Relationship Diversity Podcast

Going Beyond Labels: A Deep Dive into Identity and Diverse Relationships with My Guest, L

October 12, 2023 Carrie Jeroslow Episode 69
Relationship Diversity Podcast
Going Beyond Labels: A Deep Dive into Identity and Diverse Relationships with My Guest, L
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Episode 069:
Lived Experiences Series
Going Beyond Labels: A Deep Dive into Identity and Diverse Relationships with My Guest, L


Picture yourself, an only child growing up in Southern California in the late 80s and 90s, with divorced parents and an evolving understanding of your sexual identity. This is the backdrop to a deeply enlightening conversation with L, an eclectic artist, fitness instructor, intuitive reader, and home decluttering specialist. L opens up about their fascinating journey of non-monogamy, starting from their teenage years, and the unique dynamics of being both bi and pan in their relationships.

We also discuss the less-trodden paths of the LGBTQ+ community's experiences in the early 2000s and draw parallels with the social scrutiny non-monogamous relationships currently confront. L and I unmask the fears and consequences of coming out, challenge the suffocating pressure exerted by heteronormativity, and dissect the tokenization faced by the LGBTQ+ community. 

In the latter part of our discussion, we plunge into the complex world of identity labels and their potential implications. Is it plausible to test different labels like trying on clothes? Can we freeze in the face of infinite label choices? We share our personal experiences and the sense of relief when finding a label that feels right to who we are at any given stage of life. L also shares the idea of a "1 Penis Policy" and how this can be damaging in the consenual non-monogamous structure. 

So, if you're ready for a deep dive into unique relationship dynamics, tune in and stay curious.

This is Relationships Reimagined.

Join us to be a part of a new paradigm of conscious, intentional and diverse relationships.

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Please note: I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, counselor, or social worker. I am not attempting to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any physical, mental, or emotional issue, disease, or condition. The information provided in or through my podcast is not intended to be a substitute for the professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by your own Medical Provider or Mental Health Provider. Always seek the advice of your own Medical Provider and/or Mental Health Provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your specific circumstance.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Welcome to the Relationship Diversity Podcast, where we celebrate, question and explore all aspects of relationship structure diversity, from solaramary to monogamy to polyamory and everything in between, because every relationship is as unique as you are. We'll bust through societal programming to break open and dissect everything we thought we knew about relationships, to ask the challenging but transformational questions who am I and what do I really want in my relationships? I'm your guide, Ker JarislowJe . Bestselling author, speaker, intuitive and coach. Join me as we reimagine all that our most intimate relationships can become.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Today's episode is an offshoot of our conversation series that I'm calling Lived Experiences. In it we hear life stories from the people who live them with the intention of cultivating understanding, empathy and connection. There is such power in storytelling, which can also create an opening for self-reflection and awareness. My guest today is L, an artist who shares their non-monogamous journey, which began in their teenage years. They also talk about the nuances of being by and pan in their relationships. But first a little about them. L is an experienced performing and visual artist, fitness instructor, intuitive reader and home decluttering specialist. Their eclectic interest brings them to unite people through laughter, witty observations and looking at life unconventionally. Let's get into the conversation. Hello everyone and welcome to this episode of Relationship Diversity Podcast. I am so excited for my guest today. L is here to share their story about their life, so that we can understand and learn more about other people, to bring us more together. That's the intention, so L welcome. So much to the podcast.

L:

Hi there, K. It's so exciting to be here. I'm really fired up to talk about a lot of this today.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yes, because we just briefly talked before we hit record. I already feel like I learned so much that is going to be helpful for the people who are listening. So let's jump right into your story. Can you share a little bit about your childhood, where you grew up? What relationship beliefs that you saw around you you took on? And let's start there.

