Tag Archives: NON-MONOGAMY

DEFINING LOVE

Love is defined as: an intense feeling of deep affection; a great interest and pleasure in something; and the list goes on.  

On some level, we all can identify something or someone that we love. I love my family; although I may not always like them; the love I genuinely feel for them is undeniable.  

Another thing I love are desserts; especially Applebee’s Triple Chocolate Meltdown. Even though, I hate what it does to my waistline and my conscience, I can’t deny that; when that microwaved chocolate cake with chocolate syrup center, drizzled with way too sweet white and dark chocolate, with the scoop of ice cream comes to my table; the outside world does not exist. From the first break of the cake as the chocolate oozes, and I try to repeatedly gather the perfect bite with just enough ice cream, to the final bite; I can undoubtedly say that I am in love; if only for 5 minutes. I can scream from the mountain top, the love I have for something that has probably, single handedly, been the cause of all the new diabetes diagnoses, since its inception. But telling someone I love them… Ugh! Can we just eat cake! 

I felt your love for me early on. Maybe it was how often we spoke; or the fact that you always wanted to be around me. But, from the very beginning, when you first laid eyes on me; and I was in a threesome with two other men; I didn’t have to be anyone but myself. Sure, you didn’t love me that night, but after our first few dates, I was certain you soon would. 

You said (actually texted) the words when I was going through a dark patch with my family. I knew you was going to say it before the message came through; and although it was great to know your true feelings; it did absolutely nothing to make the situation better. It just meant that you were going to be there for me, and that was enough.  

The last time I said I love you was in 2013. In 2012, I met my now ex-boyfriend. We had connected on the dating app Badoo; I was so confident that he was the one, and that there would never be another. So, within a month of us online dating, before we even met in person; he told me he loved me and I told him back. We dated for just over a year before the once strong and undying love I had for him actually died. When I finally ended the relationship; he told me that I never really loved him. Hmm? I was certain that I did, in fact, love him, at some point during our relationship. I looked back at our pictures and they looked like love. I though back to all the times I cried for him, (I cry very easily, so maybe that’s not the best example). When I looked at all that I had done for him during our relationship, I knew that I wouldn’t have done any of it, if I didn’t love him. So, what the fuck was he talking about? How could tell me, the feelings that I had for him were never real? Then, years later, it finally hit me… His love was not my love.  

My love isn’t the jump off a cliff, walk into the fire, sacrifice my life for you love; like his was. My love is practical yet whimsical. My love is stern, but it can also be pliable; it can be loud and it can be quiet, it can be suffocating and it can be distant. However, above all things, my love for another will never be stronger than the love I have for myself. I can love someone with all my might, but if that relationship no longer brings me joy, I have no problems walking away to be on my own.  

So, after him, I reserved the declaration; because if tomorrow comes and I want to go back into my shell; it’s important to know what we shared was real and it was love, even if it didn’t and/or doesn’t last forever.  

I was sitting at a jazz show, listening to the music being played. As the lady on the stage sang about love; it was in that moment I knew I loved you. It struck me as odd because I was at the performance to see one of my other partners perform; but, the thought of you ran through my mind and found a home in my heart. I started to get warm all over, it could’ve been the 3 drinks that I had; but then it happened again. When I was walking down the street talking to myself (as I sometimes do); Boom! There you were again. I tried to apply logic and reason, I picked the way I felt about you apart, I dissected it like a dead frog on a metal table, and it still came back – love.   

I could drive myself mad trying to define and break down what it means to be in love while polyamorous, but I just know I love how I feel now. The love that we share doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s, because we are not like everyone else. I simply want to live and love in this feeling for as long as we’re meant to. 

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DO YOU BELIEVE IN LOVE?

People often have a difficult time understand the dynamics of a poly lifestyle choice. I don’t have all the answers; but, I attempt to break down what polyamory means for me.

I was, not so recently, asked if I still believed in love. I was asked, over drinks, by the man that was the main character in my I Blamed You story. It seemed to him, that with all my ups and downs that I had given up on the idea of love. This made me think… Did I actually give up on love? I knew I still desired a form of romantic love in my life; but, with all my ups and downs, felt it would never happen.  

Four years ago, I broke up with my last ex. I needed time to re-find myself; and fall back in love with who I was. I discovered all the things that made me happy. I re-bonded with my friends, my family, and eventually I started dating again. Dating kind of went like this: ghost, ghost, dick-pic; ghost, ghost, married man looking to cheat on his wife; ghost, pen-pal, bad sex; catfish, ghost, then good fling turned ghost; fuck-buddy, ghost, scam.  

