20 Aug Defying Social Scripts
It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I realized many of the choices I had made in my life were based on nothing more than an expectation that was presented to me by family, friends, and society. I was following a predetermined path. A script. This isn’t to say that my parents were trying to stunt my potential adult happiness by not telling me about the plethora of options; they were following their own script. The realization that I could make these choices was both life affirming and a bit terrifying.
I struggled for years with my sexuality and relationship structures
I struggled for years with my sexuality and relationship structures. I distinctly remember a conversation with my best friend about my first boyfriend, just weeks after the relationship had blossomed. I was 18. I had recently had sex for the first time and was falling in love. My brain told me that I should be happy and be planning the rest of my life with the man I was falling in love with. My heart was skeptical. I remember telling my friend, “I love him. I’m really happy, but part of me is disappointed that if this works out I will only have sex with one person my entire life.” I felt despair over the loss of sexual adventures I had never had. I also remember being attracted to women, but writing off the possibility of being bi-sexual because I had a greater attraction to people of the opposite gender–I had it in my head that being bi meant I needed equal interest in all genders. These expectations I had of myself were programmed into me, and I bought them. I gave no thought to the possibility that the way I was living my life might not be the ideal configuration for me.
It took years for me to consider other options. There was a failed marriage, several one night stands, a couple short-term relationships, and some random dating fumbles. Nothing seemed to fit. I was trying to find that one man to spend my life with because that was always the life I had pictured for myself. It wasn’t until after a causal sexual partner and I were musing about how much fun it would be to attend a swingers party that I even considered non-monogamy as an option. Even then, I was just thinking it would be a fun adventure, until I found “The One”. It took a few experiences before I realized, that these experiences were in alignment with who I truly am. This realization was monumental! I had found my path. I was in a position to choose the lifestyle that suited my needs. This concept had never before occurred to me. When I stopped to examine this realization it was unsettling to think that I hadn’t really been making choices about my own life. I had just conceded to there not being any options. That’s a sad thought.
So I’ve made it a personal mission to help others realize their choices. It is completely acceptable to choose the common path, as long as you choose it. You also do not have to stick with one choice, you have the opportunity to change your mind. The important thing is to evaluate your needs and communicate those needs to the relevant people in your life. Don’t be afraid to defy social scripts.