When Harley Met Joker (Part 1)
This is my truth, this was my biggest lesson in my polyamorous journey and a warning to black girls like me who tend to love black men a little harder than they love themselves.
This is for black girls who carry the energy of Harley Quinn.
This is the story of how I met my Joker.
When I started writing Diary Of A Polyamorous Black Girl I was actually in a relationship. The person I was dating and I had decided that we wanted to keep our relationship off the internet for the most part. I briefly mentioned him and the fact he was a black man in one of my later entries of the diary, but outside of that nobody really knew that I was dating.
He and I met and began a sexual relationship almost instantly. We had so much in common, from our love of nerdy things like anime and videogames, to our living situations and taste in music. What I found most intriguing about him though was how he was not put off at all at my being polyamorous. Most black men I would meet, who I would immediately inform I was polyamorous would either be put off entirely and end our interaction or saw me as their opportunity for threesomes and orgies. That wasn’t the case with him though. He shared his previous relationship woes with me, how he would often find himself in arguments with his partners due to what he saw as deeply rooted insecurities. He revealed to me that he just didn’t understand why his honesty wasn’t enough for his partners, he no longer wanted to be restricted in his interactions with women. He wanted the ability to be able to freely love and connect with people, and not ruin his relationship(s). It was then I began to suggest to him that he may be polyamorous. He was immediately overjoyed. We would fall into almost daily conversations that would last for hours, and I shared with him my desires for a love that was both black and polyamorous. We got to know each other on several intimate levels, he was remarkably charming, funny, uncomfortably handsome and most importantly to me at the time, he appeared to be naturally polyamorous - it didn’t take long for me to be completely smitten over him.
Before we decided to start dating, I had fallen in love with him. After a long day of amazing sex, we had fallen asleep while watching Good Will Hunting. With my hair matted, my chubby belly and my stretch marks completely exposed, I woke up before him and stared at him as he slept.
“I love this man”, I thought. He accepted my body that I never thought to be attractive. My awkward personality. My trauma. And he was poly just like me. I thought I had hit the jackpot. I had everything I ever wanted in a black man, and there he was lying next to me. So after he woke up I told him, I told him I had fallen in love. He didn’t say it back, which I also deeply appreciated because it was just further validation to me that he was an honest man who would never lie to me.
Boy, was I wrong.
After some time, he professed to have fallen in love with me as well and we began dating. Now, as we had so many mutual friends, and I am such a private person, we decided to keep things quiet. For me this was a standard practice of almost all my adult relationships as I learned early on that it is important to keep things that are important to you sacred. I thought he shared that perspective but looking back, I realize his interest in privacy was less about privacy and more about secrecy so that he would be free to engage with other women in whichever way he wanted - But we’ll get to that later.
We would not post about each other online. Take pictures or attend events together. And only reveal our relationship to a very small trusted group of people. For the first few months this worked perfectly. We would go to the movies. Spend nights at each others home. Support each other in our professional careers. It was perfect. I had everything I wanted. I was happy.
Though there were red flags that I actively ignored throughout, the moment that things shifted for me was when he began to interact with a woman who he referred to as “staunchly monogamous”, let’s call her Jessica . He would disclose to me how Jessica did not understand polyamory, and it was something that was not at all for her. Learning of their interaction was deeply off-putting for me because in our conversations prior to us dating, he would outline all the ways in which monogamy was toxic in his life, and how he was no longer interested in engaging with monogamous women because of how incompatible his personality and desires for his life were with monogamy. I did not understand why he would at all be interested in engaging with a woman who seemed to be the polar opposite of everything he described he was seeking in a partner, It felt odd.
I let him know how odd it felt for me, but I could tell he liked her very much. I let him know that I would of course support him in any exploration of any relationship but I felt it was important for him to establish boundaries with her early on to avoid those toxic monogamous interactions he was so accustomed to in his previous relationships. He claimed to do so, but assured me that he was not interested in engaging with her romantically so establishing boundaries was not of any real importance. I would later learn that they began to interact sexually with one another. Again, I expressed my confusion and requested more transparency from him. And that if she was someone that he was going to engage with sexually, regardless of whether or not he was going to classify their relationship as just friendly that it was of the utmost importance of me to meet her so at the very least she would be clear on my boundaries and we could all have a conversation on safe sex.
He let me know that the sexual interactions between them were minuscule and they would not longer continue. And once again, described her as a friend. It was quickly becoming a sensitive topic, each time I would mention her and their interaction that became more and more obvious that they were romantic, he would get increasingly more frustrated and irritated by me. He would accuse me of seeing things that were not there and very quickly end the conversation.
I feel it’s important to note that at this time I had just been officially diagnosed as having a few mental illnesses, which I was quite sensitive about. When he would say things like “that never happened” or “you’re imagining things” I would immediately think of my diagnoses and wonder if he was correct and quiet myself. Looking back I realize how silly that was of me, as my mental illnesses do not cause hallucinations - I wasn’t imagining anything.
A few weeks passed, and I began to notice that Jessica was a staple in his life. Someone he would check in with regularly about his daily activities, attend events with and sleep over at his house. The moment I knew it was far more than just a platonic friendship was when we were in bed one morning, and he received a barrage of text messages and a phone call. It was her. Something had happened, and he let her know that he was in bed with me and asked if she would like him to leave the room so they could speak privately, and he very quickly thereafter left the room.
