• Wed, Sep 4 - 11:10 am ET

Polyamorous Mom: 6 Rules My Husband And I Have For Our Marriage

two men one vintage uniform on bikesI’m a full-time working mother of three children, married to a wonderful man while dating others. This column chronicles our challenges, boundaries, and successes in a polyamorous marriage. 

Living and loving in a polyamorous lifestyle is a wonderful yet sometimes complicated adventure. Just like being monogamous, relationships involve people, and people are prone to interactions fraught with pitfalls and compromises. Since polyamory involves even MORE people, it is important for couples to establish boundaries and agreements that best suit everyone’s needs.

If there is one thing I have learned on this journey, it is that no two people as well as no two couples are alike.  In my relationships, negotiations and communications need to take place around me and my spouse, my boyfriend and his spouse, his spouse and her partner, my spouse and any partners, my family, and my family and my boyfriend. Complicated? Yes. Worth it? Definitely.

1. Constant Open Communication

I know I stressed communication in my previous article, but in my mind it cannot be stressed enough. If communication breaks down anywhere in the polyship, it can cause issues for any number of interrelations. Everyone has to be willing to not only talk, but listen.  You may not always like what you hear, but you can hear it and try to respond without anger or judgment.

My boyfriend once told me that he knows most things we discuss will be heard by my spouse because things flow between us like water. I think this is part of the reason my spouse and I get along so well in a polyamorous relationship; we are not afraid of words or reactions and can freely say what’s on our minds. There are a plethora of things to be discussed: children, time, sex, everything encountered by couples but magnified.

2. My Boyfriend Does Not Supplant My Husband’s Role With The Kids

My spouse Allan and I have three children under the age of 10 and my boyfriend Jim and his wife Diana have none.  Both the presence and absence of children creates different boundaries to be created.

First off, Allan and I are very careful about who will meet, interact with, and become a part of our children’s lives.  If one of us were to date a succession of different people, which hasn’t happened, our children would be unaware of this. The most important thing for them is to be provided with loving adults in their life.

Jim does know and love my children. We had been friends for about three years before we ever became romantically involved, so Allan and our children already knew him.  As he and I have spent more time together, he has spent a little more time with the children.  We go to events or trips with all three of us grownups and three children, or at times with Jim, the children and I.

Plans with Jim and the kids are always run by Allan, and he is always invited because they are HIS children. Jim himself has boundaries around how much he is involved in their care.  He would not want to alienate Allan, or confuse the children by acting in a “parent” capacity.  So they think he’s great, and we all enjoy time together, and maybe someday they may ask further about my relationship with him. But for now all they need to know is that everyone loves them.

 3. Respecting The Time With Each Partner

In our little world, there is Allan and I, Jim and Diana, and Diana’s other partner Cliff.  To me, the key to peace and happiness with existing partners is and planning/negotiating what time you spend with others and respecting your partner you’re with at the time.

When Jim and I started dating, our impulse like any other new couple was to spend as much time together as possible. Being poly, this had to be tempered with sustaining and nourishing our existing partnerships as well.  At first, we spent an evening together every couple weeks while we all acclimated to the fact that we were dating.  When we wanted to spend one to two nights a week together, that discussion involved all four of us agreeing on what was comfortable.  Allan and Diana had input on what night Jim and I would be together, and if they also wanted to be part of an evening hang out.  Allan, Jim and I have had some wonderful times together playing board games or just sitting around talking, while Jim and I can go out on dates doing things Allan and Diana are not interested in.  We’ve been to concerts, or experienced cuisine not part of a usual date night with our spouses.

The other piece we have all learned to be sensitive to in our different ways is respecting who’s company you are in right at the moment. If Allan and I are playing a game and a woman he’s talking with sends a message, he’ll ask if I mind if he answers and I would do likewise.  Jim and I may check in with our spouses while out together, but generally our time is just us.  When more people are involved, it’s important that the person who’s time you’re taking right now knows that you are with them.