L:

I grew up in the Southern California area, so my childhood was the 80s and early 1990s. My parents got divorced when I was somewhere between six and seven years old and for a divorce situation, I would consider it to be, honestly, one of the more positive situations that I've witnessed. Both my parents made every effort to be present for me, in a lot of different ways. My mom did end up having more primary custody of me most of the time and that was kind of like typical for something that happened at the time and then I would see my dad roughly twice a week or so. He was always there and he actually lived within walking distance in the same neighborhood, so it wasn't like a huge separation or a huge chore to try to visit both of them.

L:

I really, you know, appreciate the attention given to try to create a workable environment of having, you know, multiple parental figures present. My parents actually both happened to be immigrants from Romania, but I feel that, much like many immigrants of the time did, they found themselves kind of assimilated into what I saw a lot of my parents doing at the time through the 80s and early 90s, which was they were together for one or a few kids at a time and then a lot of the marriages did not necessarily work out. I'm just speaking honestly to what I feel that I witnessed during that time period, it feels like that was a pretty typical experience.

Carrie Jeroslow:

That was my experience. So I grew up in the 70s and 80s but, yeah, I went through that and saw that happen a lot in the 80s.

L:

Yeah, I feel like that's very relatable to like ex-exennial, older millennial folks, because I kind of fall into that exennial category. So that's pretty much what I witnessed. But, yeah, both my parents, you know, made an effort to be present and celebrate what was going on with me. I didn't grow up with any siblings and I was in a relatively unique situation as far as, like, most of the family members that I had contact with throughout my childhood were largely people who were much, much older than me. They were in my mom or grandparent generation and my dad's side of the family largely stayed in Romania. They didn't immigrate.

L:

That was kind of what I was used to as far as my childhood, and there was some point in time, kind of like in the tween years, when I could tell that my parents were making a bigger effort to socialize me with more people my age and sometimes it went really well, sometimes it went horribly. I don't know if that's like a common only child experience. I did end up having like a good handful of friends, but I ended up sort of being the type of person who usually have a handful of strong, close friends, and then that was kind of it. And then there were sort of the more adult figures in my life.

Carrie Jeroslow:

So what were your relationships like early on in your childhood, teenage years, tween years and beyond?

L:

Starting in like the tween years, I remember having crushes on people and stuff like that. My mom was fairly strict about not really allowing any serious dating situations until junior senior year of high school, so I was like maybe 16-ish. I wasn't terribly interested in much of anything before that time and when I was about 16, there was a guy in my life who was pretty clearly attracted to me and for probably a good two or three years, spanning into my like our post high school, post graduation era, we kind of did this dance of sort of being kind of flirty but also like platonic besties and things like that, and I knew that. I was aware that he was attracted to me, but I felt weird because I didn't experience the same intensity that he was reflecting towards me. So ultimately we didn't really end up having anything substantial.

L:

But there were a lot of situations where I was either interested in a friend of his or kind of like starting to date somebody who was a friend of his and he was there and I don't know. It's just one of those like I guess today it would be called a situation ship. It was a very like passionate friendship and because I'm I also consider myself to be like roughly somewhere on the asexuality spectrum. It was definitely some kind of a relationship, it's just. It doesn't seem to fit the traditional box of anything I can really describe.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Which I love. I mean, that's exactly what I talk about is, a lot of times we question what the relationship is because we are shown that you know these boxes, that if they don't fit in, then do they mean? Something you know can get very confusing. Which is my intention with this whole podcast is to just break open these definitions that hold us in these judgments of how we are relating and allow it to just be what it is that you had this experience with this person. That was its own thing, but it was. It sounds to me like there was significance to it.

L:

Agreed, yeah, and particularly at that age, like there's a lot of heteronormative scripts that are in circulation and there's a lot of monogamy normative script. You know, especially at the time, at the time which would have been towards the late 90s into the very early 2000s, that's really like the very beginning of when a lot of us started to pull apart some of those ideas, only in a very like introductory kind of way. You know, in more of like a publicly aware way, I guess, because it went parallel to the popularity of the internet. So there are so many like monogamy scripts and gender scripts and gender baggage that circulates around at that time, which is really interesting too because, like, looking back now, you know, identifying as an agender person, I feel that I was raised barely towards in an agender like not super gender baggage way.

