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A Husband, Three Kids, and Two Boyfriends???

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This week, Newsweek magazine is covering the world of polyamory -- relationships with multiple, mutually consenting partners. We talk to one mom who lives this lifestyle ... and loves it.

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Meet Robyn. She's a 44-year-old mom of three and a polyamorist who's currently involved in loving, intimate relationships with three men. And she's open to more, time permitting.

ML: What is polyamory?
Robyn: Polyamory is a romantic relationship with more than one person. It is usually a committed relationship, but polyamory can come in all forms. One form is called polyfidelity -- it means that there is a committed relationship between the people, and they are sexually faithful to each other. There can be three people in the relationship or more.

ML: What kind of a polyamorist are you?
Robyn: I am a more open polyamorist. I have a primary partner, Jesus, and we live together with my three kids. He has another partner in Michigan, and I have two other partners who I am in long-distance relationships with. One is in New York, and the other one is really long-distance -- he's in another country. But I'm not tied down to those three people. I always try to remain open. Right now my life is very busy, but that doesn't mean that if I met someone who I was intrigued by, that I wouldn't make time for him.

ML: Do you have sex with his other partner as well?
Robyn: No. I know her and I like her, but I am not sexually involved with her. And Jesus is not sexually involved with my lovers right now. But they do know each other.

ML: How long have you been with Jesus and your other lovers?
Robyn: I met Jesus in 2005 and have only been with him for three years, but he is my primary partner who I live with. I met one of my lovers in 2003 so I have been with him for five years. He also has a primary partner, and he has several other lovers -- he's a very busy guy.

ML: How long have you been polyamorous?
Robyn: I have always been non-monogamous, and when I was 24 years old, I came to terms with myself and realized that I would always be that way. I realized that I would never be monogamous, and I was sick of trying to be. I was sick of falling in love with two people and having to choose between them. I didn't want to lie, and I didn't want to cheat, and I knew that if I kept trying to be monogamous, that's what I would end up doing. At the time it was a difficult decision. There were no support groups for this sort of thing back then. I didn't know about polyamory -- the term might not have even existed back then. I felt very alone, and it was very challenging. But I knew I had to be true to who I was.

ML: Have you ever been married, and if so, was your husband polyamorous?
Robyn: I was married for 18 years. My husband and I were dating, and we both felt the same way about not wanting to promise sexual fidelity. We decided to get married and have an open marriage. We had no idea how to do it, and we made a lot of mistakes. We started with a "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and for me that didn't work. I didn't want to lie to him about where I was going or what I was doing, and I couldn't get him to ask me. So for a long while, I just didn't date anyone else at all. But then we eventually decided to really open up our marriage, and we started being open about who we were seeing and when.

ML: Have you ever been in a relationship with two other people?
Robyn: I was in a triad relationship about 6-7 years ago. It was with my husband at the time and another woman. I had been with my husband for a long time, and we were always non-monogamous and then polyamorous. Toward the end of the marriage, he brought another woman into our relationship and the three of us got involved. I was very surprised because I am not normally attracted to women, but I was attracted to her. But then he split, and she and I remained in a partnership. We were not "sexual" with each other, but were very intimate and romantic.

ML: Do you have kids?
Robyn: Yes. I have three children. David is the oldest, he's 21. My son Morgan is 17, and my youngest is a girl, Rico, and she's 12.

ML: Are they aware of your lifestyle?
Robyn: Yes, they are. The kids know that we have romantic relationships with other people, but they are not privy to the details of my private sex life and what goes on in the bedroom.

ML: How do they feel about it?
Robyn: To them, it's kind of normal. They have been raised in this family their whole lives. My husband and I really opened up our marriage (and started openly seeing other people and having them visit the house, etc.) when my oldest son, David, was 10, and when it became an issue, when I would have a boyfriend come over to the house, I talked to my oldest about it and he was like, "OK, cool mom." Some people try to hide being polyamorous from their kids, but outside of custody cases, kids are aware of what is going on. They can sense that one or both parents are seeing other people, or maybe they sense that something is wrong. But if you just tell them what's really happening, then they feel secure (not like someone is having an affair and it's going to tear apart the family), and then they feel like they can trust you and talk to you about it.

