Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan

May 20, 2015

NPR picks up on new triad-inspired album *Multi-Love*

This morning I posted about Ruban Nielson's album Multi-Love and its origin in the bedazzling triad that fate delivered him into. The album will be officially released next Tuesday, May 26, though you can stream it from various sites now.

This isn't just another Portland indie record for some small fanbase. It just received an excellent review on National Public Radio and notice on the website of The Guardian, one of the world's major newspapers.

● On NPR:

First Listen: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, 'Multi-Love'

Ruban Nielson (left) with other band members. (Photo: Dusdin Condren)

By Andy Beta

In 1967, while still in The Byrds, David Crosby wrote "Triad" about a ménage a trois, inspired by the counterculture notion of "free love." It was left off the band's next album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, and became a point of contention when Crosby left the band. Recorded by Jefferson Airplane and performed later by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the song scans as overly simplistic at its chorus: "I don't really see / why can't we go on as three."

To hear New Zealand native and Portland resident Ruban Nielson sing it in "Multi-Love," the lead song on Unknown Mortal Orchestra's third album, said triad is decidedly more confusing, thorny and wrenching. Nielson's falsetto frays into a rasp and plea: "Multi-love got me on my knee / We were one then become three / Mama, what have you done to poor me / Now I'm half-crazy." Polyamory, which translates from Greek and Latin as "multi-love," lies at the heart of Nielson's album, documenting a moment in his life wherein his longtime marriage found itself opened to an outsider. Ecstatic and graceless, loving yet threatened, comforted yet alienated, Nielson explores these complex interactions on his strongest album to date.

Names aren't named, but the intimacy, awkwardness and emotional nakedness on display might have been hard to take were they not wrapped in the sweetest, catchiest, most impeccably crafted music Unknown Mortal Orchestra has made....

Previous UMO albums wandered into strange psychedelia and folk as ways into Nielson's mindstate.... But on Multi-Love, such foggy, wandering sounds wouldn't serve these songs about love and the emotional maturity needed to navigate it....

Read the whole review (May 17, 2015). At the top of it are links to the whole album (41 minutes) and the individual tracks.

● At The Guardian's online music section:

Unknown Mortal Orchestra — Multi-Love: Exclusive album stream

The band

For Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s third album, bandleader Ruban Nielson decided to do things a bit differently. We’re not just talking about the music... we’re talking about the relationship that inspired it — during the making of the album, Nielson and his wife both fell in love with another woman, who moved in with the couple before leaving them both confused and heartbroken.

That unique experience is poured into Multi-Love, only to be decorated with a futurist, technicolour pop palette. Have a listen, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

The original (May 18). Listen and leave a comment.

Spin commentary, followed by a brief interview:

The title of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s latest LP, Multi-Love, may be an explicit reference to the complicated three-person live-in relationship frontman Ruban Nielson spent a year exploring, but it could just as easily be a reference to the album’s lush, layered sound. Appropriate to its name, UMO’s third album is bursting with affection for a variety of musics, both past and present: disco, power pop, prog-rock, hip-hop, and soul all among them....

Read on (May 14).


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*Multi-Love:* album inspired by an awestruck triad will be released next week


Portland musician Ruban Nielson, leader of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, releases his third album on May 26th. It's Multi-Love, about the unexpectedly dazzling live-in triad that he found himself in with his wife and her girlfriend. Nielson and the story behind Multi-Love are featured in a long profile in Pitchfork, "the leading voice in independent music and beyond." Pitchfork claims "a fiercely loyal audience of more than 5 million unique visitors each month."

Update later in the morning: This is getting bigger — Multi-Love is reviewed on National Public Radio and is written up in The Guardian. More to come soon....

Ruban Nielson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, performing in Spain in 2013.

