"For these families a love triangle is not an obstacle. Polyamorous parents chart their own course."
In the continuing normalization of polyamory, the Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper, published a long feature story on some very out polyfamilies, with pictures including the one above.
For these families a love triangle is not an obstacle. Polyamorous parents chart their own course
By Tara Deschamps
When Michelle DesRosiers’ [third from tight, above] kids watch films featuring love triangles, they don’t find themselves rooting for the lead to make a choice between suitors.
“They’re always like, ‘Why does she have to choose? Why do they like to choose? They don’t have to,’ ” DesRosiers, a Kitchener-based consultant, says of 11-year-old Aiden and 9-year-old Easton.
“They’re armed with the knowledge that relationships can be whatever you want them to be.”
It’s a lesson they learned from DesRosiers, who years ago gravitated towards polyamory – having a relationship or connection with more than one person – after she and her then-husband dabbled with non-monogamy.
Since her divorce, DesRosiers has charted a modern family of sorts by juggling parenting her two kids with maintaining four “connections,” a word the self-proclaimed “relationship anarchist” prefers to describe partners.
DesRosiers is convinced arrangements like hers are becoming more common across Canada because she has seen a younger generation edge more towards open or non-monogamous relationships.
...A 2016 survey from the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, which surveyed 596 people online ... revealed that 40 per cent of respondents identifying as polyamorists said there were children living in their homes full or part-time.
“The reality is that this is a new and emerging form of family and yet it is off Statistics Canada radar,“ John-Paul Boyd, a Calgary-based lawyer who ran the now-defunct institute, said. “...I am getting an increasing number of people in poly relationships asking questions about the law or seeking referrals.”
...Kids, many often believe, complicate such a lifestyle, but DesRosiers has found a way to make it work, even though her family took her polyamory hard at first. (Her mom, she said, “didn’t get it,” but eventually came around and is now very proud.)
...[Said DesRosiers], “What I was worried about a bit is how are they going to approach it in a school or system, where they’re making friends who don’t have those relationship types or structures? Are they going to get made fun of? Are they going to come across a lot of discrimination?” she said.
“That was kind of put to rest...Honestly, kids don’t care. The school knows. Other parents in the area know. They may say stuff behind our backs, but we haven’t experienced the challenges I thought we were probably going to.”
Even at home the situation evolved naturally. Connections will pitch in if she finds herself in a jam like she did recently when she threw her shoulder out but had promised to take her kids camping. Her connection stepped in and took the kids.
“We have had a non-traditional household for 10 years. This is all they’ve ever known...They don’t think anything of it.”
Jacki Yovanoff, a Waterloo-based sexuality and relationship educator, adopted polyamory 10 years ago, when her marriage ended.
Yovanoff has three connections, including a “partner” in Wisconsin and someone in Toronto she calls a “comet” because “our orbits don’t cross as often.”
She also has a “nesting” or “domestic” partner, Gord Tanner, who she lives with.
...Yovanoff’s kids learned about her adopting polyamory “organically.” There was no momentous sitdown with the kids to explain their new normal, she recalled.
Yovanoff has been open about raising her kids in a polyamorous household, so she’s become a lightning rod for people seeking advice about introducing their own families to the arrangement.
She’s quick to tell people there’s no one arrangement-fits-all approach. ...
Millennials, who are challenging, criticizing and questioning traditional values, have hastened the pace of [polyamory's] growth and changes, as have the acceptance of and increase in divorce, [Boyd] said.
And with those changes Boyd has noticed an important societal shift: the feeling of “othering” – triggered largely by those who are not involved in it – that surrounds polyamory is slowly but surely disappearing. ...
“I don’t know that this is a brave new wave of the future, but it is something I expect to be increasingly commonplace,” Boyd said.
The whole article (October 18, 2019). It's paywalled there, but it also ran in the Waterloo Region Record where you can read it for free. It was one of the Star's "best reads" picks of the week.
Coming next, more normalization: Researchers make news with a study of polyfamilies' experiences with pregnancy and birth. "Our aim was to identify barriers to prenatal, antenatal and postnatal care for polyamorous families and to share results and strategies with health-care providers in the hope of overcoming them."