Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo In Real Life\u2019s sentiments. One fine evening, I found myself in a cosy boutique restaurant in the bustling heart of KL. I was with a couple, Lennon and Alexis, who are dear friends of mine. Against my better judgement, I combed my hair and put on a dress that day. \u201cDo not look like a hobo!\u201d Lennon and Alexis instructed me sternly the day before. We were at that restaurant because Lennon was trying to pursue a girl, a hostess there. Therefore, it was mandated that I be on my best behavior and not embarrass them. After a short wait, a sweet-looking girl approached our table with our orders. It was the hostess \u2014 her name is Emma. I noticed Lennon and Emma exchange a couple of shy glances. They had recognized each other from the pictures of their respective dating profiles. Although this was their first face-to-face meeting, they had been chatting on the phone for quite some time already. We had our meal, then ordered dessert so Lennon could linger. Before we left, Lennon dropped a little gift \u2014 a packet of Famous Amos cookies \u2014 at the counter for Emma. The food was expensive and bad, Alexis and I agreed later on. \u00a0\u201cBut it was worth it because Lennon got to finally meet Emma. He was so happy after that. Kept smiling to himself,\u201d Alexis confided in me. After Emma\u2019s shift, she called Lennon. \u201cWhy didn\u2019t you tell me you were coming!\u201d she squealed. They talked into the night, whispering sweet nothings. Then, the big moment \u2014 they agreed to go on their first date. The night was a success. Lennon and Emma started officially dating not long after. Alexis and I were ecstatic. We congratulated Lennon. At this point, Lennon and Alexis had been dating for a couple of years. They live together and are still very much in love. Since Alexis and Lennon are the only ones in my life that are forthcoming about their polyamorous relationship, I had a lot of questions for them. \u201cPolyamory! Isn\u2019t that cheating?\u201d \u00a0 \u201cNo,\u201d Alexis corrected me, \u201cit\u2019s only cheating if there\u2019s no consent. And I whole-heartedly give my consent.\u201d Alexis was sitting next to Lennon on the sofa in my living room as she said this. We just had burgers and fries for dinner and were suffering from serious food comas. Living in a society where monogamy is upheld as the gold standard, this sounded like infidelity to me at first. Alexis said: \u201cWhy should I stop him from loving other people?\u201d \u201cYou consent to sharing your boyfriend with another girl?\u201d I asked, reclining from a lazy position on a bean bag. \u201cWell, a person can love multiple people at a time. It\u2019s like a parent loving multiple kids. Doesn\u2019t affect our love. So why should I stop him from loving other people?\u201d Alexis said with a shrug. Well, a parent loving their child feels very different from loving a partner romantically, but go on. \u201cBesides, we are still very much in love. And if we are going to fall out of love with each other, it will happen whether there are other partners or not. Maybe the third partner will accelerate our ending, but she certainly wouldn\u2019t be the cause of it.\u201d I thought that made sense. But I was still curious. \u201cHow do you make your relationship work with multiple partners?\u201d My body still comatose on the bean bag like a Snorlax, I launched a barrage of questions. How does a polyamorous relationship work? \u201cCommunication is of utmost importance. It is extremely crucial that every individual is honest,\u201d Lennon shared. \u201cAlexis is my primary, and I make that very clear.\u201d Emma learned about Alexis in the very beginning. As soon as they started chatting via the app, Lennon told her straightforwardly that he already has a girlfriend. His girlfriend consents to him dating a secondary partner, but his primary girlfriend will always be the priority. So Emma is aware about the arrangement and, according to Lennon, has no issue with it. With one arm around Alexis, Lennon said, \u201cIt\u2019s very important to decide ahead. What does the secondary look for in this relationship? Is it emotional support? Sexual pleasure? It can be anything, but it must be clearly communicated in the beginning. No one relationship is the same, and it\u2019s really up to each couple to decide on their dynamics.\u201d I learnt from Lennon that this is actually a common arrangement for many polyamorous couples. Usually, the secondary partner wants the company without sacrificing their autonomy or independence, so for them, this arrangement is the best of both worlds. A person might opt to become a secondary partner for any reason \u2014 a highly demanding job, frequent travel, a time-consuming hobby, other partners \u2014 anything that might make a traditional monogamous relationship difficult. This plushie was hand-knitted with love by Emma for Lennon I eventually reached out to Emma to post a question to her: \u201cWhat do you value most? What do you look for in a romantic relationship? Feelings, sexual relations, financial security, or company?\u201d \u201cI\u2019ll say feelings and company,\u201d Emma replied. She has big plans for her life and has no capacity for a traditional monogamous relationship, but she appreciates the company. Presently, Lennon is her only romantic partner. I probed, \u201cWhat does being the primary mean?