Ten years ago, after leaving two monogamous marriages in a row, I found myself happily exploring the delights of polyamory as the “primary partner” of a man we’ll call Mr X, who had introduced me to the concept — and, in time, to several of my other boyfriends.
I had never tried such a thing when he suggested it. Never even considered it. But it sounded really interesting, and, well, monogamy had not been working out so well for me.
Turned out, I loved the freedom to pursue connections with people who intrigued me — without sneaking around, and without any restrictions on where it should lead. I was also pleasantly surprised at my absence of jealousy whenever Mr X hooked up with someone else. I discovered that for me at least, jealousy arose from feeling threatened or deceived. But we had a firm agreement never to start something without informing one another first, which helped me feel safe and stable.
Unsure what polyamory actually means? Watch this video to find out.
Such open communication was one of the best gifts polyamory gave me: learning how to be completely honest with myself, and with everyone else. This honesty was possible because nothing was “forbidden” or off the table, as so many things had been in every prior relationship I’d had.
Now, I could ask for anything I wanted. If a partner wasn’t comfortable with whatever-it-was, then negotiation started, and a compromise found that made everyone happy. We all had permission to explore, to experiment, to try new things. No one had decided ahead of time how this must go or must turn out.
A year into our relationship, Mr X introduced me to a good friend of his — let’s call him Mr Man — who was not polyamorous. In fact, he’d had only a few, very unhappy experiences with romantic relationships prior to meeting me, and pretty much decided he just wasn’t built for love.
Definitely not relationship material, right? But I liked him. A lot. And since my life then was all about figuring out what I wanted and asking for it, I made my interest clear.
He was flattered — and attracted — but told us all that dating a friend’s girlfriend was not something he could see himself doing.
Mr X, a polyamory true believer, lobbied him hard, though, assuring him that it was really, truly not merely ‘okay’ with everyone, but something we were all enthusiastically in favour of.
“This will be good for you,” Mr X told him. “Low stakes, no pressure — a way to learn more about romance without such big expectations or commitments.”
Mr Man was still dubious but eventually decided to give it a try.