During my pursuit to find “THE ONE” all I found was; much time wasted, half-ass conversations, and lots of hurt emotions. Then I asked myself; What was the driving force being my serial-dating? The answer was; I had set up a highly unrealistic timeline for love, based on the dreaded. biological clock. I wanted to be in a relationship by 32, engaged by 33, married by 34, and right when my birth control was done, at 35- Surprise! We’re pregnant! That was the plan. That fucked up plan had me ferociously swiping left and right, and going on date after date, until I was blue in the face and my fingers were numb.  

Why did I want a relationship so bad? Why did it matter so much to me, for me to be chosen by another? Was I not enough? I looked back at all of my former relationships where I was chosen, yet never truly happy. I used to be a serial-monogamist (relationship after relationship) and none of them ever fully satisfied me; maybe what I needed was time to explore. If I was being honest with myself, I was, only, happy about 60-70% of my relationships; the other time, I was Miserable, with capital “M”. There was always something that was missing. On the opposite end, there was always something that I was unable to give, and that in return made me feel less than. I never met a man that shared my hobbies and desires, and I never met a man I could really be myself with. For the better part of all my relationships I tried to fit into this perfect little image of what he wanted me to be. I tried being his everything and looking back- I hated it! 

I had always known that alternative love-sytles existed, I was simply hesitant to seek them out. So, tired with doing what, I was supposed to do, I decided to try and do what I wanted.  

I took it slow at first (or not- depending on who you ask); I claimed my position on non-monogamy, polyamory, and bisexual. I met M_Tinder, and shortly after I met R_Tinder. The connections I had with each man was dynamic in its own right. I was openly dating both men, they knew of each other, and jealousy wasn’t a factor. My conversations with M were light hearted, while my conversations with R were more dynamic. The yin and yang of the two fed my mind, but the direct consistent human connection was slightly missing. As I still craved human contact, some weeks it wasn’t enough. So, I thought; what would happen if I sought one more person of interest.  

It just so happened that, over the past few weeks, my romantic interests have doubled. With romantic walks, deep conversations, passionate kisses, amazing sex, and constant communication; I’m content with my current lifestyle choice. I don’t feel pulled in 15 different directions, like I thought I would, and I am able to take the time that I do have and spend it with the ones I choose. 

For the first time, in a very long time, (I can’t reiterate it enough) I am unapologetically, happily! 

With the variety of special people in my life; I can be: romantic, caring, funny, playful, serious, woke, witty, a princess and open. I can also be: a sex-goddess, submissive, an exhibitionist, and a total freak (You know, that one you wouldn’t bring home to meet your mother). 

I wasn’t able to answer the question then; but I can answer it now. I do believe in love. I just don’t believe in monogamous love for me (at least for the foreseeable future).  

That’s not to say I may never grow tired of this lifestyle. Who knows, maybe 4 years from now I’ll meet someone that will make me want to give it all up. We’d get married, I’d pop out a few babies, and we’d ride happily into the sunset. Sitting on the front porch, sipping lemonade in our rocking chairs, watching our grandchildren play; I’ll reflect back on this time in my life with a warm heart. 

Or, I’ll remain in this lifestyle and continue to build beautiful meaningful, long-lasting connections with my partners. We’d attend each other’s weddings, and create unions of our own design. A blended host of families like no one has ever seen. We’d stake out real estate and build a community around our love, so our children would grow up knowing that love comes in many forms. We’d be together on holidays, birthdays, and graduations. We’d be there for each other as we grow old and no one would die alone; because we’d have an abundance of love between us all. 

I’m not sure what the future will look like, as I’m happy taking this one day at a time. The loves that I am experiencing are not, by any means, traditional; but they are the identity of love that I not only need but am also able to give.  

WHO I AM.

Being diagnosed with herpes, while on my road to peace; I forced myself to define (for me and only me) Who I am.

I am Carolyn. I am a black woman, of African American descent. I am 32 years old and my zodiac sign is a Gemini. I am an athlete: I exercise regularly, I run marathons, and I’ll be doing my first triathlon next month. I am an artist: I sing, dance, design, sew, I paint, and do computer graphics. I am a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, aunt, sister-in-law, etc. I am a great worker, listener, advice giver, and fantastic friend. I am a foodie and I am a person that enjoys delicious cocktails. I am friendly, bubbly, sarcastic at times, serious and/or uplifting when I know that it’s necessary. I am a critical and tactical thinker, and I am an avid planner. I am a free-spirit; that loves positive good energy. I am a lover of consensual love (in any form). I am sex positive, body positive, non-monogamous, polyamorous, and bi-sexual human being. Oh! I also have herpes.  

