Stories of polyamory

Polyamory Relationships - Open Relationship Stories

My girlfriend Mary and I were listening to a band in the Limelight Hotel in Ketchum, Idaho. It was a starry February night and the crowd was enjoying a perfect après-ski evening. She dug her nails into my arm.

“Oh, my God, it’s the hot guy I met at the dentist’s office,” she hissed. “And I’m not even wearing makeup. Crap.”

Her gaze turned, and a striking man walked directly toward us and asked if he could take one of the nearby empty seats. A ski instructor, he was tall, young, articulate, athletic, funny, with gorgeous unruly hair.

We talked about skiing and hiking and hot springs. We had some mutual friends. I scrupulously avoided any flirtatious behavior or language, mentioned my husband, flashed my wedding ring, and assumed that would all project: This is not flirting. This is about sports only. We exchanged numbers to maybe hike or ski with friends in the future.

I’m skilled in this kind of deflection. I love all kinds of outdoor sports, and sometimes men are the only companions who want to go, and the last thing my husband wants to do is snowshoe into a yurt in the backcountry. So I’ve been on trips with my male friends all over the planet—glacier skiing, hiking trips, tennis camps—and never once had a flickering of temptation. As my lovely husband likes to say, the best fence is no fence.

The next day I got a text.

“Hi. I’m proposing the ultimate day date: You. Me. Ski. Hard. All day. Hike out to hot springs. Change clothes. Stop for a drink by the fire. You are gorgeous. What do you think?”

I literally dropped my phone. Then carefully typed out: “Um. Didn’t I mention I was married?”

His response: “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be presumptuous, but one of the best relationships I’ve had was with a married woman in a polyamorous marriage, and I was sort of hoping maybe that was your situation.


"While it seems like a throwback to swingers’ sessions and key parties from the ’70s, polyamory is different in that it’s about honesty and consent."

Polyamory—from the Greek for “many” and the Latin for “love”—is the practice of long-term sexual relationships with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved. Those who practice it describe it as responsible and ethical non-monogamy. It works like this: You are married to your husband, who is your Primary, and you want to have a lover, who will be your Secondary. You introduce your prospective Secondary to your Primary, and if he approves, you’re good to go. Everyone has to feel comfortable, and according to one book on the subject, More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory, the whole family should be so at ease with the situation that you could conceivably invite your lover to Thanksgiving with your parents, husband, and children at the table.

While it seems like a throwback to swingers’ sessions and key parties from the ’70s, polyamory is different in that it’s about honesty and consent. While there are no national statistics on consensual non-monogamy, anecdotal evidence suggests it’s a growing trend. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that searches for terms related to polyamorous and open relationships had risen steadily for the previous 10 years. In another study, more than one in five single Americans reported having engaged in a non-monogamous relationship at one point in their lifetime.

And certainly I keep hearing about it: from millennial friends, from married friends, and from a Lyft driver who told me he had a Primary, a woman, and she had a Secondary, also a woman. Then, rather jaw-droppingly, he revealed that he had to carefully schedule his ejaculations so there was enough to go around on a daily basis in fair portions. (Anecdotal evidence also leads me to believe that Lyft drivers are crazy enough and interesting enough to bare their life secrets to total strangers. Which is why I never Uber.)

Americans pile so many expectations on marriage, it’s astounding the institution hasn’t entirely collapsed. We require that our spouse be our erotic lover, a good parent, a provider, an intimate confidant. We are supposed to find someone who is emotionally, intellectually, and sexually compatible with us 100 percent of the time. Oh, and as women, we bear children and care for them while presumably maintaining the erotic charge we had when we first met our mates. I’ll never forget finding a pair of crotchless panties in my underwear drawer about two months after giving birth and bursting into tears for the loss of the wild and erotic creature who bought them.

Who can duplicate that thrill for decades? Who can replicate that enchantment when you’re up to your elbows in diapers, or disciplining your middle-schooler who got caught dealing Juul pods? Smothered under the burden of all these expectations, cheating—the behind-your-back, sneaky kind—has become widespread, spawning an industry for the five-to-seven crowd: There are Web sites for cheaters like No Strings, Ashley Madison; private investigation services that specialize in catching cheaters; and books and self-help programs for cheaters.

"Americans pile so many expectations on marriage, it’s astounding the institution hasn’t entirely collapsed."

Yet social scientists who study these new types of honest and open non-monogamous relationships believe that it might be time to challenge the way we think about jealousy and commitment, and that consensual non-monogamy may even influence monogamy for the better. People in open multipartner relationships appear to communicate better, for one—which all monogamous couples need to do. Polyamorists are also more likely to practice safe sex—using condoms, discussing sexual history, sterilizing sex toys—than your average cheating spouse, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. And when jealousy does occur, the partners discuss it and make changes to reconcile those feelings.

