learning the ropes.

While I haven’t previously considered myself all that kinky (my husband, Graham, disagrees with this assessment), my girlfriend, Rowan, definitely is. And perhaps it’s just natural for someone to want to explore and learn more about what their partner(s) are into. 

So on a Thursday, when I heard that our group meetup location for the evening got changed from a favorite cocktail bar to a rope class…. I decided to be a yes man — err — yes woman, and sign up! I think Rowan was quite surprised by my interest, but she happily agreed to go as a couple. Our guys (her husband, Jax, my boyfriend, Ethan, and my husband, Graham) were all busy with other plans… so we were guilt-free in not inviting them along, and were kind of excited to have some girl time doing an activity just the two of us. I was actually quite enlivened to be trying something new so spur of the moment. Perhaps that’s one on a list of reasons Rowan says that, in addition to the title of girlfriend, I hold the title of her “go to adventure girl”. 

So off to my impromptu Thursday night adventure with Rowan. We met at her place before heading to the class together. I had no idea what to expect, to be honest, but I really enjoyed the vibe of the whole class. It felt very low key, and I found that, while the word “dungeon” may be off-putting to some, it really wasn’t scary in the least. It looked more like… well, a previously large office / study in a 1.5 million dollar home now turned “adult jungle-gym”, to be exact. {Side note: Apparently this was either a side job for the instructor, or I’ve chosen the wrong profession and need to learn how to become a rope / bondage instructor.}

Rope tying (or “rigging”) itself was quite fun. I mean, there we were… like sexy girl scouts earning our knot tying badge. I couldn’t help but grin watching Rowan slowly, gracefully tying a long rope around my waist… with just enough forcefulness. Then she sensually worked her way down my right thigh with a ladder knot…. periodically piercing me with her intensely blue eyes looking directly into mine as she worked her way… carefully, methodically… down to my ankle. It was evident she’d done this before. I tried not to grin too big. Rowan relishes being in control, so already being the rope top (the one doing the tying) at this point… If I gave her too much of a reaction and let her be fully aware of the effect she was having on me it would go straight to her gorgeous red head.

Have I mentioned she’s stunning? Strong, intelligent, bold, vivacious… with a gentle, soft side she doesn’t let many see. I feel honored that she trusts me with that space, actually. She thinks I don’t know how rare it is that she lets her guard down, but I do, and I plan to continue being worthy of that trust. 

She’s my first girlfriend, so I’m definitely learning. I really love that we were friends first, and that things have just grown organically over time. We really bonded on a trip to Mexico together; I feel like we barely just knew each other when she asked me to join her on an international excursion last minute. {A story for another day} To be honest, I really don’t know how I got so lucky… again. Jax and Rowan are so respectful of not only me, but also of my other partners. They’re kind… thoughtful, uniquely intentional and responsible in how they conduct themselves in their relationships… and they’re impeccable communicators. 

While it might appear difficult to be in a relationship with four other people {I believe on average, it’s probably QUITE challenging}, I can say I’m blessed not to have the sole responsibility of considering and protecting the needs of all my partners… because they’re all beautiful, kind, amazing people who are all considering and looking out for each other as well. It’s hard to describe that feeling… when you recognize your partners showing love and consideration to each other… and you love them all even more as a result. It’s nothing short of beautiful.

Rowan and Jax have both have made it clear they value my friendship first and foremost, as well as their friendship with my partners, Graham and Ethan. They’re truly amazing people. We just click. And we’ve all acknowledged we have the potential to be lifelong friends, if not the “more than friends” relationship we’re currently exploring. I think that makes it easier… learning as you go and not fearing the possibility of it not working as a specific form of romantic relationship. That’s one of the joys of polyamory. There’s a much broader definition of success. Poly relationships have a unique ability to adapt over time, change and grow with the people in them. There’s no one size fits all. Instead you get something beautifully tailored, just for you and yours. 

So for now we’re taking things slow… savoring the journey as we learn the ropes… together ♡


It was a sunny July 4th. My husband, Graham, was working that day, and I agreed to go to a friend’s 4th of July party. I put on a fun festive outfit… I mean, it doesn’t get much more American than cut off jean shorts and a crop top, right? Graham helped pick out my outfit actually. Looking quite proud of himself he grinned, bit his lip and said “hot” before giving me a kiss and telling me to “have some fun today”.

