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Path to Self discovery: Queer, Polyam, Relationship Anarchist rebelling hetronormative expectations

Updated: May 24, 2023



Forenote;


I'm a lesbian married to a man looking for a girlfriend...

Lets, just stop for a minute and reflect on that statement; what do you think about it, how do you feel about it? Are those thoughts and feelings your own or a reaction taught by society?


Wow! Yes, I know…

That instinctive socialised perspective of how strange and wrong that sentence is...

Your worst thoughts are nothing I haven't already thought myself!!


A friend once described me as "Emma in a bottle" not in any alcoholic content. Just confined. In that moment as a teenager lost and restricted by the weight of expectations, imposed and unspoken. I didn’t know who I was, though I had convinced myself I did. Perhaps even the knowing ourselves at that age was another weighted expectation. Yet I knew I was looking for love, like love is the purpose of life yet lost in what that was suppose to look like or feel like, more expectations. All that expectation shaped me, rather than having the chance to discover who I am and what love would look like for me.

“Emma in a bottle”, I never realised how much of a truth that was until I started getting to know me better.


In the twenty plus years since I was a teenager, I’ve watched society change exponentially, thanks to the phenomenon of the World Wide Web I resisted as a teenager; change is scary! Is that another society imposed thought? The ability to connect with the vast diversity that is human nature has created growth within the LGBTQ+ community that was only starting to take shape in the 90s. Societal expectations of gender identity were able to be challenged as society learned about diversity. Yet ‘change is scary’, whilst we have come along way, as a society we still hold on to that petrified fear of change, grasping onto the familiarity of the past.


We are still confined by societies boxes, labels, prejudices, patriarchy, misogyny, and heteronormative expectations.


I was repressed feeling out of place and outwardly looking like a heterosexual monogamous mum and wife. I could feel how those around me looked at me as ‘normal’ yet I couldn’t connect with those that outwardly looked and lived like me. I was always scanning my surroundings for the ‘misfits’, the ‘underdogs’, the ‘nonconformist and rebels that stood out, because that has always been where I felt I belonged. How did a society of humans whose most beautiful quality is diversity ever become this polarising in dividing the conforming and nonconforming into boxes? It took me until I was in my 40s to break out of that society induced box.

After allot of conversations with loved ones I realised that I am a DEMISEXUAL LESBIAN, panromantic, POLYAMOROUS living with nesting Husband and our children whilst seeking female companionship. A lifestyle that is working for us, safely and healthily for all involved because of open honesty, communication, empathy and compassion.

(2023)




For pride month 2022, I thought I would blog about my journey of self-discovery, both individually and within what I now understand to be a queer marriage!


Around that time, I was curiously asked why I was joining LGBTQ+, and lesbian & bi groups on social media, was it because I am still bisexual (as I thought I was until late 2022) even though I am happily married, and perhaps just looking for friends?

I'm not sure the poor woman was quite ready for my book length complicated replies!

I started with; "Define happy?”

This challenge and question felt like a good rebellious place to begin my long complicated reply since the question itself contained suggestions of pre-defined outcomes and boxes that I was already feeling uncomfortably confined in yet not quite brave enough to accept, understand or vocalise.

I explained that the assumption was correct in ways yet allot more complex!


I love my husband, couldn't imagine life without him, he drives me utterly nuts but can make me laugh, we have gone through fking hell together and wouldn't be standing without the other! It is in fact this foundation of love, support and safeness that has empowered me to go on this path of self-discovery.


However, often we are on such different wavelengths (having friends often filled those missing gaps). My husband's not your typical man even though he hides behind what seems like a typical toxic masculine persona borderline on socialised misogyny predominantly due to his upbringing and the society he was raised in. This often made him feel like "the black sheep" of his family and in his corner of the world because at his core he is a kind, loving, caring, loyal human underneath societies moulding of gender roles. The expectation to “be a man” created an outward persona in him, one that he learnt to wear as an armour to protect who he really is from those persistent weighty and destructive judgements of the person he really is. We were two people confined into gender roles and expectations and boxes, me as ‘bisexual’, him as ‘heterosexual. Over many years together, standing strong through all life’s thrown at us and with our own personal growth alongside the growth of LGBTQ+ descriptive words we slowly discovered that he is Asexual and aromantic, and I am panromantic demisexual and lesbian.


