No one ever said it would hurt any less.
I’ve read a few books, some articles, and asked strangers all over the internet. They made the poly lifestyle seem like a walk in the park; open and honest communication and affection between partners; nothing could go wrong. They all said it would require constant work, but, none of them ever said; when the journey had run its course, it would still hurt like hell. Had they told me I could’ve prepared; but, since they didn’t, I had to learn it the old-fashioned way.
I connected with him on Hinge, he was Latino and, a few years younger. He lived in New Jersey, so I was hesitant at first, but I figured I should take a chance and see what would happen; in the very least, I would end up with a good friend. Surprisingly, we hit it off, almost immediately; we bonded while discussing current events, music, food, tv, and movies we both liked; we were off to a great start.
Our first date we walked to get dinner at Mexicue; three tacos and two margaritas in, the conversation flowed like a river. He was just as cool in person, as he was over the phone. We talked, laughed, and joked the time away. When we were finished, he got the check; then we left. We walked side by side as we made our way to Barcade (a bar with arcade games). He got us beers (me a cider), then exchanged dollars for game coins. I offered to give him some cash, but he turned it down. We played a plethora of games; from Tetris, to Pacman, to shooting games, and driving games. It was obvious he was in his element, and I actually enjoyed seeing him in his element. When we ran out of coins, I suggested we walk to get dessert; so, from 23rd street, we walked down to Spot on St Marks Place. It was the usual hour wait; but, with him, the time passed by. Once we were called, we each ordered dessert, I ordered a latte and he ordered a matcha beer. This time when the check came, I paid it; a few times he fought me on it, but eventually he let me pay. Our date ended at a karaoke bar, a few doors down. He paid for our drinks, I paid for the songs; and it was there, while we were sitting close that he leaned in to kiss me; ever so gently. He held me close as our mouths and tongues danced together; and although his kisses were passionate, he maintained being a total gentleman. We continued making out the rest of the time at the bar; we would caress my arm as we sat at the bar, we’d take a drink, then we would begin kissing again. When the bar closed, we walked up to 14th street. He got on the Path train back to New Jersey, and I took an Uber home. The next day when my friends and I went wine tasting, I told them it was, quite possibly, the most amazing first date I ever had.
We spoke every day after that. Our next date was a week later and we went to the movies to see Toy Story 4 (in 4D); and it was awesome! After the movies, we walked around for a bit; we talked abouyt favorite holiday songs, movies, and traditions; then we stopped to eat at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. When we finished eating, we walked back downtown. From 22nd street, we walked all the way through the village. It was the weekend of the pride parade and the everyone was out and proud. We stopped to get ice cream, and we walked past the Stonewall memorial. We continued walking down to the path train; hand in hand, and stealing occasional kisses. When we got to the train, it was a 20-minute wait; we started kissing, 40 minutes later, no train had arrived and we were still kissing, after an hour of standing in the station, waiting for the train that never came, kissing the entire time; when we resurfaced, both of our lips were slightly swollen. Even though our kisses were extremely passionate, he was still a gentleman; other than our bodies pressing up against one another and the occasional cheek grab; none of his actions were super aggressive. I wondered, if we were in his apartment, would he have the same restraint. Earlier in the date, he had suggested our next date be on his side of the water and I told him; I would look forward to that. He called his uber and it came right away. I contemplated walking around a bit, but decided against it and called my uber home. That, unfortunately, was the last time I saw him.
On our first date, it was my mission to make clear my polyamorous position; so, we briefly spoke about the people we were dating. I briefly mentioned the guys I was dating and he had mentioned a girl, and that was that. A few weeks after our last date, when I returned from camping; I messaged him. I had noticed his messages becoming less and less, so I wanted to know what was going on. He explained to me that, things were progressing with the girl he was dating. He explained that he felt dishonest seeing both of us. Neither of them was in the lifestyle, and although he walked around to the deep end of the pool, he was not ready to take the dive in. He told me he had to stop seeing me; I thanked him for his honesty, and I wished him luck.
When I put the phone down, my body began to warm up; from my toes all the way to my face, I was hot with emotions. Then, they all pooled out, in the form of tears. This wasn’t supposed to happen. He wasn’t supposed to break up with me. This was not why I decided to be polyamorous. I dived into this pool to build bonds with people; that would last a lifetime; so, how was I just supposed to walk away? Was I supposed to take those great memories and burn them? This was a feeling I did not want; but I had to live with it.
On day 2, I was feeling better; and he messaged me. He still wanted to be friends, which is what I wanted too. I genuinely enjoyed his company and our conversations; so, we agreed to try and go back to being friends; I would respect his boundaries and he would respect mine.
On day 3, he sent me a message that wasn’t like the others; this message had a sexual tone that had never existed between us before. He was showing signs of a fuck-boy. It crossed my mind to play with the matches he was laying out. One or two things were obvious; either he was second guessing his decision to just be friends, and still wanted to test the waters; or, all the good boy actions were just a façade. I wasn’t quite sure yet, so I continued to proceed with no caution for the outcome.
A few days later, another sexual message passed across my phone; so this time I decided to play into the fantasy. I knew what I was dealing with and I felt confident that my emotions were intact. We did this dance for a few more weeks; and then I realized just how morally different we were.
He sent me some clip of some conservative (probably religious) man, essentially blaming women for men that can’t control themselves. In the clip; the man claimed that women only use their bodies to get ahead; which I, of course, wholeheartedly disagreed with. That was our last real conversation. I messaged him when the podcast episode dropped; to let him know and see how he was doing. All was good on his end and all was great on mine; and I was fine with closing the chapter forever.
I didn’t want to close the door when it was forced upon me; but I was quite elated when the choice was mine. In the end, I know it wouldn’t have ever worked out; but it was fun while it lasted. Once I weathered the storm of my first poly-heartbreak; I knew that when the time came again, I would be much better prepared.