© Erika Kapin Photography

Erin
Hometown Seattle area
Place of Residence Seattle, WA

Occupation Bike courier and dance event organizer

Hareesh
Hometown New York City
Place of Residence Seattle, WA

Occupation Dance event organizer, dance instructor

Erin and Hareesh each consider themselves to be in poly relationships.  Erin is currently has a local partner of 5 years, 2 long distance partners and still enjoys going out on dates and meeting people.  Hareesh has 3 or 4 partners all whom are in the dance community.

Erin in her Seattle bedroom.

Erin:  Right now I’m enjoying being able to date and having a steady relationship, but also meet new people. I like that part about my life. I’ve been able to make some very strong connections with my partner despite going on multiple dates and their going on dates - the one who lives here, my local partner. We have a good relationship that way. He has another partner that he’s been with for five years. We figured it out and he’s great. I’ve had him meet my family and we’ve said that we’re not exclusive. Those are the terms we use with non-poly people without needing to explain what poly means.

I don’t really tell my family that I’m poly. I let them figure it out or I just say I’m not exclusive, because I like going on dates. I’m not typically a romantic person but I like meeting people and I like the connections I can have with people."

"With everyone else I’m pretty straightforward about it. If they ask, I’ll tell them I’m poly I don’t go and introduce myself, “Hi, I’m Erin, I’m poly.” It’s not part of my identity so I don’t say it. If they say that, “Oh you said you were dating this other person and you’re also dating this person,” then I’ll go, “Yeah, we’re poly.” That’s when it comes up.

Erin and Hareesh on date night

Hareesh:  I’m more out probably to my family, especially my mom.  My dad is a very old school, fresh off the boat Indian so he’s not always the most understanding.  I wouldn’t really care if he found out, he’d just give me a hard time about it. But in the community I guess I’m a little bit more conservative about being out.  If somebody I knew came up and asked me about it, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. But I don’t go shouting it to the hills because some aspects of being a personality in the dance world I guess, means that some people are more conservative than others so I don’t want to scare those folks away.  But yeah, I’m pretty comfortably out.

Erin cutting her hair at home

Erin:  One experience I had when I told someone I was poly was he immediately was like, “O.K., so when is it my turn?” I thought that was another misconception is that people who are poly always want to have sex. For me, I don’t always want to have sex. Sometimes, I just want to hang out and have somebody to cuddle with or go to a movie with and not have it be awkward.

Erin's favorite snack

Erin:  Asian culture – at least the closer you are to Asian culture from China, Japan – it’s very family oriented, so they’re very focused on having a kid, getting married, getting a house, and having one relationship to focus on. So, polyamory is not really a huge selling point for that goal.

Erin is a bike messenger in Seattle, WA

Erin:  Usually it [jealousy] comes up with my local partner because he’s very popular. Usually I talk to him about it if it’s pressing, otherwise I go have a dance and calm down and try to address it myself. He never does anything on purpose to make me jealous, so I recognize that and I try to figure out what’s the root cause and I think everyone gets jealous at some point. Usually it’s because one person is not having needs met. Addressing that and figuring out how those needs can be met is super important.

Outside her home in Seattle, WA

Erin:  The most challenging thing is dealing with other people’s communication styles. Mine is very blunt, direct, telling people, “Hey, I’m going on a date. I want to know if you’re going to go on a date,” or, “I like this person, I’m going to go ask them out,” and they’ll be like, “I don’t want to know that. I’ll just let you know if I have a new partner.” That’s too surprising.

That being said, a benefit of it is helping me to improve communication. Not just in romantic relationships but between my parents and siblings and friends and everything.

Erin and Hareesh on a date

Erin:  With my non-monogamy, I feel like it opens up a lot more opportunities. I can meet more people and I can have better connections. I can understand my partners a lot better I feel like, and understand their connection to their partners.

 

Hareesh:  I definitely enjoy being able to have different relationships and different types of connections with different partners.  So it’s generally been a very enriching thing in my life.

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