Of course there’s slip ups. In the excitement of someone who’s interested in you sending a message, you may jump for the phone, but then it’s on your partner to speak up and tell you what they are feeling.

4. Expressing Your Needs

If you cannot comfortably express what you need and want, polyamory is probably not going to work. Each person needs to be able to say “I want your full attention right now” or “I’m not comfortable with you dating so-so” and be prepared for a discussion.  Like all areas of life, you can’t always get what you want but if you speak up you are more likely to get your needs met.

Allan and I do not like to spend more than two nights in a row apart for the sake of our own relationship. Jim likes to be able to get time alone at his house with me, which means discussing that schedule with Diana and making sure she is comfortable.  Discussing, planning, heck sometimes arguing, is hard but rewarding work in the world of poly.

5. Spouses Having A Say In New Partners 

One of the most important areas to be on the same page on is how and when a new partner is introduced.  For Allan and I, we talk to whom we see fit and then discuss it with the other person if we want to date them. I’m not dating anyone else right now, but I’m happy for Allan to go out on dates with women he is attracted to, and know he will discuss it with me before anything becomes serious.  Jim is in a similar situation with Diana, though when it comes to just hooking up with someone, maybe even just once, our rules diverge.

For me, I want Allan or Jim to tell me before they engage in any sexual activity with another person and Allan feels the same way. Jim, on the other hand, is OK with not knowing if Diana or I were to hook up with someone without his knowledge. Which brings me to…

6. Safe Sex

Everybody’s favorite subject. I save it for last because believe it or not, poly isn’t all about sex. It seems that many people not familiar with polyamory think there is some kind of sexual free for all going on throwing caution to the wind.  Perhaps there are people out there who do this, but I do not know any of them.

For the four of us, as well as the other poly couples I know, safe sex is the most important component of having multiple sexual partners. When one of us is sexually involved with someone, it is the responsibility of that partner to verify that the new person has a recent and clean STD check.  My husband and I, as well as all of our partners,  get tested every three to six  months, and the only people agreeing to not use protection are the married couples.

This is an ongoing and some times strenuous conversation. If I become uncomfortable with Diana and Cliff for some reason, I may not engage in activities with Jim.  Or if Jim is uncomfortable with this new person, he may implement safe sex with his wife.  Each person has it upon themselves to protect their own health, and we all trust each other to follow the safe sex guidelines.

(photo: Boston Public Library)

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  • Cee

    Well, perusing the comments section of your previous post about your WordPress blog and reading your previous post, it sounds like things are not going well and that you may have convinced your husband to accept this arrangement. Perhaps, you just married young and actually need a divorce and to date? I don’t know.

    But, I will say this. I do think this is a good list of rules to have for a poly marriage.

    • author

      you are confusing me with the other poly writer :)
      and thank you for the complient on the rules :)

    • Cee

      Ah, well my mistake!

    • Véronique Houde

      haha i could tell it was you from the mature tone of voice you used. other author is just whiny and immature

    • Cee

      She’s not the poly author Mommyish deserves, but the one it needs right now….

    • PM

      Explain?

    • Cee

      *sigh* My crappy attempt at a Batmanish joke from a well known quote in the Dark Knight, as said by Commissioner Gordon.
      “He’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now”

      This is the poly author Mommyish shouldn’t have (because she is probably good…sarcastic joke), but the one it needs (so she can educate us).

    • PM

      im disappointed in myself for not getting the batman reference, hats off to you sir ;)

    • Fabel

      OH I didn’t realize there were two poly writers. No wonder I had whiplash between, “wow, you’re super failing at this…” & “huh, she’s actually reasonable in this post & everything sounds fine!”

    • Tara

      Thanks for clarifying, I was pretty confused, too, since the last poly article I read on here was about her boyfriend breaking up with her.

    • Blueathena623

      Easy way to tell — this author has 3 kids, the other one has one kid, who varies between being a son and a daughter.

