Talk about big love.
I'd like you to meet a couple and their kids.
Deanna and Manny Rivas are a lot like any family you might know.
The happily couple lives in Florida with their two gorgeous children Vaneza and Gabriel.
But there's one way that the Rivas are probably very different from most of the people you know: they are polyamorous.
Simply put, polyamory means that the people can be romantically connected with more than one more person at the same time.
For Deanna and Manny, that other person is their girlfriend and soon-to-be wife Melissa James.
Deanna and Manny were married with kids when Deanna told her husband that she was feeling a void, one that could only be filled with the love of another woman.
Manny was skeptical and hurt at first, but when he and Deanna met Melissa, that all began to change. Now the triad (the polyamorous term for a relationship comprised of three people) is planning a wedding ceremony, which, while not legally binding, will cement their bond as a family.
A year ago I would've read their story with my eyebrows raised and wondered at the strange and fascinating lives other people led.
But now that I'm dating a polyamorous man, stories like this one have gone from being gossip to becoming, well, fairy tales.
I love my boyfriend a lot and he loves his girlfriend a lot. They're trying to have a baby together.
I don't panic when I think about that, but I'm not dumb, the future is going to be rife with challenges if I want to make this polyamorous lifestyle work. With my boyfriend by my side, I feel like I can. But he's not around every single hour of every single day. I'd be lying if I didn't sometimes stop and think just how much easier it would be if I went back to my monogamous way of life.
It might be easier, but I don't know that it would be any happier.
I love my boyfriend like crazy and I don't doubt that he loves me the same amount, if not more (we're very competitive about who loves who the most). He treats me better than anyone I've ever dated. When I go more than a couple of days without seeing him I miss him the way I'd miss pizza if I ever gave up pizza: desperately.
Seeing stories about happy polyamorous families in the news is like catnip to me. It makes my heart go "See? These look like totally normal average people and they're making it work!"
I don't dream of a white picket fence the way I used to, but just because I'm in a kinky polyamorous relationship that doesn't mean I don't have girlish fantasies about my own very special happily ever after.
I hope the story of one happy poly family isn't just a one off. I hope that more poly people come out of the woodwork and stand in the sun, if only (and selfishly) because it might make my life just a little bit easier than it was before.