Still, something feels icky about polyamory, like it should be a sketch on Saturday Night Live. It also feels like an awkwardly puritan way to basically get laid on the side from time to time. “So much talking!” a French friend of mine said. “To cheat, you have to have a family meeting and all this conversation and details? Boring. And then your children have to meet the man? That’s insane.”

However, I did, carefully, become friends with the guy. I actually appreciated his honesty. We’ve hiked and skied. Over a grapefruit-flavored beer, I asked him whatever happened to the relationship with the married woman. He said she eventually fell in love with him, and the husband got too jealous for the relationship to continue.

Then he told me something I have heard variations of from all kinds of people—monogamous people whose marriages have ground to a deadly stillness, from a couple in an open relationship who just couldn’t hack it anymore, from a gay man, from a couple who call themselves “monogamish,” from a lesbian mother. He looked into his pink beer and said, “It just ended in broken hearts.


This article originally appears in the May 2019 issue of Harper's BAZAAR, available on newsstands now.

"I’ve had sex with someone else and my wife’s delighted"

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A couple of months ago, a polyamorous lifestyle was thrust upon me by my wife of nine years. It’s been, shall we say, difficult. I’ve clocked up one pleasant but chaste date, and another ‘disaster date’ that led to a blip of depression and arguments at home. My wife, Lucy*, on the other hand, has had more success initially, managing a date with a good-looking guy in his twenties, which ended with ‘good sex’.

I wouldn’t describe myself as a competitive person. I’ve never been a big one for races or team sports. But when it comes to poly, I’m beginning to find it difficult not to ‘keep score’ with my other half. Turns out those evolutionary theorists know their stuff – competition in the sex stakes really is hardwired into the male psyche. Lucy thinks I’m being ridiculous, but if we’re counting conquests, I’m one-nil down.

This said, slowly but surely, our marital sex life is hotting up – just as she said it would when she first announced this new chapter for our relationship. Whereas before poly, somewhat shellshocked from the daily demands of three small children, sex was virtually non-existent, now Lucy and I seem to be rediscovering each other. The freer availability of sex with (in theory) whoever we want seems to be turning up the heat in the bedroom.

But there’s still the small matter of popping my poly cherry to attend to. I’m beginning to think Tinder is not necessarily the right place to find like-minded people. So many conversations end abruptly the minute I highlight the ‘non-monogamous’ line in my profile. A little online research reveals that OKCupid might be a better fit for someone experimenting with polyamory, and I decide to give it a go. Sure enough, poly seems to be, if not the norm, then certainly popular. I’m quickly matched with a few potentials.


One such woman is Vicki.* Within a few days, we are exchanging dozens of messages a day on WhatsApp. She and her husband have only been polyamorous a few months, so, already, we have that in common.

I decide to go all-out for our first date, buying tickets for a gig and booking an Airbnb near the venue. The evening goes better than I could have imagined. After a few large G&Ts and dinner, we head towards the gig venue. On the way, we kiss… and Vicki asks me if I fancy doing a ‘backwards date’ by heading to my ‘place’ first, and the gig later. I don’t need asking twice.

Within half an hour, we are naked between the sheets in the upmarket bedsit I’ve rented for the night. Sex is passionate and fun, if lacking in any real emotional connection, which is hardly surprising since we’ve only just met. It’s also slightly weird that our respective spouses are at our respective houses, blissfully aware of what’s happening. Weirder still is when, after a second round, Vicki starts texting her husband… “Just to let him know I’m OK”. ‘Fine,’ I think. ‘That’s sweet.’

I do not do the same.

Vicki tells me that she is currently seeing two other men and a couple. She also enjoys going to sex parties. My mind is reeling. Then she suddenly starts getting dressed and gathering up her things. “Oh, I never like to stay out all evening,” she says. “My husband and I have agreed we always come home before the end of the night.” Just as soon as it began, it’s over.

I’ve had sex with someone else, and my wife thinks that’s fine. I feel happy and free. Because of the consensual nature of the arrangements, there are none of the feelings of guilt I’d associate with cheating. Because it’s not cheating. It’s polyamory.

The next day I get a text from Vicki… ‘Hey. Things have been a bit fraught this end, sadly.’ ‘Oh, why?’ I ask, now tense. ‘My husband wants us to stop being open.’ Given the way Vicki had thrown herself into the whole sex-with-other-people set-up, I can’t say I’m that surprised. Her husband, by her own admission, had taken some convincing to go non-monogamous in the first place. She seems genuinely sad to finish it so soon, although a part of me does wonder… is this just the way all polyamorous relationships end? After all, it’s a ready-made perfect excuse: it’s not you – it’s him.

*Names have been changed

For the latest instalment of Jack’s adventures in polyamory, pick up the current issue of Cosmopolitan.

How polyamorous people live - Poster Daily

Polyamory is a romantic relationship with more than one person at the same time or openness to such a relationship. Six members of two polyamorous unions talk about how this is done in practice.