\u201d \u201cIt means that Alexis is the main priority in the relationship. We communicate very clearly on what we consent to or not,\u201d Lennon replied, then looked fondly at Alexis, giving her hand a squeeze. I listed four items and asked Alexis which she most valued being prioritized in: feelings, sexual relations, financial benefits, and company. \u201cI\u2019m going to say feelings,\u201d Alexis answered after a moment\u2019s thought. \u201cI also expect to be the one Lennon spends festive seasons with. Unless it\u2019s not an important festival to me. Once again, open communication.\u201d \u201cAlexis, do you worry about being replaced as the primary?\u201d \u201cNo,\u201d Alexis replied decisively. She even sniggered a little, amused that I would have this thought. \u201cIf he wants to replace me, he can do it at any time. He doesn\u2019t need a secondary to do that.\u201d \u201cWow, you must feel very secure to say that,\u201d I responded. \u201cI mean, if I worry about being replaced, it has nothing to do with the secondary. People can cheat or leave you at any time. Nothing to do with it being a polyamorous relationship,\u201d Alexis asserted. \u201cIf I get replaced, that means my relationship had an issue to begin with.\u201d I nod in agreement. Alexis continued, \u201cYou don\u2019t worry about D finding a new wife,\u201d referring to my husband. \u201cBut D doesn\u2019t have a secondary, so there is no present threat now,\u201d I said. \u201cBut you know he will get a new wife if he wants to, yet you\u2019re not worried. Like I said, if people want to replace, they\u2019ll do it anyway, under the guise of poly or plain old cheating. So I don\u2019t think being in a polyamorous relationship makes it more likely,\u201d Alexis said. \u201cAnyway, I don\u2019t want to be with someone who doesn\u2019t want me. I won\u2019t go kicking and screaming, begging to be taken back,\u201d Alexis finished. \u201cHow long do you expect to keep this polymarous lifestyle?\u201d As I asked this question, we were getting ready to crack open a bottle of Chivas Regal. \u201cWhere\u2019s the ice??\u201d shouted Alexis from the kitchen. \u201cFreezer! Down! Look down!\u201d I shouted back. Back to the conversation, Lennon said simply, \u201cThe limitation is free time.\u201d If time is abundant, Lennon told me, he\u2019d be happy to keep having secondaries, maybe even more than one. But time is not abundant, nor is energy. Lennon works in a fast-paced corporate job, so that has a tendency to seep one\u2019s energy. However, meeting girls is relaxing, especially on dating apps. \u201cI love dating apps. You learn so much by looking at a profile. An empty profile says plenty too. Of course, looks can attract me. Following that, how the person carries out the initial conversation \u2014 it makes sieving easy.\u201d Alexis returned, balancing two glasses of whiskey. I asked Alexis if she\u2019s going to find herself a secondary partner too, and she had the same thing to say: \u201cTime. If I have more time, why not? But now, I\u2019m really busy with work.\u201d \u201cWhen your relationship became polyamorous, did it change anything?\u201d \u00a0 \u201cOh definitely!\u201d Alexis and Lennon chorused. If anything, their relationship has actually improved. \u201cMe dating other girls actually intensifies the spotlight on how I\u2019ve been treating Alexis. When I do something for my secondary, I examine how I\u2019ve been to Alexis,\u201d Lennon told me. \u201cFor example, it took me dating other girls to discover that Alexis likes when I manja with her. Watching me manja with other girls compelled conversation on this.\u201d Alexis nodded in agreement. I nodded in understanding. I sipped on my whiskey, while Alexis and Lennon shared a glass between them. \u201cWhat would you say to other people who are also seeking a polyamorous relationship?\u201d \u201cThis is not for everyone. It takes a high level of confidence in yourself and your partner. The secondary partner must also have confidence in you.\u201d \u201cIf you have no emotional strength, get jealous easily, or don\u2019t have the stamina, don\u2019t do it,\u201d Lennon said simply. \u201cIf your partner does not consent to it, don\u2019t either,\u201d he continued. Lennon explained, \u201cConsent doesn\u2019t mean a reluctant yes, or saying yes to gain favour. If you have to think hard and weigh the pros and cons, then it\u2019s definitely not a yes.\u201d \u201cIn fact, Alexis said \u2018go find another girl!\u2019 many times before I actually believed her. \u201d Alexis cracked a smile at this. \u201cOh ya. Lennon didn\u2019t believe me when I said that I really don\u2019t mind.\u201d \u201cTell me anything else I should know.\u201d \u00a0 \u201cI\u2019m really grateful to Alexis, my sweet primary partner, for being understanding and supportive. She has always stood by my side through thick and thin. I can ask for no better.\u201d Over the years, I\u2019ve seen many unhappy relationships. Couples who stay in unhappy unions for whatever reasons\u2014bickering daily, drowning in unending dissatisfaction. But this couple before me was not one of them. I studied the way they playfully bantered and cuddled on my sofa. The piercing electricity that zapped through the air when they looked at each other, leaving behind the scent of roses. That\u2019s real love, folks. For more stories like this, read: Here\u2019s What Happened When One Malaysian Couple Experimented with Polyamory.