What About The Children?? Polyamorous Parenting
I’m not sure about you other poly parents (wait, do those even exist?), but one thing I hear over and over again is, “I guess being open is cool, but I feel sorry for the kids.” In fact, the Polyamory Society website now has a warning to parents: If your PolyFamily has children, please do not put your children and family at risk by coming out to the public or by being interviewed [by] the press!
People are losing their children because they’re polyamorous. Forget child abuse, alcoholism or neglect - there is a new enemy: Too much love. Too much honesty, and “so many people to hug!” as my 13-year-old daughter recently said. Turns out people really are afraid of what they don’t understand, and the courts are now pointing the finger at poly families.
So what does a poly relationship look like when kids are involved? As every relationship is different, I can only attest to my own. It’s important to realize we are not unaware of the negative impact our relationships could have on my daughter. We could be having orgies all over the house. My daughter could wake up to find a different man in my bed every night. A string of trampy women could be introduced as mommy #2 every other week.
But no, we have rules. We don’t introduce my daughter to anyone we aren’t confident is going to be around for a long time. In fact, my daughter has only met 3 people outside our primary relationship - my current (year long) boyfriend, my parnter's (year and a half plus) girlfriend, and another woman my partner dated for over a year. When I finally “came out” to my daughter, it was 4 months into my current relationship, and she was actually quite upset with me that I hadn’t told her sooner.
These relationships are not detrimental to our child. In fact, they are quite the opposite. As a witness to our lifestyle, it’s my hope that my daughter will be raised to see that jealousy is better dealt with through communication, not the silent treatment or anger. She will have a deeper grasp on the concept that a person is not a possession and cannot be owned. It will be a reminder that not all relationships fit a mold. She will see that love is bountiful, and virtually limitless. She will see the effort my partner and I put into communication, and above all, she will see what it looks like when two people are completely honest with themselves and each other.
There are other benefits that are more important to a 13-year old. More present on Christmas! More people to do fun stuff with! More people interested in her life. She has developed relationships with the people in our lives, and it’s very clear how much she likes both of them, and they her. I realized our relationship had met a pinnacle of success when my boyfriend picked my daughter up for a day on the town, and stopped by my parnter's girlfriend’s work to say hi.
If I’m being honest, the only thing I can see that could pose some problems for her, is how her friends view our relationship. She has discussed it with a few of her friends, and all she’s said is, “they don’t get it,” but nobody has said anything negative about it. My bigger fear is when one of her friend’s uptight parents catches wind of it. . .I’m sure we’ll be treated like homosexuals (gasp!) or a mixed race couple (shame!!). How I wish people weren’t so close-minded.
I just wish people could trust that a couple who is mature enough and in-tune with each other enough to pull off a successful open relationship. . .might be equally as sensitive and aware of the effects it could have on their child.