This text uses a word that begins with the letter B. Since it is important for the disclosure of the topic, but the law forbids us to print it, we will replace it with the word Mizulin (in honor of the most famous fighter for public morality in the Russian parliament).

The story of Alice, Charlie and Bob


Polyamory is based on the idea that sex is not the main and not the main content of the relationship, that in the age of contraceptives, sex exclusivity has lost its meaning. And that in general people, if they want, can have many romantic relationships, and not one: provided that all participants are informed and agreed (this is the key point), there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. There are a lot of forms of non-monogamous relationships, and some of them, I would say, differ from each other more than monogamy from individual forms of polyamory. Everything else depends on the specific agreements in the couple/commonwealth.

My husband and I lived in a closed monogamous marriage for several years and did not think about polyamory at all. Then I learned about the existence of the LessWrong rationalist community, among which there are many open polyamorous people - this is how I got acquainted with this phenomenon. My husband and I discussed various forms of polyamory for a long time, possible problems, our desires, and as a result, six months ago, we decided that we wanted to try. For a while I just experimented with different formats, met new people, several times these experiments turned out to be wonderful sex, but in general I did not feel that polyamory somehow drastically changes my life. Then I met Bob, and it became clear that this relationship is special and for a long time. I'm very happy.

Why do I need it? For all of us. For happiness. After all, in order to hack the ugly, patriarchal, sex-centric system in which there are so few happy couples and so many unhappy ones. There are so many cool people in the world, and the opportunity to have different relationships and love many enriches. I don't believe that love is an item that you can only give to one person. I believe that this is a feeling that arises and intensifies in response to a reciprocal feeling, so there can be as much love as there is enough strength and time.

In practice, polyamory can look different - from marriage with occasional sex on the side to polyamorous communities, when three or more people live under the same roof and raise common children together. In our case, the boundaries are quite clear: my husband and I have a common child, a common life and budget, we live together and now we don’t even consider the possibility of living together with anyone else. But we can meet other people and build long-term relationships with them. If someone becomes uncomfortable for any reason, we will discuss this and come up with some other rules.

The last rule applies not only to my relationship with my husband, but also to my relationship with partners. I believe that responsibility is necessary in all respects - even if it's a one-night stand. Anyway, this is a certain level of trust, and responsibility is the other side of trust.

Since we switched to an open relationship, my life with my husband has become fuller and more varied, a special closeness and trust has appeared between us, more than before. I can, for example, tell my husband that I'm sad because I miss my boyfriend. And I know that I will receive support, not condemnation. It's a fantastic feeling. I was a little afraid that I would be jealous, because there is still a certain distance between conscious decisions and emotions, but I was surprised to find that I was not just not jealous, but very glad about my husband’s other romantic relationships. I love him and want him to be well. When he rejoices, I rejoice too.

We haven't come out yet - I feel ready for this and would like to talk about my preferences (I'm a very open person and I like to talk about everything - my husband jokes that I can't do anything without doing about this lecture), but this will automatically make public information about my husband, who is not ready for this.

Those who know generally react positively, say it's cool, ask smart questions that are nice to answer. Distrust is less common - have you decided to save the marriage and therefore tolerate each other's betrayals? (Not). What will you do if someone wants to live with another person? (The same as monogamous couples - we will discuss everything, we will go to the family therapist, if we cannot figure it out ourselves, we will make a decision). How do you explain this to your child when he starts asking questions? (Words through the mouth, like everything else!)

We live in a society in which a lot is tied to sex, and as long as there is no sex, pluralism does not bother anyone. No one seriously discusses whether it is possible to be friends with more than one person at the same time. But the idea that you are friends with several people, and with some of them you also have sex, causes misunderstanding and rejection. For me, sex is just another item on the list of everything I love to do with people close to me.

In general, the attitude towards polyamory is not uniform. On the one hand, every year there are more and more materials about it as an interesting new phenomenon that will definitely not remain on the outskirts of society. In Colombia, they even recently concluded the world's first marriage between three men. On the other hand, LGBTQIA+ people are still being discriminated against, including hate-motivated killings, and I'm sure open polyamorous people also suffer from people with so-called traditional values.

One often comes across the opinion that polyamory is the same as group sex. Or just an excuse for Mizulinstvo . In fact, both are not true. The difference between polyamory and group sex is simple. Group sex is a sexual practice, like cunnilingus or BDSM. Accordingly, among polyamers there are both people who practice group sex and those who do not; and at the same time there are couples who are identified as monogamous, but at the same time open to group sex.

As for the differences between polyamory and Mizulinism , it is more complicated. Most often, a woman is called Mizulina if she demonstrates free sexual behavior and does not correspond to the patriarchal ideal of a modest, quiet woman. Brightly painted; put on a short skirt; sent an obsessive guy; had more than three sexual partners in her life. By the way, note that all this applies only to women. This phenomenon is called "slut shaming", and not only polyamorous girls, but monogamous girls are at risk of such insults: it is worth "too often", according to society, to change partners or "too often" to have sex, and that's it - you are guaranteed a stigma. This is a xenophobic reaction of people who grew up in a patriarchal community to freedom and openness.

