So, a recent new development in my life is that I have started identifying as polyamorous. I have only been identifying as poly for about a month now so I don’t claim to be an expert on it, but, I just wanted to talk about my experiences thus far with having multiple romantic relationships. I also really wanted to discuss the definitions and implications of polyamory, and how it differs from what a lot of people think.
Moving on, today, I am going to be pondering these questions: why did I decide to start identifying as polyamorous? How has it made my life different so far? How many different partners do I currently have? Have I had any struggles with it so far?
Polyamory has felt like a natural progression for me for a long time. I remember around a year ago complaining to my mum and saying that I hated just having one boyfriend and that I didn’t understand why I couldn’t have two boyfriends, each for different things. We laughed and made jokes about it but then I remember thinking, ‘fuck, why can’t I have that?’ At the time I was in an awful toxic, controlling relationship, which meant that this just wasn’t really much of an option but since moving away, I’ve been able to reinvent myself and decide what I want.
So, what made me move to polyamory? Well, I already was seeing multiple people, but the pivotal point was when a boy and I started developing romantic feelings for each other out of something we thought would just be a purely sexual relationship. But why would that make me turn poly? Well, this boy – who funnily enough is the boy, James, mentioned in my Threesome and Chill? blog post – was in an open relationship with his girlfriend when we started sleeping together. It started out as meeting up, getting drunk, talking about art and fucking for a while until one of us had to leave to do something else. The funny thing was, it started out with me being a subject for his art; we would meet up and he would photograph me. He started referring to me as ‘his muse’. But, at this stage, everything still felt fairly casual. It wasn’t until we met up completely unrelated to anything other than to spend time together that we realised this was taking a different direction.
It felt nice, albeit confusing. I knew I liked him, and I knew he liked me. We started discussing it, and, when we realised we actually liked each other quite a bit, it started to feel like a bit of a scary secret. We didn’t know how we were going to go about it. Until he mentioned that he was considering polyamory so that he could see both me and his girlfriend. I was completely open to the idea straight away. No part of me wanted him and his girlfriend to break up, as no part of me wanted a completely monogamous relationship with James. I didn’t want to give up my lifestyle and I promised myself I wasn’t going to get into a monogamous relationship this year.
There was a confusing few weeks where we were talking a lot about what we were going to do and how he was going to discuss this with his girlfriend, who I will call Kate. Kate was always very open with their relationship and happy for it to be malleable, but polyamory was not something they had discussed previously. But, long story short, after a few weeks James discussed it with her and she agreed that polyamory is the direction we should all go in and that it would probably be beneficial for her as she wanted to explore more sexual relationships with other people too.
So, here we are, three people happily agreed to pursue polyamory and it felt pretty damn good.
But then, I realised that polyamory takes a lot more work and commitment than most people realise. Sure, plenty of people make the ‘oh god I’ve got enough on my plate with one girlfriend’ jokes, but really, one of the most significant aspects of being polyamorous is scheduling. I suddenly realised that I was going to have to take a back seat when James was seeing Kate, and that James was going to have to take a back seat when I was seeing my other partners.
This brings me onto my next question, how has it made my life different so far?
Well, first and foremost, it has meant I am almost constantly busy and struggle a lot to have time to myself. It is a beautiful and very rewarding thing having multiple romantic partners, but it definitely takes over your life somewhat. I am constantly wary of splitting my time equally amongst my partners and showing them all the same amount of appreciation as I do not want any of them to feel that I do not care about them, or that one of my partners is more important to me than the other.
Funnily enough, most people think that being polyamorous means you are constantly having casual sex all the time and always developing new relationships with new people. But, really, it’s quite the opposite for me. I spend most of my spare time with my partners and if I’m not with them, I try to spend quality time with my friends or family. I have started seeing casual sex as a bit of a waste of my time at the moment. Sure, if I’m out somewhere for the evening, have no plans and meet someone, I will sleep with them. But, this rarely happens for me now, as I often would rather spend time with my partners as opposed to a stranger.
