“A friend is someone who gives you the freedom to be yourself – and especially to feel, or not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at any moment is fine by them. That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is.” – Jim Morrison
I’ve talked previously about how I have felt more freedom in my relationship with Mr. F despite our decision to be monogamous, compared to when I was exploring non-monogamy. This past week I’ve been thinking about my experiences with non-monogamy a lot and how despite it being an overwhelmingly positive adventure, there are definitely ways in which non-monogamy didn’t work for me, at least at times.
Kink and non-monogamy gave me outlets for my personality and self-expression that I never would have experienced in other relationships. I am always going to be grateful for that and I would not change it for the world. I do however wish I had spoken up a little bit more the other facets of my being, I allowed my to become almost a caricature of myself, where is was all kink, all the time and when it wasn’t I felt like I was letting the side down or being too ‘vanilla’.
The truth is though, I enjoy the vanilla aspects of my life. I love lounging in my PJ’s watching netflix, I like doing domestic things for and with Mr. F and climbing into bed with him, both totally naked for some vanilla fuckery is one of the single greatest joys of my entire life. I feel cross with myself for not being more outspoken about how much those things added value to my life.
It was in allowing myself to forego more vanilla aspects of life and relations that sometimes gave me that feeling that I was being restricted, it is perhaps hindsight that is allowing me to see my past and unvoiced frustrations. For example, I’ve always known I like dining out, but it wasn’t until Mr. F invited me out on our first dinner date that I truly accepted how much I’d missed doing it regularly and importantly with someone who also saw value in those outings.
Similarly, the time Mr. F and I spend snuggled on the sofa watching movies is far from wasted, it feels nourishing for us and if the option is either do that or not spend time together I am always going to go for the snuggling option. This was something I had long since given up as part of a relationship though. Along with a lot of other ‘relationship norms’ because they just weren’t wanted by by the other party in my previous dynamic.
This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy myself, I really did, but I think I was often conflicted about what kind of dynamic we actually had and I wish dearly I had been more vocal about the words, definitions and type of relationship we had. We were essentially romantically monogamous and sexually non-monogamous, yet many descriptors folks would automatically use to describe us such as boyfriend, girlfriend, couple, relationship etc were shunned and for 4 years I was a ‘sexy friend’ but in truth when we were non-mongamous a lot of our friends were sexy friends and I think I actually deserved a descriptor a little more just for me than what I got.
I feel awful for writing things like this because I refuse to rewrite four years of fun and act as if it was never what I wanted because it worked well for me in many ways and as I always say, it definitely allowed me space and time to work out some stuff and I got to do so many fun things. I know though that I allowed myself to have the type of dynamic someone else wanted and perhaps needed, without giving myself enough moments where I expressed where I was at, even when those might have been difficult conversations.
Too many times we avoided conversations for fear of ‘upsetting the apple cart’ and as such there are still situations that I reflect on and I have no closure on how they were handled because they were never discussed. I am trying so hard to unlearn this with Mr. F and to make sure we are both in the type of relationship that is equally satisfying for us.
I also know for certain that neither of us wants the other person to feel restricted. I am happy to encourage and give space to Mr. F so he can enjoy time with his friends and likewise, I know he’s happy to encourage my creativity here or whatever other ways in which I choose to unwind. The day I wrote this we went out and had lunch together, then came back to chill at his for the remainder of the day. I was straight into my PJ’s while we played our individual games of Animal Crossing whilst watching Moana. Then I returned to this post and he played a card game that he enjoys. There’s no pressure to say anything, do anything, wear anything fancy or put on any airs and graces, we simply get to be ourselves but together.
I think everyone deserves to find the type of love where they feel completely free to be who they are, feel how they feel and simple exist without restrictions that make them feel stifled. That love may well be found with a romantic partner like in my situation. I equally believe though that is can be found in platonic friendships, sexual connections and also with family members, our experiences may be different but I do hope many of us find that person or people at some point in our lives that will make the quote chosen for this week’s Quote Quest relatable to many.
I try my hardest not only to love Mr. F this way but also my little boy. I think it would be beautiful if the first experience of a love that makes you feel free was experienced by everyone with their parents. I know this is far front he case though, I hope for it to be true for my son though. I want him to know that whoever he is and however he feels he is always, without fail free to express himself with me.
He is 8, and he already has interests that I have no common ground with. As in, none at all, he talks about things and I am lost, but I still listen and I encourage him to talk, even about the things I would be bored stiff by if anyone else on the planet was telling me about them. Simply because they’re his interests and don’t want him growing up thinking ‘ah, mum never wants to hear what I’ve got say’ because that freedom to express himself matters to me.
Equally he is better than some grownups at offering me the same in return, he will do things with me, or try things with me just because he knows I’d like it. He listens to my interests and rocks up with the best birthday and christmas gifts, which my ex will apologise for because ‘small human picked them all by himself’ but it’s awesome because he is more than happy to let mummy be mummy, even though, as he says himself, ‘you’re not really like all the other mummies’.
I often feel like I ask for the world from the people who love me and as such I can see why some relationships are bound to end because perhaps I do expect to much from people but then I look at my beautiful son and lace my fingers into Mr. F’s and I think that maybe to the right people I am not asking for too much at all. I am just asking to be exactly who I am and they both seem quite content to love me under that condition.