Open Marriages: When Husband and Wife Have Lovers and Date Other People

Couple, married for 12 years, lives with husband's girlfriend.

November 25, 2013, 3:57 PM

Nov. 25, 2013— -- Michael has been happily married to Kamala Devi for 12 years, and the two share their California home with Michael's live-in girlfriend, Rachel.

The trio, Michael, 49, Kamala Devi, 38, and Rachel, 27, live what's called a "polyamorous" lifestyle. Rachel moved into Michael and Kamala Devi's home six months ago. Kamala Devi said she allowed Rachel into their lives because "I saw Michael lit up and I saw him happy." Monogamy is just not for them, she said.

The three are into meditation, yoga and Tantra sex.

"We have a lot of sex and a lot of sex partners over the years," Michael said.

They call what they have a "pod," like what you would call a group of dolphins. They practice safe sex and total honesty.

"The first rule is really about making sure that we have created the space to have that conversation," Kamala Devi said.

Kamala Devi and Michael have a 6-year-old son together named Devin, and Rachel provides a helping hand.

"We share life together," Kamala Devi said. "It takes a village to raise a child and it feels really good to have that kind of support."

This kind of "polyamorous" relationship is becoming increasingly common, experts say.

"The divorce rate in the United States is over 50 percent. ... People are not staying nearly as faithful they used to," said Dr. Karen Stewart, a sex therapist in Los Angeles. "The world has become a much smaller place. We can seek out connections, there's dating sites on every street corner. You can go anywhere to meet someone now."

But could there ever be societal acceptance of something more than monogamy? Despite having multiple partners, Stewart said polyamorous relationships are about love and commitment.

"Polyamory is not about being swingers," Stewart said. "It's not about the one-off weekend with the couple we met at the bar. It's not about that. It's about forming long and lasting and loving relationships."

When asked if Devin, Michael and Kamala Devi's young son, understood their living arrangement with Rachel, Michael said, "He understands the word 'polyamory.' He understands what that means. He doesn't really know what sex is yet."

Stewart said Devin's parents' polyamorous relationship might be hard for him to understand later in life.

"When he goes to school and in 10 years brings dates home, this is probably going to be a little complicated for him," she said. "I'm not sure if the parents are thinking down the road about that."

Kamala Devi denied that she accepted Rachel into their lives because she is afraid of losing Michael.

"A lot of people would look at this and say, 'She's younger and I have to put up with that,' but what I've noticed is she's really enriched my life," she said.

Aside from dating Michael and living with him and his wife, Rachel also has another boyfriend named Mikey, who lives in Florida, as well as a girlfriend called Thalia, and another male lover called James, who was also romantically involved with Kamala Devi.

Kamala Devi, in addition, has a girlfriend of two years, called Roxanne. Kamala Devi also had a fling over the summer with Jason, one of Michael's coworkers. And then there is Tahl and Jennifer, a couple who lived with Michael and Kamala Devi for two years.

"Monogamy can be a really beautiful agreement between two people when they're deeply in love and they don't have desire for another," Kamala Devi said. "But most people in our society are just monogamous because their vows said, 'I will forsake all others for you.'"

Michael said he hopes to continue to grow their polyamorous community and "potentially even get a hotel."

"We would get a hotel that would be a polyamorous hotel," he said. "That's part of our future dreams."

"That's very much what I see in my future. Living in a house with all of our lovers combined," Rachel added.

If this sounds like the perfect setting for a reality TV show, it already is. "Married and Dating" has aired two seasons on Showtime. Kamala Devi and Michael, two of the people who starred on the show, said they wanted to show their "lovestyle" to the world and spread the gospel of polyamory in hopes of speeding up societal acceptance of their situation.

"I really think that in 10 years society is going to be like this a new paradigm," Kamala Devi said. "The culture is changing."

"It is quite normal already. It's just not out of the closet," Michael added.