“I was really happy to hear that you guys opened back up,” she says.
“To tell the truth, I’ve thought for ages that you’d be amazing to date.”
“Oh?” I say. “I never knew you felt that way about me.”
“Well, not just you,” she says.
“Right, you’re polyamorous. You’ll probably want to see other people,” I say. “I get that.”
“No, I mean… both of you. You and Justin.”
I am not expecting that. “Oh! Nice!”
“If it’s alright, I’d like to date both of you,” she says. “I love your energy.”
“You know, that’s awfully handy,” I say. “I obviously can’t speak for him and his level of interest. But I’d be down for that. And dating both of us would make scheduling easier.”
She tells me she’ll reach out to him later. Maybe we can all meet up and have a conversation about it.
Well that’s a first, I think. I do believe I’m being hunted by a unicorn.
All three of us meet up, melt into a cuddle puddle.
“I was so glad you reached out,” I say.
“Me, too,” she says.
“So… I hope this isn’t too forward, but could you tell me about your relationship agreement?”
“Sure,” I say. I tell her about the care-based carte blanche. That Justin and I are completely autonomous agents of one another, while still taking the other’s feelings and concerns into account (but not because it’s a rule but because we just care). It’s essentially a warmer fuzzier stripe of relationship anarchy.
“But what about new people? You don’t just do carte blanche agreements right off the bat, do you?” she says.
I shake my head. “No. Carte blanche only works when you’re fully confident that the other person’s judgement is as least as good as your own — and maybe better. It takes a while to determine that. And for new partners to feel confident that way about me.”
“Makes sense,” she says.
“New partners are covered by custom agreements that are a result of in-depth discussions,” I say.
And before I know it, we’re diving into one of those. She lets us know her concerns. We problem-solve collectively about practical ways to handle them. Build it right into the agreement.
And with that, we’re off. We don’t know exactly where we’re going, but we at least have the rudiments of a map. And some guidelines for safer hiking.
A Different Kind of Happily Ever After
A few months pass. Sometimes we see her together. Other times we’re paired off, one on one. Things go fairly well, but when the dust settles, it becomes evident we’re just not compatible for a long-term serious triad, which is what she really wants. It just doesn’t line up.
When we figure it out, we disentangle diplomatically, like adults.
And we’re all still friends.
True, it’s not the snappiest story, but I take great solace in the fact that rather unconventional situations can not only spring up out of nowhere but also resolve themselves so harmoniously — whether it’s through the “…and they all lived happily ever after” route or through the “they decided they were better as friends” one.
My new book is out!
A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching: Advice for Couples Seeking Another Partner