20 People Who Were Raised In A Polyamorous Household Reveal Everything

Published 6 months ago

In a world that is still accepting different ways of life, polyamory is becoming quite popular. According to one study, 4-5% of Americans have been involved in a non-monogamous relationship at one time or another, and a third of these polyamorous individuals are parents. 

So what could that mean for the children of that relationship? One Redditor inspired an interesting exchange of experiences when they posted the question online. Scroll below to read some of the answers shared on the original thread from people who grew up living in a polyamorous household. 

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#1

Hey this is one that I can finally answer, I come from what would seemingly look like a nuclear family, mom/dad/sister/me. My parents however would go out on weekends to swingers clubs or house parties. I didn’t know this as a child, I would say I learned this when I was 13ish? and it was in discussion around jealousy and my response to jealousy in a high school relationship that I was in. I distinctly remember my dad saying to me, “Jealousy is a emotional response to you missing something, you need to work on finding out what is making you jealous” followed by a discussion about how him and mom have never been closed and that they were happy to seek other partners as they saw fit. There were many discussions around dating culture that I remember. I remember a few of the people that they were “friends” with would come over to our house. They were great people, I considered them like I would any other friend of my parents.

I ended up expanding into poly relationships early in high school, my triad went to the homecoming dance together for example.

Image source: Darksideblugrss, Davide De Giovanni

#2

Wow, this applies to me! I grew up with 1 dad and 2 moms. My bio mom and my other mom both got pregnant at the same time, so I have a half-brother that was born two weeks before me. Since we are the same age, everyone thinks we are twins, but they get really confused when we tell them that no, we’re two weeks apart. I also have a full sister, and my brother has a half sister that was born 18 years before him, who I’m not technically blood related to. Though she is still my sister.

My childhood was pretty normal except I had 2 moms instead of 1. Extra parenting I guess.

There were one or two cases of my dad getting another girlfriend and them moving in with us for a year or so. They just lived in an extra room and helped with us kids and all that. All of my parents had separate rooms.

One of my moms moved out when I was probably 10 because of issues with my dad’s girlfriend. I still got to see her but not nearly as often. It was harder on my brother though, as it was his birth mom that moved out and he was stuck with my biological mom, who is kinda crazy.

We all still have a good relationship and I visit my other mom and my sister often. We are still a family, just a kind of weird family. Also all my parents, me and my siblings are all bisexual except for one. He is kind of the black sheep because of how normal he is, lol.

Image source: spinach4

#3

Hey, it’s a post for me! Honestly I think it’s waaaaaaay more boring than most people would think. Most of the time, my mom wouldn’t introduce a partner to me unless it was a long term relationship, so most of the time I got the single mom experience. I think the most exciting thing was going out for dinner to meet someone new, and occasionally my mom would date someone who had a kid my age, and we would awkwardly play together while our parents were on a date (as in, we were playing in my room upstairs and a movie date or smthn was going on in the living room downstairs). Really for the most part it was so completely average other than knowing my mom had 2 girlfriends and eventually I also got a stepdad. The worst part was around 6-8th grade when kids found out and started bullying me for it, asking all kinds of disgusting sexual questions about my parents (no one wants to think about their parents having sex). Eventually I learned to just not tell anyone unless we were close and I new they were cool. I only ever had one person I trusted enough to actually come to a family picnic where my mom’s partners would all be there. My mom’s partners aren’t my parents but they are part of my life and my family. They’re wonderful and supportive, and have helped me through some horrible dark spots in my life. I’m grateful to have such a wonderful, loving family.

So yeah, not very exciting, I know. But it’s my life!

Image source: Donteventrytomakeme, Priscilla Du Preez

#4

My mother was involved in a poly relationship for a while when I was a kid. It was very confusing. For a while there were 4 of us kids around, me, the kid of the other woman, and the two kids of the man. We were all pretty confused and resentful. Our favorite joke was “pick a number and wait in line”.

