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Unofficial (LJ-user-transcribed) transcript of Montel Williams Show episode on polyamory, “Multiple Love: Polyamory,” aired 29 November 2005

[introduction begins]

Montel, voiceover: Meet John and Nancy, loving husband and wife. Now meet their other partners, Amy and Julio.

John [in show footage]: It’s very much like any other relationship, it just includes more people.

Montel, voiceover: They call it polyamory: loving multiple people at the same time.

Dawn [in show footage]: Are you not in love with all of your children?
Montel [in show footage]: Yeah, but I ain’t sleeping with my kids!

Montel, voiceover: Akien and Dawn are married. But Dawn also loves Gary and they’re both in love with Kay. Very unconventional love stories. Wait till we hear the whole story. That’s what’s coming up right now.

[introduction ends]

Montel: Welcome and thank you so much for joining us today. Today we’re going to be talking about a topic that most people haven’t heard about before. And this is a topic called polyamory. What does it mean? Do you know? Well, we went around the streets of New York City and asked the question, “What does polyamory mean?” Take a look at what some of the people in New York City had to say.

[interviews of people on the street in NYC]

Question on the screen: What is POLYAMORY?

Person on the street: Polyamory is …

Person on the street: I have no idea.

Person on the street: Poly means more than one, I think I know that much.

Person on the street: Something to do with a polygraph test, maybe?

Person on the street: It kind of sounds like a fabric.

Person on the street: Like Pollyanna? Being really happy?

Person on the street: Some type of sickness?

Person on the street: I’d imagine – so, poly is plastic, so, something that has to do with plastic?

Person on the street: Polyamory is, I guess, being in love with or dating more than one person at one time?

Person on the street [presumably after being told what polyamory is]: Oh, my God!

[NYC interview footage ends]

Montel: Anybody in the audience know? Huh, look at this. Nobody knows? Well, my first guests have been happily married for 24 years and they both also have been in intimate relationships with someone else. Take a look at this.

[video segment begins]

Nan: The first time I met John, I immediately felt that this was the man I was going to marry.

John: We got married in 1981?

Nan: Mm-hmm.

John: And we have 2 children, 20 and 17.

Nan: What works about our relationship is that our relationship was always changing. We were always dynamic with each other since we were kids.

Montel, voiceover: After many years, John and Nancy opened their marriage and their hearts to Amy and Julio.

John: I met Amy and really hit it off. There was an immediate attraction. Amy and I have been together now for 5 ½ years.

Nan:She’s a very good supporter of John. When something good happens, she’s like the first person I think of. When something bad happens, she’s the first person I call.

Julio: Nan’s been my girlfriend for two years. John feels that I’m a good partner for Nan.

John: Julio and I support each other like brothers. Amy and Julio come over most weekends and sometimes during the week.

Nan: Usually when – the weekends, we, Julio and I sleep together, and Amy and John will sleep together. What we like to do together is … eat.

All talking together: Eat!
Cook. We make great meals together.
Feed people.
Feed people! Parties! Company.
Laundry.
Lots and lots of laundry. Folding laundry. And movies.
Oh, being active.
Talking. Lots of talking.

John: We just have a good time. We’re great friends in addition to all the other good things that we have to share.

Julio: It’s really about family – creating an extended family of intimate friends.

John: It’s very much like any other intimate, traditional one-on-one relationship. It just includes more people.

Amy: Exactly! It’s just like monogamy but with more people. [all laugh together]

[video segment ends]

Montel: Just includes more people. Please welcome Nan and her husband John to the show. Welcome them.

Nan: Hi.

[applause]

Montel: And you know, before I even start asking questions, you know, just so my viewers at home know and everybody in this audience knows that they’re not the only people that we have, that are here, who are polyamorous. Dawn and Akien are also married and they both are in love with another person. And it’s Kay. Now, we’ll explain this in a minute. Dawn also has a boyfriend, his name is Gary, that’s been around for a long time also. How long have the two of you been married?

Akien: Fifteen years.

Montel: Fifteen years. OK, we’ll get back. Let’s take a look at this first.

[video segment begins]

Dawn: Akien and I met in 1987 and we were on-again off-again for the first couple of years. We got engaged in 1989 and married in 1990. We were monogamous, mostly, for the first several years of our relationship.

Akien: We opened the relationship up in 1996.

Dawn: Akien and Kay got together about a year and a half ago. And Kay and I didn’t really start dating right away. It’s a little fuzzy when it really started --

Kay: When we really started dating. [Dawn and Kay laugh]

Dawn: Sometimes it does get kind of complicated. And we’ve got, in addition to Kay, we have a couple of other relationships. Akien and I date another couple. And then there’s Gary, who is my long-distance and long-term lover, 24 years this year.

