People hear “polyamorous” and think polygamist Mormon Fundamentalist cults wedding multiple preteen girls to aging men and self-appointed “leaders” in the community. When it comes to polyamory outside of these secluded communities, people sometimes envision polyamorous adults as sex-crazed swingers with freaky fetishes, who lack morals and responsibility.
In modern culture, we’ve opened our minds over the last few decade. Polyamory is as unique as the families who are choosing it.
Men and women choose to have committed, loving, and open relationships, often committed long-term to multiple partners. While sex is a part of most healthy intimate partnerships, sex is no more a focus in these polyamorous families than it is in your own heteronormative family. More than two adults are living in the same home sharing family responsibilities, and much to the surprise of some, these families are thriving.
Elisabeth A. Sheff Ph.D., CASA, CSE, author of the Psychology Today series The Polyamorists Next Door has been talking to families and children whose families include more than two adults.
In her series, she details the many advantages of polyamory for children. Children of polyamorous families enjoy more people to cheer for them a sports games and performances, multiple adult role models, extra patience from parents who are better able to share parenting responsibilities and appear to have more positive relationships with their parents. When compared to children in traditional families, children in polyamorous families feel more comfortable discussing their feelings with the adults in their lives.
As a society, we tend to be quick to judge when our neighbors are living by different rules than what we are used. But, when it comes to love, relationships, and parenting, three isn’t always a crowd. While polyamory is not for everyone, it’s beneficial for others.
Families are no longer defines as mother and father, two kids, one dog, and a bungalow in the suburbs. Families are defined by love and commitment. Families are defined on their own terms. The gift of family has no boundaries.
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