I was in a polyamorous relationship once. Well, almost. We came close, the three of us (no pun intended), and then…something happened. But before I get into the story, you really should buy this wine I’m drinking. It’s the 2017 Fogelson Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Coombsville, Napa Valley. Yes, it’s one of my wines, but that should only make you want to buy it more…
The Featured wine of Episode 102, Pairs With Polyamory and Fogelson Vineyard Cabernet
100 Points, My Mom
Your Price: $29.00
Having a whole bunch of sex partners is cool, but have you tried Fogelson Vineyard Coombsville Cabernet? This is the inaugural bottling of my new Fogelson Vineyard line. It’s based on the fictional vineyard that’s at the center of my novel, Pairs With Life. So, of course, Coombsville had to be the origin of my very first Cabernet. The Fogelson Vineyard is “located” on Hagen Road, just a mile off Coombsville Road. Sourced from a single vineyard that spans both valley floor and hillside, this Cabernet is a powerhouse of the minerality, purple fruit, and bright acid that defines this unique Napa appellation.
And at $29.00, it’s an insane price for an aged, appellate, Napa Valley Cabernet. But that’s what I do because I love you so much.
And you. And you, too…and you over there? Yeah, you too…
Gettin’ Poly Wit It…
About four years ago, I was dating this woman, and we had reached that point in our relationship where we started sleeping together. What was interesting about this (besides, you know, the sex), was that we’d never really talked about it, which was unusual for me. Typically—again, for me at least—when you reach that point in a relationship when you start having sex, you have these conversations that go, “hey we’re having sex now” (like in case you didn’t notice). Seriously, though, it starts conversations like, does that mean we’re not having sex with anybody else? Does that mean that there are other commitments? Like I don’t get to lie to you anymore?
Usually, there are some rules or regulations involved when you hit that point when you start having sex with a partner. And we didn’t. We were sleeping together, and there was never any talk about it. Though it admittedly freaked me out a little bit, I decided to roll with it. I was comfortable with it. So if she was comfortable with it, then why deny the comfort? Why make drama where there is none?
The Polyamorous Proposal
So one day, “Melissa” (we’ll call her Melissa, but her real name was Janet) decides that she wants to start talking about it. And in the most unusual way. Melissa mentions that she has this friend (we’ll call her, Alison, but her real name is Janet) with whom she is very, very close and she really, really loves. And Melissa thinks that it would be great if Alison could…join us.
My first thought was, oh, like, threesome? But from the very tone of how she was talking, I knew immediately that it was more than that. And she made it very clear, very quickly, that what she meant was a polyamorous relationship between the three of us exclusively.
And I got to tell you, I was intrigued.
I was very intrigued as a matter of fact. I mean, maybe the fact that I had two failed marriages says something about my ability or my desire to have a one-on-one monogamous relationship? Though I never cheated on my marriages, maybe the traditional rules of monogamy weren’t in my emotional tool chest? If my relationship with Melissa up to this point was any kind of indicator, poly would be a hassle-free situation that would allow each of us to carry on our lives, our careers, and our child-raising independently, while still enjoying friendship and intimacy at the times we needed it.
The Polyamorous Implosion
And then the whole idea imploded. Almost as quickly as the idea was proposed, the idea died suddenly in a maelstrom of confusion and doubt. Strangest to me, I had no idea this happened and wasn’t even a part of the dialogue. One evening, I called Melissa, who was setting up a date for the three of us.
“Hi, so when are we meeting with Alison?”
“We’re not. Ever. It’s not happening.”
“Oh.” (I really do say “Oh” a lot. I live an “Oh” life). “What happened?”
“It’s complicated, and I don’t want to talk about it.”
Ah ha. Right there. The thing I feared most about this arrangement, now made manifest right in my face. It’s complicated.
How can polyamory not be complicated? Just dealing with one person—one friend, one lover, one spouse—is so complicated that it takes twelve roses to find your perfect mate on The Bachelor. Twelve! Throwing another human being into the mix has to be exponentially more complicated. And granted, maybe that’s Grumpy Old Man Talk right there, and if I was under 40 and emotionally incapable from a lifetime of TikTok and Cheese Whiz I’d have a different opinion.
So, I turned to an expert on the podcast to talk about this. Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, a Sociologist with 20 years of experience in studying poly groups and poly relationships. You can check out the full interview here. She also has an online interview you can take to determine your own propensity towards polyamorous relationships. It’s called The Bonding Project, and you can take the fully anonymous interview here.
You Can Never Cheat On Wine
Wine can be complicated, but your relationship with wine doesn’t have to be. Wine never thinks you’re cheating on it, even when you bring home 12 different bottles. A bottle of wine doesn’t need your open and honest communication: it just needs to be opened. Wine can be neglected, so don’t do that. Pay attention to your wine. Also, unlike most human beings, wine likes to be kept in the dark at 57 degrees, so it’s perfect for those whose social skills are less than awesome.
We all have a polyamorous relationship with wine. For the time being, this may be the only poly relationship I have.