Polyamory is becoming more and more common

How a polyamorous threesome relationship works

From Anjoulih Pawelka

Cologne. Can you love more than one person? So really with cuddling, sex and everyday life? For Nicole, Fabian and Christian the answer is clear: Yes, it is possible. The three of them have had a polyamorous relationship for five years, live together and all raise their one and a half year old son.

The young family looks pretty happy during the video call. There is a lot going on in the Cologne apartment. It's bedtime for the little one. Only he doesn't really want to. Nicole gets up again and again to look after their son. Every now and then one of the men follows her. They all lovingly take care of the little one. Together.

It was a gradual process, says Fabian, who moved into Nicole and Christian's apartment six years ago. At the time, that was actually only intended temporarily, until he found his own home after completing his business studies. Fabian has stayed until today.

The three live in a polyamorous triad. Christian and Fabian are not partners. The focus here is on the emotional connection and not the sexual one. Polyamory is diverse. In other cases, for example, all partners sleep together. But it's always more than just sex. It's about commitment, about a long-term relationship. Even if it is not just for one, but for several people.



There are different forms of polyamory. In addition to the triangular relationship that Nicole, Fabian and Christian have, there is also the V relationship. Here one partner is the focus, the other two have nothing to do with each other. In the "1: N relationship" one partner lives monogamous. "Quad" in turn means a partnership with four


There are different forms of polyamory. In addition to the triangular relationship that Nicole, Fabian and Christian have, there is also the V relationship. Here one partner is the focus, the other two have nothing to do with each other. In the "1: N relationship" one partner lives monogamous. "Quad" in turn means a partnership with four people. In addition, polyamory should not be confused with polygamy, plural marriage, which is forbidden in many countries, including Germany.

It is the same with Nicole and the two men. They shape their everyday life together and also think about the future. For example, what happens if something happens to Nicole. It is clear to the two men that they will stay together anyway and take care of the son together. Because for men, biology has nothing to do with being a father. Knowing that was a huge relief for Nicole, she says. It was a conscious decision by all three who wanted so much to start a family. Nevertheless, it took a lot of discussions and deliberations before they were sure that they could do it together. You know who the birth father is, but you don't want to tell your child until he asks. The fear that this will make him believe that he is less loved by a father is just too great.

In general, it was the love for the child that moved the three to go public with their story. They want to create more understanding in society for this type of relationship and try to prevent their son from being disadvantaged because the parents live in an unusual relationship. Nicole is of the firm conviction: If people experience such forms of life more often and encounter them in everyday life, they lose their specialty and become normal. That is one of the reasons why they founded their Instagram channel real.polylife.official.

"We are a very, very normal family," says Nicole, adding that the three actually lead a rather unspectacular, almost boring life. Nicole has been with her Christian for ten years now. The two met at a festival. The sister introduced him because she knew Christian from the boy scouts. It didn't take long for both of them to work. They have been married since 2015. Fabian even helped prepare the wedding. A matter of course for the 29 year old; both were very important people in his life back then. Love came a year later.

Fabian has known Nicole since she was a student. At that time they met briefly while "tilting" and had a good chat. He then said goodbye with the words that you always see each other twice in life. In the end it was even three times. The third meeting completely changed Nicole's life. At that time she met Fabian again at the farewell party of her best friend, who was going abroad. Nicole, her boyfriend Christian and Fabian got on very well right from the start.

"The three of us spent the evening there," says Nicole. At some point she said to Fabian: "Now you are my best friend." It took a little longer for this man to become the love of her life. Over time, Fabian also became Christian's best friend. The three have spent a lot of time together and understand each other without words. It is easier for a relationship to grow out of friendship, says Christian.

Easier doesn't mean that your three-way relationship is free from challenges. Polyamory always goes hand in hand with a lot of communication. "We don't see that as a disadvantage," says the 34-year-old. It just doesn't work without talking. If two people quarrel in their relationship, the third person is also involved in the arbitration. She then acts as a mediator. "The mediator knows both people," says Christian, which sometimes makes it easier. Through the many conversations, the jealousy that was there in everyone at the beginning of the relationship was also alleviated.

Nicole, for example, was afraid of losing Fabian, but she and Christian had an open relationship. Sex with other partners was not taboo for them. Nevertheless, she was concerned that Fabian would eventually meet a woman with whom he would like to have a monogamous relationship. "Then we noticed that there were feelings," adds Fabian. So the fear was unfounded. In the meantime, the three have agreed that they no longer have an open relationship. They are enough for each other.

It is also a question of how to deal with jealousy, explains Fabian. That has something to do with uncertainty. So you have to talk exactly about this uncertainty. "It's okay to be jealous," he adds. And Nicole adds that it is also difficult for many to admit feelings. "You have to work very, very hard on yourself. You have to express your feelings," she says. Communication alone does not help, however. You also have to work on yourself and allow changes. "Otherwise you will talk yourself stupidly," adds Fabian.

Enduring the dissonance between what society perceives as normal and extraordinary ways of life also requires a lot of work. It was a long process to soften norms and redefine them for yourself, says Nicole. "As long as you don't hurt anyone, you can change the rules." She finds it another challenge to pay enough attention to her husbands. Especially at the beginning she had a problem with it, asking herself questions like: "Am I enough for them? Would you like another woman in the relationship?"

It was a learning process for her that this does not mean spending the same amount of time with both partners, but rather giving each one as much attention as they need. It certainly helped that the three of them have many similar interests and enjoy spending a lot of time together. Another problem, Nicole says jokingly, is that the three of them have less space in their bed together. If you are in the middle, you have to crawl out below. And the constantly occupied bathroom is also a minus point in a polyamorous relationship, laughs Fabian.

But there are also many advantages. It is cooked and cleaned up faster. There are also more people to talk to. And the men can carry heavy things. "That makes it easier," says Nicole. The three also see the frequent breaks as an advantage in their relationship. Fabian and Christian also lend each other clothes. "I'm a little jealous about that," grins the 34-year-old.

Society reacts differently to the small family. Many are confused and wonder which of the three is being exploited or suffering from it. Many outsiders cannot understand that everyone is completely satisfied and happy with this situation. The men are sometimes referred to as "wimps" and Nicole as a "slut". "They think of porn when they think of three people." Many would also mistake polyamory for an open relationship, which is not true.

For Nicole, polyamory means "not to close your heart to love". In monogamous relationships it also happens that one of the two partners falls in love with someone else. Here people have to decide whether to cheat on their partner, leave him or hurt someone. This is not the case in polyamorous relationships. Honesty, consent and understanding are extremely important for Nicole, Fabian and Christian.

What else is important to you? That multiple parenthood is recognized in Germany and that they educate society about this alternative way of life. "We're not perverts," says Nicole. And then there is another wish, namely to enlarge the family. "The little one definitely needs siblings," laughs Fabian, beaming with a smile.

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