Prejudice comes in many forms, and many shades of gray. You don’t have to be outright hateful to hold prejudices against one or more groups of people. However, sometimes, here in the LGBTQ community, we take things a step too far when having knee-jerk reactions about whether someone is prejudiced or not. This is especially true when it comes to policing the dating and sex lives of our queer sisters.

There seems to be a rather popular narrative that if you refuse to date bisexual women, you are automatically a biphobic bigot. Now, if the refusal is rooted in false prejudices, such as the idea that all bisexuals are greedy sluts, etc….yeah. That’s prejudiced. However, if the reasoning has nothing to do with that, and is just more about wanting to date someone you can identify with more, then there’s no problem, in my opinion. Further, regardless of where someone’s personal romantic and sexual preferences come from, that is up to that person and no one else. It is not for others to police.

But, police they do. So many people have automatically decided that if you refuse to date bisexual women, you are automatically biphobic. It’s simply not true, and all that sort of thing does is further widen the very hostile gap that already exists between lesbians and bisexual women. After all, the second you start slinging mud, there’s no longer any room for discussion.

Full Disclosure: I have dated non-monosexual women in the past, and would again.

I have no trouble whatsoever dating bisexual women. None. The only thing I’d need assurance from her about would be her ability to give up men, and her ability to be out of the closet. Other than that, full steam ahead!

Now, there are reasons, LEGITIMATE reasons, that, yes, I’ll admit it– I am much more comfortable dating a lesbian.

1. I have a serious aversion to penis.

No lie. Like, I am repulsed by that anatomy, full stop. So, it would be pretty much a requirement that even in open/poly situations, there would be no men, anywhere, period. Also, nothing turns me into a cold fish faster than some chic talking about her ex-boyfriend’s hard cock. *shudder*

2. Male privilege and straight privilege are a thing.

And yes, some women do take the easy route. And before you say that this just doesn’t happen, I beg to differ. It happened to me, on three different occasions. All of these women identify as straight now, and in their break-up speeches, they all gave various versions of how it was too hard to be in an open same-sex relationships, how they want “normal” lives, and so on and so forth. In other words, they didn’t want to be queer anymore. It’s as if their relationships with me meant nothing. And, yes, it’s a special kind of pain to be bailed on for a man and a life of straight privilege.

3.  Passing privilege is a thing.

Yes,I’ve heard the arguments. Bisexual women passing for straight isn’t a privilege. It’s erasure. Yes, I get that. But you truly are deluded if you think that casual passing doesn’t mean society treats you differently– and that difference is definitely a privilege.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Lesbians who would rather simply date other lesbians are not necessarily biphobic. They could simply be protecting themselves. Could they be operating from a place of bigotry? Of course. And if they are, that is dead and flat-out wrong and those people need to examine their prejudices. But, a lot of times, they aren’t.

Further, the bottom line is this: who people date or don’t date and for what reasons is simply nobody else’s business. This policing of people’s personal lives truly is disturbing, and it needs to stop. Want to bridge the gap? Accept that people are allowed to date or not date whomever they like, for whatever reasons they like, and move along.

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This is the second installment in what is quickly becoming the “What I Should Have Said” series. So, here goes!

In Spring of 2013, while I was still living in New York, I met a woman at the dance at the LGBTQ Center I volunteered at. Her name was Kat (yes, this time using a real name, because it’s so common and she’ll never, ever read this). She was very nice at the dance, but I’d quickly learn otherwise.

The first red flag was that she cancelled our very first date and instead invited me to meet her family at some kind of BBQ celebration. It was at that point in time that I was subjected to her narcissistic mother, her 100+ year old grandmother, and her grandmother’s caretaker. Now, keep in mind that I had never hung out with this woman other than at the dance, and very briefly at a tavern with a friend of hers across the street from my apartment. The fact that she basically didn’t give me a choice as to whether or not to meet her family on the first real date or not was red flag number one. Red flag number two was that when I got there, I realized that she literally lived in her mother’s dining room at the age of 29.

Now, I am a very independent woman. I was really struggling financially at this point in time, but I still stood on my own two feet. However, I know that it is sometimes hard to make it on your own, so I try not to judge. I proceeded to develop a relationship with this woman. To that end, my worst fears came to fruition.

