Dear Prudence column: "Poly, Pregnant, and Proud"
Dear Prudence (Emily Yoffe) has been getting friendlier over the years toward the poly questions she fields. This time she doesn't snark about it at all.
Poly, Pregnant, and Proud
Q. My Sister Is Polyamorous and Pregnant. My sister Julia recently told our family that she and her husband Jake are in a polyamorous triad with their best friend Tony. The three of them have been together for as long as Julia has been with Jake (seven years) and all of their friends know that, essentially, Tony is Julia's other husband. They decided not to tell our more traditional family (with the exception of our brother) until Julia became pregnant, as she is now. She does not know whether the child is Jake's or Tony's, but both men plan to raise the child equally.
Our brother claims they're an amazing set and that Julia has never been this happy. My parents, my husband, and I are more realistic and feel queasy about the arrangement. I cannot imagine how their child will feel, growing up with half siblings (Julia plans to have children by both men) and with their mom sleeping with two men. I don't know how they will provide the children of this "marriage" with stability. My husband doesn't want Tony around our children, even though Julia has asked that we now treat him as her husband in addition to Jake. I love Julia but am nauseated by her lifestyle choice. I think eventually it will end disastrously. How can I support this?
A: You don't have to "support" it, you just have to act like a decent person. Jake, Julia, and Tony are a threesome. Your sister is not asking for your advice or approval, she is just asking to be treated politely. You don't have to say any more to your kids other than Uncle Tony is Aunt Julia and Uncle Jake's good friend. Kids are remarkably flexible about these things. I fail to see how having Uncle Tony—presuming he's a good guy—come along on visits will harm your children in any way. If your kids have questions you answer them honestly in an age appropriate way. Which will mostly consist of, "The three of them are really close friends. I agree it's kind of unusual, but they are happy all living together." Julia is pregnant so she's the one who should be dealing with nausea. Eat a couple of crackers, settle your stomach, and welcome this new addition to the family.
The original (March 17, 2014).
Labels: advice columns