ABC Nightline: "Two Moms, One Dad, Two Babies Make One Big Happy Polyamorous Family"
Remember the Looks Like Love to Me triad? The two bi women in California who married each other, went looking for a man to join them, found a hunky one, recently had two babies with him, and are all making a full-length documentary about it?
Last March they let a camera crew from ABC's Nightline follow them around for a couple of days. On Thursday, Nightline finally aired the piece that resulted. It's 7 minutes long. They're adorable.
On the segment's webpage is a long text article. Excerpts:
Two Moms, One Dad, Two Babies Make One Big Happy Polyamorous Family
By ABBIE BOUDREAU, JENNA MILLMAN and CHRIS JAMES
These Polyamorous Parents Put Controversial Spin on Child-Rearing
Dani and Melinda’s home is a little more crowded these days, filled with the two of them, their husband Jon and their two babies, Ella and Oliver.
These two moms and one dad are polyamorous, or as they call it, "a triad."
Dani and Melinda were a lesbian couple living together in northern California. But four years into their relationship, Melinda said she began to realize she also desired a man. At first, Dani wasn’t sure about sharing her partner with a man.
“I kind of call it the ‘mano-coaster,’ the notion of Melinda needing to fulfill that need,” Dani said. “Melinda has probably been the most emotionally painful experience of any of my relationships. ... I was obsessed with her and when she was not as obsessed with me as I was with her, of course that hurts.”
"[But] we got really serious," Dani added. "And she was really direct, like 'I want a family, I need a man, and we need to make this happen.'"
So, the two women created a list of qualities that would make up their ideal male counterpart and started looking.
“We didn’t want a feminine man, just because we’re both very feminine, so we wanted someone that would hold that role of masculinity,” Melinda said. “In walks Jonathan and we’re like, ‘wow.’ All of the sudden we’re recognizing this beautiful man.”
From the start, Jon said having two women was “very fulfilling” and the three of them would have sex together often.
“It was very active," he said. "It was very shared."
But this triad said their unusual relationship wasn’t just about having sex with each other.
“It’s about family," Dani said. "It’s about working together as a team, it’s about accomplishing your dreams with people, with your partners.”
A strong family unit has been their goal since exchanging vows in an intimate three-way wedding ceremony last year....
...As hard as it was for her to come out as gay to her family, Dani said it was even harder to explain to them that she was in a polyamorous relationship.
“My family was a little shocked when I said I wanted to be with women from this point on, but they were fine with it, and they got used to it,” she said. “There’s a huge poly community but unfortunately a lot of them feel like they can't be open, to be closeted. And that goes to show you it’s a lot harder to be poly than to be gay or lesbian.”
...Diana Adams, an attorney who runs a nontraditional family law practice in Brooklyn, New York, said her client list of polyamorous families has been growing, and she believes there is “a new frontier” in what defines “family” and “marriage.”
“In just 20 years we had a massive cultural shift in terms of our overall perception of whether or not it’s acceptable to discriminate against same-sex couples,” Adams said. “And what’s next is what I think is opening up the possibility to things like if we’re changing the idea of marriage can only be between a man and a woman, could it be between three people.”
But the Phoenix-Steins acknowledge that these relationships can be inherently tricky, and conflicts can arise when it comes to partner dynamics
“In any relationship there’s parts where you give and take, and you also have to be fluid in what your particular needs are and the benefits of the relationship overall,” Dani said. “There have definitely been times where I feel like I needed more and I’m not getting that and that comes up in conversation.”
...For now, the Phoenix-Steins say they are not planning to expand their “triad” but say adding more people isn't off the table.
“The family unit comes first and right now we just wouldn’t even have enough time, you know, to date anyone else,” Melinda said.
“But there are a lot of poly families that have kids," Dani added. "And let's say they are very much in the same structure as we are and have kids but they also have outside relationships. ... [But] just because you’re polyamorous doesn't mean you go and have sex with anyone. That’s not how it is at all, it means that you’re respecting love and you’re respecting it and it just happens to have more than two people.”
See the whole story (June 23, 2015).
A religious-right outlet is freaking out: How the Media is Promoting Polyamory. The New "Marriage Equality"? (The Daily Signal, July 24). But, remember, those folks are helping us. They're spreading awareness of the "poly possibility" — knowledge that happy multi-love relationships actually exist and are a real option if you learn how — to audiences we couldn't reach.
Here's all my coverage of the triad (including this article; scroll down). In May they also had an appearance on German TV (the video may not play in the US).
Update: Here's their own response to the show, in particular the part about their ongoing sexual imbalance: ABC Nightline Aired, Our Response.
Labels: Looks Like Love to Me, triad, TV
Good story, but like a lot of main stream media, they still put just a bit to much emphasis on the sexual component. Though I was happy that they pointed out that with two infants around, it's not easy for anyone (poly or not) to have a lot of sex.
I also think that the story played too much to a possible conflict between the ladies over the desire to expand their relationship to include the gentalmen. I can't help but think that was intentional to add some element of artificial “drama”, which may or may not actually exist in their relationship. The questions that the reporter asked, and the video footage that made it past the editors, did not seem to reflect the actual interactions in the Triad with regards to this point. But again, the only people who can truly judge a relationships values are the people in that relationship.
The best answer to the inevitable "what's it like to have two wives” question is one that I heard years ago and use myself now: "it's like having two best friends”.
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