What a great time my wife and I had yesterday. We left the girl spawn under the care of the teenager and ran for all you can eat sushi. It was far better than either of us expected! It’s amazing, sushi prepared on demand over sushi pre-made for the belt… Warm rice alone can make a huge difference. Anyway, after a great dinner with fantastic conversation, we went to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Also, better than expected! Spoilers ahead: I was so jazzed to see Josh Holloway aka Sawyer at the beginning of the movie! Alas, he was really only in the very beginning of the movie. Still, thanks, JJA, for letting us admire him on screen again. And the theater was nearly empty, so wife and I had no issue at the beginning of the film calling out, “wsh wsh wsh BAD ROBOT!” (You know you watch a lot of LOST when, at the beginning of Star Trek, the young child cries out, “Hey, that’s Bad Robot!”)
As we were taking the extremely long way home, talking in the car, my wife asked me a question. “Do you think you could go back to the way things were before? Could you be monogamous again?”
I had to think about that for some time. I didn’t know it, but whenever I was not married, I was pretty polyamorous. At least, I didn’t really believe in going steady and I typically had more than one girlfriend. But I don’t know whether any or many of those were really serious relationships. Now, though, I really think I have deep and serious relationships with all the girlfriends. Giving any of them up would be awful and difficult and heartbreaking. I am sure it will fill all of the girlfriends with dread, but my answer last night was, “If that is what you need us to do, I will do it. I wouldn’t want to and it would break my heart, but I would do it.” And last night, I meant it.
Back when we started this, we talked about whether this was an experiment or a phase or a lifestyle change. She said she wasn’t sure, but it wasn’t just an experiment. For me, polyamory has really been a tremendous lifestyle adoption. I am all in. I have put my heart into several trusted sets of hands. One of our rules when we started was, “If one of us says, ‘Stop,’ we stop.” It was a safety net, in case things really got out of hand. But each of these extraordinary women has become family to me. They are part of my life, part of my family’s lives, and now, even part of each others’ lives.
Today, I am not so sure that I would answer that way. I don’t know if there is every any going back. Sure, I make mistakes and I hurt feelings and I can be selfish and thoughtless. But aside from some careless blunders and not living up to certain expectations, this is very natural for me. This is my life, this is how I am. Non-monogamy makes sense to me. The sense of community and my tribe and my family consisting of people I choose to love and be with… I didn’t know that this was missing from my life until I had it.
My whole life, I have never understood this need for family that people have. I don’t really care for my in-laws. I really didn’t care for my ex-in-laws back when they were my in-laws. I hate my blood family with a particular fury. I never saw the appeal of the extended family. But over the weekend when two girlfriends and each of their children were at my house to see me and my children and my wife, I felt warm and loved and I finally felt what I think “family” actually means to me. It was amazing. Sure, it was a lot of work and all of them feel entitled to sass me, and more power to them. The feeling of love was really incredible.
Can I go back? Can I be monogamous again?
If I absolutely had to, I would endure, knowing what I no longer have, knowing that all of my girls would be as broken hearted as I would be, dealing with the guilt for having to leave them, and trying not to feel consumed with resentment for being made to give it up.
She said that she knew from the way I answered that there was no going back. She says she would never ask me to stop, and that for us to keep our lives together, she knows that she will have to share me. She wants to keep on doing what we’re doing, and deal with things as they come. She continues to reassure me that she will never ask me to settle or to revert to our old life. The change has been made.
So the real question is, could I practice monogamy again? Yes, I would make my way through life monogamous again if I was required to.
But can I go back to the way things were? No. No, I don’t think I can.