L:

I was taught like here are possibilities of interests and things you can do. For the most part, you like what you like, if drawn to, like designing fashion for your paper dolls, which was a thing I was into for a while because actually, like one of my babysitters when I was really young was going to a fashion institute and she made all of these extra designs for my paper dolls and I thought they were just the most amazing creative thing. That's an option. Like, I was given a lot of science, educational toys and given extra tutoring. You know, obviously this comes from more privilege available to me at the time but given extra tutoring and math just because my mom wanted to be ahead with that. There was not as much gender baggage as far as interests being policed and I'm grateful for that. But that is to say that there were still a lot of social scripts in play.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I can see where that might create a little tension, right, because you're not getting that at home. You're getting just kind of the expansiveness of be you let's help develop whoever you are going to be. But then the tension between what we see in society of this binary way and mononormative you know, this is just. You know, let's ride the relationship escalator up to you know wherever we think we're supposed to be. So interesting tension between it. I'm wondering when you started to open up, if you remember the time, specifically about non-monogamy, about being aware that maybe that was more truthful to the experience, to who you were, and you said that you felt that almost back in your teenage years. Do you remember that experience?

L:

Yeah, so probably like the early winter of the cusp of 1999 to 2000. Like I said, I had that one close friend who we kind of did this back and forth dance for a while, and then he had a really good friend and that person and I related to each other on a lot of different levels and we resonated in some ways that that friend and I didn't resonate in the same way. And then there were also kind of like things that all three of us shared in common. So during that time period there was clearly some type of effort that I perceived of both of them trying to catch my romantic interest in some way, and for me the best word I have to describe that now was that we were some kind of polycule.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah.

L:

And I almost wanted to say triad, because they had a pretty.

L:

The two of them had a pretty close existing friendship previous to me becoming close to them and I can't speak either way to the extent of that. I can't vouch for whether or not there may have been some romantic feelings or queer feelings TM, and I'm not aware of the fullness of their connection and emotionality between them. So I personally consider and I don't know 100% because I'm not super in touch with either of these people anymore, but I don't know 100% whether they would be on board with us but I kind of mentally considered that to be the first polyamorous or consensually nonmonogamous situation I was in. And it's interesting because it's pretty shortly there, after probably like after I graduated college in the mid 2000s, that I more stuff on the internet was available to us and I really started learning more about polyamorous or consensually nonmonogamous relationships in detail and that's when I really started resonating with yeah, I think this is probably me, but it's funny because I was in the middle of the year I would talk to and maybe some of your listeners will relate to this.

L:

But during that time span, like my late teen years to coming into like my early and mid twenties I would talk to people older than me about just processing how I felt about all that and they'd be like, oh, that's just dating, that's how dating works. That's how dating works before you get into a relationship. Interestingly enough, in the LGBTQ plus oriented community and at the time I was kind of more connected to queer men that was very much how that community still functioned at the time. It tended often towards a lot of partying and promiscuity until you got locked down into your one serious relationship.

Carrie Jeroslow:

So interesting the words you used. Locked down, yeah.

L:

Yeah, Locked into locked into yeah but yeah and that's not to say that there wasn't other stuff going on beneath the surface, and certainly in this day and age, in the LGBTQ plus community, things have relaxed quite a bit. But it's important to remind your listeners who might not be familiar with this the LGBTQ community at that time, early 2000s, was still very scrutinized from the outside. There was still a lot of policing from the outside in some ways, a lot of tokenization, a lot of heteronormative pressure. That was stuff that I'll say our community was working through.

Carrie Jeroslow:

It seems to me that this relationship, diversity or diverse relationships is following in the footsteps of the LGBTQ plus community in terms of social scrutiny, pressure, the fear of coming out. I'm seeing similarities between the two. When you just expressed what that was like for you in the early 2000s, it seems almost like that is what the path of relationship diversity, polyamory, consensual nominogamy, swinging all of that BDSM, kink it's all kind of going through that pathway into hopefully the light, hopefully the acceptance. Do you find that at all?