Charlie, Alice's husband

Polyamory basically excludes a situation like "you are in a happy marriage, but suddenly fell in love - it means that you must definitely choose one partner and suffer a break with the second." Just like the thesis “if you love a person, then with all the other attractive people you try to keep a friendly distance so that you don’t fall in love and spoil everything for everyone.”

To be honest, I myself would not risk experimenting. First, it was necessary to find out that such a model already exists, and to understand the general principles of polyamory (a good guide in English is on But in fact, little has changed in my life. I used to think that there should be equality and attention in a couple to each other's feelings and boundaries. That sex is not the most important thing, but just one of the components. That relationships require attention, care and joint efforts. That partners may have some different interests, and this does not necessarily harm the union, unlike attempts to control and impose restrictions on each other. Polyamory is all the same, only not with one person, but with several. It remains only to discuss whether you want this with a partner.

Those who are attracted to the idea of ​​relationships with several people need to understand themselves well, be able to talk about their feelings, needs and boundaries, and be able to listen to others. This is also useful in monogamous relationships. But for them, there are many ready-made models in culture that allow you to do without discussions, but not for polyamory. And of course, it is difficult when partners have different views - a compromise cannot always be found.

Bob, Alice's partner

After kissing Alice for the first time, I accepted all the conditions that we talked about before. That she has a husband, has or could potentially have other relationships. But it is important to me that Alice is awesome. I feel good about our relationship - I don't need anything else. I enjoy the here and now. Next to her, I feel special.

We have a warm, trusting relationship that I enjoy. We meet whenever possible. When not, we call. We often call up - there is always something to talk about, and our conversations cheer up and relieve stress if it has accumulated during the day. Good communication is sometimes even more important than sex. Sex is possible with anyone, but a wonderful conversation, endorphins, dopamine - only with the elite.

When we realized that the matter was more serious than sex for a couple of nights, we discussed the rules of conduct. Alice can tell me about her other relationships if she wishes. Or maybe not to tell - that's just her business. It is important for her not to accidentally hurt me, and I appreciate it and hope not to hurt her myself.

I can't be jealous of her because I don't want to and because it's stupid to be jealous. We agreed to share our feelings if Alice or me starts to get stressed out. It is important not to let the sensations develop into something unpleasant. If I get another partner who will not accept the relationship with Alice, we will discuss how to reformat them and how to deal with the new variable in the equation. In any case, my potential relationship should not affect our confidential communication, and this is the most significant find for me.

Those who are close to me are aware of these relationships - those with whom I can basically discuss my personal life. They react with interest, ask about various details, feelings. I did not face disapproval, and it would be strange - my life, after all, go to hell with your disapproval.

The story of Vova, Sasha and Nastya


There was no such thing that I read somewhere about polyamory or someone told me about it. Until the age of twenty, I didn’t think about it at all. But gradually it began to seem to me that it is quite possible to have more than one romantic connection and they may not replace each other, but be complementary.

I started practicing in alliance with Sasha. When we met, she had another boyfriend with whom we studied at the institute. And even then, Sasha and I had contacts that went beyond friendship. I do not classify this experience as conscious, but it clearly influenced the fact that we eventually came to this. We have known each other for ten years, and we have been living together for almost four years. Two years ago, we started talking openly about polyamory. The initiative was mine - this stemmed partly from what I saw complexes in Sasha. It seemed to her that no one liked her and no one would want to meet her. And I said, "Why don't you check? Post a profile on a dating site, meet someone, and you'll find out." Then it was more talk.

An important turning point was the emergence of the Polyamorous Moscow group on Vkontakte. We joined it, got acquainted with the party and finally accepted the idea.

The first episode of the new life was a chance meeting with a girl who both me and Sasha liked at the same time. Nothing came of it, but it gave us a boost. We even fantasized about how to seduce her. And it brought us closer. Soon, another friend from my past appeared, with whom I had previously had an exclusively sexual relationship. And then suddenly we met again, and we had a threesome when she came to visit us. Everyone liked it. Then there was another girl, a chance meeting, a threesome. And then Nastya appeared.

We met at a group lesson in vocals and improvisation. She danced, moved, sang something - perhaps the body language conveyed something to me. My gaze caught on her, I held out my hand to her and called for me.

Nastya later told me that at first she did not understand: how is it that he is clearly flirting with me, but he already has a girlfriend. When I told that Sasha and I are free people in an open relationship, this shocked her somewhat, but aroused her interest. It took her a week to accept.

We meet with Nastya for half a year, regularly, about twice a week. Our relationship has gone beyond sexual interaction, there is clearly both a romantic component and a spiritually friendly one. Interestingly, Sasha and Nastya also made contact. We are a triangle that is valid on all three sides. I meet separately at home with Nastya when Sasha is away. All three of us meet if Nastya comes to visit. Sasha sometimes meets with Nastya on her own to chat somewhere. We also have threesomes, and it works out very well, getting better and better.

