Pregnant and polyamorous: On dating a potential lover while pregnant by your husband

Guest post by Cora B.
"Bun in the oven" card by Etsy seller Cardwerx
“Bun in the oven” card by Etsy seller Cardwerx

For the past two years, I’ve been able to maintain romantic relationships with men outside my marriage, as I’m non-monogamous though my husband is monogamous. My husband and I were a month into trying to conceive when we I peed on that stick and got the great news that I was pregnant. We read all the articles and listened to our doctors who warned that it could be six months-to-a-year before pregnancy so I was genuinely surprised I got pregnant so quickly.

As we sat looking at the third positive pregnancy test, I excitedly and nervously thought about who we would tell first: parents, siblings, in-laws, and that fantastic man who I started dating.

Yup, I was so pleased when I had a wonderful first date with Jeremiah about four and a half weeks before finding out I was pregnant. We had different goals to start — he was a married non-monogamous father with a wife who was poly; while I leaned towards the polyamory end of the spectrum with a monogamous husband. Despite that difference, I believed that a lover/friends-with-benefits-type of relationship could meet my needs.

Dating him was a delight, and then I got pregnant. I debated and decided that being pregnant would not be a barrier to pursuing him as a lover, my husband concurred — but I wasn’t sure if Jeremiah felt the same.

For a moment, I contemplated delaying telling Jeremiah until I absolutely had to — as in, when my belly started poking out. It had been some time since I found someone down-to-earth, emotionally stable, familiar with non-monogamy, cute, funny, and Black — like me. Why risk ruining things now when I might have a chance at a little fun, am I right? After all, we had only been on three dates — we might break up before I started showing for other reasons.

It was nerve-wracking, and, though I debated internally, I knew that I would tell him the next time we met. One of the foundations of any relationship — lust-based, love-based, or otherwise — should be complete honesty, and offering information so that any partners can make informed decisions. I would certainly want to know if situation was reverse.

Telling him was awkward as hell. I wanted to wait until the end of the date and let him sit on it for a few days, but mid-date when he asked, “What was new?” I couldn’t just say lie and say, “Nothing.” So I just spit it out.

I could see the gears turning as he pondered the news, and announced that it was good I didn’t tell him towards the end of the date so that we could sit on the news together. He asked questions. He told me funny and real stories about his wife’s labor, and the early months with his child. He teased me about changes to come. My eyes watered with laughter. While still nervous about what decision might be; I exhaled and relaxed and enjoyed him the rest of our date. He didn’t share his internal thoughts but he decided that my pregnancy wouldn’t be a barrier — not right now anyway.

Being in a non-traditional relationships can be trying at times and while I’m happy that Jeremiah decided he would continue to see me, I would have totally understood if he had decided otherwise. As my husband and I continue forward with our family and life, it will always be interesting to see how life’s milestones are introduced into my non-traditional romantic relationships.

Oh but pregnancy and dating is totally not just a poly experience! How have you dealt with breaking the news of your bun in the oven with your dates?

Comments on Pregnant and polyamorous: On dating a potential lover while pregnant by your husband

  1. What is the difference between non-monogamous and poly? I’ve never heard them as separate things before.

    • In non-monogamy, there is less of an emotional commitment; it’s more about a casual relationship (in my experience). However, everyone does their own polyamory thing differently.

      • Actually, non-monogamy is an umbrella term for anything that’s not, well, monogamy. It might be emotionally involved or less so. Some people just prefer that term over others. Polyamory is a specific type of ethical non-monogamy that usually includes some degree of both emotional and sexual openness with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved, and can be done in many different ways as well. Often the two terms are used interchangeably (along with “poly” as a shorthand), especially in longer articles like this where using the same word over and over would be “mono-tonous”.

  2. I think it was a good idea you were up front with him about the pregnancy. If you held off saying it until you were showing, he might have felt randomly cornered (ex. “I’ll look like a jerk if I suddenly break up with this heavily pregnant lady”)

  3. Totally non-judgmental question. I’m an anthropologist and just genuinely curious. In a poly situation how does paternity certainty factor in when a husband/wife are trying to conceive? Is the possibility of the wife “accidentally ” getting pregnant with the lover considered an acceptable risk? Do many husbands genuinely not care about paternity certainty? In some polyandrious (many husbands) cultures a woman marries a group of brothers so it doesn’t matter who the father is, they are all related. I’m happy you have a situation that works for you, and I wish you luck.

