So J began to describe our beginning into the world of "something more than monogamy."
After reading Sex at Dawn we began a series of conversations, lasting about a month. A lot of them were intense, many difficult to get through. I had one exceptionally difficult week in particular; I felt like my whole world was getting turned upside down and I had nowhere to turn! Since I was a little girl, I have had this irrational dream that there was one man out there for me and he was going to love only me for the rest of our lives; that only I would complete and fulfill him. I experienced anxiety and depression during this time: what if J didn't truly love me anymore? What if he would never want to marry me? What if he fell in love with someone else and left me? What if, what if, what if? What if I wasn't good enough? What if???
Suddenly, about three to four weeks into our day-in and day-out conversations, staying up until all hours of the night and talking constantly and only about all of this during the day, something just clicked in my brain. It was like: oh my gosh. My partner and I love each other. Deeply. We can be 100% honest with each other. We aren't going to leave each other. We can both be attracted to other people and still love each other. Nothing changes that. Can I really imagine only having intimate experiences with him for the rest of my life? Can anyone really expect their partner to not want to experience intimacy with anyone else? Can I really expect myself or my partner to not feel attracted to other people?
I suddenly became very comfortable with these ideas. Monogamy seems so unnatural. It's not a bad thing; I'm not here to make a judgment call. But it seems unnatural for us. Our lives would only be enriched and blessed by the experiences we would gain from meeting and interacting with other respectful and thoughtful people.
But wait: what else is there? This was my very next roadblock. This question felt like a huge cement tower in my path to sexual and emotional liberation. What the hell else is there?? There is monogamy, and then there's.... what? I had been taught from a very young age that we (society) value honesty, commitment, and loyalty. I have an uncle that rocked my extended family when his child from an affair came to live with his family; witnessing that shaped a lot of where I had learned that "thou shall not cheat, think about cheating, think anyone but one's partner is attractive, ever think about one's own sexual fulfillment, etc." I grew up during high school experiencing insanely jealous rages over boyfriends and ex-boyfriends and crushes looking and talking with other girls; this was normal, expected, and encouraged behavior. Jealousy, competition, and monogamy, at least in my experience and socialization, all go hand-in-hand. And, that meant this was the only option for experiencing relationships, romantic or otherwise.
Well, all it took was a little research. J took the lead, as it was about this time that I was still reeling a bit in shock from my world-turned-upside-down state of mind. We began reading about swinging, polyamory, etc, and the Wikipedia page on Non-monogamy got us started on our journey outside of monogamy.