The unraveling of my formerly ‘Normal’ life

Leon Mexico

Zero kilometers ridden.

Coming back to Leon from Portland left me feeling out of sorts. The weekend had been incredible, but the passionate kissing had broken past a barrier I had kept in place for many years.  While I was a police officer I felt a need to retain some amount of a moral high ground and thus had stowed away my prior instances of living in polyamory and being promiscuous.  That was naive of me, but it was my reality nonetheless. While there had been some involvement in open relationships since me departure from policing, this was my first straying from the very serious and committed relationship I am in with Cat. In addition, it felt like I had done wrong by Montserrat as well.  Even though she had been in a relationship when I left, the feelings were clearly there and I felt like I had committed a large betrayal to Cat and a small one to Montserrat even though we were not together. One of the first things I did on returning was to talk to Montserrat about the kissing, the talk with Cat, and that while I had acted inappropriately Cat and I were going to work on it and keep working forward.

With my self-destructive history of pushing people away when they become important to me, I was worried I might be subconsciously doing that with Cat.

The conversations with Cat continued and were completely open and honest.  I didn’t ask her to consider polyamory, but she asked me many questions about it and my history with being in open relationships and multiple partnerships in the past.  The conversations frankly scared the hell out of me.  I was having to break down my thoughts on something that had just been an inherent understanding to me. Loving more than one person without taking away from another comes naturally to me, explaining how that works to others certainly doesn’t.

At the same time Montserrat and I were still talking and I was still feeling more and more for her.  Even the reservations I had made into road blocks were falling away.  While I was gone she had quit smoking because it was her one trait she felt unhappy with herself about. She and her boyfriend had stopped seeing each other because she was tired of how he was acting and treating her and said she realized she could do so much better.  All of it just made my head spin.

I felt myself torn between the person I had tried so long to be, the normal monogamous person, and the person I was seeming to become again. I wanted to nothing but to do right by Cat and yet my feelings for Montserrat were growing exponentially. It felt internally like rift was forming and I had no idea how to stop the divide.

To try and make sense of the days would be useless as they blended together in a whirlwind of writing blogs, planning the next steps of the trip, talking many times a day with Cat, and fighting the wave of feelings welling inside me for Montserrat.  I felt like something was sure to break, and it nearly did. Early in the week I had fallen asleep lying beside Montserrat after we had watched a movie on the only TV in the house, in her bedroom. We spent the entire night face to face with just the tips of our noses touching.  I could feel both of us yearning to kiss and touch each other. By morning we hadn’t moved at all and the air was electric.  We got up and went about our own tasks but that night had pushed us so close to the edge that the slightest slip would have been a fall from the cliff.

Something did break though, just not the way I had thought it would. Cat asked me one morning what an open relationship would look like. I began to explain how mine in the past had worked and how others I knew made theirs work. Somewhere in the middle she stopped me to correct her question.  She wanted to know how an open relationship would look between us. I was flabbergasted. Here I was trying desperately to hold together the two parts of how I had lived my adult life so that I could maintain normalcy in the healthiest relationship I had ever been in and she wanted to know what it would look like if we threw other people’s definition of normal to the wind.

In that question and the conversations that followed I came to realize something I had known for a long time, normal is just a setting on a washing machine. Here I was on a solo motorcycle trip across the Americas because normal life hadn’t really worked for me and I had years of issues to work through because I had tried to be normal, and I was still worried about what others would think of my relationship.  It was a proverbial slap to the face. It didn’t matter if others thought we were “wrong” or “sick”, so long as we were happy with each other, continued to be totally honest with one another, and were honest with anyone we involved in our relationship and looked out for their wellbeing and happiness.

There were several more long conversations before Cat decided that she wanted to try and work on that level.  While she was not polyamorous by nature, she wanted me to figure out just who I was as I healed.  I gave the reigns over to her and made sure that she knew I would not be upset or bothered if she changed her mind and wanted me to stop exploring my feelings for Montserrat. That final conversation was while Montserrat was in the shower.  When she got out and I took her in my arms and kissed her it felt very much right.  She was a bit stunned, but very happy when I told her Cat had told me it was okay.