Love Is Strange: The multitudes of Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruban Nielson

By David Bevan

...While Multi-Love, UMO’s third full-length [album], marks a thrilling departure from the bedroom psychedelia that has earned Nielson an unexpected following, it’s also an album whose backstory speaks to the manner in which he views his art, his life, and the connection between the two — a leap of faith and a leap forward. It teems with lush synths and futurist textures, hallucinogenic funk and R&B, but emotionally and lyrically, Nielson needed a light....

After touring behind his first two albums for nearly three years, Nielson arranged to take a year off, so that he could write, record, and spend more time at home with his family. But as work on Multi-Love began in earnest last year, Nielson and his wife found themselves reconsidering the outlines of their relationship. As we eat and laugh at their tiny wooden dinner table, I’m sitting in a seat that, up until very recently, was occupied by someone else, someone whose absence is palpable and whose influence can be felt throughout the record she helped shape. “It’s not that this song is about her,” Nielson sings in the album’s hypnotic title cut. “All songs are about her.”

“I’d never heard of polyamory before and I wasn’t interested in the idea of it,” Nielson tells me after dinner, during a long walk through his neighborhood. “I just wanted to pretend that no one had ever thought of it before, to stumble into it blindly.” He scratches nervously at his chest, over a tattoo of an open eye etched between his collarbones. “I feel like I’m gonna spend the rest of my life trying to live last year down. It was such a beautiful time.”

In February 2013, while exploring Tokyo on a day off from touring, Nielson wandered into a club. From across the room, he remembers spotting a strange, singularly beautiful 18-year-old woman [Laura] and then awkwardly and inexplicably waving to her the moment they made eye contact....

After taking repeated notice of their blossoming friendship, Jenny asked her husband to have Laura send along a selfie. “Wow,” she told him when it arrived. “Let me talk to her.” Nielson introduced them. Before long, Jenny and Laura started corresponding on their own — online at first, and later, through handwritten and increasingly intimate letters. It was at this point that Nielson began to worry. “They had turned into love letters,” he says. “[Jenny] told me that I could read them if I wanted to, but I didn’t and I still don’t. It’s kind of terrifying to think that she was being intimate with another person. I didn’t get angry or upset. I just thought, ‘Oh, what have I done?’”


...Jenny approached him with a plan: Laura was going to come to stay with them for a while, and the five of them [including their two kids] would try living together.

“I had two thoughts,” Nielson says, revisiting that moment. “The first was, ‘Holy shit, I I’m fucked. I’m no match for this girl.’” His second: “‘This is fate. This is what I’m supposed to be doing. If this is the end of my marriage, then this will be the album that documents it. There are a million ways for this to go wrong for my life — but there’s no way for this to go wrong for me artistically, as long as I keep my eyes open and I’m brave.”

Nielson says what followed was like “a crazy awesome dream.” The three of them bonded almost immediately, and the kids, whose response was always a major concern, took to Laura just as quickly. “‘Let’s do this forever, this is the ultimate state of being,’” he remembers thinking, that first week they were all together.

Ruban Nielson in his basement studio in Portland. (Photo by Leah Nash).

...After those first few weeks together last May, the relationship between Jenny, Laura, and Nielson began to show signs of strain. As a relative newcomer, Laura couldn’t help but feel excluded when faced with the history and understanding that Nielson and his wife had developed over more than a decade together. But some mornings, Jenny would wake up to the sound of her husband and Laura on the couch, laughing and binge-watching a television show that they started without her. Talking about his own insecurities, Nielson says, “They would discuss something feminist, and I would just sit there, like, ‘Well, I think men are shit, too, but I’m the man in the room.’” For days, he would sulk around the house while Jenny and Laura carried on, toiling in the basement rather than confronting them both with his feelings. “Think about the two most serious relationships in your life so far, and then experiencing them simultaneously,” he tells me. “It makes you wonder: How much can a human being deal with emotionally? How well-adjusted are you?”

All of it made its way into the music, just as he had planned. In August, Laura’s tourist visa expired and she was forced to leave the States until she could obtain another. For six weeks, Nielson and his wife pined for Laura as she worked on a project in the Peruvian rainforest, while also trying to carry on with their lives....

