As far as I can tell it’s been a little over a year since I decided to give polyamory a try. In this time I briefly dated one gal, but that’s as far as I’ve progressed. I’ve been on a date here and there, but haven’t felt that kind of tingling pull towards another. Ironically while I’ve been working towards the poly lifestyle, my girlfriend and I have been exhibiting habits far closer to a monogamous one. It hasn’t been intentional, but it’s been noticeable. She ended up having a few break ups in a row and didn’t make a huge effort to try and meet other people. Like myself, she’s maybe had a few dates here or there, but nothing that’s pulled her in. We’ve grown closer together, enough so that we’re now cohabitaing. Things feel comfortable, settled and secure.
As avid readers will remember however, I had a date the other night.
It went well, thank you for asking. I don’t know why I was so rattled with pre-date jitters. The awkwardness lasted all of half a second. There was a quick, easy rapport. We grabbed a couple of cocktails at Wolf Like Me, then walked down to Disgraceland for some grub, stopping briefly to peek in on drum circle practice at Super Wonder Gallery. I’m sure if we weren’t getting on well we wouldn’t have talked for over five hours straight. We walked in the direction of home and kissed goodbye when we parted. Basically the poster child for a pleasant date.
Here’s the thing that stuck out to me. We both had live in partners. She and her boyfriend had recently opened up the relationship and were both feeling polyamory out. We were both happily in love with someone we adored, yet there we were in a bar seeing if one another felt like someone fit to share saliva with. It created a dynamic that I’ve never experienced, in that at some point we just started gushing about our partners. It was amazing. I loved hearing about her boyfriend, who seemed like a top notch dude. I beamed while being regaled with stories of their adventures, relationship highlights and cute couple quirks. There was something to knowing that I was out with someone who already felt fulfilled in a relationship and was there because she wanted my company, not because I was an attempt to fill some void. For the same token, I appreciated being able to relate just how amazing my girlfriend is, how she’s fostered in me an openness and emotional communication I never thought possible.
Being totally open and honest broke down a bunch of barriers quickly. I’ve had fears throughout my experiences with poly that I’d feel conflicted or terrible for seeking intimacy with someone outside of my partner. Strangely though, the opposite was true. Nothing was being hidden, our partners knew where we were, what we were up to. There was enthusiastic consent all around, knowing that implicit trust meant we were going back to receptive significant others. Sure enough, my girlfriend was happy to debrief and discuss how I felt, if I had any issues or qualms about the date. Being able to honestly tell her that I felt great about the experience, that the support I knew she’d offer buoyed my spirits, made my heart grow three sizes. Knowing that she has my back translates this from an experience that could make me feel dirty or deceitful into one that warms my heart.
Who even knows if this is leading anywhere? My date and I hung out today to play video games and we’re gonna brunch on Monday. It’s not because there’s an urgency to anything, it’s just really nice spending time together. There’s a certain amount of NRE, but this time it feels different. Being able to spend time with someone new makes me appreciate my partner all the more. Now that we’re living together, when I leave my date to return to my girlfriend, there’s an extra swell of affection in the time we do spend together. It makes me feel loved, trusted and respected. It’s causing me to double down on all those things sent back to her. Maybe it’s the countless hours of processing we’ve done. Maybe it’s the conversations that’ve unfolded. Maybe it’s the positive stories I’ve seen reflected in my increasingly polyamorous friend circles. Whatever this is, it’s something I want to pursue further.