A polyamorous woman who was once part of a love ‘quad’ has revealed she used to think polyamory was just for ‘sex addicts’ as a result of her religious upbringing.
Dedeker Winston, 35, from Seattle, hosts the Multiamory Podcast with her former lover and her current partner. But before embracing open relationships 10 years ago, she was raised in a conservative household that taught her trysts should be monogamous.
She said: ‘I was raised in a very conservative, evangelical environment and therefore inherited certain ideas about sex and relationships. It was extremely monogamy and marriage focused.’
Dedeker added when a friend first suggested she open her then-monogamous relationship, she was offended as she thought it was just something for people addicted to sex.
Candid: Dedeker Winston, 35, from Seattle, hosts the Multiamory Podcast and has engaged in polyamory for more than a decade
Trio: Alongside her former partner Emily Matlack, 34, (right) and current partner Jase Lindgren, 40, (centre) the trio have produced nearly 400 episodes discussing the wide world of populated relationships
She said: ‘When I got into high school and first explored relationships, I found myself being attracted to more than one person very early on. At that time, no one ever told me it’s normal a thing that can happen.
‘The only knowledge I had to go off was what the church or Disney films said – if you love someone, you put the blinkers on. As a result, I interpreted it as there being something wrong with me or that I was broken.
‘When I finally got introduced to the term ‘polyamory’, it blew my mind. I was in my mid-20s and had been in a monogamous relationship for multiple years, but developed a crush on someone else.
‘A friend suggested we try an open relationship, and I was at first offended as it is a term sometimes used for sex addicts.’
However, after experimenting with non-monogamy, Dedeker realised it was the thing she had been missing, and she has sought to change attitudes about it ever since.
She now hosts her podcast with her ex-partner Emily Matlack, 34, and her current partner Jase Lindgren, with whom she was once in a ‘quad’, which also included her once-monogamous ex-boyfriend.
‘We were a quad together,’ she added. ‘My partner that I was living with found Emily on a dating site. I then separately matched with Jase, who at the time was Emily’s partner and they were living with each other.
Three’s a crowd (and also a relationship): The trio promote the polyamorous lifestyle and the benefits to having more than one partner
Live, laugh, love: Dedeker and Jase are still in relationship with each other, whereas Emily has now had one partner for seven years
‘Emily and I hit it off and we essentially became a four-strong relationship which was fantastic. We discussed creating a podcast to talk about our experiences as we were so sick of answering everyone’s questions. The podcast has expanded to be as inclusive as possible.
‘We want to be giving people accurate, evidence-based advice and suggestions on how to make any and all relationships better. It’s a labour of love.’
The quad itself broke up, but Dedeker, Emily and Jase continued to host the Multiamory podcast together, for which they record a new episode every week. However, according to Dedeker, it hasn’t always been plain sailing.
‘It was a bad time to start the podcast as the drama within our relationship started to kick off,’ she said. ‘Within the polyamorous community, quads are somewhat notorious for being unreliable.’
She added: ‘It was really hard. No one wants to go through a break-up and work with them as a business partner at the same time. The stuff we were producing on the podcast really helped us put ways of communicating and being compassionate into practice.
Turning over a new page: The hosts are releasing a book – Multiamory: Essential Tools for a Modern Relationships – designed for any and all forms of love
A labour of love: The former model and belly-dancer is about to become a published author on relationship coaching
‘Fast forward to today, Jase and I are still together and we both date other people. Emily has been in a monogamous relationship for the past seven years. Our experiences have made the podcast more relatable for the listeners.’
Although surprising considering her role, Dedeker insists co-host Emily’s return to monogamy has enhanced the success of the Multiamory Podcast.
‘We can create our own scripts for any and all relationships. It’s not just about sexual relationships but also friendships and business relationships. Our bond is far more robust and healthier as a result. We are an emotional triad that is co-parenting a podcast baby.’
Dedeker’s desire to help others find their true path in relationships stems from her own challenges when she came out to her parents. Born in a deeply Christian environment, chastity was expected.
She said: ‘I didn’t want to pretend as if my partners didn’t exist or to pick one and disregard the other, and so I came out. We had the conversation and it certainly wasn’t fun – there were a lot of emotions that came out on both sides.
‘My mother certainly won’t be the one to wave the flag for polyamory but thankfully will wave the flag for me being her daughter. I have lost no love.’
After developing a passion to help others develop a better understanding of polyamory, Dedecker decided to give up her job as a model and belly dancer to take up a new career in relationship coaching.
‘My first experience practicing polyamory failed spectacularly,’ she said.
‘It was so painful and difficult, but I still came away thinking this is who I’m meant to be. This made me want to reduce the shame and stigma and help more people to feel more at ease and empowered within themselves.’
Branching into new ventures, the podcast hosts are releasing a book titled Multiamory: Essential Tools for a Modern Relationships.
Due for release on March 14 2023, it is a communication guide for people in both monogamous and polyamorous partnerships.
Scientific research conducted by Professor Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford suggests humans are naturally wired to crave as many close relationships as possible.
The 75-year-old anthropologist created Dunbar’s Number, a model demonstrating people’s acquaintances from ‘significant other’ to ‘known face’.
A human’s desire for many intimate relationships depends on the size of the neocortex in the brain the professor says – those in polyamorous circles tend to be larger as a consequence.