Privacy is important and I certainly never would demand information on the intimate details of another person's life, but this behaviour was odd as he very frequently shared the intimate details of everyone in his life with me. I had grown accustomed to him having very personal conversations with everyone in his life right in front of my face, he would never leave the room, so when he did for someone he was adamant he had a platonic friendship with confused me deeply.
More things of that nature would go on. And because of his refusal to have conversations with me about it, and an almost resentment on his part that I would even dare ask him any questions about the nature of their relationship, and my fear of upsetting him, I began to bend the rules of our relationship. I began to engage in toxic behaviour that I deeply regret to this day.
Months prior we both gave each other thumbprint access to each others iPhones. I can’t really remember the reason why but I could freely access his phone and he could freely access mine. I began to abuse that. Searching for answers he would not give me, hoping to quiet my constant anxiety about this bizarre secret relationship, I started reading his text messages with her.
In reading the text messages, it became painfully clear they were in a relationship.
I experienced an overwhelming wave of emotions. On the one hand I was glad for the clarity. Knowing that I was not imagining anything. That I was right to ask to meet her and have a conversations on boundaries and sexual safety. That he had been hiding and lying. That I wasn’t crazy. But on the other hand I was fucking furious. There was literally no reason for him to lie to me and carry on a secret relationship, obviously sharing private details of our relationship with someone who I knew very little about. But now I was in a pickle, I had gone through his phone, I had abused his trust - How was I going to talk about this without revealing my own bad deeds?
In writing this, I realize this should have been the end of our relationship. No healthy polyamorous relationship can be possible with a person like him. The lengths I had to go to in order to gain information that should have been freely given to me is insane..but…I digress.
I felt justified in going through his phone, and I knew if I revealed what I had done he would most likely flip everything and make it just about the fact that I had gone through his phone. So I decided the best way to go about it would be to reveal things in pockets, and give him an opportunity to tell the truth about the real nature of their relationship. I own that this was remarkably manipulative on my part, and I should not have allowed his dishonest behaviour to make me dishonest but I suppose the idealistic side of me wanted to believe there was some kind of reasonable explanation for this ridiculous lie, and really I just wanted us to go back to being okay, I wanted to be happy again.
I began to frequently bring her up in conversations, and ask him if he was being honest with me about the nature of their relationship. I would lie and tell him I saw a text message on his phone which said “Babe” or “Baby” or “Love” and in my experience that is not how platonic friends speak to one another, and that it’s important he be clear with me about who she really was to him so we all could meet and discuss things. Each and every time he would assure me that they were just friends and that’s just how she speaks to him.
The more opportunities I gave him to be honest, turned out to be more opportunities I was giving him to lie to me. I already knew what it was, I just wanted him to say it. What was going on was not at all what I wanted my poly life to be. And I became increasingly more concerned with my sexual safety. I began to carry rage with me towards him almost daily. I hated what he was doing. I hate what he was doing to us - I didn’t understand why.
The big turning point, when I realized I needed to end things happened on Boxing Day of last year. My parents were having their annual house party, and I really wanted him to meet my father (don’t ask me why) I was really excited because I knew in a few weeks I would have enough money to finally give him his real Christmas gift. He had mentioned he wanted to build a collection of game systems, so I found the one he wanted, in the colour he wanted, and I was on a payment plan with the owner of it - I had almost had it paid off. I made little cards with riddles on it and hidden them in my room to reveal what the gift was and that he would be receiving it soon. It was part of the reason I was so excited for him to come over. I was going to impress him. I was going to make him so happy because I worked hard to get him a gift he really wanted.
On the way to my house, we got into a conversation and he revealed to me that she had gotten him a gift…
Guess what it was.
I was furious.
My Christmas gift for him that I had been planning on for months he had already received from Jessica. I wasn't angry that she got him the gift, I was happy that he got something he wanted. My anger was rooted in the further confirmation that he was continuing to lie to me. Continuing to have a relationship with someone that violated every single one of my boundaries, all of the things that I told him I didn't want to happen, he was purposely making happen. My hard work and research to get the gift could have been avoided had I been able to meet her months ago when I asked. Had we met, of course she and I would discuss the gifts we were going to get him for Christmas. Perhaps she and I could have gone together and bought the gift for him. We could have split the cost. It didn't have to be this weird moment where I was now deeply resentful and embarrassed. I know the lengths she must of had to go to in order to purchase it for him. And in that moment I understood how serious their relationship was.
Why couldn't he just tell me that they were together? Why the big elaborate lie? Weren't we in a polyamorous relationship? Why was everything about the two of them so secret and everything about he and I so exposed? If she was just as important as me or more important than me, then why wouldn't he want to create a safe space for their relationship to thrive? I was tired of arguing. I was tired of this awkwardness. This bizarre unknown space he had built between us. I didn't understand. He was making everything so difficult and for the first time ever in my romantic relationship with a man, I found myself feeling hatred.
I had no real reason to hate Jessica . None of this was her fault and I could only imagine what perfectly crafted stories he was feeding her. For some reason though, I felt she was just as guilty as he was. Wasn't she curious about me as I was curious about her? Why was she playing his game? I was convinced she was plotting to hurt me. I hated her just a little bit more than I hated him.
I didn't know what to do. I felt empty and broken...So naturally, I got drunk.
And the next morning, things went from bad to worse.
To Be Continued....