  • Andrea

    This sounds SO complicated! I’m happy for you, but dang just reading it makes me tired.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Yep, I’m a little tired now, too, lol. Then again, I’m something of an introvert (squared), so this much juggling of relationships would be exhausting for me. I have a huge amount of admiration for anyone that can do it, though – that’s pretty amazing!

    • chickadee

      Me too. My husband and I have enough to do keeping out relationship solid and working and juggling his kids and my kids and I think I would run out of emotional energy if we added extra people to the mix. Not that I’m criticizing the author. I just want to go take a nap now….

    • PM

      sure, it can be exhausting, but anything can be exhausting. i get more from it than what it takes out of me

    • KaeTay

      same! that’s just way too much work that is so unnecessary.. you want to date other people..be single

    • footnotegirl

      Hee, yeah. My husband and I have a lot of poly friends, and we are always happy to see them happy, and totally are approving of what works for them, but we made the choice to be monogamous and that choice continues to stand. Frequently after outings with them we’re all “zomg, I don’t get to see enough of /you/ let alone time for anyone else, also, scheduling conflicts! drama! keeping track of so many names!” So yeah, we choose monogamy because we just can’t handle our google calendars getting more complex. We’re lazy that way.

  • meteor_echo

    Those are actually good rules for any kind of relationship, especially the communication one and the safe sex one. A relationship without communication is the one doomed to fail.

  • NicknamesAreDull

    I think it’s really awesome that you set up rules for your relationship, and your relationships seem healthy. I hope to see more of your articles!

  • Kylie

    Mommyish, could you please make sure you add a byline with the distinction that this particular poly Mom isn’t “the other” poly Mom……. Puh-lease

    I’m so glad that we’re reading about this from the perspective of someone who appears to have their shit together. “the other” poly mom just pissed me off!

    • KaeTay

      yeah it would help if they gave them a code name

  • Courtney

    Maybe I am just way too old-fashioned but if you want to date others, why be married at all? Marriage is an exclusive commitment between two people.

    • Rachel Sea

      There are over 1200 reasons to marry that have nothing to do with dating, or sex. It’s also cohabitation, protection for assets, co-mingling of financial responsibility, determination of residency, benefits entitlement, parentage, emergency support, visitation, the list is too long to go fully into. The civil rights of married couples are vastly more extensive than those of non-married couples.

      Laws aside, marriage is whatever the participants make it. Even between monogamous heterosexual couples the relationship can differ drastically. Marriage is more than an agreement about with whom one spends time, and with whom one has sex, it’s about sharing a whole life.

    • Courtney

      I am curious to find out for all those who see marriage as whatever two parties consent to how would you really feel if this was your spouse desiring these other romantic, intimate relationships? We can all be as open-minded about this as we like sure but I would imagine it would really hurt. But again this is just me. I am also curious to find out how many posters about this are actually married themselves. I am married for several years and I would not care how my husband would define but if he wanted to see another woman openly or not I myself would feel hurt and concerned.

    • Rachel Sea

      That’s the thing, what you are describing is not two consenting parties, it’s one person deciding and the other having to decide whether it’s divorce-worthy. Like with any unconventional life choices, polyamory is something that should really be on the table before a marriage happens, or agreed to by enthusiastic mutual decision after, otherwise it’s just an affair.

      Polyamory is absolutely not something that would work in my marriage, but what makes my marriage awesome is different from what makes other people’s marriages awesome. Every couple has to come to a mutual agreement of what marriage looks like for them, and for some people, that’s polyamory.

      There are a lot of people who say that marriage is an exclusive commitment between a man and a woman, but my wife and I prove that wrong every day.

    • http://lotusbloomsalexandria.com/ Rebecca Hiles

      Hi there! I am married (4 years) and have been with my partner- who we often refer to as my other husband on and off for 10 years.

      My partners open express their wants and desires for other women, and we all openly encourage each other to have other relationships. The communication we share, and the family we have chosen allows us to discuss any negative feelings in a safe judgement free way.

      As a sex educator I firmly believe that monogamy and non-monogamy are on a scale. And I totally can understand that while you feel hurt and concerned if your partner wanted another woman, there are those of us that do not. I hope that you are always happy in your relationship :)

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Rebecca, I am loving all your feedback on my articles!

