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145. The Gift of Non-Monogamy Ending in Divorce with Dirty Lola

Nicole: Welcome to Modern Anarchy, the podcast exploring sex, relationships, and liberation. I'm your host, Nicole.

On today's episode, we have Dirty Lola. Join us for a vulnerable conversation about embracing the discomfort of change as a sex and relationship radical.

Together we talk about how don't ask, don't tell can really complicate your cruise plans, having a breakdown in the aisle at Trader Joe's, and how a penis should be the fifth thing to go in your butt. Hello, dear listener, and welcome back to Modern Anarchy Podcast. I am so glad that you are tuning in for another Radical Conversation, and a big hello to all of you pleasure radicals out there.

Before we get to the contents of today's episode, I do want to say thank you to the new Patreon member, Breanne, who joined in the last week. Thank you for supporting me, supporting the podcast, and keeping this resource free and accessible to all people. I couldn't do it without you and dear listener. Hey, that's two weeks of getting at least one new member each week.

So for 5, dear listener, you could make my dreams come true and give me a three week streak. Of course there's no pressure, but like. Whoa, hey, do you want to be the person to make that happen? That'd be really cool. Very cool. I haven't had a three week streak yet, so you could be the one to make that magic happen for me.

But truly, it is a joy. This podcast takes so much work, but I am so delighted to be putting it out each week for you. I'm growing through it and, you know, I'm just really thankful for you, dear listener, when you're sending this podcast to your friend or supporting me on the Patreon with 5 or 10 dollars a month, it really makes a difference, so thank you.

Now, this title, oof. It is so tongue in cheek. What do we mean by ends when non monogamy ends in divorce? I mean, we have data showing that 50 percent of monogamous marriages end in divorce. Now, we don't have that sort of data for polyamorous marriages, and if we take it even further to relationship anarchists, I'm not sure how many of y'all are getting married to people that you're romantically or sexually connected to, wherever we draw that line, so I think it'd be much harder to get this data on, uh, relationship anarchists when we're all on more of a friendship model of, uh, reconfiguring, right?

What's on and off the table for each relationship. So I don't think we would have this sort of data to even be captured. But yeah, I mean, which even might suggest the best relationships or relationship anarchists, right? When we were able to actually stay in connection and renegotiate what is and isn't working for us in those connections, right?

Just a thought. I'll be really curious to see how the research grows with this phenomena over the time, um, over the years, but. I guess I'm just curious about this paradigm of ending, right? If we think about our relationships in other contexts, right? All of us have had friends that we have been connected with at one point in our life, and as we go down our life and change and grow in various ways, some of those friends continue to grow with us in the same direction, and we continue to resonate and enjoy that connection, whereas others We go down different paths, right?

I came from a very purity culture background. Some of my friends at the time were married to pastors and still are married to pastors and our leaders and their church. And as you can imagine, we kind of went down two separate paths of our lives. And so our relationships ended, right? Changed. And there are so many different ways where that's actually the best thing for both parties, right?

I find it really interesting this pressure that we have around a successful relationship meaning that you die with that person. So much so that many people will stay in relationships where they describe it as a quote unquote nag, the ball and chain, all these sort of things as if they're repressed and held down by this relationship.

That they have to stay in for the longevity of their life because that's the cultural expectation. I guess I'm just curious how we can understand in our other relationships that time changes, we change, and through that some relationships will continue to grow with us and others will grow apart from us.

Yet it's this deep romance myth of, I have to be with this one person forever. Or even in a polydynamic, right? These people, forever. What does it mean to embrace the inevitability that change is the only constant? What would it mean for us to look at our relationships in that way? To know that it's very possible that, whether you're in a monogamous, polyamorous, relationship anarchist dynamic, that the people we're connecting with are going to change, and eventually might find someone else that they resonate more with, and that that pulls away their limited resources of time and energy.

What if that's you, dear listener, that you fall in love with or connect deeper with someone? For me, this happens even in relationship anarchy, right? I have multiple different, beautiful, individual connections, but my time and energy is limited, and so when I take on a new one, it might shift and reconfigure some of my other dynamics, and so that embrace of change happens regardless of where you're at on the spectrum of relationship relationship.

dynamics and in monogamy, you can't prevent your partner from falling in love or developing feelings for another person. I think it would be wild for any of us to think that we could prevent that type of love. So what would it mean to actually embrace that in our dynamics? I know this is so scary when I say this to my partners, right?

It's absolutely terrifying, but I say to them, you know, In this lifetime, as we're together, I want you to have the freedom to explore all of the relationships to your heart's content. I want you, of course, to commit to me with time and energy, but that's a flexible thing. If, in your world, you connect with someone else that resonates with you so deeply that, for some reason, you have less time and energy to give to me, I want to support you in that.

Because that means that you've found someone who resonates so much deeper with you and How could I ever want to hold you back from that? Oh, right? And for myself, I would want the same freedom. You know, I have so many beautiful, I have a beautiful community of constellations and stars in my world and they all orbit around me in different rates, but I would want that same freedom from my community if I found another star in my galaxy that really pulled me in with a strong gravity and I needed to create more space and our dynamics.

I mean, At the end of the day, that is all of us connecting with deeper and deeper authenticity of ourselves. And of course that is a scary, scary, scary freedom to embrace, a scary space to know that our partners could leave us, really, at any point. But unfortunately, that's the reality in all of our dynamics.

And so what does it mean to actually look at that head on and face it, and in that, maybe even see the beauty for me. I find so much beauty in knowing that I have that freedom, my people in my constellation have that freedom, and with that abundance of worlds where they could go anywhere, connect with anyone, they choose me.

And so I find such a beauty in that complex, scary space of what it means to be intentional with our choices when we have all of that freedom. Rather than the, ugh, the ball and chain, I swear to god, just go check out any sort of, um, comedy stand up about relationships and this dynamic is thrown out again and again as if it's normal.

As if the only way to have a meaningful relationship is that it ends in death, regardless of how miserable or inauthentic it seems for us. And I guess I'm here to offer another alternative. Again, when we look at our friendships, I'm confident that you've had many throughout your life that have stayed with you and shifted away.

And what would it mean to look at all of our relationships in that way? To celebrate the unique paths that we take, and to embrace the authenticity that is found as we connect deeper and deeper through relationships that bring out those sides of ourselves. Again, it's a scary space and I tell my partners that all the time.

I'll certainly cry if that's what happens, right? But again, I can't imagine any other alternative. than the freedom to be ourselves and to change over the years.

Oof, yeah. And dear listener, it is scary. And I say all of this to you, and also to myself here, that we can trust we will have many lovers in our lifetime. If you continue to open your heart up to radical intimacy, there will be so many diverse love stories. Co concurrent love stories. I have many of those unfolding in my life right now through my constellation of connections.

And at times it's messy. Other times I'm crying with how beautiful it is to have multiple love stories. You know, all these rom coms talk about one, but can you imagine having multiple at the same time? It's amazing, dear listener. But the only inevitability we can know for certain I hope we can all take a deep breath into that one and see the beauty that is possible when we are choosing our partnerships through the freedom and through the embrace of that change.

Now, dear listener, I know you are a pleasure radical, badass activist out there, so keep doing your thing. Keep dismantling the ways that these systems have internalized expectations around our relationships and what it means to love. There is no end to that process. I continue to reflect and reflect like other systems of oppression.

We will be unpacking this for years to come and future generations will hopefully come into a better world where we've done some of that work for them to a listener. I love you. And with that, let's tune into today's episode.

So then the 1st question I like to ask each guest is how would you introduce yourself to the listeners?

Dirty Lola: Oh, well, I'm a sex educator. I'm Dirty Lola. I'm a sex educator and dildo slinger media personality based in Brooklyn. I've been doing some kind of work within like the sex ed sex positive realm for almost 13 years now. And I've been working in a sex shop. You know, slinging dildos, helping folks with pleasure products for about 11 years now.

So I am knee deep in all things sexy and sexual.

Nicole: So excited to have you on the podcast. I mean, first I think dildo slinger, we have to. Explain for the listeners, right?

Dirty Lola: You do. Yeah, I, you know what? I wasn't the one who coined the term. Um, I'm trying to remember. It was another sex educator. And I was like, can I use this?

She's like, yeah, because it just fits what we do. It's like we sling the dills. We're out here, you know, trying to make people's lives more pleasurable.

Nicole: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. But for the person who doesn't understand even what that means.

Dirty Lola: Yeah, it just means you sell sex toys. That's, that's, you work in a sex shop, you work, you work in a sex shop or somehow are, you know, have your hands in the selling of pleasure products.

Nicole: Great. Yeah. And you, I'm sure have so much insight from working in that space for, you know, years to know what people struggle with, where their pleasure can go to. I'm sure you have so much that we can talk about and unpack today. Oh yeah, definitely. Yeah. Yeah. I know on your form you had mentioned sex after divorce and long distance polyamory, but we can start with either of those or we can start somewhere completely, you know, fresh that's on your heart, but I want to ask you what's calling to you to start with.

