As I’ve made quite a few new friends on Facebook and other online spaces, the request to see my face often comes up– not as much as requests for other parts of my body but certainly often enough.
I understand the desire to want to see my face and know the woman behind the words I’ve written. Am I real? Am I pretty? Am I deformed in some horrible way? To know would help you connect with my words more, I’m told. However, as much as I long to share my thoughts and stories with the world, I also need to maintain some semblance of privacy– for myself and my family.
My desire and need for privacy has been confused with secrecy and in turn has offended some. This is definitely not my intent.
You may have read that I am married with kids. My husband and I opened our marriage about a year ago after a year of discussions about our changing needs and desires for intimacy.
This last year has certainly been a bit of an experiment in the sense that we didn’t know what to expect, although we did read books and articles as a part of collecting information before making the decision to give an open marriage a try. We set some rules for the privacy and protection of ourselves and our family. Some of those rules we quickly did away with and some have stuck and served their purpose.
Not disclosing my full and true identity and image online is a rule that has endured, and continues to be important as a means of protecting my family from ridicule and misplaced moral outrage.
While maintaining this level of privacy online, I have been able to be very open and forthcoming in my writing. On this blog, I try not to keep many secrets with the exception of my identity and that of my family and partners. I’ve talked honestly about my marriage, my boyfriend, sex and kink, my desires, and more.
The fact that we aren’t openly identified as poly in our community does challenge me. I tend to crave authenticity and truth in my life, so not being able to share all of my true self with family and friends has been heartbreaking for me at times.
That said, I have a friend who has an openly open marriage (and for much longer than me), but she’s going through a period of metamorphosis right now and a lot may change for her. I’m glad to be there for her as she takes difficult steps in her journey, but should she decide to close her marriage again then how many “friends” did she lose along her somewhat public path to finding a new place of peace and discovery?
Maybe it doesn’t matter. Or maybe a modicum of discretion would prevent any hurt feelings or misunderstandings?
I have more questions than answers.
How can you maintain authenticity with close friends and loved ones while you keep such a huge secret? The pain of secrecy only comes to mind when I consider what I withhold from my closest inner circle of family and friends.
I think it’s ok to have secrets. We all do. And no one needs to be privy to all the intimate details of your marriage. But when the secret is so significant in your life, how authentic and vulnerable can you be in conversations with family and friends that challenge the status quo?
When I hear girlfriends struggling with jealousy and suspicion in their marriages, I can empathize and comfort them. It’s another level of conversation, however, to share my personal story and journey in dealing with some of those same feelings.
This is the hard part for me. Biting my tongue.
I’m struggling to find a good balance between authenticity and privacy in my life, as it relates to my marriage and poly relationships.
Some rules, like protecting my online identity, have served me well. I may be tempted at times to usurp them, but then someone comes along to quickly remind me of why we made the rule in the first place.
Thank you. 🙏🏾
One rule I set for myself (and broke) was not dating monogamous men and certainly not dating men who aren’t ethically non-monogamous. I had tried it and it didn’t end well.
I know now that I just cannot maintain secret relationships with men who haven’t done the hard and painful work to be honest with themselves and their partners. I know it’s hard, and it’s just not for everyone.
Some secrets are fine, as I said everyone has them, but — honesty within a partnership is just too important to me to overlook.
Why? Because I expect to have that same level of honesty in our relationship and how can I trust that you can do it, if I don’t see you model it first?
I’m not here to judge anyone else’s journey or process, but I have to be clear about mine.
It is my life, the only one.
When I’m stressed and emotionally imbalanced, life is painful for me and what’s worse, my children experience that pain as well.
We opened our marriage to help alleviate some of the pain and stress that comes from trying to be everything for your partner — the trappings of monogamy. I can’t then go into a new relationship just as painful and stressful. This is what I’m clear about now, logically anyway.
The problem is emotion. My heart wants to bend, twist, and surrender everything (even sanity) for this love. It’s a love I’m terrified I may never experience again.
My brain says follow the rules and I’ll take care of your heart. My heart says rules were made to be broken, embrace love and let your brain figure out a new rationale.
Why do they have to be at odds?
When heart and brain come together, it’s the most beautiful gift. If you’ve found a gift like this, please cherish it forever.