ML: Are the older boys polyamorous?
Robyn: My oldest, David, considers himself polyamorous. Morgan doesn't seem too interested either way. And my little girl is obviously still too young to really know, but knowing that she's a lot like me, she probably will be.

ML: Do you or Jesus ever get jealous of the other's secondary partners?
Robyn: Jesus does not have a big challenge in dealing with it. He is awesome about how he handles things. I, on the other hand, sometimes have a problem with it, and I have to talk myself through it. I have a handle on the fact that jealousy comes from insecurity, and it's something that I will occasionally have to deal with. But I know that polyamory is the right thing for me, and there is no way that I would ever want to be monogamous.

ML: What's the whole point of polyamory? Sex with lots of people?
Robyn: If all I wanted to do was have sex, then I would just be a swinger. The point of polyamory is to be able to experience love and affection, and I just happen to have more than one partner to do that with. It also keeps life interesting.

ML: Do you ever worry that Jesus might leave you for another one of these women?
Robyn: Not really. It's the same as you wonder in any relationship. If Jesus wasn't happy, then I wouldn't want to be with him. I know that Jesus is with me because he wants to be. We have so much good communication, so there is almost less concern.

ML: Do your secondary partners spend time at your home?
Robyn: Yes. Jesus and I have separate bedrooms, and sometimes our other partners will come over and spend the night. We all have dinner together with the kids, it's really nice.

ML: What do you say to people who criticize you for your lifestyle?
Robyn:
I haven't had a lot of criticism. When I was with my husband, sometimes people would say, "What about your wedding vows?" And my reaction is, you don't know what my vows were. Or people will say, "You're going against God." Well, whose god are you talking about? It's funny, because what I've found is that the people who criticize the most are the ones who cheat.


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27 comments so far | Post a comment now
chris July 31, 2009, 8:12 AM

I think if you and your partner go into your relationship with the understanding that it will be an open relationship then I see nothing wrong with this. I certainly think it better than thinking your partner is being faithfully and finding out that they are not and being broken hearted. And considering that 1 in 2 marriages will end in divorce and 1 out of 3 people will be unfaithfully to their spouse, maybe she is actually go to something.

cyndi July 31, 2009, 11:04 AM

I find this whole article/interview very sad. You are clearly searching for something you will never find. I’m even sadder for the children caught up in this mess.

Trina July 31, 2009, 12:15 PM

I agree with Cyndi, this is wrong on so many levels.

pamela July 31, 2009, 12:21 PM

The whole polyamorous crap throws me off.

It’s not REAL love if you are not pleased with your Husband. polyamorous is just okaying cheating and its morally wrong.

Why get married if you will be sleeping around with other people or whatever the hell you call it?

LittleMeTG July 31, 2009, 1:01 PM

Ugh puke…

Mick Magill July 31, 2009, 4:15 PM

Okay, I can’t understand why folks feel the need to push THEIR morality on others.

My wife and I are poly, were before we got married, and will be the rest of our lives. My adult son is not freaked out my it, but doesn’t believe it is right FOR HIM.

My first wife cheated on me for years. In other words, I was “poly” long before I knew it. I decided I never wanted to be put in that position again.

My wife and I have hard and fast rules, including “veto rights” on others. Our vows were specifically written to allow this situation, and my wife and I love and honour each other. To those of you who don’t “get it” .. .all I can say is “you live your life your way, we will live ours. We will not try to enforce our ethics on you, please do not try to force your morality on us”.

Mick.

Robyn Trask July 31, 2009, 4:59 PM

Pamela

Who are you to decide that the love and deep intimacy I feel for my partner isn’t REAL love. Whose definition of love are you using? This is like saying that if you have two, three or more children you don’t really love them, you do not know what REAL love for children is. This is ridicules, right? I think so. I would never have eight kids because that would stretch my ability to give them quality time too thin.

My intimacy with my three partners is deep and profound. The man I share my home and daily life with and I share a love that amazes me every day. We work together and spend much of our free time together. We talk about everything, from our feelings for each other, connections we have with others, our fears, jealousies and insecurities. Our poly relationship has brought amazing communication, understanding, acceptance and love. The other men in my life are also extremely important as are their families. It is much like an extended family. Most people love and care for their sibling’s families and children or their good friends. Many people love family and friends. The only difference is we share a sexual love. We are honest, respectful and loving. My partners know they can be honest with me and that I trust them. They know I want them to be loved and fulfilled. This is REAL love and it is deep and profound. It is sad that so many people have to defend their choices by insulting others or assuming they are morally superior.

