I'm curious what other people experiences are with paternal certainty and father roles.
I don't yet have any children, but think often about the possibility. The man I am currently predominately partnered with (Lex) is clear that he doesn't want to have biological children of his own. But understands that I might decide in the future that is something I want. And he's expressed that he will gladly help raise someone else's biological children in some capacity.
Any men out there who feel similarly? or are co-parenting children other than their biological own? Any women who are raising children whom their not sure who the father is? how does this feels?
**read "Sex at Dawn" for a fascinating discussion of other cultures and family models that don't rely on paternal certainty, and it's links to patriarchy, ownership, and obviously monogamy**
My lover, Adam, and I were on a path that seemed to be leading to a "family" (when I was possibly pregnant at one point we were open to embracing that) before we "broke up" (I moved out) last year. I've continued to see him (longer story off topic here) and guess I now in a V of sorts, but only seeing Adam occasionally. Our connection is still important to both of us though. And we both still kind of picture having children together. This has also crossed Lex's mind.
To be clear, lots of work/communication would need to happen for this to be a good situation, right now it's just theoretical for me. But I'm curious if other people have navigated something similar. It seems like most parent situations on here, the kids were "already in the picture".
Any examples of choosing to have a child with a lover without that implying co-habiting, etc.
I grew up in the wake of my parents nu-amicable divorce and want to avoid putting any children of mine through that sore of tension/hurt and un-communication that they demonstrated. But I'm starting to think of alternatives other than the stay-together-monogamous-mommy-n-daddy, since I find myself loving two men and that doesn't seem likely to stop. I also grew up with two families in a shared dwelling, and my "upstairs" second parents and siblings are perhaps one of my life's biggest blessings. I believe multiple adults loving/raising children is best. Thoughts? stories?
I don't want biological children, but I would be fine raising a partner's child that they had with someone else. In that was I relate with your partner, although in this case I'm female, so the chances of a child actually being mine without my knowing aren't very high :P
My first boyfriend had three children with a woman he didn't live with, and they were fine, but they lived in the same building, just different apartments, and I'm sure that helped. I'm not sure how common it is otherwise, and if the children would move back and forth or stay with one parent and see the other one less often. I can imagine it would be hard if the biological parent who isn't living with the kid did want children and did want to raise them, that they'd be away from them like that.
if I were in a family arrangement with a bunch of people, it really wouldn't matter whose DNA went into the children - they would be part of the family.
That's theoretical for me, since my current relationship configuration is consciously child-free.
I would not go there. EVER. I may be poly and DH open minded but genetic monogamy is a must for us and the one and only is what we agreed to. As he puts it "I just cannot deal in hybrids of any kind... it gives me headaches."
Other people make work I suppose, but we cannot. Just too messy.
Here's some peeks into some situations....
Postpartum Depression crazy explodes Triad, now coparenting as divorced fam
One of my friends was in a triad and they conceived in a way to "not know the bio Dad on purpose." The mom got strange sounding afterward with Postpartum depression? I dunno, I didn't want to be rude and pry. But lots of drama. And now they are divorced and continue to co-parent the child still not knowing the bio dad. So they handled the split that way. And my friend does the responsible thing but I get the vibe he thinks his ex is a flake. And he's in open rship with his new love and they have her kids too to coparent. It's schedule nightmare with children going to and fro. I cannot see how this is great for the children. Would make more sense to me to put the kids stable somewhere and the parents shlep themselves about.
Polyfiquad, widowed to triad, to V to divorce with upset kids, no support
One of my friends was in a polyfiquad of two male-female couples as primary. And one man died in accident then it was a Triad committed to the children. This would be the 2 bio parents and the woman-widow. They had a committment ceremony as a triad. Then it changed to a V with the biomom as the hinge because the biodad started to feel weird about it. Then there was a messy split leaving the bio parents with the kids and the widowwoman moving on to new GF that sort of emerged without good introduction -- kinda cheaty... going much too fast, etc. This caused my friend GREAT torment to endure a poly "V" divorce esp when the other mom was not a good coparent and it kinda left the kids confused and in the lurch and biodad was PO'D at the ex ( I KNEW it! Something was wrong! GRRR!) So the hinge was left stuck in all kinds of ways with NO support from husband or ex-wife in her divorcing time because the V arms were battling each other hammer and tongs. And she got ZERO community support because "what do you expect? You went loking for it!" poly unfriendly coldness. Meanwhile mom trying to keep a good face for the kids. Horrible, horrible time for her.
