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We're turning the frickin frogs gay

Updated: Jul 20, 2023


I'd say this will end up making more sense, but honestly it probably won't so just enjoy the moment.


October 2019, Spokane


When I turned 25, I was out with a friend for my birthday. I ended up crying (basically sober, which made it more embarrassing) about how I was never going to find anyone. I was avidly against dating apps because of all the horror stories I’d heard, I was in an unhealthy relationship with my groomer, and I had just come off a string of bad flings that just left me burned out and cynical. Then three days later I started talking to my wife and we hit it off quickly. But when I went into the relationship, I was up front about what I wanted.


I didn’t have a timeline for getting married. Every woman in my family lineage had been married at 23, so my clock had already “run out” so to speak. But because my expectations were on the floor, I knew I wanted to get married within a "reasonable number of years" of being in a relationship. I was paranoid about getting into a similar dynamic I had with the older man who strung me along for so long, so very early into the pre-relationship with my wife, where if I didn't pin them down, they'd never commit to me (super healthy, right? Love that for me. Don't find a different person, you have to force it). On top of that, my sister's ex-husband didn't want to commit to her until she nagged him into marrying her. I laid all my cards on the table. I wanted to get married, and I didn’t want kids. The way I figured, anyone who was going to be weird to me about being up front in this way was not going to work out with me anyway, and it would save us both a lot of time and heartache.


By the time Christmas rolled around that year, my mom took me out to find me an outfit for Christmas Mass, as we did every year. Before we even made it out of the neighborhood, my mom came in like a wrecking ball with the news that my sister and brother-in-law were probably getting divorced. This year was supposed to be special. I’d found the person I was pretty sure was my forever person, she was going to meet my family, I was genuinely excited for her to have context for my weird idiosyncrasies. But honestly I couldn't be surprised; this wasn’t new behavior. I had to ask my mom to warn my sister not to make any grand announcements at my grad party back in May that year. She apparently agreed, but still, that night my sister ordered everyone except me a drink while I was in the bathroom and when I got back, she yelled across the bar “We’re all in a club and you’re not. You don’t have a greyhound; you can’t sit with us”. I had to get my own drink. At a party I organized. For me. Because I, the graduate, graduated college (finally) after a changed major, university transfer, and rape survival trauma. Flash forward to Christmastide and I couldn’t really be surprised that the one time I cared about being at home for a holiday and had someone I really wanted them to all spend time with and get to know would have the focus shifted literally anywhere else.


Once it became apparent to me and my wife that my family was officially a bust, we decided we didn’t have much to lose visiting her family. We planned a visit over New Year’s to visit her family in Colorado and go to an event for one of her sisters and her husband. Through a series of events that are equally comical and infuriating, we learned my wife’s family was also going to be a bust. So, over a bottle of champagne, my wife and I rang in the new year, talking about anything and everything. By this point, three months into dating, we both knew we wanted to be married to each other. The problem is that the duration of our entire relationship to that point had been spent in situations where we got to watch the married couples in our families of origin behave with the strangest senses of misery and resentment towards each other. We had terrible marriage role models from each of our respective parents, and our siblings largely had the same collection of problems, they were just in earlier points of their marriage.


I’d never been skittish about the thought of getting married. I guess I never really thought about it too closely, but by the time we sat down that New Year’s Eve to talk about us, our relationship, what we wanted from the future, I realized how terrified I was of the whole thing. What if we ended up miserable? What if we ended up hating each other? What if we fell into the same behavior traps that our families fell into? I didn’t have answers, and I hated that, for both of us.


How was I supposed to get married if I had no idea what a good marriage looked like?


That NYE profoundly changed my relationship with my now-wife, because we got an up close and personal look at how bad things can get when you don’t unpack your own trauma, and understand your parents’ trauma. So, by 3AM on January 1, 2020, we had decided that we were going to revisit the conversation in a year, and then again the year after that, as many times as we needed to before tying the knot.


What I didn’t know is that there would be impending quarantine orders, and that my wife and I would end up quarantining together, which is currently still ongoing given that we work from home.


As a side note, whenever I tell people that she and I had been together for roughly five months when the stay-at-home orders came through, they’re always pretty shocked and they ask me how that went. And it’s not like it’s a stupid question or anything, many couples were forced together in that close of quarters and they realized they needed to separate. But the thing is, the opposite happened for me and my wife. We had the time of our lives. We’d been informally living together since November or so (we were Uhaul gays before we realized we were gay). And while five months is still a short timeline, it's not exactly accurate at telling the story. It's missing the context of how well we knew each other by that point. Because I realize how absolutely batshit crazy it sounds to say “We knew we wanted to get married after three months”, I never really lead with that. My wife and I became a great team in that quarantine. We lived a thousand lifetimes. We experienced mutual and individual fear for health, finances, and job security reasons, I came out as trans and we navigated the familial impacts of that, and we learned all the small joyful things about each other. By this point, in 2023, I know my wife inside and out, and visa-versa. We still have snags every now and then, but we have the knowledge and history of extended close-quartered living to help navigate them in a healthy and honest way.


