And when it all comes down to it, the other stuff isn't as important. So the way that I connect with each partner I've had has been different, even though I remain myself. It's like the relationship is indeed more than the sum of its parts, that we build something together that is just us, and will never be that way with anyone else again. It's rather a romantic notion, but call me a romantic.
I've been thinking about how different the shapes of all my relationships are, and how as long as my core desires are met, that I can find myself wanting and enjoying different things with different people. For example, I went out on a date or two with a guy who enjoyed pet play as a fetish (this is NOT bestiality, for those who haven't heard of it- it's literally pretending to be an animal of some sort). There are a lot of ways that can manifest itself but none of them really appealed to me. I figured it just wasn't my thing. And then one evening Henry was all cuddled up with me and I found myself stroking his cheeks and he tilted his head so I was scratching his hair and I found myself thinking how much like our cat that gesture was, and it turns out that he enjoys the occasional kitten role play. And suddenly I found myself interested enough to enjoy it as a cuddling/bonding activity rather than put off. So while it's not a fetish interest of mine, it is an interest of this me+Henry relationship that we're creating together, and I like that. It's a part of me that is uniquely there for intimacy with him, and it deepens our connection.
There are even things that I thought would be an absolute necessity for me that I'm not missing as much as I thought I would. For example, if you've been reading my blog, you know how much I love having my pussy licked. Yup, I'm one of those stereotypical women who is actually interested in a man who says he'll eat pussy for hours (as long as he actually does it well, according to my likes). It is absolutely my favourite sexual act and I would have said that I didn't think I could be satisfied without it.
Well, go figure- I'm dating a man who isn't the world's biggest fan of any kind of oral sex, giving or receiving. He'll do it if I ask him to, but I know he doesn't enjoy it the way my other partners have. And while it does cross my mind that I miss it occasionally, I still find myself to be well satisfied by our sex life. We have other things that we do together that are fulfilling, and that's okay. My relationship with him isn't like any other one I've had before, and that's what makes it special.
I think this is one of the reasons why poly makes so much sense to me; we're all unique people, and a new relationship can never really replace an old one. Partners don't substitute for one another, so if I find myself missing Jennifer (haven't seen her in a while because life), then spending time with Henry isn't going to help with that. My partners are all amazing people and we have our own special connections.
So while I believe that our core selves stay the same, I think that every relationship we have changes us, that we really do leave behind a piece of our hearts that stays entwined with our past loves and that we will never be the same with anyone else again. That doesn't mean that we can't find love again with someone else, though, taking the lessons we've learned about ourselves, and build something new and beautiful together.