The rest of that week seemed to fly by and then we were off and driving to visit Morelia for some derby coaching.  Montserrat would do her first highway driving and I would get to coach with her helping me for the first time.  It was a really spectacular practice but I was so tired I overslept practice the next morning and our hosts felt it too rude to wake us and just let us sleep. While I needed the sleep, I felt bad for not making the mornings events.

I also decided to stay another week in Leon so I could go and work the Mexican Champs as an official.  It was two weeks of finding parts of me that I had lost, making plans, and realizing a little more that what others think of my life is far less important than what I think of my life.

From Cat

The next several days that followed Champs were by far the hardest for me since Zack had left. All I wanted was a really big hug and kiss and to be held and I couldn’t have it.  We were being so open, so raw, and so honest with each other. This level of communication and trust and intimacy is something I had never experienced with anyone in my entire life. And it scared the absolute hell out of me.  But it also made me realize how incredible, amazing, and real this partnership was. 

As hard as it was for me to process everything that was happening and figure out how I felt, I could also see it was incredibly difficult for Zack.  I could tell that he was fighting with himself, and I wanted so badly to help. So instead of focusing on me and how I was feeling about everything, I tried my best to understand. As many couples do when Zack and I first started getting to know one other, we talked about our past relationship history. I knew that he had been a bit promiscuous and even involved in poly situations, and while I didn’t really understand it, I didn’t really have to. It was never something I had talked about, thought about, or been exposed to, and besides, it was part of his past so I didn’t really have to. Well now I did.

Zack very patiently answered every single question that I had and reassured me in every way he could. Never once did he get upset or frustrated with me, even if I asked the same question multiple times. He made me feel comfortable enough to speak my feelings openly and honestly, even if they were selfish or hard to hear. I soon began to realize that this wasn’t about me or us at all; this was something that he was working through with himself.  And the more we talked, the more I understood, this is who he is. This is no different than if he were to share with me that he was gay or bisexual. I still love him just as much and very much want him to be my partner and continue building and sharing our lives together.  And just as important, he still wanted that with me. None of that had changed.

After our conversations, I often found myself just sitting alone in silence, trying to process all we had discussed. I logically understood everything he was sharing with me. I rationally understand how someone can love multiple people and yet one love does not take it away from the other. While I am not a mother, I imagine it is the same type of concept, you love all of each children and your love for one does not take away from the other. But emotionally, this was a very hard concept for me to relate to. It brings up fears of being rejected, unwanted, and not good enough. I had no experience to fall back on, nothing to tell me that this would turn out okay. But I knew this was something that Zack needed to work through, and there was kind of no other way for him to process these emotions and figure out who he was except by moving forward.  

After a few very long, difficult and sleepless nights, I decided that this was as good of time as ever to give this a shot. Please believe me when I say I did not come to that decision casually. There was a lot of thought and considerations that I put into the decision. A lot of doubt, fear and raw emotion. But if Zack was going to explore this attraction with Montserrat, I figured it was best to do in a safe environment, with complete consent and knowledge of ALL parties (his, mine, and hers). We decided on ground rules and had many “what if” conversations. These were the hardest part of the conversations for me because I had to really break down and analyze how I felt about my partner being involved with another woman.  And while this was incredibly difficult for me do and think about, I knew it was the only way this could work-- nothing could be a surprise.  We had to talk about it all. My brain is not necessarily hardwired for polyamory, but I never once doubted Zack’s love for me or his commitment to our partnership. I also knew two very important factors in all of this: 1. That if at any point I felt like this was something I couldn’t handle and it was becoming an overwhelming issue for me or us, I could let him know and it would stop and 2. This was going to be an ongoing discussion. We would continue to talk and share how we were feeling and continue “checking in”. With that in mind, I put my trust in him and in us.

Processing through this was a really big step for me personally, and recognizing that was a huge part of my own healing. I think it takes a very strong, brave, and confident person to think outside of their preconceived ideas and notions about love and relationships and boundaries to see there might be another way of thinking.  The unknown is scary and full of fear and doubt and this entire situation was unknown to me. I wasn’t exactly sure what all would come of this, but I knew that often times our biggest moments of growth come when we are most afraid and vulnerable.  


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