sex diaries

The Woman Worried She’ll Never Meet Her Polyamorous Boyfriend’s Parents

Photo-Illustration: James Gallagher

This week, a woman falling in love with a polyamorous man: 35, straight, works in the science field, Seattle.


8 a.m. I leave for work earlier than I usually do because I woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep. I’m excited for the evening, though — I made a huge birthday cake for my friend Jack’s dog, with peanut butter frosting and crispy bacon on top. Apparently I am the kind of person who makes dog cakes now. Jack put it in writing a while ago that I’ll get her if anything happens to him, and I’m totally okay with that.

3 p.m. My dad calls. I don’t talk to him often and he usually only reaches out when my grudge-holding mother hasn’t called for awhile. She’s very passive aggressive and can’t articulate her feelings; we have trouble getting along. It’s been this way since I was a teenager.

My dad asks if Jack is my boyfriend. He’s not. I’ve told my dad in the past that I don’t want to get married or have kids — and oddly, he hasn’t ever tried to change my mind. Marriage and kids is the gold standard of a proper relationship in my family, especially for the women.

5 p.m. At Jack’s place — the dog cake is a hit!

Jack and I met over ten years ago on a dating site and our relationship has gone through a lot of different phases since then. After we broke up and stayed friends, we didn’t directly talk about continuing a sexual relationship … it just kind of happened once and then more after that. His friends have always assumed we were sleeping together, even when we weren’t. I think that’s because we are just very comfortable around each other and have a playful dynamic that makes it seem like we’re dating.

Usually when we hang out, I’ll make dinner, we drink some wine, maybe have a couple edibles and watch a TV show that neither of us will remember the next day. Lately, we’ve been hooking up more frequently, which seems complicated but it’s strangely not. We’re both into bondage, and we just click.

10 p.m. Tonight, I show him my new nipple piercings and then tape them down so they don’t get caught on something. He ties my arms behind my back and wraps a duct-tape gag over my mouth. He puts a Hitachi on my clit as I am bent over the bed, but I’m pretty drunk and a little high, so I can’t seem to come.


9 a.m. I go into work with thoughts of Adam floating in and out of my head while I set up an experiment (I work in a lab). My relationship with him is new and it’s complicated by the fact that he’s married. He’s not cheating, though; they’re polyamorous and everything is out in the open.

I’ve even met Adam’s wife a couple of times. He stopped seeing other people after we met, so his only partners are the two of us. She’s really great and supportive of our relationship because she sees that it makes him happy. I think about his wife less than I thought I would initially … it’s only an issue when there are time-commitment conflicts.

3 p.m. Adam texts me to say he can’t meet up for coffee the next morning like we’d planned. I get super bummed because it brings some feelings I was having back to the surface. We’re at about the three-month mark now, so some of the initial excitement is turning into what-ifs (for me, anyway). I can’t help it and start playing head games with myself. But he tells me he’s not going anywhere, and I feel a little better in the moment.

7 p.m. I’m having another small freak-out because I’m realizing that I’m never going to have those cornerstones of a “proper” relationship with Adam, like meeting his parents and sisters. I text Jack about it and he tells me I’m being stupid because the happiest he’s ever seen me is with Adam.

He’s not wrong. It’s hard being the black sheep in a family of blue-collar people who get married and have kids before the age of 25 and then fall into inevitable accepted misery. I’m the overeducated scientist with a Ph.D. who gets eye-rolls and blank stares because what I do is “pretentious” and “snobby” and “selfish.” But I’m just trying to live a life that makes me happy.


9 a.m. I wake up feeling out of sorts and depressed. It’s partially the time of year … the weather is dark and dreary and I hate it.

2:30 p.m. Because of complications in the lab, I’m able to leave early and meet up with Adam for a spontaneous late-afternoon drink. I get there early and sit at the back of the café. He walks in 15 minutes later, makes eye contact, and gives me that big, warm grin and a wink that makes me forget about the rest of the world.

After catching up for a bit, we decide to take a walk around the neighborhood. We go into a clothing store and I pull a dress off the rack. He tells me to go try it on. It fits, and he buys it for me. It’s sexy and tight but not in an overly slutty way. On the walk back to the car, he makes me laugh my ass off until we kiss good-bye on the curb. We have plans for tomorrow evening — I can’t wait to see his stupid face again.

7 p.m. The high from seeing Adam earlier is fading, and I’m trying to keep myself distracted. My friend-with-benefits Nick texts to see if I’m home from work yet. He’s insane to look at, with abs and biceps for days. But he’s very emotionally detached. It’s probably the reason why we’ve been able to make the casual thing work for so long — we’ve been seeing each other for two years. I go ahead and invite him over.

