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

February 15, 2012

Poly Parenting: A Day in the Life


At the high-traffic parenting site Babble.com, on the occasion of Valentine's Day, Sierra posts a new blog article reflecting on her brimming life as a poly parent:

What It’s Like To Be A Parent In An Open Marriage

By Sierra

It’s movie night at my house. Six kids are piled up on the couch downstairs watching "How To Train Your Dragon' and devouring pizza. My girlfriend and I steal a private moment together while our husbands settle the kids in.

We say a sleepy hello, she gets a work call, and I comfort a sad toddler. End of moment. It’s chaos, but happy chaos. There’s a lot of laughter and smiles amid the juggling act of feeding everyone dinner and making sure no one’s view of the dragons is blocked by an elbow.

When the movie ends, my girlfriend and her husband bundle their kid up and head home. My husband, Martin, and I tuck our girls into bed. He tidies up the living room, getting ready for his sweetie to arrive for their date night. I pack up my laptop and head out to a lover’s house. Not for a hot date. We’re getting together to work for a few hours. I’m behind on a deadline.

This is a snapshot of life in an open marriage: busy, happy, full.

At least the way we do it....

...Monogamy was never on the table for us. I’d been practicing polyamory since high school and was dating two other people when I met my husband. Martin had never tried non-monogamy, but he thought I was pretty special and wanted to give it a go. It’s certainly not what our parents wanted for us — I think my mom hoped it might be a phase I’d outgrow — but they’re supportive.

While there are infinite ways to structure an open marriage, my husband and I have one with a few lovers who are closely entwined with our lives. We celebrate birthdays together, and go on family trips. In the decade we’ve been together, I’ve had a handful of lovers, all of whom were close friends before they shared my bed. My partners are like extended family — we don’t live together, but we see each other often and our families have close relationships. People take all kinds of approaches to this. Some never introduce their lovers to their kids. Some live together in households where three or more adults are parenting together.

And apparently we’re not that unusual. Around 7 percent of straight couples have arranged some kind of consensual non-monogamy, according to a recent Slate article. Numbers are much higher for gay men and a little lower for lesbians. Still, there’s been little enough research done that these numbers remain fuzzy. What is clear in the research is that practicing polyamory doesn’t make or break most relationships....

Read the whole long, thoughtful article (Feb. 14, 2012). Save it to pass to family and friends if they need something reassuring.


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Blogger Lucius Scribbens said...

I always marvel at how people (in the comments) can tell someone they can't possibly feel the way they do and this can't possibly work simply because they don't feel that way and it wouldn't work for them.

February 16, 2012 12:20 AM  
Blogger Natja's Natterings said...

Yep Lucius! That never gets boring......

*rolls eyes*

February 16, 2012 10:40 AM  
Blogger Oxytocin said...

Is it really taking five days for people to point out the erasure of asexuality in the "thoughtful" article featured here?

I loved the portrayal of polyamory that I read here, except when it came at the casual, no-doubt accidentally defining asexual romances out of existence: "Passion and sex are the distinguishing qualities of a romantic relationship," goes the quotation from a New York Times health columnist. I can hear the folks at AVEN grinding their teeth.

I was also disappointed by the unnecessary promotion of Dan Savage, who's become practiced at failures of empathy: Dan Savage is egregiously biphobic by means of completely failing to listen in good faith to the community he claims as his and casually racist in his ignorance of how people lie with statistics (to read Savage in the best light) and his failing to acknowledge the many contributions of Black activists to queer communities. Let's not forget that Savage seems to celebrate fat shaming and to actively backslide into transphobic language even when replying to a more writer who used at least used terms adopted by the some members of the trans* community. Just last Monday, he published a rebuttal to deserved criticism in which he missed the point completely, using his visibility to perpetuate the attitude that it's acceptable tell another person how to behave based on whether they "look good". How much more can one miss the point? Human beings aren't scenery! The attitude that one can tell other humans how to dress or act because it makes you uncomfortable is, structurally speaking, a microcosm of conservative attitudes toward queerness. It's like the "as long as they act straight in public" nonsense: "This makes me uncomfortable, so rather than addressing my issues, why don't you all get back in the closet where I don't have to see it?"

Phew -- I didn't mean to spend that much energy on the guy, just to demonstrate how consistently and how broadly he's earned the nickname "Dan Unsalvageable". As I said, I love much of what I saw in this article. I think that it painted a beautiful, loving picture of a happy poly family. I won't be passing along any article that shows poly folks as being ignorant of other queer communities, though, whether by erasing them (perpetuating ideas like "intimacy and sex remain essential ingredients in a good marriage," when asexual romances exist and can be perfectly healthy and happy) or by giving undeserved press to someone who seems to think that the world exists for his satisfaction alone.

Are other folks comfortable being associated with this business? Speaking personally, it seems to me that, if we want to be recognized and respected by the world at large, we ought to do so in a way that is respectful of other marginalized groups. To me, defining a human experience out of existence is one of the most lamentable language acts a person can do. A close second is promoting a false progressive who really doesn't need any more name recognition. I am simply not convinced that it is laudable or meaningful to win rights for some groups at the expense of others.

February 20, 2012 4:08 PM  
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June 12, 2013 3:44 PM  

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