Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

'I'm polyamorous, why should I limit my love?'

Oliver, Noni and Morgan holding hands
Image caption Oliver, Noni and Morgan are in a polyamorous relationship

Noni is polyamorous - she has two boyfriends and is committed to them both equally.

The 23-year-old, who lives in North Berwick, says she felt trapped and claustrophobic in monogamous relationships, no matter how much in love she was.

She tells the BBC Scotland documentary Love Unlimited: "There is nothing wrong with one partner.

"I just don't see why I should artificially limit the amount of love that I put out into the world.

"I'm greedy. I like people liking me."

Open relationship

Polyamory is having more than one romantic relationship at a time.

Noni says it could include non-monogamous practices such as swinging but for her there is an "ethical" dimension that means the relationships themselves are important.

Image caption Morgan and Noni both have other partners

Noni is in relationships with Morgan, a 27-year-old administrator, and Oliver, a 24-year-old drama graduate.

She met Morgan through dating app Tinder when she lived in Dundee a couple of years ago.

Morgan had been with girlfriend Hannie for four years when he met Noni - and they are still together.

"Hannie introduced me to the idea of polyamory," says Morgan.

"When I mention that to some people they are quite surprised because they think open relationships, polyamory, that's clearly the man's idea because it's lots of sex, right?

"Lots of communication, a little more sex," he says.

'Mutual joy'

Noni says Morgan is very good at "emotional communication", which has helped them maintain their relationship even though Noni has moved away to study drama in Edinburgh.

According to Morgan, Hannie, who is not currently seeing anyone else, is "happy for him" to have a relationship with Noni.

He says: "She is very encouraging, she is very supportive. There is a lot of mutual joy in all of it."

Image caption Noni has been seeing Oliver for about 18 months

Oliver is Morgan's meta - this is the polyamory term for the partner of one's partner, with whom one does not share a direct sexual or loving relationship.

Oliver has been seeing Noni for about 18 months.

They met during the Edinburgh Fringe a couple of years ago and got together after appearing in a show together in 2016.

Oliver says Noni was clear from the start of their relationship that she was polyamorous.

"That was who Noni was and it's fine," he says.

Oliver says that falling for someone who already has another partner took some careful consideration.

"It wasn't that it was a problem, it was more the idea 'could this become a problem?'," he says.

"Because when you start off seeing someone it is one thing but as it gets increasingly serious there was the question of 'I'm fine with it now but could I become jealous? Could I start seeing this differently?

"But then I just decided I liked Noni and to just go with it."

As it is an open relationship, Oliver is free to date other people too, if and when he wants to.

"If something happens, then something happens but I'm not on the lookout," he says.

"At the same time, I'm not closed off to the idea either."

Noni says she thinks she would be really happy if he met someone nice.

Different form

Although Noni sees Oliver far more often, because he lives much closer, she speaks to Morgan every day.

She says there is no favouritism and the relationship she has with each is vastly different.

"I could not tell you what I liked more between chocolate and theatre," she says.

Image caption Noni says safe sex is very important when you are part of a "daisy chain"

"That's the way I see it. No matter how much I love one, that's not going to mean the other will fade away.

"It might take on a different form but they are still just as important to me."

Noni adds: "I'm committed to them both in very different ways but fundamentally not one more than the other."

Another "ethical" aspect of polyamory that is important to Noni is to protect each other from sexually transmitted diseases.

She says: "Using condoms and letting your partners know who you are or are not using condoms with is a necessity to practising polyamory in a way that is safe and ethical because obviously if I mess up and catch something then that risks my partner's health and that risks my meta's health and so on."

Although she is only 23, Noni insists that polyamory is a lifestyle choice she intends to continue and does not think it is incompatible with raising a family.

She says: "I know people who are polyamorous and have children.

"There is an assumption that polyamory is an overtly sexual thing which it does not have to be. You don't have to have an orgy house."

"It is really outdated to think a child needs one mother and one father."

Monogamous country

Noni says polyamory is not actually new but it is still taboo, though that could be changing.

"People have been practising polyamory for as long as people have existed," she says.

"But Scotland is very much a monogamous country.

"The more we engage with people and talk about it, the more accepted it is going to become, slowly but surely.

"I would not say we are blazing a trail but we are definitely creating an environment that allows for a healthy community."

Love Unlimited is on BBC Two Scotland on Wednesday 7 February at 21:00 and on the iplayer.

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