Part of J’s family’s concerns, anger, and dismay over our relationship are due to their idea that we “hold such different values.” Do we? I don’t think so at all. I think many of the values are the same; the behaviors that result from our values are different. But our values are quite similar. It’s not like J and I are immoral, stealing, lying, murdering, raping… We certainly have values, and many of them did come from our families. We are just choosing to exercise them in different ways.
Love is infinite
Compassionate and nonviolent communication and negotiation
Fidelity, loyalty, and commitment
Trust and respect
Self awareness and self growth
Love and sex don’t always go together, and don’t have to
Sexual intimacy as just another way to connect with someone else (other ways include emotional intimacy, physical intimacy, spiritual intimacy, etc)
These values can be incorporated into any kind of relationship, although the outcome can look differently depending on the structure and negotiations.
I am having a difficult time reconnecting with who I was two years ago; I feel like J and I have journeyed far enough away from our monogamous selves and relationship that I am finding it challenging to be truly understanding and compassionate for those in J’s family that are having a super hard time with our choices.
It was actually helpful for me to look at the relationship styles presentation I put together for the human sexuality class I took last year. I created it based off of Tristan Taormino’s Opening Up, and made it as accessible as possible for a monogamous demographic. I had a quick thought of using this presentation as a way to bridge the vast divide between myself and, say, J’s sister (someone who is having a really difficult time with learning about our relationship). I remember most students I presented to being really open-minded and curious. Of course, the context is different: learning about something new in an academic setting versus feeling lied to by family members and feeling like your value system has been thrown away in lieu of some “line of bullshit.” Very different experiences.
I am finding comfort in returning to my bottom line: I am loving, compassionate, happy, and peaceful. My relationship is a vehicle for personal growth. I am fulfilled by my choices. Even if I can’t convince others that these things are true, the most important thing is to remain present in myself and positive in my present moment.