How Shaun became polyamorous
On this page, I intend to tell my story of how I discovered polyamory and how I decided to pursue this lifestyle. I intend to be honest but to not use real names unless I am sure that the person named would not care.
I’ll start early, and work towards the present. I hope that this story will be of interest to people, as I think it will be interesting for me to be an archaeologist of my own past in order to continue my path of self-discovery.
Part one: College
I was dating a wonderful girl named Erin. We had been together for two years and I was really in love with her. In fact, I still do after all of these years. In the beginning of my Junior year, a new girl, a freshman, started to hang out with people in our group. She was beautiful, brilliant, and I was transfixed almost instantly by her.
Now, rather than hide this and approach Lauren behind my girlfriend’s back as many might do, I talked to Erin about this. She took it well at first, and after a while I started to spend a lot of time with this new girl, Lauren. The three of us started to spend a lot of time together, and we all got along.
None of us had ever heard of polyamory. Lauren knew I was with Erin, and that I was sleeping with her, but I was not yet sleeping with Lauren who was a virgin at the time. But we all were friends and I cared for both of them. After a while, Lauren and I were curious about this progressing situation. It was shortly after this discussion that we discovered a polyamory website, and we were instantly attracted to the idea.
And then there are mistakes. Polyamory was not an idea that everyone accepts, especially at first. After a while Erin was no longer comfortable with the arrangement, and so I broke up with her and stayed with Lauren. Now, in the long run I stayed with the wrong girl, as Lauren ended up doing things that effected my financially, emotionally, etc. We were engaged after I graduated college and things got progressively worse.
I discovered that i missed Erin, but she would not take me back. I also discovered that Lauren was manipulating me and others around me, and that she never actually liked Erin in the first place but pretended to for some reason that escapes me.
And in the end I left Lauren and moved back home for a while. I became depressed by a terrible relationship that I didn’t pull out of for years.
That was my first experience with anything remotely like polyamory, and it would be many years before I went down that path again.
Part Two: Background
I have always felt a little different about these things. I have always wondered why people force themselves into seemingly unnatural and arbitrary circumstances. I have always wondered why people are so concerned with conformity and normality.
I started being interested in girls when I was in middle school. Who knows when it actually happened, but it was likely around 6th grade when I was listening to horridly bad music that the girls I knew liked as well. Who knows why pre-teens and teenagers do anything they do, but I did things to get attention from women.
It was clear to me that I liked more than one girl at a time. It was clear to me that almost everyone had at least one interest, whether that interest was some early form of sexual interest or not. I am not sure if I ever thought specifically about why people chose to be with one person for some particular reason or not, but I certainly felt some odd tension in knowing that while I like two girls, if I wanted to be with one this might ultimately mean not being with the other.
The current generation seems to not have this problem. And I wonder if maybe I was too naive to not have seen the same in my own generation, but I think that maybe the trend towards lack of monogamy among teenagers now might be somewhat new, or at least an expansion on the theme as compared to 15 years ago.
Nonetheless, I grew up thinking that monogamy was normal, and any desires I would have to be with more than one girl was fantasy or cheating. And so for many years, including the few years after college and what I experienced there, I was monogamous. OK, I made the attempt at monogamy, just like most other people.
I had girlfriends, one at a time, and when I would meet other girls I would either feel like I had to restrain my desire, practice serial monogamy, or to cheat. Now, I was not the kind of person that would cheat often. In fact, I can only think of two times that I did so. And I knew that it was something that was done regularly by many people. Eventually I discovered, and this blows my mind even now, that cheating is generally more acceptable than polyamory. that is, the failed attempt at monogamy is more socially acceptable than the genuine and honest practice of non-monogamy.
Think about that. This is absurd, and yet it makes sense in some perverse sort of way. It was when I began to realize this that I started to think again about being polyamorous years after college. And that will lead into part three.
Part Three: My late 20′s
Several years ago I met a great girl named Jacque. She’s beautiful, smart, and bisexual. But she didn’t know that at the time, even though I could tell. We started dating, she moved to Philadelphia to be with me, and we were together for some time in a monogamous relationship. My friends liked her, I loved her, and yet there was a nagging in the back of my mind.
Somewhere along the line, we started talking about polyamory. I had not had any polyamorous relationships since college, and she had no experience with it at all. After a couple of stabs of relationships that ended up not working out, I eventually ran into a girl who I went to high school with; she was a few years behind me and someone I never remember speaking to back then. She was bisexual and polyamorous. I asked her out for drinks, and she said yes.
