I came out as polyamorous in 2017, but throughout my life I have found the concept of monogamy difficult to grasp. This meant that before I discovered I could pursue multiple romantic connections in a non-destructive manner, I did so unethically by cheating on partners, which is obviously not positive for any relationship.
In 2016 I was married but had an affair. After that I went through a period of introspection; thinking about why I was unfaithful and how I felt about relationships. And through therapy, I was exposed to other forms of relationships, including polyamory.
I came to the conclusion that polyamory would be a healthier way of fulfilling my need for a romantic connection with more than one person at a time without destroying my existing relationships, if everyone involved agreed.
My ex-wife and I later separated, but my current partner, who I live with and have a child, is also polyamorous. We are both capable of nurturing other relationships, which I feel best suits both of our needs.
Sometimes I’m with no one but my nesting partner, but other times I might see one to three other people. The reality of the situation is that I am a parent, teaching and researching about digital marketing and running my own business so time is usually the main constraint to meeting other people.
At the moment I’m with two other people besides my partner; I see one once a week and the other once a month. I typically connect with people who are themselves in open or polyamorous relationships, but in the past I have been involved with single people that I have met through work or friends and have developed a connection with.
This connection can be sexual or emotional, but what I love about multiple relationships is the opportunity to meet and connect with different people. For me, this aspect of polyamory is very important and I find it very fulfilling.
While I don’t think polyamory is mainstream, in recent years it has become much more prominent in popular media, such as Netflix TV shows about multiple relationships.
My close circle of friends know about my relationship orientation and are therefore not shocked; some of them are even polyamorous themselves. I tend to mention it casually to others.
Often they don’t know how to ask for more information, so they just say, “Okay, that’s fine.”
Dating difficulties as a polyamorous person
I find it difficult to go on a date as a polyamorous person because it’s not the norm. Many people prefer a monogamous relationship, which can then make it harder to make connections. Because of this, I faced a lot of rejection.
I’ve been through many situations where I’m attracted to someone and the feeling isn’t reciprocated, and I think it probably happens to me more than a person looking for a monogamous relationship. Polyamorous relationships don’t align with the relationship goals of many people I’ve encountered and this can be for many reasons such as a desire to “settle down” and have the Lab and the kids, or maybe some are uncomfortable with the Idea of loving someone that also loves someone else. I try to be very open about what I can offer in a relationship, and I bring the polyamory aspect of the conversation very early on to make sure people know how much I enjoy building relationships with others.
In the past I have been rejected several times a year. It was particularly hard when I came out as polyamorous and had the opportunity to network with other people in my personal network.
For example, after revealing that I’m polyamorous, I became very attracted to a woman in my circle of friends and initially thought she was interested in me, but it turns out she wasn’t, and that left me hurt return. Lots of messages had been exchanged, but it turns out she didn’t see our relationship as romantic.
I have a very active social life and see my friends several times a week so it was difficult since she was in that circle. It was painful for me, so I had to take some time off there for a few weeks. I haven’t seen or followed this group on social media for a while, which has helped me deal with these feelings. Two years later, I got over those emotions. I see this person a lot and I don’t feel that way anymore.
Lessons polyamory taught me
Being polyamorous has taught me how to deal with the very intense feelings that come with falling in love. That’s what makes falling in love so special, but I’m also aware that once you’ve found someone, that feeling can also exist at the same time as new people cross your path.
Some people refer to this feeling as “new relationship energy,” meaning there’s a lot of excitement when you meet someone new. You wonder if they like you or if the relationship is going somewhere, you want to know more about them.
But if you’re experiencing this in an existing relationship, it’s important to also consider your current partner and their feelings. Over time, I’ve personally become more aware that these feelings are just a natural chemical reaction when connecting with someone new. Often you will feel excited – but it’s just a phase that relationships go through.
Now when I’m rejected by someone, I’m very fortunate because I can share those feelings with my nesting partner. Just as your close friends would support you, I receive the same from my partner. We’ve both been in situations where we’re interested in other people, but for some reason it just didn’t work out. At the very least, we still need to show each other empathy and support.
As a polyamorous person, the most common reason for rejection is that people are not interested in exploring a relationship with someone who is romantically involved with other people. After that, I think it’s the same as in monogamous relationships; Maybe someone you like just doesn’t see you as a romantic partner and is therefore not interested.
When dealing with rejection, it really helps me to put some distance away from a person. I never try to block out feelings like sadness; These feelings help me find closure. I try to keep myself busy and find solace in doing things like going to basketball or soccer clubs with my kids, hanging out with my friends, or going out dancing. I think as you get older you understand that you won’t always like everyone and not everyone will like you, so it’s not the end of the world if someone isn’t attracted to you.
For me, there doesn’t have to be anything negative about feeling sad about unrequited love or attraction. I take it as proof that those feelings existed and that I really cared about a certain person. I think it’s part of falling in love; often there is excitement, but also sadness and sadness. To me, that’s proof of how important that person was to you, even if that person didn’t feel the same way.
Rodrigo Perez-Vega PhD, 38, from Reading, England, is an academic researching new applications of technology for consumers, writers and entrepreneurs. He co-founded Instant Counseling and Pro-EAP, an online counseling platform with UK-based therapists available 24/7. He is also co-author of the book Essentials of Digital Marketing.
All views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
As reported to Newsweek editor Monica Greep.
https://www.newsweek.com/polyamorous-relationship-painful-side-1771672 “I’m polyamorous, there’s a painful side that people don’t see”