Wrapping his head around it

I recently met with an old friend of mine, a surgeon at UNMH that I had met in my undergrad. We used to hang out fairly regularly, but over the past couple years haven’t seen each other at all. It was great to catch up, especially because I can now actually talk with him about healthcare without feeling like a nitwit.

I told him about the plan to marry myself and explained the reasoning behind it somewhat. He seemed to grasp it but later told me he ‘was still trying to wrap his head around what it means to marry yourself’, which made me think that I should define it for myself, since the answer didn’t come directly to my mind.

My first thought was that it is about loving yourself so you can love others more. Now here is where I go into an explanation that some people find questionable, but it’s my belief. Just because I feel this way does not mean I think that others should necessarily agree.

The basis of not wanting to be in a traditional relationship *ever again* is the firm belief that *traditional monogamous relationships* foster dishonesty, lack of communication, and hence lack of trust. I will admit that I have had a hard time with trust issues in the past, where my trust was violated again and again. What this means is that I don’t trust openly. I don’t mistrust, but I know the human nature, and my intuition is *highly tuned* to changes in voice, mannerism, patterns of behavior, etc. Sometimes, it sucks. Sometimes it’s great, because I can tell when someone is upset before others.

So, you may be asking, “how on God’s green Earth does monogamy breed dishonesty?”

It is my firm belief that humans are sexual creatures. It is a natural drive in us all to procreate, and while some may forego sex (which includes much more than intercourse) for a time, I have not met one totally asexual person yet. We are innately attracted to certain people. Whether it is because we are physically attracted and imagine taking them to bed (or them taking us), or because they are intriguing, or comforting, or exciting, or whatever….attraction is inevitable with some people. We are so attracted sometimes as to seek out time with another person, even while in a “relationship”, but so many people don’t understand that to be attracted to someone, especially of the opposite sex (or same sex if that is your orientation), does not mean you want to take that person to bed. Or, wanting to take someone to bed doesn’t mean that you want a “relationship” with them, necessarily. For those who can’t see that it is not black and white (the majority of the population), there is a guilt involved in wanting to and/or pursuing this interaction. This is where things go wrong in a traditional intimate relationship.

In my past experiences, I started out a relationship very open to what is going on. I was usually resistant to being monogamous, not wanting to give up my freedom or to trust that others were truly ready either. I wanted to know who was in the other person’s life, so that it wasn’t a surprise later. If there was a female or two, or three, he was close to, I wanted to know about them so that it wasn’t a surprise later when I found out he had been hanging out with said person. I understand that people can be attracted to more than one person at a time and can even have multiple distinct sex partners and not lessen the feelings toward the primary partner.

The people I dated said that they didn’t find anyone else attractive, that they wanted to be monogamous, that they weren’t interested in anyone else, and that they were in it for the long haul. As soon as the last phrase was spoken, I would find out they were meeting other women and had been hiding it from me. Now, they weren’t having sex with these women (yet), or making out somewhere, but rather meeting them for coffee, exchanging very flirtatious and suggestive emails, basically extended foreplay. Who doesn’t enjoy doing that? My problem was that it was hidden from me and then denied when found out.

Here is one of my mottos in life, and it applies to every aspect of life:

If you feel like you have to hide it, you either shouldn’t be doing it, or you need to own up to it.

Let me reiterate:

If you feel like you have to hide it, you either shouldn’t be doing it, or you need to own up to it.

 -Amy Baker 2009

So, during my last relationship, I kept feeling that I couldn’t be in a relationship, that I wasn’t capable of emotionally handling a monogamous relationship, partially because I had a hard time believing that anyone is fully open and honest, even when they intend to be. I know when things are not being said, when thoughts are being withheld. People are afraid of upsetting the other person, afraid of admitting the truth, afraid of possible conflict over being themselves. How sad is that? But I find myself doing it too… I understand this is necessary sometimes, but there is a limit if you wish to have true intimacy. One thing I did have in my last relationship was the ability to ask a question that normally would have been met with disdain, guilt, and often anger. My partner didn’t do that to me, and because I could voice how I felt (which I think in retrospect I may have overdone, unfortunately), I have learned that it is easier than I thought to voice my needs and desires, that my feelings are valued, and that I am valued. Thank you John, for that and so much more!

I want to share everything with my partner, and that includes my fantasies that don’t include them, my interactions with people I am attracted to,  and vice versa…. literally *everything*. I had this with someone almost 10 years ago, and like an idiot I gave it up, but I don’t think that I was ready. What ended up happening is a long period of having my trust violated, and I am finally coming full circle. I want to share my thoughts as openly with a partner as a girlfriend, because I want to be with my best friend.

So, back to marrying myself.

I said this before, but when I decided to marry myself and started treating myself like I would a partner, I started doing things for myself I hadn’t done in ages, such as taking yoga, eating better, taking real down-time for myself (vs taking time to ride, run, swim, run errands, etc), and getting more sleep, as well as not sleeping in with my cuddle buddy if it meant missing yoga. I was my first priority.  I read Redefining our Relationships by Wendy-O Matik, a great quick read that helped me realize that I was neglecting who I have always been by trying to fit into a mold that doesn’t work with me and never has. It brought to my attention the truth that we each have many needs that cannot be met by one person. Each person in our life, whether it’s a 10-minute conversation on the train, or a friend you have known since elementary school, or the person that is always there to hold you, sexual or not, when you need human contact.  It reminded me of how valuable all of those connections are, and how it is not only impossible for us to expect our partner to meet all of our needs, but unfair to him or her. Beyond this clarification, it is our own responsibility to make sure our needs are met. It is not until we can realize and embrace how all of our needs are met that we see the truth of each relationship in our life. And it is only then that we can appreciate and embrace the relationships in our partner’s life that meet those same needs.

Just Me and Myself

Marrying myself is about non-ownership. Noone is *mine*, and I wouldn’t want to be a possession of someone else. I want to share myself with someone, not give myself away.

It is about knowing my needs, voicing them, and making sure they are met, without hurting anyone. The more I respect my own needs, the more I respect others’.

My marriage to myself will incorporate vows, much like any traditional marriage, as well as ritual. I plan on having a witness, but I have no idea who that is yet. I will know when the time is right. Myself and I are patient and understand that this is important enough to not rush.

Oh, and my surgeon friend was astute enough to point out that I should probably plan on a honeymoon too, so the wheels are turning regarding where I might go, barring all financial and time limitations…


3 thoughts on “Wrapping his head around it

  1. Pingback: Radical love anyone? « Amy-Bunny’s Blog

  2. Dear Amy,
    First, I wanted to wish you heartfelt happiness and longevity in your new marriage, as I’m certain that you and yourself will be a very powerful, loving source to each other for rest of your lives together! How magnificent a concept, self-marriage and self-commitment!
    Thank you for sharing your personal story and struggles with open relationships. Thank you for your exploration of truth, honesty, sex, and the freedom to love without limits. And thank you for mentioning my book (ROR)–your words and support mean the world to me. We are in it together!
    If you (or others you know) would be interested in hosting one of my Radical Love & Relationship workshops in your area, please contact me for more details. I would leap at the chance to bring radical love inoculations to your community!
    Heaps of gratitude & abundant love,
    Wendy-O Matik

    • What an honor to have your response! I love the interwebs!
      I will definitely put out feelers on a workshop. I kind of came to this point with the help of my last boyfriend and his two friends from another state that have had a successful open relationship, so not part of a “community” per se. I will certainly let you know!
      Thank you so much!

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