L:

Agreed. I want to remind your listeners I'm sure you're aware of this, but I want to remind your listeners, depending on your time and place in the universe, an out or open, consensually non-monogamous or kink relationship is still of the nature to this day that it can still cost you your job and it can still cost you social clout or social connections and it can still cost you your safety and well-being. In fact, interestingly enough, a friend of mine who happens to be a trans woman YouTuber her name is Kat Black at some point on her channel she kind of hosted a back and forth respectful discussion about whether her listeners thought that polyamorous identities open out. Polyamorous identities really count under the LGBTQ plus banner. Should they count, basically, even if they are largely, let's say, hetero-presenting? It seemed to me that the consensus from her listeners was yes, because folks have known peers who have had their employment situations threatened, who have been doxxed and outed, who live in small towns and could experience violence or have, who are still in a position where they're barred from doing public facing work because of who they are.

L:

It's interesting because my personal opinions on that particular topic they've shifted. I used to be towards no if you're not seeing holding hands or kissing or being intimate with the same gender person in public and you don't have to get flack about that on a daily basis. You pass and you're good. Your life is probably mostly comfortable. My viewpoint on that well, especially unfortunately in this day and age with all of this anti-everything legislation here in the US where you and I are located, my viewpoint on that, over probably roughly the past five to seven years, has shifted hugely, because I feel that we're back at that place of fear and phobia where, yeah, folks who fall under that banner and want to live openly can lose their job.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yes, it is scary. In fact, I interviewed a while ago my friend, annie Henderson, who is a coming out coach. She calls herself a later in life lesbian and she helps people come out. We talked about the similarities of coming out in your gender, sexual orientation or relationship structure and that there are similarities and judgments on all of them.

L:

In fact, I just want to say openly to your listeners the reason why I'm pretty much only going by my first name. Yes, I actually go by the letter of my first name, but the reason why I'm only going by my first name on this podcast is I'm largely out about a lot of my identities but I'm not out about being polyamorous. To my family members that has actually been the last place in my pretty obviously queer identity to a lot of the people in my life right now where I have had to keep some of that to myself.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, and that's okay. I think that in this world of social media and everyone shares their life, that there's this feeling like I just need to share my life with everyone. It is okay to keep parts of our life to ourselves until we're ready, when we may never be. We may just keep parts of ourselves. I think, really naturally, most of us do keep parts of ourselves. We want to feel safe. It's from a place of safety feeling safe. Thank you for being here to talk about nonmonogamy and your consensual, nonmonogamous life and the courage that it takes to do that. Can you go into a little bit about your current relationship structure?

L:

Sure, currently I live with what in the community we often call a nesting partner. I also refer to them as my primary partner because we do, to some extent, practice relationship hierarchy. I feel that sometimes there's a little bit of a look down the nose in the polyam community when it comes to relationship hierarchy, but that is simply the structure and level of prioritization of each other that is working best for us at this moment in time. I don't feel that it has been something that has been patriarchally forced on me. I don't feel like it's something that lacked a mutual conversation to decide on it. It's simply what works best for us right now.

L:

I do have an additional partner. I even tend with them not to refer to them as my secondary partner because I feel a little bit of weird about it. I usually just call them my other partner because most people in my life are used to hearing me refer to my nesting partner, so when I'm not all specify their name here my other partner who I don't, or my other partner who I don't live with and I have actually known them as a friend for, yeah, 20 years now.

L:

We've known each other for 20 years and really only kind of like enhanced and added to our relationship two to three years ago now. And I have had other partners, while with my current nesting slash primary partner.

Carrie Jeroslow:

And how long have you been with your nesting partner?

