Transition or failure? Redefining the “End” of Polyamorous Relationships

This chapter is a component of a bigger task predicated on three waves of qualitative information gathered across 16 years through participant observation, content analysis, online research, and in-depth interviews. The sample that is total 500 participant observation and 131 interviewees, a few of who we interviewed only one time among others we interviewed as much as six times. Race ended up being the absolute most homogeneous demographic attribute, with 89% associated with the sample distinguishing as white. Socioeconomic status was high among these participants, with 74% in expert jobs. Completely 88% reported some university, with 67% attaining bachelor’s degrees and 21% completing graduate degrees.

Interviews had been semi-structured and lasted from 1 plus one half to couple of hours, and adopted a pattern by which participants first elected their very own pseudonyms and responded a short variety of concerns regarding demographic characteristics, entrГ©e into polyamory, and present relationships. The initial two waves of information collection dedicated to grownups, while the 3rd dedicated to young ones and their associated grownups. Interviews with kids were reduced, with easier language much less intensive probing. Employing inductive data gathering techniques (Lofland and Lofland) and constant relative practices (Glaser and Strauss), we analyzed the meeting information and my field notes making use of a process that is recursive of rounds of coding that allowed me to refine ongoing information collection and analysis. Finally, we involved participants when you look at the information analysis by emailing drafts of my writing to those that had been thinking about purchase to obtain their feedback to my usage of their information in addition to conclusions we reached. For an even more complete conversation of my research methods, be sure lesbian dating websites to see my past magazines by which we get into greater detail that is methodologicalSheff).


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Participants’ held three main definitions associated with ends of the relationships: success or failure, moving passions and requirements, and alter or change. While every category is distinct, they may not be mutually exclusive for the reason that they often times overlap, and participants’ categorization associated with the exact same relationship usually changed with time. Less participants defined their relationship leads to regards to failure, and many other emphasized their shifting requirements and passions, and especially the nature that is fluid of in the long run.

It’s Really Over: Triumph and Failure

Some polyamorous relationships final until one of many lovers dies, plus in that feeling they meet up with the definition that is conventional of” as the family relations didn’t split from each other during life. The Wyss “moresome” (polyamorous set of five or maybe more), a poly family members within the California Bay region, started as a sextet of three partners and developed significantly with time, losing lovers to death and divorce or separation. The sextet that is original made up of three legitimately married people — Loretta and Albert, Kiyowara and Patrick, and Margret and Tim — whom conglomerated in to a cohabitational family members with young ones from past or extant relationships. After 2 yrs of love, fighting, and conciliation, Margret divorced the whole family members, including legally divorcing Tim. The resultant team had only simply re-stabilized whenever Tim ended up being killed in an automobile accident. Although the surviving “spice” (the plural of spouse) destroyed their husband to death, they did not framework it as an end that is“successful. Rather than utilizing a success/failure characterization, the Wyss Quad emphasized the joy they’d with Tim as he ended up being alive, the pain sensation they felt at their death, and just how the general invisibility of the poly widowhood compounded their feeling of loss since the culture that is monogamous big would not determine them as widow/ers.

Concerning the exact same time Tim had been killed within the accident, Kiyowara became expecting with Albert’s son or daughter and bore the quad’s daughter Kethry. Fourteen very complete years later on, the Wyss Quad became the Wyss Triad whenever Patrick divorced Kiyowara (lawfully), Albert, and Loretta (socially). Kiyowara characterized the connection as being a success though it finished.

I’m happy we have been co-parenting rather than married.… We definitely can’t call it a deep failing; it absolutely was a marriage that is 20-year. And I have always been happy their choices that are current maybe perhaps maybe not my issue. Any moment a relationship stops there was a propensity to see it as a deep failing. I became clear that a relationship which had happy times and lasted two decades wasn’t a deep failing, it simply finished. End does not always mean fail. That completely invalidates any such thing good that came from it. I’d lots of people remind me personally that it’s perhaps perhaps maybe not a individual failure simply because one thing had run the full period and arrived at its end.

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