How to Care for Your Unicorn
by Michael Love
Unicorn: Colloquial usage: Describes a single female usually bi-sexual who is expected to have sexual interaction with both people in a couple, and is often times expected to remain exclusive to the couple. They are so incredibly rare they are thought not to exist.
It is a common phrase used in our communities. Women who fit the definition of “Unicorn” are actually fairly common, just the expectations that many people place on them drive them away. Sometimes driving them completely out of our communities and our lifestyle entirely. The following example is a great way to run off your potential unicorn…
I recently encountered someone, a female, who is new to Ethical Non-monogamy. For her privacy I will generalize the situation, and not name her, or reveal any details about her situation that may identify her. She was approached by a couple awhile back who identified themselves as being Poly. They started dating and all was going well. The couple started to seek out dates with other couples outside of the triad relationship, sometimes she was brought along sometimes not. Then one day she met someone, the male half of another couple that she was interested in, and expressed a desire to date outside of their play dynamic. Both the husband and the wife in the couple blew up at her… from the sounds of it, things got really ugly, to a point where the relationship ended. This all happened because this woman wanted to engage in non-monogamy separately from the couple. She was accused of cheating, and being unethical, and slut-shamed. Nevermind the fact that the couple were not being exclusive to the Triad, the “Unicorn” was expected to remain captive.
The woman, being new to Polyamory, is wondering if this behavior is common. She asked if it was a challenge to find people who communicate well, who respect other people’s thoughts and feelings.
Sadly this is a common situation that we see more than I would like in certain situations. ”Unicorn hunters” as we often call them are couples that only seek out that single bisexual female. Everyone has their own reasons for what they search for and that is up to them… But if you are a single female in this lifestyle, it is a behavior that you need to be mindful of. This is especially true, in regard to those who would limit or restrict you if that is not acceptable to you. It is not acceptable to most people in Ethical Non-monogamy.
It would seem that this couple described above did as many couples do… Found their bisexual female, their “unicorn,” and then tried to keep her in captivity, limiting her from outside interaction and outside connection for fear that she would “escape.” It’s amazing to me how many people think that this is okay behavior. Where a couple can be non-monogamous outside of their relationship with as many people as they want, but when they find a unicorn they expect her to be exclusive. It’s no small wonder that this causes a lot of hard feelings, and emotional trauma. Double standards should never be acceptable in any relationship, especially not those in ethical non-monogamy.
Don’t mistake this with a situation that is a negotiated close triad. That is something completely different as long as everyone is 100% in agreement on the closed relationship. These are often well agreed on boundaries, and rules, and most times if there is a case where one of the partners decides they want to open that up, it is either negotiable or the triad is dissolved.
Where emotional trauma comes in is when the will of others is imposed upon one person, and that should never be acceptable, because what this woman experienced is the end result.
My advice to this person and to any other people out there who are feeling oppressed in this way, is to demand your personal autonomy. Stand up for it like it is your very freedom… because it is. Anyone worthy of you should respect you, and should respect your autonomy and your ability to exercise your non-monogamy every bit as much as they do. Anyone who doesn’t isn’t worth your time, or your attention… There are plenty of others out there that are looking for you.
Communication is critical, I’m glad this person realizes that. I hope that they do not let the behavior of this couple taint their opinion of the community in general.
I have a girlfriend who is a unicorn. While some consider that to be a derogatory term, she embraces it. It’s who she is. She is a single bisexual female, but she does not have sex with my wife, or any of my other partners at this point. The difference for her as opposed to many unicorns is that she has her free will. She can choose whomever she likes, she makes her choices about who she interacts with and who she has sex with and who she has relationships with. We are not together because she feels captive and trapped, quite the opposite actually. We are together and she enjoys this relationship, because she feels that her autonomy is respected.
I would challenge any single bisexual female to demand that of any one that they interact with. Demand your autonomy, demand that your free will is respected. In this way you should always put yourself first. In much the same way that a lot of couples “Demand” that their primary couple is respected, your primary relationship is with yourself… even if your ultimate goal is to find your own primary partner someday.
How do you find healthy partners who will respect this? The same way you do in any other dating situation. You cast your line, reel one in, measure them up… and if they don’t meet your needs in a way that respects you and your other relationships (even the one with yourself) then throw them back and cast your line again… life is about the journey, not the easy end result. Never settle for less than what you deserve, especially if it limits you in ways you don’t want to be limited.