I have no cutesy title for this chapter of the blog, no explanabrag, no clever reference to a recent podcast. I am faced with white paper (ok white screen) with a few words and lots to say.
I am getting divorced.
Those four words hang like a guillotine, something inconceivable a year ago, but inevitable now. Like other nonmonogamous people, especially those who write about their lives and adventures in the marketplace of ideas, I find that shame, blame, doubt, and all other lovely emotional storms rise up. How did I let this happen? How do I feel? And…Where do I go from here?
To the first question, I am forced to confront my own origin story. In truth, it is not easy for me to say things were not as well as I made them out to be when writing my first blogs. There were considerable strains on the marriage, well before either my wife or I experimented in non-monogamy. I drank, to excess, almost every night. My own addiction looked for numbness and escape and my own demons were driving me away from the people I loved. My trip to the swinger club helped make me realize I wanted to feel and to be alive. I put aside the bottle and became dry, but not yet sober. Both my wife and I found love with other partners, and though poly, I had hoped our marriage could continue as it had… just with more people. But after a year of poly and beginning therapy it became clear that it could not. As Dan Savage says, relationships have a beginning middle and end, and after 25 years together (not all of it married) we are at the ending.
Cooper has said that swinging shouldn’t be confused with therapy, and that is exactly what I have done up to this point. I have looked for my self-worth reflected in the likes and consent of others. I oscillate between isolation and wanting to hook up with people I haven’t met yet. I have been, for the last several months, a bit of a mess. I was in the crater. I have no idea at all how Cooper continued with Swingset week after week when I could barely put words down every few months. Coincidentally, I started writing for Swingset at the time Cooper was in his crater. I found myself in the crater, and I remembered the words of Coop and Miko, that there is a way out. I still feel the shame of a monogamous world that by being with other partners I ruined my marriage. I feel blame for my own actions, and I probably blame myself for actions that are not mine to own. I doubt who I am and what I have become. I feel sometimes that I, the swinger I have become, is false and that I am posing as “The Salmon.” And then a voice inside me reminds me to be gentle with myself, and that if I wouldn’t say these things to my best friend, then I shouldn’t say them to myself. (Thank you Emily Nagato for that phrase!)
Which brings up the future, because there will be one, even if the outlines are a little hazy. I have moved in with Wisdom and share a house with her and another friend. I think I am happy, but as said in The Last Unicorn, “Men don’t always know when they are happy.” I am in therapy and in support groups to work on my addiction brain. I am no longer trying. I am doing. Yoda was absolutely right… there really is no try. I ask patience from my readers and editor as I work on myself and the relationships that surround me. The words are flowing now as I find new ways to “swim upstream.”