Once upon a time, in a land far, far away.
No, that’s not it.
I suppose I could go all the way back to high school, really. I suppose I should, in fact. When I was 17, it occurred to me that I needed to date more people. I needed to experience life. So I broke up with my boyfriend and started dating. I turned 18, graduated high school, and dated six people that summer before I went off to college. Most of them were fleeting, but one stuck around.
Nick and I started talking online and quickly formed a bond. We accidentally met in person when we both attended the same event, and then we started hanging out regularly. But the catch was that he was married. He and his wife had an open relationship, and she knew everything we did. In fact, she knew so much partially because she controlled everything.
I spent much of that summer at their house. I got to know their kids, and I became friends with his wife. And then I went off to college. Once I was out of her grasp and she couldn’t control me anymore, things went to hell.
There I was, 300 miles away, 18 years old, with a 33-year-old boyfriend who was married with kids. Oof.
I could wax on for pages and pages and pages. In fact, I did. I kept a journal throughout that time that ended up being about 120 single-spaced typed pages. Ha! It was a lot of teenage bull shit, honestly. I read through a lot of it last year.
So when I say “long story short,” I truly mean very long story short.
The whole time that we were apart, we were both dating other people. Actually, I think I was more so than Nick. But eventually, Nick did as well. I ended up dating someone pretty seriously. We considered marriage, but in the end, he wasn’t someone I would want to spend the rest of my life with.
By the time I was a senior in college, Nick and I weren’t dating anyone else, and I was hoping that we would get engaged. We did end up getting engaged and eventually married. We identified being “poly” and dabbled in dating other people. As it turned out, we decided that it was better for us to date together. Sounds good, right?
Looking back, we were unicorn hunters. And that sucks. A few people called me/us out about it over the years, but I brushed it off that “they didn’t understand.” In the 10+ years that we dated together, we mostly dated either people who had never been poly before (who often left when they started meeting other poly people) or people who were really more swingers than poly anyway.
One of those people was Richard.
I met Richard on Discord (an online chat program) for our local writing group. We realized later that we had actually met in person at an event (I even have a picture!) before Covid, but we hadn’t kept in touch. When I meet someone in person, I can’t be fully myself. I don’t know if it’s “safe” to tell someone that I’m a polyamorous, kinky, bisexual, BDSM author. It just doesn’t tend to be a common topic of conversation.
But online, with some measure of “anonymity,” I came clean about all those dirty little secrets. I definitely remember thinking, “There’s no way he would be poly, kinky, bi, AND into me.”
Well, that would make me wrong.