Gary: Five years ago, I met Judith. Currently we are working on the process of getting married and establishing a house together. I see Dawn about every 6 months.

Akien: It’s always complicated.

Kay: But it’s worth it.

[video segment ends]

Montel: Now I want everybody in the audience to welcome Dawn and her husband Akien to the show.

[applause]

Montel: We’re going to talk about this in a second. But you know what I did? Just before the show started, I grabbed a couple of other couples in the audience – because they had no idea what this topic was about today, right? No idea. So now you roll up on the show, and this is – you’re been married for how long? What’s your name, sir?

Chad: My name’s Chad.

Montel: And your name?

Jennifer: Jennifer.

Montel: You’ve been married for how long?

Chad: Two years.

Montel: What do you think? [gestures to panelists]

Chad: If it works for them.

Jennifer: [laughs]

Chad: It wouldn’t work for us, but if it works for them—

Montel: Well, why do you think it wouldn’t work for you?

Jennifer: Um – no. [laughs]

Montel: Wait, wait. But she – wait, I heard what she has to say. [aims mic at Chad] Would it work for you guys? Yes or no?

Chad: It wouldn’t work for me. I’m the jealous and protective type.

Montel: So you would definitely go nuts if all of a sudden, Jennifer rolled up to the house and said, “Hey, you know, I want you to meet my new boyfriend Montel!” You’d be like aaaargh [makes choking noise]

Chad: [laughing] Yeah.

Montel: Yeah, probably! So now, guys, please welcome our guests to the show. Thank you. [applause] Talk to me – Nan, John, Dawn, Akien – talk to me for a second, because I would bet that’s the reaction that most people have to your situations. Correct?

Nan and Dawn: Yes.

Montel: Now, we have an hour. We’re going to talk about this for the next hour, and I want to be able to explain what this is and why this is different from the things people remember in the past, from swinging or to just groups that get together every now and then and have sex. This is about relationships, correct?

Dawn: Yes. About family.

Montel: But I thought family was about a nuclear family and then you bring friends in, not necessarily friends that you develop the same nuclear family relationship with.

Nan: I’m a psychotherapist and I often tell people –

Montel: Wait. Stop for a second. Say that again.

Nan: I’m a psychotherapist.

Montel: Now, as soon as you said that, I saw about twelve heads go like this. [mimes astonishment; audience and panelists laugh] Behind you. But go ahead.

Nan: And what I tell people is not to try this at home. Nor am I trying to promote it.

Montel: You’re trying to let us know it exists.

Nan: What I’m trying to do is let people know that this exists, and also increase the tolerance that we have for different kinds of choices about how our relationships look and how our families look, and how by having open conversations with their partners, people can create the relationships consciously that can work for them.

Montel: You know, that sounds great, Nan, but there’s a guy sitting in a house on Pennsylvania Avenue who right this minute is turning over in his grave because of you. You know who I’m talking about! Let me take a break. We’ll be back. We’ll talk about this in a minute when we come back. We’ll be back right after this.

[“later” footage showing later scenes from the show]

Montel: She’s your girlfriend. She’s your girlfriend. But she’s both of your girlfriends. From time to time she’s just your girlfriend [to Dawn]. From time to time she’s just your girlfriend [to Akien]. You ain’t kidding, lucky girl. Lucky dude!

[“later” footage ends]

[interviews of people on the street in NYC]

Question on screen: Can you love more than one person at a time?

Person on the street: I’ve had that happen to me before, but it’s just too tricky. I know I’m a jealous person and I know it’s just not good.

Person on the street: I think you can love as many people as love you back! Aww.

[NYC interview footage ends]

Montel: We’ll come back to it. The religious right, and with the fervor in which people are trying to preserve the family in America, and making statements about anything that’s outside of what is considered traditional family boundaries, this is – I can’t wait to say what the President has to say about the fact that this is growing in America. Correct? The name and the term were identified when? In 1991?

Nan: [nods] In 1991.

Montel: And now there are support groups all over the country. Websites all over the country. What does the term truly mean?

John: What it means for us is that we have committed domestic partnerships with Julio and with Amy.

Montel: All right. Please welcome Julio and Amy to the show.

[applause]

Montel: And you say “we have domestic partnerships.” Break it down. Stop with the terms.

John: We live together. We love each other.

Montel: Live together. Love each other.

John: Yeah.

Montel: How did this begin? The two of you were married.

Nan and John: [nodding] Mm-hmm.

Montel: And there was a period of time when the two of you – is it called, opened your relationship? To, then, open up to a polyamory relationship?

John: I think that’s a fair way of languaging it, yes.

Montel: So you open up first, which says what? What does that mean? Tell me that first.

Nan: Well, the context is important. We were together 20 years and very happily monogamous, and then we met a couple who we became friends with, and the friendship started to develop into an emotional relationship that contained some attraction, and they were interested in us.

