Yes, at a certain very young age in my life, I cheated. I’m not happy to admit that, hell, I wasn’t even happy about it at the time, but… I suppose in a way I’m glad I can talk about it as something I overcame, put in my past, and left long behind me. Which leads me to my first point.

If what you see in the mirror is broken, you don’t fix the mirror…

1. I Hated Cheating

Yeah, I actually hated cheating. I hated lying to someone I loved and cared so much for, about where I’d been, who I was with, and of course, what I’d been doing. Even when I was flat out asked or accused I would lie to her face. The biggest problem with this was if you can’t love what you’re doing, you can’t love yourself. And not loving myself wasn’t just a problem for me in this arena, there were many other places in my life where I wasn’t loving myself. I remember drinking an entire bottle of Jaegermeister one night, because I felt so awful about how I had been treating the person I was in a relationship with at the time, and I got so sick that had to call HER for help. As if that didn’t compound the problem even further. I wanted more than anything to tell her the truth, to have a real conversation about discovering who I was, about the attractions I felt toward other women… But I never had the courage because I was afraid of everything that might happen.

2. It Wasn’t About My Partner AT ALL…

Part of the reason I was so afraid to tell her was because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. I didn’t want her thinking it had anything to do with her at all because it didn’t. She was a damn good lover, had food on the table for me most of the time when I got home, I loved her personality and the banter that we had… I was not unhappy with her by any means. I was, however, unhappy that I couldn’t honestly be myself and share who I was with her without fear of losing her. I thought if she knew who I was, she’d never accept me, and this was partly right. But I was at an age (19-21) where I was beginning to discover myself, and I was too young to be in as serious a relationship as I was in. I was still growing as a person, but I had all of societies expectations of who I was “supposed to be” in that relationship, what I was “supposed to be” doing, and what I “shouldn’t” be doing, as well as all of the religious programming I was raised with, the relationship model I learned from my parents -oh, and let me not forget to include how their being so judgmental of me interfered with everything in my life

3. I Liked Getting To Know And Have Sex With More Than One Woman At The Same Time I Was Getting To Know One Woman Even More

As obvious as this sounds, it’s crucial to talk more about this before moving on to my other points. I absolutely loved getting to know other women, sharing my body with them, indulging in the pleasure that their bodies brought me, noticing their flaws and realizing that’s what actually made them different from other women (women are more alike than they want to think), and spending quality time with them. It was energizing and invigorating and made me feel free to be me all at the same time. But I liked coming home to someone too, and sharing more time with one woman than any other made her special to me – she was special to me for many reasons, this just added to the list… .

4. Monogamy Was NOT For ME

I got to a point of hating myself that I could no longer bare, and I decided to be monogamous again. That lasted for a couple of years before I became so unhappy that I was constantly fighting with my girlfriend and I really couldn’t tolerate being in that relationship the way things were anymore. I needed to separate from my girlfriend and move out. I was at the end of my rope, I was lost, and I didn’t know what to do. I really didn’t know what I’d do, I remember thinking that I’d just start over. I had arranged to move in with a friend and that same night I moved out of her place and into his and his girlfriends place, they took me drinking at a fetish club and exposed me to completely new world where anything was possible. Later that night, I was fingering his girlfriend in the back of his car while he was driving, with his other girlfriend in the front seat next to him. When we got “home” things spilled out onto the living room floor, and I fucked his primary girlfriend while he fucked his secondary girlfriend. The next day my head was spinning from what had happened. There was no jealousy, they were laughing about taking me out and initiating me into their world. I got the sense that everything was ok, and that it wasn’t a big deal. And wait, “Dude! You have two girlfriends?!!” What was happening here? How was this possible?

5. I Needed A New Relationship Model – Something… Beyond Monogamy…

That experience and many many more after it started me down a new path of not exploring and learning how to navigate any kind of relationship beyond monogamy, buy it gave me a word that I had needed all of my life but never had; Polyamory. It basically means “many loves”, but when I took the time to explore it, to me it meant “any and all relationship configurations beyond monogamy”. Not only that, but there were rules, rules that included honesty, something I so longed for in my darkest hours. I realized it was possible to have the kind of relationship I wanted as long as I was being honest about it and my other partners and/or lovers consented to it. I also learned to speak the terms of the relationship I wanted, and a whole ton of communication skills that helped me deal with the issues that would inevitably rise as I went along this new path. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just make this miraculous change, I still made plenty of mistakes along the way, but I kept at it. As time went by, some of the conditions that others set out for me and that I agreed to didn’t work for me anymore. For instance, my long-term girlfriend didn’t want to know anything about what else I was doing or who else I was seeing or fucking. Initially I was fine with that because it meant that I’d have the freedom to go explore, and I wanted that! Oh how I wanted that… But after time, I realized that I wanted to share those things with her… Without realizing it, I wanted to make myself vulnerable to her, and she, with her rule, was shutting that down for me. I also realized I had sexual fantasies I wanted to live out with her, that she didn’t want to participate in.

…you fix the person in it.

6. Relationships Are Fluid, 7. Relationships Take Work, & 8. Trust Once Broken May Never Return

After writing about polyamory I didn’t want to say “two people” working on it, but in my case, that’s what it was; my long-term gf and I. After getting to the 2 aforementioned points about wanting to share all of my real feelings with her as well as wanting engage in sexual exploration as a couple, for a long time I tried to break down her walls and get her to open her up to me. She was just unwilling to bend on those things. With me looking to grow in that direction, and her not wanting any part of either of those, after years of feeling like I was the only person working on the relationship, I decided to end it. After being with her for so many years, not feeling like I had her trust to get her to go there with me took it’s toll. I’m sure that because I had broken her trust at different points in the relationship made her extremely reluctant to anything like that with me. The fact that, by then, I had so many relationship tools that could have helped us heal, but that we couldn’t even talk about those things told me it was time to end it. So I did.

And since then I’ve been building a wonderful relationship with an amazing woman. One where I am free to reveal my feelings and desires about other women, go on dates and search for the second long-term relationship that I want, and most importantly I don’t feel like I’m hiding a part of myself from her or being judged for who I am. Just the opposite, I feel like sharing that part of me bring us closer together, builds more trust, and keeps the lines of communication open for us to talk about anything we want with each other. I haven’t cheated in a very, very long time, over 16 years now. I’m proud of myself for that. But more so, I’m proud that I could finally get to a place that I didn’t even think was possible.