People who know me, know I am very honest, passionate, real and I love many people. I have great kids who are smart and well adjusted. You cannot know me from an interview online just as I do not know you. If this triggers you so much, perhaps you should look in the mirror at what this is reflecting about you. What is so insecure in you that you cannot tolerate people who live differently?

Robyn, Loving More

Wylliams July 31, 2009, 7:02 PM

Sure, convince yourself. Poor couple.

Mick Magill July 31, 2009, 8:40 PM

re: “Sure, convince yourself. Poor couple.”

Wylliams, is there a food you don’t care for, that others enjoy? Say, you HATE mushrooms. And I love them.


Does that make my choice somehow more valid that yours? Do you truly believe that others may not have different (but just as valid) likes/dislikes as you?


Or are you one of those poor folks who cannot imagine that other peoples lifestyle choices could be as valid as yours?


Are you one of those folks who when he was 12 and shopping for him mother’s birthday, couldn’t understand that she wouldn’t want a catcher’s mitt? “That makes no sense, I want a catcher’s mitt, therefore EVERYBODY wants a catcher’s mitt”

Robyn never asked YOU to have relationships with multiple people. If you and your partner are not wired that way, THAT WOULD BE WRONG … for you. But, if that is what works for Robyn AND her partners, why would you disparage their choices?


(and, to be clear, I am completely respectful of YOUR choices, and would actually appreciate an answer. I truly don’t understand your response).


Mick.

Chrissy August 2, 2009, 1:48 AM

I guess my concern is the children. It has been well established that children need to grown up in a well established and security home. And after a divocre this needs to be particluarly enforced.
It does not sound to bme that having one parent (and possiblely both parents) bringing in a contingency of strangers into the home that the children meet and forced to have dinner with is not creating that environment.
The author talked about a previous female relationship and now three men - that four different people that her children have meet and been aware.
Children often repeat the relationships that they see their parents have even when its not fulfilling because they are conditioned to it and its all they know.
Her children may think its “normal” because they were raised that way.
I have a friend who’se parents each were married multiple times. Although, in her late thirties, she’s still trying to figure out how to establish and maintain a long term realtionship. Why? Because she really wants a stable committed realtionship. Unfortunately, she did learn that from her parents.
Her children may end up in simliar realtionships because that is what they know and not because its want they want.
Children model their parents. It’s fine to have these types of realtionships when you’re single or childless. But, having children means doing want is best for them and sometimes that means not doing what you want.

Mel August 2, 2009, 9:29 AM

This relationship sounds very disfunctional and selfish. I have three children myself and one husband and its hard to find enough time in the day for all their needs I couldnt imagine bringing multiple partners into the relationship. Im not a shrink or anything but it sounds like this women didnt get enough love as a child and now shes overcompensating. Of course your children have no problem with it thats how you raised them they dont know any better. Try putting all that love and energy you have for your multiple partners into your children and stop breeding instability.

Mick Magill August 3, 2009, 9:15 PM

re: “having children means doing want is best for them and sometimes that means not doing what you want.” ….. and …….. re:”stop breeding instability”

Hmmm… I came from a “stable” family. Mum and Dad never divorced. Stayed together “for the kids”. I remember HATING the fact that these two people who hated each other stuck it out making everybody around them unhappy, and IT WAS MY FAULT.

Divorce is a HORRIBLE outcome to a marriage. But it’s not as bad as being raised in a house with people who hate each other.

As to “breeding instability” …. I personally divorced my first wife because she cheated on me. My son knows this. Since he was 8 I have lived with the same partner, and she and I married 6 yrs ago. My son is 21 now, in college, SANE, doesn’t drink, do drugs, etc. If anything, he is TOO stable.

My son has been “exposed” to poly his whole life (his mother and I divorced when he was 2, I got full custody when I left the navy and he was 5). When we have discussed the issue he has told me it is not something he wants to do, BUT HE HAS NO ISSUE WITH ME DOING IT. In particular, he likes the fact that there are not secrets and lies, as he sees his mother, uncles, friend’s parents, etc. engage in.

