Jan 19, 2019
(THIS IS NATE SPEAKING... This is the entirety of his love letter in response to Rebecca's.)
I believe in magic. Magic has happened a few times in my life—and by magic I mean those moments that are undeniably otherworldly—where energy sweeps through and around you and unhooks something deep inside so that it blows free and you are one with the universe (which I believe you always are, although you may not know it).
Magic happened most recently to me this summer, when “my” marriage upended, shipwrecked itself and collapsed into a burning nothing under the weight of too much fucking patriarchy. Under the weight of me.
And yet, looking back now from a much much happier place, I can see how even in those moments I was trying (blind as I was) to reach for something (or someone) better. I may have broken my marriage, but I broke it reaching in the right direction.
Was that the magic part? The marriage burning? It certainly didn’t feel that way at the time. It wasn’t one of those transcendent moments where everything seems to be going your way—quite the opposite in fact!—but this past burning summer has opened the door into more magic than I’ve ever known, magic that really does blow through your hair and open the doors of your heart wider than I would have thought possible, and then wider again, and again, and again (spoiler alert: your heart can always get bigger, and if it’s not getting bigger it’s probably shrinking while you don’t pay attention).
It’s tempting to say that magic happened because of someone else. Because of Rebecca, the love mate who entered our lives over six months ago now, and who was “present at the creation” as former Secretary of State and Pulitzer-prize winning author Dean Acheson might have said, had he had much less suit and hair cream and much much more time with two lovely women!
But magic doesn’t really happen because of anyone else, ever.
Everyone experiences their own magical moments, and the privilege of life is getting to share yours with someone you care about.
For me, what I discovered this summer is that I am unbelievably happier sharing my moments with two beautiful, creative, and powerful women: Charity and Rebecca.
Somehow, we are made for each other. We breathe each other in, understand each other’s hurts, and act patiently and gently to evoke the best possible magic in one another.
We hold four separate relationships between us. The oldest began on a couch in a college dorm room at Wheaton (quite chastely, but with much footsies and coffee) in 2002. From my perspective, that relationship ended when I felt the desire for sex with beautiful Charity and (being a good evangelical) spent 1000% less time thinking about birth control and safe and pleasurable sex and than I spent worrying I was lusting too much and generally being in my own head about it. I decided (note the I! It wasn’t Charity) that getting married was the way to fix this problem.
Don’t get married to fix problems.
It doesn’t work.
I tried to make my marriage work for 13.5 years before it broke under the weight of my trying, and Charity tried with me.
We both genuinely cared about and loved each other. I wouldn’t say marriage was a mistake (though I would never repeat it). It was the best container we had at the time to express our love, so we gave each other the best we had. And everything gets old. 13.5 years is a pretty good run for a rug, or a chair.
What astonishes me is that since Charity and I mutually agreed to end our marriage this summer (we took off the rings but didn’t bother with the paperwork), we decided we still loved each other, and we wanted to stay together anyway. We just wanted it on our terms, and we began to realize we’d always wanted it on our terms, and that we were fucking unconventional humans who really really hated the straight jacket of evangelicalism.
What killed our marriage? I did. I killed it dead by realizing I wanted something more, and by expressing that desire openly with Charity (no hiding) in the form of a longing to see another woman.
I thought at the time I was looking for sex, but sex was the best word I could use to express the desire for life that was flowing through me. I felt burnt out by old forms, weighted down by things I had attracted energetically I did not need. I felt trapped.
So I reached out, and (to my absolute shock) Rebecca reached back.
I still can’t believe how lucky we all are. I sent a random email over the internet that praised Rebecca as looking like a film star and having an excellent geek sense of humor.
And somehow we corresponded, and something began to grow between us that neither of us expected. It demanded room. It forced the last of the old marriage between Charity and me to come crumbling down. It was painful.
When I met Rebecca the first time, on that summer day when she got stung by a bee and gave me a phenomenal blow job I was not sufficiently in my body to appreciate, my whole world contracted like an iris.
Everything had been chosen for that date with care. The book I read as I waited and sweated in the rose garden, imagining and wondering whether she’d come, what she’d look like. The specter of my own fears for our old marriage, which I could already tell was doomed. A passionate desire to embrace life, which I believed somehow included the woman in the green dress walking toward me through the sunshine as well as the beautiful woman at home taking care of our precious daughters. Both. And.
