Polyamory isn’t easy. It is challenging. It’s complicated and conflicted. It’s messy. And that makes it hard.
But it’s also fun. It creates new opportunities. And it can be very enlightening.
Jeannie and I didn’t actually choose polyamory, it chose us. When we embarked on this journey we agreed to open our marriage, but we didn’t entirely know what that meant. It’s often accepted that open means multiple partners without emotional connection where poly includes the emotional connection. (I’m simplifying here, but work with me.) Along the open journey, we fell into poly. Despite a few snafus, we embraced it. Then we questioned it. And now we’re here. On the rough side of the mountain.
The “rough side of the mountain” comes up in a number of inspirational quotes. Go ahead, Google it; I’ll wait. The most common one is this:
It’s the rough side of the mountain that’s the easiest to climb; the smooth side doesn’t have anything for you to hang on to.
I find this quote kinda meh, and a bit of a cop out. Here’s the one I’m working with:
I know that it seems like life is unfair right now, and you want things to be easier, but the rough side of the mountain will actually prepare you for life much better than the smooth side. Believe it or not, the setbacks of today can quickly become the forging blades of greatness for tomorrow.
This quote comes from the book Chop Wood Carry Water and it’s a business management & self help book. I’m reading it as part of a leadership book club. I usually hate these kind of books, but I’m really enjoying this one; and it’s a really easy read. I’ve copied a number of quotes from this book and the “rough side of the mountain” really resonates with me.
Right now you are saying:
OK, Viktor, this is nice. But what does this have to do with you and Jeannie?
Easy. Jeannie and I have had setbacks along the way. Yet each time we’ve come out the other side even stronger. None of the setbacks were easy; each was part of the journey on the rough side of the mountain for sure. But without them, would we have grown as much as we have in such a short time? I honestly believe that we’ve grown more in the last two years than we’d grown in the previous 20.
This roller coaster ride is not for everyone; that’s for sure. Life itself is already a roller coaster and being open/poly/kinky/etc just exaggerates the entire ride. If you don’t like roller coasters, this exaggeration will leave you keeled over after the ride puking out your guts. If you are that person, I’d advise that you stick with the Lazy River over the Kingda Ka. That’s not only OK, it’s important that you know who you are and what you need!
Right now Jeannie and I are pondering how much Kingda Ka is worth it. Personally, I’m all in. But that’s easy for me to say since she was the one looking for a boyfriend and instead I found a girlfriend. And she’s had other setbacks that are very real and can’t be ignored. We’re not ignoring them, and hopefully things will continue to improve from here.
That said, as my relationship with Justina has become nicely grounded and resembles more of the Lazy River (excepting the kink scenes) than the Kingda Ka, I can honestly say that there’s value in connection. I mean, that statement may seem obvious, but I guess I’m what I’m saying is that there’s value in connection within the complexities of an open marriage. There are risks, too; and we can’t go back from here, we can only move forward.
I embrace the journey ahead. I welcome the challenges. And I especially look forward to my continued growth from climbing the rough side of the mountain. Even when I’d rather skip over the messy and emotional parts that will inevitably come up on this side of the mountain.