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"Open relationships growing among couples"

on Wednesday, 02 October 2013. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

New York Post

The first time Danielle Ezzo met Matt and Rachel, she was relieved. The fashionable trio had met on the dating site, Nerve, and had been exchanging messages, but hadn’t yet met in real life. Ezzo, 29, recalls that evening at the Bowery Hotel in spring 2009 fondly: “I was excited that they were just as cute as their profile pictures.”

She was even happier to learn that she had that hard-to-find thing with both Matt and Rachel — chemistry. They talked about life and love and learned that they had the same ideas when it came to dating.

“I was really excited to meet people that felt the same way,” she says of her ongoing relationship with the married couple, both 34-year-old self-employed artists, who declined to use their last names because of privacy reasons.

Ezzo, also an artist, is polyamorous. Loosely speaking, she seriously dates more than one person at a time, and has an emotional, as well as a sexual connection, with her partners.

She sees Matt and Rachel separately and together, and also occasionally dates other people.

“One of the wonderful aspects of polyamory is that you do get different things from different partners, both emotionally and physically,” says Ezzo, who is in what’s known as a “triad” with Matt and Rachel.

“There are three very different dynamics, all of which are personally valuable.”

And while the arrangement may seem unusual, Ezzo insists it’s really no different than run-of-the-mill monogamy. Communication and compromise are key — for instance, when it comes to picking a flick to watch for the evening.

“They have very different styles in movies,” says Ezzo, who splits her time between New York and Boston, where she is going to school for photography at the Art Institute of Boston. “When I’m with Rachel we might [watch] a silly, fun ’80s movie, but I won’t do that silly ’80s movie with Matt. He likes strange horror flicks.”

Luckily, she says, “I like both of those things.”

Ezzo is part of a growing movement of people who are practicing consensual non-monogamy — or, in plain English, open relationships.

According to Gette Levy of Open Love NY, a local support group with more than 1,000 members, the organization has seen a steady increase in membership since forming in 2009.

“Dating has changed over the past 50 years,” says Levy. “Many adults of all ages are finding that monogamy does not suit them and is no longer a fiscal and social requirement.”

Shortly after she started seeing Matt and Rachel, Ezzo met her future husband.

“I had told him [about my lifestyle] on our first date,” she says. “He was excited to explore it.”

Her open marriage eventually fizzled for reasons not related to polyamory, but her relationship with Matt and Rachel is still going strong.

“I’ve always inherently had this notion of or had this blurred line between friendship and lovers … to me there is a huge overlap. It’s easier for me to simultaneously love multiple people,” says Ezzo.

“As a bi-sexual person, choosing is not necessarily something that I personally like to do,” she adds.

Pop-culture is having a poly moment too: TV shows like “Sister Wives” (Sundays on TLC) and “Polyamory: Married & Dating” (Thursdays on Showtime) are giving people a glimpse into the complicated sex lives of multi-partnered couples.

“The interest and the visibility around open relationships has just skyrocketed,” says sexpert Tristan Taormino, who wrote a book about the subject, “Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships.” ...

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