Montel: Nan, check it out. I’ve got some really good friends. I travel the world with them. As a couple, they hang out with me all the time. They work with me, too. The farthest thing from my mind is to get in bed with this person! And I love them. They are my closest friends. But I draw this line.

Nan: Most of our history has been about having very conventional relationships. It’s just that we found out for us -- and this is only speaking for us -- that we were able to, based on the real, solid bond that we had, to not be arbitrary and say, “Well, we have these feelings for these people but we can’t go there.” We began very carefully and very slowly exploring what we could be with these people.

Montel: You have children?

Nan and John: Yeah.

Montel: And how old are your children?

John: 20 and 17.

Montel: Your 20-year-old is out of the house.

Nan and John: [nodding] Mm-hmm..

Montel: The 17-year-old is still there.

Nan and John: [nodding] Mm-hmm.

Montel: The 17-year-old is aware of this relationship.

Nan and John: [nodding] Mm-hmm. Yes.

Montel: OK, so – Ack. Whoa. OK. Hold on. So, you made an attempt with a couple. That didn’t work out, right, because that relationship ended.

Nan: Mm-hmm.

Montel: How does it work? [audience laughing] Does somebody say “I want to hook up with Dan,” and I hook up with, aaaa? [gesturing, audience laughing]

Nan: It starts with having a completely honest and open relationship with your partner. Where you go from there is totally up to you.

Montel: OK, wait. Dan and Cheryl, stand up for a second. This is another couple. I didn’t tell you guys anything about this show beforehand, right?

Dan: Right.

Montel: You roll in and all of a sudden you’re in the hot spot, hot seat. Now, you’ve been married for 6 years.

Dan: Right.

Montel: You think you have a really good relationship?

Dan: Yes.

Montel: Tight?

Cheryl: Yes.

Montel: Talk about a lot of things?

Cheryl: Yes.

Montel: Well, guys, talk about this! I don’t know, next week when in the bed, y’all might be laying there going, [affects comic voice] “Hm, remember when we were on Montel’s show?” [audience laughing] Right? Well, what do you think of this?

Cheryl: I just feel like I wouldn’t have gotten married if this were what I wanted to do. [audience applause, cheering] I wouldn’t have gotten married.

Montel: OK, wait. Hold on. I knew that would be the biggest comment! So what do you say about that? [to panelists]

Nan: My comment, which I think is an interesting one, is: This topic stirs up a lot of feelings for us.

Montel: It certainly does, for everybody.

Nan: And I think for all of us, not to do anything about it, but to look at: Where are those feelings coming from? What is it about the idea of sharing love with somebody more than one partner? What does that trigger in us? What are some of the fears that come up? The fact that it’s so reactive, and this is what I think is important, makes it a fantastic topic to even have a conversation and bring that kind of openness and sharing back to your relationship. Because people do not talk about a lot of things and I think that’s why relationships end.

Montel: And I’m – the reason why I approach this is not in any way, shape, or form to say to people, “We are promoting this as a lifestyle.” What I’m trying to say is just understand what is going on, so that when your son, your daughter, your sister, your brother, your cousin comes home and they are in this – because this is now becoming a viable alternative lifestyle. And when I say that, you look at the number of websites that are out there right now , the number of parties that are being thrown – there are polyamorous parties all over the place!

Julio: Conferences.

Montel: Conferences!

Amy: Worldwide.

Montel: So the two of you [to Julio and Amy] – I’m sorry [laughs]. But they [gestures to Nan and John] were married for 24 years. How long were you married before you decided to do this? [to Dawn and Akien]

Akien: We were non-monogamous when we met.

Montel: Ah-ha! So y’all have been swappers. You’re swinging kind of people, I know you!

Dawn: No. We’ve always been polyamorous. We were not swingers.

Montel: But you didn’t know what to call it.

Dawn and Akien: Yes.

Montel: All right. Explain after the break. We’ll be back right after this.

[“later” footage showing later scenes from the show]

Montel: Julio, you’re all up in the mix!

Julio: I met Amy, and then Amy said, “I have some friends that you should meet.” We talked and we went out, and from then on we’ve been together.

[“later” footage ends]

[interviews of people on the street in NYC]

Question on screen: Can you love more than one person at a time?

Person on the street: Sure. I think people fulfill different needs for you, so if you’re not going to find the perfect person, then you have two to fill both parts.

Person on the street: I think you can probably have sex with more than one person at one time, but you shouldn’t – I don’t think you could truthfully love more than one person at a time.

[NYC interview footage ends]

Montel: Well, please welcome Dawn and Akien’s girlfriend Kay, and Dawn’s boyfriend Gary, and this is also your fiancee Judith, to the show. [applause] So wait. I had to say: Dawn and Akien’s girlfriend Kay, and Dawn’s boyfriend Gary, with his fiancee – how do you keep it straight?

