BBC News Magazine 19 August 2013
Charlie is talking excitedly about a first date she went on the night before.
Next to her on the sofa is her husband of six years, Tom. And on the other side of him is Sarah, who’s been in a relationship with Tom for the last five years. Sarah’s fiance, Chris, is in the kitchen making a cup of tea.
The two women are also in a full-blown relationship, while the two men are just good friends. Together, they make a polyamorous family and share a house in Sheffield.
“We’re planning to grow old together,” says Charlie.
Polyamory is the practice of having simultaneous intimate relationships with more than one person at a time, with the knowledge and consent of all partners. The term entered the Oxford English Dictionary only in 2006, and such relationships are rare enough that Tom finds himself having to account for his personal situation time and time again.
“The number of conversations I’ve had with peers where I’ve started to explain it and they’ve got as far as, ‘so, you all cheat on each other’ and not been able to get past that. I’ve said no, everybody’s cool with it, everybody knows what’s happening, no one’s deceiving each other.”