Her name was Rachel. She was quite amazing and we had instant chemistry. We went out a few times and, after talking to both of them about it I decided to introduce them to each other. They hit it off instantly. They liked each other as much as I liked both of them, and so before I could even wrap my mind around the idea, we were one of those elusive triads, a pretty stable one too. At least at first.
We were all dating each other. We wold go out together, stay in together sleep together in the same bed…we were having a great time. But Rachel had an ex. She was with him for many years. He wanted to try and get back together, but he was not willing to share her with me. (he was willing to share her with Jacque). She decided to go for it. She broke p with me, I was quite unhappy, and as a result of this I ended up ruining the possibility of remaining friends with Rachel. Jacque is still friends with her to this day.
Bottom line; I reacted badly. I had everything I wanted in life and I lost it. Not only did I lose Rachel, but in my greedy desire to gain back what I had lost in that triad situation, I tried to replace Rachel with another girl, Kelli. Now, I really liked Kelli. I eventually actually grew to love her too, but Jacque didn’t like her as much. We tried to make it work, but eventually it lead to Jacque leaving and the resulting depression of the whole situation to lose Kelli as well.
I was single. I was alone. I had to make some changes in my life. I took a close look at how I behaved over the previous months, and I realized that I was still feeling very insecure, even while I was with Jacque and Rachel. I realized that if I were to be successful in any relationship, whether it was monogamous or polyamorous, I would have to deal with my own insecurities. Had I been more comfortable with my fears, communicated better, and had been able to step back and look at what I was thinking better, I still might be friends with Rachel. It is my loss, and I wanted to make sure that it didn’t happen again.
I would have to be willing to share my feelings more readily. I would have to be forward and honest about everything. I would have to communicate at levels of intimacy with the people in my life in ways that I was not comfortable. I would have to charge head-first into my fears. I would have to dig deep into my mind to find the things that scared me so that I wold not ever find myself surprised by a fear I was not aware of. This is a perpetual process.
Eventually I met Nicole. When I met her I told her I was polyamorous. I told her that if we were going to become involved, this would be part of my life. I’d done monogamy, it was not what I wanted, and I wanted to be poly. She had never heard of it. And yet she was willing to give it a try. And it was this that began a more mature and more experienced try at polyamory.
Part Four: Early 30′s
I’ve been putting this section off for some time for good reason. When I started writing this section, I was involved in a great relationship with a great girl that I was really in love with. I had had some experience with polyamory and I had decided to be open with this part of myself from the beginning any time I met someone I was interested in.
So, around April of 2008 I was at an FSGP meeting when a girl, Nicole, I had not seen before attended. I introduced myself, we talked briefly, and I liked her. Over time, I saw her more and eventually we started dating. She was awesome; smart, successful, funny, and I was really attracted to her instantly. She found out about my being polyamorous the first night we met, and she was interested in learning what it was, and eventually she was willinng to date me even while I was still with another girl (Jacque).
Eventually, that previous relationship petered out (as I expected, actually), and I was just with her. We were quite happy together and I was happy to build up a relationship with her for a little while, so I did not pursue any other relationships. But over time I began to spend some time with a girl who is also involved with FSGP, and when we both went to the 2008 AAI convention in Long Beach, CA I talked with Nicole about the possibility of us hooking up at the convention. She said it was fine, so long as I was safe.
And so we did. And to our surprise, we clicked really well, and I strarted dating the other girl. The fact that both of them were bisexual meant that they could also explore some things that they both had wanted to do with girls, and so we had a triad for a while. We had a great time for a bit, and we were all happy…or so I thought.
Here’s the problem. Nicole didn’t know that a relationship would grow out of our hooking up at the convention. Nicole was not happy about the arrangement. That initself would have been fine, except Nicole never told me so. She just hoped, quietly, that the other relationship would fade and things could go back to the way they were.
When that didn’t happen, Nicole started treating the other girl pretty badly until she no longer even wanted to hang out with us, and eventually the relationship did fade amicably. I’m still pretty close with the other girl, and we’ll remain friends.
We talked about what had gone wrong with that situation. I told Nicole that she needs to communicate with me better, and she said she’d try. She concluded that maybe it was just that she didn’t like the other girl, and maybe it would be better if it were with someone she actually liked.
