Unicorn Hunting

We all know the typical definition of “unicorn”. It’s that mythical creature we saw in movies as kids. It’s rare and special and carries with it a certain thought of something we’ll never be able to actually see. In the polyamorous community “unicorn” is a negative term. If you’ve ever looked at any type of personal ads you’ll sometimes see the letters “HBB”, which stand for “hot bi babe”. This is, essentially, a unicorn.


When someone is “unicorn hunting” it’s usually an established couple. This is what starts the negative connotations of the word. I will use words like “usually” and “typically” because there are people out there who don’t relate to this definition at all. I’ll get to them in a moment. Typically this established couple is searching for a woman to date both of them. In this manner they are quietly hoping for a woman who will blend in with their already existing relationship without much fuss and won’t have many thoughts or ideas of her own.

Post in any polyamorous forum about searching for “our third” and you will be shouted down as unicorn hunters and horrible people. To many, that means that you are looking for a woman who will do as you say and if she interferes with the “real relationship” between the two people in the couple, she will be dropped quicker than you can say “bisexual isn’t a real thing”.

There is another view on unicorns and that is more positive. I view myself as a unicorn. I am a bisexual woman who would be *willing* to date a man and a woman who are already a couple. That does not mean I would be willing to give up my thoughts, hopes, dreams, desires, and needs for this couple. Nor would I expect to be dumped as soon as there was a bump in the road.

Currently I’m involved in a triad relationship with my anchor partner and “our” girlfriend. I put “our” in quotes because of the negative feelings that can sometimes go along with that due to “typical unicorn hunters”. My boyfriend and I were not looking for a triad situation. We met a woman and *her* live in partner over the summer and my boyfriend struck up a rather flirtatious relationship with her. At first I thought maybe the two of them would date, but one night the three of us had some time to spend together and everything seemed right to strike up a relationship among the three of us.

Some might consider my girlfriend to be a unicorn. Some might not because of the circumstances and reasons for which our relationship started. Maybe some might view her and our boyfriend as the couple and me as “the third” or the unicorn. I’m fine with any of these scenarios. At the end of the day labels have very little say in my life, and polyamory is a custom job anyway. No two monogamous relationships are the same, so why would polyamorous ones be the same? Everyone is different. You can choose what type of relationship you want, with how many people, and how those dynamics will work.

Not only am I involved in a triad, I also have my own relationship with my anchor partner, another boyfriend whom I’m seeing long distance right now, and my separate relationship with my girlfriend since she and I spend a lot of time together on our own. There isn’t a “one size fits all” poly scenario, nor should there be.

So I’m officially taking back the “unicorn” term. I’m taking it back! I am a unicorn. I am fun and awesome and secure in who I am. It fits me, it works for me, and I like it. Others may not and I won’t judge them for that.

No matter which connotation you choose to identify with or define the term as, no one should be judged for either. Customize your life!

Jessie Ivanowski

Jessie Ivanowski is a polyamorous mom and stepmom living in New England with her Anchor, Jason. Recently addicted to Starbucks, and not-so-recently addicted to Chucks, she is looking into a twelve step program. She has, however, accepted that she can’t help starting ten books at once, getting lost in old shows on Netflix, and spending random game nights with friends. Her other passions include photography, home schooling, Magic the Gathering, and cultivating her son’s love of all things geeky. Currently studying to become a doula, she hopes to educate women as a birth assistant and also publish her novel about step families and polyamory.

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