In my early twenties, I had the privilege of having five (5) girlfriends at the same time. I never lied to any of them. I never talked about the other women, and none of them ever asked.
Without knowing it, I was practicing a form of polyamory. Polyamory is defined as the state or practice of having more than one intimate romantic relationship at a time.
Although I’ve dated more than one woman many times during the early stages of searching for a good match, this is the highest number and one of the few times that I was sexually active with more than one partner at the same time.
I am going to describe how this came about, how I managed five girlfriends at once, and then I am going to share my surprising reaction and conclusion after it was over. I’ll start with the factors that made it possible.
Lots of Free Time
It was during the summer when I was making a transition from a 2-year college to a 4-year university. I had enough savings to support myself through the summer and beyond, so I decided to quit my job and enjoy myself until school started in the fall.
My plan was to go to the beach during the day, party at night, and do what was necessary for school in my spare time. I achieved that plan like an aspiring Olympic goal mentalist!
Just before the start of summer, I found a cool 1940’s craftsman-style apartment that had just been completely refurbished (new appliances, carpet, paint, window coverings) for an amazingly low monthly rent. It was in a fairly nice neighborhood just four blocks from the beach!
It was one of four apartments on the top floor of a 24-unit two-story building. Each of these apartments was located at one of the four corners of the building. There was also an open-air courtyard entryway in the middle of the building for the apartments on the first floor. So there was a lot of unoccupied space between them. This made them very private and great for parties!
The two bedrooms in the unit were located at opposite ends of the apartment. This was an ideal arrangement for having a roommate, which I needed to keep expenses down.
Another great feature of this apartment was that it was located on a street with the most bars I’ve ever seen on one road in any city. I was not aware of this before I moved in, but I certainly became familiar with this windfall after I did.
There must have been as many as 15 bars along a five-mile stretch of that street. Today there are about 30 percent fewer bars. They weren’t trendy bars with dance floors, but rather more like neighborhood pubs. I refer to them as pubs because several of them served food and had Irish names. There was a bar and grill directly across the street from our apartment and two beer & wine bars a few doors down in either direction.
For two young bachelors, this was the perfect apartment.
Although I only lived there for about a year, a parade of friends and friends of friends moved in and out of that apartment for years!
As I mentioned at the top, I never lied to them. And I never talked about the other women. But I found that I had to think carefully before I spoke. I occasionally had trouble remembering where I had left the conversation with a particular girlfriend and at what stage we were at in getting to know each other.
I wasn’t concerned with appearing to be deceptive. I didn’t need to. I wasn’t married and none of us had made any commitments. I was being careful to protect their feelings. I know that sounds far-fetched and not too macho, but that’s what I did.
Looking back, I believe that the women picked up on my sensitivity toward protecting their feelings, and that made them feel secure.
I don’t recall doing any strategizing about how I’d arrange to see one of the women without the others knowing. I just played it by ear.
One thing that was very helpful though, was that they had different schedules. Two of them worked full-time during the day, one worked in the morning, one worked in the afternoon, one worked in the evening, and one didn’t work at all.
As I made plans, I’d just pick the most appropriate girl for a particular activity and invite her to go. When one of them would ask me to do something, I’d usually go if my schedule permitted it.
When it came to arranging for a date to go to a special event, I have to admit that it was nice having five willing women to ask. I knew that at least one of them would be able to go.
Million Dollar Spirit
I had just graduated from a two-year college with honors and I had been accepted to a 4-year university, so I was feeling “real” good. This was particularly true given my background. The overwhelming majority of guys who have spent as much time as I did in juvenile hall and a boys home, usually don’t go to college let alone graduate. So I was ecstatic.
Even though I didn’t have a job, a car, or money, I had an infectious positive attitude that women found appealing. I used to tell women, “I’ve got twenty million dollars… in spirit.” They seemed to like that.
I didn’t fully appreciate the value of my attitude at the time, but I now know that it played a significant role in gaining their interest.
Although I’ve never truly understood why I’ve always had pretty good luck with women. I think one of the reasons is that I enjoy their company. I would imagine that growing up with two sisters helped me to become comfortable around women.
I can as easily have a deep conversation with women as I can with men. I don’t like small talk, which I think many women appreciate.
I think one of the biggest reasons I had success in getting these women interested in me initially is that I’ve always been genuine, good-hearted, and quite honestly a bit unattainable.
I believe that the number one reason I was successful was my confidence and optimistic outlook. I have found that confidence is at the top of the list of what women want in men. For most women, confidence is more of an aphrodisiac than looks.
I was a fairly good-looking man at that age, but I think it was my confidence, charisma, and positive attitude that won them over. And as far as confidence goes, I had to work at keeping my head straight in that area, because I still hadn’t completely overcome my shyness at that point in life.
Summer of Love
The state of our society at that time provided the ideal conditions for this to happen. I was too young to take part in the Summer of Love in 1967, but I certainly would have if I could.
There has been a lot of interpretation about the Summer of Love and the hippie movement, but I strongly believe that more positive things came out of it than negative. It was truly a beautiful time that carried on well into the late 70s. The hippies introduced countless ideas, principles, and beliefs that are now a part of the fabric of our society. Some of the best examples are the personal computer, emphasis on healthy eating, protection of natural resources, and changes in our attitudes about sex and relationships.
The hippie movement broke through centuries of puritan created barriers. It gave us the ability to openly discuss and freely take part in matters of love, sex, and multiple partners. The only real difference between 1867 and 1967 was openness and massive advancements in birth control and STD management.
Here Comes Reality
I have to admit that it was very exciting and a lot of fun having five girlfriends at once. And I don’t regret it in any way. But I was astounded to find that it wasn’t fulfilling. This was just the opposite of what I expected. It wasn’t until many years later when I was truly in love with someone that I understood.
Would I tell people to avoid such opportunities? No, I would not! But unfortunately, the world is a different place today than what it was back then. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) (aka STIs, sexually transmitted infections) were not as prevalent, they were easily cured, and AIDS did not exist. I never got anything (I’ve been tested many times), which I am eternally grateful for. Today you have to be extremely careful.
I have this advice. It’s important to stop and consider what you truly want “both” short-term and long-term during each stage of your life. Don’t let anyone hold you back from doing what you want, but be smart about it. Let your heart and intuition guide you.
Based on my lifelong experience, there’s no comparison between having multiple simultaneous romantic relationships (polyamory) and the thrill, satisfaction, and joy of being with one person who you are completely in love with. I question whether it’s possible to duplicate this kind of love with several partners at once, but I doubt that many people would deny that it would be nice. I’d certainly be willing to try. 😀 And I think I’d be better at it today since I have more maturity and experience. But then again, I’m pretty happy with my simple, uncomplicated life as it is now. 🙂