I don’t know what to call this.

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Which, I think, is apropos.

I apologize in advance if this makes for disjointed reading.  Sometimes the best thing to do with jumbled thoughts is to just throw them out there.  Perhaps they will untangle themselves as they go.

Questions, comments, and general conversation welcome.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A few nights ago, my husband lay beside me after getting off the phone with his (pseudo) girlfriend, let out a sleepy sigh, and asked:

Do we have a weird relationship?

It took me 0.000001 second to answer him.


“I mean,” he clarified, “Do you think other people think our relationship is weird?”

Ah.  That’s a different question altogether, isn’t it?  And it’s a question that makes a huge assumption:  Namely, that ‘other people’ have even the teensiest of clues as to what our relationship is like.

Because, um…

They DON’T.

This is how most people view me and the mister: We go together like a cat and a horse.

I figure this is how most people view me and the mister: We go together like a cat and a horse.

They don’t.

But…  Should they?

* * * * * * * * * *

Recently, my gray matter has been churning over exactly what does and does not matter (to me) where public knowledge of my relationship(s) is concerned…

[which means figuring out the who and how of cluing people in {“coming out” (and preferably not ‘being outed’ ~ by God or by anyone else), if you will; though of course it’s helpful to have some sort of label that makes sense to people when one “comes out”, because Monogamish Polyfuckerist isn’t really…y’know…a thing}, and determining whether it’s even worth it to begin with]  Holy parenthetical phrase, Batman! Color coded even!

…so his (second) question prompted me to voice one of my own.

It is a question that has been gnawing at me for a while now.



And the simplest, most honest answer(s) to that question is (1)Does is matter?” {I’ve been known to answer questions with questions, you know} -and- (2) “Define other people.”

* * * * * * * * * *

When I first met the man who was to become mi esposo fabuloso (i.e., Smotch), I was dating two other guys at the time.

[Paranthetical Aside:  He geeked on the fact that, once I finally let him into my bed {I knew he was worth more than just friendly sex to me; what I didn’t know at the time was that I’d lose my mind (and my heart) and propose (yes, *I* proposed) to *him*, the big goof ~ so, long story short, I made him wait}, I kicked the other two out of it.]  Didja follow all that?

So even though I gradually settled into a sort of…learned monogamy…with him, having other lovers has been on the table since Day One.  (Not literally, of course.  I haven’t had sex on a table since looooong before I met the mister.  It was a pool table.  Heh.)

Which should make things simpler.  Right?

Ahhh…  Not so much.

* * * * * * * * * *

It’s difficult to work it out inside your own mind (what’s wrong with me?), let alone inside your marital relationship.

And it’s even more difficult to reconcile that with the way others perceive you.

Because, you see, there is a difference between (A) being single, and having your single friends say things like, “You are the most SINGLE person I know,” (I made no secret of the fact that I wasn’t down with settling down, and my sex life was considered by some to be quite entertaining) and look at you like Damn I wish I had that orgasmic glow goin’ on for my own bad self, and (B) being married, and having others’ opinions be more along the lines of (1) Another one bites the dust, and/or (2) Look how perfect they are for each other!  She’s definitely settled down.

And you realize that ~ for that time and under those circumstances ~ it does matter what other people think, though you can’t quite define how or why that came to be.

* * * * * * * * * *

And so you walk a line.  One that only you can see.

You try your damnedest to follow your own moral compass, seeking comfort in the gray space between Being True To Yourself and Meeting Everyone Else’s Expectations.  But that comfort becomes really, really uncomfortable.  And one day you wake up and realize that the gray space isn’t so gray anymore.  It is, in fact, becoming black.

And the walls are closing in.

And you are claustrophobic.

And in your clawing need to dig your way out of the colorless grave you’ve buried yourself in, the light of realization shines its way into the pit you are in, and you follow it to safety. And when you emerge, shaking and squinty-eyed, the sky twinkles with its full spectrum of color.  And you recognize in that instant that you have to do…you have to be…what’s right for YOU.  And that it doesn’t matter at all what other people think.

* * * * * * * * * *

And then you remember where you came from.

The first time around, my monogamist mother married a serial cheater.  He did not use protection with other women.  He lied, stole, drank, used drugs, cheated, cheated, and cheated again.  And again.

Everybody who “knew” us thought we were the living definition of Happy Family.  (Hmmm…  So much for ‘what other people think’.)

Nothing could have been further from the truth.

