Polyamorous relationships: Managing multiple romantic partners
Newlyweds Anita and Tim Illig recently returned from their honeymoon. They couple, who married on December 17, 2011, are thrilled about their commitment to each other.
"I can't think of anybody better that I want to spend the rest of my life with," said Tim.
Anita isn't Tim's only romantic partner, however. The same goes for Anita.
"I have a date with my boyfriend tonight," she said. "We haven't seen each other for a while. He's a wonderful guy, who is married."
The Illigs are polyamorous, which means they're consensually open to loving more than one person at a time.
"For me to feel like I have to limit it to one person is not the nature of my heart," said Tim.
Though Tim and Anita each keep up relationships with others, they say, they have made a commitment to one another. They say it works because they're open and honest with each other.
"It's an absolute myth to believe that polyamorous don't get jealous. That's a human reaction — we all have it. For us, it's more a matter of how we manage it," Anita said.
Family and marriage therapist Jeannie Bertoli, who works at the Thrive Center, said so many people are turning to open relationships because of the presence of cheating in modern society. The near-55 percent divorce rate and the Internet have made it more difficult to maintain faith among married partners.
Married couples aren't the only ones taking part in open relationships.
Michael Rios and Sarah Taub have been dating for ten years and share a home together. But Jonica Hunter has also been dating Michael for a year. She lives with them, too.
"Michael and I have date time together ... also he and Jonica have date time together, and then there's times when we're all doing projects together," said Taub.
The women are friends, but aren't romantically involved. All three parties date other people outside of their trio.
"It feels a lot more freeing," said Hunter.
"When you have many different people you are very, very close to, it's a very fertile soil for personal growth, and I have a lot more to offer each of those people as a result," Rios said.