[laughter]

Kay: Nametags.

Montel: Nametags! [all laugh] Wait – OK. So you asked me the question earlier, what am I afraid of? ‘Cause I said during the commercial break. So I want to be like the Neanderthal guy, and say, “It’s OK for the goose and not for the gander.” But I guess it’s OK for everybody! Julio, you’re all up in the mix! How did you get invited into this?

Julio: Well, I went to a meeting where – a support meeting, since we were talking about that – and I met Amy, and then Amy said “I have some friends that you should meet.” And I went to a conference that they were at, and basically we connected, and became very good friends. I got to know John, I got to know Amy more, and then I met Nan. And then from there we talked, we talked and we went out, and from then on we’ve been together.

Montel: OK, but wait. If you met Amy first, then – you know –

Amy: We didn’t connect in that way.

Julio: See, that’s the point. See, this isn’t just about jumping someone’s bones. It’s about connecting. And we connected, and we’re very close.

Montel: I guess where the question is, is where do you -- when does that moment happen – like right here, Misty and James. Misty and James. OK. When does the moment happen – you’ve been married for how long?

Misty: Six years.

Montel: Six years. All of a sudden you wake up one day, and Misty says, “Dang, you know, Dan’s looking kind of cute.” [laughter] So she rolls back and says “James, you know, I was looking at Dan, and he’s looking kind of cute, and I love you. I’m not going to do anything other than – love Dan too!” [laughter] And then he’s wanting to go, [affects comic voice] “OK!” [laughter] Right?

Akien: It wasn’t that easy for me.

Montel: Talk to me! Explain it to me, then, Akien, because – wait, can I say something about you all? Did you not step out on this relationship once?

Akien: I did.

Montel: Early on? So you kind of did the real cheat-thing.

Dawn: Oh, yes.

Montel: Even though you were open, you cheated.

Akien: We weren’t open at that point.

Dawn: That was the problem.

Akien: When we got married, we had some stuff that we wanted to work through, and we decided to have a period of being monogamous.

Montel: OK.

Akien: And there were certain kinds of needs that weren’t getting met. And we knew that.

Montel: And then, but at that point in time, then, you what? Cheated.

Akien: At that point, I started a relationship with someone that was outside of our agreement.

Montel: And she [Dawn] didn’t know anything about it.

Akien: [nods] She didn’t know anything about it.

Montel: This was one of those clandestine, secretive, meeting on the down-low –

Akien: Yes. Which some enormous percentage of people participate in at some point or another.

Montel: Which is probably why we look at a 65% divorce rate in this country today and we understand that most people are getting divorced because of adultery.

Akien and Dawn: Right.

Montel: It’s one of the leading things. How did you do it?

Akien: We went into therapy and we spent a lot of time working through stuff.

Montel: Wait, you [Nan] are a therapist. You help polyamorous couples too.

Nan: All the time. Not these in particular [laughter].

Dawn: [says something inaudible in a joking tone]

Nan: But I also help straight couples deal with these kinds of issues, like infidelity.

Montel: I’ve got to tell you something. I can tell you this right now – and I’ve got to take a break – as I look around, as we’re talking, I’ve been looking around at eyes. Certain things get said, I see big smiles, I see smiles go away. You can act like you don’t like this, girlfriend, but you know, you’ve been sitting there shaking your head this entire time. But I would bet you, if given the right situation – stand up for a second. What’s your name?

Audience member: Heidi.

Montel: Heidi. How are you? Are you married, Heidi?

Heidi: Yes, I am.

Montel: How long have you been married?

Heidi: Four or five years.

Montel: Four – [does double-take] Four or five years? [audience laughter]

Heidi: [laughing] Sometimes, maybe.

Montel: All right, so five years. And you’re going to tell me that -- what? What do you think of this? Because I see you going [makes face, shaking head] and then I see you going [makes face, waggles head from side to side] What?

Heidi: I feel very strongly about this. I always have. When you made that spiritual commitment, you committed to each other. OK? And if you cannot commit to each other, then what can you not commit to? Your children? Raising them? Showing them right from wrong?

[audience hoots, applauds, cheers]

Montel: OK. Yes, Nan?

Nan: I understand, and I think that your choice is great for you. I think that the place that I learned from personally is looking at where we get these kinds of beliefs and having the conversation with ourselves, like, is really sexual fidelity the best measure of commitment to a relationship?

Montel: And let’s – I want to – I – See, here’s, I’m getting where you’re coming from. Because when people go to church, and they go to weddings, and they say “this was what was meant to be”? Let me stop you for a second, because everything that you in this country believe about marriage, I’m going to say to you, is a complete lie. You used to stand in front of a community and tie your hands together, and guess what? The idea of marriage, up until about 1300, was for a year and a day. At the end of that time, if you chose to do it again in front of the public and the community, it could be for another year and a day, or you could say we’ll stay together for life. But back then, the majority of relationships were kind of like this. Women would have a child with one man and maybe at the end of two years move on from that relationship, and the community didn’t ostracize you for that.

