Personal Stories

When Polyamory Becomes Ordinary

Love, when shared, multiplies. I've learnt new ways to be there for my friends and family because of this philosophy too. I've become a much better person and learnt to introspect on my own unhealthy patterns.

I have two partners. Let’s call them B (they/them) and F (she/her). Recently, B texted F if they can both combine their resources to get me a pair of quality noise-canceling headphones for my birthday. I’m autistic, prone to sensory overload, and they have both been concerned about it since my last episode. They know what this means to me: the gift of quiet and of them getting along with each other.

F went out on a date with someone. I texted this person after a few days (with consent from all people involved) to tell her that she’s lovely. She tells me that my partner is lucky to have me. I said, I’m the lucky one. F and her make a good pair. After all, F chooses well.

Whenever I have a call with my mom, she asks about F and B. She’s invested in their lives, defends them, uses the right pronouns, and likes them a lot. She’s wise, a sweetheart, and a full ally.

B was really sick in August, and F was concerned. She checked in with me about them regularly. A couple of months ago, B was REALLY MAD when they got to know about how F was being treated at work. I received a lot of angry texts, which I promptly forwarded to F.

They have met each other twice. Once, they were at my place at the same time, and were respectful and playful. Literally playful! They played with a ball together, while I cowered in a corner and yelled at them to stop because, yes, I’m afraid of balls. No puns here.

When it was my 10-month anniversary with B, F wished me so sweetly. Both B and I had forgotten the date (Because what is time? How does it work?). F, on the other hand, remembered because her brain is a computer.

I recently got back on Hinge, saw the profiles of both my partners there, and sent each of them a text. A cute, fun reunion. I’m not sure how to tell non-poly people about these things, though. I no longer know how to answer the unsaid “But ‘how’ do you all do this?”

I sometimes have to take a step back when these very normal things are happening to me to remind myself that I couldn’t have thought of this life a year ago. These two had never been polyamorous, but they took to it like fish to water. Before this, I had convinced myself due to past events that the way I love is probably a road to permanent heartbreak. That I will not find the right people. That something is very wrong with me.

I remember that in the first 3 months of dating B, I kept waiting for them to blow up or be passive-aggressive in some way. I would be hyper-alert the whole time whenever polyamory was even implied – let alone mentioned outright. If there was no reaction, I would wait for one to build up in a couple of days. My therapist had to remind me gently that there were no facts at hand for my fears to be construed as true, and that I just needed time and healing to let go of the past baggage and conditioning.

I knew she was right. But I waited for everything to fall apart. For heartbreaking, sarcastic comments to come my way, for someone to tell me that I’m not doing enough for them, that this isn’t working out for them, that I don’t understand how it felt, that they needed time apart, that they wanted to leave.

It never happened. I’ve made space for B and F to gently express feelings of any kind whatsoever, but they’ve filled that space with even more love. I would reject this initially with a “No, you don’t know what you’re feeling, you should tell me if you’re feeling weird or insecure or jealous, I’m here to talk about it openly”. The constant assurances I offered to be there for them, and not believing them when they told me they were okay, made me forget that I have needs too. My conditioning of the last couple of years to anticipate and cater to a partner’s forever-fluctuating feelings made me abandon my own.

No one’s competing with anyone here. No one’s entitled to the other’s time. Everyone is capable of talking about jealousy and insecurity and their needs openly, just like monogamous folks ideally should too. And every single person in this entire romantic chain has respect for each other. It no longer baffles me. These people have given me new standards to uphold. It’s strange to think that I was ever playing by monogamous rules; both my partners make it all seem so easy and wonderful.

Love, when shared, multiplies. I’ve learnt new ways to be there for my friends and family because of this philosophy too. I’ve become a much better person and learnt to introspect on my own unhealthy patterns. Thank goodness for Instagram pages on polyamory, books and articles on the subject, chosen family and polyamorous friends.

I understand that people still react to me having two loving partners with a sense of novelty, but this routine has become so beautifully ordinary for me. It’s similar to when I first realized I’m bisexual, years ago. I spoke of it a LOT with my queer friends. And now … *shrugs*.

What I’m trying to say is that in a world where hate seems supreme sometimes, I hope we all have the capacity, privilege, health, and luck to create our own little worlds of ‘love’, however we define the word for ourselves. May we continue to learn that love flows, and can’t be boxed. And may it feel like the most natural way of being.

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Enby, bisexual, polyamorous, autistic, awkward. Editor by profession, reader by force of nature. Finds joy in chai, cats, quiet, dance, ranting about the latest book in my hands, feminist art and long discussions. Assumes everyone is queer until proven otherwise.

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