And the cheating was the least of it, but I knew deep in my gut ~then, and now ~ that regardless of whether I include sex in my extramarital relationships or not, I don’t ever want to be a cheater.  (Which is a whole ‘nother topic, though you may find a few of my thoughts on the matter here if you wish to dissect that statement.)

There were incidents I witnessed throughout my developing years that I wish I hadn’t.

But I learned from them.

And I learned from them.  From my mother and from…  Him.

And so you take what you learned and you accept that what is “true” has nothing to do with what is real.  And that the only person who can own your honesty ~ or your hypocrisy ~ is YOU.  And that, in the end, the reality of a person’s life often has nothing to do with the perception(s) ~ or lack thereof ~ of outsiders.  And that you can only be YOU, regardless of what other people think.

* * * * * * * * * *

A good friend recently addressed the ‘weirdness’ factor of my relationship with my husband, and he reminded me that ‘weird’ to most people ~ where marital relationships are concerned ~ translates to ‘non-traditional’.  And that one of the ‘weirdest’ things about my marriage is that my husband and I “actually talk about this stuff that’s going on in your head and in your heart and in your loins(es).”  Which ~ while not easy (it is damned difficult, truth be told, and we don’t *get* one another most of the time where outside relationships are concerned; but that is another post altogether, and one that will likely remain unwritten) ~ is quite weird indeed.

* * * * * * * * * *

So when it comes to what goes on between my spouse and I…

Do other people think our relationship is weird?


And does it really matter what other people think?


I don’t know.

I really don’t know.

0 thoughts on “I don’t know what to call this.

  1. Fatal

    I find myself wondering if people find my relationships strange, and I know they do because my love of being single and my desire never to marry makes my whole big family and all of my married friends say: what do you mean? And also, I am not “out,” as it were, about any aspect of my sexuality really–my closest friends don’t even know that l like girls and no one knows about Sir or my love of pain and my “strange” fetishes.

    I would prefer to say that I don’t give a DAMN what anyone thinks, but my in-closet status rather says otherwise, does it not?

    I think that in spite of the fact that we don’t believe people have a right to say anything about what they have no clue about, sometimes it does matter what they think. It matters that my boss doesn’t know that I wear a collar, it matters that my very Catholic family doesn’t know that I love women. It matters that my best friends don’t know that I gladly take orders from a man who I refer to as Daddy. Why does it matter? I couldn’t tell you. But it does.


    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      And also, I am not “out,” as it were, about any aspect of my sexuality…

      And that’s the thing. Even though it’s not *just* about sex ~ for you, or for me ~ it *is* inclusive of sex. And that’s the part ‘other people’ tend to glom onto.

      And while I am open and inviting when it comes to the topics of sex, sexuality, and sexual relationships ~ both in my online interactions and in “real” life ~ I am also an intensely private person. I will answer any question, and I will ask a lot of my own. But I don’t ~ as KDaddy says ~ “rent billboards” to advertise the various intimacies of my relationship(s).

      And then there’s the predicament of, if the idea strikes to let it be known we do, and with whom… Who do you tell? And really… Why?

      And as you say, it matters what your boss thinks. It matters what your family thinks. It matters what people who share your faith think. Because we must protect ourselves (I, for instance, have a ‘morality clause’ in one of my contracts ~ OY), we do not wish to hurt the ones we love, and we cannot trust the open acceptance of those who would/should/could otherwise be our brethren.

      And and and and and…

      So as much as we WANT to say, “It doesn’t matter…”

      It does.

  2. kdaddy23

    It does matter… and then again, not so much. For a very long period of my life, I caught a lot of hell for having a wife and two other women who were, if not legally, just as much my wives and the four of us were about as happy as we could be, given the circumstances. On the one hand, we didn’t give a fuck what other people thought of our relationship… but while we didn’t bother to hide it, neither did we rent billboards and shout it all to the mountaintops.

    We all learn that when you’re in a relationship – married or not – you’re supposed to be monogamous and if you step away from this and in any way, there could be repercussions that are quite real and possibly devastating to careers and image in the community, stuff like that. Yet, there are those of us who aren’t willing to let social norm define our happiness for us because “keeping only unto yourself” doesn’t always work as advertised. So that we thumb our noses in the face of those norms – we don’t care what you have to say about it – we’re still mindful of the fact that the court of public opinion could topple us like a house of cards during a Cat 5 hurricane – and we do concern ourselves with any possible harm that could befall us so, yeah, we do kinda care what others think.

