The three have been living together for a decade now, but continue to date others casually on the side.Recently, Terisa decided to add Matt, a London transplant to Seattle, to the mix.I am sitting on the couch in my underwear, watching him flip casually through his phone. I could certainly get used to the idea of having a lover. A handsome one with tattooed forearms and soft brown eyes.
But they are beginning to show up on the radar screen of the religious right, some of whose leaders have publicly condemned polyamory as one of a host of deviant behaviors sure to become normalized if gay marriage wins federal sanction.
"This group is really rising up from the underground, emboldened by the success of the gay-marriage movement," says Glenn Stanton, the director of family studies for Focus on the Family, an evangelical Christian group.
Terisa and Matt and Vera and Larry—along with Scott, who's also at this dinner—are not swingers, per se; they aren't pursuing casual sex.
Nor are they polygamists of the sort portrayed on HBO's Big Love; they aren't religious, and they don't have multiple wives.
"Do you think I'm the kind of person who can pull off saying the word 'lover'? I'm not terribly sentimental either, and we are perfectly matched in that we are more likely to play practical jokes on each other than stare into the other's eyes.
" I ask my husband over coffee one Thursday morning a few weeks ago. But since deciding to pursue relationships outside our marriage, I'm also craving a little drama — something foreign, sexy, passionate, and intense.
"But finally, with the Internet, the thing has really come about." With polyamorists' higher profile has come some growing pains.
The majority of them don't seem particularly interested in pressing a political agenda; the joke in the community is that the complexities of their relationships leave little time for activism.
But they do believe in "ethical nonmonogamy," or engaging in loving, intimate relationships with more than one person—based upon the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.
They are polyamorous, to use the term of art applied to multiple-partner families like theirs, and they wouldn't want to live any other way.
"Boyfriend and f*ck buddy both miss the mark, but in different ways. I hate them all." I sip thoughtfully and stretch my toes to a point.