    • Enlightened

      Courtney your questions here make sense for sure. I am happily married for 17 years. For over a year now we have been in a closed quad with another couple who are also happily married for 13 years. Prior to that we were completely monogamous… never even heard what Polyamory was.

      We live in two separate homes, kids, etc… pretty normal middle-class life, soccer, work, bla, bla… But we all love each other very much and both families hang out together all the time. My marriage has never been better and the guidelines in this article explains how it can be done. We fell into this by accident and it has been quite a journey of wonderful highs and horrible lows. I can understand why anyone would question “That sounds so hard and potentially damaging…why do it?”. I agree and I ask myself that all the time. The benefits are incredible in many different ways, ways I never knew or though ever possible. I think the biggest growth has been in myself. I feel more self secure and more in control of my feelings. There are times of “Hell Ya” and “Oh Shit”… but that’s life right?

      Jealousy and Possessiveness need to be understood and managed. Something that was new for all of us because in a Mono life that’s nothing you need to worry about. I learned that Jealously = fear (of abandonment) and possessiveness = personal insecurity. So to limit these bad feelings communication with my wife needed to be greatly enhanced. Therefore my marriage got even better. We talk about everything and its has taught me to be a better husband (always working on that :-)). And now over a year into this… I truly feel compersion for my wife and her BF. But I get pangs of Jealousy and Possessiveness every now and then which is mostly fleeting. So thank goodness I am married, she is my rock and I am hers. We agreed in our quad that spouses always come first. We agreed that consent is based on pure honesty between all of us. Cheating for us is defined as lying, and even withholding feelings. We all have a right to veto and a right to say stop, break, what ever.

      I read this somewhere: Monogamy is about managing monotony, Polyamory is about managing jealousy.

    • Daddynate

      Curious as to how your “accident” happened. Were you all just hanging out one night and one of you got the balls to touch your friends spouse? Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m seriously curious as to how something like that takes shape.

    • NicknamesAreDull

      For you, marriage is between two people. If everyone is consenting, why does it matter?

      If you’re in line at Subway, and the person in front of you gets roast beef when you only like turkey, their sandwich isn’t wrong- it’s what they like. Their sandwich is still a sandwich, and they still have the right to buy it.

    • PM

      nicely put :)

    • Momma425

      Actually, for everyone marriage is between two people. It is illegal to be married to more than just one person.

    • effingplates

      On a piece of paper, yes, marriage in this country is between two people. Between those people themselves? That is really up to them to decide.

    • NicknamesAreDull

      But she isn’t expecting marriages from everyone she dates. That’s polygamy, there are differences.

      A marriage is between two people for the time being. If those two people date other people, while being married, they’re still legally married, dating outside marriage doesn’t immediately nullify their marriage. Polyamory =/= polygamy.

    • Courtney

      Exactly! if you want to see others then be single and do so. Marriage does mean forsaking all others- that’s the point of marriage.

    • PM

      marriage does not HAVE to mean forsaking all others…Marriage, to me, means staying commited to someone, sharing a home, an income, a tax bracket, children if you have them. it does not have to include exclusivitiy

    • http://lotusbloomsalexandria.com/ Rebecca Hiles

      Marriage doesn’t mean forsaking all others. And if we want to get technical. Forsaking all others is a religious addition to marriage vows. I did a JOP and never promised to forsake all others.

    • http://lotusbloomsalexandria.com/ Rebecca Hiles

      I am legally married to one person. I am emotionally married to two. Many people in the LGBTQ community did and still do live this way until their marriages are legalized.

    • footnotegirl

      In our country, it is illegal to be civilly married to more than one other person. In other countries, this is not necessarily the case, and the government has no say in what rituals people perform that have no civil function.

    • Justme

      In a legal sense, yes. Marriage is between two people. But spiritually, emotionally and even physically….what people do beyond the ceremony is their own business.

    • CMH

      You’re seriously comparing this to buying a sandwich?