By July 2020, we moved to Seattle. With everything we’d seen that year, and then the previous four years on top of that, we knew that whatever we were saving in rent money by continuing to live in Spokane, we’d be paying back in our mental health. Moving to Seattle allowed us to settle into ourselves, as well as our relationship, given that our respective relationships with our families of origin were on the fritz. So by the following January, after growing as people, and being very strong sources of love and strength for each other, I realized there was no longer any sense in waiting a certain amount of years to get married. We had been through months of living together not able to leave the house, ongoing family trauma from both of us, financial uncertainty, the most stressful political season of either of our lives, and a god damn insurrection. So on January 31, 2021, we were walking home from running errands (no parking in Seattle baybeeeeee yeah), and I said “Hey…what if we invited some friends and family to come hang out and then we surprised them by getting married”. The idea was funny, but we both realized we didn’t want people to feel like they were underdressed for a wedding. So instead, we surprised ten of our good friends/family with an engagement, and then surprised our family members who weren’t in attendance with pictures on the day of our wedding. (side note: the day we got married was also the day my sister-in-law launched a business, unbeknownst to the whole family. She did not wish us well. It still makes me laugh that we accidentally stole her thunder).


July 24th, 2021, Home, WA


We were married at a beachfront Victorian home that looked haunted as shit, and was twice as beautiful. A vaccine hadn’t been released when we started planning the elopement, so we exercised an abundance of caution and we had twelve people, including us, our officiant and photographer, who were also in our circle of loved ones, as well as eight of our loved ones. The day was lovely and relaxed, and so full of weird antics and laughter. I love thinking about my wedding. Four years on, and it’s still one of my favorite days. But most importantly: It was not, and will never be, the best day of my life or my marriage.


Because while we were unpacking all of the bullshit we were worried about when it comes to marriage, we realized that most of it boiled down to things that didn't even pertain to us. General compatibility, gender roles, resentment over not leading the life you thought you'd be leading, and a lack of communication. When we sat down to look at the marriages we saw fall apart, we realized they were falling into repeated traps of behaviors they felt they or their spouse needed to take part in. All of the miserable couples we knew intimately had massive amounts of resentment for each other because they didn’t communicate openly and honestly with each other about what they needed, often times because they didn’t know themselves what they needed. They had unfulfilled expectations for themselves, their partner, and the life they thought they’d have by that point. They didn’t know how to handle it or fix it so they turned against each other.


So, by the time I married my wife, surrounded by the love of our chosen family, I knew we were going to be just fine, because we had already worked to undo so many impositions and expectations everyone else put on us that we were supposed to fulfill and didn’t. We weren’t supposed to live together before getting married. We weren’t supposed to be trans. We weren’t supposed to be a team, because we were supposed to subscribe to heteronormative ideas about marriage, love, and life. And let me just tell you, those ideas are stupid and boring.


So last January when we learned one of our loved ones and their partner had an open relationship, it didn’t really surprise me when we both talked about it. I was doing that whole “it’s just interesting, I hadn’t heard anything about it before” while secretly having a similar reaction to learning that I’m nonbinary. Deep down I knew it was what I wanted and needed, but the surface didn’t want to rock the boat or make waves in my marriage. But later that year, a couple of our chosen family members who did not know each other came out to us on separate occasions as polyamorous, and we discussed it again each time, this time with more of a pondering of “What would that look like for us?”, still not having any logistical conversations. Most recently, I admitted that I could really see us being polyamorous and having it work out well, but that I just felt so emotionally tapped out. And at the time, that was absolutely my reality. I was finally realizing I’d been groomed by a family friend, and consequently began the process of separating from my family of origin. There was a lot of emotional upheaval, and I already was not being the best partner to my wife (she would never agree with you but its true). I can't imagine how much worse I would have been as a partner to multiple people. But it surprised me when a month later, when, within a week of each other, a couple we are very close to came out to us as polyamorous, and then my and my wife’s hair stylist casually asked me “You’re non-monogamous, right?”. The question itself surprised me less than the way it was posed.


