It’s not your average marriage but Mary Crumpton says having a husband, fiancé and two boyfriends works for her.
The 44-year-old from Chorlton Mary has a husband, Tim, 43, a fiance, John, 53, and two boyfriends – Michael, 63, and James, 73.
She lives with Tim and John and the other two men live nearby – and she says they all get on like a house on fire.
Now she is speaking publicly about her relationships in the hope of allowing others to understand people who follow the practice polyamory, which is having more than one relationship and is different from having more than one spouse – which is illegal in the UK.
Mary, who was a teacher and is now a therapist, lifted the lid on her romantic life and how she began exploring having more than one partner at the age of 29.
She said: “I was brought up in quite a traditional home. Having more than one partner never crossed my mind. In my twenties I got married and settled down in Chorlton fully intending to be with my husband for life.
“I did sometimes have feelings for other people, but I felt guilty about doing so and just took it as a sign that I didn’t love my husband enough. When the marriage didn’t work out, I met someone else, and started a monogamous relationship with him.
“The idea that loving more than one person might not make me a terrible human being only dawned on me when, at a pub, I bumped into a person who had more than one partner. I was quite shocked, and curious about how it all worked for them.
“My partner was with me when I met the polyamorous person, and he was curious about it too. At the time neither of us considered it for ourselves, but I think the seed had been planted.”
She said that a couple of years later, in 2003, she posed the idea of an open relationship.
Mary added: “I was interested to explore the possibility of allowing myself to love more than one person. I think for him it was more about the thought of more than one sexual partner. We were both curious to see how it could work for us.
“I took to it immediately. I quickly realised that I had been ‘wired up’ this way probably all my life – loving more than one person now seems like the most natural thing in the world to me and I can’t imagine being any other way.
“For me, it is all about love. Of course, some of my relationships have been sexual, but sex is not the driving force for me.
“I am no longer with the partner that I first explored polyamory with, though he and I remain close friends, and he has continued to be polyamorous.
“I married one of the people I first dated polyamorously. My husband, Tim, who is 43, and I got together in 2004 and were married in 2013 at Manchester Museum under the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
“I have a partner, John, 53, who I have been with since 2011, and who I am planning to ‘marry’ this year. We can’t legally marry, but we are having a full wedding-style commitment ceremony at Chorlton Unitarian church in May.”
Both men are straight and have been brought together through Mary. They have all lived together since 2015.
Mary has another two other partners, Michael, 63, who she has been with since 2016 and James, 73.
Mary said: “John has been living with me and my husband in our house in Chorlton since 2015.
“He has a flat a few streets away from my house and I usually stay over at his place once or twice a week, and sometimes he stays at mine. Michael spent Christmas with us and we had a really special day together.
“Last but not least, I am with James, 73, who I bonded with while watching football games in the pub together in 2015. My husband and John have no interest in football, so it is nice to have someone to share that interest with.”
She explained that one of the lovely things about a polyamorous life is that there is no pressure on one person to supply all her needs.
Mary said: “My husband Tim and I share an enthusiasm for environmentalism and all that entails, like electric cars, and veganism. With my fiancé John I enjoy watching science-fiction and we go to church together.
“With Michael, I like to watch and support him playing for his local darts team at the Royal Oak, and we go to karaoke nights – which is possibly more embarrassing than admitting to polyamory!”
The wife and girlfriend said that their unusual living situation works for them, and the men get along like “brothers”.
She said: “I suppose in many ways it is no different from living in a shared house with a group of friends, or family. All the usual things about whose turn it is to wash up etc.
“They have something in common in that they both love me of course, and friends joke that I need two of them to keep me in-line.
“Like in any relationship, insecurities can arise. Though in some ways there is less jealousy perhaps – no fear that a partner might cheat on me because why lie about it when having another partner is allowed anyway? Sometimes there might be a fear that a new partner is ‘better’ in some way than a current one, but good communication and offering reassurances allows that to be dealt with.”
Mary has no desire to have any children, although she thinks their set-up would be fine for their upbringing.
She said: “I see no problem with bringing children into a polyamorous set-up though, because I have seen co-parenting work really well for other polyamorous groups. It is not something we plan though.”
Although they are happy, Mary revealed some people react negatively to her dating life.
She said: “I have been called a slapper or a slag. I think that negativity mostly arises because I am doing something a bit different and sometimes that can make people feel uncomfortable.
“I have had women assume that I am a ‘man-eater’ and will try to seduce their husband – to be honest that just makes me laugh. I have also been told that what I do is ‘against God’s law’, though in fact there are many instances of multiple marriages in religious texts, and there are denominations of both Christianity and Islam that allow multiple marriages.
“Mostly though, people are open to my lifestyle – they can see that I am honest with my partners and that we are all happy, so they see it as no-ones business but ours.
“I hope that my being open about it with friends, will help people understand polyamory better.
“Maybe this will mean that there will be less judgement from strangers in the future, just as homosexuality and transexuality have become more accepted in society as people have been more aware of them.”
Mary is standing at the next local election for the Chorlton ward representing the Green Party.
Source: The Sun