A darkness has been brewing in the underbelly of the contemporary dating scene for quite some time now. No, not the softboi epidemic on Hinge or the fact that the cost of living crisis is making it near impossible to afford actual dates unless they are simply “going for a walk”, but a secret third thing, something much more insidious. Enter: the polyamorous fuckboy.
In case it’s not clear, the “polyamorous” fuckboy is not actually polyamorous in the way that they are alluding to. Nor does he have any intention of carrying out polyamory correctly, i.e. sustaining multiple romantic or sexual relationships with honest communication, respect and care. Rather, he wants to create the illusion of all of the aforementioned aspects of a healthy relationship so as to stick his dick in as many holes as possible, all of which he executes very, very badly.
The polyamorous fuckboy can usually be found on Feeld or else lurking in corners of the cold, damp warehouses of East London or Bushwick. If he’s a real joker, he’ll find you on Tinder or Hinge and won’t tell you he’s polyamorous until the second or third date, by which point you’ll think “Hey, maybe I can give this polyamory thing a go,” only to find yourself ugly-crying several months down the line when you want something more than what is essentially an elaborate no-strings-attached FWB deal for him that you never properly agreed to.
Once you see the polyamorous fuckboy, you can’t unsee him. He’s everywhere. He’s average in attractiveness and carries the bravado of a man who didn’t grow up hot but has had a sudden ego boost after relocating to Lewisham, Hackney or Brooklyn. He’s mostly straight, bicurious at a push, but paints his fingernails as to paint himself as softer – an ally, perhaps – and to bag a Bisexual Baddie (he calls them this) that he could potentially have a threesome (FFM) with at Crossbreed.
He may appear as your average fuckboy clad in Carhartt trousers and a microscopic beanie that sits atop his head, but the polyamorous fuckboy’s badly bleached hair and/or eyebrows are typically a dead giveaway. Bonus points if he claims to be clued up on gender theory just for knowing what a TERF is. This is not to say that the polyamorous fuckboy is gender specific as – news flash – women and queer people can be demons, too. But the shoe doth fit mostly to cis men.
Now, I haven’t been on the dating scene for over a year as I’m currently Wifed Up and extremely monogamous, but from previous experience of the polyamorous fuckboy and, from what I’ve heard from friends, it really still is the trenches out there. Being polyamorous or ethically non-monogamous is a completely valid preference that can be incredibly fulfilling, freeing and rewarding – if done correctly. Unfortunately, it seems that many polyamorous fuckboys merely discovered the term and clung onto it without really grasping its meaning, either in attempt to appear ~ progressive ~ and to wokefish the people they date, and/or to use it as a pass for shitty behaviour.
Obviously, fuckboys have existed since the beginning of time (think: Zeus fucking his way around Mount Olympus), but in the same way that some of the worst people you’ve ever met have recently discovered therapy language from Instagram infographics and incorrectly applied it to excuse the wrongdoings of their interpersonal relationships, poly fuckboys have done the same with the language of polyamory. They are the classic fuckboys of the past now hiding under a cloak of terms like “relationship anarchy.”
“With polyamory there’s obviously a lot of work that goes into that, like constantly adjusting yourself and looking at yourself and your own behaviours, as well as your partners’,” explains Amy Win, 27, owner of not-for-profit latex wear brand Aimless Gallery and polyamorous person of over three years. “It’s a lot of calendar work and checking in with your partner and making sure they’re okay with what you’re doing, and that you’re okay with what they’re doing,” they add.
Taali Kwaten, 26, member of London-based DJ collective Queer House Party and co-leader of Dope Black Queers, says a similar thing. “Unfortunately, fuckboys use polyamory in order to get what they want, and this means abusing the essence of what polyamory is – an honest, caring and communicative union between multiple people, respecting one another's boundaries,” they say. Kwaten has been poly for three years, and, like Win, has made an effort to ensure that their polyamorous relationships cause as little harm as possible. That means reading up on polyamory (The Ethical Slut is a staple of the canon), reflecting often, and communicating effectively – something that polyamorous fuckboys are simply not doing.
“We met on Feeld and had agreed we’d both be dating other people from the beginning as we were both poly, or at least I was,” says Annie, 27, who asked us to change her name. “We set clear boundaries, rules and expectations of each other from the beginning, and he broke every single one. It seemed like he was maliciously trying to make me jealous by telling me explicit details of the girls he was fucking, and would get angry or upset if I was even talking to someone else.
“It was like he could do whatever he wanted and I was kept on a leash,” she adds.
It’s worth stating that everyone makes mistakes and not a single person on this planet has navigated their relationships seamlessly and without flaws. People lie! People cheat! People date multiple people and are maybe shady about it! However, it is up to the individual to ensure that they’re being as honest with themselves and others from the very beginning and make a consistent effort to learn and grow. In the case of polyamory, that means doing all of the necessary work beforehand to minimise harm for all parties. You cannot jump in a pool without learning how to swim first.
Polyamory can be an extremely worthwhile and fulfilling practice when carried out with the necessary care, compassion and understanding it requires. Though, I’m not necessarily sure if these are words that a polyamorous fuckboy can grasp as they likely think “me horny, me have sex with as many people as i want because me polyamorous,” but they should.
This is not to say that the polyamorous fuckboy does not have feelings or any semblance of human decency – while there may be some that lack even a glimpse of a soul, the others out there are likely just repressing whatever complicated emotions they do have. Which, in all honesty, isn’t an excuse either. Grow up.