Part of the reason for engaging with Polyamory Week was to fill people in about our situation. Frankie and I decided we weren’t going to make a big deal about what we’re doing. But it’s also something we want to celebrate.
We’ve told those closest to us, and some friends have noticed and asked us questions. And there have been plenty of posts online that have made it obvious what we’re doing. I know it’s everyone’s right to want to ask questions or not. Some of you might honestly not care. But I’m certain some of you have questions that – as I enjoy putting it – you’re far too English to ask us to our faces.
So I decided a good way to celebrate our lifestyle would be to fill people in on how Frankie and I got here, and what the deal with our relationships is.
But I’ll be refraining from going into too much detail. I’ll keep it general. If you’re interested in knowing more, let me know. The rest of you, hopefully there’s nothing below to make anyone uncomfortable.
So, how did Frankie and I reach this place in our lives?
We first discussed opening up our relationship not long after we were married. I think there were a few things that led to this, but one of the big points was our age. We got together at 21 and married at 25. Both of us had only had two partners before we met. There was a part of us that recognised that we didn’t want to look back on our lives and think that we had missed out on experiences with new people.
The outcome of the conversations we had was we were happy to open things up as long as each of us benefitted from the situation and we were honest with each other.
It wasn’t easy. Accepting that your spouse is leaving for the weekend knowing they’ll be sleeping with someone else is a hard thing to do the first time. But we were strong and supported each other. We talked through our feelings, and started learning how to break through the wall of monogamy.
We didn’t throw ourselves into this new world. In fact, we did very little. We were more into a “when the opportunity arises” mindset. And then when Frankie became ill the whole thing took a back seat while we focused on that. Once she recovered, we decided we wanted to reignite this side of our relationship. And I think the perspective we had gained from her illness made us keener to make the most out of our opportunities in life.
Just over a year ago, Frankie starting seeing someone who she ended up dating a few times. Until now, our encounters had mostly been one offs. But she liked him, and so we discussed exploring dating other people. Could we move on from this being purely sex, to sharing emotional connections?
We decided yes.
As it happened, the relationship that started the conversation then abruptly ended, but we decided the decision was still valid. We both then started looking for people in the poly scene to start dating. This, again, was hard. I went to a few social events and got on some dating apps. But I wasn’t having much luck.
Then one night we went to see a burlesque show in London. We were sat chatting with friends, but I couldn’t stop looking over at a woman stood at the bar. She had curly hair and an amazing smile, and our eyes kept catching. It turned out she was a friend of a friend, so we ended up chatting after the show. Before we left we exchanged numbers.
A month later we went on our first date. Five months after that we told each other we loved each other.
She’d never been polyamorous before. I’m so incredibly lucky she was interested in the idea and willing to take a risk on something so new and different. I’m also incredibly lucky that she and Frankie got on like a house on fire. They consider themselves Sister-Wives, a phrase I adore due to its use in the Wheel of Time novels.
That’s about it. Frankie’s had her own adventures during this time, but those are hers to share. There have been ups and downs, but all in all this has been one of the most satisfying and exciting years of my life.
Now, let’s answer a few questions
So, what’s the situation with you guys now?
Frankie and I are still a couple. Our marriage is as strong as it ever was, and we’re still romantically and sexually connected. We just both also see other people as well.
For me, this has meant meeting, dating and falling in love with an amazing woman called Aine.
So you’re cheating?
Nope. Cheating means someone is breaking the rules. This is why what we are doing is so often referred to as ethical non-monogamy. Everyone involved is fully aware of the situation, comfortable of the situation, and engaged with the situation.
Is this all about you then?
Not at all. Frankie is also seeing someone great as well. I’ll not be putting too much about him in these posts as I simply don’t have the right to talk about his life without permission.
So, are you guys, what, a thruple or something now?
No. We don’t have a relationship with the same person. What we have is known as a “Vee”, with me as the “pivot”. I am in a relationship with Frankie, and another one with Aine. They are aware of each other – and in our case very good friends – but their relationship has no romantic or sexual connection.
Both of them date other people, and I’m free to do so as well. This is called a “polycule”; a group of polyamorous people connected through each other’s relationships. Kind of a more intimate version of six-degrees of separation.
It kind of sounds like you’re getting the best deal out of this, having two woman.
I won’t lie, my life is pretty awesome. But this isn’t all about me. A lot of media focuses on the idea of a man getting two women, but it’s so much more than a fetish. Both Frankie and Aine date other people. We’re all making the most out of this lifestyle.
Is this a sex thing?
No. A lot of ethical non-monogamy is about sex. What I’m celebrating in these posts is polyamory, which can potentially have nothing to do with sex.
There are many reasons a relationship can decide to do away with sexual monogamy. But polyamory is the romantic side of things. I love both these woman, and if sex wasn’t involved I would still love them.
So you guys sleep with anyone?
No. We have the freedom to sleep with other people, but it doesn’t mean we’re looking to do so.
Ethical non-monogamy isn’t a free for all. None of us want to sleep with anyone and everyone. We’re just as picky as we would be were we single and uncommitted.
Also you need to take into account being “poly-saturated”. That’s when you are seeing the maximum number of people you are mentally able to be involved with. Relationships take time and energy. I don’t mind committing that time and energy, as a good relationship will generate benefits equal to the effort you put into it. If this isn’t happening, you need to evaluate your current situation.
This sounds complicated.
It is. Very complicated. It involves a lot of communication, and a lot of reading, and processing feelings and information. Neither Frankie, Aine or I had considered polyamory until just over a year ago. It’s needed a lot of adjustment as we’ve worked around the social norms we’re used to.
Monogamy, and the idea that one person should automatically provide everything you need, is deeply ingrained in us from childhood. We’ve all had to work through this, alone and together.
If you have more questions please feel free to ask me, either in person or online. I’m more than happy to answer them. Or, if I’ll let you know if I don’t feel comfortable doing so.