This week I had the chance to read an advance reader copy of the second edition of The Husband Swap, by Louisa Leontiades. The Husband Swap is the story of Louisa’s journey into polyamory, and her first poly relationship, a quad between herself, her husband and another couple, Morten and Elena.
It was a difficult, and somewhat triggering, read for me. Louisa’s painful and love-filled journey through her first polyamorous relationship called up many memories of my own quad and our time together. Like my own family, Louisa’s quad does not survive itself, but is torn apart under the pressure of the incompatible personalities, including some who may simply have been unsuited to polyamory.
This is not a happy poly story. This is not a tale of how polyamory works, or how much more “advanced” polyamory is. Fans of HEA romance will likely be disappointed in both the ending and the brutally simple way Louisa tells her story, without the dramatics or flair of plot-driven fiction. Fans of polyamory will likely be disappointed in the ending of the relationship, the failure of the book to flag-waving paean to the wonders of poly life.
Perhaps that is why, like More Than Two, this is a book that polyamory needs.
The Husband Swap is the tale of Gilles and Louisa, Elena and Morten. It is the story of Louisa’s discovery of herself. It is a memoir of polyamory—the good, the bad, and the ugly. The unvarnished truth of what happens when polyamory doesn’t work.
And of starting again.
I would recommend this book to anyone look for a good story involving polyamory, and to poly newcomers for an open-eyed look at some of what can go wrong in a poly relationship.
“It is the first book to use empirical evidence from a 15-year study of polyamorous families with children to explore this rapidly-growing relationship style. Hot off the presses, it is the perfect gift for the reader/seeker/counselor/teacher in your life.”
I’ll be getting a review up later this week [edit: Here’s my review], in the meantime, I highly encourage you to go order a copy now. If not for yourself, then for the people in your life—family, friends, professionals—who could benefit from learning a lot about the reality of poly families.
Marriage and monogamy are not what they used to be, and today many couples are opting to start families before getting married, or deciding not to get married at all. At the same time, gay couples in states that recognize same-sex marriage are getting married in droves. Some people prefer non-monogamy and have relationships that include swinging and polyamory. The landscape of American marriage and relationships is changing, and a variety of family systems are developing and becoming more common.The Polyamorists Next Door introduces polyamorous families, in which people are free to pursue emotional, romantic, and sexual relationships with multiple people at the same time, openly and with support from their partners, sometimes forming multi-partner relationships, or other arrangements that allow for emotional and sexual freedom within the family system. In colorful and moving details, this book explores how polyamorous relationships come to be, grow and change, manage the ins and outs of daily family life, and cope with the challenges they face both within their families and from society at large. Using polyamorists own words, Dr. Elisabeth Sheff examines polyamorous households and reveals their advantages, disadvantages, and the daily lives of those living in them.While polyamorous families are increasingly common, fairly little is known about them outside of their own social circles or of the occasional media sensationalism. This book provides information that will be useful for professionals with polyamorous clients, educators who wish to understand or teach about polyamory, and especially people who wish to better understand polyamory themselves or explain it to their potential partners, adult children, or in-laws.