Sasha is not surprised if, when she comes home, she finds Nastya and me naked or almost naked, it has already happened. For her, this is no longer traumatic - because we all have trust in everyone. It is not clear what advice we can give our readers for a happy relationship. Except this one: everything is built on the opportunity to openly discuss anything. If I don't want to answer my partner's questions, I won't build a polyamorous relationship.

Jealousy happens in any relationship, and polyamorous relationships are no exception. In general, it happens, it seems to me, for three reasons. These are fear of loss, fear of loneliness and low self-esteem. About ten years ago, I was also afraid that I was somehow not like that, nobody needed me. And the attention of the girl with whom I have a relationship to someone else intensified these feelings. But for the most part, I worked this out even before the start of our relationship with Sasha. I already had the confidence that people are different. If she goes to another, then she wants another at the moment. This does not mean that I am worse. If you want vegetables, you will not eat candy, and then eat candy whenever you want, that's all. But it is not so easy to come to this, it is a certain spiritual work.

When Sasha comes back from a date, I always ask: “Well, how was it with you?” I'm pleased. There is such a term - "compression", the antonym of jealousy. Apparently, polyamory came up with. I don't know how common it is. The bottom line is that you experience pleasant sensations when your partner is happy with someone else. Some say it turns him on. Someone is just happy for a girlfriend or friend. I definitely have this feeling.

Being polyamorous does not mean wanting to have sex with many people. This means the very assumption of the possibility of more than one contact in case a person has hooked you. At some point, polyamorous can only be in one relationship. Or even he may be alone. In this regard, he is no worse than any other person. Polyamory is more of a mindset. And I know privately that I will never stop being polyamorous in terms of worldview.

It seems to me that society does not react as sharply to polyamorous people as it does to LGBT people. The latter, according to my observations, often cause a painful negative. And here, with whomever I accidentally spoke about this, in addition to fear, I also see interest. I see eyes light up. And just like in that joke - why, could it be? A person who can honestly ask himself whether he wants to be polyamorous already has a chance to be one. I insist that polyamory does not oblige you to have many contacts. This is the ideology of allowing more than one contact. And in this regard, I think many, if not all, can.

I would not want to ask myself, for example, whether Sasha and I will be together in five years or whether Nastya will be in my life in two years. The current moment is more important to me. As of now, Nastya is definitely a part of my life. We have very good sexual compatibility. It's already worth a lot. None of us have specific plans for children yet. So far, we are at such a stage that we have just begun to understand ourselves. And - here the three of us converge - until you understand yourself, it's better to wait with the children. But someday, yes, probably.

I was born in Moscow and grew up here. Intelligent family: mother is a radio physicist, father is an electrical engineer. I graduated from the Physics and Mathematics School and MEPhI. At some point, I became seriously interested in music, and this turned out to be much more interesting than, say, programming. Therefore, now I am a musician-arranger, and I also repair computers, as well as layout, editing, proofreading texts. I am a freelancer.

I live in the present moment. Planning scares me because expectations always spoil reality. I've come to the conclusion that when I don't expect anything from life, I feel better.

Trying to build a long-term relationship with my first boyfriend, I positioned myself as a monogamous woman who wants to cook borscht and have children for her husband. And I even tried to act out the model that I would lead the house, my lover would be my revolutionary, inspirer, and I would be his muse. We talked a lot with each other, shared our feelings. But he had a penchant for all sorts of psychological experiments. He deliberately provoked me, convincing me that I did not know how to control my emotions. I was so jealous of him that I could have hit him. In the end, we broke up, but it was he who introduced me to Vova.

The three of us had a close friendship, we even had sex together. In fact, on the first day we met Vova, we almost had a threesome. In general, I had some strange things in my head for a long time, despite the fact that I knew that there were attitudes in society: let's make up your mind, either you love Vasya or Petya. And meeting one and looking at someone else is wrong. But I felt something else in myself. And when I myself see how my loved one has sex with someone, I get excited. I would like to do the same. I want to be with them.

Last summer, Vova and I officially opened a relationship. This means that each of us can date the person he likes. He can bring him to our common territory when the other is absent, or invite him to visit if this person is of interest to both. Probably for about half a year it turned out that I was mostly interested in new people. Vova is an introvert, stays at home a lot and is selective in communication. Talking to five people in a day is a lot for him, I think.

