Lessons from a Polyamorous Life

Jet Levy is an artist, writer, and designer loosely based in NYC. With seven years in the public kink and poly scenes she spends her free time exploring the wilds of the world and enjoying sips of whiskey where she finds them.

I stumbled on polyamory almost accidentally. Seven years ago, I met a man at a friend’s party, as plain and simple as that is. He was open and honest about being poly with his girlfriend. I was attracted to him. They both seemed honestly content with poly. It was a bit like stepping through Alice’s looking glass, my world changed. I wanted what they had. In my young poly eyes, I mistook their hard work and experience as a bi-product of non-monogamy. I was dead wrong. I wanted the freedom to be who I was- to love multiple people; I had to be very deliberate and present with my partners. It was hard for me to ask for what I needed and hard to clarify between needs and wants. Simply because I was insecure about our relationship- feelings that often grow into jealousy- I could not demand that my partners behave differently or abandon their poly orientation. 

I discovered I had to ask for re-assurance, to sincerely express my appreciation for my partners, and to support what is best for my growth and my partners' growth as a person. Discrimination between communicating my needs and over-communicating my feelings was imperative. The difference lay between admitting I felt a bit vulnerable and simply stating a partner's behavior registered with my own oversensitivity. Every relationship is an interaction between individuals, and that variation is amazing, freeing, and ultimately tricky. We want to be encouraged in a specific way, shown that we are loved in a particular manner, appreciated on a level we enjoy being appreciated on. Acknowledging my personal preferences and being equally interested in discovering my partners’ preferences has enhanced the quality of my relationships. In all of that, I’ve made mistakes. I learned to be wrong -not because I intended to hurt someone- because I am human, capable of failure. I acknowledge my partners’ ability to be equally human. 

At the end of the day, I want to know how to be a good partner not just when we're on top of life, but when we're stressed out, when one of us is mourning, when we're pissed at each other about something insignificant, when we're scared, and when we celebrate. My partners and I get through things together, we acknowledge the good and bad of ourselves and acknowledge how our partners experience those behaviors. We ultimately work, non-stop, at communicating to be a better, happier couple. That desire to move forward, together is imperative.


*A big thank you to Jet Levy for sharing here and to the lovely people over at Open Love NY.

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