"Meet the People In 'Quads' "
This larger-is-rarer rule breaks down when relationships spread out to become a larger poly network: a tribe or community. Big "extended family" networks with indistinct edges are common, but they usually contains nodes of core couples or threes.
I haven't seen quads getting much attention lately. Usually formed by two couples, they have a reputation in some quarters as more stable than triads and in others as more trouble-prone, as in the snarky formula (dating to Deborah Anapol in the early 1990s) "2+2 —> 3+1."
This piece about quads just appeared on Connections.Mic:
Meet the People In 'Quads,' or Foursome Relationships
By Sophie Saint Thomas
We've heard of throuples, or couples who invite a third party into their relationship. But is there such thing as a couple that dates another couple? In the poly community, there is, although it's relatively uncommon: When two couples are in a relationship, it's known as a "quad."
What is a quad? One fairly successful quad is Jill*, 42; her husband and primary (a term used to describe her primary relationship partner) Eric, 48; Amanda, 38; and Amanda's primary Mark, 39.
The four are the founders of the app The Poly Life, which they created as a way to organize details such as sleeping and dating schedules. They live under one roof with a combined total of seven children, whom they parent collectively.
"In layman's terms, [a quad] means we are four people and in our relationship, we happen to be two committed couples and some of us have outside lovers. [In our quad] the couples date each other, both women are bisexual and sleep with each other, and the men can play (like a threesome with two men, one woman) but are not sexual with each other. The men identify as straight," Jill explained in an email last week.
..."I've seen occasional instances where everyone is sexually involved with everyone else, but that's quite rare," [Franklin] Veaux said in a Skype interview last week....
To establish a successful quad, all parties must communicate to ensure they are on the same page.
...Jill and Eric worked through the jealousy issues, and they now have identified as polyamorous for seven years. They met their current partners, Amanda and Mark, at a church function, of all places. "We live in a Christian, conservative neighborhood. We started out as friends, and it was a great surprise when we both had feelings for them," Jill said.
They've been in a relationship with Amanda and Mark for 3 1/2 years. "We still have hard days, but they're far between," Jill said.
...The key to their success, as is the case in all relationships, has been communicating openly and honestly with each other about the challenges of being in a quad. "Listening and not reacting takes practice, and with such busy lives, we can get triggered and communication can break down," Jill said. "Communication, ego-checks and scheduling is crucial to making us work."
The four of them co-parent their collective seven children, being honest with them about their bedroom schedule, which they say has led to good-natured jokes from the children. "We have a schedule of who sleeps with [whom] in what bed," Eric said. "It's become something a few of our kids now joke about when we deviate from the schedule like, 'Oh, Jill's fighting with Eric because Mark is in the guest room,' (and Jill is sleeping with Amanda)."
..."What I tend to see happen many times [says Veaux] is that you'll have two couples that will start dating in a quad because they believe that's a way to avoid dealing with jealousy or insecurity [by having the same number of partners]. Like if I've got two partners, and my wife has two partners, then we both have two partners so nobody is going to feel jealous. When you try to deal with jealousy by creating structure instead of dealing with insecurity, it tends not to work."
Entering into a quad for the wrong reasons typically leads to chaos and hurt feelings. Often, the partners will just break up for each other. "What they'll end up doing is swapping couples and then breaking up," Veaux said. "That happens so often it's almost a trope."
Bottom line: "Don't look to being in a quad to solve problems where somebody is not getting what they want. It might work, it might not," Veaux warned.
But if two couples enter a quad because they have feelings for each other, rather than trying to fix a hole within their own relationship, the benefits can be enormous — for the entire family.
"We raise all the children as if they are our own," Jill said. "If one of us can't be at one of our kids' events, we cover each other. The other benefits, for us, are companionship, emotional and financial support. Sharing our finances with each other and working towards bigger goals has been extraordinary: Because the money pot is bigger when you have four people contributing, our goals are becoming real. We're one big-ass happy family!"...
Read the whole article (April 26, 2016).