As we work to raise funds to keep Loving More going I thought about how Loving More as an organization has touched my life and I wanted to share it. I hope this inspires you to share your experiences. ~~ Robyn Trask
For many of us in the poly community the road to multi-partnered loving is a complicated obstacle course of emotions and evolving awareness. Loving More to me was a port in a storm of uncertainty. At the age of 24 after several engagements and infidelity within my relationships I realized I was simply was not and did not want monogamy. I wanted honesty, openness and freedom, mostly honesty with myself. A long time friend and high school sweetheart and I started dating again. We discovered we both wanted the same thing, an open relationship. Neither of us was interested in sexual fidelity but we both wanted a committed relationship. We had both desired and agreed to an open marriage. The challenge was that neither one of us had any idea of how to really make that work nor even what it meant. Open relationships can mean many things and for us we decided on a “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy. Not surprising, it never really worked. To me it was no different than cheating and the whole idea of having an open marriage for me was to be honest and open.
I was married September 3, 1989 and my husband left to work in Japan December 1. He would be there for at least six months and this was part of our reason for allowing each other sexual relationships outside our marriage. I did get involved with an ex-lover but I felt terrible guilt and stopped seeing him. Shortly after my husband returned I became involved with a mutual friend. The challenge was I still had to be deceptive in order not to disclose what was going on and honor our agreement. It was very challenging for me and the man I was involved with, so I again ended it and simply stopped seeing anyone. I was still in touch with two lovers from my past that I still had strong relationships with but I did not allow it to go anywhere sexually. I did not want to have to lie.
It was in 1996/97 that I discovered online discussion boards for non-monogamy. I shared it with my hubby and we started talking. It was here I learned the term polyamory and about swinging. As a couple we explored the possibility of swinging and the more I learned the more I knew it was not for me. I started to explore polyamory and learned about Loving More in early 1999. My husband and I discovered the local community and about Loving More which was local. We went to a Loving More meeting held by Ryam at the Boulder Library and it was like coming home.
We met intelligent educated people. They were normal nice people and I no longer felt like there was something seriously flawed in me. I was amazed, as was my husband. I had always felt like I was defective since I did not feel I could or wanted to be monogamous and this meeting helped me see I was not so strange or alone. It was this meeting that really prompted us to change our agreements and open our marriage to honesty and polyamory. Ryam also held a monthly women’s meeting that I attended.
Loving More opened my eyes to amazing possibilities in relating openly and honestly. I found information, support and a community where I could be myself . I started a mixed gender support group with a man, his partner and his partner’s partner with the support of Ryam and Mary. It changed my life for the better in so many ways. It was at times a scary journey. It would not be until 2003 that I would attend my first Loving More conference and I would attend first the West Coast and then the East Coast Conference as a presenter. I went by myself to both, as my marriage was not doing well at this time. This was not easy. I had to drive from Colorado to Washington state and drop my kids off with their dad then drive to California for the West Coast Conference. I then went back to Washington on Sunday drove to Colorado by Wednesday so I could catch a flight to Philadelphia on Thursday. I did not have much money and I slept in my car so I could afford to attend both. I attended both because I really wanted to attend the West Coast and Mary really needed presenters for the East Coast. With the conferences just a week apart it was a bit tricky to attend both.
The conference was life changing and I wish I had attended earlier. The workshops were so helpful and made a real difference in how I handled myself and my relationships. I grew so much. Both conferences were amazing. I made new connections and friends. On the east coast I met Ben who I am still involved with today. I also experienced this amazing community coming together to support a very personal and challenging journey. I wrote about it in an article called Conference Gifts published in Loving More issue #34.
Loving More was a great source of support, personal growth and awareness for me as I came to embrace my own nature as a polyamorous person. In 2004 when Loving More was in serious danger of going under I wanted to help. Loving More is really too much for one person to run alone and Mary was a single mom with little to no help. I was receiving calls and emails asking what was going on and whether Loving More was still going. I did not understand why everyone was asking me. I was running a monthly support group, an annual Thanksgiving gathering and an annual campout in Colorado so I assume that people thought I was somehow associated with Loving More. I decided to see what I could do to help, I had even talked to a friend about starting a new organization if Loving More went under but I hated to see that happen. I put together a list of volunteers and contacted Mary Wolf who had taken over Loving More in around 2002. Mary agreed to meet me for lunch.
It was challenging. Mary was a friend and I knew she was struggling with her position as Managing Editor of Loving More. At lunch she told me she was burned out and just could not keep going. This was a very challenging decision but she felt she needed to let Loving More go and sell the business. I don’t know if she had me in mind at that time but I went home with my head spinning, I wanted Loving More, I wanted to salvage what was a great organization that had been there for me. I decided to buy it from her not knowing how. All I knew is I wanted Loving More to continue and thrive and I knew it would be very hard.
I refinanced my house taking out the equity to buy Loving More from Mary. It was not the best business decision. The business was in a deep hole and I was not sure it could recover. It was however an amazingly good life decision. I was not in a great financial position and I put what little I had into Loving More. I went from being a homeschooling mom who worked a few hours a week to a mom working 60 to 80 hours a week. I was essentially single at this time. My husband had moved to Washington state in 2001.
Taking over Loving More put many things on the back burner. I was half way through writing a book, my house was for sale and I removed it from the market and I had started a small business, New Visions Center for Personal and Spiritual Growth.. I felt I could make more difference with Loving More and I wanted to help support an organization that had been there for me and so many others. It has challenged me in ways I never imagined and it is the hardest job I have ever had including raising children. I am blessed to have had support from so many in the community and my family.
Loving More has touched so many people’s lives in a profound way. I am honored that I have had the chance to be a part of it and give back. I have met many wonderful people through Loving More and become involved with four amazing men, two of whom have become long term partners. I know many people have had similar experiences. It is this that drives me. Helping people transform their lives is why I work so hard; it is why I have put thousands of dollars into Loving More and many long hours with no financial compensation. The personal transformations I have witnessed are why I keep believing Loving More can change the world by teaching about choice in relationships.
I will say that Loving More has been an amazing journey that I hope continues for years to come but if we had to close our doors tomorrow I would have no regrets. I might be challenged financially but my life has been enriched by all of you in this community, by the lives I have touched and those who have touched me and by all the great opportunities to learn and grow. I am forever grateful to Loving More, to Ryam Nearing, Brett Hill and Mary Wolf for creating Loving More and entrusting it to me. This is why I do what I do, Loving More has made an amazing difference in my life and I hope that as an organization we continue to help people and change the way the world sees open relationships.
We are a community and we want to hear from you.
- What are your experiences of Loving More and what does the Loving More organization mean to you.
- Has Loving More touched your life and in what way.
- Please leave or send us your comments/stories and we will share them in the magazine and the blog
- Do let us know if we can use your name or if you need anonymity.
- Share images and photos, just be sure that it is ok with anyone in them and that you have the copyright.