ariana and anika are 20-something creatives living in different cities. anika spends much of her time making music, biking wildly, and reading comic books. ariana is something like a salsa aficionado who keeps fit by running. she also loves her kitty meeko. ariana and anika have been in a long distance relationship on and off since 2011.
when they are together, they frequent the cinema, get lost in compelling conversations (many of which are about their feelings), take walks, and keep their hands busy with puzzles.
ariana and anika are polyamorists. we chatted about their relationship.
(polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.)
0III: is this your first experience?
anika: yes it is my first time being poly in a mutually understood and well thought out capacity.
ariana: i’ve tried ‘poly’ in different capacities that weren’t as affirming and as supportive. it really has to be a mutual decision. if not, emotions like resentment and bitterness can easily build.
0III: what lead you to the point where you would be open to having multiple partners? who proposed the idea?
anika: being poly is something that my partner initially introduced however it has also always intrigued me. usually in the past though i was not able to find someone that was emotionally mature enough to dialogue through the intricacies of this type of relationship. i also want to say that being poly is as much work as being monogamous, any kind of romantic relationship is work.
ariana: i actually took this “love poetry” class during my undergrad that discussed how a lot of cultures in support of monogamy really brand love or “the one”: someone you’re supposed to live with and someone you’re in love with. the class really highlighted false expectations and how those can be harmful and lead to things like breaking up or marriage. a couple months after i found myself in poly-friendly spaces where i learned how people navigate their own desires in triads, sweeties, primary relationships.
0III: would you continue polyamory if you lived in the same city?
anika/ariana: yes, that is the plan
0III: what are the parameters within your personal relationship?
anika: we have core principles that are in place regardless, they have more to do with us than anyone else. early on we both made separate commitments about what we valued and what we wanted to bring to the table. those were written down then clearly stated to one another, communication is key. i also always try to understand that dialogue operates in flux, we can agree on one thing then agree to rework it a couple days later or a couple weeks or a couple years…so we use those (our principles) as our guide and essentially work within those parameters unless otherwise discussed.
ariana: any romantic relationship has parameters and i like to think of mine like high school. anika represents all of my classes, i.e. science, math, history, etc. everyone else thereafter is an extracurricular activity after school. school comes first before basketball or volleyball and i can’t play any of my sports unless i’m passing my classes. if i’m on the honor roll then i’m good to play after school and vs.
0III: is it strictly physical or are you able to have an intimate emotional connection with other partners?
anika: i would like to think that if i am being physical with someone then i also have a emotional connection with them. it may not be as intense or have the longevity that i have with my partner but i’m an introvert so if i decide to leave my shell it’s not just for a physical connection but because something about the individual intrigues me.
ariana: emotional connections with other folks involved is kind of inevitable when your casually hooking up or seeing people and i think its healthy to have crushes and sweeties. what ends up being an issue is when your secondary or sweetie, doesn’t adhere to the parameters of your primary relationship. they too have to consent to the primary being first emotionally. i’ve come across folks who first say “it’s okay” and tell me they agree, but have other intentions to seduce/convince me otherwise. we have to be cautious with the people we are engaging and make sure they respect our relationship just as much as we do.
0III: do you still get jealous?
anika/ariana: yes, emotions are natural and like any relationship (poly or otherwise) i process how i feel with my partner. we have great communication and it is my favorite part of our relationship.
0III: how do you deal with that
anika: process & cope. repeat as necessary.
anika/ariana: we dialogue a lot and try to affirm one another whether that be insecurity, miscommunication, etc. it’s hard to deprogram everything we’ve learned about love and relationships.
0III: would you all consider dating the same person together?
anika/ariana: hmmm well that’s a new one! i think it depends. i think that would take a lot of time & talking to get to a good space. things such as boundaries, favoritism (potentially), mutual levels of comfort & safety would be important to figure out. we agreed early on that trial & error is not the path that we would like to walk. i try to be as intentional as possible with all my words, attitudes & actions that i bring to the table.
0III: how has this lifestyle benefit you individually and collectively?
anika/ariana: it opens the door to new experiences. i don’t have to feel inadequate or ashamed for not being able to be every kind of person or provide all the things that my partner may require. i love her but i know that i would only hurt her if i tried to be all those things. i would rather be the best version of myself and give the good things that i have to offer uniquely from me to her.
0III: will you always be a polyamorist?
anika/ariana: most likely. i think it all depends on what we decide is best for us mutually. for now, this is the plan. also she is my partner for the rest of my life. that to me is more important than any title or label we have. so i will go as far as to say that whatever sustains us will be what i am.
0III: elise peterson
lifestyles journalist + assistant art director