When triad life comes easy
Poly discussion sites can make this life look damn hard. There's jealousy to analyze and master, insecurities to dredge up and dissect on a brightly lit table, agreements to negotiate, NRE craziness to manage, Non-Violent Communication to learn, Google Calendar to install.... It can sound like pursuing a PhD in self-improvement. For many people it is.
Showing up less often on poly-community sites are the naturals: people who just take to group relationships like fish to water. They seem born to it, and/or have lucked into the right partners. They don't seek much community support, often barely know a poly community exists, or perhaps even (until recently) know the word.
John Shore, a prolific gay religious book author ("America's preeminent non-douchey Christian" says Dan Savage), today interviews such a woman on his popular Huffington Post site. She is living in a polyfi triad home with a passel of their combined kids, where they hide out pretty comfortably in a deeply conservative Christian backwater of the South.
Sometimes It Takes Three to Tango
Could you give us a quick definition of what "polyamorous" is/means?
...Honestly, the term "polyamorous" wasn't on our radar when we fell in love. It was later that we discovered there was a term for what we were. If we need a term, we consider ourselves "polyfidelitous," which is what polys call those who love more than one person in a long-term, faithful kind of way.
Some people consider themselves polyamorous because they believe they need and/or want to be in multiple relationships at any given time. This is not a good description of us. We all feel we could be satisfied with just one person. It's just that we fell in love with two, pretty much all at the same time... and we discovered (through lots of open and honest communication!) that we were all not just OK with it, but that it was something we wanted.
Truthfully, we don't think of ourselves as polyamorous. We just think of ourselves as us.
...How long have you guys been together?
We have been dear friends for a very long time, with children who grew up as babies together.... I was a (divorced) single mother, and they were a happily married couple.... She had been my best friend for years, and we've always been closer than sisters. People used to always comment on how close we were, but we never realized that could be sexual, too. Both of us were raised to not even be aware that was a possibility.
Long story short, the three of us began doing more and more things together and it just... worked really well. We got along incredibly, the three of us, and at some point, my best friend realized she had feelings for me. She was the one who began the conversation about, "What if?"...
We all felt very excited when we realized that we were in love and that we all wanted the same thing (a long-term, committed relationship as a three). And then there was a lot of open and honest communication, of course. There has to be with any successful couple, and so with three people, even more so....
Every step forward just felt so right on so many different levels, and doors kept opening up right and left. There were numerous points where we would look at each other and say, "It's so weird, but if I was still a fundamentalist Christian, I would say that God is blessing us..."
We took very small and careful steps forward, hesitantly, every inch of the way being shocked at how nice, how perfect, how healthy, how "just right" it always felt. Our fears about each next step were always replaced by fearfully taking it and then finding it delightful....
Do you all live together?
Yep. Wouldn't have it any other way.... Two years this spring.
What's the sexual deal? Are each of you bisexual? Do you all sleep in the same bed?
He is not bisexual. I suppose that both of the women are. Well, honestly, I don't even know if we are. I just know that I love her. And she loves me. And being intimate feels like it makes sense, given the depth of our feelings for each other. We had been incredibly close friends for years, prior, and it never seemed close enough. Now, it feels just right.
We all sleep together every night. The person in the middle gets seriously snuggled on. It's fun.
Sexually, we have learned a lot about how three people can have an amazingly wonderful experience that feels like making love for everyone. We occasionally joke about the bestselling book we will write about how to have amazing threesomes one day. It was delightful to learn that you can have that feeling of being "one" with three. You totally can. That was one of the things we worried about at first -- what would we do about sex? Now, my mind automatically assumes that making love takes three.... We are sexual as couples, too, just not as often....
...I love my two partners. I love our life together. I love our big, happy home. But I do not love the fact that I live in a community that would rather me live as a struggling single mom to four children than to have the support of two adults who love me dearly as a life partner. The fact that my community would believe wholeheartedly that my sexual relationship with my abusive ex-husband was righteous but that my sexual relationship with two committed life partners (if they knew about it) is unrighteous, just seems so hypocritical....
Do you know any other polyamorous, or polyfidelitous, relationship units? (I guess "couples" isn't the right word, is it?) But do you know any others like yourselves?
No. I'm sure they are out there, but we don't know of any personally. That's OK. Honestly, I don't think this would work for very many people. The reason it does for us is that we are just the right three people for each other. It's hard enough to find just the right one person for yourself, much less two! When I think about my relationship as a three, I mostly just feel incredibly lucky, like God is smiling at us. I get to be loved by two best friends and lovers. I get to love two amazing people back (and they really are amazing). I get to love a whole house-full of children. It just feels like so much goodness. When I come home from work and pull into our drive, I smile. I love us!...
What do you want people to know about people like you, and relationships like yours?
That we are normal, solid citizens. That we are professionals that you work with at the office. That we are the teacher in your child's classroom, the person who delivers your mail, the doctor who looks at your injury. That we are the mom at the soccer games. That we are the dad at the geography bee. That we are the people with the really huge cart of groceries ahead of you in the supermarket line. That we grew up in conservative Christian America and certainly never imagined that we would do something like this. That we certainly weren't looking for something outside of the norm, but that love found us, and we were willing to step outside of the norm to meet it....
Read the whole interview (Feb. 25, 2012).