    • NicknamesAreDull

      How is it a bad comparison? Her relationship doesn’t impact you negatively in any way. It’s just a different kind of relationship. It’s not my cup of tea and it might not be yours, but that doesn’t make it wrong.

    • Amber

      WHEE-OOOOH! WHEE-OOOOH! Look out everybody, it’s the marriage police!

    • Courtney

      I’m not the “marriage police” but I am just pointing out what marriage means. Dating others while married-even if your spouse knows is called adultery. Sorry if you do not like it or agree but that’s the truth.

    • Allen

      Legally, married couples are only required to “forsake all others” in that they can’t marry multiple people. Marriage is a contract between two people that provides the couple with legal recognition.

      On a personal level, different people define marriage differently, and make different types of vows to each other. Seeing other people isn’t adultery if everyone agrees with it.

      Marriage has never had one static definition. And what about the cultures that allow or have allowed polygamous marriages? Are their marriages not real?

    • PM

      adultery is a pretty broad term that has varying interpretations and consequences depending on religion and legality. Are you basing adultery being “wrong” off religious beliefs? Laws in certain states that are against it? Gambling is considered “wrong” in many places and can be illegal depending o nthe nature, in my state we have two casinos. Are the people running those casinos wrong or immoral?
      Perspective is everything.

    • PM

      if you are looking for more bibilically based answers, you or anyone else, i’d direct you here

      http://www.libchrist.com/

    • Johnathan Collier

      I’m glad you’re okay with me neither liking nor agreeing with your opinion. That makes me feel a lot better about it.

    • footnotegirl

      Your marriage may be an exclusive commitment between two people. My marriage is an exclusive commitment between two people. My friends marriage is a non-exclusive commitment between two people who both see other people openly. My other friends marriage is a triad where two of them are legally married and she’s religiously handfasted to the other. They’re going on 20+ years together. Quite a number of cultures of the past and a few even today practice multiple person marriages. For most of recorded history, men especially but to a lesser extent and in narrower time periods women, were NOT expected to remain fidelitous in the bonds of matrimony. In point of fact, romantic-based marriages with expectations of complete, unbending fidelity, where women are not property subsumed into the person of their husband is an INCREDIBLY newfangled idea, not oldfashioned at all.

  • Eric Strauss

    I know the following isn’t is a rational argument, in so far as it has no warrant:

    But it doesn’t seem possible to me to have a healthy long term relationship that isn’t monogomous. I just can’t imagine a scenario in which a spouse having sex with a third party doesn’t somehow poison the marriage.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      Isn’t it great how we’re all different people?

    • Eric Strauss

      I wouldn’t judge or criticize the people regardless of the truth or falsehood of my musings. I’m just thinking out loud about the behavior.

      Look, someone makes a claim: “open communication is essential to a healthy relationship.” No one bats an eye. Why is the claim that “monogomy is essential” more arbitrary?

      We do know that jealousy has a strong biological component. That’s certainly not enough to claim that non-monogomous relationships are wrong, or that the people engaged in them are engaged in something immoral – I’m not saying that. But it’s a warrant, at least, for the claim that extra marital affairs are inherently damaging to the relationship.

      I smoke. Those cigarettes are poisoning me. They may not kill me, and I may got along well enough, but they’re still poison.

    • Amber

      So, you think all non monogamous people are just slowly killing their marriages, managing to stay in poisoned, dying relationships…

      That’s just sad on your part. This is the type of marriage I wanted. I’ve been in monogamous relationships before. I don’t like them. I’m not happy in them. To me, monogamy feels like a slow poison that people just tolerate because they believe they have to.

      But, the difference is that I can respect that other people don’t feel the same way I do about it. It’s a shame that you aren’t capable of that.

    • Eric Strauss

      That’s kind of harsh. Look, I’m an open minded person who frankly doesn’t have any opinion about actual polyamous relationships in the actual world. If one such family lived next door, I’d evaluate each individually as a person, and their living arrangement would factor not at all into my perception of them as people.