Image source: TheFormorian, Ben Wicks

#5

When I was young my folks dated a couple of couples. One was very long term, we were military families but they managed to fenangle a transfer together. So wow, that would’ve been like 8 years at least? They kept in close romantic contact when they separated, but idk if they qualify that as still being together.

They were my aunt and uncle, essentially. We and their kiddos got sent off to grandparents (theirs and ours) together to give them alone time. It was kinda a given that we’d all see each other every couple days, either they’d come to our house or we’d go to theirs. Not for them to sneak away for sexy time, but just to spend time together and be a family together.

I knew I could go to them about anything I could talk to my folks about and even some things I couldn’t. That closeness continued even when my own folks split, idk what standing they had with them after that tho. Unfortunately, my aunt kinda had a psychotic menopause and we had to go nc with her.

Nobody knows that I’m still in contact with uncle tho. Idk how my mom would feel about it. But he stayed a rock for me when my own dad didn’t.

Same drama as any other family I guess, just more players on the stage.

Image source: tkm1026, Polina Tankilevitch

#6

It wasn’t a huge deal when I was a kid, essentially it was just like hanging out with your parents and their friends. Some of my moms SOs had kids my age that I got along with really well. That being said, a little while ago my mom was flirting with a guy and referred to me as her “mono kid” in the same tone I’ve heard ultra conservative folk refer to “gay kids” so our relationship is a little strained these days. Her other daughter is 12, so I’m really not certain why that comment was anywhere near necessary.

Edit: I forgot to mention, while they have never had any authority over me, she refers to her SOs as my “rampparents” because they’re not quite stepparents, which is kind of funny

Edit 2 to explain some things:

Mono is short for monogamous. I am not poly.

The mono kid comment was mostly hurtful because the way she said it implied it was some sort of scandal or like it was a bad thing. Obviously this is one thing thats bad, she’s not a horrible parent and person overall, but disapproving of some of my life choices just because they’re different from hers is not a great parent move either.

No, I was not born into a monogamous relationship, so the comment really came out of left field.

Ramp-parents is a play on words because they’re not married so they are not my step-parent, so ramp is instead of step as in stairs. Ram-parent had never even crossed my mind, but I can never un-think of it, so thanks for that.

Also, thank you kind stranger for the hugs!

Sorry if the original comment was confusing, English is hard :P

Image source: crazyginger1221, cottonbro studio

#7

hey, a question relevant to me! honestly, though, it wasn’t super different than any other way of growing up i assume, i just have one extra dad than everybody else. that’s just always how it’s been, and i never really thought about how ‘abnormal’ it was until high school. Even then it was more just thinking whether i really cared enough to explain to other people, or just go with a white lie on paperwork or whatever. Biggest difference i can think of while growing up is that there was ALWAYS someone home, which can be frustrating for a rebellious teenager.

Image source: kathryma, Jimmy Dean

#8

Had a friend several years ago that grew up with poly parents in Kansas. What he described seemed like a pretty healthy family/upbringing, and I would describe him as a well-adjusted, happy human. I don’t think either parent was particularly promiscuous, but throughout the years they would have other partners. He was a proponent of polyamory and had a pretty good way of explaining it – basically no one person can satisfy your everything, so polyamorists have more than one partner that allow them to experience romantic partnership on a fuller level of their being.

Polyamory isn’t my cup of tea, but it is possible to have healthy relationships with this lifestyle, including that of a family.

Image source: parataxis, Soroush Karimi

#9

When I was younger I didn’t realize mom and dad were poly, but now it’s funny to see my friends faces when I say “my mom and her wife and my dad and my dads girlfriend and his other girlfriend and I are gonna get together for dinner tonight.”

Image source: DegtheDeg, Kelsey Chance

#10

I am 15 years old, and my parents often have potlucks where they invite their partners over. My parents are good people, and everyone they invite over are good people and have become my friends. I also usually will meet their children and become friends with them. It really is just a wonderful environment, but it is very difficult to maintain. More partners=more drama, and a lot of times two people will get in a fight and cause the whole group to split for a while. But all in all it’s pretty great.