    But we don’t need or seek their approval; if anything, we’d just want others to understand that at the end of every day, this is OUR life and if we choose to step out of the box and do that which makes us the happiest, this is what we’re going to do – your objections will be duly noted… and probably ignored in the majority of times unless, of course, our being different does somehow manage to cause us a major problem. Then again, we can ask – and justifiably so – “Who are you to judge us and tell us how we’re supposed to live our lives? What gives you the right?”

    I learned that most people who object cannot answer those questions…

    Mrs. Fever, I wouldn’t say that your relationship is in any way weird because, as my mother pointed out to me the day I told her I was getting married, “Your marriage is only going to be as good as the two of you make it…” And if it takes doing what you’re doing to make it good, then so be it.

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      Social norms exist for a reason, and many of them are positive. They keep us from doing things that are harmful to ourselves and to others, and they establish mutually/generally accepted guidelines for behavior.

      Unfortunately, there are a few deeply ingrained “traditions” that just don’t work for everyone.

      I don’t knock monogamy. It can be an amazing, full, and beautiful way to love. It is just not the way I love.

      You’re right in that we don’t need or seek approval.

      For me, what it is coming down to right now, is having a deep desire to be known, fully and honestly. And it’s also… Not hiding or pretending. But rather, Loving People Out Loud.

  3. middleagebutch

    I wasn’t sure where you were going with this, but then I totally got it.

    It was the phrase “seeking comfort in the gray space between Being True To Yourself and Meeting Everyone Else’s Expectations.” Wow, what a hard line to walk. And that’s why it took me so damn long to come out. For three decades, I tried to meet everyone else’s expectations and lost myself in the process.

    Great post!

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      The artwork on your ‘Outed’ post was the kickstarter for this one, as well as your description of your prayerful soul searching. Though I didn’t get into my relationship with God in this post (there was quite enough mental meandering already, thankyouverymuch), I definitely could not have figured out my own heart without prayer. It is how I found the light that guided me out of my dark space.

      And I still pray. Every day. For guidance. For peace. For the people ~ traditional and non ~ that I love.

      Thanks for getting it.

      And thank you for the inspiration to get started.

  4. My Mental Stream

    Good Lord. How on earth do you have so many different thoughts in all one go?! Is this what it is like to be a woman?! I have two or maybe three and I get confused, you have like 18! I’m glad to be male, though having breasts would be a perk!
    Screw normality. I wrote a post called “abnormal is normal” because we are all Weirdos in our own way. You are an individual snowflake, just like everyone one else! Hope you can work out your brain jumble xx

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      Yes, this is what it’s like to be a woman. Vagina = multiple orgasms thoughts all at the same time. 😛

      Female snowflakes are the very breast of them all. 😉

  5. jayne

    I think your own internal meter to measure your own authenticity matters. Then what your spouse thinks…if those 2 things are aligned and strong at the core, then you can not care so much what others think. If your community is important and your community isn’t aware -then you have a dilemma. Seems to me that struggle to remain true to yourself lessens or grows in relation to how true you are or can be. It’s not automatically an easy thing to do. If you’re acting “right” – true to your own compass and character, I say you’re less impacted or concerned with what others know or think of your life. Of course, I assume you aren’t hurting anyone intentionally and if you do, you own up to it and fix things.
    On the receiving end of negative thoughts, it always comes down to my behavior. If I’m being judged, I try to remove emotion and take stock of the situation. I do consider the person’s perspective, relative character traits and their emotional IQ before buying into their judgement of me – good or bad. Our own beliefs drive everything we feel, imo. I actually look to be educated by the “differences” in us crazy humans. : )

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      You mention the dilemma of community.

      Interestingly enough, the people I have grown closest to over the past few years are not part of the community in which I live. My closest friends, the ones who know me (the true Me), are people I have developed relationships with ~ ONLINE ~ over a long period of time. Including an incredibly loving friend who seems to be treading a parallel path in life (and who lives on the wrong coast), and a lover to whom I am deeply committed (and who I wish lived a few states closer so we could see each other more often.)

      You also mention the alignment of thought between my spouse and I, in keeping with my internal compass.

      I will just say…

      There is a divergence there.

      And what matters very little to me in terms of what ‘other people’ think, matters very much to him. So we have to be careful to love one another gently, and be careful not to lose our footing as we stumble along our chosen path together.

