I’m Not the One To ‘Spice Up’ Your Failing Relationship With

Alison Sparks
6 min readJan 24, 2022


Let’s talk about unicorns and threesomes — all exciting stuff, right? Well, just like any sexual endeavour, things can get messy here as well. In case you weren’t familiar with the term ‘unicorn’ in the dating field, it usually describes a bisexual person who joins a heterosexual couple in their sexual escapades. Now, let’s start from the beginning!

I had been curious about polyamory for a long time, but in 2021 my interest was piqued enough to actually get out there and do something about. However, I wasn’t quite sure where to start and what red flags to look out for, so I simply kept using the same dating apps with a more open mind. Perhaps, if a good-looking couple was looking for the third, I’d consider joining in. But only if it felt right.

Maybe I should point out that in 2021, at least in the first half, my love life was more like a bad rollercoaster that made me throw up several times during the ride. The relationship that I was hoping to last had gradually fizzled out, but we still went through periods when I felt like things could be fixed. During this frustrating time of back and forth, I found my way to dating apps again.

First pit stop, you guessed it, was Tinder. Did I hate it? Yes. Did it stop me from using it? No. While there are countless dating apps on the market, very few of them seem to have a decently sized active user base, which is why I keep coming back to the same 3–4 apps all the time. Believe me — I wish I could branch out, but even the most promising dating app is useless when it only seems to have 15 active users all over the world. So, to Tinder I went!

The rise of unicorn hunters in the post-pandemic world

First, take the phrase ‘post-pandemic world’ with a grain of salt. While the pandemic is clearly not over yet, a lot of things, including our dating habits, have changed in the past two years.

The very first thing I noticed after coming back to Tinder during this period was the amount of couples looking for the third ‘to spice up their relationship’. Considering that Tinder has never aimed to be an app for polyamorous people, this caught me off guard slightly. However, I did not see the very obvious red flag the phrase ‘looking to spice up our relationship’ carried. Being completely inexperienced in the polyamorous dating field, I had no idea that some couples were hunting unicorns for all the wrong reasons. I found that out the hard way.

First unicorn experience with an older couple

I should probably point out that in summer of 2021 I was not exclusively looking for couples to date. At the time, I was open to dating people of all genders — coupled or not. The most important thing to me was chemistry.

It didn’t take me long to start talking to this gorgeous 31-year-old Italian woman on Tinder who was there, looking for a girl to play with her and her 36-year-old boyfriend. Honestly, being 22 years old at the time, I wasn’t even expecting to match with them, but it happened. After a few days of exchanging messages, first on Tinder and then in a WhatsApp group chat, we decided to meet up.

We met up for some food and drinks one afternoon, and all seemed to be great from the start. I was excited to find myself to be attracted to both of them equally, and enjoyed my time with them. When I finally had to catch a train to go home, I spontaneously decided to stay with them instead. As you can imagine, that did lead to my first ever threesome later that night, which was twice as exciting because I never had even kissed a woman before.

After our first date, I was riding the high for a while and couldn’t wait to see them again. It didn’t take long for the second date to place. Unfortunately, this is where things started to come crashing down. We started the night in town, looking for a place to have drinks at, but nearly all the bars seemed to be full. After 10 to 15 minutes of searching, the guy started to complain, which instantly brought my mood down. His girlfriend tried to calm him down like a mother would cater to a spoiled child, and I bit my tongue, trying to keep my true thoughts to myself.

As the evening went by, no amount of drinks could prevent me from seeing the obvious mother-son dynamic. Why was I even here? Did they not notice how weird this was when a 36-year-old man was throwing a temper tantrum, expecting his girlfriend to act like a concerned mother? Now that I look back at this several months later, I draw some parallels between their relationship and my parents’ relationship. The younger, dominant woman and the older man who never really managed to grow up. What a pattern!

Although that evening ended up with more sex, I still felt like they were too preoccupied with their own things to really pay attention to me. The only highlight of the second date happened when the guy went to sleep in his room, and I gave his girlfriend head until she came. The next day wasn’t any more exciting, and eventually I went home, feeling quite disappointed.

I’m a person, not a ‘spice’ to add to your relationship

Soon after that second date, I broke things off. The lack of honest communication just put a big, red cross over this fling. It took me a while to process the emotions I felt throughout and after this encounter, but now they are finally clear.

Being a third who is treated more like a sex toy that can be put aside when you’re done felt humiliating. Entering this type of dynamic for the first time was scary enough, and without open communication and reassurance it kind of crushed me. Being their unicorn felt like I didn’t have the right to get my needs met because I was there to meet theirs. Nothing else. I felt inferior, and when I finally tried to communicate my concerns, their response made me feel guilty, as if I was asking for too much.

Luckily, I have realized that not all couples behave this way and asking for good communication and assurance is not too much. While I may not be someone’s primary or even secondary partner, I am still a person who deserves to be treated with respect and having her needs met. What made me change my perspective? Well, ‘The Ethical Slut’ by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton did, but I’ll save the lessons I learned from this book for another post.

On polyamorous dating now

As you can tell, luckily, this experience did not put me off polyamorous dating completely. With the support and encouragement of my lovely friends, I have gone back to meeting new people and so far become play partners with one lovely guy who treats me just right. What’s he like? Well, maybe one day I will tell you, but until then — give me a follow, so you don’t miss another post!



Alison Sparks

Just a writer, sharing my musings on sex, sexuality, sex work, mental health and LGBTQ+ topics.