One of the most common questions asked of me isn’t anything sexual or awkward. It’s not something that people are personally curious about with me or my life or my relationships. No, the most common question I’m asked is if my life is like the TLC show “Sister Wives”. First, let me say that I love that show. I was obsessed with it when I had cable and then I caught up here and there on Netflix. I think the family portrayed on that show is one that is full of well-behaved children, intelligent and loving adults, and a close bond that I definitely envied at times.
Second, polyamory can look like many things but one of the things it can’t be defined as is “polygamy”. Polygamy is usually for religious purposes. It involves one man marrying multiple wives for spiritual reasons. These wives are not sexually involved with each other and hence are called “sister wives”. While I admire this lifestyle, it isn’t exactly a form of polyamory unless all are free to make their own choices and have their own relationships. All the women in a polygamous marriage are monogamous and faithful to one man. In polyamory, perhaps one man is dating or married to multiple women, but those women have either agreed to be in a closed group like this or they may date other men or women outside of the group. They may date other women inside the group as well. There are many possibilities in polyamory, whereas there is just the one possibility and form of polygamy.
One of the reasons I don’t mind a more polygamy type set up in my home is that I lived it. When my husband’s first wife moved in we were essentially sister wives and in fact joked around about just that. We prepared meals together, took care of the kids together, I managed the home schooling and she would back me on anything I might need help with. At first, no one else was dating outside the home so we were pretty much a closed V with my husband as the hinge.
A “V” in polyamory means that there are three people but they are not all dating each other. They are not a triad. One person is dating the other two and is the “hinge” or connection between them. The two that are not dating would be each other’s metamours.
Monogamous people – this question is for you. How many times have you wished there was a clone of you? How many times have you thought that there just isn’t enough time in the day? Not enough money, not enough help with the kids, too many dishes, not enough ideas for dinner for tonight? I don’t mean to make polyamory sound like a solution to your house keeping needs. It’s far from that. Finding one person you want to live with is difficult enough. Try adding more into that and it gets much more complicated. But if you have that and it works? Wow, does it work!
I suffer from bipolar and PTSD, things that, while they aren’t sexy, they are certainly important and I will cover at another time. In relation to polyamory, I would say one of the times my depression issues were the most under control was for a couple months of all of us living together. His ex and I were both stay-at-home-moms so there was suddenly another adult with me all day! It wasn’t me against the kids for home schooling. I didn’t have to always make dinner appear of out thin air when everyone was home from work. It was really a lovely experience.
Not all of it was puppy dogs and ice cream and I’ll get to that at a later date, but for future reference if anyone asks you if you want a sister wife… you might want to consider it!