To be fair, it was a pleasant date. The world might have ended if it had been a shitty first date.
I have gone back and forth for the past few days on whether or not I want to write about this. Thing is, I have always had a “code” that I follow about what I do and do not share publicly when it comes to interactions I have with other people. I know what I do and do not like to share about myself, but when it comes to other people, I err on the side of caution when it comes to divulging private things – especially unresolved or in progress private things.
Like, if I’m talking about a lesson I’ve learned because of something that happened six months ago or a year or five years ago – I’m writing it from a place where that thing has been resolved and/or I am able to obscure enough of the details to where I don’t think anybody involved is feeling like their business is being plastered on social media.
But, in general – I try to keep the reporting of current events in my romantic life to a minimum; and since this first date is likely going to turn into a second date – I’m feeling limited on what to say.
On the other hand, as the poster child for mono + poly, it does feel like an incredible opportunity to record the experience, explore my feelings, and share the process I’m going through with others who’ve been following my journey for …well, for nearly five years now.
So, I’ll only say this in terms of details about the actual date: it was a pleasant date and we’ve discussed meeting again and we talked about Star Trek a LOT.
But for the rest of this post, what I want to get into is where that leaves me – and my thoughts on how having a date with someone affects my “identity” as a monocorn (or a mono person in a relationship with a polyamorous person), and the questions I’ve been circulating in my head since it happened.
For some context, this post from just before the holidays might help explain [why I even attempted going on a date in the first place.
Identities, for me, are not permanent. Well, not all of them, anyway. I allow for plenty of fluidity and lots of possibility for change in my life, so when I say I am monoamorous, I generally mean “have been up to this point in my life.”
I believe people can have romantic and loving connections with more than one person, I’ve just never experienced it myself. I have, however, experienced the feeling of attraction to someone outside of a loving, romantic relationship. When my sex life with my husband flatlined (a few years before he did) there was a guy that I met through a social group that I felt attracted to, and whom I fantasized about. If I had felt that the possibility of opening up our relationship would have been well received, I might even have brought it up to my husband, who was no stranger to the concept of open relationships.
But as much as I thought about it and fantasized about it, I also knew there was something lacking. That guy might have been willing to fuck me, but he was not going to love me; and for the last 20 years, I have been a person wants both the love and the sex.
As it stands, I still think I’m a monocorn, but depending on how this all turns out, I may eventually end up veering a little closer to the line where monogamish and polyamorous intersect.
And I do feel a little bit conflicted when I say that because it’s not actually easy for me to shift an identity even though I’ve done it multiple times in my life. A lot of what I’m doing with my life now centers around being the quintessential Monocorn and helping others to achieve acceptance (and self-love) by embracing some of the benefits of ethically non-monogamous relationships, without feeling like they themselves have to be non-monogamous.
What prompted me to agree to meet with this guy was that in our interactions via chat, I felt like there wasn’t any pressure for the meeting to have any expectation or outcome. I didn’t feel like I had to impress him, and I didn’t feel like he was trying to impress me. We were coming into it being ourselves, and that felt comfortable to me.
I did have some nerves leading up to it – mostly around what to wear. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve attempted a blind date; and I’d forgotten what it’s like to worry that someone might write me off because they don’t like the body I’m in.
I mean, that is a thing that happens – and OFTEN – but being part of a very body-positive kink community and circle of friends, I haven’t had to deal with it since I quit my job (where it shouldn’t have been an issue anyway).
But I did find myself reverting into that thought process – the “what if he doesn’t like me because I’m fat” process.
Took a few days to remember the answer to that question: “Then he exits my life as quickly as he entered it and I am still an awesome (and sexy) person in my own life and in the lives of those who care for me.”
The other thing that made me nervous is that I recognized that there was a part of me that was going to feel weird about the fact that my partner was not going to have any insecurity around my going out with someone else.
Not that I wanted him to, but I was definitely projecting how I might react to him dating someone new and then feeling weird about the fact that I knew he wasn’t going to react the same way. I recognize that’s rooted in a latent mononormative approach to what it means to “love” somebody; and that it’s something that is incongruous with the way that I now approach love and commitment.
Understand that this wasn’t something that was deeply plaguing me. These thoughts and feelings would flit in and out of my conscious mind in fragments of a second; but I’m a person who likes to investigate every emotion and every action to understand what drives them.
Another weird thing that happened? I fantasized about the guy. The new guy. My date. In my coaching school they call it “visioning” but really, it’s something I’ve done my whole life. I fantasize a scenario where it all works out, and jump 20 steps ahead to where it’s ….a thing now. Like, imagining what it’s like to be in a relationship with this guy (who I hadn’t even met yet) and how that all fits in with my life, commitments, and responsibilities as they are now. Some thoughts that come up during that exercise: I’d have to change the sheets more often, so I might have to get another set. I’d probably have to tell my family because if he’s important to me then I want them to know about it. Weird little details like that help to ground me about what is and is not possible, even if it’s not likely.
This used to be a dangerous process for me, because I used to not be able to untangle the fantasy from the reality, and it would lead me to setting expectations for the real meeting, filling in gaps in my knowledge about a person with assumptions based on a fantasy, and becoming disappointed when the reality didn’t measure up.
I’m much better now at keeping those fantasies in a bubble and recognizing the difference between a possible outcome that I’ve invented and the reality I live in.
And finally, the final bit that circulated in my thoughts through this process was this: I know what the agreements are with my partner in terms of what I want him to tell me or not tell me about other people he’s involved with; but I’d never really asked him what he wants to know if I actually start getting involved with someone else.
It’s funny, but as a monocorn – that wasn’t a question I had to ask before.
I honestly don’t know if this post will be helpful for anybody else, or if this is one of those “train of thought” posts where I’m doing my processing in real time while you all bear witness…
But for what it’s worth, I feel better having written it.