My Relationship with Relationships

by Dommie Darko.

As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved falling in love. And I loved everything about being in a relationship. Since my very first girlfriend when I was 15, I’ve never been single for more than a couple of months. Unfortunately, in my teens and early 20s, I loved falling in love so much that I was often infatuated with several people at once. Equally unfortunately, I’d accepted one of classic myths about love: if you’re in a relationship with a person, and you become infatuated with someone else, then you probably don’t really love your partner. Now I know from personal experience that this myth isn’t true, but for a long time it was a source of great pain and guilt for me, and caused many of my early relationships to fall apart.

When I first met my wife, I was in my early 20s and experimenting with a polyamorous relationship with my then-girlfriend. Although most of my serious relationships had been defaultedly monogamous, they’d also been short-lived, and there has been a lot of them.

Iris had, at that point, primarily been in relationships with women. To this day, I’ve never actually seen her look at a man with any sexual desire in her eyes. (Feel free to check her profile to learn more.) Among our friends, she was thought to be lesbian, and I had a reputation for being a slut. And so when we first started dating, nobody thought it would work. But here we are, almost 11 years later, still happily together, after witnessing most of our friends breaking up and getting divorced.

If you want to know our secret for maintaining a happy partnership, it’s this: Do not accept the myth that there is one “correct” model for having a relationship. If you want to be happy, then you and your partner are going to have to create a model that WORKS FOR YOU. From the very beginning, Iris and I had to throw away the social script that we’d been given on how relationships were “supposed to work.” I was inclined towards polyamory and non-monogamy, and she was queer and kinky. (We’re both kinky, actually, but she was the one who introduced me to BDSM.) We happily accepted that there was never going to be any “normal marriage” for us.

I love my wife in a very special way. But she’s also not the only partner that I love. I often find myself having to disabuse people of the misconception that because I have a primary partner, that I will not (or cannot) become thoroughly emotionally invested in any other romantic relationships. It’s just not true. Yes, I’m admittedly still a bit slutty (I use this term endearingly, there’s no shame in enjoying sex), and I have casual relationships, some of which are centered around kinky sex and BDSM play.

However, I don’t just desire one “flavor” of relationship; and like “normal” monogamous people, I do value emotional intimacy, trust and reliability from the people who inhabit a special place in my life. I’m very lucky to have a few partners whom I have really let into my life and, although this is a cheesy metaphor, they each carve a very unique and individual shape into my heart. And each of them are extremely important and irreplaceable.

I’d hope that most don’t just immediately want end their singleness and get married. I hope we earnestly desire to connect with other people in a meaningful way. This is definitely why I’m here on this planet. So, to that end I’d like to share something I learned from The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, my favorite book of all time.

“Why don’t you ever use your strength on me?” she said.
“Because love means renouncing strength,” said Franz softly.

From this I gathered, that a relationship does not flourish when one partner uses their strength to dictate its path. To truly connect with someone intimately, you need the courage to be vulnerable. So my goal in this long-winded story has been just that. To be open myself up and be vulnerable. I hope you enjoyed it.

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