Friday, November 9, 2012
Secret No Longer
Okay, I'll give you an example. Without the nagging thought-police rattling about my brain, when I'm casually asked by others (students to clients to bank-tellers) about weekend activities, I frequently find myself referring to "my partner and I", "the three women in my life", "my wife and her boyfriend and I", "my wife and her girlfriend", or, "my wife and my partner".
You see, it used to be that I'd intentionally edit the response to conceal my polyamorous lifestyle. I'd refer only to "my wife and I", or, say a "bunch of friends and I", or, "my family and I". These were intentional omissions designed to keep a secret, and not that I'd call them brazen lies, but they were so frequent as to become passively disturbing for - consciously - I was politely sanitizing core aspects of my life to fit an outward projection of monogamy. I was intentionally editing-out people who're important to maintain a slight deception.
I suppose that I was overly-concerned about The Truth: the wife and I have an open marriage and see other people. Dum-dum-dum! Golly, what will these strangers think? Well it turns out they don't think too much.
So far in my experience with more direct and open communication, there's a slight facial twitch accompanying the digestion of that information (that I've multiple partners) and then ... nothing. The conversation politely carries on in the same progression it would have otherwise. Crazy. Nobody yet has gripped my arm and stopped me in mid-sentence to confirm my infidelity or inquire about my hedonist sluttiness."Now hold on, I say, hold on there son: did you say ... partners?" Yeah. Sure. In my head, they all talk like Foghorn Leghorn, but regardless, it never happened.
What also never happened is somebody I know walking up to me in public while I'm out with one of my partners, removing a white glove, and slapping me across the face with it, exclaiming, "You cad. What will your wife think? How could you possibly hurt her like this? You're a dick." Even while I was closeted polyamorist, nobody ever confronted me, yet when I first started dating other people, I was convinced that I was the subject of constant scrutiny. "He's holding both of their hands," they'd say, or, "He kissed them both - who is he with?", or, "My God, he ... loves ... them both?!"
Oh yes, the horror.
Now, after some thinking on this and after a rigorous survey of navel-gazing, I've concluded that most people really aren't paying attention. And if they are paying attention, they're apt to avoid confrontation and just accept the conditions to which they're exposed. They just accept and move on, both for the sake of politeness as well as expediency. They really aren't going to push the envelope as not to attract as much attention to themselves as they might to you.
I'm proud of my partners and metas; I naturally want to tell everyone who they are. These are people who bring happy into my life. Concealing them has never felt right and - now after five, six years - I can honestly, consciously include them in my life's narrative. They aren't my secrets any longer. They're active participants that help shape joy. And now, letting all of that silly baggage go, it feels the best it ever has.