Jidenna is the latest celebrity to join the conversation around polyamory. I’ve been trying for the life of me to figure out why this has become such a hot topic recently – especially among celebrities, with stars like Neyo and Nick Cannon being vocal about their desire for non-monogamy. Was it the pandemic? Is there some trend happening on TikTok I don’t know about? Has TLC come up with another show?
In any event, the few shows the network has had around polygamy have done a lot to reduce the stigma. Keyword: reduce. Shows like Sister Wives, Seeking Sister Wife and a host of others have shown that polyamorous families can be fully-functioning and even beneficial at times.
When I started tuning into Seeking Sister Wife, I was amazed at how well the families seemed to make it work. There was an even split between chores, the families took turns caring for children and even had a sex schedule to make sure everyone got equal time. Not to mention the added financial benefit of having an entire “extra” household salary whenever a working partner is brought into the family.
Don’t get me wrong, the concept is still not for me, personally, but I see how it can work for people. And I suppose celebrities, too, can enjoy polyamorous relationships.
In the latest episode of Bumble’s Luv2SeeIt podcast, hosted by Teyana Taylor, Jidenna opened up about his journey to polyamory and his current relationship status. He had some interesting things to say about the lifestyle, including the fact that he wasn’t polyamorous when he first started dating his current partner.
“When I met her she had two boyfriends,” he said, explaining that he was curious and in the process of actively seeking a woman who was polygamous or had had polygamous experiences before. “I was excited about that,” he added.
He described his partner, who he is now exclusive with, “evolving out” of those relationships, leading to the pair’s mutual decision to be exclusive. But Jidenna says that exclusivity is subject to change.
“Right now, people look at me and [my exclusive partner], and they’re like ‘Wow, y’all are monogamous,’ and I’m like – maybe. But we reserve the right to evolve,” he said.
Teyana asked him about what it might look like if either of them decide that they’re ready to be polyamorous again. Despite saying he wouldn’t be ready for that kind of change within the next year, he says it’s something couples have to discuss. This, precisely, is where I find myself the most curious about polyamory - how does something like this play out?
It’s an answer I’ve gotten, in part, from TLC shows. Watching these families navigate, or even recall bringing someone else into their relationship is incredibly fascinating. Seeking Sister Wife follows the lives and relationships of polyamorous couples looking to add another woman to their family. One family in particular, the Epps, has decided they’d like a third woman in the family. As I watch, I can not only see the insecurity and frustration of India, who was most recently added to the family, but I can feel her angst, as Marcus refuses to respect the curfew the throuple established as he is courting new women.
This is all despite her and her sister wife setting up dates for his potential suitors, inviting these women over for dinner and conversation, and having group discussions about what this transition and their new family might look like.
Another couple, Tosha and Sidian Jones, really cast polyamory in a positive light. Things aren’t messy, they seem so genuine and you can really feel the couple’s love for each other. Despite their first sister wife leaving them due to the lifestyle becoming too much for her to handle, they persisted in their efforts to find another woman to join their relationship. They met a stunning woman called Arielle online and Sidian, with Tosha’s permission, travelled to the Philippines to meet her. He ended up proposing and immediately after, the two video-called Tosha, who stayed in the U.S. to announce the news. It was an emotional, celebratory call where you could genuinely feel Tosha’s excitement over her new sister wife.
To Jidenna’s point about needing to have these discussions about how you and your partner evolve, evolution in a relationship isn’t exclusive to polyamorists. Monogamous couples evolve and change all the time. That can look like going from boyfriend and girlfriend to getting engaged, ultimately deciding to become spouses, or maybe adopting a pet.
“You have to make a safe space for each of your primal desires,” Jidenna says, that vulnerability and communication is the most important thing in any relationship. “Whether it’s wanting to have a child, wanting to be with someone else or having a certain kink in the bedroom.”
Jidenna described his initial mistakes when he tried polyamory before. “I used to date monogamous women and tell them later,” he said with a vigorous head shake. “A lot of heartbreak that way.”
That’s where the other celebrities like Neyo and Nick Cannon, who I’ve written about before, get brought into the conversation. These are men who have historically dated monogamous women despite wanting more than one partner, leading to very public fallout.
“That’s where you run into problems,” Jidenna said about not being honest and upfront with your intentions in the first place. “When I first started, I had the basic dream of threesomes. But then I realized I really wanted to have a romantic relationship with another woman,” he explained.
It seems like Jidenna took an honest look at what his intentions were and decided to explore that, as did the families in Seeking Sister Wife. It’s the reason why, despite their lifestyles not being something I could ever imagine myself in, I do respect it. Because you have a group of consenting adults trying to figure out what they like, how they want to live their lives and raise their families, and they establish boundaries to operate within so everyone can feel comfortable (looking at you, Marcus Epps, the curfew breaker).
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is a lot to be learned from reality TV, even if it’s just another perspective on a life that isn't necessarily for you.