Parents in open relationships commit to a lifestyle and philosophy. Their children have a different set of experiences that aren't always shared on mainstream media. What's more, the fact that there are parents who are in open relationships shows that these types of relationships aren't just for singles.
Of course, there are several things to think about when parenting while in an open relationship. Will having multiple partners have an effect on the children? How will parents manage their time and decide which partners get to spend time with the kids? How will children deal with the stress of getting to know various partners?
These stories show us that parents can do anything they put their minds to! Being a parent in an open relationship also implies communicating one's situation with their children when the time comes. Some parents shared important lessons they learned about love as they were a part of open relationships.
This not only shows that there's no right way to parent, but that parents in open relationships set a different example for their children. Parents in open relationships often have to live unapologetic lives, may have more of a support network, and can teach us all that one can make anything work.
20 Through honesty and a show of what love can be
Margaret E. Jacobsen wrote an essay for Romper about her experiences as a mother in open relationships. Jacobsen mentions that she feels being in open relationships has shown her children that they can form a chosen family.
Plus, Jacobsen feels that her relationships allow her children to see what love can be. She also mentions that respect and trust are the core of her relationships. Jacobsen states that she's allowed her children to see her as she chooses to present herself as well.
19 Kids have different role models to turn to
Louisa Leontiades wrote a thoughtful post about what it's like to be a parent in a polyamorous relationship. According to her experience, being in open relationships allows her children to have different role models. This lets her children learn that they don't need to follow a certain path in life.
Leontiades also mentions how she's had to be careful when she met a new partner. This meant not displaying signs of affection in front of her children while they were very young.
18 Some parents keep it a secret
Cafe Mom interviewed Sarah and Steven about how they make their open relationship work despite having children. One of their key tips is not to tell their children about their preferences. This is in part because most people don't want to know intimate details about their parents' night-time lives. We can understand that.
Sarah and Steven also mentioned the importance of being completely honest with one's partners. They also pointed out that they may discuss their open relationship once their children are older, if they ask.
17 It may make give children an advantage
In an interview, Margaret Jacobsen gave people a lot of insight into what it was like for her to have an open relationship even though she has children. Eventually, Jacobsen and her husband got divorced, but they had been in an open relationship for some time.
In a way, Jacobsen mentioned that this open relationship made it easier for her daughter to process that her mother could love someone else. However, Jacobsen also mentions that being in an open relationship also makes for interesting conversations with others.
16 It may make you braver
Emilie Archer Pickett wrote an essay for Your Tango in which she explained that an open marriage made her a better mother and wife. Pickett and her husband set up ground rules for their newly open relationship. She mentions that she felt more gratitude for her husband during the process.
In her case, Pickett's marriage with her then-husband ended. However, she ended up getting married again and felt that being in an open relationship made her a braver person. Bravery is certainly necessary when raising children!
15 Privacy can help because children have to be old enough
Gwen & Lark wrote a post on Huffington Post about what it was like to transition into an open marriage. First of all, they even asked some friends for advice because the entire thing felt so new!
They mentioned that they don't discuss this arrangement with their children and likened it to not talking about their mortgage or birth control. Part of it is that their children are still quite young, and may not understand the complexities of a relationship that isn't 100% monogamous.
14 Parents in open relationships have more help!
An article in the Huffington Post mentions that—among many lessons parents in open relationships can teach everyone else—being in an open relationship means there are more helpers. This may be because adults can group together and share more resources.
Plus, parents in open relationships may get some extra sleep and even free babysitting out of such arrangements. This doesn't mean that one should enter an open relationship just for these benefits, but it proves open relationships aren't just for people who are childless.
13 Parents in open relationships might know more
Louisa Leontiades mentioned that being in open relationships forced her to read up on child psychology, according to what she wrote on The Body is Not an Apology. She states that being in such relationships, coupled with what she learned, informs the type of relationships she's in, and how many.
Like any relationship, Leontiades knows that even open relationships can end. As such, she works on being informed on how to best to handle break-ups in order to reduce stress for her children.
12 Some parents take the direct route
In Stuff, Rach Wilson recalls the time when she explained her open relationship to her daughter. Wilson states that she wanted her daughter to grow up knowing that there are many options when one pursues a relationship.
Wilson also mentions that open relationships allow her to have more autonomy. This, she says, allows her to be there for her children in ways she feels make her a better parent. The article also discusses how important it is for a child to feel safe and loved regardless of the type of relationship their parents have.
11 Open relationships help parents be better parents
Another parent also discussed their open relationship with Stuff. Nick Friedman said he and his wife don't have a difficult time juggling their relationship with being parents. Friedman says that people in open relationships have a capacity to love that can only help them as parents.
Friedman explained that being in an open relationship means one is able to accept people for who they are. This certainly sounds like it comes in handy when it comes to parenting. FYI: Friedman also says he and his wife have disclosed their relationship to their children.
