In Common

I met a boy a few years my senior
Who said we were the same
That monogamy was heteronormative
And he was too evolved
To be “selfish”

He told me his girlfriend
Was hesitant at first
His girlfriend
Silent beside him
smiled weakly

“What changed” I asked her
She seemed surprised
Looked to him before answering
Then at her shoes
She delivered her lines:

“I just realised I was being so silly
That I had to take some responsibility
Once my beau explained jealousy
Wasn’t how we were meant to be
And now i’m just ok, really”

She smiled then, i think
Or it might have been a wince
Her boyfriend nodded, contented
Then excused himself
She stayed

She whispered
As if confessing
A terrible secret
“So are you really poly? how many partners?
And when jealousy strikes what’s your answer?”

I remembered times i cried
Was scared, bitter, angry
Wanted to ensure things stayed the same
Wanted things to be different
For them to stay or go or choose me or leave him

Remembered my lover’s beau making me tea
In the warmth of their home
Bonding over our mutual affection
For our girlfriend, sure
But more importantly for feminist theory and buffy

I thought of screaming rows
Over my ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend
Who only accepted her nonmonogamy
Because our gay love was just
“A bit of fun, really, you girls look so hot when you make out do you mind if i watch”

I remembered holiday photos
I was not in
But poured over lovingly
And ones i stared at for hours
Consumed by crushing, gnawing envy

I told her
“I don’t know if ‘poly’ sums it up exactly
Right now I have three partners, no-one’s my ‘primary’.
I live alone. that’s what I’ve found works for me
I prize freedom most, but it does get lonely.

“My answer doesn’t have to be yours
But when jealousy digs in its claws
What helps a little is liking my metamours
And my partners and friends can reassure
By saying ‘what you’re feeling is real, not against poly law’

“It’s no one’s fault if I don’t like my circumstances
few things are as complex as I find romance is
Sometimes through sympathy the pain diminishes
But ultimately I’m more important than any relationship is
And if I can’t bear the pain, even if I love them, our courtship finishes”

I couldn’t tell how she felt
About my answer
We exchanged pleasantries awhile, then I left
I was going to say goodbye to the boy as well
But he was busy hitting on another woman ten years his junior


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