POLYAMOROUS (as defined by Urban Dictionary): The state of having multiple sexually or romantically committed relationships at the same time, with the consent of all partners involved.
POLYAMOROUS (as defined by me): Asking for trouble.
NOTE: This is not my story to tell, other than a fact that I was a witness to it. You know if this happened to me that I’d have no issue calling it out. So thanks to my friend with enough self-confidence and a sense of humor to allow me to share her story here.
Let’s set the scene. My friend is a stunningly beautiful woman, who annoys me to no end by also being smart, funny and sexy. (I don’t need the competition.) She's recently out of a long-term relationship and was introduced to an (ahem!) much younger guy who expressed immediate interest.
“There is no way,” she said. “He’s way too young.”
Naturally, I brought an enlightened, Zen-like spiritual focus to the matter.
“Oh my God,” I said. “You’re not planning on marrying him, are you? For God’s sake, live a little and go have some fun.”
So she went out with him. And fun ensued. And all was good. Until…
A few weeks into seeing each other they met for coffee. Pulling up a chair across from her, the earnest young man reached for her hand and asked, “Do you know what ‘polyamorous’ means?”
My friend raised an eyebrow. “I know what it means,” she said. “Where are you going with this?”
Where he was going was to explain that he was already involved in two long-term “primary” (his word) relationships. But that he very much admired and respected my friend and was interested in keeping her as a secondary relationship.
“I just want to give you a heads up that my schedule and seeing you may change, so I want you to understand where I am. Are you cool with that?”
My friend was decidedly not cool with that. Even less so when she learned that while he was free to enter into other relationships, the two “primary” women he dated were not.
“Who are these sad, sad women?” I asked. “And oh please, please, please. You have to let me blog about this.”
“Really?” said my friend.
I backtracked and asked her how she handled the situation.
“I got the hell out of there before I was arrested for manslaughter,” she said. “I was shaking. I’ve never been so embarrassed, humiliated and pissed off in my life.”
She did manage to tell him before she left that she would never be anyone's “second.” Ever. And that if he had any decency as a human being, he would never put someone else through this.
Here’s the thing. If you and your "primaries" want to be polyamorous, knock yourselves out. I have no issues. But have the common decency to share that’s your lifestyle choice well before you drag an unsuspecting third party (fourth party? fifth party?) into the middle of that mess.
The day after my friend told me this story, she texted me and asked if she could borrow a skirt of mine.
“This is awkward,” I texted back. “But I need to tell you that I reserve my clothes sharing for my primary friends. And while I love and respect you, you’re more of a secondary friend to me. Can you understand that?”
I let a beat go by and then sent another text: “Too soon??”
Her text back: “I’m about to pee my pants, laughing. Thank you.”
What are friends for?