When Laura returned in September, unannounced, Nielson was committed to the idea of continuing the relationship. They all took trips together and celebrated Halloween with the kids. They told their neighbors and close friends in Portland, a few of which reacted unfavorably, out of fear....

Shortly after last Christmas, as Laura’s visa expired again, her attempts to renew it were denied and she was forced to leave once more — this time indefinitely....

When the kids ask about Laura now, Nielson and Jenny tell them that she was forced to leave. “It just got suspended in no man’s land,” Nielson says of the relationship. “It’s brutal. The reason why she’s not here is out of our control, but we’re trying not to be maudlin about it. It’s hard to say that you’re sad because there are only two people in love now instead of three. But we were all in love. It was a real thing. It worked. I’m more alive now because of it.”...

Read the whole article (May 12, 2015), with links to more of Nielson's music.

The article got him a short writeup in newspapers in New Zealand, where he grew up and used to play in the Mint Chicks.


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May 19, 2015

"Equality and polyamory: Why early humans weren't The Flintstones"

The Guardian

Caption: The “standard narrative of prehistory” presents the idea that, like Fred and Wilma, men have always gone out to hunt/work and women care for home and children. (The Guardian / Everett Collection / Rex Features)

The year 2010 marked a turning point for the polyamory movement, partly due to the publication of Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá. More on this later. Memorably, the book zinged anthropology's "Flintstonization" of stone-age families — the timid, ridiculous assumption, never really stated or defended, that our prehistoric ancestors, who shaped our inherited traits, evolved in 1950s nuclear families like Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

And only had across-the-hedge chats with Barney and Betty Rubble.

This morning's Guardian uses the Flintstonization zinger to begin a long report on some new research just out. The article then takes a wider look at the likelihood that we are literally born and bred for multi-partnering.

Equality and polyamory: why early humans weren't The Flintstones

A study released last week presented evidence that prehistoric men and women lived in relative equality. But is the truth even further from the nuclear narrative?

By Simon Copland

Last week, scientists from University College London released a paper presenting evidence that men and women in early society lived in relative equality. The paper challenges much of our understanding of human history, a fact not lost on the scientists. Mark Dyble, the study’s lead author, stated “sexual equality is one of the important changes that distinguishes humans. It hasn’t really been highlighted before.”

Despite Dyble’s comments, however, this paper isn’t the first foray into the issue. In fact, it represents another shot fired in a debate between scientific and anthropological communities that has been raging for centuries. It’s a debate that asks some fundamental questions: who are we, and how did we become the society we are today?

Our modern picture of prehistoric societies, or what we can call the “standard narrative of prehistory” looks a lot like The Flintstones. The narrative goes that we have always lived in nuclear families. Men have always gone out to work or hunt, while women stayed at home to look after the house and the children. The nuclear family and the patriarchy are as old as society itself.

The narrative is multifaceted, but... can probably be traced back to Charles Darwin’s theory of sexual selection.

The Guardian / Everett Collection / Rex Features

...Yet, for centuries many have questioned the logic, and the biology, of the standard narrative.

The first real splash in this arena came from the anthropologist Lewis Morgan, and his book Ancient Society [1877]. In the book Morgan presented the results of his study of the Iroquois, a Native American hunter-gatherer society in upstate New York. The Iroquois, Morgan observed, lived in large family units based on polyamorous relationships, in which men and women lived in general equality.

Morgan’s work hit a broader audience when it was taken up by Friedrich Engels (most famous for being the co-author of The Communist Manifesto) in his book The Origin of Family, Private Property and the State. Engels drew on Morgan’s data, as well as evidence from around the world to argue that prehistoric societies lived in what he called “primitive communism”. Other anthropologists now call this “fierce egalitarianism”: societies where families were based on polyamory and in which people lived in active equality (i.e. equality is enforced).

