I find myself in a very – I would not say, difficult – I would just say, different situation. You see, I am in love with two men, at the same time.
It is not a unique situation and I am certainly not the first person to do so. Pick up any love story and you will find a triangle. However, ever since we have a concept of love we are told it has to be between a couple. It has to be two. That is the ideal situation. All triangles do is bring pain. Take any love story where the hero is conflicted between two heroines or a heroine with two heroes.
If it was a different world, Bella Swan would not have had to choose between Edward Cullen and Jacob Black. It has probably to do with the fact that two males would not want to share. There are questions of possessiveness and jealousy and protection and coveting. None of those are actually portrayed as very conducive for any relationship but we are all human and we all feel them and so we decide a one-on-one, monogamous model is always paramount to any love relationship.
I have realized something different over the years. When I was 20, I fell in love with a boy who vowed fidelity, commitment and love. Long story short, his family did not accept his homosexuality and I was let go without a by-your-leave. I was devastated. I fell in love again and that did not work out because of cultural expanses and distance issues. But then I fell in love again and the relationship lasted.
A and I overcame calamities and deaths in the family, sicknesses and alienations. That was everything external that imposed on the relationship. We lasted for ten years. Then another year and another and love did not diminish. But then in our thirteenth year, I was brought face to face with his infidelity.
I took a hard, long look at our relationship, everything that we had faced and gone through and I assessed the options before me. At the age of 38, I was given enough experience to derive from it some wisdom. I realized that I had never really stopped loving the people I loved. The opposite of love has never been hate, to quote a cliché, it is indifference. And I certainly was not indifferent to all the men in my life, past and present. If I was, they were not really that important in my life at all.
So, I decided to open up my relationship.
I have heard so many experiences of people in open relationships. When I used to hear about them when I was single and looking for love, I always was appalled at the ideology behind such a relationship and I used to judge people in them. As karma would have it, I found myself in one. It took me months to get into bed with another man. When I did however, I realized (so many realisations, if you note) that sex had nothing to do with love. We all like to think that one person can take care of all our needs and the needs that cannot be taken care of have to be sacrificed at the altar of monogamy.
I must admit it took me a while to get used to the idea of being with other men. But when I was with other men, I realized how each of them was different from the other and how my needs could never be truly met by any one of them. Not completely. I appreciated my partner more. I ended up loving him more. I never stopped feeling a twinge of jealousy when he would be other men. I am human after all. But they were giving him something I could never do, I guess. And I wanted A to be happy, and I was not unhappy myself.
Then in the wake of this relationship move, I took better care of myself. I grew more independent. I stopped being emotionally dependent. I stopped being clingy and possessive. I did not expect him to appreciate everything I was capable of and everything I thought I should be loved for. He appreciated me in his own way and I learned that he did not have to love in the way I thought he should. I was not him. He was not me.
Being gay gave me the option of being in an open relationship without being condemned for it. I am sure there were and are many, in the gay world, too, who feel the way I used to feel when I was younger. They do judge and do denounce the way I live my life with my partner. But this brings me back to the ideology of how I tackled my being gay. No one else had the right to tell me what to do with the person I loved and how I wanted to live my life. Of course, being gay never was a matter of choice, and this was how I chose to live with my partner. There was the difference.
But then, don’t straight people choose to live monogamous lives, because society asks it of them? Haven’t we all been conditioned to expect monogamy? We see it all the time, read about it all the time, told about it all the time. Monogamy is accepted in modern times. That is what is the ‘norm’, ‘the appropriate thing to do’, ‘the way to be’. All those Hindi movies, where women and men loved forever. Jhilmil sitaron ka aangan hoga, rhimjhim barasta sawan hoga… All those romance novels and fairy tales where the hero swept the heroine off in his arms and walked into the sunset.
However, by that idea, being straight is also the ‘norm’, and I am against the norm anyway. We have these constructs in our head, these patterns that we should live up to. The moment we move out of the box, the moment we break the pattern, all hell breaks loose.
But I have moved out of the box. I have broken the pattern.
How so? Well, I fell in love with a guy. He fell in love with me. V accepted that I was in a relationship and I would not leave A. So, he told me that he would accept the relationship of being a ‘thruple’: what the urban dictionary defines as a three-way relationship. Properly known by polyamorists as a triad. Amusingly known by many gay men as a ‘thruple.’
The relationship is complex and yet simple. I have no recourse to think otherwise. When it gets complicated, we hash it out. When it is simple, we enjoy it. I love the idea of sleeping in between the two men I love. It is an inexpressible feeling. We joke together, laugh together, watch movies together and take care of each other. We know all of each other’s secrets and we know how to deal with them. We really do not know what the future holds, but then does anyone?
Being gay has just been decriminalized in my country. What consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedrooms is their business. The State agrees. But then comes the family and its acceptance. It is not necessary again, but it smoothens the process of life. I went through the process of coming out with me being in love with two men. At first, it is difficult to understand. Then it is difficult for the elders to divide loyalties and duties. They also think that I am pushing the buck.
As it is, they accepted my sexuality. Now they have to defy society’s world view further and say that their child is in love with – and in a relationship with – two men. It is difficult and it is completely out of the box. But knowing me, I am the sort who always wanted to be honest about my life with the people I love. So, when family fails to understand, it is jarring. I feel I have to get used to being out of mainstream love. I have to do something ‘normal’ in order to balance the ‘abnormal’ in me.
It is so devastating, in fact, that I wonder if my life has been enough. That is about all people can take. I keep pushing the line. I keep expanding my world view. I keep moving further and not backwards. But maybe the line stops here? Logically, I am old enough not to care about what others say. Some of my more intellectual friends would scoff and remind me that telling everyone everything is not the rational way to go. Everyone will not understand, because everyone is not the same. And it comes back to the same explanation of how I am and how I choose to live my life. So, we go about in circles.
Sometimes, it just gets tiring. Going around and around in circles. But I will say, that I have not been running in the same one. All of mine are loops within expanding loop and the gyre keeps moving into larger spheres. But where every circle ends, another larger one begins, and sometimes I feel as though I am a test rabbit running in a loop in some time warp wheel of Fate and Time. Running and reaching nowhere… Again, that may just be in my mind, because it is not necessary to see the outward manifestation of some preexisting notion of a goal to achieve.
Maybe that is the whole point of this thing. Expand and just reach. That is where my ambition shines.