A tribute to a wonderful man and an unconventional relationship.
Almost eight years ago, when visiting the Twin Oaks and Acorn intentional communities in Virginia that I would soon come to call home, a man named Andros was assigned to give me a tour. Within a week, we were in love. We saw in each other the open-hearted lovers of life as well as the status quo defiers that we each aspired to be. We quickly pledged to be life partners, and within a couple of years, moved to California together.
We enjoyed many adventures and beautiful experiences together. However, our individual attachments to what it meant to be “partners” eventually took us through a painful period—a slow spiral into dissatisfaction and wishing the other person was different. This hard time for our relationship culminated with six months of us hardly talking when I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2016. With this space, the old version of us—bogged down by attachments and expectations based on “old-paradigm thinking” about what a romantic relationship is supposed to look like—died.
Since then, Andros’ and my relationship has become the best it’s ever been. He and I have re-explored each other as the people we really are, NOT based on our ideas of who the other person is or should be. We encourage each other to be more daringly ourselves than we could have ever done with our old attachments looming over us.
For instance, for my entire adult life, I have been moving towards non-monogamy and relationship anarchy as the modes of interpersonal relating that are most deeply true for me. When Andros and I were attached to possession labels—“MY partner,” “MY girlfriend,”—these aspects of me often felt threatening, which caused confusion and shame for both of us. Now, we ascribe to no labels, and because I am “Janel” and not “his” anything, he believes (and tells me almost every time we see each other) that my ability to share love widely is a gift that I was born at this time in human history to bring forward. Even as I come fully into the realization that I want to be my own primary partner right now, Andros is still by my side as my supporter and best friend, cheering me on.
Andros has become a man who can fully show up for a woman as she comes into her strength and her wildness. This is possible because Andros has done SO MUCH WORK to let go of his ego attachments; find peace and confidence within himself; and face jealousy with loving inquiry. He is one of the most humble, considerate, wise and joyful people that I have had the privilege to deeply know, and he inspires me daily to be better—while still having fun!
Andros, I’m so happy that life chose to intertwine our paths. I’m grateful that we support each other on our own individual adventures, even if that sometimes means being apart—in different cities or countries, in different projects, or with new loves. No matter what, you are family. I can’t wait to see what you build in your life—and what we might continue to build together.