      1. jayne

        well then, your last paragraph says it all, and it sounds like you shouldn’t tell anyone in your community unless you’re ready to deal with their judgements against you – especially if they side with your spouse. Then, look out, right?
        like you said, love one another gently… the other way to solve it is to give up the spouse or the other people. choices, choices, choices…

        1. Mrs Fever Post author

          I don’t see giving up anything ~ including my choice to share Who I Am with people who are close to me ~ as being a solution. And like I said, the majority of the members of My Community don’t live within the geographical boundaries of my community. So with the local folks, it’s like I said to Fatal: Who do you tell? And really… Why?

          Family is another story. (And my family does not live anywhere near me.) But with family ~ or rather, the few family members I give a damn about ~ it’s not a matter of introducing them What I Do; it’s a matter of introducing them to Who I Love. Which is going to be happening soon. And it’s bound to be interesting.

          1. jayne

            I did put those last “solutions” out to you as a “test”. – what would you say or feel to either? The answers sometimes lie in the darker places. I didn’t think you’d give either one up because you sound firm to me. Heres something, I can’t help you, nor do I know your real circumstances so therefore, I feel no right to invade your privacy and I won’t ask you for details. I’ll always believe you know yourself better than I can. I prefer to believe people are their BEST version. I’ll believe that until I am proven wrong. All that said, I don’t think I am the norm so what you said,
            “For me, what it is coming down to right now, is having a deep desire to be known, fully and honestly. And it’s also… Not hiding or pretending. But rather, Loving People Out Loud.”
            would seem to be a delicate and dangerous path to walk. Sometimes I just want to strut naked with my freak flag held high but I am always cautious because such momentary blasts of glorious, personal freedoms comes with a cost. The reality I have found, and I’m not doing much out of the social norms but I find that people I think I know, have rigid guidelines and they can’t process the unusual and therefore, they can’t relate, have compassion, empathize, debate, accept, or question and if they can’t do those specific things, then I can’t relate to them. If the cost threatens exactly what I hold dear, it’s best to be cautious except with people I can truly consider allies in heart and nature. I wish you the absolute best in loving out loud. I think you’ll find a way that works too Ms Fever. In fact, I’m counting on it. Jayne

          2. Mrs Fever Post author

            In the lyrics of HoneyHoney: I’m getting used to walking on a thin line…

            (I figured you might like that one, since you’re a fan of Grace Potter. 🙂 )

            Things are working just fine the way they are right now, taking into account the needs of all parties involved. But I *do* think about the who, what, how, when, and why of Coming Out where poly is concerned.

            Thanks for your well wishes, my dear.


          3. jayne

            Aaahh so thats what you’re doing… I think I like poly. I can see that being fulfilling but I would guess that the couple that does it has to be so strong…and constantly keeping check on the other. That would take so much effort and I venture to say much more love of each other to go through the emotions and “others”. Wow – Here’s to you both. Yes – I do loves me some Grace!

          4. Mrs Fever Post author

            I don’t buy into most of the “rules” and “definitions” for polyamory. And I intentionally choose NOT to label myself that way. (Thus, the title of this post.) But we do not have a traditional marriage by any means.

          5. jayne

            I only know enough to see that its a couple who has relationships outside of their marriage but from the little I read (one blog), it takes sensitivity and a great deal of love to remain as a couple. I imagine much more love ( the giving, selfless kind to “allow” your spouse another person to care deeply about. You have to be in touch with yourself and your weaknesses so much more acutely to maintain your marriage don’t you? Besides, never taking it for granted. I might sound as if I think it’s ideal but I know nothing is. It is what you both make it. – That goes for anyone in any relationship though.

          6. Mrs Fever Post author

            Sometimes I just want to strut naked with my freak flag held high…

            I was just re-reading your comments, Jayne. This made me snort-chuckle. 🙂

          7. jayne

            secret: relatively speaking, my slight divergence from the “norm” is not really freaky. I would have a little flag – but it would be beautiful!

  6. wildoats1962

    I like you.
    We have some similar thoughts. All people present a facade for public perception. How far does that go? In the dark days before the internet it was tough to contact like minded people. There were magazines and code phrases. For those that were interested there was the “Tea Room Trade” and glory holes. When my wife and I started dating, she surprised me by asking how I felt about threesomes. This was our second date. I wasn’t sure if she was interested in them or if she had an intensely negative view of them. As it turned out, she was interested. I stressed the importance of discretion. Public perception is important because we have to deal with other people. We interact with others all the time. Ease of travel allows for a degree of discretion by distance. The internet allows for more or less anonymous exchange of info. Once contact has been established then begins the Dance of Enlightenment as pervy desires get described. But details come slowly so as to entice, not frighten.