I got to know each other in different ways: once after a concert I went up to a guy I liked, went with Vova to meetings of Moscow polyamers from the public in Vkontakte. There are only 284 people there, very few for the whole of Moscow. At meetings, some burning topics are usually discussed: "How do you deal with jealousy", "What details do you share." Age - from 20 to 40. Those who are 21-24 come to hear how it happens. And older people started when no one knew such words, but they already tried to experiment with relationships. These are often people from parties like role players. Experiments on consciousness lead to the fact that you start trying everything in a row. Today you are an elf, tomorrow you are polyamorous. And the day after tomorrow you will put on a woman's dress and, perhaps, you will be happy too. In general, in a polyamorous family there are a lot of options. Someone only sleeps with people, someone, on the contrary, only communicates and at the same time experiences some kind of romantic feelings. There are polyamorous asexuals, they are not interested in sex, but they can communicate closely and spend time with several people.

In general, as I see it now, I am looking for new friends. And I just don't draw a line between a friend and a lover. I tried to meet a couple of times just for sex, but I realized that without the ability to make deep contact with a person verbally, I can’t.

About a month and a half ago, I met a young man and felt like an old close friend. Him and his wife. He, unfortunately, went to the USA for a year to work. But we keep in touch with him, share our thoughts and experiences. And this exchange of emotions brings me vitality. It seems to me that if he had not left, then our couples could have had a very interesting communication, including on the basis of joint music-making. But usually Vova is not privy to all the details of my relationship. Not because we have some kind of ban on this, but because I have so many meetings and acquaintances that he says: “I just don’t remember everyone. I do not need it. If you're fine, then fine. If something does not suit you, then let's discuss it. But in general, I don’t want to know all these details.”

If I have jealousy or other negativity, I try to understand what exactly I need. It happens that I miss a person and I just want to sit and watch a movie with him. Some physical contact. Sharing the latest impressions and emotions. And it happens that, for example, I need to do some things, and out of reluctance to do them and fear, I run away to any other way to spend time, instead of doing something that is also necessary. Vova is sensitive to my emotional state, he sees what is written on my face, often even better than I do. And he says: "I see that you don't like it, I don't want it, if you don't like it, I won't insist."

I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, where I studied at school and at the institute. But since in my third year I met my future young man, instead of graduate school, where I entered, I went to him in Moscow. By education, I am a linguist-translator from English and Swedish, but for the last three years I have worked as a research assistant in the field of geophysics: I communicated with scientists, edited their texts, and sometimes helped organize conferences. And then I realized that not all of my skills and abilities are realized, and now I'm changing jobs. I like to speak in front of people, to tell something, to make presentations. For now, I plan to teach English, work with adult groups.

Of course, when I come to an interview, I will not say: "Hello, I am polyamorous, I have many partners, and we are all happy. " But if in a conversation it turns out that a person looks at things more or less broadly, I will tell you. I have not yet encountered open rejection.

For me now, the most important thing is myself and what I feel, and relationships are not the main goal in life. Self-realization is very important to me. I want to practice singing, for example. I dream of taking part in the recording of the album. Perform on the big stage at some music festival as a backing vocalist or even a vocalist. Find some occupation for which I will receive money, but at the same time see that I bring people something new, important and useful. Teaching can be such a thing. Therefore, I do not break off if someone does not spend time with me.

In our relationship there is no concept of betrayal, but there is the concept of "deceit". For example, if I hid some of my negative emotions, agreed to something, and then said to Vova: "I felt bad, but I agreed because I decided that it would be better for you. " To this he can tell me: "You deceived me - and you shouldn't have done so." Because it hurts everyone.

I am sure of my desire to spend a lot of time with Vova and I am almost ready to accept him as a possible father of my children. And I will be fine with the fact that our relationship will be long. It is also important for me that it is interesting and good for him. Living together because we have children, but we hate each other - this option is not for me at all.

I can't fully answer for other people, but I have a hunch that even when people exist in monogamous relationships, they still want other people. And the taboo nature of these thoughts does not affect their emergence in any way. And if Vova suddenly offers me to close our relationship, I will ask - what then to do with this part of our consciousness? And what level of honesty between us will this lead to?

The global difference between polyamory and the “husband, wife and mistress” situation is that people openly discuss everything, are aware of everything, and everything that happens comes from the consent and, if possible, the emotional well-being of each of the participants. And a mistress is deceit and betrayal. People do things they didn't agree to. There is another variant of relationships like don't ask, don't tell, only within the framework of monogamy. You don't tell me, but if anything, let you have a mistress, but I will never know about it. Let people try to do this, it is impossible to forbid them, but it is better not to do this. Just to keep the head in place.

I was born in Kaluga. When I was six years old, my family and I moved to live in Kirov, where I graduated from the Vyatka humanitarian gymnasium with in-depth study of the English language. After high school, I studied at the American University in Bulgaria, and moved to Moscow seven years ago. Now I am studying vocals and playing Indian tabla (percussion). In private practice, I teach English and translate. I also underwent professional retraining in the field of "Jungian psychotherapy" at the MAAP (Moscow Association of Analytical Psychology).