It turned out that Kat was completely under her mother’s thumb. She had to be home when her mother said, and things on that front really came to a head when she texted me one night in a panic because her mother was flipping out, saying Kat spent too much time with me. I essentially texted back that I didn’t know how to deal with that, but it felt like I was dating a high schooler. Kat came over, and tried to smooth it over, then went back home. The situation was recurring– her mother demanding time, my having to spend time with them all the time, even though we had JUST started dating. I should never have even met these people at this point, much less been required to spend time with them.

Kat was also very controlling, with a serious anger issue. I never knew which version of her I was going to get. She flew off the handle at the smallest things,and actually had the attitude that it was the duty of people around her not to piss her off, rather than her job to handle her anger. In the end, I gave some lame, “it’s not you, it’s me,” excuse to get out of what was quickly becoming a very scary relationship.

Just a few nutty things she did are as follows:

  • When I moved into a new apartment, she took my bed off its beautiful mahogany frame, and arranged things to her liking
  • When she came to get me from volunteering at the Center, she met a buddy she didn’t like. She screamed at me that I should have warned her that he was there. In a public place.
  • She would tell me we were doing things, rather than ask
  • She would show up at my apartment unannounced, and take over my evenings
  • She said it was my job to make her laugh when she was in a bad mood and that I, quote, “failed the test”
  • She smoked marijuana in my apartment, even though I don’t smoke it and don’t want it in my space.
  • The real doozy was when I finally dumped her. She literally held my freedom hostage, and insisted on one last in person meeting, in an effort to impose her will on me one last time.
  • She tried to force me into having “break up sex”

You get the picture. She was not independent, she was controlling, and she had a serious anger management issue that she refused to do anything about. So, without further ado, this is what I should have said to Kat, but didn’t:

Dear Kat,

We’ve had some good times these last few months. However, I have come to the conclusion that we have some serious compatibility issues. You have very serious anger and control issues, and your attitude that it is the job of others to pacify you rather than your job to do something about the problem is unacceptable to me. I cannot be in a relationship with someone who is so completely controlling. Further, I view your demands for a final meeting as nothing more than a last ditch effort to impose your will on me one last time.

The entire time we have been together, you have not respected me, my space, or my time. You simply want what you want, my feelings be damned. Further,the break up sex stuff? Sorry, but that really is gross, creepy, and downright pathetic. Why would you want to have sex with someone who clearly wants nothing to do with you? It really makes no sense.

The last reason I cannot be with you is likely the least important (though all of the reasons are important). I get that your mother is helping you out, but you are in no way independent. At all. Dating you has been like dating a high schooler. Perhaps it’s your lack of dating experience, but we were together less than three months. You don’t meet the family that soon, much less on a first date, and you sure as hell shouldn’t be obligated to feel close to those people/spend time with them. I didn’t even know YOU when we went to that BBQ. I’m thinking you just don’t know much about dating. Well, I do, and that was downright weird. Grow  up and become your own woman. You’re 29, not 19.

I guess the real turning point was when you went away with your mom for a few days. I felt relieved that you were gone. I didn’t miss you at all. I was relishing in just having a few days when I didn’t have to cater to you, your whims, or your moods. I had just a few days where I had my life back. No one should ever feel that way about a significant other. I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now, but the point of this letter is to break up with you. I’m not trying to hurt you, or be harsh, but you have a penchant for not listening, and for doing what you want to do and thinking what you’re going to think, regardless of how others feel, so I believe the harsh, no nonsense tone is necessary here.

At any rate, I hope you have a nice life. Work on your anger/control issues. I truly hope you find someone who can deal with your issues, or, even better, you deal with them before getting into anymore romantic partnerships.

Good Luck,

Shannon

Anyway, once again, writing this is cathartic. It’s for me. It’s for the purpose of learning to set boundaries, of learning to be honest, to say what I mean and what I feel in these situations. Stay tuned for the next installment!

This summer, right before Mother’s Day, I received a message from a woman on OKCupid that would really make me re-evaluate the casual flings I have. We’ll call this woman Kate.