Julio: Commitment isn’t necessarily something that’s legislated or sanctioned by a specific –

Montel: Organization.

Julio: Organization or institution. Commitments are things that you commit to, things that you promise, that you say “I’m going to do this.” And you can have that kind of commitment with someone by choice.

Montel: I hate to do this but I’ve got to take a break. But let me tell you, what’s going on in these relationships – and it’s just to make sure that we understand what’s going on here – they are as committed in their external relationships as some people are in a single-partner union.

[panelists nodding] Absolutely.

Montel: Now, I can tell you and I’m saying this for you, I’ve got to take a break, that’s the part that I’m tripping on, because I’m going to tell you, I could not have that much estrogen around me at any given time!

Male panelist, offscreen: [joking] It’s dangerous!

Montel: It’s dangerous! [audience laughter drowning out his words] I’ve got to take a break.

[“later” footage showing later scenes from the show]

Nan: Amy and I are not lovers.

Montel: Friends.

Nan: Beyond friends. She is like a family member to me. We help each other do our lives better.

Montel: OK, but –

Nan: Every woman needs a wife.

[“later” footage ends]

[interviews of people on the street in NYC]

Question on screen: Can you love more than one person at a time?

Person on the street: You can love everybody as much as you want to at the same time if you feel like it.

Person on the street: God made husband and wife Adam and Eve, not no Adam and Eve and Rebecca, you know what I’m saying? That’s not going down.

[NYC interview footage ends]

Montel: You know, if I hear another person tell me “God made Adam and Eve” and try to translate that into this millennium, I’m going to choke on myself. [comic voice] “He didn’t make Adam and Eve and Rebecca.” Ooooh. [laughter]. Anyway. So tell me – let’s start with you. Now, how do these two [gestures to Gary and Judith] fit into the three of you [gestures to Dawn, Akien, and Kay]? Because she’s your girlfriend, she’s your girlfriend, but she’s both of your girlfriends. From time to time she’s just your girlfriend. From time to time she’s just your girlfriend. You ain’t kidding, lucky girl. Lucky dude!

[laughter]

Montel: But like I said earlier, there are a lot of men probably looking at this going, “Oh, yeah, I wish I was Akien, I wish I was Akien!” But on one of those mornings – you know the morning, when she wakes up and can’t find the Tylenol! And she wakes up and remembers that last night you left the toilet seat up! Do you walk into the kitchen and at that exact same moment you’ve got both of them right there? Do you, ever?

Akien: It hasn’t happened yet. [laughter]

Montel: Phew! [laughter] How do you work this out, then?

Akien: Well, we work different pieces of it out in different ways. One of the pieces is that Kay has her own place, so if she’s having a bad day –

Kay: I can go home! [laughter]

Akien: -- she’s unlikely to come over. [laughter]

Montel: All right. But then, when you [Kay] do come over, do you [Dawn] leave?

Dawn: No.

Akien: It depends on the date. If I’m having a date just with Kay, Dawn gets the bedroom and I get the guestroom.

Montel: So now that’s going on here. But at the same time, you [points to Dawn] have been going with Gary for how long?

Dawn: 24 years.

Gary: ’81.

Montel: Huh?

Gary: 1981.

Montel: And you [to Akien and Dawn] have been married for how long?

Akien: 15 years.

Dawn: Right.

Montel: She’s been committed to him [points to Gary] for 24 years. You’ve got another boyfriend on the side too?

Dawn: I’ve seen a couple of other people, yes.

[audience oohs]

Akien: [jokingly] Now who’s talking.

Montel: But now I don’t understand it again! Because if this is about -- if it’s just about going out and having fun, then where is the relationship with the other people? Do you mean to tell me you were in love with five people?

Dawn: Sure. Are you not in love with all of your children?

Montel: Yeah, but I ain’t sleeping with my kids! [laughter] Nor will I ever! [laughter and applause from audience]

Gary: The human capacity for love is not limited.

Kay: Have you fallen out of love with everyone you fall in love with? I still love the first man I ever fell in love with.

Montel: Hmm. Yes, Nan.

Nan: Some people enjoy the complexity of these kinds of relationships. And what I’ve learned is that there are specific skill-sets that intimacy, a relationship requires that we are not necessarily born with, that we need to learn.

Montel: Like what?

Nan: Being able to be a very strong individual and yet also be deeply involved and loving with another person seems to be what most people want in relationships.

Montel: OK, love with another person. But not another and another and another.

