“Only you would find yourself caught up in the mix of a online polyamory, open relationship.” Carla said to me as we caught up on the comings and goings of our very busy life.
Polyamory: having intimate, loving relationships with multiple people.
Polyamory has the intention of dating other people openly and honestly with a lot of communication involved……and boy, you think having conversations with your significant other was intense just throw in another person to the mix.
A couple of months ago I was propositioned to join a poly couple. Yeah, you read that right. At first this man explained to me that he was in a non-monogamous relationship with another woman and that this lifestyle worked for them. He had been in monogamous relationships before but he wasn’t one who could be faithful to just one woman. I valued his openness and his truth. I expressed to him that with my very busy schedule that dating of any kind wouldn’t work but seeing that he didn’t live in the same state (or did she) I would just see where our very new friendship took us.
This man and I shared many hours of conversation and although his intellect intrigued me I still had many questions regarding this open relationship that he had with this other woman. In the past when a man stated that he was in an open relationship that usually always meant that he was in an open relationship but the woman he was with was completely in the dark about the change in their relationship status. I also was curious to why he felt the need to bring another person into their relationship. In my mind there had to be something lacking within their relationship…that’s why many go outside their relationship/marriage to fill what is lacking within that union. He had been with her for two years and yet “I love you” had never been exchanged as well. I thought this to be odd but he weaved his explanations so eloquently that I left it as…..to each his own.
As the weeks went on the conversation of open relationships took a backseat, plus he was still obsessing/mulling/enamored over an ex girlfriend but all things changed one morning when without any warning he started a group online just for him, his partner and myself. He wanted his partner and I to communicate I guess in hopes we would become friends, he also wanted no secrets between us but in some way I felt tossed into a situation that I wasn’t quite sure that I even wanted to be part of.
Soon after things went haywire. Conversations went from not labeling relationships to now they were more leaning towards labeling themselves as a “polyamorous couple” but that things needed to be further discussed. Boundaries. Rules. I now felt as though I was being placed in a box without any say so. I was instructed by his partner not to have any sexual conversations with him until they established more solid rules and more distinct boundaries. And me, being me declined her request. I’m an adult. I wasn’t going to allow two people to control my situation. I was left feeling bewildered – how did we get from fun, laughter, intriguing conversations to this mess of a highly emotional induced shit show?
Author and relationship coach Dedeker Winston said in one of his articles, “There’s definitely an ongoing debate around whether or not hierarchy in relationships is ethical,” she told INSIDER. “Can one person dictate what I am and what I’m allowed to do in another relationship? Is it possible to put caps on how close a person is allowed to get to another person? It starts to bring up a lot of these questions.”
Hour long conversations now turned into five to ten minute check in’s as he mentioned how his partner would be the primary and I would join their relationship as a secondary. He shared how they both found me very attractive and in a way she felt a sense of jealousy and that’s when I cut the conversation short. I made it very clear that I would not engage in sexual activity with her and that even if I was into women that I didn’t find her attractive in that way. He was more than welcome to keep those fantasies ongoing in his head but I would never make them come true.
As the days went on I began to see their dynamic much more clearly and it wasn’t anything that I wanted to be part of. Jealousy and unresolved feelings between them began to emerge. He started spouting off Esther Peril, articles from Psychology Today and what he had learned from his sessions with the Good Doctor. At this point I was really wanting this doc’s phone number because I truly felt that he wasn’t giving her the full story.
If this was a glimpse into what a poly relationship entails – I wanted no part of it. So I closed the door firmly behind me and dead bolted that thing shut. I was completely done with him, them and the baggage that filled their relationship.
Yet still I was intrigued on the subject and wanted to know more of this poly world and I found an article by Amy Gahran who writes for Insider. She wrote that she now lives as a solo-polyamorist, meaning she has more than one lover at a time, but leads an independent life and doesn’t consider herself to be part of any couples. She also practices egalitarian polyamory, which means there are no primary or secondary partners in her relationships.
The more and more that I educated myself on the subject I found myself resonating more with Gahran. I love my independent lifestyle and I don’t want that to change if and when I decide to date or take on a lover or two. I realized during my very short experience dealing with a poly/non-mono/open relationship that I didn’t feel jealous of him having another partner. Just as long as I was in the know and I was feeling heard and desired then I was good.
Life is simply what you make of it.