L:

We are coming up on five years together. We have lived together for two years and that was like that was a huge, huge, huge, huge step, because I am the type of person actually previous to them I had not full time lived with a romantic partner ever, ever, ever. That was always like sacred territory for me and even up through like a lot of my 30s, I would scream to the high heavens that if for when I found myself in a long-term situation separate rooms, separate places to live, separate whatever and I was very resistant and mildly panicky, as I can tend to be, about this topic, and I can actually say that nesting with my partner has improved my mental health, so it was a pleasant surprise.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, absolutely, and I talk about all the time in this podcast that we go through different chapters of our lives and different relationship structures tend to just be what we're ready for in that moment and being aware of where you are and the story of your life and how different structures can support that.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Because the way you talk about always having loved living on your own I call that solo amary is that we choose that the most important relationship is going to be the one with myself, and maybe it's in certain areas, maybe it's just in my living space, maybe it's in finances and actually being able to kind of pick apart what's important and to me to maintain, because I live with my husband and my children and I have another partner and at the same time I have to have time on my own.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Like, I have to have time on my own or else I get very frazzled, my stress level goes up and my mental health dips way far down If I don't have time on my own to just process, be quiet, breathe, meditate, whatever it is, go for a walk, whatever it is. So that's really helped me to know that about myself so that I can bring those aspects of what I call solo amary into my everyday life and so I'm curious, you talked about in our kind of initial conversation a little bit about the nuances of you said, being bi or pan in your primary relationships. How does that work out so that you feel that your identity and who you are can really be honored while being in your relationships?

L:

Oh yeah. So this is an interesting topic, not only on a personal level but I think, on like a generic social kind of level, because there can be a lot of push pull here and a lot of interesting things going on. Fortunately, in my past the more serious or more physical or sexual connections that I've had with them forward partners or women identifying partners at the time I identified more femme forward than I do now. Like I said, now I am a they, them and actually now one of my real. I consider one of my relationship identities in a very queer, fluid way to resonate with identifying as a gay man A lot of the time, even though I don't gender like solo gender wise, identify as trans masculine largely, I just feel like I have gay man relationships. It's hard to explain, it's just me, I don't know. I can't really like super get into it.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I think I understand that though.

L:

So that's like one aspect of me, or a gay or queer man. You could say I'd expand it out a little bit with the language we have these days. Yeah, so a lot of the dating and exploring I did with more femme forward partners in my past was often within the confines of having another male or masculine forward. I don't want to say male, I want to say masculine forward or man identifying partner specifically, both cis, man identifying specifically. I want to be specific about this because some people say male and female can be actually non specific at this point and that you know a lot of the exploring and some of the dating I did was within when I was already in another relationship with a man identifying person, but not 100%, but probably the more intense situations are, the more physical or sexual situations happened within these contexts.

L:

But on a social level I have found myself struggling more to relate to them forward women forward individuals when it came to really making something longer term work. And I think partially some of that was due to circumstances, some of that was due to just life circumstances at the time. Some of that was due to, I think, me not realizing at the time that I'd actually had very queer platonic connections, with a lot of the thumb forward and women identifying people in my life. But I just again it was another one of those things that I didn't overthink through because I was just organically being myself in a lot of situations. So I've definitely been in queer, platonic dating situation-ish things or like heavy crushes that never got particularly physical Because, like I said, I figured out later this is part of me being towards the A spectrum as well and I was in some situations that got more physical and somewhat longer term it really depended.

L:

So this was kind of like me being me from the inside out and also I think it's worth saying that who's been interested in me has a really ebbed and flowed in some odd and unpredictable ways Towards, basically 35, between when I was 35 and 38, 39, I was physically presenting a little more thumb forward at the time and I noticed a lot more women and queer people women of all kinds, cis and trans and queer people kind of attracted to me or interested or getting flirty. Now, kind of like over the cusp of 40, just for I think, based on what general populations are doing, I'm encountering fewer women and queer gender, marginalized people, interested and then just kind of this surplus of masculine forward people again who are?