My outside relationships have had no discernable negative impact on him. He is still friends with many of the women who have been in my life (he calls some of them his Aunties), treats women well, dates but not seriously.

My wife and I love each other more deeply than you can imagine, but that doesn’t mean I have a problem when she goes on a date to a concert I wouldn’t enjoy, nor does she have a problem with me seeing others, especially when I am doing things with a gf that she does not enjoy (get your mind out of the gutter, I am speaking of things like camping, motorcycling, etc :) ). Again, why is it hard to accept that what might be good for you, is bad for another, and vice versa? We are wired differently. Poly (as opposed to cheating, or “grin and bear it” monogamy) is a perfectly valid lifestyle choice, if approached honestly, openly, and intelligently. I also think monogamy can work, if approached honestly, openly, and intelligently.

I guess, for me, it comes down to respect and truthfulness. These are absolutes. To often I hear husbands complain about their wives, wives complain about their husbands, and I wonder, why would you stay in a relationship with somebody you don’t respect, and who does not respect you?

I also know that no one person will want to do all the things I want to do. But, between my wife Lori, gf Synita, and occasional other partner like Megan, I can find SOMEBODY who wants to go on a long motorcyle camping trip. :)

Mick Magill August 3, 2009, 9:20 PM

continued from above…

I also think monogamy can work, if approached honestly, openly, and intelligently.

I guess, for me, it comes down to respect and truthfulness. These are absolutes. To often I hear husbands complain about their wives, wives complain about their husbands, and I wonder, why would you stay in a relationship with somebody you don’t respect, and who does not respect you?

I also know that no one person will want to do all the things I want to do. But, between my wife Lori, gf Synita, and occasional other partner like Megan, I can find SOMEBODY who wants to go on a long motorcyle camping trip. :)

Lissalou August 3, 2009, 10:57 PM

While this would not work for me, it seems to work for Robyn and her family. Just because something is different doesn’t mean it’s wrong. i do it my way, you do it yours, at the end of the day, the result is the same,- happy family.

Alicia August 4, 2009, 11:04 AM

I love the concept of polyamory. I have since I first discovered Poly Weekly.

Now, I’m not willing, at this point, to make time for it in my life. But, my husband and I have discussed it and we are both open to discussing it more in the future if needed.

And also, these are not strangers that this mother is bringing into her house. It is no different than you bringing home a friend for dinner and forcing your kids to interact with them. And tell me you haven’t done that.

Kay August 4, 2009, 12:25 PM

Mick models the behavior so often seen in people that have not coped properly with being hurt. He says his wife cheated on him and now we see that his life basically involves cheating in the form of his poly-lifestyle. I believe the reason people like him and Robyn engage in these behaviors is in a futile effort to understand the hurt that was done to them initially. Also, this all echoes of people that mistake sex for love and the lengths people will go to justify their basic immorality. I cheated on my husband and realize it was wrong to get addicted to the thrill of the lie or secret in a relationship. The man I cheated with has a pattern of cheating with married women (such as myself) and I came to realize that he says his first wife cheated on him, so he has spent his entire life overcompensating for that hurt in seeking love through sex with various partners and in failing to see where it all started and why. I believe these poly people are all highly delusional! No matter how they try to justify and how much they speak of being honest, they are in reality quite the opposite, by virtue of the very nature of the behaviors they engage in. Real love for adults is between a couple, between a person and their committment to one partner, not to sharing your partner with others. If you are willing to share them, you do not truly love them, and you probably do not love yourself enough to think you are worthy of one partner’s love. Yes, I admit, I speak of myself in that regard. But there is hope and you can come to see the truth and you can change and believe in a monogamous relationship, which seems to be the evry thing that Mick and Robyn truly crave and that which continues to elude them. They will surely argue to justify their beliefs that they are right and others that do not agree with them are wrong, so I say, sure, live and let live, but don’t fool yourselves thinking I have to agree with you, or, that you are not causing damage to your kids, because although Mick’s parents stayed together with hate and he feels blamed, now Mick is only using those excuses to live a selfish lifestyle, and so is Robyn, whatever her excuses. You are not an island and we are all connected and you do hurt others, especially the children. Robyn even admits (thank you) to issues with jealousy and insecurity, so surely her children are not feeling secure in that environment where Mom is not good enough to be with one loving partner (at a time) and where she does not respect herself (or them) enough to expect that. This kind of multiple, sexual-partnering inheretnly brings secrecy and lies into the relationships of all concerned. No doubt!