Dirty Lola: Let's do those things. I mean, those are still very fresh. Yeah. Yeah. That stuff doesn't. necessarily get old, I don't think. Sure. For some folks. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. Uh, so sex after divorce. Yeah. That's something, I mean, some guests have talked about their journeys with divorce on here, but it hasn't been something that we've held a lot of space to talk about.

So I'd be curious if you, you know, would be willing to share with the listeners, your personal experience with divorce and sexuality and how that played out for you. I'd love for you to really take up the space to tell your story.

Dirty Lola: Oh, for sure. So, for me, divorce came while also being non monogamous and in a polyamorous relationship.

The thing happened that everybody throws at you when you tell them that you're open. What if he leaves you for this other person? It's like, yeah, but That also happens in monogamy, but literally that's what happened. Uh, my now ex husband decided he didn't want to be married to me. There was so many reasons.

There were so many things wrapped around that decision. And one of them was that he just. Is not a polyamorous person, does not have that capacity, and literally fell out of love because he was falling in love with someone else, and when you don't have the capacity to like, hold both of those things within you, this is where you go.

She also left her husband, um, for him, so they're monogamous together, and there were so many other things that happened. around him asking for the divorce and leading up to the divorce that hurt so much more than him leaving me for his girlfriend. Like, that was so inconsequential to me, but it's like when you tell people, they're like, and I'm like, yeah, that wasn't even, like, the thing.

Nicole: Yeah. What were the things if you'd be willing to share?

Dirty Lola: I, I mean, I think a big part of it was she was also my metamorph, and We were a poly family, her husband and she had two kids, so I didn't just lose my marriage, I lost my poly family, I lost being able to be in touch with children I had seen growing up, like I met them when they were three and five, and you know, we were all together for like six years, that's a chunk, that's a chunk of time, there was a lot of it.

So, um, yeah. Oh, there was a lot, I don't even know how to, it was a lot of gaslighting around the divorce happening because my ex Really? And like I say this, we are friendly now. We were, I was literally texting him last night. We're still in contact, but there was a lot of him not wanting to be the bad guy, but what he did made him the bad guy because there was, he was trying to get me to ask for the divorce.

So there was a lot of gaslighting and a lot of shitty behavior and him constantly saying he wasn't looking to end our marriage, but saying things like, well, but I don't love you anymore the same way or, and like, Here's all these things you could change, like trying to push me to be done. But we met when I was 19 and we, we, we were together for 17 years when he asked for the divorce.

Right. So I met him when I was a teenager and I hadn't lived alone since then. And I spent all of my twenties with this person in my, and most of my thirties. So the thought of being on your own. Even when you're like badass and independent, you're not independent fully when you're living with someone and part of your life has always been managed, even if it's consensual, like, I didn't have to, I was always horrible at paying bills and making and balancing checkbooks, so when we got together, I was like, you can have that part of what we do, and I knew what was going on, and I had, you know, Could look at everything.

It wasn't like things were being hidden, but when you don't have to manage it, and then suddenly it was like, I was bad at this before, and now I'm getting thrust back into like, you're suddenly telling me I'm going to have to do this again. Not to mention that, like, we had no savings, you know, thankfully I left the marriage without any debt, but there was.

There was just like I didn't have anything to leave with and it wasn't like he had taken things It was that we didn't have anything and when people who don't have anything Forth you're both left with nothing. But one of you has to start over he I was helping run the family business and part of that, with that came the apartment we lived in.

So the home I lived in for 17 years and took care of and, you know, we did so much work in the apartment, in the apartment we had and he would still have a place to live. I had to like go out and I don't know if you know New York and our housing situation, it was daunting. to think about even how that was going to happen because it's so hard for, for anybody to find an apartment and this was pre pandemic.

So this was, he asked for the divorce at the end of 2017 and I had to live with him for a year, which was another thing. So living with someone who's asked for a divorce, we were burnt and earning, earning it like we had two beds in our bedroom. He was not home a lot. He was going to be with his girlfriend to get away, but there was a lot that wasn't happening.

And like us trying to disconnect because there's so many things that are fucked up about getting a divorce and how you have to disconnect, like trying to go to the bank and open a new bank account and take the money that is in my bank. Under my name, but because his name was on the account, they wouldn't allow me to do it, even though he was fine with it.

He had to be present. So like having to prove to someone that like, I'm not trying to get you to come home because I want to see you. I need you to be here to be a part of this stuff because I can't do these things without you. We had stocks and like trying to split those things. You can't do any of that without the other person.

So I don't know how people do this. When there isn't some kind of cordiality happening, some kind of communication. I can't even imagine what people go through when the other person is just not talking to them or violent or anything. Yeah. Because you don't. It's not even about About them not being you.

It's like they're trying to protect both parties But you end up being in this place of having to like wait for someone else to to do things Mm hmm. And so all of this was happening Right around the time like the year that I had to live with him was also a year I had won a grant and I was on tour Hell yeah Right.

I was on tour with my show sex on a go go I had met the, my now long distance partner who I've been with now for six years. We had been friends and we were just starting to like, kindle, put together, put together a relationship, um, like at the tail end of 2017. So right before the, he asked for the divorce and then I was just in this place of, do I want to be with this person?

Can I handle being with this person while I'm going through this thing? Is it fair to this person for me to be? Going through all of this and, and I cannot be present in the way I would want to be present while going through all of this. So there were all of these things happening, good things mixed with bad things.

And it was a very, it was a very weird year. It was a lot of joy, but not being able to fully feel it. There was a lot of just not being excited about. Being on my own, because I hadn't been on my own in so long, while also being terrified, completely terrified of being on my own and what was going to happen.

And I learned a lot of lessons about sitting back and kind of letting the universe do the thing it's supposed to do. This was a very Also very big spiritual growth year for me in realizing that my life has played out in a very specific way and that a lot of times I'm worried and I'm holding on to a lot of fear because I don't stop to look back at that.

I've put a lot of work into my life and forming it and putting people around me that. Things do happen, and they might not happen the way I want them to happen when I want them to happen, but they happen and in a way I need it. So there was a lot of that happening. Mm hmm. But I ended up landing in this apartment that I'm in, in Coney Island, by the sea.

I live, I live literally like two blocks from the beach. Beautiful, beautiful. I'm looking, I can, I'm looking at Coney Island right now out of this window. I can see the rides from this window. I know, I'm like right here. And it was magic and it was accidental and it was all, I started cat sitting and meeting people because I, friends were like, I know you don't want to be in the house.

My friend needs a cat sitter. So I started a whole side business cat sitting for kinky folks. I love that. And that, and that, you know, made friends and those friends. I got me like into this apartment. They were like, Oh, we, we have a place for you. So it was just all of this, all of these whirlwind of things happening, falling out of love, falling in love and not even falling out of love, realizing that someone doesn't love you and you have to let go.

Cause that is not, you don't fall out of love from that. You have to like. Get rid of the love, the letting go, while also falling in love with someone and being terrified of falling in love with someone who lives so far away. And while all the things are ending, it, it's, it was just, it was a lot. And I survived.

I got through, uh, 2018 was rough and I moved in here the beginning of 2019. So like February of 2019. And by that point, I was deeply in love and in the relationship with my partner. And then the journey with that began of. Trusting somebody new with your heart. Also, he has a wife and a child who I adore and love now, but I was so afraid to get close to them.

Because I was mourning the loss of my poly family and my marriage and all those things. And doing the work that I do, that was a whole, uh, like imposter syndrome. But like on such a grander scale of how can I talk about this stuff when I failed? How can I talk about polyamory when the worst thing in polyamory that people think are going to happen, happen?

How can I talk about love and relationships when my relationship didn't make it? How can I, you know, all of these things, but saying those, those things out loud. You know, so many people reached out and so many people who do this work reached out and they're like, you are not the only person in this work who's lost a marriage or had like something bad happen in their, you know, non monogamy while still trying to talk about.

Being good at non monogamy or being the best you can be in non monogamy. And that was really helpful. I don't think I realized so many people were either going through or had gone through what I went through in a very similar fashion. I'm still finding out like some people that I, that I adore were, were also going through a divorce quietly and painfully at the same time and didn't realize, you know, and it was like, oh man, imagine if we had talked more.

Right. So much of that. So that was. That has been, it's been a lesson, and I, and I told my ex all the time it was a gift, um, that I didn't know, I would not have gotten out of the relationship because I was too afraid to find out who I'd be without that relationship, and that I didn't think I could do it, um, and I couldn't see all the possibilities, and so I kept staying in something that was toxic for me, and not healthy for me, and I kept trying to be someone for him that I was not, because I was trying to be who he needed while still growing into who I am as a human.

And uh, so yeah, I tell him all the time. I'm like, this was a present. This was a gift that, you know, at the end of the day, Could have, he have handled things better, sure. We have had some like deep conversations and he's apologized and things since, but yeah, I don't, I think it's a part of my story. It's a part of who I'm supposed to be and where I'm supposed to be.

This is a thing that was supposed to happen. That's how I try to look at all the hard things in my life.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. The discomfort of growth. Yeah. Thank you for sharing your story and for trusting me and sharing that with the listeners. I know. Of course. Yeah. I'm, I'm thinking about what you just said about all the people who are silently going through the same things.

