Reflection on Dating

You might call my relationship unconventional. I guess that depends on how you define a “relationship.” Many would define it as love between two people, typically of different genders. That isn’t my definition. I’m in a bisexual relationship. Actually, I’m in three of them.

This point is usually where the confusion comes in. As the questions pile up, I explain that yes, all of my partners are aware of one another, and no, I don’t have a “favorite.” I don’t mind explaining; I love talking about my partners—ask any of my friends. However, people often have the wrong idea about what a polyamorous relationship implies.

People tend to assume that my feelings are divided, or that I can’t “choose.” They assume that I am experimenting by dating multiple people of various genders at once, or that I just want attention. They ask probing questions about my sex life, about whether or not I’m gay, about my partners’ personal information. Some people are genuinely curious, while others are more malicious.

A well-intentioned friend of mine asked me once, after disclaiming that she meant no offense, if I truly liked all of my partners, or if I was just fooling around. She was asking if my partners and I were truly dating. I couldn’t answer, because I didn’t know how she defined a relationship.

I’m still working on my definition. I’ve been building the bonds I have with my partners slowly and thoughtfully, and it’s hard to pick out the moment I realized that love doesn’t divide, but multiplies. There isn’t a limit to how much love can be shared; it doesn’t get thinner as you spread it out. I love all of my partners, and with their help I’m starting to realize that love can’t really be defined. I guess we can figure it out as we go.

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