Opinion: I won’t play the game of being gay and polyamorous

Pic: See-ming Lee

“I don’t understand why you’re single, Waseem! Are you telling me that none of the guys here have been interested in you or vice versa at some point?” asked a friend as she gestured to the long dinner table of gay men seated in front of us.

I sighed deeply as I thought about how to answer this question, which I’m often asked.

First, this community is so small and almost everyone at that table has had sexual contact with everyone else at some point. I don’t have issues with people being voraciously sexually active; I’m just not keen to follow that path. If I did, it would make me emotionally uneasy.

Second, in all honesty, I’m a monogamous soul. It’s a lifestyle choice, because for me, a strong emotional connection is essential to be sexual and to enjoy it. So the common tap-and-go lifestyle wouldn’t suit me.

My ideal relationship would be monogamous, but the gay community and culture today are predominantly polyamorous. Some do claim to be in a monogamous relationship, only to cheat on their partner after a year of being together.

Others think they are in a monogamous relationship, when in fact they are in a non consensual polyamorous one. They just haven’t yet found out about their partner’s extra-curricular activities or they just prefer to turn a blind eye and hope that things will get better in time.

But most (not all – before I get attacked!) successful gay relationships today are only so because they are polyamorous. I know this because I’ve been observing the community and its couples for over a decade. While I’m happy that this type of lifestyle works for a lot of people, it doesn’t work for me.

I wouldn’t be comfortable with my partner being fondled or groped by other men. I wouldn’t be at ease at a dinner where everyone talks about how they slept with my man first or who did what with whom.

“We just kissed – it was nothing – we are just friends.”

I’m sorry, but I don’t French kiss my friends nor do I sleep with them when I am bored or horny.

I wouldn’t be comfortable with my man running after other men and seeing to their needs at a party at the cost of ignoring me.

I can’t sit at a table while my boyfriend sits on the opposite end and shares the food he ordered, with another guy. I’m not attracted to the idea of threesomes or such.

Most gays these days are very nonchalant about these things, to the point that if you enter a room with someone, they will tell you who they slept with and what they did with that person/s. The gay community is a very kiss-and-tell kind of community and I don’t mind it, because it allows me to make a mental note of who to avoid.

I’ve never aspired to have multiple bedroom partners. I’ve always wanted to meet a guy, date him, fall in love, marry him and build a home and life with him.

Things like kisses, affection, and sex are special moments that I want to share with someone who means something to me. If I share my sexual nature or my love with everyone who throws me a bone, there would be nothing special to share with someone I genuinely care for. What value does my “I love you” have, if I’ve said it to a different guy every three months?

And finally, I just can’t handle the idea of being cheated on again. I know that I won’t emotionally and psychologically survive another case of infidelity.

My last relationship was the death of me. I’ll never forget that night. I sat and cried my eyes, heart and soul out after finding out about my ex’s multiple infidelities in the course of our three-year relationship. It changed me in a way that I couldn’t have imagined.

I’ve seen this happen to many people. I’ve watched the light in their eyes fade as their partner finds a new chair to sit on in this game of musical chairs. I realised that I can’t be part of this game, because love isn’t a game and a person’s emotions aren’t either.

I know my worth, because I have had to rebuild myself over and over. I know what I can’t handle and I won’t fool myself into thinking that I’m guaranteed a happy fairy-tale ending.

I’m okay with the possibility that I’ll be single for the rest of my life.

Before you approach me, know that I won’t be another name you can cross off in that black book of guys you banged.

I won’t play this game. I’d rather sit out and be emotionally safe and devote my love, time and soul to a worthwhile investment: Me.

Waseem Imam Saheb is a highly opinionated blogger and social media personality who hosts a radio show on gay relationships and sex on Gay SA Radio. You can follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

This article was first published on www.bonobology.com.

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