Two new magazine articles laud the joys of polyfamilies
● A Slate writer tells how his happy FFM household surfs the demands of modern life more easily than the typical couple, who can feel grindingly short-staffed.
Easier With Three
My wife’s girlfriend moved in with us, and balancing work, life, and leisure has never gone better.
Evan, Cassie, and Mandy celebrate a birthday. (Courtesy Evan Urquhart)
By Evan Urquhart
When people think of polyamorous relationships, they usually jump right to the potential complications: How will you deal with jealousy? How will you schedule your time so that nobody feels shortchanged? ... I once had these worries too, but for nine months I’ve been living with my wife and my wife’s girlfriend (a poly threesome V, rather than a triad [he means not a "full" triad –Your picky editor], because all three of us are not romantically involved). We’re finding that having more people around means less, not more, complexity — more hands for the chores, more options for socializing and fun, an extra income to help with the bills, and more time for any one of us to spend going our own way.
A typical day at our house begins at 6 a.m., when I grab my laptop from my bedside table and begin my work for Slate without getting dressed, or even out of bed. ... When it was just the two of us, my wife’s breakfast and morning routine often got in the way of my early-morning productivity. I’d feel obliged to keep her company at breakfast, chat about our plans for the day, and help her find her missing shoe (under the blanket, dear, on the floor by the couch). Nowadays Cassie and her girlfriend, Mandy, get up at about 7. Mandy makes breakfast. She and Cassie feed and walk our dogs, plan their days, and commute together to their respective workplaces. I get a plate of bacon and eggs brought into the bedroom as I work.
...When we inevitably forget which day is trash day, I’m there to do a last-minute dash for the curb. I’m around to let a worker in to do repairs or receive a package, and often I’ve got extra time in the afternoon to take a dog to the vet or make a trip to the store.
It turns out that splitting household chores three ways is a lot easier than dividing them in two! With dishes, we rotate so that everyone has a luxurious two days off in between each day they spend scrubbing a pan. We each take responsibility for cooking dinner once a week, and then those of us who like to cook (Mandy and myself) work out the rest of the cooking informally between ourselves. ... I hate having to make calls for appointments, insurance, or home maintenance, so Cassie kindly takes them off my plate. When the whole house needs to be cleaned, the work goes quickly with all hands on deck.
And the benefits spill over into socializing. My extroverted wife and I had a long-standing tendency to clash on how often we’d go out. With Mandy around, there’s an extra person to go do something with her if I’m not in the mood — and we also do things together as a family, comfortably watching TV, playing video games, or going out for a picnic in the park. And, would you believe, it’s actually pretty nice to have a bed to stretch out on by myself three nights a week? One of the few problems we have encountered is that my wife might like to sleep alone once in a while herself.
...A rent we could afford as two becomes easy as pie with three, and there’s something extra relaxing about the nights when Mandy treats both of us out to dinner. ...
Of course, not everyone is going to want to get involved in a polyamorous relationship, and even those who do won’t necessarily find it easy to replicate the structure that we have. It helps that Mandy and I were friends before she and Cassie began to date, and that we’d each had success dating others casually without incident before Cassie tried adding a second, serious, long-term relationship to the mix. We talked a lot before and immediately after Mandy moved in about how to make things work and set some ground rules ... Cassie felt strongly that she didn’t want a hierarchical structure where Mandy felt like she was second class, and while there were a few jitters early on, we’ve found that relating to one another as equal members of one family really works for us. ...
It’s a shame Americans have to luck into work-life balance and that, even with two working adults in the house, so many families are struggling to make ends meet. With employers demanding more and more at work, so many people find they have little left to take home.... That’s why so many Americans are so worn down, and work-life conflict is affecting everything from their health to their relationships.
...Whether we need an extra set of hands, an extra listening ear, another chum to hang out with, or an extra couple of bucks, our family has found that three can be easier, not harder, than two.
Read the whole long article (May 3, 2018). Watch for pieces like this to become a trend, especially among urban millennials (as with co-living, the practical, no-nonsense update of the hippie commune for those with the income.)
