One year ago, one of the last places I ever thought I'd find myself was in a monogamous relationship. Back then, I was happily polyamorous and didn't see myself entering into a partnership with any one person at any point in my life. Life is a funny thing, though, and sometimes the paths we never expect to travel are the ones we wind up exploring anyway. I entered my partnership with Matt about a year ago now, and I call it a partnership because that's how we've approached this idea of a relationship ... that is, while recognizing and respecting each other's differences and individual natures, we've decided to experience life as friends, allies, and lovers. And this approach to our relationship, I think, is why it works for me.
Having jumped, earlier in my life, from extremely strict parents to an extremely controlling marriage, I chose to spend the majority of my young adult life single (after said marriage ended in divorce). The freedom that came from living as a single person who called my own shots, made my own decisions, and answered to no one was intoxicating and exactly what I needed to grow as a person. Sure, I dated around during this time, and entered a few very brief relationships, but the majority of the time I was single -- happily single. There were times when, I think, I wanted to enter a relationship with someone I was dating, but usually didn't because of an overwhelming fear of losing the freedom I'd fought so hard to attain. So my polyamorous lifestyle -- in which there were a few people I was casually dating and a few other people whom I did refer to as boyfriends -- centered mostly around maintaining my freedom and independence at the center of it all.
It was a cool lifestyle, one that I was very happy in, and one that I know many others are very happy in. So entering monogamy with Matt wasn't a decision made out of necessity, because I wasn't even sure, at the time, that such a relationship could even be possible while maintaining personal freedom and independence.
And, yes, I've experienced all of the above. And I was never, ever, ever going to go back to living that way again.
Learning to trust has not been an easy road, but the approach that Matt and I have taken has been different than any other relationship I've ever been a part of, and it's been wonderful for me. For starters, we've never looked at ourselves as "halves" seeking a "whole" -- both of us see ourselves as whole beings, full and complete in ourselves, who seek to complement each other's lives. Though we have quite a bit in common (we both love video games, roller coasters, reading, travel, and the same classic films, such as Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure), we're also very different. He's the extrovert to my introvert; he loves sports and the outdoors and dogs while I, on the other hand, love politics and staying in and cats. He likes going to baseball games and I like attending the live theater. He likes skiing and snowboarding while I enjoy studying voice and dance. He's a beer guy; I'm a wine gal.
And the thing is, a huge part of our approach has been respecting that both of us will have lives outside of the other. When he wants to go play baseball with friends, or go to laser tag, or go for a weekend snowboarding getaway, there are times he does those things without me because I have no interest in those things. And when I do shows or debates or go out for coffee with my own friends, there are times I do those things without him because he'd rather be doing other things. And, because we respect each other's individual lives and privacy, it doesn't bother either of us that the other has a full and complete life outside of us.
Along with this, we've also been building a life together. We do things together that we both enjoy, such as theme parks, and sometimes we'll go to ball games or the live theater together, so that we can experience each other's passions, even if they're not our own. And this is why the relationship works for me. I have been able to maintain an individual, free life while, at the same time, building a partnership with someone else (and so has he).
In this way, we've had some awesome experiences together. So today, on this kinda, somewhere-close-to one-year anniversary of us being together, I wanted to highlight some of those experiences to honor the year I've been with Matt.
1) Disneyland/Disney's California Adventure
As some of my previous partners can tell you, it's pretty hard to be in a relationship with me and not find yourself at Disneyland once in a while.
Quite a different experience for a Disney trip.
2) Filming Twisted Colossus
Matt and I are on the Six Flags Magic Mountain website (the picture in which you can see us is the one I've posted right here -- you can see me on the right train, wearing bright pink, my long hair flying wildly behind me. Matt is next to me, wearing purple).
The morning of, we went backstage and filled out paperwork and had our photos taken, along with everyone else who would be a part of filming. It's important to note that there were two distinct groups of people -- the professional models and actors who were hired to sit in the fronts of the trains during the filming, and everyone else. The actors would be used primarily for the on-ride filming, and after they left everyone else would stay for off-ride filming and still photos of the ride.
But something really cool happened. As they were filming the actors in what we (Matt and I and two pretty awesome guys we met while standing around) called the "pretty train," the crew plucked us out of the crowd to fill in seats in the very back of the train. So, if you watch the actual Twisted Colossus promotional video, you won't see the four of us, but we were there in the back of the train. What this meant for us was that we got to ride again and again while they got the filming right.
See, the thing about Twisted Colossus is that it's got two tracks with a distinctly different ride on each track. The ride is almost 4 minutes long because, once your train finishes up on the first track, you get to go through again on the second track. But, part of the big deal about this roller coaster, is that the trains are supposed to be in sync with one another.
3) Adopting a Kitten
When we met, I already had a grey tabby cat (Auryn Baby Girlface) and Matt already had a large, brown dog (Bodi). But during the summer of 2015, we found ourselves with another pet that we adopted together: a small orange kitten that we decided to call Gavroche (due to his mangy, alley-cat look and orphan status that he possessed when we first adopted him).
He was timid when we first brought him home, but you'll be happy to hear that now, almost a year later, he's grown into a very large, rough-and-tumble cat with more quirks and nuances than I think I've ever seen in a pet.
Matt and I got to go to Canada for a week in 2015, and it was such an awesome pleasure to get to do so. We were there primarily because I was singing the national anthem at a Toronto Argonauts football game, but while we were there we got to do so much else -- wine tasting, live theater, Toronto island, Canada's Wonderland, and so much else.
We stayed with my dad in his condo overlooking the city. Our first day there, we went down to Niagara on the Lake to do wine tasting (my dad has a particular preference for sweet wines and ice wines, which I don't care for, but tried nonetheless), and then we went to a football game in neighboring Hamilton. On Tuesday, Matt and I got to go to Canada's Wonderland, where we both got to experience a giga coaster (a coaster which features an initial drop of over 300 feet) for the first time. After Wonderland, we got cleaned up and Dad took us "appetizer hopping" -- a favorite past time of his, in which you visit 4-5 high-end restaurants in a single evening, just to sample appetizers and wine.
It was a busy week that went by quickly, but an awesome experience.
5) The Color Run
I'm not, by nature, a runner. When I was a teenager I did gymnastics and the flying trapeze, and I used the treadmill on a daily basis, but that was over half my life ago. I'm not in the same shape I was when I was a teenager, so joining athletic events always makes me a bit apprehensive.
And, again, it was another first that we got to experience together.
Every relationship has its series of ups and downs. I, however, have never had a relationship like the one I'm currently in, which respects both the ups and downs as legitimate, necessary aspects of growth, and honors the ways in which the both of us continue to grow on our own.
I can't wait to see what the future holds.
UPDATE: As of April, 2017, Matt and I are no longer together. Our breakup was a simple matter of lifestyle differences, and we have parted amicably, both understanding that it was the best thing for both of us. I am, once again, polyamorous (monogamy, I have discovered, is not for me, though I was nothing but faithful to that lifestyle while I was with Matt). I have decided to leave this blog post up, however, as it highlights a specific time in my life for many of its proverbial "ups." Matt and I had some great times and we learned a lot from each other. I am still so excited to "see what the future holds," as I'd said before, even though the two of us have decided to explore different paths.
I did keep Gavroche, though. ;)