Polyamorous. Non-monogamous. In an open relationship. My partner Matt (to whom I am married) and I are that. It’s a relationship and life structure that, while not easy, has made us more honest communicators and deeply appreciative of each other and the relationships outside of our own. I’ve decided to share my experience with polyamory with a few hopes in mind: to inform people that it exists, to help normalize it, and to have a space where I can openly introspect with others. So here it goes.

You know that feeling when your mind changes? Like you couldn’t possibly go back to the way you used to think? My mind has been changed a lot over the last few years. I’ve experienced fundamental shifts in perspective by being challenged to justify my previously held beliefs. The big ones being my views on religion, free will, and living more mindfully (thank you Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris). But I had never really debated monogamy. The first time I ever heard the word “polyamory” was from a coworker and friend who was polyamorous. It was something that I totally accepted about them but never thought I could “do.” I had an automatic “of course not” response to it without actually considering why I was monogamous. Like religion and heterosexuality, monogamy was another social expectation asserted onto my life. And like religion and sexuality, it was scary to challenge it. But there came a time when I had to, a very painful time that I’ll write about later with the consent of those involved.

On top of already difficult circumstances, I had been in a severely toxic work environment and isolated from friends and family by living a thousand miles away in Connecticut. Matt and I were so lucky to have had Victor, our dear friend and (spoiler alert) now my partner, in our lives during this time. After three years, we all decided to move back home to Georgia. It was a chance to start a new chapter, and I had reached a point where I could talk to myself honestly about what I wanted and needed out of life. I went down a wormhole of feminist media that challenged me to think about my own sexuality and monogamy. It was then that I could feel my mind changing, big thoughts stirring, and finally allowed repressed feelings to surface — feelings I had toward Victor.

I listened to a lot of a great podcast called Polyamory Weekly that relieved me of the anxiety preventing me from thinking and feeling without fear. I cared deeply for Victor as a friend. The three of us had been through a lot together up in Connecticut, and we all just clicked and lived together harmoniously. After all that introspection, I could finally admit to myself that I was attracted to Victor and felt those fuzzy “like like” feelings. And at the same time, I was deeply in love with Matt. I was ready to share all these new thoughts and feelings with Matt and trusted him to listen and contemplate them for himself. It was exciting to share everything with him because so many of my “mind-changing” experiences were shared and fostered by Matt. He was so loving and supportive and understanding when I expressed my feelings toward Victor.

I sought Matt’s advice on what to do and he encouraged me to talk to Victor. If anything, telling Victor would remove a barrier in becoming better friends. I didn’t want to feel like I was keeping a secret, and it was worth the risk of embarrassment. Plus, I trusted Victor. So I did it. I talked to him about all these thoughts I’d been having lately, that I was attracted to him, and that I just wanted to be honest and for him to know this. I was giddy to learn that the feeling was mutual.

After the big talk, Matt and Victor reaffirmed their friendship with a hug and we just hung out as usual. The next few days involved a lot of walks, talking through feelings and excitement with Matt, getting to know Victor in a new way, thinking through the logistics of stepping into a new lifestyle. Over the next few weeks we eased into it, handling the bumps along the way fairly well with Polyamory Weekly guiding us. Matt and I had a renewed appreciation for each other, better communication and awareness of our feelings, and affirmed our love for each other more regularly. We were dating again. My relationship with Victor was exciting and nerve-racking and wonderful. I was so happy to be closer to him, and it was a whole new experience to begin a relationship with such a strong foundation of friendship.

It’s been months now, and we’ve settled into a new home in Georgia closer to friends and family. The new structure to our life is settling too. My relationships with both Matt and Victor have grown so much. Matt has a wonderful partner now. Our close friends know about our being polyamorous and support us. My mother has been incredibly supportive. We’re taking the next step in being openly polyamorous. It’s an exciting time, challenges and all.

I make no claim that polyamory is for everyone. But being honest with yourself and asking scary questions is something I hope everyone can do for themselves. If you’re at all curious about polyamory, I can’t say enough about Polyamory Weekly. I’m also happy to talk about it with you, so please reach out.

And thank you for reading this. After being a social recluse for three years, it’s a big step to come out of hiding. I appreciate you taking the time to care.