Sunday September 17, 2017

Figuring out co-parenting in a polyamorous family

From left to right, Sean Munro, Liane Daiter, Ryan Ram, and Sue Wilson Munro

From left to right, Sean Munro, Liane Daiter, Ryan Ram, and Sue Wilson Munro (Erin Blackwood Photography)

Listen 8:55

"We call our house the honeycomb because we like the idea of the hive mind and making decisions together," says Liane Daiter.

Liane is a part of a polyamorous family of five people who all live in the same house. The family also includes Ryan Ram, Sue Wilson Munro, Sean Munro, and Julia Evans.

Liane, Sue and Ryan were home when we visited the honeycomb.

"When I talk to my mother about it, who is aware that we are polyamorous, she is also very careful to include Julia, Liane, Ryan [and Sean, who Sue is legally married to] in invitations to family events," says Sue.

For Ryan, who recently married Liane, he's still figuring out how polyamory fits into his concept of family.

"[A] lot of people define family as what you're born [into] or who you're married to...So I think it's asking myself 'What does family mean?...and how does that word resonate with me?' as situations change."

"And coming from a place of 'I'm in this, no matter what' gives us a lot of room to have conflict and make mistakes and to work through things together. That's what family is to me."  - Liane Daiter

One of those changes is talk of having kids. Ryan and the rest of the family are asking themselves what it looks like to call a child family that isn't biologically theirs. The ideal plan is for Liane and Sue to each have a baby in the next year or so.

Last names, who gets to be on birth certificates, who sleeps where with the kids, what role each person wants to take, these are all questions they're talking about in the house. And there isn't always agreement, especially around finances.

But for Liane, this is a part of what makes family.

"I guess the only comparison I can make to is to a marriage, where you say to someone, 'I'm in this, no matter what.' And coming from a place of 'I'm in this, no matter what' gives us a lot of room to have conflict and make mistakes and to work through things together. That's what family is to me." 
 

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