Sure, it's fun to read about menages, those supersexy, polyamorous relationships that can make pages smoke. But in real life? We're pretty sure our partners might wither at the thought of having to deal with more than one of us. But as there are many different kinds of marriages, so too do polyamorous relationships happen in real life! At the RT Convention last week in NOLA, Reggie and Kasi Alexander, who also write as Cassidy Browning, brought along their partners Treena Wiles and Eva Alexander for a frank discussion of this loving lifestyle! Here are a few of the highlights.
Reggie and Kasi Alexander (aka writing duo Cassidy Browning) at the RT book fair
Writing duo Cassidy Browning (Reggie and Kasi Amexander) were joined by their partners Treena Wiles and Eva Alexander to discuss their polyamorous relationship, how it works and answer the audience's very curious questions. Reggie started by explaining what exactly a poly relationship is — always open and honest — and what it isn't — if someone has sex with someone else behind their partner's (or partners') back then it's cheating. If a poly relationship has 3-4 (or more) people, it's considered a network, and networks can be open (people in the relationship can have sex with people outside of the relationship) or closed (only people in the relationship have sex with each other). Reggie made it clear that all polyamorous relationships are different, and "whatever works for the group doing it is what works." There's no handbook, folks!
But the one thing all poly relationships need is communication, it's "the most important thing" according to Kasi. "You've gotta be able to talk about what you want, problems, etc." Regarding problems, Reggie said that "it's exponential ... each person you add [increases by how many people are in the relationship] what you have to deal with." Clearly, poly relationships can be tricky, and they're not for everyone. Reggie told us: "it's the most rewarding relationship dynamic I can imagine ... if you're suited for it. If you can't be honest with yourself and with your partners things are going to break down."
So how did this foursome come to be? Reggie and Treena have been legally married for thirty years. Kasi joined the couple eight years ago and then all three welcomed Eva one year ago. Reggie told us he always dreamed of being with multiple women, and would joke with Treena about it. Treena kept refusing, until the couples' friend went through an incredibly messy divorce after being cheated on. Then, she decided it's something they might as well try.
Reggie and Treena found Kasi through an online dating site for poly people but found Eva by chance when they weren't actively looking to add a fourth person to their relationship (and Eva wasn't looking to join). Eva was a friend, but when she got stranded at their house during a blizzard they all realized they wanted her to stay permanently.
When it comes to everyday logistics, all four people in their relationship live together and even share one very big bed (it's two queen mattresses set side by side, each bed with its own set of sheets). Treena and Reggie both wear wedding rings, but Reggie has a power exchange with the other women, who wear collars (they look like decorative necklaces, not big leather collars). Treena and Reggie do not have a power exchange, but that doesn't mean she's left out of Reggie, Eva and Kasi's group play. Although, she told us she does sometimes duck out during their play because she feels it's between them and she wants to respect that.
But what about the legalities of polyamorous relationships? It's illegal for a person to be married to more than one other person, so finances, taxes, children, medical and personal affairs can be difficult to handle. More often than not those in poly relationships use loop holes to make the law work for them. Reggie told us: "It is a landmine ... some families will become incorporated and everyone is a shareholder. You can [also] create a durable power of attorney. Children become a real problem [legally]." But despite these challenges navigating the law, Reggie assured us that poly relationships face a lot of the similar issues traditional couples do.
And finally, the question many folks in the audience were dying to have answered: is jealousy ever an issue? Of course it is! We're only human after all. For Reggie, "always. Some days [dealing with jealousy is ] really good and some days it's not." For Kasi, the temptation is always there, but being in a polyamorous relationship is like "spiritual weight lifting, you have to always be dealing with [jealousy]."
We're still covering the RT Convention that rocked New Orleans last week, for more on the exciting happenings, click here!