Open Heart, Open Mind

Being honest isn’t easy. I’ve joked that I’m so honest because I’m too lazy to come up with lies. That’s not exactly true, because there are still times when I choose not to say something I should, or keep information to myself. But generally, I don’t lie because it’s too hard to remember things that are made up.

And that’s for me, who is pretty comfortable expressing myself most of the time around most people. Some people don’t have that option. They are taught from an early age that there are right things and wrong things and if you don’t agree then you’re wrong too, and people will judge you for that. So children learn to lie, and they become adults who lie.

Open MindIf given the option, will they be honest? That’s what I want to find out. Well, not “they” in some theoretical sense. I mean, “he,” as in my boyfriend. Will he be more open and honest if he knows he will not be judged or abandoned for his thoughts, desires, opinions and behaviors?

I have received a lot of feedback from people reading this blog and/or in the Polyamory group on Facebook that I recently was recommended to by a close poly friend. Some feedback has been positive, but it’s mostly negative. Well, what should I expect, it’s the internet after all. People are judging and condemning my relationship already, even though they only know what’s going on from a few posts and comments.

People tell me that cheaters will never change, they’re not worth being in a relationship with, they’re flawed, and that our relationship is fundamentally dysfunctional because we have problems with communication. I’d like to congratulate all those people on their perfect relationships that have been 100% open and honest from the very moment they started. You are truly fortunate to have found the ultimate partner(s) who all understand the one and only way to make a polyamorous relationship work.

For the rest of us who are living one day at a time trying to make sense of this confusing life and all its complicated relationships, I’d like to take a moment to say that there is no right or wrong reason to start being polyamorous, there is no one way to have a successful relationship, and if your mind and heart are open, you can enjoy the amazing and wonderful world of open relationships no matter where you are right now.

I’m not an expert, and yes, I just started blogging because I just started the process of opening a previously (supposedly) monogamous relationship up to polyamory, but this isn’t my first rodeo.

In 2009, after a year or so of casual dating, I met a guy who I thought I wanted to  settle down with. He was everything I was supposed to want and I should’ve been happy, but I wasn’t. In fact, for a couple of months in 2010, I couldn’t get out of bed and function like a normal human because I was so depressed. So I decided to get back into something I used to be passionate about before I started living my life for other people many years earlier. That thing was poetry.

Thing about poetry is, there’s different groups of people who perform poetry, and I wanted to make sure and find the group that I would fit into best. In order to do that, I looked up an ex-boyfriend who I met at an open mic eight years earlier. It was all very innocent at first, and I told myself that I wanted nothing to do with my ex, that I was committed to this new guy. But I was lying to myself and I ended up cheating on the guy I was supposed to marry.

The thing was, I wanted both security and freedom, comfort and adventure, familiarity and new experiences. But we are taught that we can’t have our cake and eat it too. You’re supposed to have your freedom, adventure and experiences when we’re young and single, then “settle” into security, comfort and familiarity when we find that one person who fulfills all our needs, or enough of our most important needs that we will deal with those needs they can’t fulfill.

Dealing with those needs often means denying yourself, like I denied myself poetry for so many years. Or it means indulging those needs, often at the cost of integrity and communication with those you are supposed to love.

An open heart is an open mind - Dalai Lama

When I realized that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want to “settle down,” I told myself I wouldn’t get into another shamonogamous relationship and decided being open was the way for me. But I only realized that after I cheated on someone repeatedly, hurt him in immeasurable ways, destroyed friendships, burned bridges, and lost everything (literally, I had a few bags of possessions and nowhere to go, even ended up sleeping on the street one night).

Since then, I’ve had so many amazing relationships, lovers, friends, experiences and adventures that I can’t say I did the wrong thing. Yes, cheating is wrong. But monogamy was wrong for me. It was wrong then, and it still is now. This goes against everything we are taught about love and relationships, but just because most people do something a certain way. it doesn’t make it right for everyone.

There’s a reason it’s called an “open relationship.” You have to be open minded to try it. You need an open heart to share love among many people in different ways. So forgive me, all you perfect people who have doomed my relationship before it has even started, I’m not going to close my heart to someone I love because they don’t fit your perfect way of doing things. I’m certainly not going to make things work between us by pretending to be monogamous when neither of us want that. I’m going to open myself up to the opportunities and see what happens.

Fight, Full Disclosure and Forgiveness

Your heart-centered approach to other people’s problems can open a door to the possibility of greater intimacy now that the gracious Libra New Moon falls in your 8th House of Deep Sharing. Don’t let your fear of the unknown stand between you and feeling compassion for someone else. Instead, maintain a balanced approach to the mysteries of love. Exploring the uncharted shadows of a relationship isn’t as scary as it might seem at first.

Broken Heart, RepairedI didn’t plan to post my horoscope every day, but I also didn’t expect it to be so dead-on every day. Last night, we got into an argument over something trivial, but something was lurking below the surface and had been for days. Less than a year we’ve been together, but I can tell when something is off. I knew something was going on this week in his head, but didn’t have any proof of what it was. My intuition was the reason that I brought up introducing polyamory this week, and this argument was my impetus for doing something I hate to do: spy on him.

Before anyone thinks I’m a horrible person, let me explain. First of all, he has snooped through my things, logged into my email and Facebook, and even read my journals to try to find something against me, which he could never find. Secondly, the only times I’ve gone through his messages is when I’ve had a really good reason to do so, like the night I caught him trying to meet up with another woman. The way he was acting and talking on the phone to this girl made me suspicious, so after he left to meet her, I opened our shared iPad and found messages from her on his Facebook, which was still logged in.