"N" config, one arm moving in, outed by kid
Another set of friends are bioparents to child. He has his spice elsewhere in an LDR. And her LDR spice is moving in part of the year. The child outed them to family as poly so they've endured all kinds of flak. I'm not sure the family knows the latest with the one spice moving in part time. It's not my business - I just try to be supportive but I know if he's starting to vent at me and DH things MUST be tense at home because he's normally very discreet. I actually admire his discretion and putting his child's needs first. This family seems to struggle a bit with time management. I'm not really sure where they all are at but the child seems... ok? There's been some dating ex's and they are blips on child's radar it seems. I'm not sure. Child did show some stressy acting out for a while. It's their business but this is moving way fast to me -- having this guy move in to be a part of their family even part time when she's been with him a short while only. I'd worry for the child getting attached too soon. I saw the blowout from the previous family above affecting the 2 kids there.
Open marriage to poly, meet OSOs, now divorcing to be with OSOs, coparenting
Another set of casual friends were bio parents to 2 kids. They are going through an amicable divorce and each have another love and from the sound of it goes mostly smooth. Everyone in adult world sounds like they get along in pending divorce land. I'm not sure on the kids vibe. I lost touch with them myself and just hear sporadically from mutual friends how they are. These children I've found annoying and I don't know if the annoying is stemming from the dynamic changes of poly and divorce and coparenting. I would hope they stable there for a bit and not keep on with new loves til they get their coparent action straight!
Open poly in college, marry primary GF, carry on with secondaries, bust up, carry on with string of new GFs, husband asks for divorce because wife ok with poly and he's making messes with his OSOs and she's doing fine with hers? Coparent hell unreliable finally ending when child finally grown.
Another friend is divorced and she went through hell coparenting with her ex because he's a big flake. They were doing poly and she was dealing fine with her metas but he just was... on some kind of bender to flakedom? Nobody can explain why he just went bonkers like that and asked for a divorce. She thinks it was because she handled the poly thing better than him? I dunno. Now that kid is in 20's, the exes maintain a better ex friendship because the stress of coparenting no longer applies. My friend told me he drove her CRAZY as a coparent. And he's still a flake and mom and kid both know this and accept him how he is. My friend told me he's actually mellowed out in age and while still annoying he's not as loud in "volume" with his annoying so they can be peaceful since coparenting is now off the table. Perhaps their co-grandparenting life will make up for the hell of co-parenting? Who knows.
NOT poly, but best coparenting after divorce -- so good people wonder if poly
Now the best set of divorced parents I know are not even poly! They split, she remarried. She and her new husband moved IN with her ex to deal with the children for the year that their house was being built.... next door. Then they had new baby. The ex husband is her new baby's godfather. The older children are free to go between the two houses. The continue on through the parenting decades as coparent neighbors. This amazes me as the exception and not the rule.
My nephew was an oopsie. And that whole side of his family rejected his very existance! So lame. He's a grown man now, and he has no interest in knowing people who want nothing to do with him. I am a chronic patient and I know both sides of my medical history and it MATTERS. My nephew will NEVER have that kind of access to half his bio people. He's grown up without presence of father or support of his other people. That whole side BAILED on the mom and him because he was oopsie? Lame. And not because of closed adoption or anything -- all these people live right in town and everyone knows where everyone else is. They just refuse to speak! It's not that they are "lost" people. So bizarre to me. He escaped into eating too much and video games and frankly, was a fat kid and struggled to deal with that rejection.
Before I had child I wondered... esp since I missed my 2nd. What if we had a child in a way so the biodad was not known? Could we do it? Then I thought... no. I would hate to put a child in a position where he is rejected just because of his birthing, because extended relatives could not accept poly me... that's seems so wrong, esp since I was not even pregnant yet. It would not be just missing one line of family. It could be losing ALL lines of family because of the poly thing and what did the kid do? Nothing but be born. Or family's taking sides on the issue and it getting ugly? For what? My selfish fantasy?
No, I hadn't been out before kid. My rships were ending and this massive rearrangement of jobs and lives... I was just mourning a lost phase of my 20's life. So fantasy was set aside -- it just wasn't going to be a runner.
