Feedback (Part 8)

This post is a response to anonymous questions and comments I receive via SurveyMonkey ( I love responding to these, so if there is something on your mind, good or bad, please send me a message. No subject is off limits and here is a link to previous questions or comments I’ve received and responded to, and I plan on responding to every single one I receive (unless I somehow become a super famous advice columnest on accident).

Hi Peter, we met years ago in DC in KAP (Koch Associate Program) and I regret we did not become better friends because you never fail to be interesting and thought provoking, and I enjoy interesting and thought provoking. What I wonder is this — why are you so open about your life? I hate for this to sound like a judgmental question, it is just so far from my own personality that I admit to being baffled and curious. Thanks!

Hi stranger!

Thanks for reaching out. First off, I am torn on whether I wish we would have become better friends in KAP. During that time I was kind of douchie and very sex-obsessed and really fighting with my PTSD. Much of my interactions were based on trying to get laid, but I would like to think I’ve matured a bit since then (though some might disagree) and my views have evolved a bit as well. Hopefully, though, you and I can become better friends now.

So, on to your question. Why am I so open about my life?

Hmm, in some ways I’ve always been this way. Growing up I was pretty outspoken about controversial things. Unfortunately, the things that were controversial were my shitty views about homosexuality. I was the type of person who would gather for prayer around a flagpole (which isn’t bad in and of itself) and tell gay people that they were sinners or take cigarettes out of people’s mouths because they were unhealthy. I was a self-righteous dickhole who thought my theological beliefs were the final word on what was good, and that anything I did because of those beliefs was justified. I kind of sucked.

Things changed a bit when I got out of the military. I found myself uncomfortable with American Christianity and conservatism, and I also came to be comfortable with my own sexuality. I believe that much of my angry self-righteousness and internal conflict (that manifested itself in many unhealthy ways) came from essentially living a lie. I had to pretend to believe and be a certain person around family and friends because that is what they wanted or expected. I basically felt like I had to sacrifice my own mental health because if I let the truth be known it would break my families heart or they would worry about me going to hell.

That internal struggle, living in the dark, had to end at some point and (very luckily) it ended with me being open and honest instead of ending my own life. I realize not everyone has this type of public/private conflict, but facing that conflict is part of why I am so open today. I know that there is a difference between living a life true to who you are and standing on a hill with a flag advertising to strangers on the internet who you are, and I definitely fall into the latter category. Well, as I became more open to myself and family and friends (which was far from a smooth process and I lost friends and family during it)

Well, as I became more open to myself and family and friends (which was far from a smooth process and I lost friends and family during it) I started having people who I didn’t know that well contact me. Even when I was more subdued online I still shared controversial articles about polyamory, spirituality, anarchy, drug use, etc. fairly safely by claiming I found the subject “interesting”, and sharing those articles became a stepping stone to expressing my views about them. Sharing those articles became a way for like-minded people to feel safe asking me questions and it was a way for me to help people around the globe (that sounds cocky… I don’t mean it that way).

I guess that is really the reason why I am open with my life at this point because there are some people who can’t be open but need to feel like they are not alone. Like Dan Savage says, the best thing you can do to help other people is to step out of the closet. I have received countless messages from people I knew in high school, the military, college, DC, LA, and basically strangers thanking me because they felt same-sex attraction too and didn’t know what to make of it, or they use drugs or battle PTSD or want to be childless or are no longer religious. I believe that when I live out loud, when I let my freak flag fly, it is the healthiest way for me to live and it is a way to provide support for other people. I don’t know if I would call it a “duty” to others, but I know it is a duty to myself.

I hope that answered the question, but if not, please shoot me another message and I’ll try to do better. 🙂

Feedback (Part 5)

This post is in response to anonymous questions and comments that I receive via a SurveyMonkey form I set up. If you’d like to send me a question or comment just fill out the form at this website ( I’m sorry for the delay on some of these, I received more responses than I expected and am answering as quickly as I can (without burning myself out). If you are willing to give up the anonymity and provide contact information then I will respond directly to you before (or instead of) blogging.