Morgan and Engels were not painting a picture of a “noble savage”. Humans were not egalitarian nor polyamorous because of their social conscience, but because of need. Hunter-gather societies were based largely on small roaming clans where men engaged in hunting, while women’s roles focused around gathering roots, fruit and berries, as well as looking after the “home”. In these societies community was everything. People survived through the support of their clan and therefore sharing and working within their clan was essential. This crossed over into sex as well.

Polyamory helped foster strong networks, where it became everyone’s responsibility to look after children. As Christopher Ryan states: “These overlapping, intersecting sexual relationships strengthened group cohesion and could offer a measure of security in an uncertain world.”....


On top of Dyble’s study last week, new anthropological and scientific evidence backs up this challenge to the standard narrative. In 2012 Katherine Starkweather and Raymond Hames conducted a survey of examples on ‘non-classical polyandry’, discovering the phenomenon existed in many more societies than previously thought.

In another example Stephen Beckman and Paul Valentine examined the phenomenon of ‘partible paternity’ in tribes in South America: the belief that babies are made up from the culmination of the spermatozoa of multiple males. This belief, which is common in tribes in the Amazon requires polyamorous sexual activity by women, and that men share the load of supporting children.

And then there is the example of the Mosua in China, a society in which people are highly promiscuous and where there is no shame associated with this. Mosua women have a high level of authority, with children being looked after by a child’s mother and her relatives. Fathers have no role in the upbringing of a child — in fact the Mosua have no word to express the concept of “father”....

Read the whole article, with many links (May 19, 2015).

It includes a sidebar link to a Guardian article about modern polyamory: Being polyamorous shows there's no 'traditional' way to live (Aug. 20, 2013).

Five days ago The Guardian published another story on Dyble's research: Early men and women were equal, say scientists. "Study shows that modern hunter-gatherer tribes operate on egalitarian basis, suggesting inequality was an aberration that came with the advent of agriculture." (May 14, 2015).


More on the significance of Sex at Dawn:

Sex at Dawn made quite a splash in the summer of 2010 and briefly got onto the New York Times bestseller list. It drew on anthropology, primate studies, and human anatomy to built a case that nuclear-family monogamy is unnatural to our species, dating only from the invention of agriculture and settled property about 10,000 years ago. The previous 99% of our evolution as a species shaped us to live a naturally polyamorous life of "fierce equality" between the sexes, living and interbreeding in hunter-gatherer bands. This remains the pattern in the few surviving hunter-gatherer societies today that continue their prehistoric way of life.

Some anthropologists and others criticized Sex at Dawn for cherry-picking its evidence, misrepresenting some of it, and overstating its case. However, its core argument has held up pretty well.

The book's impact on the poly movement was immediate. We had always labored under the dismissive criticism — and the self-doubt it raised in our own lives — that what we were doing could never really work because everyone knew that happy polyamory was contrary to human nature. I wrote at the time that Sex at Dawn

blows away the conventional wisdom that multiple relationships are unnatural or cannot fit with how humans are built. In fact, it reverses the human-nature argument 180 degrees.

It followed The Myth of Monogamy by David Barash and Judith Lipton (2002) and other works and research trending in the same direction. Since 2010, it's the remaining innate-monogamy defenders who've been thrown back on their heels, and polys have become the ones confident and on the offensive. To continue:

For most of the polyamory movement's 30-year history, advocates who have sought to give poly a theoretical foundation have generally turned to New Age or spiritual philosophies, involving things like the limitless nature of love, the spiritual heart of the universe, and other concepts that I find fairy-taley and unproductive. By unproductive I mean that theories built on them never seem to lead anywhere predictive or useful, as a good theory must.

Ryan and Jethá have now given us a theoretical underpinning that is concrete and evidence-based. They make the case that polyamory matches what human nature actually evolved to be. Seen in this light, the modern, ethical, egalitarian version of poly offers a path to a saner future — in which humans are not so perpetually conflicted with themselves, and are less driven by the insatiable needs and neuroses that in many ways are causing us to ruin the world.


