May 6, 2022
“I have a lot of love to give,” said 33-year-old Lawson. “I feel most happy and fulfilled when I have multiple loving relationships going at once.”
Lawson also first discovered polyamory by reading The Ethical Slut, but didn’t begin her exploration into polyamory until a few years later.
“I started dating more polyamorous people, but it wasn’t until my current partner and I got together that I began to view polyamory as a core piece of my identity,” Lawson said. “We made the decision to be in a committed relationship and also for that relationship to be open.”
I have a lot of love to give and I feel most happy and fulfilled when I have multiple loving relationships going at once.”
— Tahlia Lawson
This decision came about due to unusual circumstances.
“We decided to be polyamorous because we were going to be apart for a long period of time,” Lawson said. “My partner is in the Navy. He was stationed overseas for three years.”
While in the Navy, Lawson’s partner discovered people were a lot less familiar with open relationships than he initially thought.
“It was a lot harder for him because culturally, people didn’t understand,” said Lawson. “Cheating is very common in the Navy, but having open, honest relationships where you’ve agreed to non-monogamy is significantly less common. So, it was a lot harder for him to find anyone that was on board.”
This cultural divide between polyamorous and monogamous people often leads to many misconceptions. These misconceptions can end up negatively impacting the lives of many polyamorous people.
“What I’ve been encountering lately is people being skeptical of the idea that you could raise kids in a polyamorous household,” Lawson said.
These misconceptions commonly come from people only thinking about how polyamory doesn’t fit into the model that people think of as a family. Essentially the nuclear family, one father, one mother, and a few children.
The truth is, the structure of polyamorous families doesn’t differ from the family structure many children around the US grew up experiencing.
“A lot of kids grow up in a household where they have stepfathers or stepmothers, so they effectively had four parents,” Lawson said. “In this sense, raising a child in a polyamorous relationship is not fundamentally different from in a monogamous one.”
This difference becomes even more minute when you look at it from the children’s perspective.
“The children don’t necessarily know or care what kinds of relationships the adults have with each other,” Lawson said. “All they know is they have four loving parents.”
According to a study done by Dr. Elisabeth Sheff and Dr. Mark Goldfeder in 2013, children can benefit from having multiple loving parents who can offer not only more quality time but also a greater range of interests and energy levels to match the child’s own unique and growing personality.