I know what I want
I haven’t written in a long time. I have missed it. Life has been hectic. I am separating from my husband whom I have been with for my entire adult life so far. It seemed odd for me to write about other things and act as if this large life event wasn’t happening. I wasn’t ready to write about it, so I found myself unable to write about anything. I am ready to write about it now.
What I have to say may not be what you would expect from a woman going through a separation. There has been the expected array of emotions and of grief that is true. I am not writing to share my woes, complaints or frustrations- quite the opposite. I am writing to share my hope for the future. This process has been a difficult one- emotionally manifesting in many ways. At times there have been these beautiful moments of stark clarity. This is one such area of clarity.
I have been struggling with where my husband fits in my life now. He definitely still has a place. The where he fits and how much is less easy to figure out. Our marriage doesn’t serve either of us anymore, at least not as it is. We certainly were not dealt and easy 8 ½ years (some of it self-induced no doubt). When those difficulties come at an age where you are still figuring out who you are that only further complicates things.
To be honest, I am not sure how I feel about marriage in general. I am not sure that I believe in the concept of marriage for myself. I so very much honor the marriages of other couples and will fight like hell for marriage equality. I think people should be allowed the right to marry and the beauty that a marriage can bring, but, for me, I am not sure that I want to be married to someone. I want deep relationships and I want commitment, but not necessarily in the way society would ask me to express it.
When my husband and I were together, we started a swinger lifestyle. However, I came to realize that what I wanted wasn’t really a swinger lifestyle which is more focused on sex with others. What I wanted was a polyamorous life. I wanted relationships with more than one person, affection with more than one person. Love with more than one person.
I want to live in a communal setting. A setting where there is a created family, where everyone is their own person and is free to be themselves. A place where we are all present to meet each other’s needs: emotionally, intellectually, and sexually. I want a truly intentional living environment. How beautiful that is when it works. I love the idea of living with a few people who work together for a common goal, who all pitch in to make a home: a home where each person contributes in their unique way.
What happens in a marriage when one person really needs emotional support, sex or just someone to stay up with them and their partner for whatever reason is not able to be there? In a polyamorous relationship that could be ok. If one partner needs time for themselves they don’t need to be afraid to take it, someone else in the home will be there for the other person. There is no longer the same sense of obligation to attend events you don’t want to, or alter your schedule for someone else’s- instead your relationship to each person in the home can be unique. Perhaps one person shares your same interests out of the home. Perhaps one person shares a sexual interest with you that you do not have in common with other people in the home. If all people can agree to the way of life and feel comfortable in their own beings- how beautiful could that be, and how many hurts that come out of totally relying on one person could be relieved or avoided.
I am not an idealist and I so totally understand that this way of life would have its own challenges. But, I have come to realize that it is what I am looking for. I am looking for a couple or a few individuals who want to live in intentional community together to share with each other. Granted, I have a child, so that can make such a lifestyle more complicated- but that can be beautiful too-a home full of people who love my daughter, who care for her. Perhaps people who love children, but do not want or have children of their own. I have thought of this lifestyle for quite a while, but didn’t know if I could have it because I have a daughter. Recently I watched a documentary about a man and a woman who met and fell in love but wanted a polyamorous life. A few years later they met another partner and he moved in with them. The female wanted a child, but the man she had first been with did not, but the second partner did. So, they three of them decided that two of them would have a child. They all love the child very much and are active in her life- but only two of them are her “parents.” I started crying while watching the documentary because it made me realize there are people like me and there are people raising children in this lifestyle- and it can be done and it can be done beautifully.
I know what I want. I want a polyamorous life. I don’t just want sex with other partners- I want to live in relationship with other partners. I want, in a non-cultish way to make my own little community that respects the freedoms and individuality of each member- but sees the benefits of several members coming together. I love the intentionality of it- the shared lives- the community- and also the freedom it brings for self-time and exploring life fully.
So where does that leave my husband and I? In a good place actually. I need a divorce- not because I no longer want him in my life, but because I need freedom from the constraints of marriage, at least at this point in my life. I need my own financial stability, my own interests and the freedom to pursue relationships. I need time to just be me and to continue to discover who that is. It is true I can have all of those things within a marriage. But, for me, even though there are many things that were amazing about our marriage, there is a lot of pain associated with it and I need a clear cut- a clear ending of our past, of our marriage- before I can welcome a new beginning with him or with anyone else.
We are going to try.
We are going to see if we can be part of each other’s polyamorous lives- if we can live in community together- we still care for each other-we still want to be one of each other’s partners- we want to raise our daughter together. I want a chance to enter into a polyamorous life with him as one of my partners and with him as the father of my child. But, I don’t want to enter into the lifestyle with him as my husband.
There then lies a freedom for both of us to move our separate ways if this does not work for us. But, if it does work then it also allows for a further freedom to be individuals. Perhaps one of us will like the polyamorous lifestyle and not the other. Perhaps we will both like it but find that we do better not being in the same community. Those are real possibilities.
In a polyamorous communal living setting, we would each have our own bedrooms, our own space. There would be an intentional coming together of individuals, not an enmeshment of lives into one. I am not saying this is the case in all marriages, or that enmeshment into one is always a bad thing. But, in the case of my marriage we were enmeshed so completely from the beginning that finding room to grow proved difficult for both of us.
There is a lot of trust, a lot of admitting that you don’t control all the elements, a lot of being comfortable in who you are and in the constructs of the relationships and a lot of respect for each person that would have to be present for such a lifestyle to work.
I don’t know that I will be successful at it. I don’t totally know all the elements or how it all logistically plays out- or even how you find other people who want the same things. All I know is this: I am actively constructing a new normal for myself, a new path for my future and one of the only things I know for sure is that I want a polyamorous life.