And so once again we were just the two of us. Things were great again, for a while. Then out of nowhere I meet this totally awesome girl. I liked her instantly, and Nicole did too. This girl, let’s call her Joanna, is not bisexual so the nature of the relationship was different. But they got along extremely well, and so despite not looking to meet anyone, I started dating Joanna after a little while.
The three of us spent lots of time together; we watched Babylon 5 (we’re nerds), made and ate dinner together, went out together, they both came with me to parties…it was awesome. I was beginning to feel like I was one of the luckiest people in the world. I had two great girls who I loved and you really liked each other and we had similar interests.
Then one day back in June of 2009, out of nowhere, Nicole breaks up with me. She says she doesn’t love me anymore, that she’s felt this way for a while, and she is releived to tell me. She didn’t really trust me (or anyone), was still having trouble communicating with me, and I had noticed her becoming a little distant and less affectionate (and I tried to talk with her about that), but I didn’t expect the break up. It hit me hard–very hard, in fact–and I was really depressed about it. The biggest issue was that I was living with Nicole still, and that made for a very difficult situation. Nicole, at first, recognized that she handled the way she broke up with me badly, said I did everything right and that she felt bad. But she also treated me pretty badly after that, which just made it more difficult.
After a couple of weeks, I was still very upset. Nicole was pulling away, I was really hurt, and I lost my temper. I was feeling rejected, unloved, and I missed her. I acted inappropriately, she pushed me away, and I yelled, screamed, pushed her, scared her, and she (rightly) kicked me out of the house.
I was distraught. I had hurt someone I loved, ruined what was left of our friendship, and she will now not see me or allow me in the house except to get my stuff out whenever I get my own place. I don’t have anywhere to put them yet, so they remain there as of right now. I’m homeless, staying with Joanna some nights and a friend’s house another, but I have little income and can’t afford much right now.
I recognize that I am responsible, and I feel terrible. At the same time I miss Nicole severely, and wish I could take it back. I can’t. The relationship is over. I hurt daily, and I will carry this for the rest of my life. Nicole still talks to Joanna, she still wants to remain close to my friends (which I’m OK with, for the most part), but I cannot expect to gain her trust back. It sucks.
And so I’m still polyamorous. Right now, I’m focused on my relationship with Joanna, and we have agreed to not date any other people for now. We’ll re-evaluate our relationship once I’ve settled into a new life. I was trying to build a life with Nicole. It’s all gone now. I have to build anew.
I attend polyamory meetups in the area still, but mostly just to keep up relationships with friends there. They are good people and I learn a lot from them. I’ll continue to write, grow, and try to learn from my mistakes.
What have I learned from this ordeal?
Communication is essential in relationships, especially polyamory. I communicated well, except for that very end which I am deeply ashamed of. She did not communicate well ever during our relationship (although she improved a little over time). If someone cannot communicate their feelings, fears, etc, they cannot do polyamory well. They cannot do relationships well in general,but especially not polyamory.
I’ll keep that in mind for future relationships.
BTW, Joanna communicates very well. I love her for that and for many other things. I thank her from the bottom of my heart for being with me through this and understanding my pain recently. I’ll now try and build a strong relationship with her and hope to make her as happy as she makes me.
Who knows what part 5 will contain….
Part 5: Hell in Atlanta with Seana (Joanna)
I have not updated this is ages. Wow how much has changed. Well, so much for anonymity. Joanna was really Seana. Seana Wood, actually. She ended up being a nightmare of a person. We did communicate well, but then when she got a job in Atlanta, asked me to move there with her (I did), and the subsequent shift in location and lifestyle everything went to hell.
Things went badly over time. She communicated less and less, became distant, and one day after a minor argument she left me (deserted in a city where I knew almost nobody), refused to explain why, then made accusations about me being abusive. I had never touched her. What happened with nicole before I was responsible for, and I have never been shy to admit that. But in this case there was no cause on my part.
Oh, and she gave me an STD. My guess was she was sleeping with someone else and never told me. BTW, the STD is gone now, with the help of modern medicine.
Since then I have started a relationship with Ginny. Things are very good. Turns out, I can’t date insecure people, and Ginny certainly is not that. [section redacted, due to personal information being shared while quite angry with that person]
Any further developments will have to come in the form of posts on the blog itself. I will not update this again.