Mick Magill August 5, 2009, 1:49 AM

Kay,

Judgmental much?

Okay, we must be speaking a wholly different language here.

I never said I felt “blamed”. I said that my parents stayed together “for the kids”. I was never BLAMED, but I was smart enough to know that, had I not been conceived (I am the eldest of four, and I doubt I was a 9lb 6oz premie), then there is no way my parents would have married.

And, as to morality, this is different from culture to culture, and for that matter is dependent on time (your great-grandparents had very different views on morality than you do, I am willing to bet) it is NOT an absolute. I prefer the terms “ethics”. The first and foremost, do not do unto others that which you would not have done to you. I live by that. I am also painfully honest.

And, I never said you had to agree with me. BUT, I would no more accept your ideas of propriety in my life, than I would expect you to accept mine. It’s a shame that you cannot seem to grasp that fundamental point.


And, finally, HOW DARE YOU try to tell me what my feelings are for my wife. You have no idea how much I love my wife (and truthfully after 13 yrs, I love her more intensely than ever, and more so than I ever would have thought possible when I was in my 20s).

BUT.. I have never lied to a partner, nor have I ever “cheated” on a partner. You, on the other hand, are a self-confessed adulteress, unable to even live up to the values you profess to believe.

I am pretty sure you claim to be a christian, and if so, go find your bible (do you know where it is? Mine is filed next to the Qor’an, and the Talmud, and various other books of mythologies) and look up matthew 7:3.

At least I (and the people in my life) are not hypocrites.

Now, that having been said, again, I have not tried to convince YOU to live by my rules. For one thing, you are not honest enough. If the most attractive, desirable, woman in the world were to offer to sleep with me, I would turn her down if she were “cheating” on a partner. I have no time for liars. And it would seem you have no time for those who aren’t.

With all due respect,
Michael J. Murray-Magill mickm@sardonicmanor.com
(yeah, google me, I am precisely who I say I am, and do not feel the need to hide behind anonymity)

Mick Magill August 5, 2009, 1:55 AM

Continued from above, truncated ….

I have no time for liars. And it would seem you have no time for those who aren’t.

With all due respect,
Michael J. Murray-Magill mickm@sardonicmanor.com
(yeah, google me, I am precisely who I say I am, and do not feel the need to hide behind internet anonymity)

Vashti August 5, 2009, 10:36 AM

Since the act of cheating according to our current definition is it defined as dishonest; lying. And one of the principles of a poly-lifestyle is honesty, Kay may want to revisit her position, also what is Kay’s recommended method of coping properly with been hurt?
I understand that it is very easy to dispense one’s believes as to the reasons why others engages in behaviors that you consider a futile effort to understand hurt. Those of us we are connected to our emotions are honest with ourselves and our partners unlike the husbands, wives and those who believes they are in a monogamous relationship. Studies have shown that up to eighty-two percent of our married population will have an affair at some point in their marriage and their partners will not be aware of their “cheating.”
I understand Kay’s view that she echoed when she mistook sex for love and the lengths that she went through to justify her immorality however, she dismissed the choices of others by imposing her version morality, as the standard by which we all should adhere too. Even the behavior of your former partner’s was dishonest by choice. Had he engaged in a ploy-lifestyle it would have allowed him to be honest and have open relationships, however if the thrill of lying and cheating is what he seeks than a poly-lifestyle will not be suitable to him. CONTINUING BELOW…

Vashti August 5, 2009, 10:40 AM

…CONTINUING FROM ABOVE
At the exclusion of reason one must be deluded to dismiss the experiences of others, and make judgments solely on one’s version of morality while abandoning the very nature of our human sexuality.
What I consider to be Real love is infinite and my understanding came from first knowing, and loving myself. With that knowledge and through experience I know that Real Love cannot be exclusive. When there is an attraction between consenting adults it is our right, if we choose to express that love through sex and a poly-lifestyle allows for this type of honest expression which is not imposing on others.
We should consider the sexual nature of human and whether or not monogamy is intrinsic to our nature or is it an imposed moral code thereby making it the acceptable behavior. We must also consider if the current criteria of marriage (monogamy) are archaic for today’s society?


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