And I mean, When we look at the data just in general on divorce, right? And we know it's about 50 percent of marriages, right? And I mean, it definitely differs depending on, um, socioeconomic backgrounds and all that sort of stuff. But if we're looking at 50 percent of the population, I mean. There needs to be more space for the reality that half of marriages are going through this, whether you're monogamous or not, right?

Like, this is a story that needs to be told. And you named so many points of the difficulties, right? Of you've been with this person for years. And when you're interdependent in that way, you know, to step out and have your own things, like your own bank account, all these other pieces, it can be absolutely terrifying to.

You know, almost impossible, like you said, to imagine what that future looks like. It's, it's so difficult. And so I appreciate you naming that with the vulnerability of, you know, we can have multiple parts of ourselves, you know, a part that is completely excited. And then another part that is. Absolutely terrified and both are possible.

And typically the normal if there is a normal response right to difficult points like this.

Dirty Lola: Yeah, definitely. And the losing a family like I lost. There is a big chunk of his family that. Just stopped talking to me. People, you know, and it was like overnight. It was one moment. They're my family. And then they weren't.

And that is such a hard thing, especially when you are trying to not have that happen. Like I worked to try to like keep reaching out and I asked him to play a part of reassuring them that it was okay. And one of the things that he didn't do was he kind of He didn't want to do that because he was already trying to integrate his new partner and so he needed them to like disinvite me for to think so like I got, I missed things because he was quickly trying to establish this new relationship without, uh, because for him it had been going on for a while, which is true, like we had all been together, but there's this thing of you have to give space and grace and work on your endings.

And that didn't happen for us. And I think he paid the price in the end for that, because, whereas I had a year of mourning, and by the time I was moving out, I was excited about moving out, and there was still a lot of stuff. Like, I would start crying while I was outside, because I'd go, if I got hit by a car, there'd be no one for them to call.

I still have those moments. Like, I hurt myself really bad a couple months ago, and I had to go to the emergency So you're up at 1130 at night and I have my friends, like people were staying up and on the phone with me and like, I'm going to be up until you come home. And I had a friend who was like, let me come into the, you know, let me come into Brooklyn.

And I'm like, no, dude, you live in the city. It, by the time you get here, it's going to be like two in the morning and I'll still be in the emergency room and they're not going to let you in to see me. And I don't want you here sitting in the emergency room and going to the I plane. There's this thing about not having this person who automatically is with you that can help you not panic because I had injured myself really badly and I had to like be in this Zen moment of figuring it out.

My roommate was like, you were very calm and I'm like, I had no space to panic. I couldn't. there was no one here. Like if I panic, he would panic. He's on the spectrum. So I'm like, I might know my emotional state affects him deeply. So I'm like, if I panic, you are not the calm person. I am. Um, but it was like those moments hit you, those moments hit you that there's not a person here and that all my relationships are a lot of my.

My deep, strong relationships are long distance. So sometimes those things do come, but in the beginning, it's so fresh. It's so real that, you know, relearning stuff, like going to the grocery store. I sobbed in the middle of a Trader Joe's the first time I went shopping by myself for myself when I moved into this house, because I hadn't for 17 years.

I did all my acts of service were for this other person, and it's so much easier to do those things for other people. It's so hard to give acts of service to yourself, and that's my love language. It's also, like, my kink dynamic. I thrive in situations where I get to serve others. Mm hmm. And Being in the middle of a grocery store, like, I'm like, I don't even remember what I like.

I don't remember, is this what I like or what we liked and do I like it without him? And, oh, I can buy these things that he didn't like, so I just didn't buy them. He's like, he didn't like seafood, so I never ate seafood. I never cooked seafood at home. And I'm like, oh, you could buy this. And it, it was just.

So overwhelming and I just started crying and one of the workers walked over and she was like, you okay? Oh, I just I'm getting divorced and I'm shopping and I don't know. I don't know what I what I want I don't know what I need and she just said it's okay She's like, why don't you just walk around and like just put stuff in your cart and like you can decide if you're gonna take It home later and like okay, that's such a good idea.

And I was in Trader Joe's for like three And And nobody tells you about that. Nobody talks about that weird shit that you're going to be. And even him, I asked him, I was like, I was telling him that story. Cause we were having a, a sit down and just talking to each other about stuff. And he goes, Oh, you went through that too.

He's like, you used to do everything. You used to do all the shopping and the cooking. He's like, I ate out. I ate takeout for a year. Wow. And so he had all these health issues because for a year he like gained 60 pounds. He ended up having like a fatty liver. There were all these repercussions of his behavior too.

So when people go like, Oh, I'm like, I'm not mad at him because he suffered in his own way. Like there were, he, and, and a lot of it was things he did to himself, but it was, that was how his stuff played out. Mine was deeply emotional. That's not who he is. And so though he had emotional stuff, it came out for him in other ways.

Even the person who's asking for the thing, doing the damage is grieving and going through things and. usually lying to themselves about how they're grieving or, you know, that they're sad. Cause I think he tried to tell himself he wasn't sad. And then when I found out he realized like, Oh, this is real.

Like, oh, this thing I asked for is happening and you're really leaving. And it was like, yeah, you asked me to leave. Reality hits. Yeah. Yeah. But it was helpful. I think talking to him and knowing these things helped me get through it maybe in a little petty way of like, okay, good, because we all want the person who hurts us to hurt.

But I think I, I, for me, it was more of like. Okay, this didn't mean nothing to you, right? Right. Like, you know, I think it would have hurt worse for him to be happy completely and not have gone through anything than to know, like, these are all the things that he went through and how he went through them, though they were different from mine.

It was okay. This wasn't 17 years of nothing.

Nicole: Mm hmm. Yeah, to see that it impacted him and moved him. Yeah, and I'm, I'm glad, sad that you had that moment in Trader Joe's of crying, right? As your reality, your whole reality has shifted. Did of purpose and yeah, even what am I going to buy for dinner? It is impacted by the relationships.

And so to step that out, I mean, that's a whole change to sit through and to process, to grieve, to step into and glad that you had this. space to allow yourself to cry, because I think we both know, too, that a lot of people go through that experience and are like, well, I gotta be strong, I gotta be strong, I can't cry in the aisle, because God forbid that Trader Joe's employee sees me, you know?

Dirty Lola: Mm hmm. I was not strong in 2018.

Nicole: Ah, I think it is strong. I think it is strong when we allow ourself to feel that, right? Yeah. Yeah.

Dirty Lola: It's a different part of your strength.

Nicole: Yeah, totally to be vulnerable to allow those emotions to like come and know that that doesn't make you weak. I think there's so much bravery in that, especially in our culture.

That's very like, God, you got to figure it out. Put, you know, pull up the bootstraps and go, go, go, you know, it's like, so, but yeah, I mean, what a journey. And even like you had shared at the beginning too, I mean, Though I obviously wasn't there in the situation, but from what I'm hearing from you, the ways that he was kind of nudging you to leave without directly stating it because maybe he has difficulties with confrontation.

I don't know him, right? Um, you're right. I'm just like, what is what I'm hearing? Um, so then like to put you in that difficult situation. And I think a lot of people get into that situation where one partner is kind of like nudging, but like, won't rip off the bandaid, won't rip off the bandaid. And then it puts you into this like dark corner where it's like, okay, I'm going to have to make this decision because you won't state it.

I mean, that's so hard.

Dirty Lola: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Or you end up bending yourself into these unrecognizable shapes and being someone who you aren't or don't want to be in order to save things. And I think that, I feel, I feel like that's kind of a little bit of the toxic message is there's this push to always try to save things and I don't think everything is savable.

Yeah. And I think the strength is in recognizing when Are these little problems or are these big things that we can't reconcile, whether it be, I know for us part of it was like, I'm polyamorous, this is part of my identity, I see it as part of my sexuality, it's how I love, it's always been how I love, before I was with him I was polyamorous and just didn't have a label for it and then during my growth time of where had I not met him or had I, we not, Moved in so early.

I probably would have figured out that more or stuck with what I was doing and You know, but when you lock into monogamy Completely and like lock into like you're living with someone you're on that relationship escalator Like we were engaged when I was 24. Yeah. Yeah, and we were married When I was 25.

Nicole: Yeah, the brain just finished developing.

Dirty Lola: Right? I couldn't even rent a car yet when we got engaged. So like there are these things that some people, I know I have people in my life that were high school friends and then started dating after and are together still. And deeply in love. And I think some people grow together because they, they, they work so well that they allow each other to grow and to keep seeing each other for who they are as they grow.

And then there are going to be people like in our case, he didn't change a lot. I mean, There's been some things that's happened for him since where I see a big change in him. Like he's experienced parent death and just some other stuff has happened in the years since we've not lived together that I see some change.

But while we were living together, he was very much who I met and I was a completely different person. And I get not liking who I became because I wasn't, I, when he met me, I was this very, this person who needed. And I had come from a very trauma filled child and teen hood and early and met him in my early 20s.

And, you know, we trauma bonded over 9 11. That was like a thing. We knew each other then. So I went from this person that needed him and appreciated being saved, because he did in many ways save me, to this very independent, knowing what I want, growing into who I am because I'm growing up. And I get that.

