couples

'I have a loving male partner and a girlfriend. This is how we make it work.'

My partner Jake and I practice ethical non-monogamy and polyamory. And to top it off, while he is as straight as a metal ruler, my sexuality is more like those bendy jelly rulers we had as kids. Hint: I’m very bisexual, occasionally identifying as queer.

As our relationship dynamic is a little different to most, we’ve been asked questions about when we’ll get married and if the polyamory will stop when we have kids. 

It can be hard answering those questions, but even harder when people think that the dynamic of your relationship and your sexuality is something that just ENDS. 

Watch: What is polyamory? Post continues after video.


Video via SBS.

Like any argument for something, it never works when you force it down someone’s throat. I’m not here to tell you why you SHOULD try polyamory, but I do want to share with you what my values are and how it works for me. 

Hi, my name is Jess and I am a polyamorous, bisexual woman. Amongst those titles, I’m also a writer, a web developer, and a radio announcer. When you stop doing any of those tasks, does the title cease to exist? When I wasn’t on the radio for a year, did I stop ‘being’ a radio announcer? No, I just wasn’t working as one. 

The same goes for my sexuality and relationship status. While I’m in a relationship with a man, doesn’t mean I’m not attracted to or dating other people. 

I love being able to educate people about polyamory because it’s such a unique and rewarding lifestyle. There’s a lot you will learn about yourself and your relationship along the way. In fact, when Jake and I began this journey, I used to just say we were in an open relationship—that I have one partner I love but many people I will meet, care for and share a bed with. It seemed like an easy introduction into ethical non-monogamy. 

But these days, with each new person I meet and form a friendship and trust with, often it comes with some level of love and attraction. 

Jess and Jake. Image: Supplied.

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Polyamory is about having relationships with multiple people. There are many variations of what polyamory is and the different titles and styles of relationships, which you can learn by reading this glossary by Ready for Polyamory here.

When people ask me how my relationship works and what polyamory is like for me, they usually think it’s based on having lots of sex or threesomes - a common misconception. Sometimes it can be - I did have one just the other day. For me, it’s about the one core emotion involved in every relationship: love.

Sure, I love my family. I love my cat.

But I also love my partner Jake, my girlfriend and the many other close friends I have been intimate in life and love with. That love extends beyond familial and friendship and into different levels of romantic and often sexual love.

Jess and her girlfriend Abi. Image: Supplied.

Then there are people in my life that I’m attracted to but are monogamous. They may understand my way of living and know the love I have for them, but because they are in a relationship, there are boundaries around that expression.

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For many people, telling someone you have feelings for them and being rejected is cause for never speaking to them again. I get it! Rejection is hard, and I have also felt that heaviness of not being able to just kiss or hold someone. 

Does that mean that I let that friendship go because I can’t date them, cuddle them or be intimate with them? Not at all. The care I have for them stays the same; how it is expressed is what changes. I think that’s what makes up a big part of how polyamory works for me. And of course, being able to communicate that is a key tenet of polyamory. You can’t be successful without it.

Jake, Jess and her girlfriend Abi. Image: Supplied.

I know with this openness, it has brought a richness to my life I didn’t have before. You’re learning so much about yourself, how you relate to others and how you communicate through problems in your relationships.

Whether at all my partner and I decide to get married or have children, has no impact on the design of our relationship and the lifestyle we live. It’s okay that not many people understand it, because it isn’t for everyone.

Ultimately, I believe it’s important to share my beliefs and experiences with others around polyamory. I want other polyamorous people to feel represented and for everyone else to understand we’re not out to take your man!

At the end of the day, we are just a group of people who know how to communicate well (most of the time) with a lot of love to give.

If you have any questions about this article or are curious about learning more, feel free to contact me on Instagram or Facebook.

Feature image: Supplied.