Chris's article

The freedom to make choices is the mainstay of polyamory and polygamous relationships. Whether that’s choosing to be a solo polyamorist, choosing to spiritually marry two wives, or choosing to stay in a hierarchical relationship — the point is, polyamory is about the fluid boundaries we get to determine.

But there’s also a nagging question about choice in consensual nonmonogamy: is it an innate orientation or is it a conscious choice? There’s no clear-cut answer, but the closest we can get to one is that it depends on the person and relationship(s) in question.

For many, feeling alienated by monogamy and rejecting its paradigm can be traced back to childhood. For others, exploring polyamory may have only been triggered after experiencing monogamy first. This latter example is the way most people view polyamory: a lifestyle, an alternative to monogamous relationships that people seek when they feel stifled by tradition. A way to release devious inhibitions.

LGBTQIA+ vs. Poly rights

Neither version is wrong or right. Relationship preferences, sexual orientation, gender — all these lie on a spectrum. However, the problem with viewing polyamory as a choice is that the law then justifies not protecting and advocating for polygamists’ and polyamorists’ rights using this same argument. If people who identify as LGBTQIA+ are born with a certain sexual orientation, then what right do polygamists have to the same legal protections LGBTQIA+ allies have?

This discrepancy is not meant to conflate LGBTQIA+ issues with polygamist ones, but rather highlight the shortcomings of our legal system in recognizing polygamist families as valid families. Families with three wives and a husband are valid. Families with a platonic third parent and two romantically and sexually involved parents are valid. Families that consist of a quad and multiple children are valid.

Benefits of monogamous marriage

Consider this example. A woman is married to Husband 1 but also lives with Husband 2 and Husband 3 — plus their five kids. Husband 2 is a stay-at-home parent, so they don’t have insurance through an employer. Husband 2 falls ill and requires hospitalization. Since he is not legally married to his spiritual wife, he is not on her insurance and so he cannot use her benefits to get medical help beyond the state/federal. The rest must come out-of-pocket or be taken out as debt.

This may not hold true for all insurance companies, but it is a sad reality for many poly families, especially those living on low- to modest incomes. Another stark difference between legally married partners and non-married partners is the inability to file taxes jointly.

Married monogamous couples get to enjoy tax breaks and deductibles. Even if an unmarried poly wife and multiple husbands live together and share expenses, the state does not recognize their union, so they do not enjoy the same benefits available to married couples.

There are countless other incentives to monogamous marriage, including access to a partner’s disability insurance benefits and even adoption tax credits. Moreover, parental custody for a poly parent always seems to be precarious. Coming out to friends and family as a polygamist may not be uncomfortable, but at worst, your loved ones can reject your so-called lifestyle. 

Children of polygamist families may face a constant threat of poly family in case of an untimely death. For example, one poly wife claimed that her family let her know that if she ever passed away, they would seek custody of her child instead of allowing her child to live with the blended family the child has known since infancy.

Poly identity and political discourse

So polyamory isn’t just a choice or a “born this way” attribute. It’s a label that changes meaning depending on who you ask. If you ask a staunch monogamist, they might tell you it’s a plot to oppress women through financial and social restraint. If you ask a married polygamist, they might tell you it’s where their political and personal identities converge.

For many, this crossroad of personal relationships and legal, political rights feels like a battle zone. Until the state fully accepts and recognizes multi-parent homes as legal families, practicing polygamy indeed feels more of a conscious choice than an orientation. 

It’s not just about making choices about who you’re with and what boundaries you’re setting, but choosing to take on the battles at large that include decriminalizing polygamy, destigmatizing misconceptions about polygamy, and fighting for polygamy rights. 

If you want to learn more about why polyamory and polygamy aren’t an official part of the LGBTQIA+ community, we’ve written a great article here.

Published By: Christopher Alesich 

Matchmakers Inc:

It’s official. Or at least Instagram official. On November 2, 2021, Christine and Kody Brown announced their break-up on the social media platform.

The news didn’t seem to shock many, though, considering the recent Season 16 trailer and Christine’s solo move to Utah.

She posted a text photo on Instagram: 

After more than 25 years together, Kody and I have grown apart and I have made the difficult decision to leave. We will continue to be a strong presence in each other’s lives as we parent our beautiful children and support our wonderful family. At this time, we ask for your grace and kindness as we navigate through this stage within our family. With Love, Christine Brown

The two share six children together between the ages of 11 and 26. They married in 1994, which means they were together for more than a quarter of a century — no easy feat considering the trials and tribulations of a polygamous marriage.

The timeline of their relationship

The Browns have a long history, and not all of it was captured onscreen when the hit show premiered in 2010.

1990 - Meri and Kody marry

1993 - Jenelle and Kody marry

1994 - Christine and Kody marry

2011 - The family moves to Las Vegas

2014 - Mery and Kody divorce

         - Robyn and Kody marry

2018 - The family moves to Flagstaff

2019 - The family buys Coyote Pass property

2019 - COVID hits and family has limited interaction

2021 - Christine moves into a rental (November)

         -  Christine and Kody announce split (November)

Where it went wrong

At the end of the Season 15 of Sister Wives, Christine expresses that she wants and plans to move back to Utah.

In the Season 16 teaser released in October 2021, the family seems at odds with living through the pandemic while trying to maintain a semblance of their former integrated lives.