Kate was in a monogamous marriage with a woman who was much older than she was. She and her wife had an agreement that Kate could have play partners, because the wife’s lack of libido left Kate feeling unfulfilled, unsatisfied, and unwanted. So, that was their solution to that problem. Well, unfortunately, I didn’t read Kate’s profile prior to returning her message. If I had, I never would have written her back.

It turned out that Kate had a very traditionalist approach to love and marriage. Her wife was, to use her words, her “person,” and marriage was til death do you part. No exceptions. To that end, she didn’t even think of ending her marriage over the issues within. Instead, she used her time with me to “take a break” from being herself. That right there was a HUGE red flag. I wanted to say, “If something is so wrong in your life that you literally need to seek out someone to take you away from it on a regular basis, perhaps you should take a long, hard, look at that life, and make some changes.” But, I never did. Instead, I continued to allow myself to be used as a band-aid, a quick fix, for problems in a life and in a relationship that I had nothing to do with despite the plethora of red flags and alarm bells.

Kate and I got together for sex on multiple occasions. During that time, we texted back and forth several times daily. All the while, there were these nagging concerns that I didn’t dare voice, because Kate had this hang up about being judged for the situation with her wife. I didn’t want to make that worse. Further, she had little (read: no) knowledge and experience of poly life. She just wanted her sex, any sort of consideration for the community she was dipping into be damned.

The turning point came when I took a cat from Kate’s friend, due to the fact that the cat was causing behavior problems in the household. This would turn out to be the last time Kate and I met in person. Kate and her friend delivered the cat, an adorably crazy little black cat. Things went downhill when the friend talked nonstop about how good she is in with the cops.

Now, being a woman of color, this enraged me. She boasted of getting the cops to come to her aid at the drop of a hat, and defends law enforcement at every turn, despite their obvious bias that often turns deadly against certain populations of people.

I expressed my discomfort with this to Kate via text message later. The fact that Kate, who claimed to be a socially aware liberal, was friends with someone like this and even was a total apologist for it wouldn’t leave me alone. I knew I couldn’t, as a proud woman of color and an activist, be involved with someone like this. So, I wrote Kate a Facebook message breaking it off. She exploded, naturally, called me a “fucking child” and blocked me. That was just further proof that I had done the right thing, in my mind. She did apologize later when she sent me the cat’s vet records via OKCupid. However, what Kate didn’t– and still doesn’t– know, is that this particular revelation was just the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. So, without further ado, here is what I should have said to Kate, but didn’t:

Dearest Kate,

I’ve enjoyed our time together. You’re a warm, caring, interesting person. However, there are a few things that bother me about our set-up here. Firstly, the fact that you resent the fact that many poly people wouldn’t give you a chance due to your situation with your wife and your lack of poly experience, that you take that as some kind of judgement or personal affront, is very misguided.

“Polyamory”– as in the word itself– literally means “many loves.” And that is what poly people do. We have loving romantic partnerships with multiple people at the same time. You state clearly and upfront in your profile that you are not looking for a relationship of any kind. Those are your words. So, there’s a fundamental lack of compatibility when it comes to what you are looking for versus what poly people are looking for anyway, right out of the gate.

Secondly, poly people understand that people come into your life at certain points in your life, but that it is human nature to grow and change. Sometimes that growth and change happens at different rates, and even in different directions. We understand that connections and relationships that may have worked at one point in a person’s life may simply not work anymore, and that that’s okay. That is a concept that you clearly don’t understand, considering how you’ve tried to hang on to me even though we just met (I mean you had a sex toy sent to my house after only two dates, and you gave me a cat after three), and how you are clearly unhappy in your marriage, but have no plans to fix that, but instead are using me as a band-aid to fix your problems in a relationship you likely shouldn’t be in anyway. Instead of addressing your lack of fulfillment in your own relationship, you are instead using outside partners– in the current case, me– to fix what ails you.

Thirdly, when I get into a relationship with a primary partner, there just won’t be room for this. I tried to gently warn you of this, but you either didn’t catch on or chose to ignore the implications. There’s no room in a poly life– at least not in my poly life– for catering to an FWB who doesn’t know what she is doing, who isn’t really poly anyway, and who is just using me for a band-aid on issues in an existing marriage.

