A polyamorous mum who was ‘bored’ of her monogamous relationship with her husband is now dating a married man who her kids refer to as their ‘sparent’.
Emma Fedigan, 37, from Perth, was open about her pansexuality to her husband of 14 years, Robert Fedigan, 39, since they got together in their early 20s – but she had never got a chance to explore her desires as she was busy raising her four sons.
However, three years ago the pair decided to plunge back into the dating world where they met fellow married couple Simon Berry, 43, and his wife Kelly, 42.
Emma and Robert quickly hit it off with Kelly while Emma also developed a relationship with Simon and they formed an almost-quadruple, where everyone dated each other except Rob and Simon.
But the relationship hit the rocks late last year when Emma broke up with Kelly and the relationship between Rob and Kelly subsequently ended, leaving Emma and Simon deliberating over the future of their relationship – which they ended up maintaining after a heart to heart.
‘I’m in a very loving relationship with Simon and me and Rob have been married since 2006,’ Emma, a healthcare professional, said.
‘Rob is my best mate and I couldn’t do life without him, but it’s unfair to expect our partners to fill every single one of our needs.
‘Love is infinite. It does not end with one person.
‘The boys adore Simon. He does school runs for them and helps parent. They call him a “sparent”.
Simon added: ‘Me and Emma had a connection from the start and Rob and me are mates. He works away for two weeks and is back at the house for one week.
‘If he is home I will come round for dinner and sleep on the couch and if he’s not there I will sleep with Em.’
Simon and Kelly, who have been together since they were 16, first met Rob and Emma in 2017 after becoming ‘disillusioned’ with the Perth swinging scene and explored polyamory as a way of seeking out more meaningful connections.
The quadruple group’s relationship ended in November last year due to communication difficulties between Emma and Kelly.
Initially Emma broke up with both Kelly and Simon, but Emma and Simon managed to salvage their relationship after a last-minute, honest chat.
Simon said: ‘I wasn’t willing to let my relationship with Emma go without fighting for it, knowing that communication is key after a week I said “we need to catch up”.
‘We ended up staying together. There’s jealousy, that’s an issue. It’s just an emotion and you have to deal with it by talking.
‘The benefits are the same in any relationship, intimacy obviously, but it’s nice to have another person to share interests with.
‘One person can’t fulfil everything. It’s silly to think they can.’
Rob, a health and safety advisor, added: ‘People don’t understand their emotions too well and they find it hard to express how they feel for fear of being vulnerable.
‘Just getting the communication correct is one of the most difficult things.
‘All the love that existed in the relationship when it was the four of us was great. We really cared for each other.’
Despite most friends and relations supporting their venture into polyamory, some of Emma’s family has disapproved on her unorthodox lifestyle and she has chosen to distance herself from them.
And while Simon and Emma have no plans of having any children of their own, the broody mum-of-four has said that hypothetically the option is not off the cards.
She said: ‘If I fell pregnant with Simon, I wouldn’t have an issue with it. We’d have to speak about the logistics of it though.
‘I love giving birth and having babies and caring for them – but babies grow up.’
Rob added: ‘Emma had some problems with her family, but most people are quite open-minded about polyamory.
‘I told my dad and step-mum, who is Turkish, about it at Christmas 2017 and I was quite nervous because she speaks her mind. She charmed in “it’s weird, but it’s okay”.
‘It’s whatever makes you happy.’