Story by LISA ANDERSON
It’s a very loving dynamic that came together organically. She’s brought a balance to our lives that we desperately needed.— Jackie Korpela
Jackie Korpela is the cool mom. She’s the kind of mom who fights for her kids, kisses them goodnight, sacrifices, and lets them be whoever they want to be; she does it all with a punky hairdo.
She’s also a fierce wife and a girlfriend. “My girlfriend is the first girl in 38 years that I wanted to date or be in a relationship with. It’s brought a lot of balance to my life. I love [my husband] Dave, but his personality type and mine are different enough that I found myself very lonely. [Stephanie] fills in the hole.”
A New Community
Jackie moved to Ocala, in 2005, with her first husband and two-year-old child. Originally from Hollywood, Florida, she remembers, “When I first moved here, there was nothing but churches, pharmacies, and horses.”
She wanted to know where all of the young people with kids were, and she didn’t know where to find them. “I actually made business cards,” she giggles. “I was part of an online group called Punky Moms. My cards said Ocala Punky Moms. Anytime I’d see a parent out in the wild with fun hair or tattoos, I’d just hand out a card.”
She invited the parents to potlucks and playdates. It’s how Jackie built her network of friends. Some of her closest friends have come from those early days, even Dave, a single-parent, was given a card.
A stay-at-home mom for the first five years in Ocala, Jackie, now a mother of two, returned to the workforce when she and her first husband got a divorce. “I started working at Sonic during my divorce, and I realized as an adult that I could roller skate!” She would try out for the new roller derby team, while she worked there, but wouldn’t actually join them until nearly 10 years later.
Growing in Love
Jackie and Dave eventually turned their friendship into a romantic relationship, and after three years of dating, she married him in 2013. A few years later, Dave adopted Jackie’s children so he could act as a legal father.
“Dave has a very good relationship with the kids,” Jackie states with pride.
For Jackie and Dave, it has never been about pushing out her ex-husband. It has always been about giving the kids more protection. Adopting them allowed the children to have two legal fathers who can take them to things, such as doctor’s appointments. Jackie’s ex is still a big part of the family and spends a lot of time in their home.
Jackie spent a few years photographing births and assisting a local midwife. During this time, she began to ache for another child with Dave. “We had these three amazing kids we loved so much, but I knew I wasn’t done. My husband had had a vasectomy. We had never planned on having kids together, but at this point we had already been together about four years. It was really heavy on my heart that we weren’t finished.”
To her surprise, Dave agreed to have a reversal and the journey to grow their family began. Jackie worked as many jobs as she could to save for the reversal and a new baby. Within a few months of the procedure, Jackie was pregnant, and their family grew to four children.
Finding the Way through Polyamory
Stephanie and Jackie met when Jackie joined the roller derby team over two years ago. “Right away, I picked her,” she recalls, thinking about how she knew they’d be best friends.
The two hung out every day before and after practices. After a while, Jackie realized she had a crush and told Dave about it. They both laughed it off, but the crush grew, and Stephanie felt the same way about Jackie. “Once she made it clear she had feelings for me, then I talked with Dave. We had a lot of weird, uncomfortable conversations about what it meant. I’ve never loved two people at once before. I didn’t even know it was possible. Out of respect for my husband, I would have ignored [my feelings], but my husband is a more open-minded type of guy. It took a lot of time to figure out what it would mean or what it would look like. Over time, we just kind of found our groove.
“It’s twice as many conversations, but in the end it’s so good. She has become a third parental figure in our household. My kids respect her. When we first got together, my teenagers had mixed feelings about her. Over time, they’ve seen her help to provide and to be a part of what we’re building. I think she’s really earned her place in their lives by showing up and being a real partner and not being disrespectful to [Dave].
“I didn’t go into this thinking we’d be polyamorous. Polyamory looks so different for everybody. There’s so many different dynamics. Currently, I’m the only one that’s technically polyamorous in my relationship. Both of my partners are monogamous by choice.”
The hard work and conversations have paid off. “It doesn’t mean jealousy doesn’t exist,” Jackie explains, but they have built a loving relationship for all parties concerned.