There was a default assumption to someone else that my wife and I are non-monogamous. I didn’t mind that was the assumption, far from it. Some of the best, most self-actualized people I know are polyamorous. The seemingly universal thread among all of them is the fact that they’re happy in their relationships. Married or not, no matter how long they’ve been with their partner, they’re happy and they make each other happy. It kind of hit me all at once that my wife and I have been practicing the principals of polyamory and relationship anarchy for our entire relationship, we just didn’t pursue relationships with other people.


My wife and I have always had a relationship with each other where we could comfortably point out when someone was attractive, or pat each other on the back if we got hit on. It always felt like we were best friends in those moments. Sitting in a bar, watching your friend hit it off with someone, hoping the best for them. I loved the feeling; so supportive and fun. And with our relationship forming at the time that it did, with how much chaos and trauma surrounded us, we had to become partners for each other in a very big and very supportive way before we ever got to build that casual friendship I love having in relationships. It was honestly so wonderful, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but at present, our life has calmed down significantly. We aren’t the same people we were when we married each other much less when we met. At present, we don't have as immediate of a need to really show up and lift the other up. That’s a good thing, and for us, polyamory has helped us learn how to support each other as friends and have fun with each other like our life is just a constant sleepover from when we were kids. This only increased when Lily started transitioning. Suddenly, I had a spouse who was a total smoke show in new and very exciting ways (she’s always been hella cute) and her self-confidence, and self-esteem skyrocketed once she started living as herself and realizing who she is. At the very start of the transition, I was very nervous, because I wasn’t sure if both of us were going to grow into people who weren’t compatible anymore, but the opposite has happened. I feel so much more capable of supporting my wife, and I feel more comfortable that she knows how to support me.


Once my wife got her legs under her a bit more and started feeling more comfortable and confident, people started taking note of how gorgeous, and magnetic she is. I have multiple queer platonic relationships that have been undefined and fluid in nature for a very long time now. Eventually it reached a point where it made more sense for us to become polyamorous than continue to limit relationships just because we’d been monogamous all this time. When it comes down to it, we hadn’t ever chosen monogamy; it was just the default and the only thing we knew.


July 2023, Olympia


So, we’ve been polyamorous for just over a month now. In the words of my wife, “we’ve felt more comfortable with each other than past months. And I think the experience of figuring out polyamory together has helped us communicate better too”. We are having the time of our lives and it has been oddly healing for both of us in different ways. We’ve both been able to be comfortable in the fact that she and I do not complete each other in every way. We have a lot of overlap, and we have built a beautiful relationship with childlike wonder and silliness. But at the same time, both of us are growing as individuals into people that are a far departure from who we were when we met. We basically became so gay we circled around to heteronormative again. It has been beyond relieving to me to know that any gaps in our relationship can be filled for each of us without having to burn ourselves out halfway filling the holes. We have a better relationship now that we’ve taken all the pressure off ourselves to perform in any certain way. We’re able to have the same silly, childlike, and whimsical relationship we’ve always had, and we get to have more relationships with other people that are completely unique and independent of the one we have. We can more deeply explore ourselves because we’re able to have relationships we’ve never had before or allowed ourselves to have before.


Enter Jackfruit. My wonderful and lovely bumble gremlin. We’re dating, but we don’t have the immediate need to describe ourselves as partners. Because of that, we have been creating so much joy out of describing each other as whatever thing comes to mind. ‘2007 Kia Sorrento’, ‘Little Pecan’, ‘Medium sized can of black olives’ (Though it should be noted that this one was theirs, and they didn’t hyphenate between “medium” and “sized” which is the grammatically correct way to do that, but whatever). There are also some sweeter ones too. The 18-year-old bro inside me is livid about how fucking much I love mushy lovey dovey shit. I live for it. I put in time watching early 2000’s rom coms, I’m gonna fuckin use it. Naturally, I was really surprised when “Jackfruit” was the first thing that popped into my head the day we had this labels conversation. When I looked into it though, it felt very fitting for them. The flavors, consistency, and health benefits mean that Jackfruit would be nonbinary if it was a person, and my jackfruit is nonbinary. Jackfruit are also kind of giant compared to other fruits, and Jackfruit is tall. The jackfruit is said to smell like Bubblegum, Pineapple, Banana, and Rotten Onions; my jackfruit teaches music to kids and honestly Bubblegum, Pineapple, Banana, and Rotten Onions is exactly how I’d describe the experience of teaching a class full of kids. The Jackfruit is also high in vitamins and nutrients, and I have felt so nourished by having this person in my life. They are so pure and lovely, and they somehow remind me of all the best parts of my exes that I’ve missed, with none of the other bullshit those people had going on. Polyamory, as well as Relationship Anarchy, has allowed me to build a relationship with them in the way that suits us, our wants and needs, and none of the typical relationship expectations. It helps both of us that I’m married. It reminds us that the typical “end point” of a heteronormative, monogamous relationship, is off the table, so we’re able to feel more deeply and freely with each other, because there are no rules, no stakes, no goals, no objectives. In my opinion, relationships should function that way all the time, the problem is we live in a cishet monogamous society that prioritizes following the rules, so it's hard to break out of that to establish relationships on your own terms.


