I’m in a relationship with the man in the photo, John Romaniello.
John and I met a few years ago through mutual friends. Both being in the fitness industry and not knowing anything about one another created an uproar in our mutual friends.
“You don’t know Roman?”
“You don’t know Bucci?”
So, we met for coffee.
This isn’t a story of love at first site or whirlwind romance. Our first meeting was entirely pleasant, but beyond laughing at how many mutual friends we had and how shocked they were John and I hadn’t already me, it was unremarkable.
Rather than sparks or intense chemistry, there was an immediate feeling of mutual respect. Whatever tacit attraction either might have existed between us, it wasn’t charged enough to notice.
Sometimes coffee is just coffee.
We were two busy entrepreneurs living our lives and running our businesses. So despite the commonality of our network, we left the cafe having established a foundation of familiarity, with no expectation beyond that.
In fact, for quite a while after, we had very little contact.
Whether this was the universe guiding things or simply coincidence, the truth is neither of us had space for depth, as we were both undergoing a lot of changes in our respective lives.
Little did we know, we were having the experiences that would teach and shape each of us in the exact ways we needed—both to further our development as individuals, and to be right for one another.
During the year subsequent to that first meeting, I underwent a series of deep and expansive changes, most of which had to do with my relationships. Both with others and in terms of how those affected my relationship with myself.
First there was the ending of the longest romantic partnership I’d had. Both the relationship and its completion taught me so much.
That break-up was followed by a series of relationships, both romantic and professional. None of them were overly long, but they were all incredibly intense. Each taught me so much—and having all of them begin, expand, and reach a point of logical completion or necessary termination in such concentration and such rapid succession forced a tremendous amount of growth internally. This is what I consider my spiritual awakening (more on this in a later post).
The relational experiences I was having were rocking my world, and—as painful as they were—I felt like they took me quickly from one level, to about 3 more above where I’d been previously playing.
By the time late summer rolled around, I remember looking up at the sky and speaking to the Universe, saying, “I’m ready for my next big challenge. I’m open to any challenging growth experiences that come by way. Bring it on, bitch.”
And brought it was.
It was right around then John entered my life more fully.
Over the course of the year, our professional worlds had drifted a bit more closely to one another: speaking at the same event, having a shared client, grabbing lunch when in the same city.
And then something shifted. Some feeling or signal or energetic expansion happened, and we started popping up on each other’s radar more often. And both seemed intent to lean into it, not guessing what it might become.
Seeds of a real friendship had been planted, but it was still very much in the nascent stages.
We began friendly-chatting through Instagram DM, the same way just about everyone does: responding to each other’s stories, sending each other funny videos, tagging each other in memes. Rapport-building in the age of social media.
At some point, things began to escalate. Occasional DMs turned into deep and lengthy conversations. Funny comments gave way to flirtation.
It was fun and free and familiar. Mostly.
But there was a component to it all that was entirely new: polyamory.
John was, at the time, in a polyamory romantic partnership with another woman—a woman who was completely aware of and supportive of our developing connection.
This was, apparently, the challenge for which I’d asked the Universe.
For context the definition, according to the dictionary:
Polyamory (from Greek πολύ poly, “many, several”, and Latin amor, “love”) is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved. It has been described as “consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy.
(Note: more resources on understanding polyamory at the bottom.)
And a more general connotative description:
People who identify as polyamorous believe in an open relationship with conscious management of jealousy; they reject the view that sexual and relational exclusivity are necessary for deep, committed, long-term loving relationships.
Its usage reflects the choices and philosophies of the individuals involved, but with recurring themes or values, such as love, intimacy, honesty, integrity, equality, communication, and commitment.
Now, of course, because John has been openly polyamorous on his platform for a good while, I knew he was in a relationship and had met his partner.
In fact, knowing they were polyamorous and having previously had conversations about it with both of them (well before anything beyond friendship began to emerge between John and me) was a contributing factor in the way things developed.
Having awareness of their setup was a permission slip to vocalize my attraction to and interest in John. Knowing the openness of their relationship structure made it feel safe for the conversation to expand into flirtation.
And expand it did. Quickly.
