Finally TV is exploring what it’s like to date outside the bounds of traditional monogamy. Whether you love the Netflix show or have never even heard of You Me Her, my latest blog considers if three’s a crowd, or the secret to true happiness.
You Me Her tells the story of Jack and Emma Trakarsky, a married couple pushing 40 with a life most people would envy: aspirational jobs and a gorgeous house in Portland, Oregon. There’s only one problem: their less than thrilling sex life.
Think this is just a retro rom-com? Think again, because there’s a very modern twist to this love story.
It all starts when Jack hires an escort, Izzy, with the (some would say misguided) intention of making himself more attracted to his wife. He quickly confesses all to Emma, who seeks revenge by hiring Izzy for a date herself, which results in lots of hot bathroom snogging and emotional turmoil for all three.
Now in its fourth season, we’ve come to know the show less as a crude lesbian porno (as some of its advertisements suggested), and more like a gentle comedy which is the first on TV to talk seriously talk about a polyamorous relationship.
So, what IS polyamory?
Polyamory, or ethical non-monogamy, isn’t just throuples. It can actually involve any number of people, either cohabiting or not, sometimes all having sex with each other, and sometimes just in couples within the larger group.
As a dating coach, this subject has been coming up more and more in conversations with clients. In a city like London, with its diverse population of free-thinkers and boundary-pushers, perhaps this is no wonder.
But let’s remember that a few years ago hardly anyone even knew what polyamory was, never mind talked about it, perhaps with the exception of a few documentaries and indie films sparking our interest.
Then along came You Me Her, just at the right time as polyamory hit the mainstream! I love the show because it deals with the subject casually, humorously and respectfully and isn’t all seedy threesomes .
These cultural moments are important because they help grant permission. Shows like You Me Her, say ‘No, you’re NOT a weirdo for wanting something a little different to the “norm”’ and that’s a good thing in my book.
My whole mission with Tailor Matched is to get rid of the shame and stigma about our wants and desires. I want to see a world where we’re all free to explore!
All about sex
Is polyamory basically just threesomes with more emotion?
Well, it can be! Sex is certainly a part of the conversation. What I like about You Me Her, is that sex isn’t the sole focus of the show. It delves much more into serious feelings and obstacles the three have to face living in a typical suburban neighbourhood that judges anything that’s not deemed ‘normal’.
Because that’s the thing about non-monogamy that the rest of us could do with learning:
Successful, healthy relationships require complete honesty, open communication, recognition that one person can never meet ALL of our needs, respect – and ideally a big old dose of humour thrown in to sweeten the deal.
Could polyamory be right for you?
So, I know what you’re thinking. If you’ve been in a committed relationship for any length of time you know the pitfalls of misunderstanding, rejection and potential jealousy.
When we’ve grown up thinking of monogamy as the ONLY relationship template, the idea of adding another person into the mix can seem crazy!
But, for couples who have learned to communicate their emotional and sexual needs, listen to each other and set clear boundaries, non-monogamy can be a shared experience that brings them even closer together.
And people are certainly curious to try it.
A few year ago, New York Magazine reported that a 2016 study of two nationally representative groups of single Americans found 20% of respondents practiced some form of non-monogamy in their lifetime.
YouGov found 31% of women and 38% of men surveyed said their ideal relationship would involve multiple partners at some point.
So, what do you think? Would you like to give polyamory a try?