My brain was breaking under the strain all afternoon, and that was long before Rebecca got naked and finished the job of liquefying me into a puddle of confused, happy goo.
I came home that evening to decks burning and death. I came home to black smoke in the apartment energetically. By going, I had finally lit the match that would consume all that was old, and Charity seemed so far away I thought the stars might be closer. It got worse and worse over a day and I could tell it wasn’t getting better and I finally told Charity the truth: that I did want Rebecca but I wasn’t going to go get her if it meant losing my Charity! I still mean that. I still do.
And funnily enough, that determination to just fucking stick it out, no matter what, that determination to lay your own life on the line and say “this is who I love (both of them) and this is my choice. Here I stand.”
That opened doors in my heart I didn’t think would ever open again. I began to soften.
Rebecca has her own stories from this time. Waiting, longing. Hoping to hear from me. I’d written her a frightened note in a mood of extreme self-condemnation. I hurt her, but honestly, her willingness to read and process the note with me blew me away. It spoke to the depths of her character. I knew I wanted her in my life and I knew I had to let her go for a while.
So I did.
The long silence. No letters. No meetings with Rebecca. Just time with Charity. And no sex either! Rebecca, you don’t know this, but Charity and I did not have any sex (except one compassionate handjob on a night away) for about three months after that date. We started having sex again just a week or so before you came to bed with us for the first time.
And that was good. That needed to happen. That softened me more. I learned what it was to seek out good energy and flow. To drop my patriarchal assumptions of power, to drop relationship dynamics with Charity that were thoughtlessly and unintentionally cruel. Do you know you can love someone and be cruel? But it’s better not to. It’s better not to. Much juicier with kindness. So I practiced being kind.
Guess what? Triads need a lot of kindness. Kindness (I would say) is one of your core values, Rebecca. By opening my life to kindness I made myself happy all by myself—no sex needed—and simultaneously prepared my heart for the one who had orbited around our lives now for almost half a year.
Rebecca, that was you. Charity got to go first with you. Both Charity and I wanted it that way. We wanted the new start to be anti-patriarchal. We wanted the guy to take a back seat. I’m still very conscious of that dynamic. It makes me a bit more cautious than I would otherwise be, and you’ve seen how we’re still finding ways to encourage me to be active, to be truly a man and initiate in male energy, while retaining that warm kindness.
It’s starting to feel really natural with both of you, Charity and Rebecca. The three months of waiting for Charity renewed my relationship—Charity, I feel like I’ve never known you this well, and I’m so in love with you. I love seeing you happy. You guys send me pictures from bed, when you’re on your dates just the two of you, and your face is so light and lovely that I just melt inside. I come inside you, Charity, and I feel like I know a new woman. Not the timid, afraid woman who “submitted” in the old words, but a powerful, lithe sex goddess who can change the entire energy in the house with her sex. I am so turned on by you. I love seeing you in your power and joy, my darling.
I love not being married to you.
It took longer for me to get into a body-melting place with you, Rebecca. I would say it’s really starting to happen now, and you triggered the melt that opened up space for just the two of us by showing me the rock you had saved from our first date. And the picture of the umbrella on the wall.
I opened my heart to you in that moment, Rebecca, because I saw through your eyes suddenly what the summer and early fall of this year had been like, and I saw in one flash how much you loved me, and that I could absolutely trust you. So I did.
I still am opening, but I’m always opening, and that’s ok. I always want to be more open to myself, to you Charity, and to you Rebecca. I think if I had a word for the magic that came to be this summer and fall, it would be openness.
Yes, Charity and I opened our marriage. But really all three of us opened our hearts to the possibility that love could be bigger than I think any of us ever dreamed. We each saw love come knocking on the doors of our hearts wearing the face and guise of two beautiful humans, and we were brave enough to jump in and begin to lay the table (and the bed!) for love.
We still are. We’re never done, we were never wrong, and the love we are gently receiving and giving to each other is so delicious that multiple times a day I stop and wonder “how did this happen? How did we get here?”
Openness, that’s how.