Our conversations deepened further, our flirtation intensified. Our mutual attraction, now acknowledged, amplified.
Romance was in the air. Heart’s open, our connection grew, and we fell in love.
The loving and falling in love part of this story truly felt like a cosmic boom. It was magical. Everything about it felt right. Every intuitive part of me knew: my soul already knew this man.
It was a full-body “fuck yes.”
I felt everything I thought I was supposed to feel, like my heart constantly overflowing with love, feeling the connection from miles away, the excitement and relief of seeing the relationship have the potential to be the one that lasts.
Falling in love felt like I had finally made it home.
So here I was: fully in love, yet fully aware of the fact that I was stepping into the unknown of how the hell to be in a new relationship with someone, who was in a relationship with someone else.
Loving him was easy. The relationship was not.
Polyamory was a completely new concept for me to understand (especially without having had any prior experience), but I was most certainly intrigued and ready to learn.
I said to myself, “Alright self, let’s figure out how to do this whole love-someone-whose-dating-someone-else-across-the-country-and-seeing-if-you-can-handle-it thing.”
(I’m not really one to turn something down just because it seems “challenging.”)
Little did I know, “challenging” was an understatement.
Challenging is being in a long-distance relationship, and missing that person with every fiber of your being when you’re not together.
This was kind of like that, but add in a dash of excruciating pain and complete break down of every old identity you’ve ever held onto.
This experience, for me, included:
- Being in love with someone who lives across the country.
- Being in love with someone who was in love with someone else.
- Not running away because it felt hard.
- Determining what I was okay with and not okay with.
- Speaking up for (and encouraged by them) what I wanted.
- Navigating my own sexuality and questioning if I may be different from my previous identification.
- Asking myself: why do I need this? Do I really need this? Where does this need come from?
- Deciphering how to be in this while staying in integrity with my soul, not letting my ego get in the way.
- Shifting my perspective on how I viewed the world into something totally new.
- Healing the parts of myself that were insecure, jealous, or scared.
- Unraveling societal conditioning, and re-raveling it into whatever my new beliefs were.
And most importantly: TRULY discerning if polyamory was actually for me, or to take this as a divine opportunity to evolve?
Plot Twist: I’m heartbroken.
And around November, things took a turn.
All three of us worked and processed and tried every which way to see if our situation could work, but ultimately: we all decided (myself included) it would be best if I took a step back, and allowed them to work on their relationship without me in it.
This was logical.
I was heartbroken.
I flew back home to LA with a lump in my throat the entire ride home.
When I got home, I had to process the break-up.
I cried some more.
I went to the beach, soaked up the sun.
I went to yoga and breath work.
I saw my amazing friends.
I dove back into work.
I did therapy.
I re-connected to the love I have for myself.
And, I detached.
Which was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do.
If you’ve ever experienced a break up you did not actually want, you may be able to understand what it felt like.
In typical Amanda fashion: I went to three places to work on processing my emotions.
My best friend, my therapist, and most importantly: my journal.
Journaling is where I can access my inner wisdom, my highest self, and all other aspects I have inside to coach myself through almost anything.
It’s kinda the secret sauce.
Anyway: I wrote and wrote and processed and wrote some more, all to come to a pretty particular inquiry.
Question: what does this mean?
“If John and I never got back together—it never worked out, he just wasn’t right for me, it just wasn’t meant to be—would I willingly bring open / polyamory into a new relationship, without him being the one to ask for it?”
And although the experience brought up some of the most difficult moments of my life, my answer was undoubtedly yes.
This experience has been completely my own, and my newfound understanding of this relationship context by no means diminishes the beauty of monogamy or any other relationship set up or dynamic.
But, here’s what I’ve discovered:
The beauty of polyamory and the open relationship is that it’s built on the foundation that love doesn’t fit into a box.
And the Truth is: Love and relationships are the most powerful containers for growth, awakening, and connection— and if we’re going to grow, we can’t ever truly know who we’re going to grow into.
I believe in commitment, and committed relationships.
I believe also believe that, with the freedom to be completely open about my growth, needs, desires, and the Truth of who I are and who I’m becoming…
…I can fall even deeper into trust, connection, love, and real safety. The safety to be completely me, without apology, and with full acceptance.
