I'm Polyamorous

Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

From Wikipedia: Polyamory

When I first started dating for real I intensely wanted to date these three young women who were close friends (one of them turned out to be the first woman I would marry, Jessica*). I crushed on them all relatively equally (in my mind I wanted to date them together and separately). I didn't end up dating all of them, but the idea stuck with me.

That kind of thing is an example of how my love life works. I have periods in my life where I fall in love with two or three people at once and just run with it. I have other periods where I develop lots of low level crushes and don't do anything about it. I am kind of random. Usually the happier I am (and the warmer the weather is), the more likely I am to fall in love.

My first simultaneous relationship was with Kerry, while I was dating Jessica. This happened at the end of my senior year of high school. One of my best friends basically manipulated Kerry and I into getting together even though she knew I was dating Jessica—not that I minded, Kerry was different and wonderful in her own way and I fell head over heels in love with her. I don't bring this up often because I feel really fucking shitty about how it happened and what happened after. Jessica was out of the country for a month and during that time I was dating Kerry. When Jessica came back I told her as soon as I could—I was feeling really guilty. Jessica and I broke up. We got back together. I broke up with Kerry. I flailed. I went to college a few weeks later and Kerry and I wrote back and forth a bit, but nothing came of it. I even stopped talking to the friend who set us up because of the whole incident for a while.

I hated the feeling of lying. I hated disappointing Jessica and having that hanging over me something to bring out when arguments got vicious.

While we were together, Jessica and I talked a lot about the other people we would like to fuck or date or whatever, but only in the abstract. She was very self-conscious and I felt like I had already failed in the relationship. I was also still trying to figure myself out (and it didn't help that I wanted to date people as a woman, but I wasn't ready to even consider that as a real option then).

After Jessica and I broke up for the last time, I started dating again. Within a year I realized that I had a problem with my own behavior. I didn't have the vocabulary to discuss open relationships or polyamory, but I knew I needed to be honest and I also knew that I just ended up either starting multiple relationships at once or once my new relationships were established and good I would find someone new to be interested in. I didn't cheat physically (then), but I did end up getting into some intimate places emotionally.

Then I met Laura. She picked me up at my housemate's wedding. She was in at least one other relationship, and he was a great guy (if a bit of a dork). She introduced me to the concept of polyamory. Laura and I didn't quite date for a while, but we learned a lot about each other and we knew that we were interested. When the relationship I was in at the time ended, and I started a relationship with Angela, it was specifically as a poly relationship. That's when Laura and I actually got together.

Why it works for me:

I love women. I love learning about them, I love getting close to them. I enjoy watching them experience happiness in any form. I enjoy it even more if I am in love with them. I really enjoy getting different attention from different people. I don't expect any one person (except for myself) to fulfill all of my needs—and even if one person tried really hard, I don't think it would work. I would still find someone shiny to pay attention to.

So it works for me because it's in my nature to love people in the plural, and it's way better to be honest about that than it is to lie.

I also love explicit communication: intentional communication and reassurances of affection are vital to me. I've come to realize how important they are to me when I was with my most recent ex-wife and I had neither (and I got laughed at when I asked for reassurances).

I have a lot of love to give. For me, being in love creates more love. I enjoy sharing that. I enjoy being open to new relationships and new connections. I love falling in love. I love new relationships almost as much as I love older, long-term relationships. I really love surrounding myself with amazing and interesting women.

I love sex, too, but that's more complicated. I am not cut out for casual sex. I fall in love quickly and deeply. I get attached to people. Even so, my ridiculous sex drive has been a motivating factor for my quest for new relationships. I think that out of all of my relationships, I've only had two people who have matched my sex drive, and they were both poly, as well.

I find love and sex to be very self-affirming. They make me feel good about myself so long as I can be honest with myself about everything and with everyone involved.

What sucks about poly for me:

Scheduling. I want to spend ALL the time with everyone. Obviously that's impossible. Also, not every relationship can stand that. Some people are great to date a few times a month—or a few times a year—but we would kill each other if we had anything more intense. Some people—like Sweetie—are so amazing to me that I want to spend all my time with them. Obviously I don't get to do that if I'm actually dating someone else.

Hurt feelings. I know I can hurt people by being myself. I try to make sure I don't curb that too much, though. I like myself. If I'm interested in someone else it may not feel great to hear about, but it's something that's awesome to me. I try to be mindful of my partners feelings but I also need to be responsible for my own happiness.

Other comments

Like some lesbians have a tendency to fall for straight women, I have a thing for falling for monogamous women. And sometimes they're interested right back. Sometimes that makes things difficult, especially when they realize they may not want to deal with me having other relationships.

Polyamory isn't better than monogamy, it just fits my personality and my self-view better.

* All the names have been changed.


  1. This is a good read. I like the way you break it down, and the emphasis on communication and honesty with oneself. Well said.