Arriving at the party, I was greeted by my friends who told me to grab a cold beer out back. There he was… equipped with a spatula and a boyish smile, manning the barbecue. With an outstretched hand, “Hi, my name’s Ethan. What’s yours?”

He later sought me out and asked some solid get to know you questions. We discovered we both love hiking. He mentioned he didn’t have any friends that enjoyed hiking enough to join him. It all started out innocently enough. No one planned on falling in love… just maybe going for a hike sometime.

Graham made it to the party around 9 pm. I was pretty excited that he hadn’t missed the fireworks and we would get to watch them together. Having been together for so long, and despite my usual excitement to see him, we tend to be fairly independent in social situations… We both take pleasure in making our rounds at a party, enjoying a variety of good conversations. I later learned, for those who don’t already know us, it’s not always evident we’re together.

A few beers, watching fireworks from a second story rooftop, several late night rounds of Cards Against Humanity and a lot of laughs later we finally called it a night.

Ethan and I added each other on Snapchat, and it wasn’t long before he asked me to go on a hike. So over a quick few messages we planned a hike for later that week… but he proceeded to ask if I happened to be free for dinner that night. I told him I was meeting Graham after work, and Ethan responded by asking if Graham and I were dating… I froze. I was caught quite off guard by the question. Snapchat showed Ethan was still typing… I waited. He said he hoped I didn’t mind him asking. He’d wondered if Graham and I were together after the 4th of July party, but couldn’t be sure. I began remembering just how un-clingy Graham and I had been the night we all met… not exactly emitting typical “couple vibes”.

I, of course, had to set things straight. I told Ethan that Graham and I were actually married… happily, for 6 years. I said I hoped I hadn’t given him the wrong impression, but that I’d still love to go for a hike as friends. If memory serves me, he responded with a cute joke about how he was still in need of a hiking buddy after all…. so he supposed we could keep our hiking plans. I was relieved. Perhaps I anticipated he might be angry or unkind in some way. It wouldn’t have been the first time I was berated after telling a man, whom I’d gotten caught up in friendly conversation with, that I’m happily married. He told me I hadn’t given him the wrong impression at all, that he thought I seemed like a genuinely great person, and he’d love to get to know me better as friends.


We were fast friends. We could laugh at nothing, go for long hikes or just a walk around the park, grab a bite to eat, watch the sunset, talk, not talk. It was just… easy. Ethan was kind, compassionate, thoughtful in a way I found few people to be, and he made me smile till my face hurt. We could just be ourselves, no facades necessary. I loved that he was respectful of my marriage, yet still treated me as an individual. We went to several concerts and festivals that summer with Graham and our mutual friends, and we began seeing each other more and more often. Ethan and I hiked through the summer right into fall. And then came the fall…

While humans are quite capable of controlling their physical actions, we’re not nearly as adept at controlling our hearts as we’d like to be. Ethan and I began to realize we cared for each other more deeply than we’d anticipated. While I hardly knew what to do about it, I did know this — I valued my marriage with Graham and wouldn’t do anything to damage it. I also valued my friendship with Ethan. So believing that if my relationship with Ethan was more (whatever “more” meant) it would end our friendship… I was determined to keep it in a box that was sustainable. I didn’t want to lose the relationship we had. Ethan told me that more than anything he just wanted to be my friend. He said he didn’t know what it meant or what it would look like, he just knew he wanted us to be in each others lives forever. We agreed we could be forever best friends…. weird best friends, that people raised eyebrows at because I was married. But in my heart I didn’t feel I was doing anything wrong.