L:

like, hey, you want a date, you want a date. I think I'm a little saturated on masculine forward people right now, so it's interesting that things have kind of made their circle back to that.

Carrie Jeroslow:

It's interesting to hear about just the fluidity, with the groundedness being that you are in touch with you. You're in touch with your ever-evolving self, as I think we're all evolving and growing and shifting, just with circumstantial and things going on in our lives and what we're learning. And just what really hit me was this was you saying that it was me from the inside out? Because I think sometimes labels are helpful to help us find community, but they also sometimes, for me, just really confuse me in terms of I try to it, try to make it mental and intellectual, and it takes me away from my heart and who I just am in this moment. So I'm interested to hear what your thoughts are on labels and on just the vast amount of labels that, understandably, people want to understand themselves and so and we have language, and so language is a way for us to understand us, connect with others, communicate who we are with other people. What is your perception on labels where they're good, where they can be maybe not so good, damaging, hurtful work against us?

L:

Yeah, I really appreciate that you bring that up because and I'm going to try my best to tread carefully here and kind of reach for the terms that I best approximate some of the concepts you're trying to touch on here, but some of them might have baggage on the terms that I don't personally agree with. So I'm going to give that disclaimer. But I think that sometimes identity labels can become this strange kind of over intellectualized obstacle that stands between just us being ourselves in our organic personhood and going out and doing the thing. I think it's almost in some ways too because I think it's important to be critical of this it's become aligned almost with something of a consumer identity of like, and now we have this giant selection of terms on the grocery store shelves and oh, which flavors look good today. It almost is the paralysis of infinite choice and at the same time because maybe we need to hold a little bit of tension here a little bit of a paradox here. I think that, because I experienced this, to find a word for a way that you've always felt about yourself can be such a relief, it can be such a magical alchemy of holy shit I just stepped into like a whole new level of realization about my personal humanity. We don't have to be super attached to label. We can kind of try them on as clothes and I know that's like the aspect of it that seems to really piss off conservatives, but it's like who does that hurt? Who does that hurt if you're like out in the world figuring out who you are, you know? Sure, some mistakes might be made along the way, but some mistakes are made along the way because we're humans. That's going to happen regardless of how you identify, because we all affect our environment and the stuff around us and we are all going to do harm at some point as well and we're all going to have the opportunity to do some good and make some positive change as well. So I don't think there's anything to judge about wanting to try on some of these labels or being kind of label fluid.

L:

The hot thing back in my era, especially like 90s into the 2000s, was oh, I don't do labels, you know, and like, in particular.

L:

It's kind of funny because in particular it was almost always the more fluid people, gender fluid, towards the five hand people I knew who are always like yeah, I don't really dive with labels. And part of that, I think was because if you ever wanted to like you know, like I said earlier in this podcast declare your affiliation with a historically marginalized community, it was a huge step and it can put you at risk. And then sometimes the people from the marginalized community want your accountability to them. They would kind of sometimes demand oh you need to be ready to come out, like you need to be willing to lose your job, blah, blah, blah, and like that's not right for everybody's personal situation and other intersections, that's not right for everybody's culture of origin or like religious ways in which they might be at risk. So I think there's more intelligence and nuance with which we move around topics like that now, as far as like within both the LGBTQ plus and relationship diversity communities and the quite big Venn diagram between the two of them.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I want to say I really appreciate what you said about finding a label and feeling a huge sense of relief. I have experienced that this is so not having to do with relationship diversity, but I experienced that when I learned about empaths, because I didn't understand that part of myself that could feel another person's feelings, that took on other people's sadnesses and hurts and anger. I didn't understand that, and when I realized, oh, there's this word called empath and oh, I think that's what I am, I was able to learn tools to then live my life more fully without taking on everyone's stuff, and so I really do appreciate that perspective. I think that, just like almost everything in life, there is a balancing right. There's taking the good for it and leaving what doesn't work and finding those areas for you which is going to be different than those areas for me, which is going to be different than those areas for someone else.

