People often ask me questions about my relationships when they find out I have a boyfriend AND a girlfriend AND a fair few casual partners as well. I’m going to write some of these up now, just quickly; bear with me if it isn’t very good, I’m just waiting for the heating to come on before I do my uni work.
You can see this as a kind of updated version of this, which I wrote when my relationship with the boy was “only sex with other people, no love”. Things have changed now.
WTF is this?
This is a form of non-monogamy that I call “polyamory”, in which I am free to have both sexual and romantic relationships with more than one person at a time, as is everyone I am involved with. There are several forms of non-monogamy from “don’t ask to don’t tell” to “only in a threesome” to “only with my permission” to “everything apart from penetration” - actually, there’s about as many forms of non-monogamy as there are non-monogamous couples (or triples, or groups), but the terms you’re most likely to hear are “polyamory” and “open relationship”.
In my case I have two involved relationships, a long-term one with my boyfriend and a newer one with my girlfriend. I get about outside these relationships and have various hook ups and friends with benefits and so on and so forth; I think it’s fairly unlikely I’ll meet someone else I care about as deeply as these two, but if I did I’d make sure to talk to my preexisting partners and see how they feel before taking it further than a casual fling.
Are your boyfriend and your girlfriend dating?
They’re friends but they’re not going out. I don’t mind either way; so long as they get on, that’s enough. If they hated each other that would be quite difficult.
So it’s cheating with permission?
NO NO NO I HATE THIS. The word “cheating” implies deceit and going behind someone’s back. It would be cheating if I started a relationship and didn’t tell one or both of my partners, or if I actively hid something I did from them. Doing something that we have all agreed is okay is NOT cheating.
Do you have to tell them everything?
If I go to a club, meet someone, and have a one night stand, it’s not obligatory for me to provide an itemised list of what I got up to either my girlfriend or my boyfriend. In reality I talk to them a lot about most aspects of my life so they’ll probably hear about it anyway, but so long as I don’t actively hide it from them or lie to them about it it’s fine.
Don’t you get jealous?
No, not really. I like hearing about my other partners going out, having fun, meeting new people. I like it the people I love are enjoying their lives. I don’t define my romantic relationships sexually, so them having sex outside the relationship doesn’t fuss me, and neither does them having other romantic partners; so long as they still have time for me and their partners are treating them well and making them happy, it’s all good.
Doesn’t that mean you don’t love them?
No, you are wrong. I get something different from my romantic relationships than my friendships; it’s closer and deeper, somehow. It’s more than sex and it’s more than friendship; it’s something more important than that. I love them, but I am okay with them loving more than just me.
You have daddy issues/you just don’t want to commit/it’s a shame your friendships aren’t strong enough/anything else that implies that I am poly because I am somehow broken or lacking in part of my life.
My goodness, is this what all young people get up to these days?
Well, I get up to it, and many people of my acquaintance do, but I’d say that in the overall population of under-25s, non-monogamy is pretty uncommon.
You must be riddled with diseases.
I’m fastidious about my sexual health and get tested every few months; so far, nothing has come up, and even if it did, I’d just get it treated, no big deal. Considering how careful I am, I highly doubt I’ll get anything in the foreseeable future.
Have you and your boyfriend and your girlfriend ever…err…
Do you really want to hear the gory details of my sex life?
It’s mainly in the casual sex, sex and love, and kink tags, along with a lot of introspective rambling.