And Here I Thought My Life Was Complicated

by Les Kertay on October 19, 2014

IMG_0985“And here I thought my life was complicated.”

So pronounced one of my colleagues, in town for a business meeting, when we went to dinner.

You know that moment when you’re being seated at a restaurant for dinner, and you have to decide who is going to sit where? Who will have the side of the booth facing the windows, and who will face the door? Or maybe you’ll be bold and both sit on the same side so you can have a more intimate, romantic meal?

Well, we had such a moment, involving a bit of rearranging so that, for this meal I would be between Maddie and Flaun, across from my two colleagues. The momentary awkwardness was a decide-on-the-fly choice about who would sit in the middle. It had, as it usually does, all the sweet, klutzy charm of any such moment, except that it was about arranging three people instead of two.

We do that a lot. Like when the three of us are walking down the street holding hands, or sitting together on a bench, or in a waiting room.

Wait. Wha??

Yep, as of July I live in a triad rather than a couple.

divider1Wait. Wha???

So you mean you’re having an affair?? No. What we are having is the antithesis of an affair. Affairs are common, and actually easier, including for the people around those having it. Affairs thrive on secrecy, so they are easier for society to ignore. By contrast, polyamorous relationships – who knew there was a name for it? – thrive only in open, nearly constant communication. It’s radical mutual consent or nothing.

Oh, ok, so you’ve decided to be in an “open relationship,” so you’re still together but you can also date other people. That’s a little weird I guess, but I suppose if you want to do that … Nope. Open relationships, where there is a primary couple who also see other people from time to time, perhaps casually and perhaps more seriously, are one form of polyamory – what I’ve heard one colleague call a “monogamish” relationship – but that’s not it either.

So you’re swinging?? You’re getting some two-on-one action on the weekends! <attempted fist bump> No, not that either. Not transient, not casual. Not a problem, just not what we’re doing.

But I thought you were wildly in love with and happily married to Maddie. I was. I am. I will be. I also happen to be in love with Flaun, and she and Maddie are in love. We are unusual even in polyamorous circles, being a circle rather than a “V.” And we plan to celebrate our union, as three.

So maybe I better explain.


Maddie and I have been happily – even blissfully – married for going on 18 years. We’ve been through a lot together, including disruptions and moving and financial struggles and losing our baby Gabriel. Through those years we’ve constantly learned more about each other, constantly worked on our passion for one another and, frankly, we have an awesome life.

One of the things I’ve always known about Maddie is that she’s bisexual, by which I mean simply that she is attracted to qualities in people, and gender doesn’t matter much in terms of her sexual attraction. We’d always been monogamous with one another, and her bisexuality was in the background, but it was never a secret.

What was a surprise is that both Maddie and I, through very unexpected and unlikely circumstances, fell in love with the same woman. It turns out that, in retrospect, Maddie fell in love with her almost a year before I met Flaun, but none of us really knew – not Flaun, not me, not even Maddie knew exactly. Certainly no one expected anything to happen between us, no one even wanted it; but when I met Flaun and it felt like lightning hit me for the 2nd time in my life, we all started talking, and the impossible became merely improbable and then, eventually and through some hard decisions and conversations, became just what is.

We made a decision to bring our homes and our families together, and against the odds yet again, here we are. We don’t hide, in our personal life. We kiss each other in public, we hold hands, we have dates. Maddie and Flaun share the shop, and a passion for quilting and fabric art, they help me with my work, and we all share our lives.

It’s just like being a couple. Only completely different.


Why write about it so publicly? Partly because that’s just who I am and how I’ve always lived. Partly in the hope that by being open I can make the world an easier and better place for everyone who is somehow “different.” And partly to get ahead of the presumptions that I’ve seen others make who “figure out” what they are “sure” is happening.

Like that there must be something “missing” in our lives that we “think” this will fill.
Or that Maddie and Flaun are having a fling and poor Les is left out in the cold.
Or maybe it’s Maddie who’s being dragged into something so that I can be lecherous.
Or maybe that Flaun is trying to steal me away, or steal Maddie away.

The list goes on. I see it in people’s eyes, read it in their polite but pointed notes.

So I just wanted to say, out loud where you can read it, this simple yet complex truth. Maddie and I are in love, and Maddie and Flaun are in love, and Flaun and I are in love. We share equally in our lives, emotionally and socially and sexually and to the extent that a law built for twos can allow three to share, legally.


If the curiosity that reigns around us is any indication, we’re not the only ones who’ve thought about a broader view of marriage. It brings up thoughts about power, and jealousy, and all the things you’d expect. Only cubed. So maybe you’ll agree with me that it’s worth writing about.

It’s complicated, yes. And really, really simple.

If you want to know more of the story, ask. You should know, though, that if you ask I’m very likely to answer.

If you want to read Maddie’s story, check it out here.

Dr. Les Kertay, Awakened Moments



Without a Net

April 19, 2014

I am terrified of heights. More precisely, I am deathly afraid of falling from a high place. Getting up on the roof is pretty easy and I like the view. Getting on the ladder to come down, on the other hand, has been known to freeze me in place for many minutes of terror, indecision, […]

Read the full article →

Sometimes You Have To Do What You Have To Do

March 3, 2014

Every once in a while a moment of raw communication happens in such a way that it becomes clear there is a choice to be made – either we will rise to the occasion and speak the truth of where we stand, even at the risk that it might offend or have unforeseen consequences, or […]

Read the full article →

Wake Up Call

February 19, 2014

I always wondered what would go through my mind if I was in a plane that was going to crash land. Earlier today I found out, and it really wasn’t what I expected. Go figure. It started out as an uneventful trip just like a thousand other flights I’ve taken. I used the sensation of […]

Read the full article →

Be Careful What You Ask For

January 27, 2014

If you ask a man to be more open about what he feels, beware the possibility that you might not like what he has to say. I am posting here about an article that appeared this morning on The Good Men Project titled Sex, Marriage, and the Silent Treatment. Whether you are a man or a […]

Read the full article →

Your Parents Thought You Too Were an Ungrateful Little Twerp

December 31, 2013

Like many on this eve of a new year, I am stunned at the frenetic pace of time’s passing, especially as I say goodbye to the year in which I turned 60. Reflecting from this vantage point on the breathtaking changes in the world order, I decided to respond to a question that was posed […]

Read the full article →

Making the World Safer for Women

December 23, 2013

I am tired of being seen as a threat. Tired of being evaluated by women when they look at me to discern whether I am a potential rapist, abuser, or just an average sexist cad. Tired of seeing mistrust in the eyes of mothers when I smile at a child’s happiness or play peekaboo to […]

Read the full article →

Supposedtobes – Ze Frank

November 28, 2013

This came to me courtesy of a new-found friend, and it’s a brief introduction to the work of a fascinating man and a lovely reminder to make of each day what it is.  No more, no less.  Show up, and wonderful things happen, even when they’re not wonderful. “And those supposed-to-be’s, take those to the […]

Read the full article →

On marriage, writing, and writing about marriage

November 14, 2013

Sometimes the comments posted to online articles are as important as the article itself. This morning I read a blog post at The Good Men Project titled Marriage is No Fairy Tale. I liked it when I read it, but when I read the comments I saw something I didn’t expect. I saw that readers and […]

Read the full article →

What a world it could be

November 8, 2013

Imagine a world where we all behaved like this – both the man brave enough to ask for a blessing, and the one compassionate enough to give it! Now, let’s go build that world.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Read the full article →