h2>Dating : What It’s Like to Love More Than One Person at the Same Time
It’s not as complicated as you might think.
I didn’t always know I was a non-monogamous person, but there were definitely signs. In high school I “accidentally” ended up with two boyfriends at the same time, and I honestly didn’t see why that was a problem. I almost always had a crush on more than one person at the same time. When I was cheated on for the first time, I remember I couldn’t stop thinking about my boyfriend being with that other girl. I figured it was because I was so angry — but actually, I think it was because I was into it.
Eventually, I became close friends with someone who identified as non-monogamous, and I figured it out. I realized that’s what I wanted and that’s what worked best for me, and I haven’t looked back since.
Currently I have a few partners, and I love more than one of them. That may sound crazy to some people, but for me, it works. TV shows and movies always present loving more than one person at the same time as a huge problem. In so many popular series, one of the main plot lines is “Which one of these two people should I choose to be with?” Both characters are usually presented as being great partners with great qualities, making the path to choosing just one of them difficult and painful. Meanwhile, I’m sitting on my couch watching it all unfold and yelling at my TV, “Don’t choose, date them both!”
Obviously, a non-monogamous lifestyle doesn’t work for everyone, and I’m a big advocate of knowing what works best for you and following that path. That being said, it’s absolutely possible to love more than one person at the same time — possible, and functional. Healthy, even. Imagine that.
Everyone’s experience having multiple partners is going to be different. This is how and why it works for me.
I get different things from different partners.
Even if you’re a monogamous person, it’s still impossible to expect that one person is going to meet all of your needs at all times. That’s just now how it works. There are things we can’t always get from a romantic partner that we then get from friends and family instead, and that’s ok. We all have all sorts of relationships that help to enrich our lives, and for me, a few of those relationships happen to be romantic instead of just one.
My partners have similarities, but they’re also very different, and the time we spend together enriches my life in different ways. The same way you might talk about or do different activities with different friends, that’s exactly how it is with my partners and I. Where one dynamic may be more suited for going out to eat and exploring new places, another tends to lean towards ordering food in bed and watching new shows on Netflix. Sometimes I do the same kinds of things with different partners, sure, but each dynamic is still so unique. I couldn’t find any of them anywhere else.
Things don’t have to be equal, as long as they’re fair.
In non-monogamous situations, you’re dealing with different people who are going to have different relationships with each other. It’s not always going to make sense to do exactly the same things or have exactly the same relationship style with each partner, and even kind of goes against why non-monogamy works for a lot of people.
Things don’t have to be exactly the same across the board, as long as each person involved feels fulfilled and like they’re getting what they want and need out of the relationship.
There may be times where I’m feeling more connected to one partner than another, and that’s ok — as long as I’m still communicating and making sure we all feel like our needs are being met.
Jealousy comes from insecurity.
Even though a non monogamous lifestyle is something I’ve chosen with great enthusiasm, I still get jealous sometimes. That may be surprising to some people, but it’s true. No one is immune to jealousy.
The thing is though, I can always trace a jealous thought. There’s always a root emotion or problem behind the jealousy. Once I can trace it, I can tackle it, and then the jealousy fades away.
That’s why for me, jealousy has never seemed like a huge issue. If I’m feeling jealous, it’s probably because I’m not feeling fulfilled in my relationship with my partner. That’s what needs to be addressed.
I’m not shy about talking about one partner with the other.
I’m currently involved with more than one person at the same time, and I’m not going to pretend that I’m not. In my opinion, pretending that your other partners don’t exist can be harmful to your relationships.
And of course, forgoing disclosing your other relationships altogether isn’t non-monogamy. It’s cheating. Just to make that clear.
My partners know about each other. When I’m with one partner, sometimes another one comes up in conversation, and it’s not awkward. This is a situation we’ve all chosen and are comfortable with, and if it ever became uncomfortable, then we would talk about it.
Of course, not everyone wants to hear about their partner’s other partners all the time, and that’s ok. Everyone has different comfort levels. If mentioning other partners is a major point of conflict though, you may need to reassess if non-monogamy is working in that dynamic.
Communication is key.
As in any relationship, monogamous or not, it all comes down to effective communication.
Loving more than one person at the same time, openly and in an ethical way, doesn’t work unless you have great, open communication with everyone involved. If there’s an issue, you’ve got to talk about it.
I recently started seeing a new partner who knew I was non-monogamous, but didn’t have much experience with that relationship style himself. About a month in, I asked him how he felt about me having other partners. We talked about it and made sure we were on the same page. Even if everything seems ok, I’ll probably keep checking in.
Even with partners who I know are ok with it, it’s still good to check in sometimes. Even in monogamous relationships, you should keep checking in to make sure things are still working. Even if you think you’re over-communicating, you’re probably not. Communication truly is key.
My partners and I don’t get it right all of the time, but we work at it, and that’s what counts.