You see that? I have herpes, but it is not who I am. 

Anyone who knows me, knows all the above; and until I decided to go public with my status, very few people knew that I had herpes. But, if they were asked to describe me, you’d get a mix of: she’s funny, she’s friendly, she’s bubbly, she’s a freak, and she likes to party. Never would you hear, “Carolyn is herpes”. 

For a long time, I was afraid to speak out about my status, for fear of what people would think and, of course, the dreaded STIGMA. The stigma that says ‘only people like this get herpes, or no one will want you if you have herpes, or people with herpes should just crawl under a rock and die’- yes there are people who say such thingsFor the most part; I always understood that herpes is something that I have; it is NOT who I am. However, it took me a few years to finally believe that to be true and to live in that reality.  

So, I write this post, with the hopes that it will reach the people that need it most. For those battling with self-love after their diagnosis, for those that feel ‘dirty’ or worthless, and for those that feel they will never find love or have casual sex again. I write this to tell you that: you are not dirty, you are still worthy of love, you will find love, and with the right person you may even find good casual sex again. The trick is, to do the self-work! 

When I was younger, I used to cut myself. Never deep, never a lot of blood, and never to kill myself; I only cut to feel and have control. I started having sex at 14, and at that age my mind didn’t process, what we now call, fuck-boy behavior. You know, when men tell you what you want to hear just to get the pussy. At that age, my mind thought that, if he’s having sex with me- he must really like me (silly rabbit!). Anyway, after countless lust-filled heartbreaks I yearned to have some control. I found that control in the form of cutting. When my mother read my diary and found out, she thought I was cutting school; (since black kids don’t cut their body). When she found out the truth, she did what she had to do; and put me in counseling. For this act (in addition to giving me life) I am forever grateful. My counselor (Ms. Antoinette Rodriguez) was a much-needed saving grace. She helped me from 14 all the way through high-school. She helped me navigate my feelings and establish my self-worth. She encouraged me to be the artist and positive spirit I was born to be. She helped me to know that other peoples’ opinions of me didn’t define me. She helped me to find and love me. After I left the program I would stop by and visit her. Then, one day, due to budget cuts the program was closed. I was sad but very pleased with what she had done for me.  

Fast forward a few years and toss in a herpes diagnosis, and a string of failed monogamous relationships, and I became a lost soul again. I didn’t go all the way back to square one, but I did question and doubt my identity. After my diagnosis; I was this girl who loved sex and was fantastic at it- now, who was I? Would anyone ever want me again? Who’s going to want a girl with herpes? Would I end up alone?  

Too scared to go out into the world I sat on the sidelines. I kept my diagnosis quiet until I got serious and then I would tell my partners, and to my surprise, they all stayed with me. The only problem with that was, Me.  

For all the boyfriends I had, post herpes, I was never fully happy. I always wanted something more; but, because of herpes and the fear of being alone, I stayed. This mentality though, isn’t just a herpes thing. Think of how many people stay in abusive relationships, or keep taking back cheaters, or stay for financial security. Staying for comfort isn’t uncommon; but leaving for peace of mind is necessary.  

It was after my billionth crying series with my (X-Files series) Fuck-boy of an ex where I finally said. “I refuse to be in a bad relationship & have herpes”. Since I can’t get rid of herpes, I had to get rid of the guy. 

The first step was to separate my sex from my identity. I was always this amazing human with great energy, but my fear of rejection caused me to be less than amazing. The next step was to take the time to complete me. You know the people that hop from relationship to relationship because they feel incomplete when single- we all do. I had to take the time to find the things that make me happy and whole, regardless if a man was in my life or not. That’s where exercise, marathons, and writing came in. I connected back with the people that I know would always be there for me; my family and friends. Once I became my 100% I only wanted to surround myself with people that would fill my cup over; not take from me to make them whole. I reconnected with my sexuality. I love sex, I always have loved sex. However, this time around, sex was a bonus not the grand prize. The grand prize is me: my energy, my advice, and my friendship.  

Lastly, I took the moment to reclaim my sex-positive space. With this abundance of love and positive energy flowing through me and believing that monogamy may not be for me; I decided to dip my toe in the world of polyamory and non-monogamy. In doing so, I’ve been making the best connections, getting the best advice, honestly communicating with everyone in my life and, of course, having some of the best sex I’ve had in years. There’s a connection with my partners (sexual and non-sexual) that was missing before. Living in polyamory, I’m taking the time to build foundations that were often skipped over before. The openness in communicating and the ability to express my desires, with no fear of being judged is also very refreshing. 

