Table for Three, Please

As the debate over gay marriage continues, coupling has become a
hot topic for those on both sides of the issue. Whether asserting
the right for a same-sex couple to wed or maintaining that marriage
is between a man and woman, most agree on the fact that marriage is
meant for two. In her article, ‘Table for Three, Please,’ Ellen Ann
Lindsey looks to expand this premise for life-long love. Lindsey
maintains that it is a troubling myth, stating, ‘It asserts that,
because of fate, or some other unseen force, there is only one
person out there for each of us.’ Lindsey’s experience as one
member of a long-term three-person relationship contradicts the
notion that coupling is the height of romantic love.

When Lindsey’s friendship with a married couple became sexual,
all three attempted to maintain the two-person status quo. ‘At
various points, each of us threatened to leave so that the other
two could be together,’ she remembers. ‘We were afraid. There was
no blueprint for the type of relationship we were contemplating.’
Living in a society where three-person Valentine’s Day dinners are
unheard of and three-way relationships are seen as novelty sexual
encounters made imagining such a relationship — much less
participating in one — almost impossible.

In the end, Lindsay and her partners simply decided to try to
make their relationship work. And it did. ‘We have overcome the
jealousies and insecurities that plagued us in the early days and
have stayed together longer — and more happily — than many of the
‘committed’ couples we have known.’ According to Lindsey, their
success is due in part to the freedoms that an equal three-person
relationship can provide. In addition to sexual freedom, Lindsay
and her partners share housework, child-rearing, and household
income.

Living outside the boundaries of a traditional heterosexual and
homosexual relationship hasn’t been easy. Lindsay and her partners
have lost married, single, gay, and straight friends who could not
accept their relationship. The three have worked to legally protect
Lindsey’s inheritance and guardianship rights; something that
society may never recognize in marriage. In this respect, she has
low expectations. ‘I don’t hope for a world where three-way
marriages are the norm.’ Instead, Lindsey hopes to broaden the
definition of marriage and long-term romantic love. ‘I wish for the
word ‘marriage’ to apply to lesbians, gay men and bisexuals…and
to trios, quartets, quintets and so forth, instead of just
duos.’
Anastasia Masurat

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