"My Kids Make Me Feel Proud To Be Polyamorous"
by Margaret E Jacobsen
Over the last four years, my family dynamic has changed because of divorce and polyamory. I'd always wanted a large family, but I believed was only attainable by having lots of kids, and polyamory was never something I thought of because I grew up in a religious and conservative environment that placed monogamy on a pedestal. Anything else was a sin; adultery. So when I began to explore non-monogamy, I was most surprised that the two easiest people to explain polyamory to were my children because my kids make me feel proud to be polyamorous. As my ex-husband and I eased into non-monogamy before separating, I remember my 4-year-old daughter asking me when I'd have a boyfriend outside her dad. I laughed and asked her why she asked me that, and she said, "I just want more adults to love me!" That comment has stayed with me and has served as the foundation for how I talk to my kids about polyamory.
The first time I talked with my children about polyamory was when my ex and I told them we'd be separating. I remember feeling slightly nervous about it, wondering if it would confuse their then-4-year-old, and then-5-year-old brains, but I'd promised myself that if I was going to practice non-monogamy, I was going to include my whole family. After all, this decision wouldn't just affect me; it'd affect all of us. So I told my both of my kids the truth: even though I was still married to their dad, I'd been dating other people, particularly my current partner, someone they'd already spent a lot of time with. When we told our kids we were separating and the reasons why, both my kids just said, "Oh, wow! We love him, that's so cool!" I remember breathing a little bit easier as we went to bed; there were no secrets between any of us anymore. It's always been important to me to have my kids be a part of this lifestyle change, and I was amazed by their reactions.
Our conversations about polyamory are different than they were when they were younger. My kids don't see a difference between polyamory and monogamy — they just see people practicing love in different ways.
After that initial conversation together, my daughter had a few more questions about loving multiple people. She wondered why more adults don't have multiple partners, which opened up a discussion about how our differences give us strengths and also set us apart. I told her that even though I felt like I was capable of loving and caring for more than one person, her dad was opposite of me, and both of those things were acceptable and valid. When we had a mother/daughter overnight trip to a hotel in town, she laid in bed next to me and said that loving a lot of people made sense in her head, and she likened it to having lots of best friends. It was amazing to hear my 5 year old express such a grown-up view on relationships and love. ...