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My Experience Dating A Polyamorist

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Franca Gimenez / Flickr.com.
Franca Gimenez / Flickr.com.

I should have known we were doomed from the moment he started asking about the possibility of having a threesome on our wedding night.

We weren’t engaged or anything, of course. We had only been seeing each other for six months, but it was proving to be an intense, heady relationship. After the five-month mark, we had begun speaking of marriage more and more. And to his credit, he introduced the idea of threesomes fairly early on in the relationship. “Do you like girls?” I remember him asking me casually, as though he were enquiring after my opinion on pie. When I shrugged and mumbled something vaguely affirmative — my opinion that women are beautiful — he seemed satisfied.

Then, two months in, he began asking me if I was interested in seeing another girl with him. A threesome situation. “Not for a one-night stand,” he was quick to amend at my raised eyebrows. “I don’t want to have sex with a stranger. We would date her, take her out, watch movies with her, that sort of thing. Then…maybe other things would happen later.”

The idea upset me greatly at first. The idea of sharing my boyfriend with another woman did not appeal to me in the slightest, even if I had indeed been the tiniest attracted to girls in the past. And so, for the first couple of months, I fought against his suggestion tooth and nail. Every time we argued, he would shut down and withhold affection, leaving us separated by a stony silence.

It was hell. By this point I was so in love with him that I couldn’t bear any more arguments or week-long silent treatments, and it seemed that every time we fought, he came closer to leaving me — a possibility which kept me awake at night. So one day I told him, “It’s not that I’m still entirely against the idea. I’m just very picky.” I gave him what I hoped was a believable smile. It wasn’t that hard; my smiles around him were all genuine except when this topic was brought up. The truth was that I hoped that maybe, by virtue of my “pickiness,” I could hold off seeing this “perfect girl” for as long as possible. Eventually, he began the task of convincing himself that maybe it would work if we found the right girl for us — “the One,” he called her. Exhausted, I allowed him to believe this. But I still question whether he really did. He wasn’t stupid, so either his powers of self-persuasion must have been very highly developed, or he just didn’t care, deep down, that I didn’t want this.

After awhile, around four months in, we made a joint account on a dating website. His demands for the candidate were exhausting. He was, as always, insanely picky. She had to be his type — at least five foot nine, light-haired, light-eyed, not a party girl, but not a bore. She had to be my type — someone I didn’t deem too pretty to be a threat, but who wasn’t entirely unattractive to me either. Eventually we met up with a few of these girls — just once for coffee, mainly, but twice we made a second date and invited her to our apartment to watch a movie with us. I remember sitting on the couch between the two of them, my legs curled up stiffly, staring at the screen. Trying to pretend she was not there. I don’t even remember the plot of the movie, as I was too busy trying not to notice when their fingers brushed together or she gave him that look…the look I remembered giving him in the genesis of our relationship. Starry-eyed. Instantly infatuated. Well, of course she was. He was gorgeous, charming, funny, sexy. Perfect relationship material, except for the fact that one woman wasn’t enough for him.

I was always afraid to look at him during those moments between the three of us, even if we were just meeting a girl for the first time. I was terrified of seeing him start to look at her the way he looked at me.

I had moments of happiness with him. We did all the things normal couples do — we watched movies together, went shopping, had brunch, cuddled together in bed. But as time went on, and we met more and more girls only a single time before one of us (usually me) vetoed them for one reason or another, his discontent grew. He began to add an unpleasant twist to these seemingly innocuous, couple-y activities. Whenever we were sitting on the couch in front of a romantic movie, our legs and fingers entwined, our heads resting peacefully together, he would choose this moment to remark how wonderful it would be if Julia or Isabelle were here, too. If I was tired, I wouldn’t respond, just concentrate on the movie and try to block out what I was feeling.

But sometimes the deep bubbling resentment became too much, and I would snap: “Why don’t you just date her, then?” He would roll his eyes and say for the millionth time that that wasn’t the point, that he wanted to do this with me, that it made him feel closer to me, like I was his teammate, his wingman. I tried and tried but found it impossible to understand this. Far from bringing us closer together, it felt like I was drifting away from him whenever we talked about girls, much less when we met them together.

I asked him, over and over again, often in tears, why I was not enough for him. His answer was that I was enough for him. He just wanted a girlfriend (and later, he kept hinting, wife) who was open to the idea of dating girls with him. Slowly he made it clear that his true dream wasn’t just to take a girl on a few dates with us, have a threesome, and let her go on her merry way — no, he was in this for the long haul.

Five months into our relationship, he sent me a link to an article on long-term, committed polyamorous relationships.

If before I had been reluctant, now I was horrified. He seemed genuinely puzzled by my reaction. “What are you afraid of?” he would ask. “That I will leave you for her?” No, that was not what I was afraid of — at least not most of the time. Many of the girls we met up with were too short, too dark, too talkative to fit into his predetermined mold. They would never be true marriage material.

No, my fear was that I would end up trapped in a relationship where I had to share my husband. Where it would never be just the two of us anymore. Where instead of saying Te amo he would say Las amo — “I love you” in the plural form. I love you more than anyone else, Elizabeth…except for her. Where everything that would normally be experienced by a normal couple as something “just between us,” would actually be between us and another girl. A girl that was his type. A girl that he would eventually look at the same way he looked at me.

I would be holding back tears every single day for the rest of my life.

So when he started talking, starry-eyed, about having a threesome on our wedding night, I slid off the bed and began gathering my things. I said I had to go home early. But in my head I was already crafting my breakup speech to him. I delivered it the very next day.

My problem was that I was everything he wanted — tall, blonde, reserved, sophisticated, obedient. Except for the fact that I was horrified at the thought of sharing him, even for a short period of time, with another woman.

I was, and still am, very young. I have years and years to find someone who wants to be with me and only me. Who does not have a checklist of arbitrary traits (tall, blonde, shy) that they require for a future wife. Someone who means everything to me, someone I would do anything for. And maybe this time my feelings will be returned. TC mark

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