I think there is sometimes an over emphasis on the sexual aspects of polyamory. In my situation I still have a deep love for Hank (my former husband of twenty five years). Hank is my great love and continues to be my great love even though we are no longer romantic. I consider this an “emotional poly” situation. I am still emotionally tied to him.
Hank and I converted our house into a duplex and moved our partners into our home. We recognized that we could not maintain these relationships unless they were integrated into our lives. Our lovers, O and Valerie were frustrated by the limitations of dates two times a week. O wanted a domestic partner, and he made it clear if this was not possible with me, he would eventually move on.
It was also challenging to be away from our kids two nights a week. We wanted a home with our kids and new partners. I read a quote by Margaret Mead just before Hank and I opened our marriage. “Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we’ve put it in an impossible situation.” Although open marriage is assumed to be rife with instability, Meads sentiment encapsulates my main motivation to open my marriage. I wanted to keep my family intact while satisfy my desire for a new lover. I wanted a bigger family, with more adults to share their strengths. This is what we created.
The development of our polyamorous lifestyle has been very family focused. Valerie and O are our chosen family. Bringing our partners “in house” so to speak felt like progress in terms of making a community in which we could share time with our kids and our mutual partners. This allowed for more family time and also more complexities in terms of sharing time, people and space. But was well worth the effort of making it work.
One of my interests in emotional polyamory is the current divorce rate and how divorce in society at large is seen as a blaming transaction—someone is at fault, someone must pay. I was appalled when Gwyneth Paltrow was trounced for her ‘Conscious Uncoupling’ intention for her divorce. I think this is the wave of the future. I have poly friends who absolutely embrace what I am saying. One friend of mine told me when he divorced his wife ten years ago, she said “I am going to be the best ex-wife you’ve ever heard of.” They had had a polyamorous relationship followed by an amicable divorce. Divorce does not have to be rife with blame and attacks. The conscious uncoupling trend will accelerate as life spans increase and the reality of changing mates is seen not a pathology or failure but sometimes simply the next stage in our lives.