In my post yesterday “Addicted to Love,” I got into details about a recent failed romance with “The Free Spirit.” And I ended the long post saying I didn’t know what motivated me to draw her into a loving relationship when I should have anticipated that she wouldn’t be able to handle the raw bargain of being a “secondary” (as I observe is the term of art in the “poly” community).
This morning I woke up and came to the conclusion that Spirit bore at least some of the blame herself. She went into this with her eyes wide open, and more than that, she espoused that an open relationship was the only kind of relationship she could ever see herself in.
So it’s not as simple as my leading her down any garden path out of my own selfish designs. I thought she was the rarest of birds that I’d been looking for, the single woman who was self-possessed enough to know what she wanted and could handle love without possession. I’d be her mentor into the world of responsible, mature, loving open relationships.
But when the going got emotionally rocky, when we started expressing our love in words, she couldn’t handle it. In the end, she bemoaned on her blog that she couldn’t stand that I’d “never get down on one knee” for her.
I don’t begrudge her that she has traditionalist, possessive view of love after all. But it does reinforce my point of view that dating single people is fraught with danger for the polyamorous.
My relationship with The European is wonderful, but there is an edge to the fact that she’s not in an open marriage. I understand her situation well: she loves her husband, but it’s a troubled marriage and she’s tired of compromising on her own fulfillment, so she’s taking the tried-and-true route of discrete infidelity. I love her and understand her, so I accept the bargain, but it certainly has its complications and moral ambiguity. (In fact, were it not for how it might compromise her, I’d probably be ready to be open in my identity about the open marriage, but it could come back and bite her if I did, so I can’t.)
So that just leaves the field of women who are themselves in open relationships. Swell, except that they’re few and far between and discoverable mostly through awkward online clubs. Also not a simple option.
I’m still licking my wounds after a short, intense and ultimately very painful romance. But after all of it, the one thing clearest to me is this: I love you, Wifey! Can’t ever stop reminding you how lucky I am to be loved by you!