So last night after we had our petty argument, I was alone at the house with the iPad again while he was at the gym. I opened it. First thing I saw was an email from a nearby gang bang club he was subscribed to. Needless to say, this piqued my interest. I went through the inbox and found e-mails from hundreds of people regarding a gang bang party he was organizing. That actually didn’t bother me much, it looked like he was posting this for someone else, and it was a party that was supposed to have occurred a week ago.

Then I found a message from craigslist, a girl responding to his response to a personal ad, with his phone number in it. That was what set me off. After I caught him a couple months ago, he told me nothing happened but that he would “get better” and stop lying to me and trying to hook up with girls. When I saw this email from just two days ago, I was so angry. Angry that he was still trying to find other pussy–in the casual encounters section no less–and angry that I believed that he would not try to cheat again. I’ve been with a cheater before and know they don’t change.

When he came home, coincidentally and thankfully all six of our roommates had vacated the house, and I unleashed on him. He first started explaining the gang bang party planning, and as I suspected he was doing it for someone else and it never ended up happening. I believe him about that, and it’s not what really concerned me.

I kept pressing about the other email, and at first he tried to tell me that he was recruiting girls for the party.Then he opened his email and saw the message to which I was referring, and he stopped denying it.

He said he has too much time alone at work and even though he tries to keep himself busy with cleaning and Netflix and even porn (which I have no problem with, we both watch porn together and separately), he still finds himself looking for girls. I couldn’t believe it when he actually said, “I have a problem, and I need your help.” That tore me up.

I didn’t want to forgive him. In fact, I had his clothes and shoes all in baskets and a suitcase so he could get his shit and get out faster. I swore I wouldn’t stay with a guy who lied to me and cheated on me, and pregnant or not I was fully prepared to figure out the rest of my life by myself. But when he asked for my help, I have to admit that I love him way too much to say no.

My head was so full of so many emotions and thoughts that I had a hard time finding the words. I tried to explain some of the things I’d read over the last couple of days about how important honesty and trust is, and that I would have a hard time trusting him since he has betrayed me and lied to me so much already.

He said if I could handle it, he would tell me everything from now on, and that he wouldn’t keep secrets or lie to me anymore. He also said he wanted me to go to work with him more often, not only to help his business (I do his website and marketing) but also keep him from being alone. As much as I didn’t want to, I had to believe him and trust him yet again. Honestly, I love him like crazy and don’t know what I would do without him.

At the same time, since we’ve been together, I have felt like I can’t share everything with him because there are things about my past that would make him think less of me. I also didn’t tell him about the guys I slept with before we got together, because firstly I didn’t think it was any of his business, and secondly, it wasn’t only my secrets to keep. One of the guys was a friend of his, and he found out by reading my journal. He loves to bring that up any time I talk about my mistrust for him, because I told him I never slept with anyone he knows or any of his friends. He thinks it’s no different than what he did, but it’s absolutely not the same thing.

I told him to finally be honest with me and asked if he had been with other girls. He said yes, once the night I caught him and another time before that. He says it was only two isolated incidents and he used protection both times. He asked if I wanted to know anything about it, and the only thing I wanted to know was, “Why? What is it that I’m not doing for you that you have to get somewhere else?” He said he doesn’t know, because I do everything for him.

Seriously, I do everything for him. I cook, I clean, I help with his business, I exercise and relax with him, don’t ask much, give him the freedom to go out whenever he wants, and still give him blowjobs and sex at least once a day, usually twice. Did I mention I’m also five months pregnant? What the fuck am I not doing? Why am I not good enough?

That hurt so much more than thinking about him having sex with someone else. Why am I not good enough to provide for all his needs? What more can I do to make him want and need only me? That was the most painful part. It brings up so many feelings of inadequacy that have followed me since childhood through all my relationships. It doesn’t help that one of the biggest problems in our relationship was that he was ashamed to be with me because I’m overweight. As much as I want to believe we’ve gotten past that, his cheating brought all those feelings to the surface again and made me feel even more worthless and inadequate.

But in my rational mind, I know that it’s not because I’m inadequate or not doing enough, it’s because no one person can satisfy all of our needs all the time. I know this, I’ve talked about it before, and I even know that he can’t satisfy all my needs either, no matter how much I wish he could. He satisfies my needs for sex, security, nurturing and supports my dreams and achievements as different as they are from his. But he can’t satisfy my intellectual or emotional needs in a lot of ways, and definitely can’t satisfy the lesbian half of my personality.

I have to come to terms with this, with becoming more intimate with him, opening myself up to hearing his truth as ugly as it may be, and I have to be brave enough to share with him on the same level. It is scary, but the potential for deeper intimacy with him is exciting, too. Many of my long-term relationships were shadowed with secrets. Freedom to be myself completely, to share all of myself with him and truly know him in return is something I’ve wanted for a long time, but been to scared to ask for.

Now is the time to open our hearts. Like he said last night, every time we have a problem, we get through it and become stronger. This is truly an amazing opportunity for us to connect on a deeper level, to re-pour the foundation of trust so that we can build a solid relationship on top of it. It’s not going to be easy. There’s still some digging to be done, and some (figurative) bodies to excavate, and some repairs to complete before we can rebuild. The most important thing is that we love each other so much that we are willing and able to do the work.