Forming A 3-Way Relationship During Lockdown Changed My Idea Of Love

Illustrated by Naomi Blundell Meyer
It’s a cold, windy night in February when my partner of eight years and I arrive at Original Sin, a cocktail bar in Stoke Newington. We’re nervous because we’re there to meet Andrea, a woman we met on Feeld, a dating app aimed at people looking for threesomes and more long-term polyamorous relationships. We’ve been chatting online with Andrea for a few weeks but this is the first time we’ll meet in person. In just over a month’s time, lockdown will force our relationship back online, though of course none of us knows this at the time.

That night, one cocktail turned into two, then three. We chatted and laughed and it was obvious there was a spark between us all – no mean feat when you’re three-way dating. It’s hard enough clicking with someone on a first date when it’s one on one; when three people are involved, the chances of it being a flop are multiplied. That night we all went our separate ways after drinks but arranged for Andrea to come to our place for dinner the following weekend. 

Paul and I had had casual three-way experiences before, although we agreed when we first joined Feeld that anonymous flings don’t do it for either of us. We both feel that a large part of what makes a person attractive is their personality and we wanted to get to know someone a bit before sleeping with them. With Andrea, this was easy – we realised straightaway that we have similar outlooks on life, the same weird senses of humour and loads of interests in common. Our dinner date flew by, just like our first date had done. Before any of us knew it, Monday had arrived; we’d spent the whole weekend together. The relationship quickly became about more than just sex.

We spent a few more weekends together and were chatting all the time on text and via Zoom. Then, one Sunday night shortly after Andrea had left mine and Paul’s flat, Boris Johnson announced that the UK was in full lockdown. "It was nice knowing you :(" Andrea texted. We knew we didn’t want to give up on something that already seemed pretty special but Andrea had a good point. It was still early days – could we keep the spark alive now that we weren’t allowed to hang out in person?

The next few months were tough. A lot of anxieties and insecurities bubbled to the surface for all of us and we each had moments of doubt about the future of the relationship. Even though polyamory is becoming more common, navigating a relationship like this can be tricky at times because there’s less out there to guide you. People in couples can look to movies and books and online guides. They can ask their friends, who might have been in similar situations. When you’re in a three-way relationship, you pretty much have to rumble along and make it up as you go. That’s what we did.

We chatted about our concerns and helped each other deal with the stress of the pandemic. As lockdown dragged on, we kept talking and worked hard to be honest and open with one another. There were some fun times too, and plenty of naughty WhatsApp chats that helped keep the spark alive. We all missed cuddling up on the sofa but would watch TV ‘together’ on Zoom. It was a weird way to start a relationship but somehow, against the odds, we made it through.

When the lockdown rules eased, we arranged to meet up in a local park. Later, we admitted that we’d all been quite nervous beforehand, worried that it’d be awkward after all those months apart. It wasn’t. We drank rosé out of plastic cups in the sun and it was more like a few days had passed rather than a few months. As lockdown eased further, we made the most of the time we could spend together, taking weekend trips to Hastings, Bath and Oxford. As we all became closer, we discussed how to explain our relationship to people and have started meeting each other’s friends, who have all been incredibly open and accepting. We even went back to that cocktail bar in Stokie and, sitting in the same booth as on our first date, laughed about how crazy the past months had been and how far our relationship has come.

When the country went into a second lockdown, we barely had to discuss how we’d manage it. Being apart again for weeks or months simply wasn’t an option and Paul and I immediately became Andrea’s support bubble. Our weekends are spent having lazy lie-ins, cooking together, watching movies. Lockdown fever still gets us sometimes (last weekend Andrea and I got bored of watching TV and successfully taught my cat to fetch a ball) but together this lockdown feels like a breeze compared to the first one.

We all feel incredibly lucky to have met and that the tough times were worth it. We don’t see the good times ending any time soon, no matter what surprises the future has in store. 

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