In my early 20s, I was passionate about polyamory, or “the practice of having multiple intimate relationships, whether sexual or just romantic, with the full knowledge and consent of all parties involved,” as Psychology Today puts it. There were times I had one “primary” partner and other more casual, “secondary” relationships. I was in a triad relationship where the three of us went on dates together and slept in the same bed. There was a year during which I maintained three serious relationships at once, where all people involved knew about each other, and two of them were also dating each other. It was like a self-studied master’s course in human dynamics.
At the time, it was the most liberating lifestyle I could imagine. But five years later, after navigating my fair share of dramatic break ups and having a time-intensive, full-time job, I found monogamy to be the approach to my romantic, sexual and family life that worked and felt best for me.
I am now in a committed, monogamous relationship and a full-time parent with a 10-year-old daughter, 2 1/2-year-old son, and another baby on the way. Even though I am no longer practicing polyamory, I look back happily at that part of my life, and, what’s more, I’ve come to realize that being polyamorous actually prepared me to successfully be a parent.
Here’s what it taught me.