The plight of our generation is that no one is willing to define the relationship. We’re constantly Seeking Susans, permanently convinced that the ass is greener on the other side. Avoiding committed relationships for fear of complacency has become so universal that our parents have finally accepted us as nomads of the romantic world. We’re not not dating, we tell them; we’re just also not not single.
My situation is a little different. As of this year I’m in 5 different relationships. The cool term to use is polyamorous. Many loves. The biggest problem I’ve found, however, is not so much explaining to my grandmother why I’m so popular nor is it the logistical headache of balancing a variety of priorities. It’s coping with the emotional strain of having 5 boyfriends who don’t know that we’re Official.
For example, the delivery guy who works at my most-ordered restaurant seems to give zero weight to the fact that we share custody of a baby. He picks up my food from kitchen daycare and then delivers it to my apartment. This is a holy transaction; I’m trusting him with my dinner. One misstep and that burger is on the floor. One hesitation at a yellow light and my fries are cold. I see him at least 3 times a week. I call on the phone and speak to a human to place my order — this is way more serious than Seamless. But still, he refuses to stay over.
Then there’s my tailor. Jack. Some days it’s like he doesn’t even recognize me. We’re both super busy and our work hours don’t exactly align (I work 10 to 7 and he’s open “whenever is most inconvenient”), but when we do see each other it’s super intimate. He’s seen me in my underwear. He knows my bra size.
Speaking of intimacy, there’s Standing and Eating Guy. SEG. “Seg” lives in the 5th floor of the building adjacent to mine. I see him every day and pause to wave as I take a quick breath on my building’s final flight of stairs. He is always standing, he is always eating, and despite our daily repertoire, he acts as though I don’t exist.
The bartender at the vodka-ing hole I frequent flirts with other women right in front of me. I think he does it to make me jealous — and yes, I’ve given my number to guys in front of him, but that doesn’t give him the right to make light of our very obvious connection. Sometimes I want to shake him and cry, “We bonded over Titos! I thought that meant something.”
Ok, and not to sound crazy, but sometimes I don’t think my coffee guy remembers my name.
Yes my situation is stressful. It’s nonconformist and far from traditional, and it hurts that my own boyfriends don’t know we’re dating. But there are so many perks to our modern relationship (food, hemmed cuffs, strong drinks, etc.) that I’m okay with not rocking the boat. Some things are simply better left unsaid.