How Did I End Up in a Polyamorous Relationship?
How Did I End Up in a Polyamorous Relationship?
I have always thought polyamorous relationships were interesting, even as a kid when I saw them on TV talk shows (yes, there were plenty of those, even in the ‘90s) and in movies. After becoming conscious of my African roots and culture, I started to hear about polygynous relationships (where a man has multiple wives) as a way to strengthen black communities and as part of an old tradition in our culture. Being that I always found poly relationships interesting and understood them as a concept, I was naturally open to it. I didn’t go looking for a poly relationship, though. It found me…
A Fool’s Journey
Like I said, I wasn’t looking but I was open to a poly relationship, and all my New Agers know what happens when you do that: it comes to ya, LOL! I was in some online groups, and I was approached a couple times, but I never took the bait. It just didn't feel right. My very first proposition was a guy I met out at an event. He belonged to the Nation of Islam, but he wasn’t really strict about his religion.
We talked for a while. He let me know he had a woman and talked to me about polygyny. I agreed to try it out, but his wife really wasn't into it, so our relationship just kinda evaporated until it was non-existent. That is a good thing, because I don't think he had good intentions. He used to call me early in the morning to hear them have sex. It was weird, so yeah, I dodged a bullet there.
Next, I met an average brother from around the way. Not part of black empowerment in any type of way. He wasn’t religious or anything either, although he was actually brought up Christian. We kinda dated, but it wasn't serious and we stopped talking for awhile. When we spoke again, he had someone. I can’t remember all the details, but he, the new girlfriend, and I had plans to all be together. I’m not sure how we got to that point, but we all went out together a few times. He kissed both of us while we were out at the mall together. It was fun, but then I flaked and disappeared because I had changed my mind. That wasn’t exactly what I was looking for if I was to be in a poly relationship. Plus, I wasn’t feeling the guy like that. Maybe it would’ve been different if I had been into him.
Then came the finale: the great love -- my soulmate. He was everything I thought I was asking for. He was everything on my list. He had cultural pride, he was exotic (from Guyana), strong and masculine, a good dad, and a businessman. We had a chemistry and a bond that I’d never experienced before. It felt like I was home, and he said since he heard my voice, he felt like he knew me. It was a mutual feeling of belonging to each other, a familiar feeling like we already knew each other.
We met on Facebook while trying to unite our people across South Carolina. He had a group, and I was reaching out to people as well, so we crossed paths during our awakening to consciousness. We talked politics and all types of things for three years off and on before
admitting that there was more between us. We acknowledged these feelings in the third year of our friendship, but we didn’t act on them right away. One day, the topic of a relationship between us came up. He told me we could explore it; he just had to be honest with his wife about us. That helped me to segue into letting him know that I was open to polygyny. He felt she’d be open to it, and once he told her about me and how he felt, she agreed to try it out.
Travis and I started our journey together after we got the blessing to explore what we had. For the first year, he traveled back and forth between the coast and upstate, where I’m from. We had mutual interests, talked for hours, and both love culture and seafood. As a couple, we did the simplest things together and had a ball. It was beautiful, something I’d never experienced before. The connection was so strong ... it was something I couldn't resist.
Things were moving fast: as we were getting to know each other and exploring these unusual feelings, we got pregnant four months into our relationship. We wanted the baby though -- we wanted it all because we were love drunk in our honeymoon phase. We made plans for building a legacy for our family and having them be prepared for anything, especially self-sufficiency. If I was going to be in a polygynous relationship, it would have to be this. It was right for me.
Along with getting to know my new love, I was getting to know his wife, Yandi. I had to add her in my whirlwind romance period of our relationship because frankly, she was there. This wouldn't be polygyny if she wasn't. We texted everyday, talked about everything like home girls do. A big part of our discussions was about how the family would be run, how she was feeling about the new change, and her feelings for me as a bisexual woman.
She felt like we could have a romantic relationship, too, but I was not interested in that. Even though I’ve had sexual encounters with other women in the past, it felt a phase or a fantasy to act out. After trying it out, my curiosity was over. I did open myself up to get to know her in that way, but I did not love her romantically. As it evolved, it really was purely sexual. Other than occasional sex between us, we are home-girls, plain and simple. We are friends who raise children, run a household, and carry on individual monogamous relationships with one man.
The Learning Curve
We are three years into our poly relationship, and I’ve learned a lot. At times, I’ve even questioned my decision to pursue this relationship because of its pros and cons.
