You have two girlfriends? How does that work?
For the past eight months, I've been in a polyamorous triad relationship with two girlfriends. For me, it looks like this: I'm in love with two people. I have individual romantic relationships with both of them, they have a romantic relationship with each other, and we all have one big, loving, triangular relationship all together.
We each bring all of the love that we'd bring to any relationship, but it's directed toward two people instead of one, which actually seems to make it stronger. Each of us gets twice the support, twice the kisses, and twice the partnership. And each of our personalities compliment different parts of the others'. For instance, Victoria loves mythology as much as I do, and Finn shares my passion for words. We seem to be the most stable all together. It's sort of like a love tripod.
So, how do you guys do it? Do you all have sex together, or do you couple off for sexy times?
Yes, we do all have sex together. With three female-bodied people, this can look a number of different ways — many of which are super sweet and intimate, and all of which are totally hot. It's incredible to feel emotionally connected to two people at the same time during sex. And yes, we do also "couple off."
However, I know some triads who only have sex two-on-two, and some who only have sex all together. Just like in any relationship, bedroom dynamics in a triad are specific to the individual grouping of people.
When it's time to actually sleep, we all snuggle in a super-comfy king-sized bed. We take turns sleeping in the middle, spooning and being spooned. It might be the best place to sleep in the world.
But you must love one of your partners more than the other one, right?
Short answer: No.
Longer answer: I have different one-on-one relationships with each of them, each one cute and swoony in its own way. My relationship with Victoria is more feminine and gentle — we give each other back rubs, we go to the beach in winter to walk on snowy sand. Finn and I act more like two dudes together — we play guitars, we wrestle and smack each other's asses. To me, both relationships are romantic, but neither is more romantic than the other, and both fulfill different romantic sides of me.
My sister/roommate/bartender said that she was in a polyamorous relationship once and got her heart broken! Doesn't that mean that polyamorous relationships never work?
Some people marry one person when they're 20 and never sleep with anyone else. Some people date around casually for years. Some people get married and divorced and remarried. Some people maintain extended relationships with several people at the same time. Some people are serial monogamists. It's possible to get your heart broken in any of these situations. I've gotten my heart broken in several of them.
Mostly when people talk about bad experiences with poly, they're talking about a situation in which someone was dishonest. Of course, that's usually the issue when people have bad experiences in monogamous relationships too. Honesty is key.
So, how do you guys fight? Do two of you, like, gang up on the other one?
Um, no. That would be terrible.
Sometimes I fight with Finn and Victoria stays out of it. Sometimes Victoria and I have a conflict and Finn leaves us alone. Sometimes the two of them have something to work out and it has nothing to do with me. Sometimes a fight between two of us will affect the third one tangentially. Sometimes there are issues that concern all three of us, and we all have to talk about them.
Occasionally, one of us will manage to do something so fantastically dumb that it pisses off both of the others, but we do not "gang up" on anyone. Just because we're in a polyamorous relationship doesn't mean we've become personality-less drones that merge with one another to form "group minds."
Don't dates get expensive with three people?
Naw. It's cheaper because we split everything three ways instead of two.
What do you tell your parents/boss/friends?
My parents are from the Midwest and are pretty politically conservative. They work hard to be supportive of my lifestyle and choices, but our relationship still has stumbling blocks. When I got together with Finn and Victoria, I was terrified that this would be the thing that would be too far out for my parents to accept. I finally told them and they reacted much more positively than I'd expected. My mom gave Finn and Victoria big hugs the first time they all met.
Most of the weirdness with my mom has just been issues of awareness and language barriers. For instance, at Christmas, she kept referring to Victoria and Finn as my "friends." "I would have gotten gifts for your friends," she said while we were placing presents under the tree, "but I didn't know what they liked."
I knew she didn't realize she was invalidating my romantic partners by calling them "friends," so I gently explained to her over eggnog that that was a thing. Ever since, she's deliberately (if occasionally awkwardly) made sure to say "girlfriends" every time.
As far as co-workers and friends, Victoria, Finn, and I have been fairly open and out since the get-go, and we've largely been met with overwhelming support, warm fuzzies, and well wishes. Admittedly, we live in Cambridge, Mass., which is a pretty queer- and poly-friendly, open-minded place. I'm not sure if I'd feel comfortable being as out if I still lived in a conservative state, but it's felt wonderful to be able to be myself.