      Some things in life, some behaviors, some cultural practices, are bad – unhealthy. Right? Would you judge the fundamentalist islamic father that prohibits his daughter from leaving the house or going to school then marries her off at 10 years old? Sure you would. You’d say, “that behavior is bad. That should stop.” Obviously, that’s an extreme example. I offer it not as a comparison to polyamorism, but to demonstrate that when “other people feel differently” we can still critique the behavior.

      So, OK. Maybe I’m wrong in my definition of a healthy relationship. Given the way reality works, I’m sure there are examples of healthy, happy, mutually loving people successfully doing this. I acknowledge that, having tried for a while, I can’t come up with any compelling reasons to support my belief that monogamy is a necessary component of a healthy relationship. I’ll just believe it for me and my relationship. How about that.

    • PM

      Eric, I find it really great that you thought it through like that, and I am happy for you in your monogamy :)

    • Eric Strauss

      Thanks!

    • footnotegirl

      A father (of any culture or religion) locking up their child and marrying them off at 10 is dealing with a non consenting non adult. Non-consenting non-adult = bad.
      Polyamory deals with fully consenting adults. It is definitely playing the relationship game on hard mode, and more people = more drama = more difficulty, but for the people it works for, it works, and just because it wouldn’t work for everyone doesn’t mean it can’t work for someone.
      Absolutely, monogamy is a necessary component of YOUR healthy relationship if that is what you need. Many of the people in my social circle are polyamorous, and for many of them, polyamory is what THEY need to have a successful, long term relationship (and some of these are going on the 20+ year mark). When my husband and I got serious, we did not expect monogamy as the default due to our social milieu and came to the decision to be monogamous as the best of possible options for us. We revisit the decision every once in a while, and always come back with the same answer. Monogamy is an essential part of our healthy relationship, but it doesn’t extrapolate that it’s the essential format of every healthy relationship.

    • Eric Strauss

      I offered the “woman oppressing culture” example not as a comparison to polyamory but as a response to Amber’s cultural relativism.* Amber’s postition was that my critique of the behavior was shameful in that it conveyed a close-minded, egocentric worldview in which I failed to acknowledge the validity of cultural practices other than my own. She was basically directing some righteous indignation at me, right?

      ” I can respect that other people don’t feel the same way I do about it. It’s a shame that you aren’t capable of that.” – Amber

      So I pointed out the limitations of that cultural relativism. I mean, for one thing, underneath everything else she believes in a philosophy of individualism**. It’s the default framework for most Americans, conservative or liberal. It says, “your business is your business and mine is mine. Who am I to judge.” Anyway, I was trying to demonstrate that said relativism breaks down when applied to any communitarian culture because such a culture violates the fundamental principles from which relativism emerges. Namely, the rights of individuals.

      In a nut shell***, I was saying: My discourse is good. Your dismissal of it is bad.

      And I agree that drawing universal conclusions from personal experience is bad.

      ________________________
      Footnotes:

      * I stated this in my comment, specifically to prevent the response you made:

      “I offer it not as a comparison to polyamorism, but to demonstrate that when “other people feel differently” we can still critique the behavior.”

      **That’s the belief system you have, by the way, footnotegirl. When you talk about the importance of consent, you are expressing your faith in the superiority of individualism as a worldview. Communitarian cultures don’t concern themselves nearly as much with issues of consent. Individuals are expected to do that which is seen as best for the community as a whole. Society is seen not as an amalgam of independent agents, but rather as a structured enterprise in which stability is maintained through tradition and hierarchy and control, and in which divergent elements (seen as fundamentally destabilizing) are surpressed.

      ***A day late and a dollar short on that one, Strauss.

    • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

      Keep in mind that humans were not meant to be monogamous. Dating even back to the Biblical days, polygamy is encouraged to ensure the survival of the species and to enlarge the kingdom. It’s why cheating happens so much. I, myself, am in a monogamous marriage and couldn’t imagine being another way. But I understand when people feel the need to go outside of one single relationship for the course of their lives.

