In qnotes’ first-ever Sex Issue last May, we interviewed four young gay men in Charlotte navigating the “slippery path” of polyamorous love. At the time, they’d just finished shooting for MTV’s documentary “True Life.”
Jim Messaros, 21, Thomas Freyre, 22, and Chris Morgan, 23, had been in a polyamorous relationship for a year when MTV came rolling into town. The three decided to attempt adding a fourth person to their relationship, but it didn’t really work out. Now, almost a year later, Messaros, Freyre and Morgan called polyamory quits — at least for now.
The three still live together and are still friends, but Messaros says growing differences eventually pushed them apart.
“It was like [a] snowball in motion,” he says. “Little things happened and it kind of got bigger.”
Freyre agrees. “It was just too much and a lot to handle,” he says. “We’re better as friends.”
Feedback and reactions to their relationship and time on TV weren’t exactly positive, they say.
“We met a lot of people who had somewhat good feedback,” Messaros says. “In the gay community it was so negative and harsh. People would message and say we are representing the Charlotte gay community in a bad way. Outside of the gay community it wasn’t bad.”
Morgan feels the same. “Everyone was supportive, except for the Charlotte gays,” he says.
But that feedback didn’t play a role in their decision to split. They’re adamant: they don’t care what others say, and think a tough skin is key to anyone who decides to have a multi-partner relationship.
“Don’t listen to negative feedback and don’t focus on any negativity,” Messaros says. “Just focus on the positive.”
Morgan says polyamorous relationships are definitely not for the jealous and also warns folks that living a publicly polyamorous life can carry stigma and effect future relationships. “If you’re dating someone, it is always going to be the thought in their minds: ‘Are you trying to be with two people at once?’”
Mostly, though, Freyre says polyamorous relationships will always be like any other.
“You need to all realize what you are looking for and want, but that is for any relationship,” he says. “Just realize what each other wants out of things.”
As for the future, Messaros and Freyre say they aren’t dating anyone and wouldn’t count another polyamorous relationship out.
Morgan says “no more” to polyamory. “It’s too dramatic.” : :
This article was published in the Feb. 6 – Feb. 19 print edition.
I really don’t think there’s anything about polyamorous relationships that would make them automatically less successful than monogamous ones.
These boys were all in their low 20s…most relationships among folks that age don’t last long at all. It had nothing to do with polyamory.
I hope someday Q-notes does another story about polyamory…but this time, use mature responsible experienced—and successful–adults as the example. (Instead of using it as just an excuse to show four shirtless twinks on the cover, as you did last time.) I definitely think it would be a more realistic portrayal.
Chiming in late here, thanks to Matt Comer for pointing me here.
As to age/life experience and practicing polyamory successfully, young adults are living poly lives in ever increasing numbers, and they need all the resources and encouragement they can get as they learn how to make it work – as do we all.
It doesn’t help at all to have their own local community turn against them, that’s for sure. Unfortunately that bias is a direct result of Stanley Kurtz’s slippery slope argument. Kurtz played LGBTs and marriage equality against we polyamorists and did so masterfully. What a shame that he has been successful to this extreme.
Before I opened myself up to my bisexuality and recognized polyamory as a personal option, I lived a het life, married to or otherwise partnered in long-term relationships with several men and was divorced twice. I came to wish profoundly that our culture emphasized the importance of learning how to communicate and do all the other things well that create healthy relationships. We don’t learn it in school, even though it is a hugely valuable life skill.
So, we all make relationship mistakes, especially when young. Some of us learn from them. Over time, in varying amounts depending on level of intentionality and other things, we get to know a lot more about ourselves and what we want. Hopefully we gain emotional intelligence as well. This is typically how we get better at our relationships as we get older, whether they are polyamorous or monogamous.
But with intentionality the process can be accellerated and relationship skills mastered much more quickly. In order to live a happy polyamorous life, there is really no substitute for educating ourselves and our partners and doing a lot of talking together. By the way, the “Designing Your Relationships” section of Tristan Taormino’s book, Opening Up, is a great place to start.
None of this is intended specifically as a commentary on Jim, Thomas and Chris’s relationship experiences or anything they may or may not have done. I applaud and appreciate their courage and willingness to take the risk and be open about their family and relationship experiences, and wish them joy, love and success in their future relationships.
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