Perhaps the most honest emotion known to the human experience is desire. Desire for your needs to be met, desire for your fantasies to be fulfilled, desire to be … desired. The ability to quantify, qualify, and justify our needs and wants is distinctly human and should not be taken for granted. So when it comes to matters of desire, why is the conversation approached with such fear? Why are we afraid of asking for what we want? And if the person you’re with is evolved enough to know exactly what they want and how they want it, why are we offended by such clarity? Shouldn’t we be grateful to have clear guidelines?
I’ve recently found myself in the company of a man. One that I find handsome, charming, intelligent, honest and forthright. I have also found him pansexual and polyamorous, I think. I am quite sure of the former, but the latter is only a presumption due to the fact that the only two times I’ve mustered the courage to ask about the specifics has been alcohol-induced. It seems that while I am perfectly capable of explaining my own emotions and even accepting those of others, I am almost bashful at the idea that the facts won’t align in a way that is conducive to what I want.
While I do not identify as pansexual or polyamorous, I have come over to the idea that the person I’m dating does not necessarily have to identify the way I do, as long as we can agree on how our relationship is governed - – perils of modern dating. But the end goal has always been to find a partner to build a life with or at least enjoy life with. It feels wildly presumptuous to expect someone you’re getting to know to bend to your wishes on the assumption that you’re someone that they’ll want to be with after they get to know you. But I’d be dishonest if I didn’t admit that I’m hoping for that exact outcome. Boy meets boy. Boy is great. Boy does what boy wants. That is of course, if having me is more important than having his particular style of romance. Are my thicc thighs and Southern charm enough to override a lifestyle choice? If not, is his sweet disposition and caramel skin enough to make me more fluid? What are my options here?
A pansexual is someone who is attracted to a variety of people regardless of how they identify. Polyamory, however, has nothing to do with gender. Instead, it is the desire of a person to be in multiple intimate relationships with the consent of all of their partners. Wikipedia describes it as “consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy”.
So if everything is above-board, ethical and responsible, why so much fear? Why so many questions? Perhaps it’s as simple as because “I don’t have any answers”. Being with someone unwilling to limit themselves means that you’ll never have the security of completion. That moment of solitude and relief because you know that your life can begin to take shape and add structure because you have found your partner, will never come. You will never be done because your relationship is never done stretching. Your partner’s emotional capacity, physical availability and even financial resources are always in flux – depending on how and whom they are dating. You can’t plan for a future. You can’t grow as a unit. You can only standstill. And while that may seem impulsive and romantic and bold, it’s not how I want to live my life. I do not solely exist in the present. I work to save money so I can do things in the future. I want to have a partner so we can do things, have things, love things… in the future. I want a life that I can scale. And that’s what monogamy provides. Institutions may be archaic, but at least they are efficient. The problem with dating someone with so much rigid flexibility is that the clarity and wherewithal that clears their path, may block yours.
If I were to be honest with my “partner” and also myself, I’d admit that I don’t see a future. I’d realize that one of the consequences of being particular in who you date is that when pickings are slim you tend to make concessions in exchange for companionship. I’d also admit that I’m beginning to “fall” for the person whom I only ever saw as a placeholder and that I don’t know how to move forward. Am I to compromise? Cling to my desire and realize that having the man in the less-than-ideal condition is better than not having him at all? Or am I to fight? Stand firm in who I am and ask him to meet me there so that we can grow together? I’m not sure. But it doesn’t matter now, because we just broke up.