Nan: But how do we define love? I mean we-- one of the things, the conversations I encourage people to have: How do you define love, and how do you define sex, and how do you define –

Montel: Well, now we’re sounding like Bill Clinton! [laughter and applause from audience] Come on, I know what sex is!

Nan: How do you define sex?

Montel: I define – Hang on for a second, Miss I’m-Shaking-My-Head-Back-And-Forth [addressing an audience member]. How long have you been in this relationship, Amy?

Amy: Five and a half years.

Montel: And how long have you been in this relationship, Julio?

Julio: Two and a quarter.

Montel: And then Gary, you have been involved with Dawn for how long?

Gary: 24.

Montel: And you [points to Judith] are his fiancee? Why do you do that to your fiancee? Go across the country and be with her [Dawn], what, once a month, twice a month?

Gary: As often as we can.

Montel: But wait, so go ahead?

Audience member: She’s saying she has a couple other people, and then what happens when something falls apart and, say, you lose that girlfriend? And then you guys find somebody new?

Dawn: Then you have a support structure to help you work through the difficult patch.

Audience member: I mean, it just seems to me that, it’s another way, I mean, just like regular couples.

Montel: OK, say something – [to another audience member]

Audience member: For these two couples, is it homosexual and lesbian too?

Dawn: I’m sorry, I –

Julio: Oh, they’re talking about us? For us, we’re basically just partnered, Nan and I, and Amy and John. But that’s not really that relevant, actually.

Nan: The piece that people miss out on, because we get so like hot-triggered about sex, is the emotional connection and the support that the same-sex couples give each other, the same-sex people – Amy and I are not lovers.

Montel: Friends.

Nan: Beyond friends. She is like a family member to me. We help each other do our lives better.

Montel: But, OK, but –

Nan: [wryly] Every woman needs a wife.

[audience hoots and laughs, applause]

Montel: Well, I’m going to take a break. We’ll be back right after this.

[interviews of people on the street in NYC]

Question on screen: Can you love more than one person at a time?

Person on the street: There’s more than enough love in me to love more than one person – a woman.

Person on the street: I believe that if you’re in love, you’re in love with one person, and you have that commitment to one person.

Friend of person on the street responds: Amen. Yes.

[NYC interview footage ends]

Montel: Please welcome psychotherapist Linda Marks to the show. Welcome her to the show.

[applause]

Montel: I’ve got to come back to when we say what’s OK, because I said it during the break. You [gestures to audience] are saying that this is not OK. But I guarantee if I was having dinner with some right-wing people right this minute, not one of you in this room is living right. Because they would consider anything that you’re doing not fulfilling their moral requirements. So why do we have the right to lay any moral requirements on someone else? Linda, so you hear the arguments, what do you say?

Linda Marks: Yes. I think one of the things we’re really missing is that we have to find out who we are as the unique human beings we are on this earth. I work with people of all lifestyles, all gender identities, all relatial [?] configurations. I think one of the hardest things that people find – have to find out is: Who am I? Who am I really? How am I wired? What is right for me? And it requires a certain amount of courage to look inside and then to try experiments outside to find out what your true authentic lifestyle is.

Montel: You see, but now, that’s the question. When you say to try experiments outside, we are living in a society right now that’s going through, I think, a moral emotional value explosion. It’s almost like you dropped a nuclear bomb on this planet because now everybody’s stuff is in the air and nobody knows what’s going to fall back down. OK? You’ve got one group of people trying to dictate life for other people, you’ve got another group of people – OK, now here is this group of people calling themselves polyamorous, at a time when America is facing the highest divorce rates that it’s ever faced, the dissolution of the family as we see it, and now you’re saying this is an alternative. Everyone in this room that agrees with this group of people [indicates the polyamorous panelists] raise your hand. Turn around. I got one – Ooh, I do have a few! Gee! Well, see, that’s really interesting! I have to say, let’s find out why! Yes, ma’am, stand up.

Audience member: I wouldn’t change my sexuality and stuff, but I think that if it’s working for you, you should do it.

Montel: OK, that’s one way. What do you think? [turns to another audience member] Oh, you’re not even old enough to talk about sex. What? [laughter]

Audience member: I look younger than I am.

Montel: OK, yes, ma’am.

Audience member: I would like to have a boyfriend that makes up the qualities that my boyfriend now is missing.

Montel: So you’d keep your boyfriend that you have, and have another boyfriend that didn’t have the other, those qualities.

Audience member: Yes. However many people I need to make one perfect man.

[audience laughs and applauds]

Montel: Please welcome Carrie and her boyfriend Joe to the show. Welcome them.

[applause]

Montel: OK, so she needed to find multiple men to figure out how to get one whole man. [laughter] The two of you guys aren’t married?

Carrie: No.

Montel: And you’ve been together for how long?

Carrie: Almost four years.

