I’m a happily married parent in an ethically non-monogamous relationship. My son is doing great.

Human hands making heart on color background. Polyamory concept
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As a noughties kid, I’m not ashamed to admit that I still religiously watch Friends as a comfort blanket. But there is an episode in season 1 that is a prime example of the cringe-worthy misconceptions about non-monogamy that the show perpetuated. 

The episode opened up Pandora’s box of stereotypes. Back when I first watched, I didn’t realize it was my first experience navigating the question of what a typical relationship should look like.

The friends’ attitudes towards Chandler’s non-monogamous girlfriend Aurora were incredibly problematic, reinforcing the notion that women shouldn’t freely explore their sexuality, while men should be celebrated for doing the same thing. 

But that episode aired in the mid-90s. Supposedly, society has come a long way since then. 

Or has it?

As a queer woman who has been with my amazing wife for 13 years, it took until just 14 months ago for us to start exploring the concept of ethical non-monogamy in our own relationship. We’ve had threesomes and group experiences for “fun,” but it wasn’t until we met another same-sex female couple that we all immediately knew we wanted more.

My wife and I also have a seven-year-old son. While some people may be more open-minded about us becoming sexually involved with another couple, the fact that we have a child is where this seems to cross the boundary for many.

But why is that? 

Negative comments like, “It’s an excuse to cheat,” “It’s not fair to get a child involved with a parent/s who they did not choose,” and “DO NOT put your child through your weird fetishes” are difficult to ignore, especially when parenting is already one of the hardest things one can experience. 

What it comes down to is the misconception of what this relationship means, as well as the litany of stereotypes surrounding non-traditional family structures.

What matters most is the love, support, and open communication within a family, regardless of its structure. One of the biggest things we’ve learned is that communication and boundaries are everything. Before diving into this new adventure, my wife and I spent hours talking about what we wanted, what scared us, and what we expected from each other. That solid foundation of trust and understanding has been our rock as we navigate these uncharted waters.

When it comes to our son, our primary focus is creating a healthy and supportive environment for him. We have never spoken to him about having two “new mommies.” He has met our partners, calls them by their names, and adores them both because they are great with him. We talk warmly about them to him, reiterating the wonderful qualities about them as a couple and as people, and most importantly, how they make us feel.

We want our son to understand that healthy relationships come in many forms and that it’s essential to respect others, regardless of their family structure or personal relationships. We have age-appropriate conversations with him about love, respect, and the importance of open communication in all relationships. By fostering an environment of acceptance and understanding, we hope to provide our son with the tools he needs to navigate the complexities of human connections and to appreciate the beauty of diverse family structures.

As we continue on this journey, we remain committed to ensuring the well-being of our child and maintaining a stable, nurturing environment. This involves setting aside dedicated family time, ensuring that our son’s daily routines and activities remain consistent, and being present and attentive to his emotional needs.

We recognize the importance of representation and visibility for non-traditional LGBTQ+ families like ours. By connecting with other polyamorous families, attending community events, and sharing our experiences through online platforms, we aim to contribute to a growing network of support and understanding. We believe that by being open and honest about our journey, we can help break down stereotypes and promote acceptance of diverse family structures.

When it comes to navigating the challenges of non-monogamy as parents, we’ve found that maintaining open lines of communication with our son has been vital. Nothing has changed and nothing needs to change, except for us ensuring he understands how valued and important this is for his mothers.  

By being transparent about our family structure and addressing any questions or concerns head-on, we’ve been able to create a supportive network that understands and respects our choices. Ultimately, our journey into ethical non-monogamy has been one of self-discovery, growth, and deepening love. As we continue to navigate this uncharted territory, we remain dedicated to creating a loving, supportive, and inclusive family environment that celebrates the power of love in all its forms, with our son’s well-being always at the forefront of our minds.

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