I met him in London, during a swimming class at the gym. At first glance he seemed like a regular guy, someone I wouldn’t have talked to if the instructor hadn’t asked us to team up with a partner. He was very casual and straightforward and asked me out on a date. The following day we met near Big Ben. We had a good time, so we started seeing each other and sleeping together, and I became more and more in love with him.
I liked the way he had of creating his own world rather than following the crowd. He was reliable and honest with me and with other people he knew, and we kept growing closer.
After two months he said he had something to tell me – a surprise. We arranged to have an intimate dinner at a nice restaurant near Hyde Park. He asked me to come in a good mood. I remember getting ready for the evening, going to the hairdresser, wearing my most gorgeous dress, putting on some makeup. I walked into the restaurant with high hopes, ready to accept whatever the guy I desired was about to propose. I found him sitting in an armchair next to the fireplace – he had a thing about choosing the perfect spot, kindly insisting the hostess seat him wherever he wished.
We finished the first course. Excited, he seemed to be waiting for the right moment. I kept silent, letting him lead. Men like to feel they’re in control. When he asked if I was ready, I said yes, holding his hand.
“I’m polyamorous,” he said tersely, smiling.
“What do you mean?” I asked. I really had no clue.
He explained it was only natural to love more than one person at the same time and added, “I don’t think we’re compatible as primary partners, but we can continue our great relationship as secondary partners. In other words, you may search for a primary partner, while I look for a woman to have a family and kids with.”
I felt completely shocked. It was like a movie I didn’t want to be in. He paused, examining my face for some sign of comprehension.
“Are you… breaking up with me?” I asked with hesitation.
“Not at all,” he said. “I like you and want to be with you. I just want make our expectations clear. We aren’t going to get married. If I were monogamous, I might have lied to you and stayed with you for my own convenience while secretly looking for another girl.”
“So you’re saying you need more time to figure out if we can be partners?”
“I’m telling you straight up, after two months together, we’re just not compatible as a couple that will start a family.”
I stopped listening. It was too painful. It was not the first time a man rejected me. Seeing all those happy-looking couples around me, I didn’t understand why he couldn’t have told me this at his place or just talked to me on the phone. I lost my appetite and felt tears choke my throat. I went to the toilets to cry. All I wanted to do at that moment was take my things and run and never see him again, ever. I wasn’t mad at him as much as I was mad at myself for getting into this situation. When I returned to the table, I announced I was leaving.
“Please stay a little longer,” he implored. “If you leave now, you’ll feel bad about yourself. Look, I truly love you. We’ve spent two happy months together. Remember our trip to Oxford?” Then he said, “During this time I haven’t slept with anyone else. You don’t doubt that, do you?”
I believed everything he said. I knew he loved me, but I felt very confused.
“What do you want, then?” I asked.
“You have a monogamous mindset, so maybe it’s better if we just stay friends, because as much as I want to be with you, I also don’t want to hurt you.”
I walked out of the restaurant hurt and shaken. He had repeatedly said that he wanted to keep seeing me, but that because of my reaction he thought we should only be friends. Something about him made me trust him.
We didn’t talk to each other for several days. We then agreed to stay friends, but I was still angry with him. My desire for him was stronger than I imagined. I kept wishing that the man I loved would change his mind, that over time he would relinquish this infantile idea of polyamory.
I ended up succumbing to my desire and slept with him. I enjoyed his company. He was caring and supportive, and sometimes I would even fantasize that it was a monogamous relationship. But as we were free to see other people, I met an Australian musician that had immigrated to London. Though I told each of them about the other, I felt I was deceiving them and maybe myself.
The change came about when I decided to put their love to the test. I invited them both to lunch. I figured they would fight over me.
The first partner met me at the restaurant. The other guy arrived twenty minutes later. I introduced them to each other.
They immediately started talking. I expected their male egos to collide in a display of verbal infighting and aggressive body language, but I didn’t notice any hostility. They were very gracious, each recognizing his own disadvantages and the other’s advantages. It was a turning point for me, and I felt extremely relieved.
I continued to go out with both of them. They were competitive, each trying to impress me in his own way. With the first guy I went on trips, discovering new places. He was born to a wealthy family and didn’t really need to work for a living, so we had plenty of time to do whatever we wanted. The second guy was always busy but loved to eat and dance and had a great sense of humor (I can’t say the same about the first). I was getting so much from my relationships.
It took me six months to change my view of things. I realized the power of polyamory, the possibility of enjoying two worlds offered to me by two different men.
Looking back, I wonder what would have happened if I had gone along with the monogamist cultural obligation to choose between the two. I definitely would have been less happy and unaware of what I had missed out on.
Today I love two men at the same time. It just feels right. I don’t identify as polyamorous, because when I find the man I want to marry and have a family with, I’ll probably be monogamous again. In any case, I’m grateful for this amazing experience with two men who love me and respect each other.