Polyamorous with children: A mom's story

Polyamorous with children: A mom's story
Jeffrey Alan Love

This past week, we dove deep into Twin Cities polyamory scene, to shed some light on how multiple people can co-exist in a loving, open relationship. If you haven't read it already, click here and do it now. (We'll wait.)

One point of interest in this week's feature was the idea that polyamorous people with children would be reluctant to speak with the media for fear of scrutiny and even possible legal repercussions. Turns out, that's not entirely true.

Julia Janousek from north Minneapolis -- her real name, no less -- reached out to City Pages this past week, offering to provide her perspective on being a polyamorous mother of two. 
Alright, so let's get this part out of the way: How long have you been practicing poly?

My husband, Jim, and I have been married for almost 12 years. We decided to open our marriage up in August of 2009, and I promptly met my boyfriend, Justin, who I've been with for three years.

And how many kids do you have? 

I have a daughter who is ten and a son who is eight.

So how did your kids react to you practicing poly?

The things with kids, is that when people are trying to hide something, it's exciting. But we just live our lives and don't really make a big deal out of it, so they don't really think anything of it either. 

You never had any sort of talk with your kids about being poly?

Early on, if Justin would spend the night then we'd try and get up before the kids and be like, "Hey, my friend Justin came over for breakfast again!" But eventually we just stopped pretending. Plus my kids get up way too early, so I just couldn't keep that up.

How did you other friends with kids react when you came out as poly?

We actually hang out in very liberal, progressive circles, so I actually had friends who were poly already. I also have quite a few mommy friends, and I'd say about 10 percent of them are poly too. So really, it wasn't all that big of a deal when I told them about being poly.

So no one had a problem with it?

Yeah, some people did. I had one friend who I told early on about my lifestyle change, and was acting all bubbly about my new boyfriend. She just sort of nodded and was like, "Oh, okay." Then when I got home that day, she had defriended me on Facebook with a message that said she couldn't support my lifestyle. But overall it hasn't been bad.

Do your kids ever talk about you being poly with their friends? 

My daughter has mentioned before how her friends don't really understand, so I'm assuming she talks to them about it a little. But none of her friends have stopped talking to her, and their moms haven't stopped talking to us, and I know that they know our situation.

Looking at the longer-term, do you ever worry about your kids getting picked on for you being poly later on?

Kids are going to pick on each other no matter what. If you have brown hair kids are going to make fun of you. But I think that with all of the mainstream attention polyamory has received over the past couple of years, by the time my kids get to high school it won't be a big deal anymore.

When that day comes when your son or daughter brings home their first boyfriend or girlfriend, are you going to encourage them to be poly themselves?

We'll let them figure out their own way. But I do hope that they don't go through the whole, "this boy broke up with me so my life is over" thing. We'll definitely sit them down and let them know that they don't just have to date this one boy or one girl. We're really open and honest with our kids, and when that time comes we'll make sure they know that they don't have to be all stuck on just one person.

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