'I'm a Polyamorous Parent'

My fiancé and I were having lunch with our friends where we live in Reno, Nevada, when one of them asked if we had ever considered polyamory. I had been with my partner for four years, and in a few months' time we were getting married. But in that moment, every cell in my body felt like it had been electrified. I instantly knew who I was—that I was polyamorous.

Being queer, I knew there was never going to be one type of person that was going to meet the whole of what I desire. I think monogamous people would say, "Well, you give up the other things when you meet somebody." I'm autistic, so my brain is naturally like, "That doesn't make sense to me, so I'll just do it the way that works for me."

Polyamory makes sense to me because I don't have to give up any of the things that I would like to experience in this lifetime. And why should I, if the only reason is that my partner doesn't want me to? That never seemed like a reason to me—especially because I wanted my partner to have that freedom, too.

Approaching polyamory with my husband

My partner was a little freaked out by the idea of polyamory. He was scared of the implications of what it meant for what we had, whether he would be replaced, or somebody else would fulfil me more sexually.

We didn't make any decisions—I wanted to talk about it, and he didn't—and we got married in 2013.

But a few months later, I met somebody and I fell super hard for them. So I had to tell my husband, "This is who I am, and this is what I'm doing, and if that's not OK with you then we need to renegotiate our relationship."

My husband consented reluctantly. He wouldn't say I forced him into it, but he described it as being dragged down a dark hallway. Although, now he would tell you he felt like he needed to be dragged down a dark hallway because he had so much fear and was raised pretty Catholic so he had a lot more to unpack than I did.

How our polyamorous relationship works

My husband and I are "kitchen table polyamorous," which is a form of polyamory in which we enjoy knowing each other's partners. It's very laid-back. My husband is often around my partner in the house, and I am very good friends with my husband's partner.

Jessica Levity with her Husband
Jessica Levity with her husband in 2020. The pair have been married and polyamorous since 2013. Ashley Robison Photography

I have multiple partners but, aside from my husband, only one that is active in a very regular way in my life. They make me laugh and we understand each other on a really deep, spiritual level.

I think my husband and I would lead a very different lifestyle if we didn't have two small kids, who are one-and-a-half and four-and-a-half years old. Our young kids are the center of our lives right now; we orbit around them. We have a dream for the future, of what our life could look like, but right now, parenting two kids as young as ours is really hard.

We're at the point in our polyamory where we would be comfortable if the other person was like, "Hey, I just met this person and they want me to go to South America with them for a month." We'd be like, "Oh my god, have fun!"

But, right now, it's really difficult for either one of us to be away for very long—whether that's for work, with friends or with partners. We find it hard maintaining a healthy level of mental health if we are parenting alone.

Raising our kids as polyamorous parents

By the time I got pregnant, my husband and I had been polyamorous for five years, so we didn't have many challenges. That being said, some stuff definitely came up in my second pregnancy because my husband met a new partner and it was his first really intense connection.

I struggled with some pretty intense jealousy and envy, mixed with pregnancy hormones. But we were self-aware of what was happening, and we are both emotionally intelligent, so it became a really humbling, beautiful moment for both of us.

Jessica Levity during her Pregnancy
Jessica Levity during her pregnancy in 2021. Levity and her husband have two young children, under the age of 5. Timmy Robb

I love my children's personalities, and how loving they are. My children love so deeply and so easily, and effortlessly, and there is a sweetness to both of them that is just so pure.

But raising children is not easy, especially as we don't have grandparents living nearby. My husband's partner loves our kids, but they live eight hours away in L.A.. In a world in which we had another partner who was very involved in our life and loved helping us with domestic caretaking, we would have a lot more freedom. But the nuclear family is brutal.

My husband and I try to allow each other to be as much of their own person as they can be, while maintaining the health of our family. We do that by giving each other "autonomous time," which is time away from the label of "parent" or "partner," where you can go and do whatever you want. For us, because we're polyamorous, we don't care what you're doing in that time: you could be at Bible study or you could be at an orgy. It's your autonomous time.

What our children know about polyamory

Our kids don't understand relationships yet. They just know that there are people that we love, that love them. They don't understand that the label of "partner" is different from "friend."

I've never once heard my child talk about marriage—I don't think he understands the concept. He definitely doesn't understand that most people are only married to one person. He's too young to know that.

He's never watched a Disney movie where the plot was based on a love story—he's into dinosaurs and trucks. I'll be thrilld the day he wants to watch The Little Mermaid, but if we were watching it and it was clear that messages were downloading, I might have a conversation with him during the movie or after. I might ask reading comprehension-style questions, like, "What did you get from that movie? What do you think that means? And do you know that not everybody wants to give up their voice to be with a boy?"

Jessica Levity
Recent image of Jessica Levity, who is a polyamorous TikTok creator. Levity receives a lot of criticism online for her relationships, but says representation is important. Jessica Levity

I think romantic relationships are often regarded as the ultimate goal in a person's life. We want to take them off that pedestal.We want our children to focus more on pursuing community and friendships, and things that bring them joy.

We will sit out children down, when they are older, to explain monogamy—because they will have polyamory as their norm. So we'll have to explain that what we do is different and that most people do something else.

Responding to negativity about our relationship

I am a polyamorous content creator and educator. One of my TikToks went mega viral recently, but I couldn't read the comments because they were so awful. People have been very critical of my husband and I being polyamorous parents.

But I believe representation matters. People might be triggered by it, they might disagree with it, but at least they're seeing it, and somewhere out there, there's probably a person going, "Oh my god, this feels like me. I didn't even know this was a possibility."

There's a part of my brain that gets really annoyed when I see negative comments. Being a parent is literally the hardest thing ever, so the fact that people are upset that we have a way of doing it that involves more adults and more ways for us to keep our sanity, is so backwards to me. People will be like, "It takes a village to raise a child," and then will be like, "Well, not that kind of village." It makes no sense to me.

I have had some rude encounters in real life, too. In some of my "mommy" groups, people have been like, "I'm fine with it, just don't talk about it." Or, even worse: "I'm fine with it, just don't hit on my husband."

But I love being polyamorous.I enjoy the expansive freedom to pursue any love, fantasy and connection that comes my way. I'm not limited. Whoever said you can't have your cake and eat it obviously just didn't have enough cake.

Jessica Levity is a polyamorous content creator on TikTok (@remodeledlove), and co-author of the book, Polyamory and Parenthood.

As told to Newsweek's My Turn section deputy editor, Katie Russell. All views expressed in this article are the author's own.