L:

You know, like I said earlier in this podcast, there are factors that can both push from the outside in and kind of exist from the inside out when you are an LGBTQ plus person pursuing queer relationships and also a non-traditional relationship structure or consensual nonmonogamy. So I talked about my experiences with my choices, dating gender marginalized people and how that was still mostly the umbrella of being connected to a primary, more masculine forward partner or cis man aligning partner and, yeah, it's important to bring up this concept. There is a term in the polyam community of quote unquote one penis policy and this is something that was quite prevalent in my 20s up to my early 30s so kind of like mid 2000s up to the early 2010s within the community, which was essentially that an agreement would happen in a relationship where the parties in the relationship could date as many femme forward, woman forward or AFAB people that they wanted to, or it was a more open type of situation with that, but in particular it would tend to fall to the gender marginalized partner that they could only be limited to the man I usually cis man identifying, because this is how it typically happens usually cis man identifying primary partner. This is a scenario that was extremely common, as I said in my earlier days of relationship having and polyam, and it's something that's finally kind of come under criticism over the past five to seven years. It's a tricky one because I never went to begrudge any humans like any relationship structures that organically work for them, but it has been questioned as something that has a lot of patriarchal baggage.

L:

I'll probably talk more about this, but later into middle age my personal situation of people who have presented themselves to me as wanting to date have largely been more masculine, forward AMAB or cis man identified individuals. So in my experience there's been a surplus of those people wanting to date me and so something like a quote, unquote, one penis policy situation would not even make practical sense and some people use kind of the rationale that. Well, they use a lot of different rationales. I'm not really going to get into it, but yeah, it's something that's been questioned as maybe we should pull some of the patriarchal baggage apart from this type of scenario and that also hooked into the concept of the term biphobia or panphobia, and again, these are concepts that luckily a lot of progressive society is progressing away from and choosing against and I appreciate that.

L:

But yeah, biphobia slash, bi-erasure, which is essentially that, largely in the bi-erpan community, we often do not end up either long term or as spouses with a same gender partner, just because either it's an aspect of us that we feel has been called to be erased, based on various situations, whether it's the queer community saying no, you have to pick one, which, luckily, is becoming less acceptable, or whether it's just really strict, like heteronormous normative scripts that dominate our life for safety reasons, which that's an authentic concern. Yeah, prioritizing our well-being is an authentic concern. So that is something that can manifest in, basically, us choosing to be with an opposite gender partner or landing in hetero, presenting primary or spousal relationships because of some of the social baggage around it. So I wanted to bring that up too, because that is a very real struggle and navigation for those of us who identify as bi-erpan which, yes, that's me, yes, that is somewhat relevant to my situation as far as the kind of hetero present, like barely hetero presenting.

L:

I don't know. Other people don't perceive me how I perceive myself but, yeah, so it's relevant to my personal situation and it's something that can come up a lot in the non-monogamy community, just because of our social programming and also because of patriarchy.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah.

L:

So I wanted to take a moment to bring that up on this show today and maybe it's something that your listeners want to look into. I think it's important that we check ourselves on that and be mindful of those habits.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Definitely. Just a question about the one penis policy. I know that we talk about that being the patriarchy and the man wanting to feel like the man of the relationship. In other words, there's a lot of woundiness under that request, which I do also see starting to fluidly move maybe not move out but move. But it is really important, especially for people going into a polyamorous or just exploring consensual non-monogamy, that there is a sense of people feeling like they can be themselves as much as possible fully in their choices of who they might have other experiences with, other relationships, with other partnerships with.