With self-discovery comes a sense of loneliness and blank wtf expressions so I started being more Queer expressive and sought out online communities to help lessen that feeling, that sense of "otherness". My children were raised knowing I was an odd bisexual, I was honest with them about who I am as I slowly understood that myself. They grew up watching their parents slowly figure out who they were, with openness and honesty.


An old friend I discovered I was attracted to in 2007 helped me properly discuss and discover my feelings, my attraction to her and in turn my attraction to women. We were both married, never acted on our impulses, but talking helped me understand me! As friends we explored "what ifs" in many conversations and I was open with my husband about those discoveries. He was somewhat teasingly encouraging, as one would expect of his personality and socialisation.

My daughter came out as lesbian about 2017 at 16 and my youngest declared she was lesbian at the beginning of 2022. Our own open conversations perhaps contributing to them feeling safe and comfortable in openly expressing and talking about their own process of self-discovery.


It wasn't until a few years ago talking to my oldest daughter about all the sexuality descriptions (I refuse to call them labels even though my eldest daughter feels that way about them, as is her right) I finally understood pansexual, panromantic and demisexual.... it also explained why I ended up sexually attracted to half my friends during my youth but never in other circumstances.


I have no sexual interest in men, never been sexually attracted to men. I have never felt like I could contribute to those girly teenage conversations my peers had about boys, about how ‘gorgeous’ they looked, the closest admiration of physical attributes I could admire were only ever smiles and eyes. Funnily enough the two features that can tell something about who they are as a person rather than their looks. I never forgot that alien feeling when hearing other girls and teenagers admire the looks of boys and men. It must have been the first time I started to feel like perhaps I was broken.


The closest to feelings towards men in general is an aversion to overtly sexual behaviour. Like when I see men overtly flirt or leer at women I cringe, the rare occasion I’ve been on the receiving end of ‘flirtatious’ men I’ve responded in full blown battle axe feminist angry mode waving a wedding band for good measure! Perhaps the overtly defensive response to men being ‘flirtatious’ is a trauma response, highly likely, but it is part of me now! However it is more likely that I simply have an aversion to the patriarchal misogynistic behaviours that enable abuse and my experiences enable me to understand those causal effects better!


Anyway, as an 18 then 19 year old abuse survivor lost in the world with no idea who I was, all I knew was I wanted children, a loving family... in the late 90s society wanting children meant needing a man, other options in those times felt like things that were only attainable for the rich and famous, you were not even encouraged to think about other options, like it was a given that if you wanted children you would be end up in a relationship with a man. It did not even occur to me at the time that having a family could look any different from the ‘nuclear family’ society thrusts upon you, even though I had grown up half my childhood in single parent households.


My first husband was an utter arse, our marriage lasted a mere six months and I met my current husband a few weeks after the inevitable breakdown of my first marriage.

We are both abuse survivors, both suffering, he got that side of me, he didn't run a mile with my over sharing... so here we are now...


The dynamics of our relationship has often been challenging because I've also been my husband's carer for all those years, due to mental health, trauma responses, ptsd, social inhibitions and lack of social awareness.


Therefore holding a conversation, explaining my feelings, talking through issues, seeking the thing a person normally does from a partner like validation, understanding, acceptance and respect for my thoughts and feeling, often means a battle to jump through the hoops of ptsd & trauma related barriers to healthy relationship communication.


Our different life experiences, personalities and how we react differently, has been both the force that binds us together battling life crisis like comrades-in-arms and made us feel like our thoughts and feelings are worlds apart, on different wavelengths.


On those toughest days it has left me feeling more alone than ever, longing for a person, friendship, relationship with someone who gets who I am!

Feeling lost and secluded surrounded by my responsibilities and the abyss of thoughts and feelings.


I found myself slipping back into that place of not talking over the past few years, talking less about what is inside my head and heart, because when I do, it's just not understood, and leaves me feeling lonelier than before I talked!


The more I understood about myself, the less I felt understood by others. I had started falling into the trap of pre-defined expectations of friendships and relationships.

I was boxing people into categories, expecting set things from those around me.

Too confined and lost. I was shutting down within the pressures and expectations of relationships, hitting the walls of these boxed in shapes I had found myself forced in and once again wondering why I did not feel like society leads you to believe you are suppose to after raising a family and being with someone in a stable relationship all this time.