    • This is entirely a case by case situation dependent on each relationship. However, “What happens if you get knocked up by someone else/where we don’t know the paternity?” is a possibility that should at least be explored, if not resolved, as part of the poly process. ESPECIALLY if you’re going to be fluid bonded to multiple partners. Sometimes, though, the answer really is “I don’t know how I’ll feel about it.”

    • For my family at least right now… In our poly contract my husband is the only one who would have paternity. Any other partners would use condoms while we tried to conceive or just refrain from penetration. We also decided that if pregnancy occurred outside of any other serious relationships then we would hunker down and just focus on the two of us (and our family) and reopen back up a few months after the baby is born.

    • For my husband and I, our agreement is that while we’re trying to get pregnant and I’m not on hormonal birth control, I will not have PIV intercourse with any biological penises. For us, having 2 forms of birth control (pill and condom, for example) is an acceptable risk, but having only one (condom) isn’t. My other partners knew this ahead of time and participated in the discussion.

    • I’m poly and pregnant and feel qualified to answer! Heheh. When my husband and I started trying, we discussed what would be appropriate protection. I used condoms only with my other male partner. My husband strongly feels that any child of mine will be ‘his’, regardless of biological inheritance. I feel the same, but would also like to be sure I know my daughter’s father so I can make sure she has the health information she might need in the future.

    • To be honest, I had thought about that luckily Jeremiah and I had not yet had sex when I get pregnant so it wasn’t really a concern. My husband definitely expressed concern about that possibility and let it be known it would be a dealbreaker. Luckily, I’ve used condoms for 10+ years with no accidents, slip ups or issues. Certainly, though it is different for each pair.

    • I had this exact situation happen last year. My husband and I are polyamourous, (happily married 13 years.) Last summer I fell in love with a new partner, and we became intimate. Like any responsible adult, I went it to get on birth control, and have everything checked out. I had a baby girl just 6 months prior. My new boyfriend and I used spermicide each time we had sex. My husband and I rarely bother because I suffer from infertility, took YEARS to conceive our two daughters plus fertility drugs, OPI strips, timed sex, etc.
      Imagine my shock and surprise when my Of calls me up and says……”We found something……. Congratulations! You are pregnant! ” I was scared. I wasn’t ready to be pregnant so soon. And I had no idea if the baby was my husband’s, or my new boyfriend! It was embarrassing. I was afraid how they would react.
      I am super blessed! They were shocked…..but oh so supportive. 🙂 Both were present during the first sonogram. They attended other appointments with me. When it came time to reliever, BOTH were present at the birth. (Nurses were confused and bewildered.) It was wonderful. They both love me, and this sweet boy we brought into the world, who is now 5 months old. We are a family. It truly didn’t matter who the dad was, we did give the baby my husband’s last name. (We did have paternity testing done and my husband IS the father!) He is the father of all three of my kids. He is an amazing husband and father.
      My boyfriend is just as wonderful, he loves and helps care for our children. We have talked about the possibility of having a child someday together, but not for several years down the road.
      We are a family, and my children and I are so lucky!!!

  4. I want to wish you good luck!
    I was in a similar situation this summer. My husband and I had just started a polyamorous relationship with two friends when I got pregnant. We decided it wouldn’t change anything, and to continue on. I was nervous as heck telling my boyfriend, but turns out he was quite excited!
    I was actually the only one of us who didn’t have a biological child and I was really happy to have so many people loving and supporting me.

    Then, it turned out that pregnancy made my husband incredibly protective over me and he just wasn’t ok with me being with another man while I was pregnant. He tried so very hard to be ok with it, but it was killing him. It also brought up a lot of old stuff he hadn’t quite dealt with and he actually went on anti depressants. After about 3-4 months of back and forth, we called it, with hopes to try again when things settle down.

    I know in my heart it can be done, but only if everyone is on board and ok with it! I’m still disappointed, so I wish you so much love and light. It makes me happy to know other people are making it work!

    • Thank you for sharing this. This would’ve been my husband and mine’s first child and I often wondered how things would change once the pregnancy progressed. Interesting how things change once you are actually in the situation versus talking about it, despite best intentions.

  5. I’m glad to read this because there were many similarities with my situation. I actually had a great pregnancy because I had a casual thing with a second guy. I still think of that time in my life with great nostalgia.

  6. Thank you all for sharing your stories! I’m in an open marriage and my husband and I are just starting to try to get pregnant and I’ve had so much anxiety about how I’ll handle things. Being open and non-monogamous is such a core part of who I am, and I’ve been worried about ‘losing’ myself through pregnancy. It’s so helpful to hear all of your stories and know there are other women out there like me! 🙂

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