Montel: Almost four years. And you are polyamorous?

Carrie: Yes.

Montel: I said that right? Right? “Polyamorous.”

Carrie: Yes.

Montel: Yes. What do you want to do?

Carrie: Well, I wouldn’t mind living in a house with a lot of different people that I loved, or cared about deeply, but I’m not interested in marriage. I am interested in commitment, and the two are not the same thing, which is what people seem to be confusing.

Montel: OK, so explain it to us.

Carrie: We are committed to each other, in our loving intimate relationship, but I don’t personally want to get married. I don’t see any point in it.

Montel: And what about you, Joe? Where do you stand on this? She’s the one doing all the talking.

Joe: This is where I stand. I think everybody knows that couples define, between each other, what a commitment is. Right? Between Carrie and myself, my first commitment is not trying to control her in any way, allowing her the freedom to explore love, which is never a bad thing, with anyone she wants.

Montel: OK, I hear that, but it’s Thursday night, I just came home from work, and Carrie’s not home. I had a bad day. I want to see Carrie. I walk in the door and there’s a little note, “Oh, I went to see John.” [laughter]

Carrie: Well, wouldn’t you like to have another partner?

Montel: And I don’t have an Amy! I don’t have an Amy! I don’t have an Amy!

Carrie: Well, get one!

[laughter]

[break]

Montel: OK. So now we’re figuring that this is about allowing people to define their relationships as they see fit, because if we take a look at the way relationships have worked so far, especially in this country in the last 20 years, they’re not doing too well, folks. So we are really redefining what is the structure of relationships.

Linda Marks: [nodding] Mm-hmm.

Montel: But look.
[sits down with Dan]
Look, you know, we’re just two fellas.

Dan: Two fellas.

Montel: You and I were hanging out, we’ve been buds for six or seven years. Hanging out, we get together and play baseball. And I’m married to Misty. Misty, come on, sit down. Sit down, Misty. You know, Misty, we’ve been together too for six years. And we say – Hey, Dan. Misty’s really – she talked to me all night, and she said she’s really attracted to you. So you know, if you guys want to talk, you go right ahead. You go ahead and talk, and you know, I’m OK with that. OK? So you go ahead and go out tonight, and while you’re out, I may just slide over and see how Cheryl’s doing, you know. [laughter] Now, wait a minute, buddy! [addressing Dan] Come on. Tell the truth. Tell the truth. Just as friends, would you go there? I wouldn’t go there with you if I was your friend! I wouldn’t even – I can’t even bring myself to even think about it!

Amy: Better with a friend than with a stranger. You have some kind of trust already established.

Judith: You said you’ve established a six-year relationship.

Gary: It is honest. If she’s got an attraction for him, and she keeps it stuck inside, is she being honest to herself?

Montel: Well, Cheryl wasn’t with her [incomprehensible]!

Audience member: We see people who are attractive – oh, she’s cute, oh, he’s cute. We share that, we comment on that. But we have –

Montel: Boundaries.

Audience member: Boundaries.

Montel: So? And they have boundaries! [applause]

Amy: If John was going to be with another woman outside of Nan or I, what better person to bring them to him than Nan or I? We know him better – we know –

John: Absolutely.

[audience laughing]

Amy: Why wouldn’t that be OK?

Montel: Wait, wait. You’re a lawyer, aren’t you?

John: Yes.

Montel: Come here for a second. [gestures for John to sit beside him] You’re a lawyer, you do – What is it that you do, you do settlements and stuff?

John: Yes.

Montel: Sit down for a second. Hold on for a second. You can play host for a second. This is what’s happening in this house! I’m gonna be right here! [Sits between Nan and Amy; much laughter] And you mean to tell me they bring women to you?

John: In theory. [laughter]

Montel: Oh, in theory.

Nan: But the issue is the idea of, when you get past the sex – if you notice, people have a hard time getting past the sex –

Montel: That’s where this conversation has been blocking.

Nan: If you can have the conversation about being attracted doesn’t mean you have to do anything with it. And I’m not telling people to do this.

Linda Marks: And also, I’d like to reframe even what sex means. Sex is soul energy exchange. It’s a whole different category. I can have a really deep conversation with a friend of mine heart-to-heart and have soul energy exchange.

Montel: Well, you know what, I mean, I can walk right down this row and find a few women that I’d like to have a soul energy exchange with now. [laughter] Let me take a break.

[break]

Montel: Please welcome the founder of Polyamorous New York City, Mr. Justin Michael, to the show.

[applause]

Montel: But before I ask a question, Akien, Akien, before I ask a question of Justin, you were just saying something at the break. Why don’t you say that again?