So through hard work, my relationship with my wife is solid and unique and fulfilling. And as with every relationship, we have parts of ourselves that don’t overlap. For most of our relationship, I’ve felt bad when I don’t have interest in a hobby or interest of my wife’s. I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to like everything your partner likes, but even with that, there are just some things I cannot participate in because I really do not enjoy them. I love that she loves soccer, and I love hearing about the politics and tea involved in the soccer world because I’m fucking nosy and love to shit talk. But I cannot sit through a soccer match to save my life. I have tried so hard. I can watch replays, I can watch men writhing around in fake pain on youtube. Just not a whole game. My ADHD, my probable Autism, and my general lack of interest in sports are all working against me. But I love that she loves it, and I love that now she’ll be able to not only be supported in her love of soccer, but also be with people who love it as much as she does, so she can fully enjoy it. I love that I can shift focus back to the things she and I do love so we can enjoy them more fully together, and we can both have other relationships where we feel fulfilled in our interests. Truthfully, I hadn’t realized I was in the same boat until I started talking about music again and realized how long it had been since I was able to really geek out on classical music and register opinions with someone who speaks the lingo. Plus, I accidentally kept about $300 of sheet music from one of my ex-boyfriends, and those piano scores have to be put to use instead of gathering dust in my house.


The thing is though, it's slightly unsettling to me that there is no jealousy. I keep waiting for the jealousy, and it hasn’t come. Historically I have been a very jealous person, so this has been shocking to me, but I think I figured out why there’s no jealousy. So much of jealousy has to do with not getting your needs met, and being upset if you see your person giving attention to someone or something else while you have unmet needs. The relationship I had with my groomer was very toxic, and I had none of my needs met, meanwhile he had all his met. I was constantly angry and jealous of time he would spend with other people because the time I got with him was so miserable that I couldn’t be happy that he was having and maintaining other relationships. But now, having been in a very stable, very healthy (very age appropriate) relationship for four years, as well a the beginnings of a very healthy Jackfruit love plant, I am the most securely attached I have ever been. The jealousy might come at some point If I feel like I’m not connecting with a partner as much as I used to or want to, but with that will also come a healthy conversation where both of us are allowed to express our needs, and then work together to find a solution for us both.


This year, I started saying “I love you” more. I love my wife. I love my jackfruit. I love my platonic life partner / wyfe Kelly. I have so much love, and I feel like I’m able to fully embrace that and show it to people in this way for the first time. I have friends I’ve known and been around for years and I’ve been emotionally standoffish because that’s just kind of how I was raised, but a very good friend of mine told me they loved me and cared for me very deeply and I realized I love them too, and it’s actually not weird to tell people you love them when you love them, just because they aren’t your family of origin. This change has had nothing but positive impacts for me and my relationships. I have several life partners at this point, and I love all of them uniquely. I don’t really have a concept of ranking among my friends, nor do I really have casual friends. I have many people spanning different times of my life, so naturally each has seen me vulnerable in some way, and we have shared moments of intimacy and closeness that differ from person to person. But I don’t really have any friends who I’m not super close to. Whether it be the fact that I’m queer, or neurodivergent, I have needs for my relationships that necessitate knowing who someone is intimately before being able to trust them. Even my Jackfruit, who I’ve known about a month now. I haven’t known them long, but I know what they stand for. I think there’s idea with relationships that you have to learn what someone stands for only if it comes up organically and now has a piece of supporting evidence to go with it. Not only is that not true, that’s kind of dangerous to do when you could quite literally be murdered if you don’t know if someone will support you being your authentic self. With both my wife, and my Jackfruit, I found out very early what their wants, needs, goals, and dreams were, and it has made it so much easier to be fully invested in the relationships.


My therapist recently noted that they didn't think my wife and I would have embraced Polyamory unless we'd gotten married, and I have to agree. She and I have built each other up, and helped each other build ourselves up to a point where we were able to make a transition into polyamory and have it go so swimmingly. So this anniversary with my wife, I'm celebrating not only our relationship and how lovely it is, but also how wonderful it feels that we're both able to support each other in other relationships as well. And now, we're turnin the frickin frogs gay, baybeeeeeeeee!



The day we decided to be polyamorous, I made this coming out meme. Please enjoy it. The general review on it is "I'm vomiting blood, that's so funny".


Smooches,

Charlie

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