I grew up in an environment where the topic of intimacy was taboo, opposed to the spiritual, sublime. The complexes and prohibitions formed on an unconscious level prevented me from building relationships with men. Two and a half years of personal Jungian psychoanalysis made me aware of my emotional and physical needs. I began to get to know my body and six months ago I went to a good sexologist, who helped me say goodbye to pathological scenarios in the field of sexuality and sensuality. I started to do special self-massages and various psychological exercises, for example, I wrote down my negative attitudes like “I don’t get an orgasm”, “I don’t love my body” or “I don’t deserve a stable and good sexual partner”, and then burned them. Right in the room. It smelled for three days.

And soon I met Vova and Sasha at the authentic voice class. Chemistry immediately arose between me and Vova. He came up to me and started flirting. Then we began to correspond, the conversation immediately began frank and honest, without excessive modesty and equivocation. He said he was open to new sexual relationships, having already had a stable and deep relationship with one girl. Initially, the proposal seemed dubious to me, because I thought that it meant only the role of a mistress, and I also wanted a relationship and emotional intimacy. But in the end, I got both good sex, and friendship, and intimacy, as well as a friend and close person Sasha.

I can't say that everything went smoothly from the very beginning. I had all sorts of emotions, of course. For example, jealousy, especially since we do not live together. My abandonment complex was activated: that their couple is mom and dad, and I am a child who is excluded from the parental bedroom and from solving various “adult issues” like housekeeping. But we shared all this, discussed it. Now I have practically no jealousy, although periodic "glitches" - scenarios of inferiority - may pop up, but we can always discuss them. I learned a valuable lesson - that my relationship with each person is unique, it is no better or worse than his relationship with other partners and mine with others. These are all different zones of my disclosure in love and intimacy, and my partners have the same zones.

I appreciate the opportunities polyamory gives me. I began to communicate with men, realizing that I could have sex with them if I wanted to. At the same time, I can tell my current partner about this - and this will not be condemned and regarded as treason. At this stage, I have developed a deep relationship with Vova and Sasha. First of all, Vova excites me sexually, but I also have a homosexual part, and I live it.

I like how everything is developing: the liveliness of relations, the fact that we live here and now in contact, trust and openness. Since this is a new experience for me, it is difficult for me to predict how long a polyamorous type of relationship will be relevant for me. But now it is very natural for me and allows me to open up and get to know other people (especially the opposite sex) as much as possible. Polyamory for me is a very important step towards personal freedom, which includes sexual freedom.

My love is enough for everyone: the stories of three people who realized their polyamory (and what it led to)

Alina Tolmacheva, Maria Chesnokova

Mankind has never been completely monogamous, thousands of years of history have many examples of polyamorous relationships. There is now a lot of interest in polyamory as a possible evolution of traditional monogamy. For the premiere of the first project in Russia about polyamory AMORE MORE in the KION online cinema, we talked with three polyamorous people who have come a long way. How did they realize they weren't monogamous? What difficulties did they have to face? Are there clear rules in a polyamorous relationship? How is the overall budget formed? And what myths about polyamory annoy them?

Alina Tolmacheva

Telegram: Alinamoria

“For some time after my last monogamous relationship, I went on dates, but did not meet anyone. Then the thought came to my mind that exclusive relationships are not at all what suits me, I don’t understand why limit myself and partners in sexual relationships. I wanted a relationship without limits. Then I had a young man who agreed to a polyamorous relationship and soon met another girl with whom he fell in love. The first experience was very difficult and painful, but I wanted to try, there was more curiosity in my soul than fear and discomfort.

In the beginning, I was very jealous. This happened because we did not discuss everything or did not agree on agreements. For example, I did not want him to hang out with his girlfriend at our house, or it was unpleasant for me to watch them at common parties. It seems that the reason was that I rushed into polyamory and was not ready. This happens, it all depends on the circumstances and the particular partner. Only later did I realize that I needed more comfortable conditions, and I reached eco-friendly, comfortable polyamory some time after the first attempt. Then I was not able to overcome the difficulties, although we talked a lot about our relationship, discussed feelings, tried to come to some conditions that would suit everyone. It helped me understand what is acceptable to me and what is not.

So I am grateful for this experience. It seems to me that every polyamorous relationship has its own rules. But there are the main ones that need to be decided. For example: are all members equal to each other, or some pairs retain exclusive things. You may have some special sexual practices with your main partner, or you may limit each other's number of dates with new people, decide whether you want to know about someone else, and so on. There can be a lot of rules, and they are often born in the process: you went to a sex party together, one of you didn’t like something, and you discuss the boundaries of what is permitted. But agreements are not a panacea; they cannot protect against everything. It is better to ask again or not to do something.


