“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…

Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Contents -

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

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