This man ended his marriage of 19 years after a TV show inspired him to try polyamory instead.
Shai Fishman, from Pennsylvania, USA, is a passionate advocate of polyamory after he came across two TV shows called Big Love & Polyamory and Married and Dating.
At this stage the now 46-year-old had been married to wife Danielle for 13 years but decided to explore the idea of having an open relationship.
After six years and several tense conversations, Shai and Danielle decided to give polyamory a go but after seven-months, Danielle struggled with the emotional demands of the relationship. Unlike Shai, Danielle did not want to share the nature of their relationship with the couple’s children – and the pair separated in 2014.
In 2016, Shai met his current partners Lea, 40, and Krissy, 41, on an online dating site.
“I’d always had questions around monogamy and being with one person. Then I saw the shows, and read a few books. These gave me a whole new perspective and an appetite to learn more about ethical non-monogamy,” Shai said.
“I met Krissy five months after meeting Lea – both on a dating site. They both listed themselves as monogamous and ticked ‘polyamory not for me’ but I don’t let that stop me from connecting. You never know how open-minded someone may be.
“Our triad dynamics ebb and flow. We have times where we focus on each other and times when we pull back. There’s an overarching commitment to each other as a family.”
Shai, Lea, and Krissy have an open relationship but for the most part, their core triad forms the basis of their commitment but each person has other ‘connection-ships’ with external partners both emotionally and sexually.
Lea also shares Shai’s passion to advocate for relationship freedom and together, they’ve created the online community, Levelled Up Love. This active Facebook group connects over 4400 poly-curious people from across the world.
Shortly following his divorce with Danielle, Shai explained the concept of polyamory to his children but just like his community, friends, and other members of his family, his children were nothing but accepting.
“I’m very open with the kids now. After we got divorced, I explained the concept of polyamory and alternative relationships and said this is what your dad is,” Shai said.
“It just became their new normal. There are moments when they worry about what their friends might think but everyone’s been nothing but accepting in our neighbourhood.
“Our family and friends have been accepting and in terms of being out in public, we’re not overly affectionate but when we are, we get stares, but nobody says anything.”
For Shai, sharing his relationship in public can be a form of advocacy. The trio have never received any rude comments but they do notice the odd stare if they publicly display affection. However, Shai believes that sprinkling awareness of polyamorous relationships in public is what will eventually earn ethical non-monogamy ‘a legitimised seat at the table.’
“I think the argument of monogamy vs polyamory is often too simplified considering how complex those ideas are. Comparing them isn’t terribly useful. Instead, it’s more about which relationship strategies help people meet their core human needs and find happiness,” he said.
“People need to have those conversations and check in with their partner or partners – to see if they’re getting the freedom, growth, healing, and opportunities to be in service that they desire.”
Additional reporting Media Drum World.