“The first realization came in 2014, when I was 21 years old. At that time, I moved from Moscow to St. Petersburg, and in the capital I had a girlfriend with whom I had been in a relationship for 2 years. In St. Petersburg, he met another and fell in love with her at first sight. But she was in the city during the New Year holidays, and then returned to Yakutsk. We began to love at a distance, which I had to hide from my Moscow girlfriend. At some point, I realized that it was dishonest of me to hide the relationship (even if it was just love by correspondence and a few meetings with kisses) and told each of them about my feelings. Unfortunately, at that time we were hot and young, not very environmentally friendly in communication, so they put me in front of a tough choice, saying: “Choose one of the two, and don’t fool us.” I sat and thought: “Why is life and relationships so complicated that you have to make a choice if you love both equally strongly?” The choice was made in favor of a Moscow girl whom I had already met. We broke up after 2 years, from 2016 to 2021 we did not communicate at all, and now we are very close friends.

I did not know about the existence of “polyamory” until 2018. Then I ended another monogamous relationship. The girl wanted to get married, and I thought that I would still "walk". So we broke up, and I began to analyze: “What is wrong with me? Why does it happen that I love one person very much, but fall in love with others? Maybe I'm somehow not like that and instead of something serious, it's better to be alone and meet with whoever you want? I thought so until I came across the corresponding Wikipedia article. Then I reflected on my feelings, the experience of serial-monogamous relationships and came to the conclusion that polyamory is the most comfortable format for me, which gives more freedom to me and my partners.

At first, it was difficult to find time to communicate with all partners, because I am a very empathic person and immerse myself in dialogue. I never take the phone in my hands and do not get distracted by it at meetings. Sometimes this offended those who demanded attention. But we overcame these difficulties by carefully listening to the experiences of everyone, finding compromises and building time management more responsibly.

Understanding the workings of polyamorous relationships was helped by feature articles and communities on this topic, which are not difficult to find. But the main experience was gained already in practice. Polyamory or other forms of ethical non-monogamy are based on the concept of "processing", that is, the ability to communicate carefully and environmentally. Processing is a constant discussion of what is happening between partners. Speaking out loud your feelings, emotions, reactions and sensations in certain situations. This helps a lot to avoid injury, toxic communication and unnecessary resentment. The ability to clearly set your personal boundaries and talk about what makes you uncomfortable. Thanks to this, polyamorous people better understand partners, because they are constantly in dialogue, working on relationships, and not “figuring them out”.

Like many polyamorous people, I am annoyed by the negative reaction of society to my lifestyle, I have repeatedly heard the following phrases addressed to me:

  • “Polyamory is the legalization of infidelity”;

  • “Polyamory is a relationship without obligations/non-serious relationships”;

  • "Polyamory is an excuse for one's promiscuity";

  • “Polyamors only want sex”;

  • "Polyamorous are perverts and just a new name for swingers";

  • “Only members of the LGBTIQ+ community are in polyamorous relationships”;

  • "Such relationships are short-lived";

  • "Walk up and become monogamous. "

But the main and most annoying myth is that polyamorous people don't get jealous. Jealousy is a completely natural feeling that is characteristic of people, regardless of the format of the relationship. You can be jealous of friends if they decide to spend time without you, jealous of one parent to another. You can be jealous of your boss to colleagues and so on and so forth. As for me, I'm really a jealous person, but not sexually. My jealousy extends to spiritual betrayal, the emotional component. I understand perfectly well that this needs to be worked on, and I know what psychological traumas from childhood and adolescence feed it.

Maria Chesnokova

Telegram: 🌶Chesnokova in exile

“I always felt not monogamous, I had a very early marriage. I got married at 22 and I didn't know about the existence of polyamory, but in a classic relationship I was cramped. I have never seen myself in the format of a classic marriage - with one person, but I decided on it under the influence of the norms of society. At the same time, I wanted to feel free in the context of my sexuality and experiment.

I never liked lying and cheating, as it is often accepted in conservative families, and when I found out that there are other formats of relationships, I realized that ethical non-monogamy suits me the most.

I have been in different forms of relationships, where I had both main partners and where they were not. It’s great to go on dates and kiss with someone, but with someone you want to build a common life. Therefore, it is better to first understand what exactly you want, and from what position you start. Someone comes to polyamory alone, someone is already in a couple, opening a relationship. In any case, you will have to discuss everything “on the shore” before starting a new relationship format, otherwise you will find a lot of quarrels, misunderstandings, and instead of enjoying the relationship, you will only get additional problems. Polyamory is arranged because, like in a monogamous relationship, no one can read minds. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss your future, how often you want to meet, how you plan to share money, have children, and so on.

The same applies to the question of the general budget. It is formed for the “n-th” number of family members. Someone can invest more in everyday life and earn less, while someone vice versa. That is, there is no clear, understandable structure here that would say that the budget of polyamers works in a certain way. A lot depends on whether polyamorous people live together. When I had relationships with several partners, and we lived separately, then everyone paid as they wanted. For example, today I will treat you to dinner, tomorrow you will treat me to breakfast. If there is some kind of joint life, then the easiest way is to make some part of the total budget, which will cover rent, a communal apartment, food, household needs. For some reason, in Russia it is not customary to talk about money, it is believed that everything should work out by itself.

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