On the plus side, this lifestyle can bring an abundance of wealth, love, and emotional stability. I was a single mom before this, and at times, I dealt with depression. Now I have a village to help me, and I’m not so burned-out or fatigued. I have three people to help me with my kids: my husband, my co-wife, and their oldest daughter. Economically, I can save money because I don’t pay bills unless a short-term, financial need comes up. I also receive lots of love from everyone. It’s great because I haven’t felt alone since all this started, and I used to. The world used to feel heavy upon my shoulders. I no longer have to learn to survive and make it in this world alone.
The cons for me are mostly emotional issues and internal battles that I’ve had before I met Travis. I could also mention the alone time, but that is actually a plus for me. More challenging are the times when I want him, and he is unavailable because he is in the next room with his other wife. That could be a big problem for others coming into this lifestyle.
Reassurance is my love language; I need to hear I love you a lot. In a poly relationship, you will see and hear things that would make someone with insecurities question whether their mate’s love is real. In my case, this need not be a question because Travis is very expressive of his feelings for me, no matter who is around. This showed me that my own issues were causing me to question his love for me. I saw how deep-rooted some of my past hurts and disappointments were. To this day, I’m still healing from trauma I suffered during an emotionally and sometimes physically abusive relationship in my past.
When I would see my man kiss or compliment his wife in some way, I would feel a little insignificant, like he suddenly lost love for me. This is not true, but these are the irrational thoughts that have run through my mind at times. I know those thoughts are irrational because there is no way that a man who makes a way for all of us together could not love me. There is no way that a man could risk so much to go down this unconventional path and not love me. Once I reassure myself, part of me is glad that he is openly showing her affection so that she, too, will know that he still loves her, and that I’m not a threat to her.
At first, Yandi also felt some confusion about how involved Travis and I were. It was partly an error on his end, too. At the same time, she told me that he wanted them to take care of me, so she did have an idea of how serious our relationship was. She struggled with feeling hurt and replaced in some way, but I could never replace her because I am not her. This is what she had to learn along the way. She even played the victim at one point, mostly to keep her family together, in my opinion, but he did not want to let her go, either.
I could be wrong, but I don’t feel she was a victim because he told her she had options, and she agreed with full knowledge of what the situation was. It wasn’t an easy choice for her to make, though. At one point, I felt like the right thing to do was to walk away, but I didn’t want to. Poly love was very new to both Travis and me, and we felt it was necessary to explore the possibility. In hindsight, I still think I would've made the same choice if I could do it all over again because I can’t just be left with a “what if?”
Yandi and I have been through a lot as a family unit. We have fallen and risen back up again together. I commend her on sticking with this. Even though the start was rocky, she was never mean or nasty towards me. She took up her issues with him and often confided in me about issues she had in her relationship with Travis or about my relationship with him. This probably seems odd to people on the outside, but my bond with Yandi grew stronger this way.
After lots of long talks and changes on all sides, we have come to enjoy each other and grow together. Today, we can confide in each other, and we are in sync on an emotional level. We still have our bumps in the road sometimes because this is our real life. In real life, there is the beauty, the bad, and the ugly.
Other than these issues, we poly people deal with relationship problems just like any other relationship. We are not all that different from monogamous couples.
Are You Ready to Begin Your Poly Journey?
Let me start by saying that although I am sharing my story, I am still a work in progress. I have yet to master all of my issues; some days, I am a moody mess. Still, this type of relationship makes you grow up, and here are a few tips from my own journey.
For the most part, you have to deal your insecurities at the door. Your partner will help you if he or she really loves you, but the work to reassure yourself will be done largely by you.
You will see a lot of things between your love and his or her significant other that will tempt you to question your bond, but don’t let it. Don’t even compare the two relationships, and you will solve 90% of your internal problems.
If you are getting into a polygynous type of poly relationship, connect with the wife as a woman. Make sure all details are talked about and understood with her before moving forward with your love. The matriarchs have to be on the same page for this relationship to grow and mature.
Please do not jump on board with a poly relationship if the wife (or husband) does not want to build a life and raise a family with you just as much as your shared partner does. I know there are exceptions to the rules, but avoid this error at allll cost. Although my co-wife now feels this way about me, she did not always, and as I mentioned, it created a lot of problems in the beginning.
Have a clear understanding of what is expected of you from your love and his or her mate, and make your intentions known as well. Don’t continue in such a complex relationship without everyone fully understanding where the relationship is headed and what everyone expects.
Lastly, do your research on this relationship and how you can bring your best self to this village dynamic. Be open to love and allow yourself to be adaptable to change.
This is my story, and I hope to come in contact with others who can relate to me and who I can help along their own poly journeys. Poly is a community; we all need each other for support with our lifestyle that this society considers to be taboo. Please subscribe so we can stay connected, and feel free to contact me or leave any comments or questions below.
Write you again next time. Peace!
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© 2019 Sharnice