Chacha and jimmy have been together for almost 10 years and are polyamorous.
Think back to bringing your girlfriend, boyfriend or lover home for the holidays, sounds pretty nerve wracking and flippin awkward right?
Now think of bringing (both)your lovers, home for the holidays. It’s a situation both chacha and jimmy have faced in their relationship being polyamorous.
Family expectation can feel heightened during the holidays. So much pressure to have fun, conversation, to share what you’ve accomplished since last seeing each other & more.
Polyamorous relationships need to be spoken on and referenced more often. There are so many different polyamorous families and dynamics and it’s great to learn and explore more about the way we live. Polyamory is a form of ethical non-monogamy, allowing for simultaneous romantic relationships with more than one person.
Back to Chacha and Jimmy’s story, 3 years into connecting, this couple met their match. Their third, their girlfriend. My name is Summer and I was in love with them both at first sight. 6 years later, holidays are still something to discuss for our polyamorous “triad.”
Many experience a feeling of not being accepted by family at some point in their life. Most people outgrow this feeling but as adults we still face it. Say if you smoke cannabis and your family doesn’t, drink alcohol and your family disapproves, are homosexual, have tattoos, etc.; anything appearing to be taboo in our lives can present fear of losing all that goes with your families acceptance.
When the relationship was new, I remember being introduced as the friend, and getting caught kissing my girlfriend at a family party. Not exactly the normal family scenario having to explain to your parents why your friend was kissing your girlfriend, and you were okay with it.
In a conservative family setting, polyamory is something that is not discussed. In a respectful way, our triad avoids holding hands or kissing our multiple partners around family. Because two women is a lot more shocking than a man and a woman; also Jimmy and Chacha met prior to me coming along, it’s a lot easier to personify the friend aspect. Secrecy may be unhealthy for a relationship, but so is disapproval.
Having said that none of us feel secondary or primary. I feel our triad thrives on being very equal.
When you think about it though, we do the same thing with our families. The nuclear family has four principal roles — father, mother, son, daughter — while other family roles, such as grandmother or uncle, tend to be marked as secondary by means of phrases like “extended family.”
In fact, this kind of linguistic marking happens all over the place. Think about “soccer” and “women’s soccer.” The latter is marked as “women’s” because the unmarked kind of soccer — the one we just call “soccer” — is men’s soccer.
Now we’re talking 6 years later, the family holiday gatherings haven’t changed a whole lot. Out of respect we sort of mirror our families comfort abilities. While some family knows very well about our lifestyle, others remain in this ‘out of sight, out of mind’ category and for now it just works this way. When we get married and send those invites, or have children, I suppose more family will have to know more details than are being asked right now.
I feel if anyone has family, friends, or acquaintances in an unconventional setting who you care about, you have to find a way to meet in the middle, even if others may not understand your decisions. And that’s what I think the holidays are all about at the end of the day. Putting aside differences for love and for the moment. Cherishing each moment we have while we are on this planet.
When it’s done right, I feel polyamory is an ideal lifestyle for a lot of people. I am full of happiness everyday , and I hope to share that with more people. Whether it’s another girlfriend, or even a child, The ground we are breaking will pave ways for the day we do grow our triad. We have nothing but love and openness to offer the world.
COMMENTARY: Bringing both your lovers home for the holidays is ‘beyond awkward’
By Carrie Jenkins, University of British Columbia