When I was in college, I started dating this guy who I was attracted to particularly because of how mysterious he was. What I didn’t realize is that mystery he was hiding behind was his polyamory. I thought I could cope with that but turns out I was wrong.
We started talking and hooking up casually. Nothing was serious yet, but I knew I liked him and I wasn’t opposed to being in a real relationship with him. After about a month of hooking up casually, I opened up to him about things in my past and started feeling more connected to him. I told him I wanted more out of what we were doing and was anxious to see how he felt.
He admitted to me that he’s polyamorous. When I first told him I wanted more, he started to go along with it but I could tell he was hesitant. Feeling slightly defeated, I let it go and just continued to be casual. One night when we were hanging out, he opened up to me that he couldn’t date me exclusively because he was polyamorous.
I didn’t even know what polyamory was at the time. I’d never met anyone that was polyamorous before, at least that I knew of. I didn’t understand the term and thought he meant like those polygamous relationships you see on TV, so I started freaking out. It turns out polyamory just means you have the ability to be into multiple people at the same time. This could mean dating multiple people or just hooking up with many people at the same time.
I started being suspicious of the other women he hung out with. Once he told me what his lifestyle entailed, I was shocked. To be honest, I thought this definition just meant you were a player, not polyamorous. I started to question the girls he was hanging out with. Was he really hooking up with them too? I later found out the answer to that question was yes. To him, he wasn’t cheating on me, he was just living his life poly.
I decided to try and keep an open mind. After finding out what polyamory was about, I decided I’d be open-minded about it and even try it myself. He made me feel so old-fashioned that I’d scoffed at the idea to begin with. I downloaded dating apps and started swiping through. I would go on dates and even hook up with many different guys and I felt like this was supposed to make me happy.
I realized what I want in a relationship. When I started hooking up with other guys at the same time I was still dating another one, I felt dirty. Call me a prude if you want, but I realized the polyamorous lifestyle wasn’t for me. Hooking up with and dating other guys made me feel like I was cheating, not like I was living out some new and adventurous lifestyle.
I thought we’d be able to set ground rules. After hooking up with a guy from the bar downtown, I told myself I couldn’t do it anymore. I knew I didn’t want to be in a polyamorous relationship. I told myself all we needed to do was talk about how poly wasn’t for me and he would understand and agree to be exclusive. We’d been together for a couple months at this point and I knew I was the most important woman to him.
He told me he would stop seeing other people. One night in his apartment, I sat him down and told him how I felt about polyamory. You could tell he really did feel bad for me and appreciated me trying for his sake. This was comforting to me and given his response, I could see a future with him more than ever. He told me he was going to change and I would be the only girl he was with.
One of his girlfriends came to visit. I remember clearly him calling me one night to tell me one of his friends from back home was coming to visit him for a weekend. I asked if she was a woman and he told me yes. I was immediately worried at the thought of a girl being in his apartment when I wasn’t around, especially given his old habits. He assured me everything would be fine and that she really was just a friend.
Unfortunately, his urges were stronger than our relationship. I started to get a sense something was up when he wasn’t allowing me to meet his visiting friend. I was frustrated and asked him if the two of them had hooked up. Confidently and without hesitation he replied that they did. I wanted to be shocked but I wasn’t at all. I hung up the phone and decided to drop him and move on with my life like I should have when he told me he was polyamorous in the first place.
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