8 p.m. Nick starts taking off his clothes. This is the signal for me to do the same. He’s already hard when he climbs on top of me. I squirm a little bit because he’s crushing my nipple piercings with his chest. He pounds his pelvis against me for a few minutes and then finishes. It’s predictable but fun. Sometimes it’s just nice to have sex and then watch crappy TV.


10 a.m. I wake up late because I took the day off work. I can’t wait to see Adam in a few hours. Where’s my vibrator?

2:30 p.m. Adam shows up and hands me a present … a book I’d told him I wanted a few weeks ago. There’s a card too. The message inside is sweet and loving, something he’s very good at. I’ve never felt inadequate or awkward or like I needed to be someone I’m not when I’m around him.

5:30 p.m. We’re waiting for the Uber to take us to dinner but decide to go back inside to fuck again quickly. I’m wearing a dress with tights and he pulls them down and slides inside me, leaving me panting and flushed yet again.

8 p.m. After dinner, we stop by a dive bar for a beer before a show. It’s not super dark inside and he’s running his hand up my thigh, underneath my dress, in a not very discreet way. I can see through his pants that he has an erection.

11 p.m. Back at my place after the concert. He orders me to bend over and grab my ankles. He takes in the view while rubbing himself for a bit before putting himself inside me.

12 a.m. He puts a blindfold on me and ties my wrists to my thighs with some rope and I go down on him while kneeling on the floor of my living room. The carpet is digging into my knees.


9 a.m. I come out of the bathroom to find Adam naked and as hard as I have ever seen him. I’ve never been able to make eye contact during sex before, even with other boyfriends. It just makes me feel too vulnerable. But with Adam, I can’t not. I love how his eyes darken and his brow furrows just a bit.

9:30 a.m. We hang out on the couch and laugh and drink coffee until he has to leave. I’m going over to his place later in the day though — his wife is out of town, so we’ll have some extra time together.

5 p.m. I’m driving over wearing the dress he bought me. I love it.

6 p.m. We order burgers and watch some guilty-pleasure reality TV for a couple hours while drinking wine and taking the occasional cigarette break. I tell him he’s the best sex I have ever had and he seems surprised.

I’m surprised at how little I’m thinking about his wife, even in their house. I appreciate that he has a healthy relationship with her because it enables him to be emotionally honest and vulnerable with me and strangely, it’s comforting knowing that he has the ability to commit to relationships. He’s willing to put in the work when things get tough instead of just walking away.

9 p.m. We go to the bedroom and he pulls out leather cuffs for my wrists and ankles. He makes me kneel on the floor with my hands fastened behind me while he blindfolds me. What’s coming next is something we’ve talked about doing.

Get me pregnant, I tell him. I don’t mean it (I have an IUD), but this is a kink we’ve been talking about a lot lately. I’m on my stomach, my face pressed into the floor, when he comes in me. Then we climb into bed and I notice he’s wearing an old T-shirt — all because I told him I wanted him to give me a shirt he’d slept in for a few days so that it would be saturated with his natural scent. I love the way he smells.


6 a.m. I’m driving him to the airport for a work trip. It’s a quiet ride because we’re both tired and it’s early. We hug and kiss good-bye and he gives me that intoxicating smile. I listen to “Nothin’ Like You” by Dan + Shay on the drive home while the sun is coming up.

3 p.m. I wake up from a long nap and check the Find My Friends app to see if Adam made it to where he was supposed to go. He did, and I feel a pang. I miss him already.

4 p.m. He texts to say it sucked he left town so early because he could have stayed in bed with me for a few more hours … flights were delayed and he sat at the airport for four hours after I dropped him off.


11 a.m. I wake up with bad cramps and wish Adam was in bed with me so I could wrap myself in his warm body and smell the scent wafting off of his chest.

3 p.m. I spend most of the day lounging in bed, occasionally wondering what he’s doing at that moment.

9 p.m. He texts to see if I want to video chat before bed and we talk for a bit, until I hang up with a smile on my face. He makes me feel like the luckiest person alive and I can’t wait to open my door next week to that amazing grin, a sweet-nothing in my ear, and the best hug I’ve ever had. But I’m also fucking terrified to have someone in my life I love so fucking much. I can’t kick the nagging feeling that I’m going to inevitably fuck it up.

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The Woman Who Will Never Meet Her Poly Boyfriend’s Parents