Edit: this really blew up and there were a few questions in the comments so I figured I would elaborate a bit. My dad is bi and my mom isn’t, and the group of partners that they have(called the polycule) consists of well over 50 people, but not everyone is on a romantic relationship. And in any group of 50 people, their are people who can’t stand each other. So my parents circumstance is a bit of a special one, but it only leads to meeting more good people.

Image source: sir_fredrick_douglas, Kampus Production

#11

Ooh finally one I can answer!

My parents became polyamorous when I was around 6 or 7. They didn’t tell me or my sisters until their girlfriend (long distance) came to visit for a few weeks. After that, they were pretty open about who they were dating if it was serious. All of my friends at school thought it was cool, it just seemed normal to me. The long distance girlfriend and mum broke up after a few years but was still with dad up until a couple of years ago (I’m 24 now).

There were never any huge issues, except for when mum and dad’s girlfriend came to a family gathering and my mum didn’t warn my grandma and then also when mum moved in with a boyfriend and we were living with dad and her other boyfriend. That was a weird time.

It gave me and my sisters the opportunity to see relationships, communication and platonic friendship in a more open way. We know that we can’t expect one person to fulfil every need and so we try to keep our support systems diverse.

2/3 of us have been historically monogamous but I just got out of a 6 year monogamous relationship so who knows if I’ll remain monogamous.

Image source: ColourMeRae, Jed Villejo

#12

It’s fine. I got hella extra parents, but I wasn’t allowed to have friends over when I was little cos my mom was scared someone would call CPS, and I don’t get along super great with my stepmom. Not cos of the poly thing though our personalities just don’t mesh well. I had one therapist insist that my beef with her was over the fact that she was f*****g my dad and not the fact that she routinely threw out my belongings. The other extraneous moms r cool tho.

Image source: aeyjaey, Xavier Mouton Photographie

#13

It was fine.

The poly part didn’t really become known to me till I was 13 or so. The only weird bit was if I was bringing home a friend or someone I wanted to go out with I had to kind of explain what to expect beforehand and some people got weirded out. ?‍♀️

I’m an adult in a monogamous marriage now – I saw first-hand that getting 3 people to come to a consensus on anything was exponentially more difficult than just getting 2 on the same page.

Edit – I just realized too – how I was raised also made me very comfortable with taking about sex and boundaries in a relationship, where I think a lot of me peers were more easily pressured into things they weren’t comfortable with.

Image source: painahimah, August de Richelieu

#14

My parents were poly since well before they got married and I was born. Mostly it was just boyfriends or girlfriends that would visit. I didn’t know anything about sex, they didn’t tell me anything inappropriate, although they did make sure that I wouldn’t gab about who slept in what bed when I was young. They were dead scared of child services getting involved.

One of my mom’s boyfriends became a lot more serious and he moved in when I was about 8 or 9. It was a lot like having an uncle move in. He became part of the family, drove me and my brother to places, got involved in our interests. I told people he was my uncle. He had another girlfriend aside from my mother, too, openly. He broke up with my mother in a big way (which they kept private from me) and moved out when I was maybe 14 or so. It might have been hard for my mother, but it wasn’t traumatic for me. We kept in touch for a few years until he moved farther away for a new job. It wasn’t like a divorce experience, more like my uncle moving out.

My dad had a serious girlfriend too, but she was also married with a kid my age; so she never moved in with us but we went and visited as a family a few times a year. She’s great friends with my mom to this day. Her kid and I were good friends for a while and drifted apart as we got older, a lot like cousins.

Also I had my “aunt” who had no sexual or familial relationship with either of my parents, she was just so close a friend that she was practically family and she’d take me for a lot of weekends and summers. I thought she was legit my mother’s sister until I was 8.

Also there were other friends that would move in while they got back on their feet, and I have no idea if sexual or romantic relationships were involved. We treated them like family-guests.

So basically we were a normal nuclear family with normal kinds of family relationships that just weren’t conditioned by blood ties.

Edit: I think my parents were kinda neglectful and self centered, but not in a big way, and possibly not related to having multiple partners – I think it’s just who they are as people.

