Woman with four partners explains the logistics of their relationship
Mary Crumpton is 44-years-old. She used to be a teacher, but now works as a therapist. She's married, lives in the UK, and - on the surface - appears to live a very normal life.
However, what a lot of people don't know is that Crumpton doesn't just have a husband. She also has a fiancé. And two boyfriends. And somehow they all get along.
"I was brought up in quite a traditional home," she says. "In my twenties I got married and settled down in Chorlton fully intending to be with my husband for life."
But it didn't last.
"I did sometimes have feelings for other people, but I felt guilty about doing so and just took it as a sign that I didn't love my husband enough. When the marriage didn't work out, I met someone else, and started a monogamous relationship with him."
In fact, Crumpton continued with her monogamous lifestyle until she was 29-years-old - at which point she met somebody who changed her mind.
"The idea that loving more than one person might not make me a terrible human being only dawned on me when, at a pub, I bumped into a person who had more than one partner. I had never come across it before, or the term 'polyamory' which means 'more-than-one love'. I was quite shocked, and curious about how it all worked for them.
"My partner was with me when I met the polyamorous person, and he was curious about it too. At the time neither of us considered it for ourselves, but I think the seed had been planted."
Shortly after, she suggested to her partner that they try an open relationship, and both of them found someone else almost immediately. And she's never looked back on her "traditional" relationships since.
However, that didn't stop her from pursuing other conventional relationship goals.
"I married one of the people I first dated polyamorously. My husband, Tim, who is 43, and I got together in 2004 and were married in 2013 at Manchester Museum under the Tyrannosaurus Rex," she explains. "I have a partner, John, 53, who I have been with since 2011, and who I am planning to 'marry' this year. We can't legally marry, but we are having a full wedding-style commitment ceremony."
Both men live with Crumpton, though John still has his own flat, and she stays with him once or twice a week.
As with her other two partners - 63-year-old Michael and 73-year-old James - Crumpton interacts with them just as any other monogamous partner would treat their significant other.
In fact, the 44-year-old says that the logistics of her relationships aren't really that hard to navigate at all.
"One of the lovely things about a life with more than one partner is that there is no pressure on one person to supply all my needs. My husband Tim and I share an enthusiasm for environmentalism and all that entails, like electric cars, and veganism. With my fiancé John I enjoy watching science-fiction and we go to church together.
"With Michael, I like to watch and support him playing for his local darts team at the Royal Oak, and we go to karaoke nights - which is possibly more embarrassing than admitting to polyamory!"
But the quad aren't without their problems.
"Like in any relationship, insecurities can arise," Crumpton admits. "Though in some ways there is less jealousy perhaps - no fear that a partner might cheat on me because why lie about it when having another partner is allowed anyway?"
She continues: "Sometimes there might be a fear that a new partner is 'better' in some way than a current one, but good communication and offering reassurances allows that to be dealt with."
"In many ways I have found that being in open relationships has forced me to communicate much better. I am very honest and open with my partners about my feelings and needs, in a way that I didn't have the courage to be in previous monogamous relationships. So I think I have grown as a person, and have better and stronger relationships now.
"Of course, all of that is possible in monogamous relationships, and I am not suggesting polyamory is in any way better, just different. But it works well for me personally."
All in all, it seems that everyone in this relationship (or should that be "these relationships"?) is happy - and, given the number of people who are unhappy with their partners around the world, maybe we should be congratulating these folks for finding a romantic set-up that actually works for all of them.