L:

Absolutely. And that also brings up the important topic of I guess the best term to describe it might be kind of like the non-monogamous rug pole. I've been in this situation multiple times very early 20s when I was dealing with a lot of masculine forward people who were pretty new to relationships, hadn't done a lot of psychological work and stuff like that. But it can be quite common for even consensual non-monogamy to be discussed at the very beginning of a dating situation or a relationship and then, when things get a little hotter and heavier, or perhaps things get a little more physical or sexual, sometimes the tune changes as far as what one or both may want. So I think it is really important to not only remember that relationship renegotiation can and does happen at so many different stages, but also that it's important to know our relative hard limits and not I guess that's a term from like the kink community, but like hard limits and non-negotiables even when it comes to relationship standards. And I think it's okay to give compromise based successions for somebody we feel really strongly about.

L:

But there's a gray area where it's like okay, let's play with this because I don't feel gross about it. And then there's like and now I actually kind of betrayed myself. Yes, yes so yeah, it's about like discerning between those types of situations also.

Carrie Jeroslow:

And I think, when it gets confusing for because sometimes when you're in the midst of it and you're trying to figure everything out, that having some kind of non-monogamous coach to help you kind of sift through everything can be really helpful- Agreed or a non-monogamy sympathetic or LGBTQ plus sympathetic.

L:

You know, mental health professional or something like that.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I want to end with this question. For 15 years in the future and you're living in a world that you really love, that feels really good, nourishing, connective. What does that look like from your perspective in terms of your relationships, your identity?

L:

I would probably say more of the same in a continued positive direction. So that doesn't necessarily mean me being in a larger number of relationships. I have found that this is a popular term in the community, but I can get highly saturated, especially when you're like towards middle age, juggling more than three partners. Some people can do it, it's a lot, and I don't have kids and my partners don't tend to be people with kids. But just life be, life in it's going to do that to you.

L:

So still, I think, being grounded in that openness and expansiveness and priority of honest and immediate and compassionate communication, regardless of what the relationship or dating situation is.

L:

Also, you know, a huge priority for me at this time in my life is acknowledgement of my queer, romantic and gender identity, because I do sometimes encounter people who clearly have an attraction to me, but they can only see me the way they want to see me. They cannot witness me in my fullness and those people are obvious to me very quickly and that is absolutely a relationship field breaker. And I've been open to folks either with issues like that or other problematic issues, growing and changing and opening the door, perhaps later and giving them chances, but being realized in the fullness of who my gender and sexuality is will be an ongoing priority and also being realized as a creative person and an artist. I don't see that changing for me in the near future, to at least some level. So if I get together with a person and they're like, ok, we're finding you a corporate job or something ridiculous like that, or just being exceedingly controlling or that, that's obviously not going to fly.

Carrie Jeroslow:

So right and I love that, because in the podcast I say know yourself to know what you want. When you know yourself better than anyone else, then you have those barometers to say, wow, that person wants me to take a corporate job. That's not going to happen. And then there, for this relationship is not going to work for me being in relationship with this person If they don't understand that a part of me, that I am an artist. You know that. That is how I identify and that is important to me. So know yourself to know what you want and I feel like you are a living example of that. So thank you, Thank you and thank you again so much for sharing everything on this podcast. I'm really grateful for your openness to share your story. So thank you, Al.

L:

You're very welcome and I love being here because this gave me an opportunity to actually talk about a part of my life that I don't get to talk to people about in detail. A lot of the time it's been a little less forward and a little more kept closer to my chest, so it's it's really cool to do this, thank you.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Oh, awesome. Thank you so much. Thanks so much for listening to the Relationship Diversity podcast. Want to learn more about relationship diversity? I've got a free guide I'd love to send you. Go to wwwrelationshipdiversitypodcastcom to get your sent right to you. If you liked what you heard, please subscribe to the podcast. You being here and participating in the conversation about relationship diversity is what helps us create a space of inclusivity and acceptance together. The more comfortable and normal it is to acknowledge the vast and varied relating we all do, the faster we'll shift to a paradigm of conscious, intentional and diverse relationships. New episodes are released every Thursday. Stay connected with me through my website, carriejeroslowcom, Instagram or TikTok. Stay curious. Every relationship is as unique as you are.

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