The fourth point that has been bugging me is that I’ve done all the giving here. It’s exhausting teaching Poly 101 to a newbie who isn’t even really poly. Further, I’m always the one who has to rearrange my schedule to be with you. I’m always catering to whichever days are good for you and your wife. You even selfishly asked if a sternly denied day off could still be reversed. You knew from the beginning that weekends were my time off, yet you refused to ever even attempt to set a date then. You didn’t care about me, or even my livelihood. You just wanted what you wanted.

Lastly, your friendship with [name redacted] really shows that you aren’t as open and liberal as you say. To befriend and defend someone who is a racist cop apologist really is just beyond the pale. Perhaps it is your white privilege that allows you to continue this friendship– I don’t know. But that is beside the point. The company you keep says a lot about you, and that just isn’t something I can abide.

So, to that end, I’m afraid I have to end this. The rest of the stuff maybe could have been worked out, eventually, at some point. However, the thing with your defense of  the cop apologist friend is really just the last straw. There were so many things that I fault myself with not telling you. I take full responsibility for that. But, in short, these are the reasons this just isn’t working for me.

I’m truly sorry. I should have just told you all this before, when it first started bothering me, but I didn’t and that is my fault. I truly wish you the best, and I hope you either repair your marriage or find what you are looking for.

Yours,

Shannon

So, that’s it, folks. Long read, I know, but it was more for me than anyone else. It was very cathartic to write all that out. Hey, maybe she’ll run across it sometime. Either way, it was good for me, and that is what counts. Happy blogging!

Hello, Queermos! Hope you’re all doing well. I know I’ve been out of pocket for a bit, but that’s because I also write for a living, and I’ve been really busy there lately. Thanks to that fact, and, well, just having a life, posts here will definitely be sporadic. That’s okay, though, as this blog is mostly for me to have a place to share my feelings about things for which there seem to be no spaces to share them about. Anyway, today, to discuss an aspect of non- monogamy that can cause things to blow up if not done right: Situational Non-Monogamy vs. Oriented Non-Monogamy.

So What Is Situational  Non-Monogamy Anyway?

Situationally non-monogamous people generally wouldn’t be non-monogamous if there weren’t some situation in their primary relationship that caused one or both partners to be unfulfilled. Now, personally, as someone who is naturally oriented toward non-monogamy, this is a red flag when hooking up with a playmate I plan to see more than once. That doesn’t mean I write her off immediately, but it does mean that I proceed with extreme caution.

Generally, these people are breaking the number one rule of successful non-monogamy, which is using non-monogamy as a way of saving a relationship on the rocks. Generally, the partner who is not fulfilling her partner/wife is only going along with it because she knows that she will find herself in divorce court if she didn’t. This often leads to feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and general all around hurt. This is healthy for no one involved. Couple this with the fact that the lack of experience means that many rookie mistakes (more on those in another post) are made, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Now, are there people who are not naturally oriented to be non-monogamous who simply live the non mono/poly lifestyle just for the sake of it? ?Yes. There certainly are, and these people are the exceptions to the aforementioned general problems that tend to crop up in situationally non monogamous relationships. So, they don’t constitute red flags. The usual situationally non-monogamous folks, though- definitely proceed with extreme caution, and bail if you are not comfortable with their ability to do this successfully, lest it blow up in your face.

What Is Oriented Non-Monogamy?

Those of us who are oriented to be non-monogamous are naturally that way. We seek out primary partners who want the same thing- an open relationship, or a non-hierarchial polyamorous situation. Non-monogamy is as much a natural orientation for us as is being gay, straight, or bisexual. We find the idea of monogamy stifling, and may even be tempted to cheat. The idea of being inm any sort of monogamous union is a deal breaker.

To that end, we are simply much better at being non-monogamouos than those who are simply situationally so. We go the extra mile to find out what it actually means to practice non-monogamy. We go into it armed with the information we need to be successful. We understand that things like making assumptions about the boundaries of any of the other people involved are a recipe for disaster, and we have communication down to a T. We know better than to use opening things up as a way to save a marriage or relationship. In other words, being naturally wired to be this way, most of us make sure we know what we are doing before taking the plunge, and we know better than to try to use opening things up as a way to force-fix a problem or problems in a rocky relationship. We understand a fundamental rule that most situationally non-monogamous people don’t: That relationships should be opened when things are most solid, not the other way around.