DH and I want no part of the complexities of child raising in polytribe fashion. I know our friends try to make it work, but lord... we don't have that kind of stamina or patience. So we are closed in the 30's and will be for the duration of the main parenting block.
And I am glad. Now that I actually AM a parent? I am so, so glad we decided to have the one and only and present as very June and Ward Cleaver!
Not just because of my health, but because it is so much easier to have only one in terms of resources -- money, time, emotion, etc.
Juggling that kid's time table is tiring -- so many people want a piece of her -- relatives, friends, etc. I can't imagine adding a whole other family tree line.
It would not be polymath like adding on a new love, singular. It is polymath like adding a batallion!
I also don't have to deal in her being shunned at school (conventional town we live in) and I don't have to deal in stupid from that arena within my own family. One of my friends is in San Fran and has a whole lot more support at his fingers for alternative lifestyles than I do in podunktown. His divorced poly coparenting is prob the smoothest because while they don't have lots of family out there to aid, they have a strong poly community of friends who are sympathetic to help be the village to raise the child.
I help my friends but I am not a village. I'm a person. It is so different here. Babysitting and time alone press on poly families hard.
I watch my friend's in pain and their struggle... while some are out, some are not. I love my friends however they wish to be. I try to be supportive of how they want to live.
But I am sooo glad I do not live that way and I soooo glad we chose to close for the parenting decades of 30s and 40s. So I can't answer for you but for me I would not go there -- having a child by OSO and raising child with DH.
I love your response to this Ciel. That's how I would feel. Upon discussing pros and cons of a poly relationship with my hubby, he made it clear that he couldn't raise "another man's child" :( This kind of saddens me tho our poly journey is still very much in it's infancy......no pun intended lol One day at a time.
I know a couple that are raising another man's children. It was planned as the husband couldn't have children. They were in a poly relationship at the time, so all the agreements were privately discussed and agreed upon. However, now that the poly relationship broke up, the biological father is causing legal issues for the couple. I know many men that would not have a problem with this (although there are probably just as many if not more that do). If you decide to do this, my only suggestion is to get ALL the legal stuff taken care of to protect everyone, especially the child.
Yup. Seen that.
Also seen where the NON-bio coparent has no rights at all to the child they've grown attached to when the polyship breaks down.
It's like the people didn't think it all the way before going there.
I have a daughter. (20yo)
My husband a son. (16yo)
We have a son. (12yo)
We have a daughter, (5yo) who is the bio-child of my boyfriend and I.
We all know this.
We've raised/are raising all of the kids together as a family.
(the three of us live together and have for nearly 10 years).
Honestly, I think it doesn't matter how you do it as long as all of the adults are on board with how you do it.
Kids just need love-they don't really mind if it's more than two people!
I personally don't see why it would be worse after a break-up than it is with step-parents. I know a bunch of people who had relationships with a single parent (who usually had a baby or a toddler), helped raise the kid, became a parental figure for the kid, and then when the relationship ended had zero right on the kid because they never adopted them or married the single parent and there were no blood links.
I personally think it doesn't matter who produce the genetic material of a kid. I don't expect any kind I ever have to be biologically related to me. Maybe they'll be adopted, maybe they'll be metamours' kids. While I might lose contact with them if things go wrong, that's true of biological kids too (especially if you're male) and people have kids anyways. I think the most important parts are loving the child and giving them a voice. If they grow up a bit and want to see their former co-parents again, even if they're your ex, I think they have that right.
I recognized long ago that I was too fucked up to be the kind of parent I think one should be, and so have always chosen to be childfree. But if I wanted to love and raise a child, I could easily love and raise one not my own, and I feel adoption is one of the noblest things a person can do.
I have always strongly believed that if a person wants to accept the responsibility of being a parent, with the intention of loving, nurturing, and raising a child to be a good, decent, and happy human being, why would it matter whose sperm fertilized the egg before the child came into existence? If the intention is to carry on a bloodline or name, secondary to the nurturing and growth of a little person, then paternity would be an issue -- but in my opinion, it shouldn't be. Children are not meant to fulfill the things that their parents feel are missing; it's the other way around.
BTW, there have been a bunch of other threads on this topic, if you do a search. Look for the Master Thread on "Children and Polyamory" as a start.
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