Finding My New Place In The Crowd

It doesn’t feel like that long ago that Steph and I were considered the strange misfits among everyone we knew for being non-monogamous, but on the other hand, yeah ok, it sort of does. If 2014 still has us living in a society where we have so many backwards thinkers wandering around wreaking havoc, then 2006, when we first opened up, feels like the cave-people times. (I would’ve just said caveman times, but it’s 2014 as I write this, so I’m feeling more progressive, you see.)

The other day a fact about my life nowadays smacked me over the head, hard. As I look around at the four gals and one dude I’d consider my besties, I see all of them either in non-monogamous relationships now, or being in them in recent times. Sure, there’s the old adage “birds of a feather flock together”, but it still seems pretty wacky that that many people in my life now identify as poly / poly-leaning.

You’re wondering my point, I know, and to be honest, I’m trying to figure out how to word it without sending incredibly obnoxious. I might fail. Lord knows I try to not be obnoxious most of the time, but that doesn’t mean I succeed, so here goes nothing.

As I realized that not only in my closest group of friends, but in the next layer of friends, and next layer after that, all the way to some more casual acquaintances I have on Facebook, suddenly I’ve got tons of people around me that are poly / non-monogamous / insert their own label here … it hit me …

I AM NO LONGER A SPECIAL SOCIAL-MISFIT. I AM NOW JUST A FACE IN THE CROWD.

There were definitely parts about being one of the first couples we know that openly discussed our open marriage with the world that were hard. We had to defend ourselves a lot to friends. I lost friends. I lost jobs! We were always the weird ones, but not for more normal reasons like how I won’t eat raw tomatoes unless they’re cut into a specific small size, or how Steph makes the jokes that nobody else even sees existing. No, we were weird before because of our relationship status. And now? Well now we’re just normal, or at the very least more normal-ish.

I’d daresay … we’re boring, even.

Steph hasn’t “dated” anyone else in almost two years. My recent relationship history, when compared to the first 6 years of non-monogamy are a strange combo of hot sex meets heartache meets what-the-fuck-you-slept-with-a-rockstar?? We’re not nearly as actively “poly” as SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE ON OUR FACEBOOK OR TWITTER FEEDS. We’re not busy with the need for Google Calendar like we used to be. We’re not living in a poly family, feeling the love from all sides, or meeting mysterious new lovers in town for business – ok, no wait, I did that one a couple of weeks ago … maybe I’m doing more than I actually realize!

Anyway. I guess my whole realization is that maybe we’re simply not paving the way anymore. I’ve said countless times that I haven’t wanted to be the poster child for polyamory in the city, but I still enjoyed my time in the spotlight because I felt like I could offer something and help control the message in the media which, to be honest, has rarely painted us good ol’ sexual deviants in a light that doesn’t just make us look like good ol’ sexual deviants. I felt like if me being in the newspaper, or on television, or even in a full multi-page article in Toronto Life, could make other people feel more comfortable with their lives, their relationship choices, and their decisions to be out and proud about it, then hey, I would do it.

So now it’s been done, and the way has been paved – obviously not just by me, but by lots of other wonderful people sharing their stories – but it still feels a little strange to be in the world we are now. I know that I’ve been writing this blog since 2008 and I know that I wrote a pretty good book (if I do say so myself, and I do), but I’m struggling to comprehend if my poly voice is even necessary anymore.

I have a lot of writing to do soon, but it’s more to get things out of my head, and not really for any other purpose. It’s been a very busy couple of months and I’m even sure if I have an audience anymore. I’m also not really sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing to me. Maybe my audience has grown and I haven’t even realized it. Maybe there still is a place for me amongst all of the amazingly brave souls that share their stories on the daily. Maybe, once I get used to the fact that I am just a face in the crowd now, maybe I can find a new way to be a louder voice and to support people in new and different ways.

Don’t get me wrong though about my feelings of uncertainty and perhaps discomfort in not being so “special” anymore, and I promise, I’m definitely not “fishing” for compliments here. These thoughts are genuine, even if it does sound like I’m knocking myself. I’m well aware of the importance of the work I have been a part of. I have years and years of emails from people who have thanked me for being out when they couldn’t. I see the value in all of it, 100%. I have worked long and hard at being a social misfit when it comes to relationships because I want us to get to this place where people can say “I’m non-monogamous” as easily as they say “I have blonde hair and I like cheeseburgers.”  I am THRILLED that this change is happening and feel blessed to be / have been a part of it, in whatever way I have been / am, even if it does push me a little more toward being obsolete.

I know this to be true though. There is absolutely nothing wrong with handing the torch over to the next amazing group of misfits who want to have their turn. I’m proud to be a part of this team and look forward to years of learning from them all.