A Quick Response...
As much as I would like delve deeply into this topic, I really don't care to write a sloppy essay, which it would be... I am a black female in a 3+ year relationship with a black male; we've lived together a year now, not married. Our relationship has always been "open," but over the course of the last few months I've tried to make the shift from "open" to poly since we've been straddling the fence anyway. For me the difference would be clarity and interaction between primaries and alternatives. He views his relationships as private and doesn't care to know about my "male friends." I am open about being polyamorous, while my primary does not consider himself poly at all. It is almost as though he prefers to be thought of as a cheating Don Juan.
Our situation is unique in that our housing, although in need of renovation, is secure. Our mandatory bills are few, we work on the house when possible, but otherwise our only worry is generating more income. We are somewhat on the fringe already, living in New Orleans and working in the hospitality industry. While I gave up on being normal years ago, my primary still cares to pretend. He is nine years younger than myself.
Although I was not in a rush to have children when we first got together, I now hear my biological clock ticking. He, on the other hand is content to remain child-free. We are now entering a new phase in our relationship where I'm actively seeking a man or couple to co-parent with me. So at this exciting juncture, we're preparing for the shift in our lives and trying to to understand how this will work- the housing plan.
In New Orleans it is common for black men to have relationships with multiple women at the same time. However, in the cases that the women know about each other (usually because of kids), the extracurricular relationship(s) is/are tolerated at best. No-one involved would consider it a polyamorous relationship, or making it one, which is crazy to me because in a lot of these cases the overall "family" could benefit from combining financial and social assets. The women involved were not informed, and never would have agreed to share a man if truth were told. Instead, casual sexual relationships evolve into sticky familial situations once someone(s) turns up pregnant. The smart ones make it work for the benefit of their children.
I believe that because of this, my situation is able to exist. When I share my experience with others, the response is shock and amazement. They can't get past the fact that I openly date and have relationships with multiple men at a time. Sex and jealousy clouds their minds. A lot of people in New Orleans have multiple relationships at a time, but they are not honest with those involved. I think this is the case with a lot of relationships in ethnic communities.