"Two is always better than one."
I never meant to date a couple. It wasn't that I was ethically opposed to it or so gung-ho on monogamy; it was that the opportunity never presented itself. I didn't think that couples actually dated people as a unit. And if they did, then surely the third would be just that: the third, not as primary as partners one and two. And why would I want to feel secondary in any romantic relationship?
But after getting out of a year-long monogamous relationship with my girlfriend, the thought of being in another committed relationship tied my stomach in knots. So the moment after she and I broke up, I started having a string of casual hookups with various men. Being bisexual, I'd missed the touch of a man, and I didn't waste a second to go out and have their hands all over me.
Even though I was upfront about wanting casual encounters, I found myself in precarious positions when the men asked (or not so subtly-pushed) for exclusivity. After the second guy asked me to be monogamous (I said no, and he cried), I decided I needed to stop going on dates.
I didn't want to become that guy: the guy that uses other men and breaks their hearts. Besides, I figured it was time to do some self-care and focus on what I needed. Was this string of casual affairs helping or hurting?
I wasn't actually sure. My vow to stop dating, however, didn't last long. I ended up meeting a bisexual polyamorist with a wife, girlfriend, and boyfriend. When he asked me out on a date, I agreed, only because I figured there was no way in hell I could have a serious relationship with this guy. The man had three serious partners. Unless he didn't live by standard laws of time, there weren't enough hours in the week for us to date seriously.
Somehow, though, he managed to make the time for me, and we started seeing each other almost every day. Before I knew it, I was amidst a polyamorist web. I was dating a man who had a wife, and his wife was dating this woman, who I was close friends with, and she was dating this guy platonically... and it just goes on and on.
Even though I stumbled onto polyamory accidentally, the choice to embrace it was mine alone. Ironically, being poly alleviated my jealousy issues. It forced me to work on my communication. It allowed me to get support from multiple people I trusted. Being poly simply worked for me.
So when I had the opportunity to start dating a couple, I figured why the hell not.
It started like many same-sex relationships do: through a Grindr hookup. A man and his husband wanted me to come over and "play." So I did, and we had a blast. Afterwards, as we all lied together cuddling in a pool of sweat, we started chatting more.
They made me laugh, gave me career advice, and told ridiculously-entertaining stories from their childhood. It turned out that these guys might offer more than casual sex. When they asked me to go out to dinner with them later, I didn't hesitate to say, "Absolutely."
Dinner led to lunch the next day. And after the lunch we all decided to go swimming. All the while, I had this huge smile on my face, feeling embraced by not one, but two caring men.
Since these guys, I've had some trysts and longer affairs with other couples, and I've realized I absolutely love dating couples. Here's why:
1. Emotional intimacy is expedited.
When you join a couple, you're joining a strong, pre-existing relationship. They're already open, intimate, comfortable, silly, and vulnerable around one another. So they engage with each other in a manner that couples who have been dating a while do.
2. They appreciate you.
Many people refuse to date couples because of this, but they're appreciative of you from the get-go. They appreciate your open-mindedness and the fact that you don't judge them for their non-monogamous lifestyle.
3. The sex is phenomenal.
It's not just great because threesomes are great; it's great because you see how their relationship is strengthened through you. After I have sex with a couple, you can see in the way that they look at each other that their relationship has grown as a result of our joint sexual experience.
4. Conversations are better.
Having another person to to talk to is always better. You get different perspectives, more opinions, various advice, more counter arguments. It's fun having a second person to talk to instead of just one.
But not only do I love dating couples — polyamory has also changed my perspective on dating.
1. I no longer date with an end-goal in mind.
Dating couples has allowed to step off of the relationship escalator fully. I'm not thinking about whether or not we're going to get married. I'm not concerned with where this is going. I'm able to date them in the moment.
And if it happens that we enter a polyamorous triad, so be it. If I start to develop feelings for one over the other, maybe I date the one guy and be friends with his partner. I'm open to anything, and instead of being nervous by not being 100 percent sure of where this relationship is headed, I feel freed.
2. I can be emotionally vulnerable outside of dating.
The emotional vulnerability I get from dating couples has transferred to when I'm not dating couples. Couples have allowed me to be vulnerable from the get-go, and it's greatly enhanced my relationships. Now, I aim to have my guard down from the start with new (single) partners.
3. I don't fear being secondary.
I discovered that my fear of coming second to the other men in the relationship wasn't actually valid. I'm simply newer to the relationship, and because of that there will be some times where I feel left out. But once time passes, those feelings will go away.
In every novel relationship, we're faced with new challenges and learn new things about ourselves. Dating a couple is no different.
But while dating a couple mays seem more difficult or like a lot of work, the irony is that in many ways it's actually simpler and more fulfilling. This is why I'm always going to have one couple in my life that I'm at least casually dating.
Because you know what they say: "Two is always better than one."