Akien: The number-one change that you have to make when you move from being a monogamous person to being a polyamorous person is changing your models about how you’re going to define how is the relationship being successful. We have a built-in model that we get growing up in this society about, if my partner is sleeping with somebody else, it means the relationship’s in trouble. My partner is sleeping with someone else, and the relationship isn’t in trouble.

Dawn: It’s stronger than it’s ever been.

Montel: Let me [inaudible] Justin. Justin, is there a chapter in every state across the union?

Justin Michael: There are, in – most major metropolitan areas have a community group on some level or another, yes.

Montel: OK, and let me – I’ll ask you, doctors, now. The question has come up, and I’ve been asked this possibility. Is this really – hear me out – before you jump on me, beat me in the head [laughter] – is this really a newspeak, a new vocabulary for really what has already been here for a while?

Linda Marks: People are polyamorous for many, many different reasons. A person who’s bisexual who also wants the opportunity to have a committed long-term partnership – and I’m from Massachusetts where gay marriage is legal – so for bisexual people, sometimes being able to just be themselves means to also have the benefits of a primary committed relationship, including marriage, but still not to have to give up their identity as the other part of themselves. That’s one aspect.

Montel: So then, for that kind of person, this would be the perfect kind of union.

Linda Marks: This is the perfect solution. Absolutely, yes.

Montel: Because you could be in love with two people, and bam.

Linda Marks: Yes. Absolutely. And not have to give up half of yourself in order to have the security of a committed permanent relationship. Affairs, secrecy, deception, church scandal comes out of when there’s all the social pressure that doesn’t allow you to be a real human being.

Montel: OK, yes, sir. [addressing audience member] You’ve been back there. Let me tell you this. My man’s been back there for a while, up in the back row, boy, like this “Grawr! Grawr!” [waves hands] Yes, sir.

Audience member: I was just wondering – I’m from the right, so – but I believe that you can do whatever you want to, I don’t have a big problem with it. Has there ever been a point in your relationships where the primary has changed? Say, for example, Nan and – I’m sorry, your name?

John and Montel: John.

Audience member: John. That Nan fell in love with somebody more than John, and if that happened would it change? Would you move in with somebody else?

Nan: I want to take this one.

Montel: Take it.

Nan: What we define as love usually is lust. Very initially there’s something called new relationship energy, and it’s a cocktail in your brain of all sorts of chemicals that are like speed. Many people make decisions to leave one partnership to the other partnership based on this chemistry. We need to learn to be more emotionally intelligent.

Montel: OK, but let’s go back to his question. If in fact you were in a primary and now because I’m polyamorous I meet somebody and you know, after I’m lying around thinking about it, dang, you know – it’s like, this is the situation, I want to be with Amy more and I think Amy and I should get married.

Female panelist, offscreen: We use primary, secondary.

Female panelist, offscreen: Can I speak to that, from my angle?

Montel: All right, let me do this – We’ll take a break and then you can. Let me take a break. We’ll be back right after this.

[break]

Montel: When we took a break we’ve been having a lot of questions, and one of the questions that keeps coming up is: what would the kids do? What would you say to your children? Gary has a 15-year-old daughter named Carrie who couldn’t be here today, but she wanted to tell you how she feels. Take a look at this.

[Video footage of Carrie]

Carrie: It was good to be raised in a polyamorous family because I found people everywhere who had these amazing relationships with other people and it felt like this gigantic web of all these people that were all connected to one another and all connected to me, so everywhere I turned I found somebody who I could sit down, talk to, or count on. And it was a beautiful feeling. I loved it.

[video footage ends]

Montel: Well, we’re out of time, so I thank all our guests for being here. And that’s a comment from a child who lived within this type of lifestyle. And if you have a similar story to the ones we showed today on the show or you want to have more information about this, you can come over to our website which is www.montelshow.com. I don’t know, Doc. [addressing Linda Marks] I guess the bottom line on this is that for those of us who look at this as if it’s such an aberration, we really have to look at the nature of our relationships right now in the Western world, and think about how much of an aberration they are in the [inaudible word – jobs?]

Linda Marks: Right. I think you’re absolutely right about that. It’s for us to really learn to live from our hearts, and to really know who we are, and to love another person on their own terms, and to define terms that we can live with, and to recognize people learn, they grow, they change. Hubert Humphrey said, “I’ve been married to 48 different women all named Muriel.” He recognized that we grow, we learn, and we change as we live, and our relationships need to be spacious enough and alive enough that they can allow us to grow and become –

Montel: But now when you say that, he said I’ve been married to 48 women that were all Muriel, it was all the same woman.

Linda Marks: And that can happen as well.

[audience applause, cheering]

Montel: It’s up to us individually to decide for ourselves. I’ve got to do another show about this, because this is my kind of trippy. [inaudible] Join us on the next Montel.

[end. 39:51]


Transcribed for personal use and for no financial gain. I am not a professional transcriptionist. Please send any corrections to me.