Wash Post: "I live with my husband and our boyfriend. Here’s how we make it work."
The gay poly writer Jeff Leavell has finally made the MSM with a piece on the website of the Washington Post. He's not shy about his struggles with jealousy.
Poly is much easier if you're naturally a low-jealousy person, but this is not required.
I live with my husband and our boyfriend. Here’s how we make it work.
By Jeff Leavell
Among those of us who are polyamorous — meaning that we carry on committed relationships with multiple people — there is a lot of talk about jealousy. It’s regarded as an emotion for the weak and unenlightened. [No it's not.]
I must be seriously unenlightened then, because I am a jealous, territorial, alpha-kind of man. My husband, Alex, and I have been together for five years. Our boyfriend, Jon, has lived with us for the past two.
For the most part we are happy. Like any relationship, we have our ups and our downs. Some days we are madly in love, other days we’d rather be left alone to watch TV, pay the bills and go about the normalcy of life.
...[However,] I still get that kind of heart-pounding and burning sensation all over my body whenever I picture either of my men with someone else. I want to stalk their lovers on Facebook. I want to follow Alex and Jon when they leave the house. Go through their phones. If I let myself, I can go a little crazy with jealousy.
The three of us met on a gay dating app, Scruff.... Jon kept coming back. For pizza and movies, sleepovers, hikes. We took a trip to Vancouver together. The three of us had our first four-way. We said “I love you.” We introduced Jon to our family members and friends as our boyfriend.
Watching Alex fall in love with Jon was a kind of strange torture. It was also beautiful. Learning to balance the torture with the beauty was a struggle.
...I have always loved the idea of monogamy — that one man would love me and only me; would want me and only me; would sacrifice everything for me, if it came to that. I loved the idea of someone being monogamous to me, I just wasn’t able to return the favor.
So opening our relationship up to include more lovers allowed Alex and me to have our own private adventures. It was also like taking a crash course in how to handle jealousy. The first time I told Alex about another guy I was dating, our relationship almost ended. When Alex told me about a new guy he had met in Seattle, I thought my world would fall apart.
Of course, my world didn’t fall apart. Instead, I had to confront my feelings. I didn’t have to confront Alex or Jon, but myself. I had to spend time alone with my fears and insecurities. Because that is all jealousy is: fear. Of being abandoned. Of not being enough. Of being alone.
And the truth is, all the things we fear might happen.... Relationships fall apart all the time.
At least Jon and Alex and I are honest with one another. I get to share my fears and my joys with them. I get to be there for them as they do the same. And I fall more in love with them as we do this.
Read the whole article (Oct. 11, 2016). It was originally titled "I'm polyamorous. Yes, I get jealous. But it's worth it."
● Jeff had another recent piece at Vice: My Advice for People Considering Polyamory (Sept. 8):
Jeff Leavell and his partners
...Basically, we tried to treat a relationship developing between three people like it was developing between two, with Alex and I as one party and Jon as the other. This, of course, is untenable. Equality is essential to making relationships work. [Make that equality of respect, dignity, and agency, say I; not necessarily time, sex, income sharing, and most everything else. No two relationships are ever the same. –Ed.] If we were really going to do this new thing with Jon, Alex and I would have to change how our own relationship operated. But I had no role models to teach me how to do this thing — a problem I hope to address in writing about our relationship publicly.
People reach out to me all the time with questions about open and polyamorous relationships based on pieces I've written. A disproportionate number of them revolve around jealousy and insecurity: How do you avoid becoming jealous if your partner is sleeping with other men?
I've found that if I ever feel jealousy, the root of that emotion almost always comes from not feeling good enough for Jon or Alex. Jealousy always equals insecurity for me.
...But at the end of the day, it's how we react to that jealousy that matters. I constantly have to remind myself to shift the focus of my thoughts back to me: What am I really afraid of? Why do I not believe I am deserving of all this love?
People often ask me how we handled "coming out" as a polyamorous couple to our family and friends. ... Today, my advice is to use caution and not open yourself up too quickly to the scrutiny and judgment of those who love you. While they may seem normal when you're part of them, polyamorous relationships are far outside the norm, and it's hard to expect everyone to just accept what we know: that love is vast, and that there are many ways to experience and express it. Polyamory scares people. For some, it challenges everything they believe to be true about love....
● And here are two previous Vice pieces by Jeff: How I Told My Husband and Boyfriend I'm Dating Another Man (July 19, 2016), and How I Figured Out the Rules of My Three-Way Relationship (July 22, 2015).