All in all, that is a very general explanation between the two types of non-monogamous people. Hopefully, it helps people to understand why someone who is oriented to be non-monogamous might be wary of being an “other” to a situationally non-monogamous person.

In the society in which we live, where relationships are concerned, cheating is the ultimate betrayal. All trust is broken, the spouse who is cheated on is the victim, humiliated and wronged by his or her philandering mate. However, like almost everything in relationships, cheating is not that cut and dried.

Full Disclosure: I have been cheated on, and I have cheated.

It took me a very long time to acknowledge that I am non-monogamous in relationship orientation. It also took me a long time to acknowledge that said relationship orientation, coupled with my damn near unmatched libido, contributed to my ultimate choice to be unfaithful. However, there are types of cheaters who are not automatically terrible people. Hell, there are certain situation in which I’d even argue that cheating is perfectly justifiable.So, without further ado, here are a few different types of cheaters, and how and why they cheat.

1. The Cheater Who Just Likes To Cheat

This is the typical cheater we all think about. This type of cheater doesn’t care how devoted, beautiful, rich, or anything else his or her spouse is. This person gets off on cheating- the thrill, the sneaking, the “getting away with something” right under a primary partner’s nose. This type of cheater is the ultimate scumbag. Happiness will never be met in relationships with this cheater, because, what makes such a cheater happy is, well, cheating. It’s the lies, the sneaking, and, most of all, the power and control held over both the spouse being cheated on as well as the side piece being cheated with.

2. The Cheater Who Is Stuck In A Dead Marriage

This cheater has done everything she can to save the relationship, to no avail. There is no sex, no communication, nothing. The relationship exists in name only. Perhaps this cheater rarely (if ever) even sees his or her spouse anymore. This cheater might be staying because of intertwined finances, kids, or other factors that make separating impractical, or perhaps even impossible. So, to save sanity and humanity, this cheater goes and finds someone who will give what her spouse can’t: Actual companionship that gives a semblance of some kind of life or light at the end of the tunnel in a seemingly impossibly bleak life circumstance.

3. The Cheater Who Is Unfulfilled

It takes two to make or break a relationship, in most circumstances. Happy people do not cheat. This is not to victim blame, but that is just the uncomfortable truth. With the exception of the serial cheaters who just get off on cheating, the uncomfortable truth is this: If someone cheats, it is, at least in part, because of a lack of fulfillment at home. The spouse who was cheated on  has to see through her humiliation, hurt, betrayal, and overall pain to understand that she missed something somewhere along the line, that somewhere in there she didn’t listen, she fell short enough of fulfilling her mate to make her stray.

Usually, with this type of cheater, every effort has been made to communicate unhappiness and a lack of fulfillment in the relationship. Generally, these conversations and communications are attempted repeatedly, only to be met with indifference, defensiveness, scorn, or derision. So, after trying repeatedly, this cheater gives up and steps out to find the fulfillment that is clearly not to be had at home.

Another Full Disclosure: I am the third type of cheater.

I have been in relationships that I wanted to end, but with forceful partners who wouldn’t let me go, after repeatedly telling them I was unhappy or unfulfilled. In my estimation, I made the right choice. I refused to allow these women to hold my freedom hostage while insisting that nothing was wrong. To me, life was and is too short to wait for someone to realize their mistakes. Sure, leaving before stepping out might be a better solution, but extracting oneself from a dead relationship is simply not always easy. What are you supposed to do, waste away in the meantime? I don’t think so.

I definitely realize that my views on cheating are a lot different from those of general society. These are certainly not the only three types of cheaters, but they are, to me, the most common. Also, I feel that the last two types are perfectly justified in their infidelity. In those situations, it’s either cheat or go crazy, lose your humanity, become depressed…I could go on, but you get the picture. Cheating in these situations is perfectly understandable, even if not completely right.

The bottom line here, I guess, is that all of the condemnation and scorn is heaped upon the cheater. With the exception of type number one, though, the reality is that the person who gets cheated on is not completely blameless. Remember: It takes two.