I had already started down a path of self discovery, not remotely aware of where it would eventually lead. I hadn’t fully acknowledged my polyamorous tendencies at that point. However, I had begun to recognize my bisexuality more that year, and I think that self discovery prompted me to realize something more… that, whether I was connecting with someone male or female, I didn’t agree with people’s rigid guidelines. Why couldn’t we just live, breathe, connect with who we connect with, maintain meaningful relationships when we find them, feel love for those we love… ? Why do we deprive ourselves of love, connection, happiness? It seemed so simple in my mind. Meaningful connections bring people joy…. and it just didn’t make sense to me that, in a world with over 7 billion people, we should allow ourselves to connect with only one human being in a meaningful way in our lifetime. Or is it that we’re just expected to only connect in such a way with one person AT A TIME? Either way, we’re truly terrible at monogamy as a species. We’re serial monogamists, at best, believing we’ll be with one person forever… until we breakup or get divorced. Then we believe we’ll be with the next person forever… until we’re not for some reason. Yet somehow so many people are at peace with the tragedy and the heartbreak of people’s lives and love breaking apart because of cast-iron rules and unbending expectations of one another, but they’re outraged at the idea of people having meaningful connections with multiple people simultaneously and people being adaptable, open, honest, and…. well… happy. This lack of logic was astounding to me. Wherever I happened to be in that particular line of thought or mental inquiry at the time, I quickly decided people could keep raising their eyebrows at me until they needed Botox — I just didn’t care anymore.

Ethan and I continued going on short hikes after work… some weeks, more days than not. If I got caught up at work and had to reschedule a hike or dinner plans he’d tell me not to worry and say, “We have forever.”

I did worry now and then that with him spending so much time with me, I may be keeping him from finding someone who could make him happier than I could. I cared for him deeply and that’s all I really wanted for him… to be truly happy. Knowing he wants a family and kids someday, and believing we could only be friends, I was pretty determined to set him up. We would joke that we just needed to find him a girl who wasn’t the jealous type and would be okay with our friendship. I actually tried quite hard to find him a girlfriend.

Technically, I succeeded…

A Christmas present from Ethan, 2017.

be free.

It was my 28th birthday. We traveled so my husband, Graham, and I could hike to the top of one of our favorite spots at sunrise that morning. We sat side by side, as time seemingly stood still, and took in the breathtaking view. I thought about the new year of life ahead of me. I felt a peace I hadn’t felt in a while, and I experienced what he and I call “happy tears” after several surprises including champagne glasses and mimosa makings he pulled out of his back pack, a beautiful engraved necklace, and a hand written card that read… 

“You are a wild soul. You are meant to defy this world, not be a part of it. You choose to be you and never fold to the expectations of others. You always ask why and reject all unsatisfactory answers. You look to expand the realm of possibility and change definitions. Society, people, culture, have no effect on your way of life. You are a fountain of curiosity. You say ‘f*** the rules’. You always choose to be kind over mean-spirited, understanding instead of making assumptions, opposite of everyone else. If you find yourself doing things like everyone else, you stop to ask if you can do it differently. Continue to be wild, because your soul is meant to be free.” 

In this moment I knew all over again just how lucky I got, nearly 11 years prior, to find love with this incredible human being. In that moment, reading his words, I was overwhelmed to feel so… seen… so wholly understood. And through all my growing and changing he’s never stopped seeing me for who I am in each moment in time… juxtaposed against all the incrementally adjusted versions of my being that he’s witnessed along the way… and all the while somehow clearly seeing all my future self’s potential. I only know a small handful of people who have experienced a similar feeling of being so deeply understood by another human being. And I can honestly say it’s one of the most beautiful gifts you can give… taking the time to really understand someone… to see how their soul dances.   

You see, Graham wrote these words because he saw me… clearer than I allowed myself to see me at that time… and he recognized something even before I could acknowledge it myself.

I’m polyamorous.

I had felt trapped in a box that, although in phenomenal company with him by my side, just didn’t fit. Graham being empathetic, I know he felt this with me. My heart is one that seeks out love and meaningful connection sometimes against my conscious will. I had over recent months fallen in love with one of my best friends, and while I acknowledged we cared deeply for one another, I rationalized and convinced myself we were just “friends who love each other”. We weren’t “in love”… we couldn’t be. Society teaches us that if you fall in love with a second person, you must not have truly loved the first. I was married and still madly in love with my husband. So I couldn’t quite fathom that I’d fallen in love with someone else. Somehow Graham realized I was in love with this other person… still believed I was in love with him and… after questioning EVERYTHING… after painfully soul searching and rethinking everything from relationships to the meaning of life… he chose compassion. He had the kindness to stop and just see me… and love me enough to say “be free”.