Polygamy is the state of having a plurality of wives or husbands at the same time. Most of the time it is used to refer to someone who has more than one wife. The history of the Mormons comes to mind because in the early development stages of their religion polygamy was practiced. I have a close friend whose Mormon ancestry dates back to the 1800s. She told me that when they have family reunions she sees distant relatives who are descendants of the various wives. She said that one of the reasons the men took plural wives is that because of war there was a shortage of men.
I was able to visit with someone who shared a husband with another woman during the 1970’s and she said they used to show up together in Protestant church, the husband with his two wives. The key phrase here is “used to”. I also knew a woman who lived in the woods with her husband and another man who she took as her “husband” as well. Later, after the relationship fell apart when the second “husband” wanted to bring another woman into the relationship, the original “wife” told me that she did not recommend two husbands. My husband has a high school friend who has two “husbands;” I believe she has a child from each husband. The three have been together for years and though I don’t know the intimate details, it seems to have worked out for her. The term used for a woman possessing more than one husband at the same time is polyandry.
Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River. Available here:
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