So my husband and I opened up our marriage and I was out exploring my sexual self with different partners. Many people do not understand why you would open up your marriage, because it involves the risk of meeting someone you fall in love with, and then your marriage is ruined.
Or is it?
Why exactly does falling in love with someone else mean that your marriage is ruined? Because we are taught that we should only love one person romantically, preferably effortlessly and for all eternity, but failing that, at least just one at a time. We are taught that we are only capable of being romantically involved with one person (at a time), and if we fall in love with someone else then we no longer love our first partner.
I would like to challenge this thought pattern!
I know for a fact that it simply is not true for many of us. We are capable of much more love than we allow ourselves and each other to feel. I will compare it to having children. Having the second (or third, fourth, etc.) child does in no way diminish the love you feel for your oldest child. There is just more love, I am sure we can all agree. Why should romantic love be any different? I don’t get it.
I fell in love outside my marriage. I remember being overwhelmed, scared and nervous, but mostly confused. I knew beyond any doubt that I still loved my husband to bits. I still wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, I loved our sex life and his sense of humour. He is an amazing dad to our two children! Yet I was in love with someone else too, and there was no denying it.
I have never had to hide anything from my husband, so when I fell in love I told him about it. I told him I was scared and uncertain. That I still loved him. And then I started reading about it online. I read and I read and I read. And when I came upon the term ‘polyamory’ it all made sense to me in all of a sudden. I felt love for more than one person.
Love is not bad! Love is good! Lying is bad, hiding is bad, and denying parts of yourself is bad. But loving is inherently good. And just knowing that the term polyamory existed made me rest at ease knowing that I could be in love with two people at the same time and that it was by no means a bad thing.
I would like to put the idea in your head right now that the only reason you think falling in love with someone else will ruin your marriage is because you have been taught that it will ruin your marriage. Maybe your marriage is already in ruins, but don’t blame that on the fact that you fell in love with someone else; blame that on whatever is going on between you and your spouse.
We are hardwired to connect with other humans. We fall in love with others throughout our lives, many of us do anyway, and some relationships are meant to last a lifetime, others are not. That does not mean that one type of relationship is necessarily less authentic than another. A lifetime relationship involving raising children and paying a mortgage has a certain depth that an intense relationship spanning a few months does not. Both enrich us, teach us valuable lessons and they make us feel alive.
What I like about polyamory is that you do not have to leave one partner simply because you fall in love with someone else. You stay with your partner when that relationship stems from a good place because you make one another happy, and you leave your partner when your reasons to stay together aren’t positive anymore. Opening up makes you able to take a clear look at your relationship and make an informed choice to stay — not just because it is easier, or because you are afraid to be on your own, or whatever your reason might be. You stay because you love him/her. Giving someone else that freedom to objectively form an opinion about your relationship is scary, no doubt! But when they choose to stay, you know it is a conscious choice out of love and that is priceless.
It was when my husband gave me the freedom to go explore with this other man that I realised how much I loved him. It made me respect him even more and I felt infinitely grateful.
Dolores Derrian is a polyamorous, kinky, sex-positive author promoting an alternative to monogamous, vanilla living. Find her on Twitter @DoloresDerrian.
This post was originally published on BlogHer.