The article is one of the Better Life Lab's contributions to Slate. Better Life Lab is a partnership of Slate and the New America Foundation, "dedicated to renewing America by continuing the quest to realize our nation's highest ideals, honestly confronting the challenges caused by rapid technological and social change, and seizing the opportunities those changes create."
● Secondly, in Flare, "Canada's fashion magazine," it sounds like a unicorn quest turned out well for everyone.
Here’s What It’s Really Like to Be in a Polyamorous Relationship
For starters, it’s about loving multiple people — not just sleeping with them
By Jeffrey Vallis
Vincent Sumah, Maryëva Pelletier and Amethyst Blanchette. Photo courtesy of the partners. [Their Instagram account: PolySoulTribe]
Until six months ago, 28-year-old Maryëva Pelletier didn’t look very favourably on polyamorous relationships. “I had a false impression that polyamorous people are having orgies and aren’t loyal,” she says. “I always thought that a relationship was supposed to be monogamous.”
Then she met Vincent Sumah, 36, and his 25-year-old partner, Amethyst Blanchette, on the dating app Happn, and three days later, they all met for coffee. The Montreal-based couple, who co-parent three kids, were looking to add a third partner to their relationship. Their multiple attempts over the last five years to find their other soul mate were unsuccessful, but with Pelletier, something clicked.
“For me, it was never only about sex. I wanted something deeper and long-term,” says Sumah. “At first, Maryëva wasn’t into poly stuff, but she was so amazing that I still wanted to meet her as a friend. She fell for both of us, and the feeling was mutual.”
Pelletier says her compatibility with the couple plus her curious nature sparked her willingness to try polyamory. “I told them I want to know and understand everything, [and that] it has to make sense to me,” says Pelletier. “There was a lot of information to process…[but] maybe because I have a very fiery personality, I jumped into it.”
The closed nature of the relationship — meaning they don’t see others outside of the three of them — made the transition easier for Pelletier. “It feels right, now that I’m in a triad with these two wonderful people,” she says. “Maybe that’s why all my past relationships messed up in the end. I don’t think we’re meant to be only monogamous.”
What is polyamory and how many Canadians practise it?
...Polyamory — the practice of having more than one intimate relationship at a time — is gaining traction. ... And when the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family at the University of Calgary recently conducted a polyamory survey to gain insights into the community, it discovered that attitudes towards polyamory in Canada are changing, too.
...[It's different than] an open relationship, which is one that is not sexually monogamous but is often more about the freedom to have different casual, sexual partners outside a relationship. Even though some use the term “open relationship” as a synonym for “polyamory,” those interviewed for this story argued that polyamory is about loving multiple people, not just sleeping with them.
...Alaina Partridge, a 30-year-old queer mother from Winnipeg, is romantically or sexually involved with several partners who are not in relationships with each other; she is the common thread. She has been with her male live-in (or “nesting”) partner for five years, and has been seeing her female partner for about a year. On top of these relationships, she also has two ongoing friends-with-benefits relationships. None of her partners are involved with each other, but some have other partners of their own.
...With several relationships at once, Partridge says being open and honest with her partners is vital. “I’m a pretty good communicator—I really try to be,” she says. “But it’s not always easy finding partners that are also very good at it.”
What is easy, however, is picking her plus-one to an event. “It’s kind of like if you have five friends and one of them likes golfing, and one of them likes dancing,” she explains. “You don’t take the golfing friend dancing.” ...
But polyamory is not just about having different partners to spend time with. For Partridge, she says it’s more of a sexual orientation, and she doesn’t believe she will ever only want monogamy again. “I remember always thinking [that] monogamy was so stupid,” she says. “I just didn’t realize there was a better option for me at the time.”
...Toronto-based sex and relationship expert Jessica O’Reilly, the host of the Sex with Dr. Jess podcast, says that more millennials are becoming interested in non-monogamous relationship options. For many people in poly relationships, she says, the desire to be with more than one partner is actually realistic.
“Younger couples have seen their parents divorce or remain in unhappy relationships, and they realize that there isn’t one way to make a relationship work,” she explains. “Monogamy as a default often fails. It’s not that polyamory is the answer, but it’s one of many potential alternatives. It works for some people.” But, she adds, “Polyamory is not a solution to a failing relationship.” ...
The whole article (May 3, 2018).