Liking that person, like he had once said, like, if I met you now, I don't know if we'd be together and I'm like, same buddy, because you're not, you know, and I think that's so real. And I think it's okay to recognize that maybe those are not things that you can fix and they don't have to end in a nasty, horrible way, but I think we have to let go of this idea that.

Do you have to stay in things just because, for the sake of staying in them, right? The sanctity of marriage. No, no. But I, and you know, and I'm, I'm a person, I believe in getting to know each other. Longer, especially if you're young, and I hate saying that to people, but it's like, listen, I was young and I was fully invested in who I was and who he was and who we were when I was 20, 21, 22, 23 and living in a home and playing house, living house and 25, 26, 27, being in this marriage, and then you hit an age and you realize, like, you never got to it.

Do the things that people your age do and explore. I'm a big proponent of sex before marriage because I feel like sex is a way we connect and we communicate and we love and it, and yes, you can have all those things without sex, but I think that. We all know that the main building blocks of a lot of relationships and marriages are our intimacy.

And if you don't vibe that way, that's going to be this huge part of your, your foundation that's missing. Yeah. So like, yeah, I'm a fan of like, if it's not really where, if you've tried, if you've gone to therapy, if you've sat, if you really tried to put effort into it and it's not working. You don't have to keep staying in it.

Nicole: Yeah, I mean, there's lots of people that stay in that, even abusive dynamics, right, because of the sanctity of the marriage and the needing to stay with that person and do that. And I mean, you see it in our culture, too. I mean, I like to hope that we're getting better, you know, of honoring the reality that relationships, like you said, like, Fluctuate and change over time.

And you might end up having different value systems as you grow up and grow apart in that way and not to force yourself to stick with something that is no longer working for you. But you see in like comedy specials and especially, you know, uh, sitcoms and stuff, when you go back, like these images of marriage is like, Oh, the ball and chain,

Dirty Lola: I got a deal with that.

Nicole: And it's like, God,

Dirty Lola: like what if we were happy to be with our. people instead. Yeah. And maybe that does mean that you have to leave. And I think, um, yeah, I'm definitely a big proponent of sex before marriage as well. I mean, I think once you take off the purity culture, like weight to that, you know, then it's like, Yeah.

Explore yourself. I want to dance with multiple partners and learn, each partner I dance with has a very different style. And in that process, I learn about my own sexual identity, right? So there's so much there. And I think, you know, the data has been showing that. In terms of identification with LGBTQIA identities, it is skyrocketing, and I think the reality, at least I would imagine that part of that is not that, you know, there hasn't been queer people in the past, it's just that the cultural, you know, acceptance is definitely not fully there, but we are at a time where it is much more acceptable.

So we're seeing more people step into their queerness. And I think that, you know, a lot of what I hear in the cultural dialogue is people who have been married for years, who, you know, you fully identify as that, you know, sexual identity without having to need any experience doing it to be very clear.

But there's a lot of people who are now like, damn, I never. Got to explore this whole part of myself. Yeah. When I met him, I was identifying as bi. I now, I say currently because fluidity, but I currently identify as queer. And that was a part, like, you have to, you shut it down. You know, you're, and especially for bi folks, you're just immediately straight.

Or, you know, or it's like, oh, yeah, well, you weren't really gay to begin with. Like when you, you know, so you lose access to exploring that. That was part of the lead into us opening our marriage was me missing getting to explore, and those were. My sapphic relationships were the foundational relationships of my, of my youth, and, and then to suddenly be with just a man and only a man, and I call it what I call it my horse blinder years because the first I was so in love with him that I didn't look, I didn't want those other things.

And I think everybody goes through that, right? Like even in non monogamy, you'll find people who only have like a couple of partners because they're so invested in who they're with that they're not, excuse me, they're not looking and dating. For other people, but then when you wake up for that and you don't have the ability, like I currently have the ability to, if I'm like, you know what, I, I feel like I have space for this and I want to go date.

I can do that. You can't do that in a marriage, you know, a monogamous marriage. And so you lose all of that. And so how many people and we see it all the time, like how many people of all genders end up in relationships and. End up in those relationships because they're running from what they know about themselves, uh, or, or didn't even know, but maybe had an inkling, but then still, like, ended up in this relationship and didn't get to pursue that.

And now something's happened that's awakened that for them and all the things you were saying it being a much safer world. Relatively to be gay, or you can at least go places and be gay and, you know, all the things and live a life in ways you couldn't at all back in the day. So we're just, I think we're just seeing it more pushed to the surface instead of it being in the, instead of it being in the shadows.

And the same goes with non monogamy. Non monogamy has been around forever. So many people have been practicing it. And all it takes is for you to start talking about it and then people start noticing and it's like, well, yeah, because now you're giving it. Space. You're not creating it. It's already there.

It's not being pushed on you. It's that it's just being given space in the narrative, where before it's always been just monogamy, monogamy, monogamy, anything else is cheating or anything else is y'all are just freaky suburban couples who swing or whatever. But, you know, like now we have all of these things.

And I think I'm 42, so I feel like I'm the last, our generation, I'm a Xenial with an X, I'm in that sweet spot between Gen X and Millennial, like I had a rotary phone and my dial up used to screen mix with me and you couldn't use the camera. I'm of that age. Totally. Had a cell phone, you know, like we were the last generation of folks who we were the beginning of that starting, like I came out in high school, I had so many gay friends, and we weren't, they weren't being bullied in school for being gay, like, and that's the thing for my high school, I will say.

If people were bullying you, it was for regular kid shit, it wasn't because you were gay. Also, there were so many of us who were open or open ish, and we hung out together, we had community, we were being spoken to about this, it wasn't about hiding. I mean, people were still not telling their parents, and kids were getting thrown out of home, and things like that.

But, I feel like we were that, like, threshold of You can't ignore this as it, this, there's just too many, this is a part of too many people's lives. We joke, I went to Long Island City High School and the initials are LIC and we call it Lost in the Closet because after high school, so many more people that we weren't even, that weren't even in our crew were, came out as queer, bi, gay, trans.

Like our, 99, I'm gonna say there's like 60 percent LGBTQ. That's a lot. for your graduating class. And now I, like my partner's kiddo is 13 using they, them pronouns. And the right now they're like, I think I'm, I'm pan because I, I'm not, they haven't had sex. And I love that we all, we can have these conversations with them, but they're like, I'm pan because I don't know what I don't like, but what can I say that I don't like everything?

And I was like, You're thinking there, friend. You're smart. Yes! And I tell them all the time, I'm like, I love I love how amazingly open you are and I know it's because we created a world where you have language and you have, you have tools and resources and you grew up in this world that like, I know my generation helped create so that there aren't, these things aren't in the dark and you're not finding them out from your friends or in the dark corners of the internet.

They're very much a part of life. So that you know you have choice. So that you know that there can be fluidity in how you feel, whether it be sexually or who you want to be in a relationship with, or all those things. And you don't have to like, fit in this one little box of heteronormativity, monogamy, and then feel like a weirdo.

You get to just know that there's this buffet of things. And you need to choose. We're finally in a spot where we're experiencing kids seeing the vastness of what's available. And it's not to say that not to be monogamous and it's not saying you must be polyamorous or you must be, you know, practice relationship anarchy.

It's that there's so much choice.

Nicole: Yes.

Dirty Lola: Let them choose. Yeah. Stop choosing for them. And I, I'm just, those are the things that give me hope. Like seeing kids like them. You know, be okay with being weird. Thinking to their weirdness. They got a pen that said in a world full of Cheerios, I'm a fruit loop. I love it.

I'm like, you know, I'm like, you were the kid that I wanted to be like, I was almost there, but I didn't have as much confidence in my weirdness as you have like. I was still longing to be a cool kid and you just don't give a fuck and I love it so much.

Nicole: Yeah, it's powerful. I love to see it, right? I mean, I will say that gives me so much hope too and I see that level of questioning the systems and stepping into your authenticity.

I mean, excited to see when y'all are president and what you were gonna do with the world. Yes. It's gonna be a different one in a couple of years. Yeah. It is. When I, I was growing up, I went to a Christian school, so you can imagine, oh yeah, so there was a handful of folks, myself included, that came out after school to realize, oh wow, you know, so there's, yeah, the, the, the cage that you're in at times can really make it impossible.

I didn't even know I was queer. I was, there was so much cognitive dissonance going on that, you know. Anytime I thought like that would happen. It was so like, Oh, absolutely not. That's sinful. But yet then I feel these interesting dynamics and be exceptionally more nervous around women, you know, like, Hmm, wonder what that, wonder what that was.

Right. So it's just a process. And so I'm so happy to see that. Because of the world we're creating, people are feeling safe enough to step into that, right? And yeah, I love what you shared about choice. Like it's always about that informed consent, uh, choice in how we're constructing relationships and all these pieces of our lives.

And I mean, I think the informed consent reality is that, yeah, monogamy. It is not what all cultures have practiced for centuries. So we have to name that fact that this is a part of our Western, you know, colonization of this is how you do love and marriage. So we have to name that in the historical context that that is not what other cultures have practiced.

