Forget Gay Marriage & Polygamy -- It's Open Marriages That Destroy Families

Rant 86

You know the story: Boy meets girl, boy marries girl, boy invites another girl into their bed, and girl is strangely ok with it, because she has her own lesbian lover on the side anyway.

Wait, what?

Welcome to polyamory, the strange perversion of what love in marriage looks like. On Showtime’s Polyamory: Married & Dating, married couple Michael and Kamala talk about their open marriage, and why monogamy “just doesn’t work for them.”

"Monogamy can be a really beautiful agreement between people when they're deeply in love and they don't have desire for another," Kamala says. "But most people in our society are just monogamous because their vows said 'I will forsake all others.'"

Um, yeah, that’s kind of the point.

So what does their situation look like? Michael and Kamala have been married for 12 years, and have a six-year-old son together. Six months ago, they invited Michael’s 27-year-old girlfriend Rachel to come live with them. They have previously shared their home with another couple, and Kamala has maintained an affair with another woman for the past two years.

The threesome loves to do yoga, have tantric sex together, and they collectively raise Michael and Kamala’s son. They claim that polyamory is the answer to our “divorce woes.”

Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Half of all marriages end in divorce, so the best way to combat that statistic is to eradicate the stability of marriage between committed partners?

Agree or not, at least gay and polygamous marriages show some sort of committed union between adults -- promises to stay together for life. Of course promises get broken, but how can you raise children in such chaos that no promise is ever even made, let alone attempted to be lived?

Kids with gay parents or more than one mom will have some stuff to overcome, even if for no other reason than it’s not the societal norm -- but at least they know where they belong. When parents are committed, the child’s home life is stable. But what happens when Dad’s girlfriend, who is acting as a surrogate mother, decides it’s time for her to move on? I can only imagine the psychological damage to a child who has to live with a revolving door of his parents’ various love interests.

Families with gay or polygamous parents have something these polyamorous people don’t -- commitment. Their families may look different, but at least they are loyal to each other, and especially to their children.

Do you think open marriages are a viable alternative to divorce?


Image via Robert Ashworth/Flickr

commitment, dating, divorce, in the news, love, living together, marriage, sexuality


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Lacey Faughander Knight

I can't understand why they just can't be "swingers" and be happy with it. If they want an open relationship, they can have sex with whoever they want and not bring the people home to the children. Why do thy have to get the kids involved with their sexual partners...

Nelli... NellieAthome

wamom223 - you are, one assumes, intelligent enough to know that people who are unhappy write books - be it about polyamory polygamy or simple divorce - much more so than the millions of people who live those choices happily.

Truly serious polyamorous people are just as committed as polygamists or monogamous couples. It is not just about sex, regardless of Ms Erickson's slanted article. To begin with there is a difference between polyamory and having the extra partners move in. In polyamory, for the most part, the couple have other sex partners outside the home. Each partner agrees on the number of outside partners allowed and when/where interaction can occur. it actually takes a lot more commitment and communication than the average monogamous marriage.

When an additional partner or two move into the family home what you actually have is a group marriage and the commitment is just the same level as either a monogamous or polygamous marriage. I've known dozens of polyamorous people and none of them can be called selfish or even sex obsessed.

The truth is that polygamous, polyamorous or monagomous - some parents are good parents and some are not - it has nothing to do with who they sleep with and everything to with the kind of person they are in total.



candy... candyw210

Monogamy goes against human nature? Really people? I have been in a committed relationship for 10 years; married for 7 and half yrs. It is possible for people to keep their legs closed and d**ks out of every hole! I think it is disgusting; if you feel the need to have an open marriage then just get a divorce!! Am I judging?? Hell yes I am! They are doing more harm to their children then good. How confusing for a child to see Jane doe and john doe in and out of their homes and sees mommy and daddy kissing and being affectionate with these random people. You don't think that will have a negative impact on a child's life. Marriage is for 2 people! Be it straight, gay, whatever , not 5 people, 4 people, 10 people, or how ever many people lay in their beds. Why take the vows of marriage in the first place if you plan to bring others into their beds? Marriage is about monogamy to all you half wits who think these people are doing nothing wrong. Look up the meaning of marriage. It does not mean union between 10 people; it is a union between TWO people!!

crunc... crunchymomma87

i just want to state that "polyamorous" and "open" are not the same thing. Polyamorous means you live with love 2 people and they live in your home. Open means the same thing as swingers.

Mrseoc Mrseoc

I dont really see how we can call what these people have a "commitment" They are only commited so long as everyone in the relationship stays open, thats not commitment. What if one of these people (let's just say the man for laugh's sake) says "eh, i think we should get married, and maybe just have it be the two of us"..... i'm willing to be the woman would take off.

What kind of image of a family does this give the little boy who lives with them... mommy daddy and their girlfriend!? How would that go down on the playground.

Michael Weldon

If it works for them I don't see any issues with this.  What consenting adults do should be up to them.

Brain... BrainyMommy

It's always amusing when someone who has damaged her children through the disaster of divorce sits in judgment of someone else. 

wamom223 wamom223

@nelleathome-I am speaking from people I know.  The problem I have witnessed and read about are that with that many relationships to maintain they very rarely have enough left over for their children.  Not to mention how the kids feel about living in this different lifestyle.  All I am saying is its one thing to make that choice for yourself but quite another to make it for your children.  I agree that monogamous couples can be selfish and neglectful to their children but the dynamic of an open marriage sets you up to fail with your children.  

monke... monkeymom1104

How exactly is this author comparing a gay couple to those who have more than one partner...really?

nonmember avatar Derp

I don't think commitment means what people think it means.

Also, kids need stability. Yes, divorce can harm children but so can having parents in an abusive relationship, and abuse is not a natural consequence of monogamy. Children who lack stability struggle in school, which hurts them later in life as adults. There's nothing natural about living in homes or creating businesses or governments, driving in cars, flying in planes, and everything else people don't mind forgoing nature for. It's even possible that this world we've created for ourselves requires something unnatural like monogamy supposedly is.

I knew someone who was as adamant in defense of her open marriage as people here but ultimately she admitted she was miserable and accepted it because she didn't think she was worthy of anything better. What chance to the children have when that's the message they are sent?

The biggest problem in American society in particular are that people have become so risk adverse, they don't try at all...and where does that get is?

I don't care if 60 or 70% of relationships fail. People fail at a lot of things. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try. That's how we learn and grow.

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