Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

February 3, 2011

"Changing Families: from Traditional to Whatever Works?"

Baystate Parent

"Massachusetts' premier magazine for families," a free monthly that claims to be distributed at over 1,000 outlets, includes polyfamilies as a small but noteworthy part of the evolving future of family structures.

By Doug Page

Is there a married couple out there that would ever guess that the day they bring home that bundle of joy from the hospital, they’re a minority?

...Only about 20 percent of American adults... are married, living with their spouse, and, together, bringing up a child or children to which they both have a biological connection.

...The myriad of living situations any adult can be in is countless. But one thing is for sure — the traditional household, where a married mom and dad live together and are bringing up kids they conceived, is falling.

...About 23 million children, almost a third of all kids in the United States, are growing up with a single parent. And about 3 million of these children, reports the Census Bureau, live not only with a single parent but also with their parent’s partner.

...In addition, it’s estimated, from various media outlets, that between 1 and 9 million children are raised by gay couples in the United States.

But alternative lifestyles don’t stop with gay parents.

It’s estimated that about 40,000 Americans live in polygamist families, and, in what might be considered the last social barrier to be crossed, polyamorists, adults who carry more than one open romantic relationship at a time, are bringing up children too, even in Massachusetts.

...“The family structure has been changing rapidly,” says Andrea Press, a sociologist at the University of Virginia. “There are so many unorthodox-looking families compared to 10, 20 or even 30 years ago.”...

The FIRST alternative lifestyle?

Before gay couples came along, the country’s first alternative lifestyle was likely polygyny, or plural marriage involving a husband with more than one wife....

“Suppose you’re a woman alone with children. You’re a Mormon. Then you find a Mormon family with the same beliefs as you, and these women (the wives) are great,” says Janet Bennion, an anthropologist at Lyndon State College in Vermont, who lived with polygynists for four years and authored a book, Women of Principle: Female Networking in Contemporary Mormon Polygny....

The LAST social frontier?

It’s hard to define the typical polyamorous union because it can involve few or many adults living together or apart, sometimes married, sometimes not.

“A lot of people outside of the polyamory community think these relationships are all about sex. It’s not. It’s about family,” says Robyn Trask, managing director of Loving More, a polyamorous educational group in Loveland, Colorado, who estimates that between 150,000 – 200,000 Americans live in polyamorous relationships.

“One of the advantages of polyamorous families is that you can have two incomes while one parent stays home with the children,” Trask says.

“The extended sense of family is one of the things that attracts people to polyamorous families,” she says. “It’s more hands to help. It is shared resources.

“The nuclear family isolates people, and when you think about this economy, it’s hard to survive, especially if you have two parents working and the kids are in daycare,” Trask says.

In addition, says Trask, it’s difficult for any one wife or husband to meet all of their spouse’s needs.

“It’s a little naïve to think that one person can fill all of your emotional, physical and spiritual needs,” she says.

In Massachusetts, there are at least three polyamorous groups with an online membership of nearly 1,000 people, says Tara Shakti-Ma, who’s active in the polyamory community.

In a Boston suburb, Victoria, who requested anonymity, cares full-time for her two children, both under 10 years old, while the other two adults in the polyamorous family, which includes the children’s other mother and their father, work.

She’s known the couple for 16 years, lived with them for 14, and says family life is no different than anyone else’s. “We take out the garbage, do the recycling and review the kids’ homework,” Victoria says.

The adult relationships are about “egalitarianism, full disclosure and informed consent.”

“You don’t practice this lifestyle under any false sense of gender entitlement,” she added....

Read the whole article (Feb. 1, 2011).

P.S.: One crucial family statistic that the article left out: Forty percent of American children are now born out of wedlock (see page 3 of the link, top right).




Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 20% figure may be misleading - presumably there are a large number of adults living in America whose children have grown up and moved out. If they are still married to the same person with whom they raised the family, then they should be counted in the "nuclear family" total ... while the 20% number in the article sounds like it excludes them (for no longer living with the children).

February 03, 2011 6:29 PM  
Blogger Natja's Natterings said...

I think the point is current treads Anon. People with adult children who moved out are part of a previous generation and part of past trends. This is not a statistical survey about marriage longevity, it is about current trends in childrearing and for that, you need children.

February 04, 2011 6:25 AM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

But that's not what the article is claiming. it says, "...according to the latest information from the U.S. Census Bureau, that only about 20 percent of ALL American adults, just over 48 million, are married, living with their spouse, and, together, bringing up a child or children to which they both have a biological connection." (Caps emphasis mine) All Americans, not just those raising children.
That would imply that married couples who have already raised their children are included in the other 80 percent.
You're right about that not being the point of the article, but the author should not have grossly misused the statistics like that.

February 05, 2011 6:09 PM  
Blogger Natja's Natterings said...

I am sorry but I don't consider that my mother is still 'bringing me up' in my mid 30's.

The stats were fine, it is your misunderstanding of the term bringing up which is at fault.

February 07, 2011 7:41 AM  

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