What My Experiments with Polyamory Taught Me about Love

Love and Sex

What My Experiments with Polyamory Taught Me about Love

Illustration: Akshita Monga

If you believe the internet, millennials are mass murderers, guilty of killing numerous long-enshrined cultural institutions. Of all the things that we have killed since the term millennial was coined – beer, democracy, earnestness, baby names, and relationships in general – the latest casualty is monogamy. RIP.

For my generation, “wokeness” means breaking free of societal conditioning everywhere, including our dating lives. That’s how polyamory has become the new kale juice – everyone’s had a taste of it. And just like kale juice, not everyone has a taste for it. Not one to be left behind, I decided to dip my toes into polyamorous waters, full of many proverbial fish, all of whom are consenting.

Some people truly identify as polyamorous and have chosen it as a lifestyle. These are uber cool folks who have managed to break free of the shackles of good old monogamy.

Spoiler alert: It didn’t quite work out that way for me, when I decided to not put all my eggs in one basket. And it wasn’t because all the baskets I found were basket cases.

It started with the Long-Distance Lover. His bio said he enjoyed a home-cooked meal and debating feminism. I’ll admit those are huge red flags, yet I swiped right ready for a fight, assuming that by “debating feminism,” he’d mansplain it to me and try to convince me that men’s rights was the cause to get behind. But he was a dreamboat. When he said, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” he meant feminist inspirations. When he said he enjoyed a home-cooked meal, he meant he was the one cooking it. The only downside? He stayed in Navi Mumbai and I in South Mumbai. Nevertheless, our love conquered all the distance.

We went on to polyamorously date and fell almost disgustingly in love. I suppressed my inner Geet, who was all set to plan a marriage and begin a happy family with babies, puppers, and kitties. But I could not control the Geet in him. The honeymoon period ended when he asked me the dreaded question, “Why am I not enough?”

Take it from me, boys, “I feel entitled to everything because of my penis,” is the most honest Tinder bio you could ever write.

While Long-Distance Lover and I were navigating the dynamics of our polyamorous relationship, Mr Naam Toh Suna Hoga made an entry. He was funny and we shared a mutual love for Old Monk and honesty. But when you’re not exclusive, how much honesty is appropriate? Do you tell the person you’re dating when you’re going out with the other guy? When things start getting serious with the other guy? When you’ve “done the deed” with the other?

I found the answers to all those questions soon enough. Mr Naam Toh Suna Hoga loved old Shah Rukh Khan movies (no surprises there) – a trait that I found endearing, until I learned a little too late that he had a girlfriend, who was clueless about his polyamorous adventures. The vintage SRK obsession became clear: Just like Rahul, he was a cheeeater.

Mr Naam Toh Suna Hoga could not wrap his head around why I was miffed, considering I was polyamorous. Why would I be bothered if he was monogamously dating someone? Oh the joys of male entitlement and the amazing places you will run into it. Take it from me, boys, “I feel entitled to everything because of my penis,” is the most honest Tinder bio you could ever write.

That brings me to the Real Estate Romeo. The third time is supposedly the charm – and what a charmer he was! On our first date, we chilled at his house, a sprawling Worli mansion with a view to die for. It was love at first sight… with the house obviously. I told him he should put pictures of it on his dating profile. I proceeded to creep him out further by counting the number of bathrooms in the house while he was picking a movie to watch. Sounds like the perfect date, right?

It’s been five months since I fell in love with that rarest of finds – a beautiful residence in Mumbai. Five months full of love and laughter… and a lot of fighting my insane jealous urges each time he goes out with someone else.

Waaaait a second. What was happening here? Was I actually wondering why I wasn’t enough for Real Estate Romeo?

It was then that I came to a realisation. I’m the “hoe” your “bros” warned you about – the one who needs to be your first thought in the morning and your last thought at night, who needs to be reassured of your love approximately 10,000 times a day, who, despite being a feminist, wants to punch any other girl who locks eyes with bae for more than three seconds.

For me, experimenting with polyamory is like Elon Musk using a petrol-powered vehicle – it goes against the very core of my being. Monogamy is my jam.

It isn’t just about my conditioning. I think the reason is that I love too deeply and intensely to love multiple people without it being exhausting. I’m now proud to unveil Monogamous Me 2.0: A girl who fights jealousy, and brushes away irrational feelings that expect more than what is fair to from her partner. A girl who realises that no matter how madly in love you may be with someone, it doesn’t stop you from finding other people attractive. A girl who realises that there are infinite types of romantic love, and that each love is unique.

My version of polyamory helped my monogamy evolve. It helped me discover the toxic side of monogamy, where jealousy and possessiveness are allegedly signs of true love. I’m not saying I deserve a Nobel for my research, but a mansion in Worli would be nice.