So long as everything is a conscious choice (and NOT the societal “default”), discussed in detail, made sure to be crystal clear, and there is nothing but brutal honesty–for the sake of being 100% truthful and fulfilled—you can create the right relationship dynamic for you, and it is worth it on the other side.
For me, wanting to have sex with more people isn’t a massive motivation or driver (I mean, desiring novelty is quite normal for most people and I’m no exception) but for me—the freedom to be completely true to myself, and for my partner to have that same freedom, is what drives my interest in exploring this lifestyle.
Monogamy is also a beautiful, challenging spiritual practice many people choose by consciously committing to each other every single day, going back to each other and find deeper fulfillment in different places in each other, finding ways to keep things fresh and deeply loving and honest for the rest of your lives.
However: there is also a very obvious high rate of divorce, along with a phenomenon of serial monogamy.
I’m no relationship expert, but from what I’ve seen and read—monogamy isn’t the one and only way relationships can and get to work.
Neither is better than the other.
And figuring out this ALONE, was worth the exploration.
The plot thickens.
As it so happens, the next person with whom I’d be in a relationship was John.
We began again as friends, which had challenges unto itself. When things ended between John and his partner, I wanted to support and comfort him, human to human. He maintained his distance, taking time to mourn the relationship and give himself an opportunity to process.
More growth. More learning. Time spent dating other people, honing in on the questions these experiences could help me answer about myself.
When things felt right, we decided to see one another. And both knew immediately we wanted to enter into a romantic partnership of co-creation.
And now, we’re figuring out what this means for us.
Whether we’re actively seeing other people or not, we’re both invested in our relationship and working to make it stronger.
We’re constantly working on being emotionally open, vulnerable, and honest.
We’re sharing our needs, opening up about our challenges, and having consistent conversations in order to stay in a place of loving as much as humanly possible.
We’re trusting each other to always stay in integrity with their word, along with taking actions that are in the best interest for the good of the individual and for the partnership.
Not only that, but I’m personally actively developing the relationship I have with myself with regard to what this relationship container means for me as a person, a woman, and a sexual being. As is he with himself.
We get to determine what we want, and how to intentionally create it as a unit.
I’m SO excited to explore this even more, and even more so to do it alongside the person I love.
And man. I love this guy. And he loves me.
Whatever type of love or relationship container you currently have, are looking for, or are curious about—I hope you find it, and get to be in something as exciting, scary, and challenging as I’m having.
This feels like a “coming out” story. It’s scary.
Sharing this article about my romantic partnership isn’t just a cute announcement post.
(I mean, we are pretty cute, but…)
For me, it’s sharing parts of my life I haven’t before publicly.
Parts of myself I’m newly discovering, and am still in process with.
Openly being in a relationship dynamic that’s not societally accepted yet.
It’s standing in the vulnerability of that, owning that it’s something I’m proud of.
And standing proudly in it because I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m choosing it because I want to.
I’m more fulfilled than I’ve ever been.
Not only do I have a partner who “checks all my boxes,” but goes above and beyond by making me feel completely seen, powerfully honored, safety within our relationship container, appreciates me for how I love him, inspires me to be better, and loves me for who I truly am. Mess and all.
The person I get to be while in this relationship is someone who sees another human being for exactly who they are, rather than through attachment, projections, needs, and insecurities.
The fulfillment I get from loving him and being loved by him is beyond measure. It’s an overflow of loving energy—almost to the point where my heart sometimes feels like it’s going to burst.
We’re both still learning and breaking past our old patterns—but, we get to support each other in doing that, while consciously co-creating exactly what we want.
And now, We Get To Be Us.
I’m imagining an inbox flooded with questions, so If you want any resources on polyamorous relationships – here are some that have really helped me below:
- Relationship & Poly Books
- Aubrey Marcus’ Podcast (with his fiancé, Whitney Miller, who both openly share about their open relationship.)
Amanda Bucci is a business coach who helps people master the art of business growth, social media strategy, and personal development. Check her out on instagram, it may quickly become your new favorite follow.