Image source: rroowwannn, Ketut Subiyanto

#15

It was amazing to see my parents be affectionate with not just their partners, but their friends. They would have platonic friends over for movie nights and all cuddle on a mattress on the lounge room floor. Both my parents are bisexual so we always learned that love is love, and we were allowed to love whoever we wanted.

Breakups were hard, we got attached to our parents partners, and then suddenly they’d be no longer in our lives. But one special partner, their first triad partner, she is still an incredibly important person in my life. She committed to us kids, separate to our parents, so when they broke up, she still loved and supported us. She lived in a different city, and when my sister and I grew up and went to uni, we moved to her city and now I’m closer to her than I am to either of my parents.

We learned to talk to adults as adults, we learned emotional intelligence, we learned that adults can still have fun and be silly at any age. We learned that family isn’t blood, it’s the people you choose to spend your life with and chosen family is the most important thing.

Image source: Arcadia_Unicorn

#16

My parents weren’t poly until I was a toddler, I guess? I thought of the other couple as just nice people my mom and dad were close with, they met online and came to visit, they all clicked well, and eventually the other couple moved in with my family. I didn’t make the connection they were all together until I was a teenager, I suppose I thought they were all just roommates of sort (though bed swapping and sharing was occuring the whole time!).

By that point, my mom and dad had divorced and so had the couple- my dad married the other woman, and my mother married the other man. My mother has divorced and remarried again, and my father and stepmother are still together, almost 20 years later.

tl;dr in retrospect, it’s just kind of an odd situation, but I honestly didn’t even realize my parents were poly growing up and now my dad is married to the lady instead of my mom.

Image source: DandelionsDandelions, bernardbodo

#17

I had a therapist in a poly relationship and they all 3 had a child together that was around 9 when I met them, 2 dads and one mom.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t be fully open about the fact that the 3 of them were in love since before she was born because the one she called dad worked for a religious college and that information getting out at all could have cost him his career, so she only called 2 of them mom and dad while she thought of the other like an uncle that visited every day.

She seemed normal, she liked to make slime.

Image source: LeaChan, Dziana Hasanbekava

#18

 

My son is a member of a throuple with two women. The first is his college gf who always had an open relationship, during a long distance period of their relationship he started very casually seeing girlfriend 2 but over time it got more serious and now they all live together. Things are happy and wonderful for them but I really do worry about how the dynamic would change were someone to fall pregnant. I worry about jealousies and inequalities rising up, but mostly I worry for my future grand babies. The societal pressures and teasing from outside the home as well as possible resentments and issues within the home. I can see how, if things work the way they are planned, it could be a wonderfully supportive and rewarding way to grow up, but you know what they say about the plans of mice and men!

So I actually really appreciate the insight of this thread, I want to be supportive of my beloved throuple but part of being supportive is discussing possible pitfalls in hopes of avoiding them and this has already highlighted some. It’s also pointed out some of the positives, so thank you.

Image source: Screaming-Violet, Josh Applegate

#19

I actually have many poly friends and all their kids are all a bit…odd. Not exactly loners, but they are all the weird kids at school. The oldest one I know is now a grownup and has had a hard time with relationships.

I think they learn a different type of relationship model then get confused when they go out in the world and discover it doesn’t work on most people. They don’t know why.

Image source: harpejjist, Zhivko Minkov

#20

My parents have been a triad since 1998.

It was hard I wont lie, they dated a lot of 4ths who brought their own children into the mix then later break up with them. It was really difficult to constantly have parental figures and siblings come and go. The most being 13 kids and 4 adults in a 2 bedroom apartment.

I am glad though that I grew up with it, I’m poly myself and it was never something my parents encouraged or forced on us. In fact they always say not to try it unless you’re a specific type of person. It introduced me to a wide arrange of people and broadened my mind to what family actually is which is the people who love you and make you feel safe i.e. chosen family.

Image source: cosmiczibel, Jess Zoerb

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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parenting, poly, poly household, polyamorous, polyamorous household, polyamory
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