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I Lost My Sweetheart to Polyamory

Sophia wanted to experiment, so I tried to be game. Then the dominoes started to fall.

Photo Credit: Flickr


Sophia and I were dating a week when we created The List. We had a lot in common — we were both writers, lived in the same neighborhood, and had just gotten out of marriages — but it was our shared desire to be sexually experimental that really defined our relationship. I’m hardly this adventurous on my own, but after being married for 10 years and realizing Sophia had a yen to try just about anything, I felt at ease about traveling out of my comfort zone with her.

One night, while sipping wine in my apartment, we started adding items to the list of lascivious things we wanted to do together:

A shopping spree at a sex shop.
A threesome with another woman.
Sex clubs.
Light S&M.
Role playing.
Orgasm control.

I didn’t even know what “orgasm control” was. It sounded frightening.

“Anything else?” I asked.

There was one other thing Sophia wanted on our compendium of carnal delights: an open relationship. Sophia, who was openly bisexual, was convinced monogamy wasn’t for her, even though she’d never tried polyamory herself.

In theory, I loved the idea of an open relationship. In practice, though, I wasn’t so sure. What would happen, I wondered aloud to Sophia, if one of us starts having an emotional relationship with another person? What would happen to us? We both shrugged. “We’ll just cross that bridge when we get there,” she said.

I’d always been a faithful boyfriend and/or spouse and the idea of being able to openly be with other people while still maintaining a romantic, emotional relationship with Sophia seemed to go against everything I’d ever been conditioned on the subject of love and relationships. I had a feeling this would not end well, but I really liked Sophia and I was intrigued about the idea of this List.

We made rules for our open relationship. And then we’d tweak them if they didn’t work. At first we decided to keep our outside dating activities a secret from each other unless something physical happened with another person. A month later we’d think full disclosure might be better. No matter what, though, it was a challenge for me to reconcile my growing feelings for Sophia knowing she was actively seeking out women and men for romantic trysts. I had a couple encounters with other women, but in general I just wanted to be with Sophia. Lounging around my place, Sophia would log on to the dating site we were both on and show me the guys and gals she’d been corresponding with. It would make my stomach swirl with nerves.

To her credit, Sophia was as tactful as one could be in these situations. When she’d tell me about an experience she’d had, I could see she was nervous about how it would affect me. We had a good level of communication, and I wanted to tell her how uncomfortable this whole thing made me. But then I feared she’d tell me it would have to be an open relationship or no relationship. I told myself that I’d adjust.

And there were fun times. Like when we’d go out to lesbian bars in the hope of picking up a woman to bring back to my place. Sometimes we’d meet other male-female couples who were like us. And sometimes they’d end up at my apartment. Once, at my place, a guy laid out a few lines of cocaine on my coffee table. I don’t really do drugs but in my newfound spirit to live out of my comfort zone more, I indulged. As he and I snorted up the white powder and talked about travel, Sophia and the woman had sex on the couch across from us. It was one of the odder nights I’d had in a while.

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