I first saw Erik, when I was 17, at my friend Gary's birthday party. He had two nose piercings, tossled brown hair, and a sly grimace. He was perfect. I spotted him from across the room and we were never introduced. I dont think he even noticed me.
We officially met while I was working at Kohls. I was 18 and it was my first real job. His sister was a girl named Jill who I knew through a mutual friend. They came through my line and she introduced us. He asked her for my number. I went over to his house that night and he took me on a tour of his hobbies and good memories.
I was completely enchanted.
He was miserable from a recent break up. He was rude and uncomfortably honest, but he fixed my car and took me on adventures. I wanted all of him but I couldn't get through. It all ended in a slew of insults and resentment. I felt small next to him, and he was disgusted with the thought of letting anyone love him.
Fast forward to New Years Eve 2009. Jill got married. I asked him to her wedding. He declined because he was my second choice.
Jill's 21st birthday. April 2010. He was wearing a black, red, and white plad shirt. He was drinking a vodka tonic, because drinking had started to disgust him. He had just got out of a gross living situation and was recovering from a motorcycle accident. He was shaken but feeling more alive than he had in years. He was quiet, but offered me his jacket when I was cold. I karaoked Patsy Cline's "Crazy."
This was our actual starting point.
We fell in love quickly. I would stay up after he fell asleep next to me and cry over how lucky I felt. I didn't know that I could love that deeply. I had just gotten out of toggling back and forth between two men who didn't know how to love me. Who weren't supposed to love me. They weren't meant for me. I knew this as soon as I fell in love with him.
That same year we went to Arrowhead for a wedding. The whole ride there I started feeling trapped and afraid of committing myself. I picked arguments and we were uncomfortable with each other almost the entire time. At the reception, we both got buzzed. We danced together to Bob Marley. He crooned along "Every little thing is gonna be alright." I felt safe again.
We got married two years later. December 7th 2013. It was stressful and beautiful. My brother gave me away and Erik opened his soul to me and all our guests and spoke the most beautiful vows that I will ever hear.
The trapped feeling that I felt the first year of our relationship kept coming to a head. I would talk to him and cry about it. It would seemingly get resolved, until it would pop up again and I wouldn't know how to cope. I would sometimes numb myself in order to not feel attracted to other men and women or question my place in my relationship.
We had talked about opening our relationship, as an option, for quite a while. We weren't ever actually serious about it, but just wanted to ensure the other that no matter what the situation, we were in this relationship together. April 2014, we decided to try out Polyamory.
Erik never showed any interest in being with anyone. I started a relationship with a man (I'll call him J) I had known for about four years. I had always had a small infatuation with him that was constantly fueled by the fact that I couldn't be with him. When I first met him, he had a girlfriend. We had an affair, that never actually resulted in sex. About a year later is when I started dating Erik, so we never had a chance to try it out together.
I got out of the relationship with a feeling of disdain for myself. I couldn't believe that I had allowed myself to be romantically and sexually involved with another man. It had started with a white hot feeling of passion, and ended with truths and realizations that I had been ignoring. This man was not my husband. He didn't know me and I didn't really enjoy knowing him. He didn't fill the hole in my heart that I thought belonged to him.
I met her when I was still with J. She was a big part of me not wanting to be with him. She was kind and I connected with her in a way that I never thought I could. I was completely hooked from out first interaction. She was broken and sad, but so full of positive energy. We started sleeping with eachother. I had been with one other woman before her. It was a gross whiskey driven fuck, and I was ashamed it was my only experience with a woman.
Our relationship escalated to a guarded obsession with each other. She was still in love with her ex and I was married. Both made her keep a pretty good emotional distance. But she was genuine and interested in learning what I had to offer. Through the entire experience, I found myself infatuated. However, that wasn't what kept me clinging to her. She was my best friend. We would get stoned together and talk about the workings of the universe. We would give each other advice and teach each other to love our flaws.
We officially dated briefly. She couldn't wrap her head around my being married, no matter how much she respected Erik. I couldn't keep up with two full time relationships. I felt guilty because I knew that time spent investing in her was taking away from Erik. No matter how little it took away, it never felt comfortable to me. Shortly after we broke up, she joyfully told me about a couple she saw in the restaurant we work at. "The husband and wife are just sitting around with their three little girls. They're all just laughing and loving each other. They seem so happy. I want that." I was met with two thoughts: 1. I'll never be able to give her that. 2. I want that too.
I decided I didnt want anymore relationships outside of my marriage. Shortly after, I decided I didnt want to sleep with anyone else either. I started paying closer attention to Erik and our conversations. I realized that some things had fallen by the wayside because I wasn't giving my marriage my full commitment. I was shorting my husband. I didn't even realize I was doing it. I checked in with Erik all the time. I would text him where I was and who I was with. I would ask him if he was alright with the situation. I was always met with positivity from him. He genuinely believed in us and wanted me to be happy. He was doing his part. I thought I was too. I wasn't. I was doing the bare minimum for us to be happy. And we were. But we could be happier. We HAD been happier. I just hadn't realized it.
Last night I read the rough drafts of my wedding vows. I cried. Nay. I balled. I love my husband. He IS enough. I don't need anyone else. Maybe I just had some unfinished business. Maybe there were things I still needed to learn. Maybe I wasn't ready for marriage. But I am now. I've never been more certain.
I love you, Erik Jon.