I remember January 1st of this year vividly. Sitting crosslegged in a nightgown on my bed that I share with my husband (a bed made for two, each half set to his and her firmness), a steaming cup of coffee perking me up even more than my natural state.
I made the proclamation:
“Let’s make this the year of other people. Let’s finally give it a shot.”
We had done the preparation. Read the books. Talked it to death. Done the exercises, envisioned the ideal poly situation for us, listed out all the reasons why we no longer felt like monogamy suited us. We attended local poly events, listened to the sage advice of our friends making it work. Our marriage, and our selves, were never so healthy. Happy. Fulfilled.
We. Were. Set.
And lo and behold, my starry eyed New Year’s proclamation carried out throughout the year. 2014 was the year of other people.
It is hard. So hard. Just a week ago I was prepared to throw my hands up and admit defeat. Society has constructed a picture of what a marriage should look like. To break through that has proven incredibly trying. But then, yesterday, I received the real gift of non-monogamy. It was a Christmas gift, in fact.
For decades I have told of one of my favorite memories of growing up: it is a board game that a family member once owned. No longer produced, no longer available, I have for twenty years searched yard sales and flea markets, asking for the game that inadvertently shaped my future career, my love of fine art, my desire to raise a family surrounded by old fashioned fun instead of television programming. My husband knew of my search, my parents knew of my search, dozens of friends and exes stood by while I asked shopkeepers the name of the game. Though I could still vividly conjure up the pieces the box would contain, even smell the must that would surely accompany it, I had all but considered it lost.
You may ask who was the person in my life after 20 years of seeking it out actually tracked it down and gifted me this piece of lost childhood?
My loving husband? My thoughtful mother?
It was the hyper-beautiful, intimidatingly wonderful young woman who was the first to share a bed with me and my husband.
She gave me the real gift we have been seeking in non-monogamy. And no, it isn’t a board game or a material possession.
It is the gift that is getting close to other people. Continuing to open our hearts to other relationships, no matter the label on them. The amazing reality that is knowing and loving… people. I am better for knowing her. This girl has shown me that it’s okay to risk in the name of close friendship.
I love her. For all that she is. For listening to me, really hearing me, and how incredible it feels when somebody does that for you. For being strong when I’ve been weak. For being herself; nothing more, nothing less. For being a compliment to me, not a competitor to me.
For knowing about eBay.
For giving me gifts this Christmas. The most sought out gifts that I didn’t even realize how badly I’d wanted until I received them.
Thank you to her.