Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Monogamy

It's been on my mind lately. FG and I have been together nearly fifteen years. As readers of the last post will have gathered, we got together in high school. We've had plenty of problems over the years but we've both been strictly faithful the whole time. (Or, to be realistic, I have been, and if she hasn't I don't know about it. But honestly? I think we've both been faithful.)

Some of that time was characterized by hot sex and mad jealousy; I was insanely jealous over a series of straight guys, always convinced that eventually she was going to 'come to her senses' and 'get a real man'. (I mentioned the self-hatred and internalized homophobia sometime, right? Sigh.) And then after our marriage we sank into a long stretch of what doesn't qualify as lesbian bed death but was surely lesbian bed terminal illness. I was the one saying things like, "No, we have sex! I remember, we had it ... wait... was it last Saturday or the one before? But it was nice, right? Wasn't it?" I was so out of touch with myself that it was literally a nightmare to have to be naked and intimate; not because she wasn't sexy and hot (believe me, she always has been) but because I was so ashamed of myself and in such denial about how my sexuality and gender worked.

Part of what has been revolutionary about this year for me has been a full-on sexual reawakening. And part of the reawakening has been a new awareness of sexual attraction towards other women, and from them, too. This is true for FG, too, she tells me (though her experience of our lbti was much different from mine).

This brings up lots of difficult issues. Sometimes I think, I'm going to die and I'll only have slept with one person, and it drives me batty. And I think, I've locked up her and my own sexuality for so long--I thought on such a deep level that marriage was about deluding some pitying woman to chain her life to yours at your one moment of attractiveness--isn't it time to break out a little bit? What if we negotiated some freedom? Would that even work? Could I withstand the jealousy of her being intimate with anyone else? (Yeah, there's a double standard at work here in my head; I'm not defending it but there's no sense in lying about it either.) Would that be fair to the potential other people involved? How does any of this work in real life, outside of permanent committed polyamory situations (which is not what I'm talking about or looking for)?

As you can deduce from the previous paragraph being written all in question form, I don't have any answers about any of this. One thing I know is that the only prospect that seems just chokingly, unbearably sad is that of not having her in my life and by my side.

And the other thing I know is that I don't want to repeat the layers of jealousy, controlling, and hypocrisy that was modeled for me in my parents' marriage(s). I don't think it all comes down to sex, either; I remember my dad would be in trouble even for seeming to notice a pretty woman on the television. I don't know if FG and I ever will try sex with other people, at least as long as we're together; but I do know that I'm relieved to be done being the jailer of her sexuality, her ability to flirt and dance and feel alive outside the tight orbit of our relationship. More and more that ability seems to me to be a fundamental human right, something no one has the right to steal from another.

14 comments:

Jess said...

Tina and I are way too jealous to consider anything but monogamy.. we both kind of feel like it would be playing with fire.

It's different for you and FG because of your long history together without others.

I don't think I'd ever have the balls to blog this. Props to you for having balls. :)

Oh.. and I would totally NOT be good with other butches coming on to Tina. NOT AT ALL. LOL

QueerRose said...

Brave post Leo. Balancing long term relationships and individual personal growth / freedom can be really difficult. I hope you find answers that will work for you QRx

Kyle said...

Oh, my friend, your questions could have come directly out of my brain. Yes, I'm in a poly situation now, but it's a new thing. For most of my life, I've had the same jealousy and insecurity you're talking about. And the double-standard feelings, and the guilt over them. And the fear that my wife and I were locked into a dead sex life and that I'd never have a chance at sexual adventure again.

My wife has always been clear that jealousy doesn't get a place at the table with our relationship. I've spent a lot of years working my way through that emotion so I could lessen its hold on me. When I came to the realization that I wanted to have a relationship with her and as well as someone else, I knew that I'd have to be open with her about it and I'd also have to accept that she'd have that freedom as well. That was hard but I'm in a pretty good place with it now.

I'm going through the same kind of thing with my girlfriend now. I can't hold her back if I'm not willing to do the same, but I had the same jealous, possessive impulse. So I spent time working through it as well. I can't believe how much growth I've experienced in just this past year.