Right. Facts. Right. And then even people like, you know, the sex at dawn book and other sorts of pieces when we go back to even more evolutionary factors, we're much closer to bonobos and the way that they have sex, you know, not monogamously. animals do not have monogamous sexual patterns. That is a fact.

You know, like we have to name these facts, you know, you, everyone gets to choose the life that you want to build with those facts. Right. And the, but the reality is in our culture, there's so much judgment and shame around anybody who steps into non monogamy and polyamory. And, you know, I think that's what you and I are both trying to say is that, like, people get the choice to choose and we have to name these facts so that we can dismantle the shame and the judgment around it so that there's space.

And then in that, you get to choose and the life that you pick of polyamory or relationship anarchy or swinging or monogamy, all of those lives are going to have. very different outcomes. You're going to have very different investments in your time and your energy and who you connect with, but there's no right or wrong in that.

Dirty Lola: Right. Well, and the, the thing in our culture that is, there's this like bit, this Shadowy sliver that folks forget is that you, we, we live in a culture that was built on monogamy, heteronormativity, but there's all these things that happen in the shadows of people cheating. Yes. Like, and there's whole side chick, you know, my, my Goomba, my like whole, you know, there's an every ethnicity, there's a name for the side chick and there's.

This thing of like, it's this accepted thing for the man to have his needs met. And then whole families, how many, how many people like you find out all the time, it's not a one off situation to find out. Somebody had whole families. Like, we're seeing that in a lot of the true crime. Thank you, true crime, for exposing all these extra families people have had because something always happens around somebody finding out somebody had another family.

Yeah. lived whole other lives, especially in the fifties and sixties, when there was no tech for you to be able to track down totally what your partner was doing when they had a job out of town. And, and I'm also talking about, like, the culture of, um, homosexuality, the LGBTQ community, but how many people participate in that and the shadowy ways of like the, the Catholic church, like all these ways that People are still doing those things, but in not non consensual, shady, unethical, harmful ways and then have their nerve to point at people who are just like, I'm just trying to live, which I think informs for a lot of people.

Why? The LGBTQ and even like kink non monogamy is seen in such a shadowy way in a negative way because the things that inform it are all this other shit that is the like inverse. It's the, it's the shadow side of all of these different communities are the people doing it in the shadows. Shamefully, and usually harming others because they're, they're doing things in the shadows and shamefully.

Nicole: I was a proud advocate against LGBTQIA rights when I was Christian. And we can ask deeper questions about why was I so passionate? Right. Why was I so passionate about being like, no, no.

Dirty Lola: Yeah. Cause if you can't have it, you know, if you can't have it, if you can't live in it, it shouldn't, and also validating your own stuff, man.

Nicole: Yeah. Totally. I know it's scary to think about, but yeah, that's so deep in there. And I'm, uh, you know, like as a therapist, I think my positionality is different because then I hear about all the infidelity I hear about all of these things, you know, that are just. So widespread and I tried to get that data for my dissertation and I got some stuff, but the reality is no one is actively going to a survey mean like, let me check off that.

I cheated on my partner here, so like that data is really hard to find, you know, but like you're saying for for centuries, there have been, you know, these, the extra marital affair, the person that you would have that sort of passion with. And that's a lot of what even the romance novels came around with of like, Oh, I must miss.

Yeah. You know, have this contract with this one person to secure the land. But also I have this lover off to the side that I'm so in love with.

Dirty Lola: Right. And that's romance and all of that. Look at Alexander Hamilton. But you know, like even our founding fathers, the fallaciousness, but that whole bit of Hamilton, just like you're cheating on your wife and then you write about it.

Nicole: Well, what I find is really funny too, is like as someone who was, who grew up Christian, King Solomon, 700 wives and 300 concubines. And he was a chosen man. Of God.

Dirty Lola: Yes.

Nicole: Totally. So it's like it's in the Bible. I don't know. I'm just following the biblical commands over here. You know what I mean? But it's so hard, you know, to, to, you know, I think you and I have gone through and many of us in this community have gone through that, like, deconstruction of these ideas, right?

And, and now when you sit here, you're like, I could not go back to that old paradigm that I used to see love and relating in. And now you sit here in this space trying to now choose with this, you know, with your informed consent, how you want to construct it. But like we were saying earlier, the people who feel like.

They are, I don't want to say trapped because they, they, I'm sure we, we love our partners, but also feel this yearning at the same time. We hold both emotions, right? Yes. And, um, to want to explore these other parts of their sexuality with different people and romanticism. And I think it can be so easy to imagine that for yourself of like, yeah, I could totally have other lovers and other people that I play with, but my partner having that.

Oh no, no way, no way, because God forbid they leave, then what?

Dirty Lola: Right. I, I mean, I tell everybody who I have conversations with, cause I get a lot of, I'm not a therapist, and I have to remind people that all the time, cause they pop up in my DMs and they'll, like, it's always some story about being unhappy and, um, you know, being in a sexless marriage and.

Yep. Um, and all these things for various reasons. And a lot of times they're not mad at their partner. They, there is an understanding of why they are where they are a lot of times. But it's the, like, you seeing it, cheating is the only way out. And I'm like, let me, what if I, I'm going to give you two pills.

One pill is going to be, you get away with it for a while, but when you get found out and believe me, I, I had an affair. With it within my marriage and they find out they always do and it destroys them it destroys you. It's not Even, and even for like, even mine, where it was like, I wasn't doing it because I wanted to leave him, it was just like, realizing where I was, and that I was unhappy, and all these things, it was a wedge that took a very long time, and even still, that was probably one of the many reasons why we ended up divorced, even though it was years after the infidelity, it's a wedge, it's a thing, and you're still going to hurt them.

You think that keeping it secret, and Not doing anything with it. Like I'm not, I'm keeping it secret. They're not going to find out. It's not going to hurt them, but when they do, they're going to be crushed. And whether they find out while you were alive or after you're dead, whatever, whenever it is, they're going to find out it's going to harm them.

It's not just going to hurt them. It's going to harm them versus you having a conversation. That's going to hurt with them about what you need and how unhappy you are and how you, what you feel you could do to. How you want to approach trying to have your needs met or like, like something, it's going to hurt.

Maybe that ends your marriage too, but if it ends your marriage, it ends your marriage because you were being honest with them and you were sharing with them your, what you need and your desires and, and offering to like, how can we work on this versus them finding out you betrayed them, didn't talk to them, did this horrible thing to them, and your marriage is still going to end and you know, like, and it goes back around to what we were saying before, maybe this isn't meant to be, And I know that's not, it's a, it sounds so simple.

And I say, this is hard. The hardest thing you'll ever do is make that decision to be vulnerable with your partner and say, I'm unhappy. But I know if I would have been told two years before that he was unhappy and wanted out, I would have much preferred that over the years of gaslighting and nudging and all the things that happened in that time before he finally asked for the divorce, I would have.

Wanted that better to be, it would have hurt. It would have still met the end of our marriage. Maybe we, it would have meant as a collective figuring out how we end things versus feeling forced to end things and. Having no bearings at all within it and it's so, it's so hard and I get it, I get it, but people, it's like, you're still, there's, there's not, you're not getting away with it.

I've, I've seen too many stories where the, after somebody dies, the side chick also puts out an obituary.

Or the other family, you know, it's like. Yeah. And then the dark always comes to the light, as my grandmother used to say. Yeah. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. And, and, oof, holding space for the people that are listening to this, that are there, you know, are thinking about it, I mean, it makes sense to have those desires, right?

Like we were saying, the facts about how we are from like an evolutionary standpoint of, of that standpoint. Um, it makes sense to have those desires. So it's not a moral failing, right. To have those desires, but you have to be obviously conscious of the ways that those actions are impacting other people and their ability to trust you.

And, and also just thinking about like holding that internally every single day, when you see your partner and connect to that other person, there is so much, I can't imagine like holding that. You know, and trying to connect and not also like judging yourself in the process and having shame about like that just sits so heavy on the soul to know that, that like you said, you're not just hurting them.

You're also hurting yourself in that process. And I mean, even if we take it up higher ranks, I, you know, the don't ask, don't tell and polyamory. I think that's really, really, really hard to do as someone who tried to do it because. Yeah. The reason why you don't ask and don't tell is because it hurts them to a degree, right?

And they don't want to know it. And so then every time that, you know, I was connecting with someone else, I felt like, Oh God, like I, there's this part that I have to keep to myself. Cause if I do, I'm hurting them. And it, there was, and then like, how do you explain to your, your partner that like, Oh, I'm busy on Tuesday.

Oh, what are you doing? Um, well, I, I, I guess I lie now. Okay. I'm going out with, you know, like just the, the practicality of that, I think is really hard when we're having to hold these, um, parts of ourselves of our truth and our experience inside and not being able to share that in relationship. I mean, The psychology theories that I study would say that's like quite literally what causes our psychological distress is not just that, but like all these different areas where we're holding pieces, where we don't feel like we can bring them into relationship with people without being disconnected.

Right. It just causes so much pain, but.

Dirty Lola: And just given over time, I make a choice to not deal with don't ask, don't tell, because when I can't verify that this is a consensual relationship, if I can't have some kind of. Reassurance that your partner is on board with you dating people. That's the thing. But also in the long run, because polyamory isn't just about sex and hooking up and, and, you know, fucking around.

