For many, the idea of polyamory seems utterly ludicrous.
Images of Big Love and mormon communities to rushing to the front of our minds. But rarely do we take the time to actually listen to the stories behind these relationships or how they came to be.
For four people from South Carolina, this off-kilter style of relationship works perfectly, giving them what they need and leaving them satisfied. And now they’re sharing their polyfamily story with the world.
“These women are here because they want to be,” says Joshua, the only male in the relationship.
Sitting down to a video interview with OpenMindedDating.com, a site that promotes and connects people looking for open relationships, Joshua, Alyssa, Mary-Ashley and Sarah shed light on their living arrangements and how their relationship functions in the modern world.
After being in an open relationship with Sarah for several months, Joshua met Alyssa, who then decided to join the two.
“I knew I was bisexual,” says Alyssa, “so I thought I could try this.”
Not long after this, the trio met Mary Ashley, who, despite living elsewhere, is now the fourth member of what they call their polyfamily.
Speaking for nearly 20 minutes, the four say that due to their unique situation, standard relationship issues such as jealousy, poor communication, boredom and monogamy do not come up the way they would in other relationships.
Sarah says, “a lot of people don’t know any better. They’re raised up to thinking ‘I own this person’ and ‘this person isn’t going to be touched by another person’ or whatever, but we don’t own anyone.
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“We are, all four, here and happy because we are here of our own free will,” she continues.
Founder of OpenMinded.com, Brandon Wade says, “The new faces of the “open relationship” lifestyle aren’t porn hungry freaks or long-haired hippies, but rather successful, sophisticated, young professionals who do not view monogamy as an ideal. These individuals openly acknowledge that long-standing relationship may not meet each partner’s emotional or sexual needs all the time, and there is a need for a better alternative.”
Unfortunately, the polyfamily says that over the years they have lost friends, with some assuming Joshua is just another sleazy guy that’s looking to sleep around and others simply disagreeing with the setup on a moral basis.
At one point Sarah admits her family considers her polyamory as a mental health condition.
“In society, it’s not accepted very much,” says Joshua. “But we’re seeing a progressive change and a slow acceptance of it as people, I guess as people… I hate to use this word, but become less ignorant about it. Not in the sense that they’re stupid, just they don’t know the facts about polyamory.
“Hopefully as more of us set good examples and show that it’s functional and not weird or necessarily kinky then it’ll get better,” he concludes.
“We have made a choice and it’s our lifestyle preference and that’s what we want to do,” says Mary Ashley simply. “Hopefully we will see more acceptance.”
You can watch the full interview and interviews with others here.
*lead image via HBO.