Not sure what all this means to you, except that you're not alone and asking the questions and digging into yourself are worth it.

Freedomgirl said...

hey baby, it's only you. i'd tell on myself in a heartbeat, anyway, you know that. xxx

B said...

This was a great post and took lots of courage.

LL Cool Joe said...

All depends on what you define as unfaithful too. I've fallen in love with people on-line. No sex at all. But I've certainly got an intimacy that I didn't feel I was getting in real life. I don't regret it because in the end it was good for my relationship with my partner. I always felt my partner has been married to their job. We've been together for over 20 years now, and I think maybe you "need" something (whatever that is) to keep things fresh. When you've been with someone for a long time it's easy to feel unattractive and unsexy. So I think a bit of flirtation on both sides is good. If you feel good about yourself then you are going to make your partner feel good too. :)

But I don't think you need another sexual partner to achieve this.

MLC said...

I think there are probably plenty of people who have had a lot of lovers who would trade that experience for a committed, loving relationship in an instant and never look back.

Besides who said monogamous = boring?

j.

Sabrae said...

I can kinda relate to your thoughts... But I don't think another sexual partner is what you need. Maybe just some experimentation to liven things up a bit???

dolphyngyrl said...

I definitely agree with MLC that monogomy does not have to equal boring. It sounds like you've come a long way in understanding yourself and your relationship in terms of sexuality and sex. But it also sounds like there's more work to be done before you feel completely like everything *fits*.

I'm not saying that poly isn't right for some couples, but, from the questions you have, it does not sound like it's right for you. At least not yet.

And major kudos for having the nads to share.

CAB said...

I'm really impressed with the courage you have shown in posting this blog. I can say for myself that I am not a jealous person, especially when it comes to my partner. However, that doesn't mean that for me there aren't deal breakers and failing to be monogomous is a definate deal breaker. That being said, if someone wants to flirt and/or she wants to flirt and its obvious that its just for fun I'm good with that too. Besides, I tend to think "who wouldn't find my partner attractive? Doesn't everyone think she's sexy?" But I'm extremely secure in the knowledge that she is coming home with me.

I guess that is a long winded way of saying the more confident/comfortable you are in yourself, the easier it is to trust your relationship.

Good luck with all your questions. I hope that you can find whatever it is that the both of you need.

Holden said...

Your honesty is always so lovely to read. As CAB said "the more confident/comfortable you are in yourself, the easier it is to trust your relationship."

This is something I'm experiencing at the moment too, I'm much less likely to be jealous where FIMG is concerned and I know it's because I'm more self assured and confident.

It's a refreshing and liberating feeling.

greg said...

Wow, my friend, you did it. You posted the big one. You know that this is something that I have worried about as well since gf is my only (gay) relationship. I have so many mixed and conflicting thoughts on this topic that it's hard for me to even comment properly.

I think that the most important factor is communication. That you are so brave in admitting these fears here is very admirable and that your beautiful FG stands beside your side like she does is what makes you a couple that I look up to.
Whatever you have faced in the past and whatever should come ahead, you two will be just fine as long as you keep this honesty and openness alive.
I'm proud of you.

Butch Boo said...

Good on you for the bravery.

It's hard to be true to yourself when you don't actually know what that is. It's hard to know if the grass is greener on the other side until you go there and sometimes you realise the grass was greener before.

I'd pay someone sometimes to give me the right answers and plonk them in my head!

Maybe have some time away have some head space and try and listen to what it is you want. But then again maybe we can sometimes think too much!
Great post BGC and sending a cyber pat on the back and a pint of cool beer.

BB

X

ladybrettashley said...

"I'm going to die and I'll only have slept with one person"
that sort of "oh no, i'll never know what i'm missing out on" feeling was one of the big problems in my last relationship. i don't suppose that by itself would have ended things, but it's really nice, now, to feel like i know exactly what i'm missing by being monogamous. and, mostly, i don't miss it at all =)
anywho, thanks for sharing, i love your thoughts