South African polyfamily profiled
An online women's magazine in South Africa ("exploring alternate living — awakening the sense of you") published a portrait of a happy poly family of five-plus:
Polyamory: Loving Multiple Partners
By Jabulile Bongiwe Ngwenya
Polyamory, the giving and receiving of love between multiple partners, involves more than just sex. Honesty and integrity are amongst its cornerstones.
‘I love my husband dearly, but I also love Marcus,’ says Glenda van der Westhuizen, pulling a short, stocky man from the shadows into her embrace. ‘It’s not monogamy. It’s polyamory.’
Seeing the look of incredulity on my face, she touches my arm and laughs, ‘You’ve got nothing to fear. We’re one big happy family. It’s a pity all the others couldn’t be here so you could meet them.’
By the others she means her husband’s lovers Miranda and Lindsay, as well as her new lover, Tymon. Perhaps ‘lovers’ is the wrong word. It carries connotations of casual, caustic relationships. It belies the true extent of what really happens.
...So what really happens in a polyamorous relationship?
‘Love,’ explains Glenda’s husband, Jacob, as he walks over to join us.
It’s too easy an explanation for what is seemingly a complex situation. Sharing a love with two or more people does not seem possible or even plausible, but watching this close-knit family erases every negative notion. Of course, the truth is one doesn’t really know what goes on behind closed doors.
...Polyamory is not swinging, which is having recreational sex with many partners, nor is it cheating. It certainly does not involve lying. In fact, the biggest criticism polyamorists face is being called commitment-phobes.
‘Nothing could be further from the truth,’ says Marcus, rolling his eyes. ‘Polyamory and being polyamorous is all about being committed.’
More so than most couples who believe in monogamy, they say, because the basis of a polyamorous relationship is honesty and integrity. Here, people involved in open relationships are called upon to be committed to themselves, to each other and to the relationship. Sceptics, who do not believe that a person can love more than one person at a time, are usually rebuffed with the comparison to having and loving children....
...It hasn’t been simple or easy.... Learning to understand your insecurities, working through your own issues and knowing what works for you can play a huge role in the health of any relationship. It’s even more important when you are intimate with more than one partner....
Read the whole article (June 8, 2010). We couldn't ask for better.
Thanks for the tip to Greenfizzpops. Even though she has moderated South Africa's ZAPoly network for years, and runs the South African Polyamory website, this family was unknown to her.
Labels: South Africa