All this impacted how I responded to my husband, less tolerance, less understanding, as if it was his fault, that he was the one withholding what I was missing.

Resentment is a cruel emotion, I thought honesty and communication would always keep resentment from growing. Yet I found myself resenting the empathy, communication, connection and understanding my husband had in me, and hating myself for wanting that too!


This is where I found myself, tearful, in the beginning of 2022, once again wondering what was wrong with me. Until one beautifully understanding question from my oldest daughter broke every damn confining box away. “Mum why don’t you open your relationship up, be polyamory?”


Love is very complicated, but very special!


You can love a variety of different people in a variety of different ways, yet it never diminishes your love for each individual! New people come along that you come to love, yet it never takes away from the love of those you already love!


That is the beauty and complexity of love!

Society has tried to box, categorise and label a phenomenon that it doesn't truly understand in order to control it!


It's just not that simple!


It had been at about the same time that I came across a post that was very relevant…

This post had already started to challenge those thoughts confined by societies boxes. It felt like some kind of revelation was simmering and I was not quite able to reach what it all meant on my own.



"million-room-mansion of identity" how cool is that,

I love it, reminds me of Stephen kings library mind in Dreamcatcher! –

A way of visually understanding the complexities of yourself and how those complexities connect with others.

My husband doesn't have every key, and that's okay, that doesn't make him anything but human!

There are things I just can't do or talk about with my husband because he just doesn't understand, he doesn't think or feel how I do on particular things.


We've also done allot of personal growth together and understand that many of our escalated arguments are due to triggers!

I express myself about something to him and I am triggered because once again I feel unheard and my feelings not validated because my heightened emotions trigger him into reacting defensive because he is reminded of the heightened emotions of his own mother and the volatile toxic aggression of his father in the domestically abusive environment he was raised in. As a result, any heightened emotions trigger his fight or flight responses, he shuts down becoming emotionally unavailable and defensive as if he's being attacked.

This contributed to our communication challenges, it is still on ongoing challenge.

Even with our growing awareness it is a delicate often exhausting verbal dance for us both to come out of those usual relationship disagreements feeling equally understood and the problem resolved.


Complex!


The way I have learnt to work though those complexities is if I'm in a crisis moment or experiencing heightened emotions my husband struggles with, I talk more and connect more with my friends.

However, life moves on, those needed connections, change, evolve or dwindle, and new connections are sought after and So I find myself seeking out anyway I can, those rare souls that match the locks to some of my "million-room-mansion of identity".


It was this place I was in when my daughter asked the question

“Mum why don’t you open your relationship up, be polyamory?”

Which led to conversations with a friend who asked another poignant question

“If you knew what your daughter has grown up knowing about the LGBTQ community would you have went with a man”

My answer was a heart-breaking and revelational “no”

To which my friend replied, “if it was your daughter, you would tell her to do what makes her happy”.


These small moments helped me reach the revelation I came to.

The revelation I discussed with my family, honestly and openly, because the family dynamics we have, the unusual yet successful relationship I have with my husband was not something I wanted to loose.


Until that moment I was boxed into the idea that in order to be ‘happy’ I had to loose this family we worked so hard on.

#LoveHasNoLimits ❤🧡💛💚💙💜



2023: Where am I at right now?


Happy co-habiting and co-parenting with my husband, finally accepting the person he is, the person I am, our strengths - this unusual queer comrade-in-arms relationship/friendship I don't want to lose. Its unique, not quite what others define as a relationship, while crossing what others define as platonic or friendship. We have redefined the ‘nuclear family’. While also accepting that there are romantic and emotional intimacy levels I need that he's just never going to be able to touch upon and that's okay.


Which is why after a lot of soul searching I've accepted that I also need a long-term queer Romantic friendship/relationship with a female that is open to exploring affection and intimacy boundaries.


That makes me polyamorous.

I have the capacity to be in more than one loving intimate relationship at the same time. Something I’m slowly understanding was always within me. All those tell-tale signs in how I connect with people, how our friendships and relationships never quite fit those damn boxes, how those I love always knew about my feelings for others I love. I can commit to more than one long-term relationship. All whilst honestly openly communicating to those important people in my life, checking in and maintaining healthy relationships with my children, my nesting husband and the girlfriend I hope to find.

