming from. There are many layers and it is not always simplistic and easily identifiable.
When we got home my spouse was all lit up and happy. I took a deep breath and told him how I had been feeling. I shared that I didn’t want him to change anything, but to just validate and support me. For his part, he gave me a hug. Listened to me as I emotionally vomited my insecurities. Gave me a hug and told me he loved me. Granted it hasn’t always been this smooth and easy. To say there’s a learning curve to this level of communication is an understatement.
However, that simplicity of being heard and given the freedom to express myself lifted me. All that built up fear and anxiety I had was quickly deflated. I had put myself through so much unnecessary turmoil when, really, I probably could have gotten it all out prior to our brunch. More than likely I probably would have enjoyed myself more.
So what’s the point of this article? Hopefully it’s a reminder to be kind to ourselves. Recognize that we’re not always going to get it right. We’re not always going to say the perfect things and we’re not always going to feel our sexy best. We may have days where we are everybody’s favorite party favor. And we may have days where we don’t want to be near any type of party whatsoever. Whatever the case, be kind to yourself.
Want to read more? Check out Four Important Skills You Need in a Polyamorous Relationship.
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