    • JLH1986

      I just wish people could be more open with their partners (the rest of us don’t need to know what happens behind closed doors, even in monogamous relationships) than going against what they feel is right for them and cheating.

    • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

      Amen! If my husband wanted to be with someone else, sexually Or otherwise, I would much rather him come to me first and us decide together what it means for our relationship, rather than having to deal with the aftermath.

    • JLH1986

      Exactly. But communication is hard and not everyone likes to do that so…shit falls apart and then “accidents” happen and then people are divorcing because someone couldn’t be faithful.

    • Blondesareeasy Fullname

      Thank you. Exactly.

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      I think it should be noted that jealousy has as much (if not more) of a cultural basis as biological. There have been, and still are, cultures in which multiple partners is common and accepted due to much less cultural importance being placed on genetic paternity.

      In short: If nobody cares whose DNA a kid carries, nobody cares who gets it on with whom.

      No two relationships are exactly alike, monogomaous or non-monogamous. Every relationship is a negotiation between individuals with their own sets of needs and desires. Polyamory is just one flavor of those negotiations.

    • Rachel Sea

      Depends on what long term means. Historically, almost all poly marriages end in divorce, but there is some indication (study ongoing) that younger couples are turning to polyamory as an alternative to divorce. Part of the stress of being in a multi-part relationship is from outside parties; as polyamory becomes less taboo, that stress is relieved.

    • Amber

      I’ve been doing it for 13 years so obviously it’s possible. It may not be possible for you but the fact that healthy, happy couples who aren’t monogamous exist proves that is indeed possible.

    • http://lotusbloomsalexandria.com/ Rebecca Hiles

      10 years here! And we’re very happy <3

  • JLH1986

    Minus 2 and 5 I think these are excellent guidelines for ALL relationships communicate well (honesty, be fair, no name calling etc.), be present with your s/o and have safe sex. The poly life isn’t for me, but I always enjoy THIS poly mom’s insight and well worded articles about the ins and out of a poly lifestyle and how she AND her husband make it work for them.

  • alice

    6 hours, 26 comments.

    the Calm before the Trolls….

    • PM

      yeah i’ll probably stop reading soon..lol

  • ratiomom

    I’m baffled. Who has 3 young kids, a job and time for all those shenanigans? I have one and some days my husband and I can barely get 30 minutes of adult conversation and a hug. I can’t imagine having to work on maintaining several relationships! The time she devotes to her sexual adventures has to come out of what she can give to her family. I worry that some day the author will regret all those hours devoted to chasing and boinking other men instead of being with her husband and children.

    • effingplates

      Speaking from my own personal experience, I find having an committed “extra” partner to be no more strenuous than having a hobby that I enjoy a couple times a week. I’m also not sure why you focus so much on the sexual aspect; OP made it clear that her other man is involved in her life and the the lives of the rest of her family. This and other forms of dating seems to be working out for them. Why do you feel like inserting your own negativity (in the form of concern trolling no less) based on your seemingly limited scope and experience?

    • once upon a time

      Who has three young kids, a job, and time to go to the gym? Who has three young kids, a job, and time to volunteer at the local whatever? Who has three kids, a job, and time to keep up with several different TV shows or read several books or watch several movies? Who has three young kids, a job, and time to leave shamey comments on blogs?

      Is that enough? Should I keep going?

    • Amber

      You don’t have any social life outside of your family at all? That’s sad. I’m sorry.

    • PM

      I was going to respond to this, as the author here, but Amber, Once Upon a Time and Efflingplates, you all did a wonderful job for me!! *internet hand shakes*
      but also, My kids are in bed by 8. the evenings are when my husband and boyfriend get most of my time, and both fo them get time with me AND my kids.

    • PM

      and with me and both of them (not sexually, since people seem hung up on that sometimes)

  • once upon a time

    Thank you for posting a sensible perspective on this issue! I hope this Poly Mom writes more, I’m looking very forward to reading it!

    • PM

      Thank you! working on next weeks!

