Reddit Has Been Alarmingly Good for My Self-Esteem

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re: threeways

I actually would advise anyone to not do it. It has a very high chance of going wrong. Very few people are truly secure enough with themselves and their relationship to pull it off. I was only saying that if OP really wants to cross it off the bucket list that is the only way I would say to try it since there’s no way feeling will be involved. Just my opinion from seeing what it has done with people I know.

-subreddit post (in response to someone asking for any advice on the best way to do a threesome)

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I’ve been reading Reddit from time to time lately. I know, I’m late to the party – most web junkies have been hanging there for ages, in whatever specialty forum floats their boat. And it’s not like I’ve never visited any of the forums. Once in a while, a post would come up on a search I did, or I’d be playing some niche indy game that came out yesterday, and the best resource for tips would be a subreddit. It probably stunts my growth that my husband and personal meme whisperer Skyspook is much more hooked into all things internet and has been on Reddit and Imgur for ages, so a lot of what I would get out of that whole culture filters in secondhand through him anyway.

But recently, I discovered the joys of reading posts from people in various relationship and sex focused subreddits. It’s snooping at its finest, people watching… both posters and commenters. Given my inherent nosiness (or “curiosity about others” if I’m trying to make it sound good), I’m not surprised it’s entertaining. I expected that.

What I didn’t expect was for it to be so enlightening.

You see, I live in a bit of an echo chamber. My friends these days are overwhelmingly (probably 90% of them) kinksters. Something like three-quarters of my friends are poly and two-thirds some variety of bisexual. Off hand, I can think of 3 friends who are vanilla, mono, and straight – and one of these 3, I’m not so sure about the vanilla part.  When I ran off to Ohio, I essentially joined the sex circus.

So given this current state of 5 years of relative isolation from the sexual mainstream, it’s very easy for me to lose perspective on how outside of the norm my love life and sex life are.

It’s been ages since I’ve had to really explain polyamory and/or ethical non-monogamy to an incredulous monogamous person, but since I did it so much in 2009 and 2010 (when Seth and I opened our relationship in rural Maine), I remember the kinds of things people typically said.

And one of the most frequent things I heard: “I could never do that.”

I used to get so frustrated when people would say that to me. I knew that I had felt that way myself before trying out polyamory, that I could never share my partner with others or date multiple people at once myself. And I’m not saying that the adjustment was easy, but you know what? I was wrong. I can. I have. I continue to.

Just because you think you can’t do something, it doesn’t mean you actually can’t. Perception of future events and the reality of that experience are quite different things.

It’s true what they say – accept your limitations and they’re yours.

“I could never do that,” they’d say. And I’d reflexively think, “That’s what you think.”

It was also a kind of defensiveness – a way of internally reinforcing my choices, because even though I was polyamorous, parts of me still were skeptical about its long-term viability, its healthiness. And the funny thing was that I was so self-absorbed in my perception of what they were saying and considering it as a poly microaggression (a small attack on my life choices) that I missed another implication.

That I was doing a very difficult thing. And doing it well. Something that required immense amounts of security.

I was so busy defending against the insult that I completely missed the compliment.

It’s funny because I get so bogged down in considering what I am yet to do – who I would like to be – the progress that I still have to make. I feel like I am this fundamentally insecure person because sometimes I get twinges, and it’s hard for me to accept compliments.

I’ve completely missed the memo about how secure I really am in other ways and how bravely I’ve navigated a path that so many would not have dared to.

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