I love you for everything that you have been to me all these years, I guess you get that a lot, but I am sincere nonetheless. I’ve submitted questions before and you’ve kicked my ass, you’ve also been nice and constructive and just perfect. I don’t know where to begin, I write to you with a very heavy heart.
I was violently abused the last time I had a long term boyfriend, and left him in October 2013. It’s been almost two years since, but it feels like a different life. After that, I fell in love with someone and he was only going to be here for three months. He was polyamorous, and the drive towards polyamory came from him. I decided that is what love was, that I would love him unconditionally despite everything, and he even encouraged the fact that I see other people. I was hurt in the beginning and then I grew to love it. The honesty and faith we shared really transformed me, I fell for his best friend, and he was the one who provided us with the condom. That was the time I decided that I was, in fact, polyamorous. The both of them left for home. It was over by then. We remain friends still.
I believed monogamy leads to abuse or some kind of violation given the dishonesty involved, towards your desires, needs etc. I don’t know if it’s a fair assumption. I just make it because I saw it careened to its vulgar extreme; I was twenty years old and found at my college farewell with a black eye, meeting suspicious and even pitiful stares. I don’t know if I am still over it. It’s only after that I became polyamorous. Then I was the other woman for a few months, and faced the emotional consequences, followed by feeling completely unthreatened or at a loss, grateful for everything he did for me, and was to me. I left when the time was right. I finally met someone who felt like the one for me.
This was in December. We bonded over our shared ideas on polyamory, love for music, spirituality, literature, philosophy, we even have the same cultural family background, it’s a long running a joke between us, that if we ever found that we were cousins, it would be the end of the world.
Except. He doesn’t use condoms, and my health is fucked because of birth control. Another thing, is that he was screwing some local b-grade porn star last year, and she messaged him around the 10th of July stating that she wanted to spend a week with him, and go on a weekend holiday because it’s her birthday, and that she would like to stay with him. He even said that she could live with him! Fuck on the same bed that we do. I learnt he hadnt told her about me yet, or my significance in his life. I urged him to come clean and let her know. It’s only then that he did, he didn’t feel the need to do it otherwise. When he finally told her, she lost her shit and said stuff like ‘whoever your fuck buddy is, what do you expect to happen, when she comes over, a fucking orgy?’ then later apologized for reacting and persisted in turning up here nonetheless, she is staying at a person’s place, who is a common friend of mine. They still fuck though, and he loses his shit when I say that it’s better he doesn’t see me while he is with her, even if it’s just a week. Also, I would rather he took a VD before he slept with me after doing her. It’s nothing personal. Just precaution.
Now, the act of sex does not bother me, it’s just that she is who she is, and I don’t judge people for their life choices, but it makes me wonder who he is, if he can be with someone like her, and someone like me at the same time. Does that make him sexually diverse? Or just lacking in a self-concept, standards, integrity? She might just be better in bed, whatever, I don’t care.
I’m feeling strange about this because I have never experienced anything like this before. I am alright with one off sexual encounters that he might have with other people (he is a bit of a local celebrity, a musician, he tours, so I’m cool with it. I have slept with other people too, and we have been honest about things). I am not okay with someone having this space in his life, feel like she can get her way by throwing a tantrum. Hell, I’ve never once thrown a tantrum around him. I believe it’s important to be decent, no matter how trying the situation might be.
It’s making me feel like a terrible feminist, and even more so, it’s shattered my sense of identity. I don’t know who I am, or what I want. If I am not okay with monogamy, and I am not okay with his kind of polyamory, then what is it that I am okay with? I don’t want to be the person who restricts his impulses, and he isn’t aware of how I feel about this. I’ve just been playing it cool and blaming my emotions on going away (I got a scholarship to go to Paris for further studies, but neither of us are taking it too well). He says I am his first true love and he has never shared anything as meaningful with anyone in his life before. I’ve had his ex girlfriends chase me down, and insult me. I’ve lost friends to jealousy, I’ve lost the friendship of someone I loved deeply because I was with him, I’ve faced public ridicule, and social humilation and never given a fuck because I had faith in him and the love we shared. Everything was fine, those people became my friends again because they saw he loved me too. He did everything that was required of him.
I’ve made every sacrifice because I know there would rarely be another instance when I would love someone with this kind of innocence and honesty again. I feel like I am the one who deserves this space in his life, and that woman can’t just randomly turn up demanding to share the same quarters with him and take him away from me for a week. Please help. I am so torn, these last few weeks have been sheer torment. I am 22, he is 28, she is 35, if that is significant. She dumped her last boyfriend because he would fuck around. Though she says to him, that she is okay with the situation between the three of us. I don’t believe her, especially after the tantrum she threw that day. I have a feeling that is significant in your assessment of the situation.
Should I just end it with him while I am about to go abroad to study? Take time to know who I am? Understand why I consider it beneath my integrity to compete for a boy’s time with a miserable, almost middle aged woman? There is so much shit involved. I just want to cry.
My faith in you, dearcoquette, is unshakeable. Please help me.
Polyamory is not love. It is a modality for experiencing love, and the context in which you were introduced to polyamory (during a rebound from an abusive relationship) suggests that you might have gotten into polyamory for the wrong reasons. You need to understand that monogamy wasn’t the problem in your abusive relationship. Your abusers violence and dishonesty was.
I’m not suggesting you be monogamous, nor am I saying there’s anything wrong with you being polyamorous. I am suggesting that you need to have the self-awareness to understand why you’re choosing either lifestyle, and you’re struggling right now because you’re simply not there yet. Don’t worry. You’ll get there.
Here’s a sneak peek at the process you’ll go through in your mid-twenties: At the moment, you associate monogamy with physical abuse and betrayal. In a few years, you’ll come to associate polyamory with emotional abuse and general douchebaggery. (I promise this will happen.) Eventually, you’ll come to realize neither monogamy nor polyamory are ideal, and you’ll have enough experiences (both shitty and wonderful) to pick the best elements from both lifestyles and chart your own middle course. The way you choose to love may end up being hard to define, but it will work perfectly for you and your partner(s).
In the meantime, I highly recommend you move on from your current relationship with the musician. I get a super sketchy vibe from the picture you’ve painted of him. He seems selfish, crudely manipulative, and the no condoms thing is a huge red flag that he’s also emotionally abusive. I know you can’t see it yet because you’re young and in love, but there will come a day when you realize this guy is a gigantic douchebag. (It’s okay. At 22, it’s hard not to end up dating douchebags.)
So yeah, I think it’s a great idea for you to let your travel abroad be the natural end to the relationship. Go. Be single in Paris. Have romantic and spiritual adventures. Take all the time you need to learn who you are, and if there’s one single piece of advice I could give you to take on your journey, it’s to stop making sacrifices for the men in your life. Love is not sacrificial. No part of you needs to be destroyed in fulfilling a man’s purpose. Ever. Period.