  1. One question I have is about your relationship, I know you two are poly, but does that mean you invite others to join you, or would you two be fine with sleeping with other people individually?

We don’t really identify as “poly” because to us that means that you are interested in emotional relationships (ie love, dating, etc.) with people outside of the partnership. We are emotionally monogamous but physically open. I don’t really know what the correct phrase for that is and we identify as “monogam-ish”. We have actually discussed what we would do if one of us fell in love with someone else though.

To answer your question, we are intellectually open to the idea of sleeping with other people individually but it hasn’t happened yet. Part of the reasons that we haven’t done that yet is logistical, we have been cycling around the country for the better part of the last three years and we haven’t really done much traveling or meeting people alone. It isn’t something we are pursuing, but we are open to the idea if someone asked us. We’ve made out with people and fooled around with people without each other, but it hasn’t reached the level of sex.

The other reason we haven’t done it is because we aren’t sure how we would feel. Being intellectually open to something doesn’t mean that we will be comfortable with it in the moment and a lot will probably depend on who is asking, who they want to sleep with, and other specifics that make it impossible to come up with a “yes” or “no” to a generic request. I am much more comfortable with the idea than my partner and if she wanted to hook up with someone without me I probably wouldn’t have an issue with it. There would likely be additional barriers if someone wanted to hook up with me alone, but all barriers can be discussed and you never really know what the answer will be until you ask.

As a small aside, I find the phrase “invite others to join you” kind of interesting because we have never taken any initiative, we’ve just kind of let situations develop. I think part of the reason is our more introverted nature and even a personal confidence issue. It is also impossible to know if someone is in an open relationship or interested in you without them explicitly saying so. I was kind of this way in my dating ways too, I just assumed most people were in relationships or weren’t interested in me unless they were very explicit about it. I am terrible at telling whether I’m being flirted with and really need something like a message that says, “Hey, I think you’re cute and I’d like it if we kissed”… or maybe someone just kissing me.

Additionally, as a partnership that is pretty open about our unconventional life, I almost feel like most of the burden to initiate falls on other people because we’ve made our stance known. The general social norm is that a married person shouldn’t try to hook up with someone other than their partner, which means the best way for us to live is to raise our freak flag high and see who comes over to check it out.


  1. Peter, For several years now I’ve greatly enjoyed getting to know you through the medium of fb. I believe we somehow originally connected through mutual friend in SFL but I’m unsure if we’ve ever met in person. Regardless, you’ve grown to be one of my favorite people! I always enjoy your writing and having discussions with you online. I’ve grown and changed a lot personally over the last couple of years and I find your viewpoints to be more and more relevant and interesting to me as my experiences broaden.

It’s an odd sensation to me to feel a close friendship with you while consciously being aware that I know you quite a bit better than you know me (since I just haven’t been as active in writing online). I would really enjoy the chance for my significant other and I to spend some time with you and Anna in the future.

I hope we have the opportunity! I like the idea for anonymous and unfiltered feedback from your social group. So much goes on in people’s heads that we don’t get to see. It’s exciting to see what they put forth, or to have the opportunity to express something (like this message) which would seem a little out of place to randomly put forth. Thanks for being so open about who you are, and I hope we continue to connect and get to know each other better in the future.

I actually responded to this person directly because they left their information, but I wanted to share it anyway. Thank you so much for your kind words and I really hope I can meet you and your significant other in person someday. I have thousands of Facebook friends whom I’ve never met in person and many of them have become a really positive influence on my life. I’d love to meet up, hug (if consented to), and forge a friendship in real life as well. I am always curious about little things that you can’t tell on Facebook like how tall people are or what their voice sounds like.

So, please come visit me in Wilmington! We have a spare bedroom in our quirky old house that exists for guests. The more the merrier 😊



I hope that answered the questions, but if the author (or anyone else) has a follow-up question or would like me to clarify something please feel free to message me on Facebook, Snapchat (@pneiger), or using the anonymous SurveyMonkey. Or if you have a completely unrelated question please send it my way.