By Rebecca Jane Stokes
“We’re trying to get pregnant.”
I had been dating my boyfriend Rob for about a week when he made this pronouncement.
“Okay,” I said as we walked down a street in his neighborhood.
While pregnancy announcements (or trying to get pregnant announcements) are almost always a surprise unless you’re the people in the relationship getting pregnant, this was a slightly bigger shock since one of the people trying to conceive a child was my boyfriend.
Rob has never been anything other than totally upfront about his life. He is divorced, he is a dad to an autistic son, he survived a heart attack, and he is in a seven-year polyamorous relationship with his girlfriend.
The guy was supposed to be my rebound, not my polyamorous boyfriend. I met him just a week after having my heart broken by my last boyfriend. I swore to myself that I wasn’t going to leap into another relationship. I just wanted to hook up, play the field, something that I (a serial monogamist) have never done before.
Now here we are a year later, still together, and he and his other girlfriend are expecting a baby in July.
I’m starting to actually believe that we are going to make this weird, polyamorous way of life work.
It was easy to say “okay” when Rob told me that he and his girlfriend were trying to conceive. After all, I wasn’t thinking in the long term. Like any good addict in recovery, I was thinking in terms of one day at a time.
“I’m going to date him until it feels weird, and then I’m not going to date him anymore,” I told all of my friends about my foray into sex and love with a polyamorous man.
When a few months went by and things still weren’t weird and we had already said “I love you,” I was beginning to realize that just how easy our relationship was could be a major problem.
If nothing ever felt weird, did that mean we would never talk about anything? If I chose to be with a man with another partner (and two children) did that mean giving up my dreams of marriage, of having a family of my own with my own partner?
I didn’t say any of this then — because it felt weird to start panicking about your unborn children when you had only been dating for three months, even if the guy you’re dating told you that he was falling in love with you on your second date. Yeah, that happened.
Besides, things were going so well, why talk about problems that hadn’t happened yet?
Then his girlfriend got pregnant. I got the news while I was home with my family for Thanksgiving. I didn’t know how to react, but I did note that for the first time in our relationship, I felt weird. Only now, it was too late to cut and run. I was invested in him. I was invested in us.
I waited to see how this pregnancy would change him or her (his other girlfriend). I thought for sure he would pull away or at the very least pull back. But the truth is, none of that happened. If anything, this major change in his life (in our lives) made him more attentive than ever before. He could sense my unrest, and I finally felt safe enough with him to talk about all of my fears about our relationship as it continued to evolve.
To be happy in a polyamorous relationship, you have to be direct and open and honest. You also have to know how to listen.
When his girlfriend got pregnant, although we had been dating for months, that’s when I really started to feel like I was a person in a serious polyamorous relationship. That’s because her pregnancy forced me to stop holding back emotionally. If I wanted to stay in the relationship and be happy (two things I really wanted) I needed to share my fears. I needed to show my cards and trust that my vulnerability wouldn’t be our undoing.
And it wasn’t. It hasn’t been.
I have grown closer to Rob with every passing day. We hit ... well, not rough patches, but lulls where we take each other for granted, but we don’t stay that way long. We challenge each other. We talk about everything. I’m no longer quite so scared about the future, and if they weren’t expecting a baby in July, I don’t know that we ever would have made it this far.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.
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