About a month ago, a friend of my girlfriend’s was visiting from New York and decided to spend a few days at her place. Among our friends – some of whom had met her before – there was considerable anticipation about her stay. It was only after she arrived in San Antonio that I realized what all the fuss was about. Little did I know I was going to come across a polyamorous relationship story.
Mimi was a tall, dusky, attractive girl in her mid-thirties. She was vivacious, spirited and loved to engage in deep, meaningful conversations. From our first encounter, I gathered, she’d been a model and a television actress. She loved to read, was into fitness, and was also toying with the idea of being a writer.
She was in town to attend a literary festival and hobnob with people from the media for a project she was working on. We regrouped later that evening at a club in the heart of the city to celebrate a friend’s birthday. After a few rounds of drinks, while our friends were beginning to veer towards the dance floor, Mimi told me that she’d been married for more than seven years, but was in a polyamorous relationship.
Conversations With A Polyamorist – Mimi’s Polyamorous Marriage Stories
I noticed that Mimi had a strong and imposing air about her, which may have had less to do with her physical frame. She had an innate ability to seem at ease when she was the centre of attention. She could also hold multiple conversations with her expressive eyes. In a word, Mimi was magnetic.
Before I had grasped the full meaning of her marital arrangement, she was quick to point out that she and her husband were a fully committed couple. It is just that they were open to having sexual relationships with others. Her husband, who was living in London, she said, even had a Spanish girlfriend. Their polyamorous relationship story gripped me instantly. I had never heard of a relationship with 3 partners (or more) in a committed set-up.
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I was suitably piqued by her revelation. I asked whether she would be keen to write about her experiences of being a polygamist for a website I wrote for. At this point she interjected to clarify; polyamorous, not polygamous – they are two very distinct concepts.
The latter implies the legal marriage to more than one spouse at the same time, and the former is the practice of having deeply committed, loving relationships with more than one partner at the same time with the consent and knowledge of all the partners involved.
Polyamory can take many forms and can include a sexual aspect or not. But the focus is on an emotional connection, even if it’s a brief encounter. Polygamy relationship stories were still something I had occasionally read about (or seen); polyamory stories were a whole new lane. The conversation at this point ended abruptly because we were interrupted by friends.
Polyamory stories – In practice
At the club we were in, after what seemed like an hour later, I saw Mimi strike a friendship with a foreigner who was seated at the table next to us. The self-assured man was a tall, wiry, brunet who looked Italian from afar, and was undeniably smitten by her. They were at the bar, while we were on the dance floor letting our hair down, suitably inebriated by the copious amounts of alcohol we’d mixed.
Despite our befuddled state, we noticed them sharing numbers, kissing, and exchanging deep, passionate embraces. After a while, I saw the man leave and she joined the rest of our party as though not much had passed.
I met Mimi two days later. I learnt that she had already spent a rather romantic evening with the man she’d met at the club. They, it turns out, had decided to take things forward the very next day. She narrated the polyamorous relationship story quite casually.
According to Mimi, they had a sumptuous dinner and a swim in the pool of the hotel he was staying at. Both ate a hearty breakfast, connected deeply over conversations of family, politics, heartbreaks and hopes. They then parted (he was returning to Los Angeles, where he lived) with laughter and delight at the experience and depth of a connection. The intimacies shared over that night in its transience, and because of it, were imparted with sensual grace.
How do polyamorous relationships work?
Mimi told me that although she was in a polyamorous relationship, this had only been the sixth person she had had sex with apart from her husband. “For me,” she said, “it is important to have an emotional connection with a person. It is almost never just about sex or lust as everyone would like to perceive.”
While Mimi was talking, her phone began to ring. It was her husband calling. She walked to another room and didn’t reappear for more than an hour. I tried to understand the workings of polyamorous marriage stories like Mimi’s.
“My husband and I,” she said, “make it a point to talk to each other every day for at least an hour. We tell each other everything. We don’t spare any details. Sometimes our conversations are intense. It is really quite wonderful.” Their communication was genuinely stellar to observe. Mimi spent six months with her husband abroad and six months back at home.
She said that her husband knew she was on a date the evening before because they shared their polyamory stories. “It is amazing how we can both tell every single time when the other is out on a date.” Most times, she claimed, they are “happy for each other.” This is a concept that polyamory even has a term for, called “compersion” (taking happiness in a partner’s joy and relationships).
A relationship with 3 partners was quite novel for me to understand in one go. Mimi cleared things up with her usual grace and clear line of reasoning. Her take on poly relationship stories was very intriguing.
The dynamics of polyamorous marriage stories
Their relationship, she said, was not polyamorous to begin with. It had taken a considerable amount of time for them to reach this level of trust and understanding. The journey had been more of a personal undertaking for her. It’d helped her come to terms with who she really was and confront a part of her fraught with vulnerability and social conventions. This exercise of the soul was truly liberating for her.
“At first when we were opening ourselves to this idea of polyamorous relationships, I was confused and even emotionally unsure how it made me feel when I would learn that my husband fancies someone, or had been with someone more attractive than me. But even that jealousy, I found, was healthy in a way,” Mimi said.
She also added, “I was forced to deal with my insecurities so that I could come to see the appreciation of another woman by my husband as an acknowledgement to beauty or charm rather than an indictment of myself.”
Mimi says she had previously been in a year-long, relationship with another person, someone she had met online and had been chatting with for months before they actually met.
“I find the idea of making personal connections both seductive as well as serendipitous. It’s only when you form an intimate relationship with someone can you truly see them for who they really are. For me, the draw of polyamory is not sex. Sex is the easiest thing to get and you can do that with an open relationship.” “But poly”, she emphasized, “is about the ability and freedom to deeply love multiple people”
Related Reading: Gay Polyamorous Relationships Won’t Work For Me
A shift in perspective through her polyamorous relationship story
Mimi spoke of her time when she’d spent months living in Croatia by herself. “The men there are extremely flirty, even the older ones.” Although she formed many deep and loving relationships with the men and women she met during her stay, not one, she claimed, did she decide to sleep with. “I didn’t feel like I needed to.”
She explained: “Today we expect one person to be all things to us; our lover, spouse, confidant, savior, friend, intellectual stimulant, and therapist. How is that even possible? How can we impose so many expectations on one person without them falling short? I like different parts of my personality to be explored and supported by different people who can bring out all these aspects. Poly relationship stories allow that happen, so why not?”
When Mimi left, it took some time for her views to sink in. So much of what she said made sense. I had a few qualms about the possibility of polyamorous relationships getting messy, and I knew they weren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But I was also aware that one set formula of relationships couldn’t work for everyone. If a polyamory story was someone’s choice, good luck to them on their journey. To each his own I guess!
For those who’re suited to open relationships, they certainly do. The question of something ‘working’ is deeply subjective. You have to ascertain whether polyamorous relationships are something that would enhance your life. But there are many individuals out there who swear by it.
If the polyamorous relationship is enriching you emotionally, and satisfying you physically, then of course it is healthy. But if your partners are unaware of the nature of your relationship, you’re going to cause a world of hurt to them. So absolute clarity or transparency are essential if you’re planning to enter into relationship with 3 partners.
While it’s not impossible per se, this set-up might get complicated if the monogamous person isn’t completely secure in the relationship. Poly relationship stories get messy when one individual demands exclusivity. Thinking such a relationship through would be a wise choice before you go ahead.