    I’ve also been watching Dexter lately. Netflix has added it to the streaming lineup. A lot of Dexter’s introspection could apply to any secret life, not just being a serial killer. His inability to open up and get close could apply to a lot of people in “Happy”, “Stable”, marriages. Cheating has very little to do with the physical, it has a lot to do with honesty.


    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      I like you too, Wild. *smile*

      One thing the internet has allowed for is the establishment of chosen communities. I am particularly fond of blogging, because without the ‘polite society’ barriers, we are able to get down to the heart of the matter and do so quickly. I talk about subjects in blogland that would require a great deal of relationship-building before discussing them in real life. It’s like the outer layer ~ the “how’s the weather?” chitchat that meatspace decorum requires ~ is stripped away, and we can examine one another’s sinew and bone. Again, we get to the heart of the matter. Quickly and safely. And the heart is, after all, what matters.


  7. kanienke

    I’ve had some days to think about this post and mull it over. So forgive the lateness of my reply here.

    Personally, my polyamory, nonmonogamy, and bisexuality have always been my dark, dark secret. It has always made me feel broken and different from the rest of society. I have always nursed a fantasy, that someone somewhere might think the same way as I do, and I have always longed very deeply to find someone who can understand me, and accept me, and not see these things as a fault but as something sort of admirable. A couple of years ago, finally, I did find someone who understood, and somehow I mistook our mutual understanding for love. But what are the odds that you’ll find someone who understands? Then, what are the odds you will find someone who you have chemistry and passion for? Then, what are the odds that they will feel the same way about you? It’s really a decimal point with a quite a lot of zeros and a one behind it.

    So I’m still left with the dark secret and the brokenness. My wife knows me, and she knows these things about me. She wishes to hell they weren’t true about me. She asks me never to talk about them. Not unless she asks. It all makes her feel inadequate, it makes her scared of losing me if I find someone better, and she deeply worries what people will think if they find out. I am sworn to secrecy with anyone who knows us — my coworkers, our mutual friends, our churches, and our families.

    It’s really none of their business anyway unless they have a sexual relationship with me.

    I am good at making compartments and so I have found, over the years, a little circle of friends, some of them very close, who I have hand-picked because they know and accept me. Some even love me. So this part of me is slowly being brought into the light, and it feels so good. But I can’t bring these friends home; my wife doesn’t want to know them. Or meet them. They are nothing but painful reminders of the parts of me she tries so very hard to deny.

    So now I am happier, but still broken. Divided. I feel like I have multiple personality disorder. Sometimes I am one man; sometimes I am another. I start to wonder sometimes, who I really am.

    Often I sit by myself and wonder: is it possible to just stop? Is it possible to make a choice someday to be one, or the other? Let one die and the other live? What would be gained? What would be lost? Do I really need to make a choice?

    Why do I need to be ‘out’ anyway? It’s my own business. The world can have its perfect society because it is so much easier if we all pretend. And in the darkness, I’ll just quietly be something else. Unless I decide not to be.

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      I feel the heaviness of your heart, my friend. And if there is any comfort in the knowledge that I, for one, do not feel you need to make a split-self choice, I hope you will wrap yourself up in that comfort like a warm blanket. A huge thick plush fleece blanket, big enough for both of us. A blanket with polar bears on it. :]

      I know exactly what you mean about wondering who you really are. I nearly lost Myself, completely, at the beginning of my marriage. It took a long time to recognize that. Even longer to figure out a way to come back to Myself. And every day is a balancing act, to stay true to Myself while staying true to my vows (which did NOT contain the words ‘forsaking all others’) and marital responsibilities, and while also staying true to the people I love. It’s a very fine line to walk.

      Like you, I think to myself, “Why do I need to be ‘out’ anyway? It’s my own business.”

      But on the opposite end of the spectrum, I also think, “Why do I need to pretend for other people’s sake? Why can’t I just be Me? It’s my own business.”

      Alas, the conundrum.

      Hugs, you. <3

  8. Pingback: Not Poly, Just Amorous? | Temperature's Rising

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