Magazine article USA TODAY

Then There Were Three

Magazine article USA TODAY

Then There Were Three

Article excerpt

"The beginning of my polyamorous relationship was a case of almost choking on toast one morning after my husband of 10 years admitted to having a homosexual relationship back in his college years with a Ukrainian man named Sasha."

AS TRADITIONAL Valentine's Day-themed pink-and-red greeting cards replace the Christmas and New Year's colors on the stands in stores, most of us are anticipating (or dreading) the invasion of our social networks and television with the typical romantic scenarios of exchanging gifts, kisses, and love messages between two lovers of the opposite-or same-sex. Very few of us ever imagine the holiday routine in relationships where there are more than two lovers involved. The images of cheating two-timers running between the deceived spouse and the scheming mistress aside, we hardly are bombarded nowadays by pictures of nontraditional family unions, such as polyamorous families, where the conventional Valentine's Day gift exchange is a little bit more complicated.

Polyamorous unions-where ethical and responsible non-monogamy is practiced with knowledge and consent of everyone involved-are estimated to have between 1,200,000 to 2,400,000 adherents in the U.S. alone.

How do polyamorous relationships come about? I am sure it rarely is a case of waking up one morning with your partner snoring by your side and deciding, "Why not add to the duo."

The stories of people entering into the polyamorous unions are as many and varied as those embarking on conventional ones.

The beginning of my polyamorous relationship was a case of almost choking on toast one morning after my husband of 10 years admitted to having a homosexual relationship back in his college years with a Ukrainian man named Sasha. Skipping through the finding-Sasha story and straight into the reality of maintaining a household and a life with two partners and, yes, surviving a Valentine's Day together, the polyamorous relationship with a bisexual partner and a homosexual one who spent all of his life in the closet became an adventure for me worth sharing.

Almost all of us enter into a romantic union with the desire to be happy and to make our partners happy. However, helping Sasha come out of the closet and leave the Ukraine was a huge struggle due to the severe psychological repercussions of concealing his sexuality since he was a young teen. Dreading being ostracized by the community; fearing shame, physical torture, and even imprisonment; and creating a heterosexual family and dissociating himself from the gay community altogether made Sasha (and many thousands of his compatriots) the broken man that he was when he joined our family. Thus, welcoming Sasha into our union and expecting a "happy-ever-after" was just as irrational as anticipating an unclouded happiness in any relationship once the wedding bells quiet down. …

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