“Security comes first from inside of you. Then, if you are very lucky, you will be in a position to find other people who also possess that same sort of security, and build some sort of family or community as a team.”
― Anthony D. Ravenscroft, Polyamory: Roadmaps for the Clueless and Hopeful: An Introduction on Polyamory
After growing up in Israel, feeling somewhat alone in the world due to his ideals that love is an infinite source that can be shared with multiple people, Erez Benari found a woman whom he believed shared those ideals. Speaking openly and honestly during their years as friends and then dating, they questioned infidelity and jealousy – often wondering “why would you secretly have sex behind your partner’s back when you can simply ask their permission and enjoy yourself openly?” Because it was the proper thing to do, they got married and began a life together.
Erez, still operating under the assumption that his wife embraced the ideals of multiple partners, realized he was bisexual, and asked permission to have a few sexual encounters with different men to see how that made him feel. Due to lack of intimacy, Erez didn’t enjoy it as much as he thought he would. A few years later, they moved to the United States and had a beautiful baby boy. While his wife and son were on vacation, Erez went to an event called “Kink Lab”. From there, he became a member and attended the CSPC (The Center for Sex Positive Culture) daily until his wife and son returned from vacation.
Over the next year, Erez would visit the CSPC and participate in socialization and group cuddling activities. While one of the main themes of the CSPC was to explore sex in a safe space and have encounters with willing and consentual partners, Erez abstained from participating in sexual activities, outside of light BDSM. Through the CSPC, Erez had learned, and begun to explore the possibility, of having polyamorous relationships.
Upon the realization that the themes in Heinlein’s books about the lack of monogamy, which were the very ideals that Erez resonated with growing up, and therefore shaped his beliefs, had aligned with polyamory, Erez discussed this with his wife. Being able to have romantic love and connections with more than one person that are significantly more fulfilling than a fling, where the relationship is purely physical and lust-based was a groundbreaking discovery for Erez.
It was then that Erez learned his wife had misrepresented herself and her views since they were teenagers. Erez’s wife did not actually believe in having multiple relationships, especially those outside of the marriage. He learned that during their time in Israel when he had sexual encounters with other men, she had only allowed it to happen out of fear of losing him. What he thought was a mutually understanding relationship that they could each participate in sexual activity outside of the marriage, turned out to be untrue. During this discussion, Erez was heartbroken and hurt that this woman he had grown up loving had lied to him for so many years.
Determined to keep his marriage intact, as long as he still had this new community at the CSPC, Erez abstained from exploring another romantic relationship with someone else, as charming and attractive as that idea was to him. While he did not pursue anyone outside of his marriage to his wife, she felt pressured by his community members to allow him to engage romantically and sexually with them. They would approach her, asking her to permit him to have relations with them, eventually leading her to feel jealous, afraid, agitated, and resentful. These thoughts and feelings led her to become angry, frustrated, and bitter toward Erez, leading to numerous arguments and fights, tearing their relationship apart.
In February 2017, Erez and his wife decided to see a therapist together to heal their marriage. They would attend sessions weekly, working together and seemingly making progress – strengthening their bond, not only for each other, but for their son as well. However, by May 2017, a few months after they had started therapy, Erez visited a member of the CSPC community, which then ensued a particularly lengthy fight between him and his wife. Erez, frustrated and feeling unheard, left to cool off for two weeks at a run-down hotel near his work. During this time, he worked on calming himself, knowing that his anger could lead to loss of control and he would say or do something that he would regret.
When he returned home, things between Erez and his wife seemed to have settled down. They started getting back into a routine and he hoped that their time apart would have made her realize that she cannot take him for granted. A few months after that, in August 2017, over summer break, his wife took his son on another trip to Israel. Although they were half a world away from each other, they continued to argue over the phone, and Erez had realized that this is not the life he wanted. With all the love he has to give in his heart, this was not the relationship he wanted to be in.