Why, yes, that is precisely what I mean. Ladygays, heads up. My relationship orientation is something you will read about here. A lot. I mean like, a whole lot. The reason for this is that I’m non-monogamous in a world where monogamy is worshiped and put on a pedestal, while those of us who live and love in any way that is not strictly monogamous are judged endlessly. So, here it is, queermos- my debunking of just a few of all the ignorant assumptions people have made about me once they find out I have been in open relationships, and now seek said relationships exclusively.

You’re Afraid of Commitment.

Actually, no I am not. Not at all. Just because I sleep with other people does not mean my commitment to my primary partner is any less real. On the contrary, the level of trust, respect, and open communication that it takes to be physically intimate with other people, and allow my partner to do the same is much greater than that I’ve ever felt with any monogamous partner. In fact, I’d say that the commitment I’ve felt with my partners in open relationships has been much greater than that I’ve felt in monogamous ones, because of that heightened level of trust. Also, the ability for a relationship so solid that outside dalliances are in no way a threat is the height of intimacy and trust.

You’re A Greedy Slut.

Again, no. Well, perhaps by many people’s definitions, I am a slut. After all, I’ve known more women in the biblical sense than most men twice my age. If they are shaming me because of this, they are likely simply jealous. Ignorant, misogynist, slut-shaming comments aside, though, it really isn’t just about sex. It is about not putting limits on human connection. The idea of having to give up connecting with other people because I “belong” to someone is really pretty gross to me. I am no one’s property, and connections to other human beings are precious to me. Life is too short to miss out on something potentially great because society says I should. So, yeah, I’m probably a slut. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, though.

It’s Not A Real Relationship!

Sure it is. I alluded to this above, but it bears repeating: My open relationships were a hell of a lot more respectful, trusting, communicative, and just downright happier and more solid than any monogamous relationship I’ve ever been in. There weren’t the underlying unhealthy themes that tend to run through monogamous relationships (more on this in another post where I address the intellectual issues I have with monogamy), and I cared enough about my partner’s fulfillment to allow her to seek what she wanted and needed elsewhere, and she did the same for me. I’d say these relationships felt a whole lot more respectful, and, yes, REAL, than any monogamous union I have ever been a part of.

At any rate, trying to define for other people what is and isn’t a “real” relationship is an astoundingly ignorant position to take anyway. What’s it to you what kind of relationship someone is in, and how  (s)he might define it, just since it isn’t abusive?

 

All in all, those are the top three criticisms I’ve gotten personally with regards to being non-monogamous. Really, it is pretty amazing how much people judge what is none of their business. This is just one of what will likely be many posts on this topic, because people come up with more ignorant, unfounded bullshit on it every day.

 

Hey Readers! Thanks for stopping by. Well, I can only assume that you’re wondering who I am and why this blog exists in this tiny little corner of the interwebs, so here goes. I am Shannon, a 34-year-old queer chic. I write for a living, but this blog is personal, and, no, I won’t be making any money off of it. Not because I don’t want to (who doesn’t like money, right?), but because the people who run Google are ridiculously puritan and I don’t want to restrict what I say for fear of losing an ad account because I somehow managed to offend the delicate sensibilities of the Google Gods.

I can’t promise that this blog will survive. I hope it will, of course. I wouldn’t be starting it if I didn’t believe in it. However, as I learned with my now-defunct blog So You Want To Be A Lesbian, almost nothing is forever. I still love that blog. I miss it. But I’ve grown and evolved so much since I started it in 2010 that I don’t even hold most of the opinions I posted on there anymore. That’s okay though- that’s all part of growth. And, with that growth, I outgrew that blog. That’s a great thing, though, because this one was born.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’m sure you’re wondering what you’ll find here. Well…..lots of things, really. When I say that these are “ramblings” in the tagline, I mean it. I have a lot of things that I have a lot of feelings on. I have a lot of potentially unpopular opinions, and I don’t feel like getting crucified or even banned on internet message boards for expressing them. Here, you’ll read about relationships and my feelings on them, LGBT equality, racism, police brutality, feminism, sex, and just about everything else you can think of that might affect or be of interest to a quirky, nerdy, fat, black, atheist, non-monogamous gay chic.

Oh, and just so you know- I welcome comments. I welcome dissent. I’m here to learn and be entertained, too. The only thing I don’t welcome is bigotry of any kind. So, welcome aboard! Hope you enjoy the ride.

~~Shannon