The search result-oriented referral logs are becoming more and more disturbing. I can’t post them here because they’ll upset those of you with delicate constitutions and frankly, I need a lot of readers to make me feel good about myself. Well, not really. But I don’t want to encourage more people looking for, well, the things they’re looking for. I can’t believe they want to do that to those poor Campfire Girls. Oops. There I go.
In my futile, never-ending efforts to make everything about ME, I’m convinced now that I’ve said something wrong. Well, not really. But I don’t have the best memory, so I might be projecting. And I excel at projecting. Really. I’m quite good. And I know you know that already.
My first long-term relationship was with a man (let’s call him Primo) who had a partner. And that partner had another partner. Relax, the shampoo commercial ends there. Granted, at the time my boyfriend was living thousands of miles away from his original partner, but at nineteen I absolutely loved the freedom of loving a man who didn’t mind if I fucked other guys. Primo was also, what, seventeen years older than me? What can I say, I’ve always been mature for my age.
Though the freedom to fuck sated the desire for other men, my on-the-side escapades inevitably left me with a greater appreciation for Primo, a man who knew and loved me, who spoiled me and treasured me. Coming home to him was the reward. I believe he realized, too, that there was a big ol’ Romantic in me, and because he wasn’t (at least at the time), he knew that my searching would someday lead me elsewhere.
Our relationship as such lasted several years. I’d go away for school, date other guys, and come back to him during the summers. I fell in love with another man and had my heart broken for the first time. Primo remained a constant presence.
I suppose the most difficult aspect of loving Primo was dealing with Others, especially in Minnesota. Friends and strangers were more than happy to share with me their opinions of our relationship. Tricks or potential dates, in particular, would be the most confused or pious. My mother and her partner were clearly uncomfortable with the open relationship and the age difference. Over time, I’d often leave out details or blur the truth when discussing Primo. It was just easier.
Eventually the relationship changed. Though I didn’t handle Primo’s feelings as delicately as I should have (blame my dumb youth), with time we’ve become good friends, and he’s still an important man in my life.
About the time Primo moved away, I met the man who would eventually become my Ex, and thus began a five-year relationship that explored all the emotional limits life offers. In contrast, the Ex was not comfortable sharing me. I thought I could handle that. I thought I could change. But I couldn’t. Or didn’t. My first relationship with another man questioned the conventions of love. And instead of honoring the Ex’s more practical limits and acting accordingly, I engaged in drama and subterfuge. (“Smoke and mirrors”, he called it).
You know, I wouldn’t do that now. Through sobriety I’ve learned how to live an easier life. I don’t lie, and if I do, I make amends. I have one life, not a multitude of half-lives. Sybil has left the building.
But when the time comes again, what will I want? Monogamy? Ployamory? I don’t know. I really don’t. My instinct lately has been to simplify my life. I’m happy with a small group of friends, so it would seem I’d be most comfortable with one partner. Besides, over time I’ve reached the conclusion that anonymous sex really isn’t much fun. For me. Or one-night stands for that matter. But I could change. And I know how time and routine tarnish the shine of long-term bliss. Cute, fascinating boys polka dance into our lives when we’re paying bills with the husband and wow, do they look like fun. And if the husband doesn’t mind, well then, now you’re onto something interesting.
Which is my way of saying: What the hell do I know? If you find love, whatever the form, go wild. Tell me the juicy details. Flaunt in the face of the pious, hateful and devout. It doesn’t mean less for me.