“I LOVE MY WIFE AND MY GIRLFRIEND” Things get complicated for our columnist
Jack* and Lucy* fall hard this month. Just not necessarily for each other…
One of the clear “upsides” of polyamory, as I initially see it, is being given free rein when it comes to dating. On my first extramarital date, I was lucky enough to meet a woman also in a polyamorous set-up – Nell,* now my girlfriend. But that doesn’t stop me getting sucked into Tinder on a regular basis… swiping and swiping, clinging to the vague idea that something else is just around the corner. No one – not my wife, not my girlfriend – can stop me. I can have as many partners as I like! After all, we’re all poly now, right?
I end up on a date with a recent divorcee. A few weeks later I go on another date, this time with a driven career woman who’s looking to emigrate soon – and fascinated by the idea of multiple partners. Both meetings, though pleasant and friendly enough, lead precisely nowhere.
These experiences, along with the fact that my wife, Lucy, is – at the same time – in the passionate first stages of a relationship with her new boyfriend, Max,* get me thinking more seriously about exactly what is going to make me happy. On paper, being married but also being allowed to sleep with other women sounds like a great deal. But, in reality, it’s difficult to sustain (or even begin) such additional relationships without passion and love. And finding those things takes time.
I guess I know deep down that I should be devoting more time to Nell. When she hears about my other dates, she doesn’t say I can’t do it (this is polyamory!), but I can tell she’s a bit upset. And the more I think about it, the more I realise I’m going about this the wrong way. I’m focusing too much on the “poly” and not nearly enough on the “amore”. I’m shocked and slightly annoyed when I see Lucy signing off a text to Max with “I love you”. But why should I be? If I’m going to be poly, I need to stop pushing Nell away and allow myself to fall in love as well. Is it really possible to love two people at the same time? I think I need to find out.
Within days of resolving to focus all my spare time and energy on Nell, I begin to feel happier. Admittedly, being married with kids doesn’t mean I exactly have tons of spare time and energy, and I wonder why I ever thought it was a good idea to have more than one “other” relationship. Perhaps I was subconsciously keeping Nell at arm’s length because I was fearful about the real possibilities of polyamory and whether my “normal” life could survive them.
Now those possibilities begin to become realities. Nell and I start to see each other at least once a week, and open up about our fantasies. As we get more relaxed, one evening I text her a picture from an online shop of a leather collar and harness, asking if she would like me to buy them for her. She would. Very much. The next time we have sex, it’s rough, playful, frenzied and mildly but deliciously painful. We collapse in each other’s arms afterwards, covered in a light sheen of sweat, staring into one another’s eyes… and I think it. Then, a few days later, as we kiss goodbye after a romantic dinner, I say it…“I love you”…
The Polyamory Diaries chronicles one man’s reluctant journey into polyamory in order to save his marriage. Read the previous instalments at Cosmopolitan. com/uk/polyamory-diaries