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  • What is my age:
  • 27
  • Ethnic:
  • Indonesian
  • Tone of my iris:
  • Lustrous blue eyes
  • What is my favourite drink:
  • Cider

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You may have seen it in The Times last week, the Bleks smiling as they stood next to a cardboard cutout of Rep. Mimi Walters in Irvine. Many of them were in a fever about support by Walters and other Republicans for the repeal of Obamacare. These pitchfork rallies have been happening all over the country, with ticked-off voters speaking up about immigration and environmental policy too.

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Imagine one house, with four people, but five couples.

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How does it work, asks Jo Fidgen. Charlie is talking excitedly about a first date she went on the night before. Next to her on the sofa is her husband of six years, Tom. And on the other side of him is Sarah, who's been in a relationship with Tom for the last five years.

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Sarah's fiance, Chris, is in the kitchen making a cup of tea. The two women are also in a full-blown relationship, while the two men are just good friends. Together, they make a polyamorous family and share a house in Sheffield. Polyamory is the practice of having simultaneous intimate relationships with more than one person at a time, with the knowledge and consent of all partners.

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The term entered the Oxford English Dictionary only inand such relationships are rare enough that Tom finds himself having to for his personal situation time and time again. I've said no, everybody's cool with it, everybody knows what's happening, no one's deceiving each other.

If any of the four want to get involved with someone else, they have to run it by the others - all of whom have a veto. Cheating would have been me sneaking off and saying I was meeting Friend X and not say that it was a potential romantic partner.

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The rules and boundaries of their relationships are carefully negotiated. When they had been a couple for just two weeks, Tom suggested to Charlie that they be non-monogamous.

The idea of this not being a monogamous relationship allowed me to fall as deeply in love with Tom as I wanted to without fear that I would break his heart by falling in love with somebody else as well. But how did she feel when, a year into their marriage, Tom fell in love with another woman?

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Sarah's partner, Chris, was less comfortable with the situation at first. They had agreed that they could have other sexual partners, but forming an emotional attachment with someone else was a different matter.

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So when Sarah fell for Tom, she agonised over how to tell Chris. Well, of course it didn't. I can love as many people as I can fit in my heart and it turns out that's quite a few. Chris and Tom bonded over video games and became firm friends.

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Before long, Chris had fallen in love with Tom's wife, Charlie. This quandary over how to manage relationships is something that couples counsellor, Esther Perel, sees people struggling with all the time.

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Pick your evil. Not a problem, they insist, and point to a word invented in polyamorous circles to indicate the opposite feeling.

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Jealousy has to be handled differently in a polyamorous relationship, adds Charlie. You have to look at the reasons behind the jealousy. If an issue does arise, the four may stay up all night talking it over.

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But some argue that it is natural for people to bond in pairs. There's normally one main care giver, usually the mother, who will look after the infant. Sarah, Tom and Charlie agree that a safe base is important, but see no reason why only monogamy can provide one.

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Sarah chips in. It's us snuggling up, us with the TV, us going to bed together and all that kind of business.

Perel sees polyamory as "the next frontier" - a way of avoiding having to choose between monotony and jealousy. Let us see if we can negotiate monogamy or non-monogamy in a consensual way that prevents a lot of the destructions and pains of infidelity. Tom is cautiously optimistic that polyamory will become "average and everyday".

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In the meantime, the four of them are planning an unofficial ceremony to mark their commitment to each other. There are easier ways," says Tom wryly. They all agree managing a multi-partner relationship can be exhausting.

We're in love with each other," they chime. What counts as infidelity, then? So how do Charlie, Sarah and Tom handle jealousy?

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Image source, Thinkstock. A shared Google calendar is the answer. But it's not an easy option.

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