When I first met my boyfriend, let’s call him the old man, I had heard of poly relationships but never really considered it. I wasn’t really sure what it meant to be poly and pretty much assumed that it was mostly about having sex with lots of people and not really having any responsibility. I’ve also never really been in a long-term relationship till this year and my perfect dream world love life was deeply effected by the almost uncountable number of romantic novelettes, I call them neck-kissing novels, I read in my teens. So, for a very long time I was waiting for this one perfect person to come and scoop me up, my one true love, monogamously together for the rest of our lives… Well here we are, in the middle of my polyamorous relationship, not really what I expected, but definitely something worth talking about.
I guess every person who lives poly probably has their very own and individual definition for it, but Wikipedia does sum the idea up pretty nicely.
“Polyamory (from Greekπολύpoly, “many, several”, and Latinamor, “love”) is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships where individuals may have more than one partner, with the knowledge and consent of all partners. It has been described as “consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy”.” Wikipedia
So what it means is, that yes I am in relationship but yes I am also open to date, see, love, fuck or connect with other people and so is my boyfriend. Obviously the arrangements are different for every connection you have or make. Some couples may open up their existing relationship or marriage and just see other people as a couple, others date or have sex but still have a primary partner. There isn’t one way of doing it right, except that consent and communication between all parts involved is the key.
To be honst it wasn’t just the old man who made me aware of the fact that maybe there is more than one true love or only loving one person at the same time. Back in 2009, when I was studying, I fell in love. It wasn’t this butterflies everywhere, a big explosion of passion kind of love, it was slow, it was talking for hours, it was spending every awake minute with him. It was a connection so close that my best girl pals were afraid I would fall in love with my best gay friend Björn and break my own heart. Spoiler alert, I didn’t break my heart, but I realised that maybe there are quiet a lot of more nuances to relationships, love and friendship than books and Hollywood tried to sell me. I realised love doesn’t always involve romance or sex but it can still be love.
So when I was chatting to this guy and he told me, that he wasn’t living monogamous, I internally shrugged and said “Well, it’s good that you are so honest and upfront about it, and though I don’t really have any experience with that, I am willing to give it a try.” And I really was willing, because I liked him, and because actually I was only looking for sex, but well…things sometimes turn out very differently. We dated, I knew he was dating others as well. We broke up. It hurt, it was confusing and bit messy for me because I wasn’t expecting it and I didn’t understand it at first. A few month later I clumsily and by accident clicked on his OkCupid profile (sorry old man, I don’t think you knew that it was an accident but I am still very happy about my clumsiness), and somehow we made up and started dating again. He was also seeing someone else at that time and when she wanted to get to know me, for the first time the whole concept of what it meant to be poly became real for me. I was a little scared and tried to postpone it, but when my Mum, who is an overall amazing person, was in town, the boyfriend suggested to meet up all together for dinner.
How weird do you expect it to be to wait for your date and his girlfriend in a pub with your Mum and your best friend? To be honest I was a nervous wrack, but as soon as we all sat down and ordered something to drink it was just very easy. We chatted and laughed a lot, had a few drinks, great food and a nice evening. Meeting the other woman was great and helped me a lot. We chatted a bit on facebook a day later and she said she thinks it’s really important for her to meet other persons in a poly setting because it just makes them into the lovely real people that they are, and that really sticked with me. And it’s so true, I instantly liked her and could easily understand why the old man liked her aswell.
Obviously jealousy can be a big problem, and there are various ways to navigate through this or deal with it, I can only speak from my very limited and personal experience and so far I’ve not really had any issues with it. Of course sometimes you think it would be nice to see your partner or date but maybe they are occupied otherwise or not really available for texting or calling right in that moment because they are just spending time with another person. But just like in any other relationship communication, time management and finding a way to make things work, are the key factors to being happy in a relationship.
I know that to some it must feel absolutely unthinkable to see your boyfriend kissing someone else or to wish them luck for their first date with a new person, I never expected myself to be so at ease with it to be honest, but all I can say is, that I actually really am. I am not saying everything is good all the time. But all challenges that arise could arise in any monogamous relationship aswell and aren’t based on the fact that I am involved in a poly setting.
In the last months I learned a lot about being poly but also about myself. I happily stepped away from the wish of finding my one true love and finally understood that for some people there isn’t a one true love, but different kind of loves. And connections. And friends. And relationships, play partners, cuddle buddies, primary partners, unicorns, friends with benefits, asexual romances, platonic sex partners, husbands and wifes or people you choose as your family, your spouse, the ones you want to raise children with or someone who just gives you a really good spanking session.
What I am trying to say is, the more I learned the more my eyes were opened to the diversity that love and dating can be. It’s lazy to just assume that being poly only is another term for cheating on your partner or just being a really greedy human, and I am happy I let go of that kind of laziness.
For me personally it is about the freedom and openness to connect to all the awesome humans I meet on whatever levels feels right for us. It also taught me a lot about how far away from real relationships my media taught perception (remember the neck-kissing-novels?) of what a relationship should be like actually is. It really shouldn’t matter what others think of my relationship or love life, the only thing that matters is it makes me happy.
I am happy to answer question and further write or talk about this topic. I also want to recommend “The Ethical Slut” , if you want to read in-depth and link you to “6 Things You Didn’t Know About Poly Couples”, as it’s a fun and quick to read article.