Sure, from time to time, there are some rejections (which is fine). I know that not everyone will want to take the risk, but having those moments to educate potential partners/friends/acquaintances on how to remain herpes free, after they are no longer romantically interested in me, still feels good. I am aware that when I disclose and they are no longer interested, it only means they are declining herpes and not me; because, herpes is only what I have. It is not, who I am. 

WORKING THE GARDEN

My 2018 ended on an extremely low note: I had not had sex since August, I was still unsuccessful at online dating, and I felt like I was reaching for blog content. Growing tired of the nonsense, on January 1st, at the stroke of midnight I deleted all my dating apps and I figured I’d take time to just be alone and reevaluate the direction of my blog. 

In January; after a year of carefully writing around the topic, I wrote my first story about my life and dating while having herpes. 

In February; I took another step down the sexually free runway; and I attended my first sex party. I re-downloaded Tinder and Hing, and I explored FetLife (this should be interesting!). This time, however, I decided to have a different approach. What if I stopped searching for a relationship and just enjoyed the art of dating? Sure- many times I’ve said “I’m not looking for anything and I’m just having fun”. Then, like clockwork, on date three, I would begin to wonder: What are we? Where is this going? Big wedding or small wedding? How many kids will we have? Apartment or house?  

This time around, I told myself to STOP! I told myself to not only smell the flowers New York Botanical Garden had to offer, but to enjoy the process of planting them too. The lilies, the tulips, the roses, the hydrangeas, the azaleas, and countless others. I told myself to find happiness in the sowing of the dirt, planting the seeds, the watering, and the sunlight. When a flower dies, that does not make its life lived any less significant. The death of the flower does not erase the joy you found in smelling and viewing it. Instead of waiting for the richest hue right before the decay. I made the decision to learn to enjoy the moments that were happening all around me, from the very beginning to the very end. I was excited to start this new journey. But first… I had to tell my mom.  

So, in March I told my mother that, not only, was I bisexual; but that I was also polyamorous, and non-monogamous. To which she rolled her eyes, gave me a lecture about sex and diseases. To which, I had to remind her that, I actually acquired herpes when I was in a relationship; so, her point was moot. 

For years I was determined to find the one that would deliver me from the endless hurdles of first dates and dry conversations. So, what’s your favorite color? What’s your favorite food? Blah blah! I hated talking to someone, and thinking it was going somewhere, all to find out that they were a total fuck-boy; but I kept on going. I believed that I would swipe right on the perfect guy, we would like each other, meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after. Fear of dating with herpes kept me on this self-inflicted-toxic-path for almost 4 years. I gave into the idea that people with herpes weren’t allowed date casually. If a guy hit on me at a party. I would flirt a little but eventually I would fade away. I couldn’t go around spreading my toxic vagina. I couldn’t have a casual one-night-stand. I had to dive all in and hope for the best. I didn’t have the right to be selective; because, people with herpes can’t be choosey. I had better be happy with whatever I could get! So, what! if he has no teeth, bad acne, not job, and a little wiener. He accepted your virus and now you’re together for life. 

Then I had an epiphany. I am not now, nor have I ever been toxic. I am human and I deserve to be happy. As long as I was honest and upfront about my status, I could do whatever the fuck I wanted. That not only meant starting a situation-ship, that also meant ending one as well. I stayed in many relationships long past their expiration date. If he accepted my herpes, I had to accept whatever shit he came with as well; I had to make it work, because no one else would want me. I had to learn that I deserved the same happiness that everyone else had. I deserve romance, great conversation, and to have fantastic sex whenever, however, and with however many partners my vagina and mouth could handle. As long as I told them up front, I was doing my part. So, I decided to try something different. 

Instead of writing a long drawn out profile, I kept it important to the fundamentals of what I was/am looking for, and I put it all on front street: polyamorous, non-monogamous, bisexual, and herpes positive.  

Non-monogamy, because I am not in a space of solo-commitment.  Polyamorous, because I actually require an emotional connection that precedes the desire to engage sexually (energies over sex). Bisexual, because I enjoy being with women as well; and of course, herpes positive because I’d rather not waste your time if it’s a non-negotiable for someone.  

Within a week, I had a Tinder date; we’ve been seeing each other for just over a month. The following week I met a man from Hinge, and we too have gone on a couple of dates. I’m finally in a place where I am enjoying the journey of dating with no clue on where the hell I’m going to end up. I’m sowing the dirt, I’m planting the seeds, and I’m watering the soil. I’m enjoying the butterflies, the flirting, the conversations, the kissing, and some great sex. I am rooted in my happiness at the moment and hope you’ll continue with me on this journey.