A woman in purple bedsheets writing about her polyamory experience

Navigating Polyamory: Lessons from a Unicorn

I said in the article before last that I’d write the next one as a continuation of the risks of being a unicorn and my experience of it but ended up writing about lesbian bars which are disappearing instead. I’m sorry, I lied. But I’m here now and I’ve written the following article. 

My marriage is failing, let me call a unicorn.

I’m going to start with a short story of the couple I was seeing speaking about their friends. Their friends’ relationship was failing, and they were searching for a unicorn. A common trope about unicorn hunters is that they’re trying to save their failing marriage by roping in some bisexual girl. Anyway, the couple were discussing how pulling in different people wasn’t going to save their marriage. They’d looked confused when I’d said something along the lines of ‘poor people they’re dragging into the shit show that is their marriage’. Your own shit is your own shit. Why drag others into it? They seemed confused as to why the unicorn’s opinion would matter. Red flag, red flag. 

I hope that works as a short explanation of how I feel the relationship, the throuple, had been. And hopefully, it also set the tone for the rest of the article. I’m going to go back on the advice the reddit post had given last week, if you remember. The advice / warnings / guidance given concerned multiple topics: promises, money, and age. So, I’ll be discussing how those four aspects influenced our relationship and brought it to a screeching halt. 

Promises

In the last article I’d discussed how I was told I was being seen as an equal part of a throuple and that their marriage didn’t matter anyway. They saw each other more as boyfriend-girlfriend. I do wonder often as to why they said that: Was it trying to appeal and maybe even align to someone younger whose friends aren’t married and therefore marriage is something very far from reality? Was it delusion, thinking their 10 years of living together and being married didn’t influence their relationship? Delusion it was definitely and I’ll tell you why. We were in no way equals. 

We were not equals in many things. 

  1. Of course like I said before they have a long past together, something I’d never be a part of and I was okay with that, I was at peace with that. 
  1. The fact they conversed together which I wasn’t a part of. All our conversations involving me were shared. Even if one of the couple wasn’t present, they’d be caught up later. However, their conversations between the two of them would never be necessarily shared with me. This might seem small, but trust me it evolves… 
  1. …. onto my third point. They had told me that they were comfortable with me sleeping with one of the couple without the other present. So the promise was: no rules. However, when it came to reality, that was not the case.

In my head the sex thing is just a more intense version of the conversation thing. I was promised I could have a conversation with just one, however when the other joined, said conversation would be recounted for them too. The sex thing was just like it but sex tends to have a bigger impact than holding a conversation. 

Also, a funny story to add. When they’d told me they were okay with me sleeping with the other without the third person present. I told Kirsty and Kirsty asked me if I’d told them they could sleep together without me present as well. Looking back at it. Why did I ever let anyone give me permission when and with whom I was able to have sex? They were defining my relationship with them whilst I had no say in theirs. 

It was a given that they had a lot more liberties than I did within the relationship than I did. They had their relationship together where I wasn’t present but of course when I was present everything had to be shared between all three of us.

Money

Because they were so much older, they also had more life experiences and work experience. They both had quite high up in their jobs and were earning well: they owned their flat, splurged on nice food, and spent a lot going on nice holidays. These were things I was jealous of, being a student I really don’t have tons of money and I really don’t splurge on anything whatsoever. However, they, specifically her, enjoyed splurging on me.

There was even a day when she asked if I enjoyed being spoiled and I said yes, of course but of course I like to do it back. My friends and I normally do pay for each other, say one pays one thing and the other pays the other thing. However, when there’s a big difference between incomes, I’m financially not able to splurge on them in the same way they could splurge on me. This, however, led to me being in a situation where I was being treated and spoiled, and gave almost nothing in return. 

Having equal roles in a relationship is important to me. It’s how I was raised and how I still feel now. Yet, with this relationship, or whatever it was, I let this slip. I was in a place where I was being treated almost like a child. A spoilt child. Being given gifts and treats without ever really returning the favour. Not that I didn’t want to, I just wasn’t financially able to.

Age

I’ve mentioned before there was a large age gap, 12 years to be exact. My upper age limit in dating has always been 30. I’m 25 and I’m still studying so for my age I’m not particularly mature in the fact I have little work experience and people my age and older tend to have a lot more.

The couple had mentioned that they felt this, however we didn’t tend to talk a lot about work  They did, however, mention that they knew I was young in comparison to them, but my having older siblings apparently cancelled out how young I felt. They claimed I knew a lot of cultural things like pop songs and things from the 90s and 00s and therefore we were able to bond more than I may have been able to had I not had my siblings. But honestly, I don’t think my knowledge of music makes me more mature…

In the last few years I’d come to the realisation that those I’d dated when I was 19 and they were already in their 20s, wasn’t because I was mature. It was because they were immature. How this realisation didn’t transfer to this specific experience, I’m not completely sure. It should have seemed obvious. But everything seems obvious in retrospect.

Three pairs of feet in socks at the end of a bed

Read more from Bea the Bud…

How (Not) to Have Your First Threesome

Summing up

I’m not sure if I have any advice to give or any warnings or anything at all. I just came to a lot of realisations reading the reddit post I had read and then wrote about in the last article. Without that person having written online about their personal experience and how they felt, I never would’ve known that someone else had had similar experiences to me. I just wanted to write down the general issues I had with this specific, fairly uncommon, relationship and maybe someone else who has been in a similar situation can relate. 

Although, I didn’t speak about how it actually ended because it wasn’t very nice at all, I do feel like pin pointing flaws in the relationship helped me realise as to why it ended so badly. The things that had been wrong all along came together at the end in a heightened way. In the end it all makes sense. The flaws were things I shouldn’t have ignored but that’s easier said with hindsight. 

I’ve been in some terrible friendships and relationships and one of my friends used to always say to learn from them. It’s annoying advice to hear whilst you’re still trying to recover from everything that happened. But, my takeaway message from this is exactly that. I can state three very important factors which went wrong and led to it ending and by stating them and writing them down, it’ll help avoid them going wrong in any future relationships or friendships I will have… hopefully…

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