  • me

    Polyamorous: a multiple syllable word for whore

    • Lissa

      me: a single syllable word for sanctimonious areshole

    • SpeedyGeek

      I’ll quote a part of what I already posted as a reply to someone else… “This article is obviously meant for people interested in polyamory… so
      why did you come here to bash it and the reader? Why not just know it’s
      not for you and move on.”

  • dae

    I certainly don’t see the poly lifestyle as “wrong” or “immoral” as some commenters have suggested. I just have a hard time seeing it work on a practical level. For me I’m single I love the freedom to experience different relationships. I genuinely don’t understand why someone would choose to marry if they want those experiences.

    For example the part about having alone time at Jim’s house really got to me. I don’t care how carefully it was negotiated. The idea of being asked to leave my own home so my SO could have someone else there just seems like such a violation. It feels very emotionally manipulative as do many other aspects of this lifestyle.

    I do wonder if the fact the author got married so young is a contributing factor?
    Perhaps if she had spent more time both dating around and on finding out who she was before choosing marriage she would still feel the need for this lifestyle? In any case congradulations PM on the new column. It’s an interesting subject and I look forward to reading more.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      you have to try to understand that no one is being manipulated, Jim’s wife will give us time at their house, because Jim will also give her time there with her significant other. Because everyone is hopefully expressing what they want and needing, nothing is being twisted to get ones own way. I like being married because my spouse and i share children, family, finances, a home….all things that go along with marriage.

  • Anthony Menendez

    Remember now it’s fun–what is going to happen when you die and have to answer to the Lord? I know her here we go again with the Jesus Freak thing –Read 1st corinthians 6 : 1-11 and tell me what does it say to you ! By the way it takes one to know one –I have been an adultery driven man all my life and I finally am free –SIN leads to destruction and eventually Death –not to mention your innocent children who will not learn normalcy .

    • Larry Dudemann

      I find it humorous how you quote scripture about not judging while you yourself are acting as judge.

    • Johnathan Collier

      It sounds like more fairytale religious gibberish, like all the other fairytale religious gibberish in every other religious text that has ever existed.

    • SpeedyGeek

      Honestly I don’t get it. Why are you telling her to read that scripture and gain knowledge and direction from it? What if she doesn’t believe in god? If that is the case then that scripture would have no meaning at all for her. Next time why not say something like “hey, if you happen to believe in god, then read (such and such scripture)… I personally do not believe in god, so when someone says I shouldn’t be polyamorous because of what the bible says, well, it means absolutely nothing to me. Not everyone believes the same thing. I believe in no god, you believe in god. I believe polyamory works for me, you believe it doesn’t work for you. This article is obviously meant for people interested in polyamory… so why did you come here to bash it and the reader? Why not just know it’s not for you and move on.

  • Polyamorous Mom

    Hi Readers! I have set up my name now so you know its me when i reply, my other replies just say PM or author. Thanks for all the great feedback and happy reading

  • Dak Broadbent

    This must be a swingers club website

    • Polyamorous Mom

      swinging and poly are not the same thing :) more on that in future articles

  • animals

    Some people’s brains are just defective in some way, and they never develop beyond the horny teenage years when everything is about them and sex. The author, and the supporters in this thread have no more control of themselves than animals. I’m not religious in the least, and you can argue up and down that no one should judge you or it’s ok for people to be “different”, but you are wrong. Period. You have the right to do whatever you want. This is America. But, don’t go to the internet looking for support. The only supporters you have are the nasty animals into the same stuff you are. Lack of self control is a disease. Get help before you screw up your kids. I don’t want my taxes going to them forever because you messed them up so much they can’t function in society.

    • Daddynate

      I hope your mate feels the exact same way, in reality I doubt it, your statement sounds like you like to suppress pleasure. I myself couldn’t be with someone like that, I believe in a marriage you should be doing all possible to please your mate.

  • Arthur Di Lampedusa

    Rule 1) you are a whore Rule 2) your husband is a coward Rule 3) Your kids should be given up for adoption