A polyamorous mum-of-two says having multiple partners has transformed her as a parent.
Anita Cassidy is bisexual and has intimate relationships with more than one person at a time, Kent Live reports.
The 42-year-old married her husband Marc, 48, in 2006 but in 2015, she told him she wanted to see other people.
The couple had two children – a son named Alexander, now 11, and a daughter named Kate, now aged nine.
Marc agreed to try an open relationship but their marriage ended in 2017.
After splitting, the pair co-habited in their home in Sevenoaks, Kent, to give themselves and their children the time to adjust to the change.
They are still friends and co-parents who speak every day and see each other every week.
But Ms Cassidy – who now lives in London – does not feel that Kent is the best place for polyamorous people and says she has experienced a lack of curiosity and open-mindedness.
She explained: "Places like Maidstone and Tonbridge are a bit more understanding and different but in Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells, people tend to look at you a bit different. People are uncomfortable with different.
"It’s a challenging place. You just have to look at voting to see it is more conservative.
"It’s very difficult because I think people move there for a family life but you can be polyamorous and live a family life, having more people in the picture can make that even easier.
"Monogamy is a challenge and relationships have challenges – having been monogamous for 12 years and married for 10 years. All relationships, in all areas of our lives, have challenges.
"My experience of making changes to my marriage while in Kent was that people were quite uncomfortable about it. People close to me were generally accepting but some others became quite uncomfortable.
"Marc and I were always very open about why we made the changes to our relationship. We told people they were free to talk about it but it’s almost like they didn’t want to know.
"It was difficult because I felt people were judging me without really knowing as they didn’t have the courage to find out more.
"It’s not a negative and naturally we do find different uncomfortable but a level of open-mindedness and curiosity is important. I didn’t experience as much of that as I would have liked and that’s disappointing."
Anita is now in a relationship with an Italian-born man named Andrea, 31, who is also non-monogamous.
The pair both see other people and have done so for the entirety of their three years together.
In 2017, Andrea was seeing someone else for the whole year whereas last year he was seeing different people on and off pretty much every month.
While this relationship dynamic "is not for everyone", Anita believes "it absolutely suits me".
She added: "On the whole it’s incredible. Relationships carry more freedom and flexibility to let them develop with time without thinking about how they will look in ten years time. I understand that feelings change over time.
"I have been in a relationship for three years and I hope that will last for a long time. It brings it more into the present. We don’t take each other for granted.
"It asks a lot of you in terms of emotional maturity and I have had to work really hard. Being poly expects you to grow up and be willing to accept mistakes. You can’t get angry over things anymore as it makes you look at everything differently.
"I have been dating and getting to know people on and off for the last three years but I haven’t been in another full relationship.
"I date men and women all the time. I meet people all the time through the course of my life. Sometimes you go on a few dates and it results in something more, sometimes a friendship blossoms."
Anita says bing in a polyamorous relationship is not without its negatives, but they all constitute typical ups and downs that any relationship can suffer from.
She says a common misconception is that being polyamorous is just a polite term for saying you cheat on your significant other, while also potentially having multiple partners at one time.
While this may be the case for some members of the poly community, Anita says the practice of non-monogamy can help to take the strain and pressure away from the weight of a relationship needing to be perfect forever.
The additional honesty and communication that comes hand-in-hand with a more open relationship also prevents these bumps from turning into something more serious.
"People expect the obvious things to be difficult but it is the day-to-day things that also affect monogamous couples like being busy at work,clashes in the diary and staring at the phone when you’re trying to have a conversation," added Ms Cassidy.
"We’re talking all the time about the other one dating. We’re talking about stuff all the time and that helps with how we feel.
"I’m not saying that we don’t argue and have our problems but we are constantly communicating and this prevents any big blow ups. There are no secrets. The skills I have learnt have transformed my parenting and friendships.
"I’m not saying that people aren’t enjoying these things because there are people within the poly community that are pushing the boundaries. if you put 100 poly people in a room, they are all doing it differently.
"There are people that Andrea sees and we both spend time with physically and have a friendship with but we haven’t found a relationship with another person. That’s a common misconception with being poly.
"To think that poly people are running around having sex all the time and having threesomes is ridiculous. It’s frustrating. I don’t think all straight couples aren’t having sex."
Anita Cassidy’s first novel, Appetite, is set in Kent. It is about marriage, adultery, sugar and change. Alethya is an online and in real life community which Anita co-founded.
You can find out more about Alethya by following the link or read more about the book Appetite by pressing here .
Top news stories from Mirror Online
Source: Read Full Article