It's about connectiveness. A big part of why my partner and his, my metamor came out to their families was because three, four years in, they realized I was a secret. And that, you know, when I, I, I like, it was never a thing that I was like, you have to tell them, because I, I get not disclosing to your families.

It becomes a thing. And for them, they had been together. They've been together 15 years. And even though they've been open now for seven, like half that time, coming out to your families is a huge thing. But they started realizing we're having to lie because. If we are trying to spend a holiday with you, there has to be a reason why we can't see them because I would come to them for a holiday and then they'd have to make up an excuse about why like her parents who were local to them couldn't come over or they would come over and I'm a friend.

Yeah, how did that feel? Right. And I mean, for me, it was because I got why where they were and I, I don't, and because we were so long, we were so far apart. I didn't. It didn't go on long enough for me to start really feeling the impact of it. I think if, I feel like now, if they weren't open, I would, but, um, because there, we've done a lot more things and we hadn't done holidays.

I think the holiday that we did spend together was the one that was like, Oh, we have to ask our kid to lie. We have to explain to our kid why they can't talk about like, cause their kid, their kid who I adore and they adore me, and, and they were dating other people. I'm not the only one is having to like, that's mom and dad's friend.

You can't like, you know, and they're like, right. Okay. Because grandma and grandpa don't know. Yeah. So you're asking your kid to lie. You're lying. And you're hurting people. Cause like, I remember I was there and her parents were like, well, why can't we? And they're like, oh, well, we're not. And it was a whole thing.

And then finally they decided, they were like, we don't want you to be a secret. We don't want to lie to them because we were planning for them to come here for a holiday. And it was just all this stuff. So it finally, you have to, there is going to be a moment. Where you have to come out if you're doing don't ask, don't tell that harms the other person you're with because you can't go on.

What if you go away for a long weekend, you can't right. I'm going on a cruise with my partner in December for seven days. How do you tell your partner you're getting on a plane to go to Miami? So then get on a boat where you're not going to be reachable most of the time, like we're getting a, I made him, I was like, no, we're getting the plant.

We're going to that has the internet. He goes, why? Like, cause you have a wife. We need to let her know at least once a day that you're alive and also say hello to her because I love her. We should, you know, and I, you can't be unreachable for a week, but could you imagine if it was don't ask, don't tell?

Like, how do you do that? You can't.

Nicole: How do you do that? You literally cannot, right? Um, sorry, I'm going on a trip by myself.

Dirty Lola: Yeah, by myself. I'll be back. I'll be back in eight days.

Nicole: Totally. Totally. Hence the like, the true like, when you try to play that out and think about just like, basics of attachment. If you're doing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, that might work for the first, you know, month.

Mm hmm. Two months. You start hitting six months, years with these people, you get more and more attached and you want to spend more and more time together and they become an important part of your life and I mean, I don't know about you, but for me, with my own polyamory relationship anarchy journey, it's been so profoundly.

Intimate and I guess I'm lucky that like, as I was newer to the space, it was really hard for me to hear about my partner's journeys with other people, right? It's an adjustment. You have to the discomfort of growth, right? Like it was uncomfortable at first to start here that hearing what my partner had done with other people because I had such a paradigm of.

You know, what I was taught in our culture is that you love one person, you have sex with one person, particularly with my Christian background, you know, there's a lot of time up there. So it was really hard to hear that at first, where I was lucky that one of my partners had been doing this for, you know, about a decade.

So they have much more comfortability with these feelings and more ability to hear them. And so when I would be sharing about my experiences with him and he's like, yeah, that sounds super great. Did you try this with that partner? What about this position? Did you try, you know, like. Oh my, there is so much intimacy once you're able to share the experiences you're having with other people and like, have that be a part of the intimacy that you co create together.

Dirty Lola: That's so powerful. Very much so. I mean, and it's also this There's a misnomer that I hate when people are like, Oh, you don't get jealous. And I'm like, no, jealous is a normal, normal, like emotion that you should, I, you, something's wrong with you. In my opinion, if you don't have some form of jealousy and cause jealousy is not just because you are, you know, it's not cause you're a bad person or it's not cause you don't want good things for your partner.

Sometimes they're just warning systems that things aren't being handled. The way you need, sometimes they are red flags, but they're red flags that you need to take note. And sometimes it is just your shit and being steeped in monogamy and being raised in monogamy. You still hold on to the vestiges of it.

So there is this point of like, like you said, it takes time to get to the point where you're like talking about that stuff. I still, uh, when my partner started seeing someone new, I realized the distance for me is hard because. I get really upset that this new person gets so much of him in person, and I get these dosed out visits.

And we talk all the time and we have a standing, you know, phone, uh, like video phone date, video phone. I sound like I'm from the eighties, but we have like a standing date where we're seeing each other's faces and talking and we keep up with each other and all these things. But I get doses of him in person and this person gets to just randomly be able to go to his house when they have a party or, you know, have a in person date.

And so that's hard for, it's not the person, it's that like, I don't get this thing that this person who's just coming into his life gets. And so for me, I'm, you know, I've had to, I have a little boundaries. I'm like, I want to know when you're dating someone new. I want to know about them. I don't want to always know about your dates.

Like, let me come to that asking how it is. Um, especially if it was something fun. Cause fuck you for doing something fun. Like, uh, yeah, but you know, and then I like, It takes a little bit and I get used to it and I'm like, Oh, and it, that kind of fades. Because I'm like, he's happy and all these other things come into play.

So you never let go of all of those things, but you don't, you won't get to a place where you learn how to deal with them or where they just kind of go away for you unless you deal with them.

Nicole: Absolutely. I love that you named the, yeah, the jealousy is normal. I know that where it's complex, but yeah, normal reaction, you know, when you have attachments and the places that you've been around, you know, our brain immediately projects out other person.

Oh, no, it's going to fall. You know, so it makes sense to have those reactions and. It makes me sad when people have that reaction and then the next step of thought is, Oh, so this isn't for me. And it makes me really pissed off when therapists pull that into the room and then say, Oh, well, so then maybe it's a sign that this doesn't work for you.

And it's like, my God. When I started rock climbing, that shit was scary. When I started doing therapy, that was scary to do, right? And you step into these moments of expansion, but like you said, having your own pacing with that, that was always my thing that I was been working on with my partner Cooper is like, you know, It's hard, and I had to tell him, like, you know, my window of tolerance, whatever that is, checking in with my body, you know, like, that is growing with time and practice, but at first, just anything, it sent me into this, this point where I'd be in tears, and so we'd have to really, like, slowly go through that, and, and honoring that need, and Also at the same time, not staying necessarily in the space of safety because growth is in that slight discomfort, but not so much so that you're dysregulated.

Right. So being able to check with your body about that process and push yourself a little bit, but not so much so that you're dysregulated.

Dirty Lola: Right. And yeah, you got to give it, you have to give it space and time. I just, I just feel like there's also like with every, everybody's different. There's so many personalities when you're in non monogamy and you know, it's always going to feel different.

Like, I have an immense friendship with my metamor and we are like, we talk to each other all the time. We probably do with it. People always say like, oh. Don't, you know, don't bring your relationship problems, but I'm like, we date the same person. I know, they have insight. She's married to him. I'm dating him.

We have the same issues. And I think for us, it's been so helpful that, and I know for her. She goes, oh my god, you don't know how good this made me feel to find out he does this bullshit with you. Because it's not because we're married and we've been married for 15 years. And so he, he's taking me for granted.

He just does this shit. And I'm like, yeah. This is who he is. And so us talking when she's frustrated and also like I'm able to offer her like a space where she can talk about him, knowing I know him and I know his, his bullshit because we are in an intimate, we're both intimate with him in intimate ways where your friends aren't right.

Your friends kind of just, so sometimes I'm able to be like, Hey, are you not seeing this side of his stuff? And she's like, Oh, you're right. And, you know, I think we are able to handle things in ways that aren't toxic, but I could have never seen. Doing this with my ex met a more and my old relationship because now I know she was very invested in separating me from my partner and not wanting him to be with me and wanting him for herself and, you know, I don't want that.

And I always laugh and I'm like, she's like, You can't leave because then you'll leave me alone with him. And I'm like, no. Well, I'm like, I feel the same. You can't get divorced because I don't want to, I don't want to have full responsibility for him. I enjoy sharing custody of this man with someone else.

Nicole: Share with your new relationship.

Dirty Lola: Yeah, because you know it's, I also, I tell people all the time, like, part of what I enjoy about non monogamy is that I'm not responsible for the way I felt so responsible for everything in my marriage, even if that's not how it should be, right? That's codependency, but you know, that's a whole other thing, but you, we do, I think we do feel like we have to be the most we can be within a minute when you're in a monogamous relationship.

And especially in times like the lockdown where we had to be everything you have to be your social part, all the stuff in non monogamy, there's a comfort in knowing that when I can't be there, he's being taken care of. That there's someone who's loving him in a close way because I'm not there. That makes it much easier to be in this long distance relationship because I don't have that guilt of, Oh, you're there by yourself and I'm here.

