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As the coronavirus forces millions of Americans to practice social distancing and stay in their homes, relationships are being put to the test. Suddenly, exes are reaching out to each other, casual flings are contemplating whether they’ll stay in touch, and cohabitating couples are confronted with whether or not their living styles are truly compatible. The situation is even more complicated when you’re staying inside not just with your partner, but with your partner’s partner as well.
For the past few days, comedian Billy Procida, host of The Manwhore Podcast, has been hunkered down at his girlfriend Megan’s house in Jersey City, where she lives with her other boyfriend, Kyle (a pseudonym). This is Billy’s first polyamorous relationship, and while he doesn’t know his metamour Kyle that well, he says he’s doing his best to respect his space. Here’s how he’s holding up so far, in his own words.
(The CDC recommends that everyone stay home when they display COVID-19 symptoms, and limit close contact with others as much as possible.)
The Cut: Hi Billy, how are you?
Billy Procida: Eh, you know. Hanging in as best as one can.
Yeah, it’s a very strange time.
It was my girlfriend’s birthday yesterday, so we had to try to do the best we could.
What did you do for her birthday?
We didn’t get to do too much. We watched some TV shows, we smoked weed, I gave her some birthday sexual lovin’. It was really hard to celebrate because we were still getting new information and updates. It definitely brought a downer, but she says that she had a good birthday, all things considered, because she was surrounded by the two men that she loves.
Can you tell me a little bit about your current living situation?
I live in Brooklyn, and my girlfriend and metamour live in Jersey City. Megan and I have been dating about nine months, and she and her boyfriend have been dating for about two and a half years. I was only going to spend a couple of nights here, but I’m feeling like we’re moving closer and closer to an actual shut down of New York City, and I don’t want to be stuck there if they close the bridges and tunnels. I have a car and I brought a bunch of stuff, so I am temporarily hunkering down here.
What’s the setup? Where are you sleeping? What are you all doing during the day?
They have a two-bedroom apartment here, so I have been staying in the guest room. For the last couple of nights Megan’s slept in bed with me. But then last night, she fell asleep with me, and I woke up alone. I guess at some point in the night she went to Kyle’s room and slept with him. We’re on day four of me being here.
How has the current living situation affected your relationship with your girlfriend, and your relationship with her boyfriend? You said on Twitter that you and her other boyfriend aren’t “best buds.”
Right. When I said that I didn’t mean that we fight. It just means that we are not close. This is probably the most he and I will have exchanged words. So, it is interesting, I’m getting to interact with him more. But I am personally approaching everything with a lot of caution, and trying to be as polite as possible. Because I’m in their space, I’m in his space, and I don’t wanna be encroaching on that. So if he’s like, “You need to open a window to smoke weed,” I’m like, okay, I will make sure to do that.
Even if I wasn’t sleeping with anyone in the house, I would still want to be polite about their space. But because there’s that extra dynamic, I also don’t want any romantic strains on anybody. They’ve also been going through some relationship difficulties themselves, and I don’t want to exacerbate that by being a dick, or being entitled. But so far, it’s going okay. I’m trying to be polite without being too much. He’s kind of a somber, quiet fella, and I am ready to burst with energy at any moment.
And with Megan it’s been good. She manages who she spends her time with how she does. I can take as much or as little as she gives, so I keep reminding her that if she wants to spend a couple of nights sleeping in bed with Kyle, that’s great. I’m very flexible.
What has been the biggest adjustment for you with this situation?
Trying to be as self-aware as possible. I still get a little cautious about how handsy to be with Megan in front of Kyle, how kissy to be in front of him. I’m trying to figure out when he would want to have a conversation and when he doesn’t. There’s a small little urge in me that’s like, Oh, I want him to like me. I also want everyone to like me. But of course you want your girlfriend’s other boyfriend to like you, I would imagine. Like, if he was a total asshole, that would certainly probably make me and Megan’s relationship a bit more difficult, so I just want him to not think the same of me.
This is such a loaded time for relationships, it seems.
Yeah, I mean, it’s a scary time to be [isolated] with a somewhat new relationship (I think being under a year qualifies as still kind of new). And then to have two relationships where there’s one shared partner, under one roof, in [isolation]. We’ll see how that goes, but it’s definitely dicey.
There’s a part of me that’s relieved that Megan has another person here, because then I don’t have to be everything to her. I don’t have to give her all the attention that’s needed, I don’t have to give her all of the cuddles that are needed, because she has another partner. In general, that’s the really cool thing about polyamory: I don’t feel the pressure of being everything for someone. And in a more stressful time like this, it is a relief to know that if I need to have alone time, she’s good with that, and if she does have a need, she can tap somebody else, so to speak.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.