“That sounds like a real relationship!” and Other Things People Say…
I love my friends, I really do. But try as they might, they struggle to understand my penchant for polyamory. More specifically they don’t understand my relationships.
Just this week, I was sitting outside at a café, sipping a frothy cappuccino in the sunlight with one of my girlfriends, and gushing about a recent trip to see my boyfriend Benjamin. (When I say gushing, I mean gushing! You know how the early stages of a romance are! And man, oh man, do I like this guy! Anyway, sorry I digress!) I was telling her all the things we had done together those few days; long walk in the park with his young daughter, picking her up from Kita, making dinner with his wife, going out for drinks. All the normal things people do in a dating relationship, (Ok fine… maybe not ALL normal things but still… “normalish!”)
She smiled, sipped her coffee, and said, “Wow! That sounds like a real relationship!” (Insert face palm here!)
I’ve been dating Benjamin for two months at this point, and other than the fact that our relationship is long distance, it has all the “trappings” of a normal dating relationship, so why shouldn’t it be “real?” Because we’re poly, that’s why. He has a wife, so therefore it can’t be a real relationship, right? He can’t really be my boyfriend, can he?
Flash to a phone conversation with my best friend. We have bi-weekly gab fests, where I lay around on the couch, or putter around the flat, and talk for hours. She lives in the US and I live in Berlin, so the different time zones make it difficult for us to connect as regularly as I do with my local friends. Unfortunately, that also means she gets the full experience of my stories in one big download at a time.
Of course, I am also gushing to her about Benjamin and our relationship and how much fun I am having getting to know him. She’s my best friend so she asks me, “Are you falling in love with him?” Oh boy! Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, but maybe someday I could. So, that’s what I tell her.
Bless her heart, her response? “Well, don’t you have to fall in love with them both?”
Uhm, no. I do not have a sexual or romantic relationship with his wife. We are however, becoming good friends. So, No. I do not need to fall in love with them both! (Thank you very much Netflix and You, Me, Her- now everyone thinks polyamorous relationships are closed triads.)
You know, I don’t have a true purpose for writing this. I am not in the mood today to explain “how poly works” or write a “Polyamory 101” primer. I am just sharing some of the experiences I’ve had talking with my beautiful, smart, talented friends, who are also just not there yet when it comes to my poly. That’s ok! I love them anyway, and they will learn! They are open, loving and really DO want to understand, so I am blessed in that regard.
What things do your friends say about your relationships that make you cringe?