And so when she said she wanted to meet me after spending a magical evening with my boyfriend, I screamed with joy and threw my hat in the air. Well at least metaphorically (I am British after all).
There are acts and there are consequences. When you’re a woman with a constant barrage of messages, most of which focus on your appearance, you can become dismissive and even sick of having to reply to them. It creates a greater propensity to dismiss those who have reached out. To treat them like objects. Sarah made her selection on whether she found the image attractive. She objectified the men who had objectified her.
At what point do you define ‘being in a relationship’? Is it more than one date? Is it when you decide to be exclusive? Is it when you label each other boyfriend/girlfriend?
I hunger for more validation. More than being embraced by his family, which I am. More than us all being accepted by my friends, which we are. I hunger for the type of validation that marriage brings.
Sexual objectification is part and parcel of what we do, how we evaluate our potential partners and how we as a society procreate. But there are acts and there are consequences. Sexual objectification is fine as long as it is a small part of a greater appreciation, but it will constrain the longevity of your sexual relationship if this is the only basis of sexual attraction.
It’s the utter anguish of losing your sense of self. Of not knowing if anything around you is true. When you challenge societal structures which are considered the ‘only way’ and the ‘right way’ people will call you insane (and not in a good way).
He speaks of her. Of memories. Of what-ifs. Of his confusion. I try my best not to think guiltily about my own lover, my other significant other, sleeping in the bedroom. This heartbreak is his alone. And I am the lucky one.
I never expected to feel inadequate at this stage, nor to have life shove my inadequacy so brutally in my face in a period when I am confronted savagely by my own mortality through illness.
When you’re openly polyamorous, you’re so used to criticism that it starts to be rather trite and almost inevitable. But whilst hearing it from strangers doesn’t hurt, hearing it from your new boyfriend’s Mum might be a little more personal.
“It’s so difficult to play games like truth or dare with monogamous people,” said my boyfriend. “The dare is always about daring people to do stuff you know they’re forbidden to do normally and you never know how far you can push them. Is it okay to dare someone to snog their mate or show their boob? Am I crossing some sort of monogamy line?”
Every step we take together in this relationship, so poignant and so transient, is both amazing and – potentially – heartbreaking.
For three years I’ve taken the easy option. I’ve had a vicariously open relationship without doing any of the work. But despite a few drunken kisses at parties, I haven’t gone out on a date since our last polyamorous relationship ended (not entirely coincidentally, three years ago).
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