That’s right: the love of my life is dating another woman, and she’s awesome.
By Erin K. Barnes | Sept. 24
My husband has a girlfriend...and I love her. That’s right: the love of my life is dating another woman, and she’s awesome.
The topic of my metamour—that’s my partner’s partner, in polyamorous terms—is controversial. It doesn’t matter that it was my idea to open our marriage. It doesn’t matter how my husband Cliff looks at me with heart eyes, or how many sizzling affairs I have. Most people feel sorry for me, or even disgusted, that I actually like the woman who—as they see it—threatens to replace me.
...A number of my girlfriends kept my non-monogamy a secret from their spouses for fear they wouldn’t be allowed around me. I wondered, would their husbands restrict them from associating with a single woman? Why was I so different? Cliff’s best friend pulled me aside tearfully after a night of drinking, telling me, “I don’t want to lose you.”
I didn’t blame them; despite the myriad polyamory explainers on the internet like this one, most people misunderstand our arrangement.
It wasn’t always this way. ...
One night, I lay awake with my pulse pounding, gripped with the sudden courage to tell my husband that I wanted to have sex with other people. I put his hand on my breast to cushion the blow...and woke him from a dead sleep.
“There’s something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about,” I whispered. ... I said I was grateful we were still in love after 17 years. That I felt like I was going through a change, and rather than rebel alone, I wanted him to be my partner in crime. And that it really turned me on to think of us in an open marriage.
My husband sat up in bed. “Wow,” he said. I had always been the vanilla one. “Yes,” he said, kissing me. “Yes!”
Cliff looked as giddy as I had when he had proposed; only this time, we were choosing us, and setting each other free. ...
With freedom, my pent-up sexual tension deflated. I could be around hot dads without losing my mind. I indulged in pastimes I never thought I’d relive, like lying in bed with a new man, tracing his tattoos with my fingertips and alternating between talking and rendering each other speechless. I also explored profound platonic friendships with men I’d have surely missed out on in monogamy.
Cliff wanted kitchen table polyamory, where both partners have serious secondary relationships. I wanted lust and extramarital fun. In a twist of irony, I fell in love with someone new and had my heart broken, organically extending my own boundaries. While my family didn’t need to know the details, I didn’t hide my feelings. “Children,” I began with puffy eyes, “I’d like to introduce you to the music of the Smiths. They tell people that it’s okay to feel sad sometimes.” Being a 37-year-old mom with a broken heart sucked, but knowing it was possible to love two people at once gave me stability for what was to come. ...
When the time came for Cliff to go to Allison’s house for an intimate date night, I texted her, saying, “I hope this isn’t weird, but I wanted to introduce myself so you know that I’m okay with this.”
We followed each other on Instagram and discovered we share the same absurd sense of humor. We gleefully bonded over memes. She entered our lives respectfully, without being pushy, but she also didn’t hide from me, nor I from her.
...Today, we have a happy little polycule. Allison and I hang out together, and when we do, Cliff sends us video chats that start with a grinning, “Hey ladies...” Cliff is notoriously late to everything, so Allison helps him get home on time. ...
Society wants me to hate this gem of a person -- the person who texted me after our dog died to send us “love beams,” only she accidentally wrote “love beans,” so now we often jokingly send each other “love beans.” People want to believe that I’m either a freak or uncommonly evolved to handle this unconventional arrangement. In truth, I’m not very remarkable at all; it’s simply not that hard. Concepts that once seemed terrifying are surprisingly easy when we meet the people involved...and they’re awesome.