Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,
My boyfriend and I have been in a relationship for almost two years now. We started dating in our senior year of high school after an extended period of awkward flirting, and flash forward a few months, ended up deciding to go to the same college. We’re very happy together, and I am very, very much in love with him. But here’s the thing: I really like somebody else, too. And I think he might as well.
This other person is a friend of ours from high school, and despite the fact that he doesn’t actually go to the same college as us, we manage to hang out surprisingly frequently. Like, just the three of us. Without the rest of our friends. The way those two look at each other is nearly identical to the way my boyfriend looks at me, and the way I look at both of them. We’ve gone to movies together, gotten ice cream together, gone to a restaurant on a suspiciously date-like dinner together...and sometimes, when we’re walking, my boyfriend will sling one arm around my shoulders and the other around his and it just feels right, somehow. Like that’s the way it should be. This same feeling applies to essentially any time the three of us are together. The number of casual references to polyamory that have been dropped into our conversations is fairly astounding, but I can’t tell if it’s because we’re all ragingly liberal, or if something is actually being implied.
I don’t even know how to bring this up with my boyfriend, and I’m terrified that I might be misreading the situation. I don’t even know for sure if either of them are actually into guys as well as girls (Is it love? Is it just a really touchy-feely bromance? Who knows, man). I don’t want lose what I already have, but I also don’t want to miss the chance at something that could be really great. This is completely uncharted territory for me. What should I do?
Maybe it’s Polyamory, Maybe it’s Maybelline
Dear Maybe it’s Polyamory, Maybe it’s Maybelline,
Let’s hark back to the opening line of the catchy slogan you quoted: “Maybe she’s born with it.” Yes, taking advice from the gods of drugstore beauty campaigns may sound risky, but I think this invocation of the Great Lash muse, Mother Maybelline, can provide us with an essential nugget of wisdom in this scenario, which I, your humble bard, Miss Lonely Hearts, will translate for you: trust your instinct. From what you’ve described, it sounds like you already know what you want to do, but you’re hesitant to take the risk, and, as we all know, you gotta risk it for the biscuit.
I know how appealing it might be to stay silent and not broach this subject with your boyfriend, but my spidey senses tell me he might be having the same dilemma. Next time a casual reference to polyamory is made in one of your conversations, maybe ask him if he would ever consider entering into a polyamorous relationship, or if he’s interested in other men. This is a good way to test the waters with your partner without showing your cards right away. If he seems amenable to the idea, tell him that you’ve been considering the idea of making your twosome a trio (maybe bring some gummy worms with you to allow him an excuse to mull over his thoughts on the matter in silence). Most importantly, make sure your boyfriend knows that your feelings for this other person don’t lessen your love for him.
I know the prospect of broaching this subject with your boyfriend is probably terrifying, because, unfortunately, we cannot turn back the hands of time—cannot stuff our words back in our mouths, no matter how appealing the taste may be (this is another reason the gummy worms may come in handy). We can only hope that we do right by ourselves and the people we love, and we can do this by speaking our truths, by putting our whole selves out there. Relationships are both a wonderful and terrifying thing, and, after all, what’s life without a little risk? What’s love without a stumble and a fall?
As for me, I’ve found that the more people I love wholeheartedly, the happier I am. I hope the case will be the same for you and your significant other. Maybe it is polyamory. If not, you can always jot down to the Safeway on Woodstock to stock up on your Great Lash.
Miss Lonely Hearts