Constellation – Relationship Structure in Polyamory


Hello, my name is Star. I have a husband. My husband has a girlfriend. His girlfriend has another boyfriend, who has a wife, and his wife happens to also be her girlfriend. Yep. Need a diagram yet? Well, it's a good thing that I happen to have one prepared.

This is my constellation. The little tail-end on the far left is me. Our family has a lot of permutations: two marriages, one triad, three decades of age groups. The longest running relationship is at about six years, the shortest about six months. To add additional convolutions, all of the members of my family participate in dominant/submissive relationships with their partners. It's taken a lot of time, effort, communication, fuck-ups and all the rest, to get our family to where we are now; but we are a stable, loving, poly group.

The five of us have facilitated several ethical non-monogamy discussion groups in our city, and we always lead off the same way:

“What makes us qualified to lead a discussion group on ethical non-monogamy?” is our first question. The usual response is a whole lot of muttering and not a lot of eye contact. Our answer? “Nothing.” No one in my family is a sexologist, a relationship therapist, or a PhD in anything. We just live our lives, and learn from our experiences. We're also all passionate about our lifestyle, and want to present a positive – but still realistic – example of long term non-monogamous relationships.

Here's a little side story, to tell you something about my family. For a long time we called ourselves a “chain” rather than “constellation.” It seemed fairly straightforward, so we went with it even though it wasn't quite right. Eventually we decided on “constellation” because a chain implies that each person is only linked to the one on either side of him/her. Our family is more than that. Sure, our romantic connections only reach so far, but we have grown to be a family unit that is its own whole. I have a close, loving connection to each person, all the way from one end of the diagram to the other. So now we are a constellation – one that I think is just one star away from resembling the little dipper, but then that's just me.

Enough about my family, more about me! I am not a swinger, nor are any of the other members of my family. I am a 20-something-year-old, married, poly, kinky, pansexual woman who lives in the Midwest. I have a college education and work in a sex-positive coffee shop. That's right kids, this is what your Liberal Arts degree can get you! Between my lifestyle choices, and my life in general, I see a lot. I think about a lot. Every now and again, I think about something that I think someone else may think about too. And those are the sorts of things I hope to share through Life on the Swingset.

In college I majored in English literature, because I have a passion for reading and criticism. That means, sprinkled in here among the life stories and fascinating observations, I hope to throw in some reviews of books and articles. I might even wear my librarian outfit while I write them. Who knows? I'm embarking on a writing adventure, and anything can happen.


Star is a 20-something kinky, poly, pansexual, educated, married lady who just likes to talk. About everything. All the time. She can be reached at


  1. The best part?  There’s plenty more love shared with other “stars” adjacent to this constellation, while not romantically linked to it.

    How do I know?  I’ve been dating Star’s sister for about three years.  Without a doubt, I absolutely consider all five people she mentions as my family, and love them all dearly.

    Love is like fire- sharing of it just makes more of it!

  2. Another important part of diagrams like this is that it implies that all participants are of equal importance, because it puts emphasis on the people involved instead of the relationships.  Very clever.

  3. This is one terrific family and one I’m proud to know. 
    I was gonna write something long and mooshy, but it ended up being a long winded agreement with D-20. There is a lot of love here. 🙂

Leave A Reply