Christine, in particular, is aware of her and Kody’s deteriorating relationship. She pointedly asks the camera in her confession why she should stay and wait for the family to move to their Coyote Pass land when Kody seems content with only one functioning marriage, i.e. his marriage with Robyn, the fourth sister wife.

Where is Christine now?

Christine is currently living in Utah with her younger children. The rental is a new, spacious duplex with a sizable yard.

Without watching the new season (which premieres November 21, 2021) we can’t know for sure what transcribed, but fans postulate that the pressure of COVID and lack of a romantic relationship with Kody sealed the deal.

What do the other sister wives and Kody have to say about the split?

Sister wives Christine, Janelle, and Robyn have yet to address the topic on their social media accounts or speak to trusted publications, but a source from Us Weekly claims Robyn is aware that her stable relationship with Kody may have been a big deciding factor for Christine.

Kody also made a statement about the split on his Instagram, claiming that “Christine’s decision to leave comes with a great deal of sadness...we will always remain committed parents.” 

From his caption, we can hypothesize that Kody may have tried to keep the family together, but we’ll know for sure when the new season hits our screens.

Published By: Christopher Alesich 

Matchmakers Inc:

In the season 16 premiere of Sister Wives from TLC, the Brown family seems to struggle with the new normal during and post-pandemic. Nevertheless, the show must go on. Here is the drama.

Meri Brown lives it up

If there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about marching on even if the going gets tough, it’s Meri.  It seems it’s always rumored she’s done with Kody and is planning to leave, but she’s sticking it out.

This year she faced familial loss, faced backlash by being associated with LuLaRoe, and reopened her quaint bed-and-breakfast in rural Utah. Even though LuLaRoe is facing controversy as an MLM company, she’s remained loyal. Many of her Instagram post captions have various LuLaRoe hashtags.

More recently, Meri’s been seen out and about with a gentleman friend and fans are quick to wonder if she’s finally done with Kody.

Janelle Brown enjoys RV life

In June 2021, Janelle Brown’s ranch home in Arizona sold, leaving her to decide quickly between finding another rental home or trying out something she’s always wanted do (plus save money in the process) — live in an RV.

Janelle’s currently living on the Brown property in Flagstaff, but her type of RV living is more luxurious than normal. The mobile home is equipped with a kitchenette featuring a full fridge, a microwave, and an oven — more than some city apartments have!

It also has a full-sized master bed, two living spaces with bunk beds and lounging furniture, and a loft. To beat the Arizona sun, the RV is decked out with two air conditioners. Janelle’s new adventure is definitely a far cry from the rugged conditions of your typical camper.

Her relationship with the rest of the family is a whole another story. In the trailer, she confides, “I'm at my wits end with this whole bulls**t stuff,” referring to the convoluted process of getting everyone on the same page about the Coyote Pass property.

Christine Brown says no to living together

In the season 16 trailer, we see Christine tearfully confess, “Why would I want to live on the property with a dysfunctional marriage where right over there he's got a full-functioning marriage?”

She is, of course, comparing her rocky marriage with Kody to Robyn and Kody’s seemingly perfect relationship. It’s no secret that Robyn holds most of Kody’s attention and affection, and at a consequential expense of his other three wives’ relationships.

The current plan is to build and move into the family’s plot of land in Coyote Pass in Flagstaff Arizona, a quick ride away from Kody’s three-bedroom home he nabbed in 2018. Christine, on the other hand, is adamant about moving back to Utah.

Sticking to her guns, in October, 2021, Christine purchased and moved into a home in Utah — a three-bedroom duplex constructed in 2019. For now, Christine is enjoying life away from the family, and it’s unclear whether she’ll join Kody and the three other wives at the Coyote Pass land later on.

Robyn Brown endures fan hate

Robyn, Kody’s fourth and most recent wife, is the clear favorite in Kody’s eyes. Unfortunately for her, fans have taken to scapegoating her for all of Kody’s decisions that seem to prioritize her and her children over everyone else in the family.

In the trailer, we hear an exasperated Kody accuse Robyn of wanting to be the head of the family. In Kody’s talking head confessional, he confides that he thinks the other three wives — Meri, Janelle, and Christine — look to Robyn as the head wife and look to her for “approval.”

We see the family read a printed list of COVID-19 rules the family is meant to follow, but we’re not privy to who wrote those just yet. Either way, Robyn is sure to get the villain edit or at the very least, be painted as overly controlling.

Fans are quick to blame her for Kody’s favoritism or any time she doesn’t agree with the other wives. For instance, she refuses to move back to Utah, making sister wife Christine feel betrayed.

It’s no wonder she confesses in the trailer that, “[The pandemic] has made me feel that the foundation that our family was built on is crumbling, I don't know."

Kody Brown still in hopes of keeping family together

Throughout the pandemic, Kody has been the only one moving from one house to another. He lives mainly with Robyn in their Arizona home. He’s taken some flak from his other wives and fans for choosing to stay with Robyn the majority of the time, but his move is understandable.

COVID-19 is a relentless, highly infectious disease, plus he and Robyn still have young children together. Nevertheless, it puts Robyn in an awkward position, who must accept face resentment from the other wives.

Kody, is of course, adamant about moving everyone to their new property, but financial troubles, family disagreements, and relationship tensions are aplenty. While the family is still in the planning phases for the Coyote Pass land, we’ll learn more when the new season premieres on November 21, 2021. Sister Wives Season 16 Trailer!

Published By: Christopher Alesich 

Matchmakers Inc:

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