And I think it makes it much more manageable. But also that I know like, Oh, this is, this is the partner that you do this with that I don't want to do with you, but that you get this outlet with. Um, and now we've been talking, we had our date. Right now my metamorphosis has a lot of work stuff happening and I'm here and he's not dating anybody else right now.

And he was saying like, he's like, he feels a little touch starved because their cat passed away. One of their cats passed away and she was a very like attached to him cat. So she was always touching him, always on him. And he's like, you know, I didn't realize how much touch I was getting from this animal.

And I'm not getting that. The other cats don't like me like that. Like that's not how we interact. But I'm not getting like, she just used to sit on my lap and purr. And I'm like, yeah, you're missing a lot now you and, and you're going through this pocket of time where your wife is highly busy in her job, which happens every year and I'm here and I'm like, do you think it's time to open the apps?

Like maybe you need to find some intimate company, like, you know, again, he was taking a break, but I'm like, this might be a time to like, maybe you do need that extra outlet of, of having that. Your third partner is helpful because sometimes you need that, like your wife wants you to leave her alone because she's tired after work and I'm mad far away and you know, so like having that person who you're, and I know, and he's, he's been working on friendship time and I'm like, that's, that friendship cup, your friendship cup is very full right now, but I think you're missing that extra like cuddle buddy, spending time with somebody who, who can, you know, Pick up the slack when things are, the pendulum is swinging the other way.

Nicole: Yeah. Sure. Absolutely. Yeah. And in that, like, you know, or at least what was helpful for me too is this space where like when it was hard for me to deal with the feelings of, Oh, get on the apps and find another partner. Right. Like, yeah, it's much easier for me to sit sometimes in my own self and think.

Okay, this is hard to give, but if I was in their shoes, what sort of freedom would I want? What sort of message would I want? Which is like, yeah, maybe you need to get on the apps, right? And, uh, when you were talking about just the ability to have your partner explore other parts of themselves and sexual experiences with other people, I mean, I think that is so big because, you know, sometimes within our paradigms of mononormativity, There are people in relationships having types of sex that they do not want to have for the benefit of their partner and vice versa.

If you have a type of sex that you really want to explore, say you really want to get into kink and your partner has zero desire into that, you're then cutting that part off. And then even, you know, further, you know, in my work, what I've heard is people who are Wanting to have a divorce, but not sure we're ready to step into that next step, and then this paradigm of, you know, I am my partner's one sexual person.

So that means even though I don't necessarily feel as right in this relationship anymore, I need to have sex with this person. And then the type of, I would say, trauma that having sex with someone, when it's not what you really want in your body and you're trying to save the marriage, I mean, That is a type of experience in the body that is so difficult that I hear a lot in my work from people.

And so I, I'm just happy that there's a space in the cultural shift moving where people can understand that it doesn't mean our partners don't love us. They just have different parts that they want to explore with people. And, and I'm kind of like, thank God, like, I don't want to do that kind of play.

Like I'm glad you have an outlet for it because that is not my kind of thing, you know? And yeah.

Dirty Lola: Yeah. Well, and that's. So like, Oh, that is such an important bit of it. And I think, you know, though we, we try to impress upon people that it's not just about sex with non monogamy or with polyamory specifically, but it's, there is this thing of, we were talking, bringing it back around, my partner's queer, he's a queer man.

Like if he was in a monogamous relationship, how would that get serviced for him? Like, how would that be taken care of? How would he be feeding that part of him that needs to be fed? I love, how would I get the stories of my boy fun? I wouldn't, you know, like. I love hearing about when he meets a new boy and like, and you know what, those are much easier for me to handle because like, I don't have a penis.

So like, of course, go, go get this thing that you need, but it's, it's like how many people are living that and not getting to take care of that bit of themselves. And I, I do, I do fully believe in like going, Oh. This is not what you like. I like these things with you and I like doing this, but you don't quite enjoy this.

So why keep trying to bring this into you? Cause we get that working in a sex shop, but stuff, but stuff is a huge thing that people always, and it usually is like this men says hetero men want to do butt stuff with their like CIS hetero monogamous partner. Who's like, no. And when I go, well, what if. What if you also do this, because if you're asking your partner to do something you shouldn't be asking them to do something you wouldn't do, you'll see their partner light up of like, I'd be willing to try it if you were willing to try it.

And they shut it down. They're like, no, no, no, I'm not putting anything. And it's like, so why is it okay for you to, you're, you literally brought them in here to try to get me to, to like explain.

Nicole: Power dynamics? Jesus, to implicate you.

Dirty Lola: Right. Or to like make them like, this is going to be, and I'm like, well, and it might not be pleasurable.

I'm like, here's why it could be pleasurable for a person with a vulva, but it might not be. And here's what they could discover about themselves. However, you're going to be very disappointed and I always make them very upset because i'm like your penis is like Fifth on the list of things that should be going in their butt Like this is not we're talking about months before we get to your dick and they're like what and i'm like Yeah, your dick should never be the first thing going in somebody's butt That's what you're truly working up to and what you will want your partner to enjoy it There's a road to get to that enjoyment And it starts with them actually being on board and not being stressed out about it.

Yes. And if they're willing, that willingness can't come at, like, them being terrified of the pain. Because you're just gonna try to put your dick in their ass. And here's all these things. And there's, and I'm like, sorry, the work isn't just rub their clit a little bit and use some lube the first time. And I'm like, cause that, what that'll get you, that might get you one time, it's not going to get you another.

Right. So if you truly feel this is a thing that they'll enjoy, and this isn't just self serving, and you want them to actually enjoy it. Here's the road to all those things. And then, you know, the looks I get, but I'm like, here we are, this is the thing. So when you have other partners, it's lovely to like, not have to do that to your partner.

And it doesn't mean don't bring it up. It doesn't mean, don't say, would this be a thing you're interested in? I still believe in like, see, you know, is it a place and if they're like, Nope, here's all my reasons why you don't have to go down the road of like, Oh, you'd be like, Oh, well, this is the thing I do with this person.

This is the thing that I do with this. And sometimes it ends up like that. Sometimes you do everything with everybody. And sometimes they're, these are the people that this thing happened with. And. Yeah. It's magic. The freedom.

Nicole: The freedom, right? Oh, there's so much there, right? And so helping people to see that possibility I think is such important work and which is why I'm so thankful for the work that you're doing and for sharing all of this on the podcast.

And yeah, I was just thinking about, you know, when you were talking about connecting with your meta more about the dynamics with your shared partner. I've had that space too. And I think it's so powerful to, to, you know, have that intimacy with them and to name, you know, the pieces that you're seeing in your relationship, obviously huge caveats.

We know that, right? Like there's, there's a lot of complexity in that, right? But I think that when you have the emotional awareness and maturity to come into that sort of dynamic with, you know, we're on the same team. I am supporting you. We both love this person. There's a lot to do there. And that, again, I think is a sign of emotional maturity compared to, like, I'm trying to sabotage this and I'm not going to tell you openly and or we can go even down deeper into, like you said, the crime, True Doc Crime, where people are actively, like, you know, murdering other people Things like this, you know, so, so like the, the, just the span of emotional maturity to sit with that discomfort and to name that in relationships.

I mean, there's just so much there. And so I'm, you know, sitting with you now in this moment, and you've shared so much of your story with me and all the listeners here. I'm, I'm thinking, I like to ask this question to guests when we unpack things, you know. Is there anything that you would want to say to yourself when you were in that aisle of Trader Joe's, sobbing?

Like, what sort of words would you want to share with that younger self?

Dirty Lola: Ooh. I think literally that this will pass that it's both going to get easier, but, and not change. I still, I don't know how to make enough pasta for one person. I either don't make enough pasta or I make way too much pasta and then I'm eating pasta for a whole fucking week and I'm mad about it because I'm like, why did I make all this pasta?

You know, I still don't know how to make rice for just me. There's still days. That I their weeks that I really great at food prep and their weeks where I'm like, I'm eating cereal Because I'm just horrible at it so like there may be some improvement but what will feel different is it won't feel like The world is collapsing in on you that is going to change It was really hard to constantly tell myself.

I wasn't gonna always feel this way. Mm hmm. So painful Encompass all encompass. Yeah, it was you know, it's I haven't lost a person, like a, like a spouse or partner. And it was akin to, like, to death. And it's akin to, like, what I'm sure people go through in grieving, the grieving process when they lose a partner.

It's, it, it, it is so much a part of your every day, all day. All the things, especially if they, you spent years together and like, like living in New York, the things that I realized that I was avoiding because we used to do them together, uh, the places I've had to reclaim because, and, and not even because it was like, uh, I'd never wanted to do it without him.

It was just, you, you find yourself like, Oh, 17 years in a city, even as big as New York, everywhere you fucking go, there's a memory and like having to, and when you're in the thick of it, it is so it's like, you don't know when you're going to get surprised with, you know, seeing something and the air is going to get knocked out of you.

And I just would have like, it's going to pass sooner than you think it's going to pass. And I promise you're going to feel. So much better on the other side, and all of this pain is going to feel like a gift at the end. Like that is something I would just like to whisper to myself to kind of ease that moment.

