What are the names of people in polyamorous relationships

How Joost lives in a polyamorous relationship with three women

At first glance, Joost looks like an ordinary man in his mid-thirties. He lives in a small house with light blue shutters in the suburbs of Amsterdam. He works as a programmer for a start-up from Monday to Friday, at the weekend he goes to parties, plays video games and meets friends. If you ask Joost if he's in a relationship, he says it's complicated. An answer that is often given to such questions. But Joost really doesn't have an ordinary relationship, he has three at the same time.

Having a relationship with three people sounds like an absolute taboo to many. Isn't that a cheat? No, because Joost lives in polyamorous relationships. Polyamory means to be in love with several partners at the same time and to maintain a love relationship with each and every one of them, whereby everyone involved knows about it and agrees to it. "People all over the world have turned more and more away from traditional ways of life in recent decades, also because they know from their own experience and divorce statistics that monogamous marriage as a way of life does not work for most people," explains Viktor Leberecht, Berlin relationship expert Focus on polyamory.

Joost is sitting at a dark wooden table in his living room in the house with the light blue shutters - his parents' former home. He strokes his short blond hair and after a short pause begins to talk. About what it's like to be in love relationships with three women at the same time. “For me, polyamory is love for people in different forms at the same time. To be able to do that, I take a step back and ask myself what I need in a relationship and what my partner needs from me, ”he explains.

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"I have too much energy for a partner "

During a three-year relationship in his twenties, he and his partner at the time felt that they were missing something in the relationship that the other could not give them. "I've always had the feeling that my energy is sometimes too much for a partner," says Joost. They decided to try an open relationship, one where it is allowed to have sexual contact with others. Until a year and a half ago, he remained true to this relationship model. Until then, he had an open relationship with one of his current partners, Anna, with whom he also lives today. “We realized at some point that we want to be able to have more intimate relationships with others than just sexual ones. That's why we decided together for polyamory. "

Today Joost is no longer only in a relationship with Anna, but also with Lena * and Eva *. And Anna, Lena and Eva have relationships with several female and male partners. Joost knows his friends' partners, but they don't spend time together. “Sure, on some evenings I have no idea who my partners are in bed with. But that's okay."

An extra bedroom for other partners

The first time Joost was intimate with one woman and in a relationship with another at the same time happened during a partner swap. He remembers his awkwardness, that at first it was weird to see his partner enjoying being kissed by another man and how he kissed another woman - in her presence. He felt jealousy rise in him, like a bottle that had been shaken before opening. But he paused and wondered why he was jealous in the first place. She loved him and seemed to enjoy being caressed by this man. And suddenly it felt right. “In polyamory, empathy and joy for the partner play a very large role. Even if you are not directly responsible for it, ”explains Joost.

In polyamory, empathy and joy for the partner play a very large role. Even if you are not directly responsible for it.

Joost

When Joost talks about his relationship, he does so with confidence and determination. “I am often asked whether polyamory is damn exhausting. I can only say: 'Is it exhausting to have a family in which you want to show affection and attention to everyone involved?' For me it's very comparable. ”However, he admits that coordination and planning are necessary in order to do justice to all partners. The rule is that one day a week is planned for Lena and Eva each, and Joost spends the rest of the week with Anna, depending on when it suits them both. Since they live together, it is easier to organize spontaneous dates. In order not to forget all the birthdays and other important appointments, Joost keeps a calendar.

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Living together has its advantages, but in a polyamorous relationship it requires planning and consultation. “We try not to have appointments with other partners on the same day at home. If someone has a partner visiting and they want to go to bed together, we have an extra bedroom. We set it up especially for these moments. ”A second bedroom in the shared house, where the two of them can be intimate with others - you have to get used to this thought. Even the visitors.

The compromise is to share someone

Joost remembers one evening when he came home late at night and Anna had one of her partners visiting. He remembers the speechless guy who stood open-mouthed on the stairs to the bedroom, looked back and forth between Joost and Anna without understanding and wasn't sure whether he had just understood correctly that Joost was suggesting to him and Anna that the night should be to spend together in the extra bedroom. Only Anna and Joost sleep in their own bedroom, that's the rule.

And if your girlfriend disappears into the bedroom with another man, don't you feel jealous? “Anyone who wants to have a successful polyamorous relationship has to be able to deal rationally with jealousy. But I was never really the jealous type. ”A more common problem than jealousy is envy, explains Joost. “Sometimes I think it's a shame that one of my partners did something great with someone else, be it going to the amusement park or trying something new in bed. In moments like this, it is simply important to talk about and communicate that you want to share this experience with the other person. "

Anyone who wants to have a successful polyamorous relationship must be able to deal rationally with jealousy

Joost

Joost goes for a walk with Eva, plays Nintendo with Lena and board games with Anna. For each of his hobbies he has a girlfriend who shares it with him. That sounds practical. But doesn't having a relationship also mean compromising and sometimes doing things that you don't like? “People in polyamorous relationships also compromise. I can go on a city trip with my friend who loves the city and go to the sea with her friend who loves the beach. But our compromise is that we always have to share the person we love with someone else. We accept that we do not experience every vacation with this person because they also have other people in their lives. "

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Compromises are also a part of sex life together. Joost talks about so-called safe circles in polyamorous relationships in which the members of these circles, i.e. their own partners and their partners, agree to only sleep with each other and therefore do without a condom as long as they know that everyone is healthy. However, Joost and his partners have agreed that sexual encounters with others are okay. Therefore, contraception must always not only be carried out with a pill, but also with a condom. This is particularly important for Joost because he doesn't want any children. Having multiple partners also means more sex, right? Yes, says Joost, but he never sleeps with several partners at the same time. But it could happen that he sleeps with more than one of his friends on the same day. That is not a problem as long as you keep yourself clean and consider the emotional needs of your partner.

To love three people at the same time, isn't love then necessarily different in intensity? “It's not that I love one of my partners more than the other, I just feel a different love for each of them. That depends on our shared experiences and our history. "

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Many associate polyamory with people who are unable to have relationships. It's all about sex, swinger parties and pornography, says Joost. “Yes, you have sexual relationships with more than one person, but you also make all the obligations that come with a relationship. I have three times as much joy through my partners, but I also share three times as much suffering. ”His family does not know anything about his relationship:“ They would not understand. ”According to polyamory expert Leberecht, many keep their polyamorous relationship a secret Fear of incomprehension, rejection and discrimination. For this article, Joost and Anna have agreed to be named, but his two other friends wanted to remain anonymous.

Joost strolls back from the garden to the house and enters the living room through the patio door. It's warm here, there is a smell of wood and baked bread. Joost cannot say whether he always wants to live in a polyamorous relationship. “Our life is not static, everything moves so incredibly fast. Who knows, maybe one day I'll be monogamous. But at the moment I don't see it. ”There is a rustling at the front door. Anna came home. She sticks her head through the living room door and smiles at Joost. The two of them spend a relaxing day together on the couch today. Maybe they take a little walk. Just like a normal couple.

* Name changed

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