Another difference I have noticed is that my sex life has gotten more rich and satisfying since I have started having multiple romantic relationships as opposed to just casual sex with strangers. This is not to say I didn’t enjoy the casual sex I was having previous to being poly, but, sex with people you genuinely care about is always a little better in my opinion. It also means you can sleep with people who know what makes you tick and are completely willing to try new things with you, as opposed to someone you’re fumbling about with drunkenly for one evening.
And lastly, probably the biggest difference I’ve found it has made in my life is that I now am very upfront with people about my lifestyle. I do not want to be involved with anyone who is not okay with the way I live my life and that I do not want anyone to be under the impression that I am going to change anything about my lifestyle for them. All of my partners know about each other and are all okay with it. Since I give them all equal attention and treat them with respect, love and kindness, they have no reason to not be okay with it, unless of course they prefer monogamy, which I would completely respect but just not abide by.
So, how many partners do I have? I currently have three romantic partners.
I have a female partner who I have been seeing on a fairly casual basis for about five months. She is beautiful, caring and very sweet. I care about her a lot but we have always gone about our relationship under the assumption that it is casual and not monogamous, so when I told her about identifying as polyamorous she was completely okay with it and it barely even warranted a discussion.
I have two male partners, both of which I have been seeing for about a month. Obviously, there is James who I would say I have a fairly serious relationship with. We both redefined our lifestyles and relationships because of each other, but this is not to say this is the only reason we did it. We were both previously comfortable and open to the idea of polyamory, and essentially gave each other a reason to really give it a go.
My other male partner is absolutely lovely and I care about him a lot. We are fairly casual but are completely open with talking about each other about how much we like each other, etc. I told him I was identifying as polyamorous on our second date as I wanted to ease him into it and not throw it at him straight away. Luckily, he was absolutely fine with it and actually liked the idea of being able to date and sleep with other people alongside him. I know that he sees me as the primary girl that he is dating but that he is also happy for us to be with other people.
I still go on dates with other people and sleep with other people but these are my three romantic partners and currently I can’t see myself wanting a fourth. I am perfectly happy with where I am with my relationships at the moment.
And finally, have I had any struggles with it so far?
If I’m completely honest, I don’t feel like I have had any real struggles with polyamory so far. I think that if I had any possessive partners who weren’t as chilled out as my current partners then I would probably have more issues, but this is not the case.
I have had a couple of problems with jealousy with James and my other male partner. However, these have all been solved fairly easily through simply communicating with them.
James spent a few days with his more long term partner and I got a bit envious when I didn’t hear from him and saw pictures of them together. But, this was easily solved by me telling James next time I saw him that I felt envious of him and Kate and that I think that when he is meeting with her or I am meeting with my other partners, we should talk about it first so we know that we will not hear from them for a little while. We both agreed that this was a good way to solve any feelings of jealousy or feeling brushed aside. He also assured me last night that he does not see his relationship as any less important than that of his relationship with Kate, but that we are simply at different stages in the timelines of our relationships. We all want to meet as a three soon to make this a little easier for Kate and I as well.
With my other partner he mentioned that he was sleeping with another girl and met another girl on a night out and got her number, to which I made a joke about feeling jealous and then we both laughed it off and I realised I was being silly and a little hypocritical. All easily solved.
The only other problem I have faced is when a man I had met with a few times suggested to me that he wanted monogamy or to be the main man that I was seeing. We hadn’t met up enough for me to feel comfortable telling him that I am polyamorous and therefore, it presented an awkward situation for me as I didn’t know if I should tell him I am poly or just stop seeing him completely, as I did not know how he would react. But, I feel like this is all part of my journey and that being polyamorous has made me realise that I need to be more picky and aware of what type of people I want to be romantically involved with.
I haven’t had any issues when I tell my friends and family about my lifestyle, as they know I care about their opinion but that negativity on their part will not make me change my lifestyle. My parents even commented on how they thought it was special and rewarding that I could have caring, romantic relationships with multiple people, as opposed to being in one monogamous relationship I was not happy in, such as that of with my ex boyfriend.
My final thoughts and pieces of advice I would offer on being polyamorous is that communication is the most important thing; don’t leave your partners in the dark and expect them to treat you with the same respect. You can confidently care about multiple people and, with careful scheduling, you can definitely make multiple romantic relationships work. Be happy and confident in your choices, and never feel as though you need to follow societal norms in your relationships.