And he did not include my boyfriend in the invitation.
I was several weeks deep into my first adult relationship when I ran into my boyfriend’s best friend in a local neighborhood shop. Typically, when I saw him, he was with his girlfriend, a sour young woman who loathed me for reasons unknown. With the confidence of youth, I always assumed she was jealous of me.
On this day, he was uncharacteristically alone. We exchanged pleasantries, and I turned to leave.
“By the way,” he called out, making me turn back to face him, “if you ever want to have a polyamorous relationship with me and my girlfriend, we’d love to have you.”
I slowly blinked as I waited for my brain to catch up with his offer, and I resisted the urge to point out that his girlfriend clearly couldn’t stand me. It was irrelevant.
I did not want to have a polyamorous relationship with them.
I did not want to have a polyamorous relationship with them because it would have involved two people that were in their early twenties and me in my late teens, and it felt like an uneven playing field.
I did not want to have a polyamorous relationship with them because I was already in a monogamous relationship with his friend, and having a polyamorous relationship with people outside of our relationship was not part of our agreement.
I did not want to have a polyamorous relationship with them because I have anxiety issues surrounding life in general and relationships in particular, and engaging in a polyamorous relationship did not appeal to me.
I did not want to have a polyamorous relationship with them because the other woman who would be present in the relationship did not like me, and as such, I knew her boyfriend was extending the invitation without her knowledge or consent.
There is a very antiquated, gender-biased double standard that many of my straight female friends have been subjected to when it comes to polyamorous relationships. They’ll tell me “I don’t want to have a polyamorous relationship, but my boyfriend keeps bringing it up.”
While there are plenty of reasons a woman might not want to have a polyamorous relationship — such as only wanting to have a relationship with one person, not having a third party available, or just feeling weird about having a relationship with two people at the same time, I’ve noticed this conversation tends to get tied up heavily in hetero-normative gender roles and expectations, which frankly, I don’t give a damn about in 2021.
Gender roles and expectations shouldn’t define the way that you bed somebody. In a society where talking about polyamorous relationships is still largely taboo, I believe we need to do more to encourage women to be open about their own wishes, or lack thereof. Let’s face it, there are absolutely no rules when it comes to how you choose to express yourself, so why should we let gender roles define who we end up sharing that with?
I have a sinking feeling that my boyfriend’s best friend’s girlfriend would have consented to a polyamorous relationship with me, whether she desired a polyamorous relationship with me or not. She likely would have agreed to it in order to please her boyfriend, and that’s a shame because I know she wouldn’t have enjoyed it.
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to relationships, and we need to start encouraging women to be just as upfront with their preferences as men. In other words, don’t feel pressured to do anything you do not want to do.
As for my boyfriend, I never told him about his friend’s offer. It didn’t seem important since my boyfriend wasn’t part of the invitation, and I didn’t accept it, anyway. In fact, I never even considered it. Polyamorous relationships just aren’t my thing.
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