Practicing Polyamory: A trio explains their relationship

We are born into a land of fairytales -- of soul mates, of ever after, of the one true love.

But what if you're not meant to have one true love? What if it were entirely possible to be in love with one, or two, or even three people at the same time?

This is the foundation behind polyamory.

“It's ethical non-monogamy. Your partners all know each other or your partners at least know that you're exploring the other side with consent,” said Samar Poorlakani, a sex therapist.

"Polygamy, of course, is being married to more than one person, and polyamory is just an open, honest, ethical, romantic partnership with more than one person at the same time, that's it,” said Parks Hubbard.

John, Kat, and Parks have been in a polyamorous relationship for years -- but it's not a three-way deal.
Kat is what is called a hinge. She has two boyfriends, John and Parks, but John and Parks are not in a romantic relationship -- though the three of them do often hang out together.

“We go out to dinner, the three of us, and it's fun trying to watch the waiter figure out who is dating and who is not and being completely unable to,” said John Walter.

They say to have a successful polyamorous relationship, you have to be entirely secure with yourself to see your significant other with another lover -- lest the green-eyed monster rears its head.

Perhaps, they say, society can't accept polyamory because on some level, it values jealousy.

“If you're at a bar and somebody ogles your girl you're expected to overreact, to overcompensate and to act jealous because it shows that you actually care about that person, and, in fact, if you don't do that, you must not care about that person,” said John.

To the traditionalists, they say:

“So a lot of people will make the argument, ‘Well, how do you love more than one person? Are you diluting it? Wouldn't it be better if you used it all on one person and then had the deepest possible relationship that you can have?’ The counterargument would be, ‘Well, do you have capacity to love more than one of your family members? And when you get a new family member, do you start diluting the love?’" said Kat.

“Poly, the term means, specifically, the capacity to love multiple people,” said Poorlakani.

Samar Poorlakani is a sex therapist who specializes in polyamory. 

“I often see clients who have a wife and a girlfriend or a husband and boyfriend. I have clients that are in triads, where all three people are dating each other,” said Poorlakani.

Poorlakani estimates that 20 percent of Americans have at one point in their life -- dated multiple people at once -- and therefore -- are aware you can have feelings for multiple people at the same time.

Poorlakani is poly herself.

“There’s this term that every poly person knows and it's 'compersion'. It's being happy for your partner.  So let's say one of my partners found another girlfriend or boyfriend, or what have you. If they found happiness with another person, I would be happy for them, and that's compersion,” said Poorlakani.

This trio says they often feel compersion and don't believe having multiple partners is greedy.

“I would argue that wouldn't it be greedier to own a single person totally and limit all possible romantic relationships for the remainder of their life?” said Kat.

“Communication is crucial, and that's one of the strengths of polyamory, in general, is it forces people to talk extensively to gain consent for all manners of the relationship. So yeah, you're right, communication is key,” said Parks.

“Sometimes, compromises happen. Someone has to wait,” said Kat.