10 You learn how to feel joy at someone else's happiness
According to Claire Lenner at Parents.com, parents usually get insecure about their role as other people step in to help take care of their children. This can make the child feel bad if they care about another adult in their life.
In an article by Huffington Post, a correlation is made between the lack of jealousy in open relationships and dealing with new caregivers. Perhaps practicing non-jealousy is also a way to show children it's ok to care about other role models.
9 Parents in open relationships have more fun
B R Sanders wrote a post on Romper about his experiences as a parent in an open relationship. One thing Sanders pointed out is that it's not always easy having to consult two others when it comes to parenting decisions.
However, Sanders also says that with a third parent, it's easier to pursue one's passions and hobbies. This isn't always possible for monogamous couples who have to deal with major decisions with just two people involved. He also mentioned how it's heartbreaking that Sam, the third parent, isn't legally recognized as his child's parent as well.
8 There may be legal matters to consider
In Romper, B R Sanders mentioned he needed to take a few legalities into consideration. This meant ensuring that he had a legal framework to keep his family united in case anything should happen to him.
Third parents (or other adults involved in taking care of children in open relationships) are not federally recognized. This makes it difficult for them to be there for children if they're in the hospital. Some parents in open relationships may also be fired from their jobs if they disclose the nature of their relationship(s).
7 Children grow up with more support
Elisabeth A. Sheff, Ph.D., conducted an extensive study on children from polyamorous relationships over 20 years and disclosed some of her findings on Psychology Today. Dr. Sheff states that children use the context of their age group in order to understand the make-up of their families.
One perk of having parents in open relationships, according to Dr. Sheff, is that many children experience extra attention. This meant having someone to talk to, help with homework, and having a larger support system.
6 Children face disadvantages, too
Dr. Sheff wrote that although some teenagers disclosed that they feel they may get too much supervision, they didn't deal with strictly unique challenges. According to Psychology Today, this may be because open relationships aren't the norm in society.
In fact, Dr. Sheff mentions that children who are raised with parents in open relationships may learn certain things that may help them in their adult lives. Plus, children may also grow up especially resilient and well-adjusted thanks to their familial situations.
5 Some parents want to teach their children they have options
According to Stuff, Rebecca Griffin feels she's a better parent now that she's in an open relationship. Griffin mentions that her children are no longer privy to her former dysfunctional marriage. However, she's chosen not to discuss her sex life with her children, saying that she wouldn't do so if she were in a traditional relationship.
Griffin also mentions that she's preparing herself for how she will answer her children's questions in the future. Griffin wants her children to know that life doesn't have to be lived how others tell them.
4 Some parents want to teach their children to express themselves
In The Body is Not an Apology, Louisa Leontiades mentioned that she feels society objectifies women. She felt that many questioned her decisions once she decided she wanted to pursue open relationships. Some people even criticized what type of mother she might be.
However, Leontiades is also committed to undoing these expectations for women. After all, consistently judging women can have an adverse impact on them. Leontiades hopes that her self-expression and choices can help her children see that it's okay for them to be different too.
3 Children speak up
Don't just take parents' word, Benedict Smith wrote an essay on VICE about what it was like for him to grow up with parents in an open relationship. Smith mentioned that having more adults around made him feel more loved and supported.
Yes, Smith experienced more discipline on occasion because he was also supervised more than other children. Smith also mentions some negative experiences his family endured once someone outed them. However, it seems that Smith had a pleasant childhood despite some people's misconceptions.
2 Happier relationships=happier parents
According to Kidspot, Renee and Michael felt happier once they decided to open up their marriage. They mentioned that they're clear about their expectations and what they can offer to another potential. They were also clear that the circumstances behind how they opened their relationship were less than ideal, but they have no regrets about their choice.
Their daughter, Valerie also knew about her parents' relationship after noticing some tell-tale signs. She says her parents are happier now than before.
1 Parents might raise more conscientious children
On VICE, Benedict Smith also writes about how having different adults in his life broadened his horizons. Speaking to his parents' partners also meant he got to meet people from many nationalities, economic classes, and other different backgrounds.
We can only imagine how stimulating this must have been for Smith. He got to meet people from various professions he may not have considered. Of course, it also speaks to the great care his parents took to be careful with who exactly was hanging around Smith.
Sources: bustle.com, out.com, femina.in, thedailynet.com, lovetv.co, cassiuslife.com, jackfisherbooks.com, huffingtonpost.com, inverse.com, yourtango.com, elitedaily.com, blog.mindvalley.com, advocate.com, elitedaily.com, jonesdivorcelaw.com, semana.com, flare.com, blog.mindvalley.com, thisisafrica.me, romper.com, thebodyisnotanapology.com, thestir.cafemom.com, bitchmedia.org, yourtango.com, huffingtonpost.com, stuff.co.nz, parents.com, huffingtonpost.com, romper.com, psychologytoday.com, abcnews.go.com, psychologytoday.com, vice.com, kidspot.com.au