Nicole: Yeah. Absolutely. So powerful. And I wonder how we would take that. You know, if we heard that we'd be like, shut up. You don't know the pain that I'm feeling right now.

Dirty Lola: I'm like, who are you?

Nicole: I know it's so true though.

Dirty Lola: Yeah. Or I would have asked questions. Like, I'm nosy. So I like, how do you know? Tell me.

Nicole: Totally. What is this wisdom you speak of?

Dirty Lola: Don't give me this cryptic, this shit. Tell me what's going on.

Nicole: That's the real healing journey, right? Right. It's funny. Um, I like my, uh, mentor, Dr. Geoff Bathje

He had provided this example or metaphor that I really liked when we were working with a client together and he had said, you know, like it's, it, it can be helpful to think of yourself as the sky. You are the expansive sky and there will be days where there are thunderstorms and lightning, but at the same time you are that sky, right?

Like, we are not those emotions. They're heavy. They're difficult. We feel them. We don't push them away, but that's not who you are. And then there's days where it'll be sunny and beautiful and when we can find the beauty in the rain too, right? Like, but just being able to distance ourselves. From the, the emotion in a way that doesn't disembody it, but remembers that we are not our emotions and that things fluctuate and change.

I was, I love that metaphor. I was like, can I, can I take that? I'm a, I'm a, I'm a take that.

Dirty Lola: Yeah. I love that.

Nicole: Very, very powerful. Well, I, I really appreciate all of the vulnerability that you've brought into the space and shared with me and the listeners. And yeah, it was such a pleasure. I, yeah, I hold space at the end of every conversation to just to check in with you to make sure there wasn't something that you wanted to say.

Say it to the listeners that we didn't get to, otherwise I have a closing question, uh, that I can guide us towards, and then I also invite you at the end to plug all of your stuff.

Dirty Lola: Let's do the question. Okay. Yeah, we covered so much today.

Nicole: Yeah. It was good. The closing question I ask each guest is, what is one thing that you wish was more normal?

Dirty Lola: Oh, I wish it was more normal to talk about. With, with both our lovers, partners, but also friends and family, just about the little minutiae, the things we go through from all the spans, like about our bodies, about relationships, I wish there was more of a norm where we talk to the people in our lives about these things that happen because there's so much.

Pain and isolation. And there's so much pain, and I am the only one. Mm hmm. And it's hard to remember, even when we do this work, and even though, you know, you, you, you see the gamut of humanity, all the things, it's hard to remember that you're not the only one going through things. And when we do talk about things, and we've learned that like, people we know have gone through this, or this is something, the relief of knowing you're not alone, the release, because you're not carrying that anymore.

Mm hmm. Or that you're not abnormal, right? Like, cause normal abnormal, it's such a, like you said, it's such a tricky thing to be, but I wish it was just more normal. Like I wish more people sat and talked to their kids about. The stuff that goes on with your body. Like, I don't have any older women. My grandmother passed away, uh, when I was in my twenties, and I don't talk to my mom, so I don't have a familial woman to talk about, like, I'm having, like, perimenopause symptoms.

I, you know, I'm still young, and it's little things, but it's like, I'm having to rely on books, and thankfully, I have friends. Like, I have friends, we are of the same age group, and we are talking about things, and reading the same books, and talking about the little things. That go wrong for us. And then it's like, Oh, yeah, wait, I read this article here.

Here. Here's this thing. This might be this. But I wish that there was more of that within our family structures. I wish there was more just conversations about Relationships and what people go through and and the little connectors that don't feel big that we don't talk about that don't get like the how hard it is to go from being a unit to being single and what that looks like for things like doing your laundry and cooking food and how You know, I didn't know that those were going to be the hard things for me.

I was a very domestic person within my monogamous relationship and all of that became so difficult because I had to do it for myself. Yeah. And, you know, acts of service don't work on you. It should work on me, but it doesn't. Doing things for someone else powered me getting those things done. And I just, I don't, I wish there was more.

More of those. I want more of those little conversations with our friends, and I don't think enough people are having those conversations with their friends. Yeah. I want more of that. I want more of those, we call it the sex in the city conversation, but you know, like about all the things, not just your sex life, but like what's going on, emotions, your kids are getting bigger or when you have small ones not sitting in silence and thinking you're a horrible parent or that you're, you know, doing the worst, uh, or that you're like sucking at your job or your, you know, all the stuff that if we talk about it.

It might, might find out, like, one, we're not alone, but two, like, everybody goes through this, and you really, and you can say that, but it's hard to believe that unless you know everybody goes through this, and I think we don't know that unless we talk about it. So I want more of that. I want, I want that to be a thing that happens more.

Nicole: Yes. Yes. And I will say that you took a huge step in making that reality happen, right? By coming onto this space and, and opening up that, that pain point and that growth point for you of your own journey, right? I mean, this podcast, you know, has a global reach and I just think about how many people will hear your story and connect with that and be like.

Wow. I had those same things and I felt like I was so alone, right? That that's why I created the podcast. Like let's have conversations about this. And so you a hundred percent took, you know, a step towards making that reality. And I hope people are inspired by you and your story to, to take these conversations into their communities.

And I hope my therapists are inspired to let down that professional, you know, way. You know, we, there's a lot of that too, the professional, I can't. I can't be a human along with you in this space that has had similar journeys, right? That's a complex, but you know, there's just, the reality is we are not alone in these things.

So many people are here and the more that we can open up to have community support around that, the better we're going to feel. And the more that we can step into our pleasure of our lives, you know?

Dirty Lola: Yeah. And even when you are at your most professional top of knowing how to do things, all my therapist friends.

Have therapists like, you know, like all of my, they're good at doing their jobs, but they, they also, you can't therapize yourself and you still need help and all of, you know, so many people in sex ed and sexuality spheres have. Problems in the bedroom have communication issues with partners. So it's like just knowing that even those of us tasked with helping you are also dealing with our own problems.

There's no such thing as perfection within it. And I think that's part of what makes us. Professionals and pros is when you know, I still have to do work. I'm, I've, I've never stopped learning. I'm always, I'm always open to learning new things and adding to my vocabulary and adding to my arsenal of what's out there.

And it's part of why I still work in a sex shop because I feel like it. Connects me to the general public. I want to keep hearing what, what are the problems? How is it changing for people, you know, and a lot of it is the same, but there's a lot of new things too. And there's a lot of things that I never thought about addressing.

It really helps to stay connected. And even for myself, you know, like it reminds me of the things I want to work on or need to work on. And, and so just know that like, even I try, I try to talk about my wins along with my losses all the time. I try, you know, I don't want to ever portray this. So why it's, it is easy for me to talk about this stuff because I've, I'm on the other side of it.

But there's also this knowing that there is strength in telling people about the hard times. And the good times together, and not just like, my life is great. Yes, but here's how we got here.

Nicole: Totally, yeah, and here's what I'm still crying about.

Dirty Lola: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I cry less about marriage stuff, but there's a occasion, there's a moment, there's a couple songs that I'm just like, oh.

You know, you have a couple tears of like, the what if, and you get further away from that, you know. It'll be, it'll be a very small thing, you know. Soon, sooner than I know, you know, as we age, it'll become like. a little dot on my timeline, but you know, it's okay for it to be big right now.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. I would love to walk into a sex shop and find you.

I'm sure that you would make me feel so safe and supported and empowered. Oh, you know. I try. Yeah. Where can listeners find you who have connected with your story and want to work with you? Plug away all of your resources.

Dirty Lola: Yeah. So you can, my website is dirty Lola. Dot co. Um, and there you can connect with me.

If you want to send me an email, I have like a list of my like offerings of how ways you can work with me. I'm on Instagram also dirty Lola and threads and Twitter. Well, now it's X. I am not staying up to date. I don't even know. I don't know. I don't know. I'm dirty Lola on all of those, but I'm mostly on Instagram and that's where you see me talking about dating and things that I have coming up and like, you know, all the little moments of ways to connect with me.

And if you're ever in New York, I work for Shag. It's a small woman owned and queer run sex shop in Williamsburg. So come by and say hi. I love it there because I'm not the only informed person. So everybody's there. Our aim is to help guide you, educate you, and make you feel seen, heard, and feel comfortable in the space.

And it's, it's like a boutique. So it's not You don't feel like you're walking into a sex shop, even though you're surrounded by sex toys, and, uh, I love, I love that kind of gateway for folks who need it. Yeah, and if you, I've also, I'm also the creative director of the Spectrum Journal. Which is an online section but they have a magazine and I run the magazine side of things and so it's full of articles and resources and lots of amazing folks to connect to and just if you're looking for somebody going through something that you've been going through there's probably a piece on there.

Helping you, uh, that'll help you connect more.

Nicole: Mm, I'll have all of that linked below for the show notes, in the show notes for people to find and connect with you. It was such a pleasure to have you on the podcast, and yeah, thank you for showing up with us today. Thank you. Amazing. If you enjoyed today's episode, then leave us a five star review wherever you listen to your podcast.

And head on over to ModernAnarchyPodcast. com to get resources and learn more about all the things we talked about on today's episode. I want to thank you for tuning in and I will see you all next week.

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