Polyamory and Children

Apparently – and this comes as a complete surprise to me – polyamorists have difficulty convincing other people their arrangement brings about an environment suitable for children. One Gracie X laments thusly:

Six years ago when my husband and new boyfriend all decided to cohabitate under the same roof– I felt pretty smug. I had created a situation where I got to have my husband of 20 years and a new lover as well. We converted our single-family home into a duplex. My husband and his new girlfriend moved into one side of the house, while I lived on the other side with my new man, Oz.

Sounds idyllic. Who’s in charge of the laundry?

But not everyone was thrilled for us. When Oz, told his ex-wife he was giving up his apartment permanently to move in with me, she slapped him with a custody suit. She was determined that their two children would never live in my home. She accused us of all kinds of perversities and insisted the household was unsafe for their children. During the hearings, we were basically investigated for being polyamorous. Thus began my painful education into the fears and bigotry surrounding my alternative chosen family.

Well, yes. Whereas this lady might have been okay with her kids spending time with their father and his new girlfriend, putting them under the same roof as another two adults about which she knows nothing and have no connection to the children whatsoever is a different question altogether. I have a friend who is a single mother, and she would never leave her kid alone with one of her boyfriends, and when the father moved another woman in with him, my friend insisted on meeting her just to get a feel for the sort of woman her daughter would be spending time with. All was fine, but she checked anyway. Sensible woman, my friend.

But even after Oz’s children moved in, we all felt vulnerable. Until there are laws that protect polyamorous people, swingers and those with any openness in their marriage—we are unprotected from people who would use our sexuality to attack us.

They probably couldn’t care less what you do sans enfants, but when kids are involved it becomes another matter entirely. That’s not to say that no polyamorous people should be allowed to have kids, but they ought to expect additional scrutiny of their child-raising environment. That this came as a surprise to Gracie X speaks volumes.

Your sexuality does not determine your effectiveness and goodness as a parent. One mistake we made was trying to justify and explain our lifestyle to the courts. In hindsight this further put our sexuality on display. Better to do just the opposite. Focus on your excellent parenting skills.

Shift the focus off the sexuality, she says. Okay, but:

Utilize local LGBT organizations for legal strategy. Gay rights activist groups have already dealt with the kind of situations and bigotry that you may be confronted with in court.

In other words, make your sexuality an issue. And that’s the problem: polyamory is about sex, despite what its practitioners say. I think these days most people would concede that being gay or lesbian is not a choice, much less a lifestyle choice, but polyamory – which is basically a term to describe how people’s sex lives are organised – can’t possibly be described as a natural condition over which the participants have no control. I hesitate to call it a lifestyle choice because, from what I’ve seen and what others have told me, it is more of a coping mechanism. The reason why people concentrate so much on the sex part of polyamory is because that pretty much defines it: leave the sex out and you have the guts of what most functioning adults enjoy anyway.

Get letters of recommendation from teachers’, friends, co-workers, anyone who has witnessed your parenting and can accurately describe your parental strengths.

I wonder what percentage of polyamorists could get these?

When I look back at this time it was one of the most stressful of my life. I was on edge for the entire two years that we were embroiled with the courts and their appointed evaluator. Reach out to your support network, find ways to calm yourself down and deal with your stress. It’s extremely challenging to deal with the courts and even more so with the potential of losing your children– my heart goes out to anyone going through it.

Makes you wonder if the kids were considered at all, doesn’t it? All of this stress could have been avoided by not getting into a cohabiting polyamorous arrangement. I’d love to see how they turn out.

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10 thoughts on “Polyamory and Children

  1. Overwhelming narcissism. The entire article reeks of it. Fuck the kids, fuck their mother, it’s what I want which is all that matters. Me me me me me me dressed unconvincingly in SJW robes.

  2. “When Oz, told his ex-wife he was giving up his apartment permanently to move in with me, she slapped him with a custody suit”

    That’s how it goes. When my ex-wife left me and took my children she brought in the child support agency. No specific accusations, more stuff like “unpredictable behaviour”. I still have the file (now 15 years closed) and it’s over 2 inches thick. I did nothing wrong, and broke no laws, but for several years there was never a week went by without some demand. I like a quiet life and the relentless and incessant demands were killing me.

    I met a sweet Japanese lady who said “come here and live with me”. Problem solved.

  3. “Gay rights activist groups have already dealt with the kind of situations and bigotry that you may be confronted with in court.”

    Why is it bigotry when you find something (or some action) distasteful or even threatening, either to you or someone else? Just because I don’t like salad cream, say, does that make me a ‘bigot’ because it isn’t to my taste and I not only avoid it but never buy it?

    The word bigot is thrown about like confetti by a certain section of society (though they don’t seem very social, most of the time) and is used to defend if not justify any weird or aberrant behaviour. Several good bloggers online often call the people who see bigotry everywhere as mentally unstable or even ill.

    As the old saying goes, do what you want but don’t scare the horse. Well, the horses that move our our world forward got scared a long time ago.

  4. Seth Roentgen: “she brought in the child support agency”

    Dear God my sympathies: I had that with my ex. I was paying more than the ‘approved’ total for my kids, taking them out, looking after them and all the while having given my ex-wife the family house so she had a good home for the kids, the fooking child support agency weighed in and still made demands. Oh yes, and I was living in a damp two-up, two-down in a shitty part of Sheffield that the council tried to give to Rotherham and, you guessed it, Rotherham turned it down.

    Even though I explained I was one house down and a lot of money less each month, it made no difference to assorted jobsworths, clerks and minions I never met (their office was in Belfast, I was far from them). They still told me what to do and how much more I had to give. They say the state is not your friend, and when the state interferes in equable agreements between sane adults and makes unnecessary waves, you are made very much aware of how much they aren’t your friend.

  5. My point (sorry) being: Ms Fuckaround has found there is a Pandora’s box of bureaucracy built around child welfare. Right or wrong, the wimmin and the sistas are going to have to deal with it.

  6. And that’s the problem: polyamory is about sex, despite what its practitioners say.[…] I hesitate to call it a lifestyle choice because, from what I’ve seen and what others have told me, it is more of a coping mechanism.

    Well, yes. It’s not really about sex, it’s about insecurity.

    Note this part:

    My husband and his new girlfriend moved into one side of the house, while I lived on the other side with my new man, Oz.

    The thing that gives the lie to polyamory as it is preached is how many of these marriages end up with both partners in monogamous relationships with other people, while still nominally “together” with their spouse. It’s nothing more than the seven-year itch without having to go through all that messy divorcing and hard feelings.

  7. “When Oz, told his ex-wife he was giving up his apartment permanently to move in with me, she slapped him with a custody suit”

    What’s wrong with just “she slapped him”, possibly even adding ” and called him a fucking weirdo”?

  8. “Gay rights activist groups have already dealt with the kind of situations and bigotry that you may be confronted with in court.”

    Coming to a criminal court near you – the ‘bigotry’ of using the wrong gender pronoun. Don’t laugh, it will happen.

    Who are the bigots now?

    The State used to take care of the crazy people and keep them away from the sane ones as much as possible. Now the State is the guard with the gun, telling the sane ones to do EXACTLY what the crazy person wants or they get it.

  9. It’s nothing more than the seven-year itch without having to go through all that messy divorcing and hard feelings.

    Or, in the case of the polyamorist I knew, it was a way of fucking around while maintaining the veneer of respectability which comes of being in a relationship.

  10. The entire article reeks of it. Fuck the kids, fuck their mother, it’s what I want which is all that matters. Me me me me me me dressed unconvincingly in SJW robes.

    Exactly, and you’ll find most defences of polyamory read exactly like that.

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