That is what polyamorous looks like for me, however as I keep saying, humans greatest quality is their diversity, and I am started to accept that means that every relationship is unique, every persons way of relationshiping is unique too. What works for me, for my family may not necessarily work for others and that is ok.

My way of being polyam is not the same as others.


So, after coming to terms with this all myself, overcoming society induced misconceptions and prejudices, I'm quietly slowly out as;

polyam, Demisexual lesbian & Panromantic.

In a queer ENM marriage with my nesting Husband whilst engaging in "intimate romantic friendship/relationship" with women (for want of a better description)


I have an extremely open honest connection with my nesting Husband, his inability to understand aspects of who I am has never stopped the honest authentic communication we have.


When dating a woman, he knows, he's comfortable and accepting of my needs outside our own loving and extremely unique relationship and bond. When I come home he genuinely asks about my day. He has lived with me long enough, watched my friendships over the years and understands how diverse those friendships have been, accepting his wife dating woman was for him the tiniest of steps from the type of emotional intimate connections I've made with friends over the years.


I also affiliate closely with relationship anarchy;

The little experience I have so far, I find polyamory can still consist of strict relationship types... And I find myself looking for and creating relationships that break all "normal" moulds. Societal expectations say that friendship should look a certain way, relationships should look a certain way and that your sexual relationships should be more important than your friendships. This has never been how I’ve felt. For example, blurring normative relationship boundaries is dubbed confusing. Why is it confusing if there is honest authentic communication? Why not have a friend you kiss and cuddle if you are comfortable in that relationship, why not have a live in relationship that is not sexual, or the variations in-between.


There is allot of information and experiences shared on that phenomenon called the ‘World Wide Web’ that help to understand the ‘relationship anarchists’ idea that we can customise each relationship to the needs of the individual and that no relationship is more important than another. That you can have healthy connections, unique and diverse like the humans that we are. That you can do so safely. That there is more options and diversity in your relationship futures than just monogamy. Monogamy is ok if it works for you and those involved, ethical non-monogamy and polyamory are also ok if it works for those involved. You do not need to decide, to stick to one way of relationshiping, and becoming polyamorous or being ethically non-monogamous does not mean you can’t have a monogamous relationship.


We are diverse humans, our connections to each other are diverse.

It is our diversity that makes us beautiful.

Our honesty and communication within our relationships are far more important than how we decide to relationship!

Mv entire life I've always had equal value for those I love and care about. I've always redefined relationships. My history of connections whether sexual relationships, friendship and all the shades between have always been different, intense, unique, diverse and breaking all the moulds and expectations of friendships and relationships.

It took me long enough to figure all this out and a bit longer to come to terms with it all.


Learning that I am a Relationship Anarchist has helped me understand myself and finally accept that the way I connect to people is not weird or wrong, too intense, it's just my non-conformist personality connecting to people with my deep authenticity and treating each connection as unique as the those in the connection.

I am not broken, I am me!



Written by El Amethyst

Edited by Helen Chowaniec


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(Below is the unedited version)

Path to Self discovery_ Queer, Polyam, Relationship Anarchist rebelling hetronormative exp
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Download • 5.00MB

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This wee read helps understand this idea that we can customise each relationship to the needs of the individual.


♾ ♡ ♾





Definitions for those that need them;


I am panromantic and demisexual "Demisexual people only feel sexually attracted to someone when they have an emotional bond with the person. They can be gay, straight, bisexual, or pansexual, and may have any gender identity." "Panromantic is a romantic attraction to people regardless of their gender. Panromantic people can be romantically attracted to people of every gender identity. And people of any gender identity may identify as panromantic." I believe after many lengthy chats that husband is Hetro, Asexual, Aromantic. "Not everyone agrees on the definition of asexuality. It is a spectrum. An asexual person feels little or no sexual attraction, but they may engage in sexual activity."


Asexual people can want sex , relationships or to date, they can even experience pleasure from orgasms, they just don't experience sexual attraction, but can still feel romantic and emotional connections! "Aromantic people have little or no romantic attraction to others."

Polyamory is a hugely misunderstood conception thanks to societies prejudices, patriarchy and the enforcement of a hetronormative life style.

But there are helpful sources that can educate those open to understanding.


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