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May 18, 2015

"Looks Like Love To Me" triad releases preview reel

The Looks Like Love To Me family with their two babies, who got so much press worldwide two months ago, has just released a preview of their upcoming documentary being made by Stefunny Pettee (6:49):

They're seeking a grant to complete the project. They write,

This is a "sizzler" reel created to give an overview and preview of the feature-length documentary we are creating. It is intended that the documentary should be complete in May of 2016!

Their whole post (May 16, 2015). The project's website and Facebook page.

No word yet on when their 7-minute ABC Nightline appearance will air. ABC filmed it in their home two months ago.

Here they link to all their media appearances to date. What a fine representation for polyfamilies they making to the big wide world!


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May 17, 2015

Reality star prompts a closer look at Ireland's poly community

Sunday Irish Independent

The celebrity buzz about Jade-Martina Lynch, the self-professed polyamorous cast member of Big Brother UK's new season, prompts a newspaper in her hometown of Dublin to take a look this morning at Ireland's actual poly community (which she has not been part of).

As happens so often, the writer came away impressed. Thanks, people, for representing us well.

Meeting Ireland's polyamory community: 'If you have the time you can be in love with lots of people'

By Barbara McCarthy

Some years back, I saw a wedding photo on social media of a girl I met at a festival in the Nevada desert. It grabbed my attention because it was of her, her husband and their new wife.

They had married each other in a triad ceremony in Los Angeles. After some snooping, I found out that they were on a US reality TV show about polyamory. It followed the lives of people who enjoyed several loving relationships at the same time, in many cases under one roof.

Since then polyamory has become more talked about in Ireland, and last week, the newest Irish Big Brother contestant, Jade-Martina Lynch, stated that she was polyamorous.

"My soul is just so free I can't be in a monogamous relationship," she said.

You could think that it's just an excuse for people to enjoy libidinous acts with lots of people at the same time, but it's not. Because we live in a society that favours monogamy, most of us can't get our heads around polyamory, which by definition means loving more than one person at a time and all partners knowing each other exists.

In order to find out more, I went along to a monthly meet-up. I found the attendees, who came from all ages and backgrounds, to be warm, eloquent and open. They weren't here to flirt, more to meet with like-minded souls and discuss issues pertinent to them.

"Polyamory is all about love", founder of the group, Californian somatic sexologist Randy Ralston informed me. "It's not about casual sex, swinging or cheating, rather it is about having loving, honest, deeply committed relationships. I formed the group in 2008 for anyone who doesn't feel that monogamy works for them."

The group has over 350 members, but that's not representative of how many 'poly' people live in Ireland.

People in the group presented a mixed bag. Some were currently single and 'poly'; in a relationship with someone who was monogamous; in a relationship with a 'poly' person and a monogamous person; in relationships with several people. "Trying to define polyamory is difficult. It manifests in various relationship forms. Sex is part of it, but it's not the focus," Ralston added.

I had many questions. "How do you meet poly people within a small community in Ireland? How do you find the time and energy? Can you be in love with more than one person at the same time?

"Yes," one erudite, liberated gentleman informed me. "You can be in love with more than one person at a time, I'm in love with two people, a woman I love is deeply in love with three people." He spoke so respectfully and lovingly of his situation, who was I to disagree. Someone likened it to having a second and third child. "You won't love them any less than your first. If you have time and energy you can be in love with many people."

But what about that old chestnut, jealousy? "It happens too. But when my partner is in a new relationship, I find it enhances our relationship," 26-year-old 'Bianca' said.

"Poly relationships aren't about tolerating other people's partners, they are about 'compersion', a term coined to represent the opposite of jealousy, which is rampant in our culture," Ralston added.

So what happens when you want to have children? "I know people in poly families and it works well. In a practical sense it means there is an extra adult in the relationship. For others, polyamory fell by the wayside for a while," says Bianca.

The reactions from monogamous people to poly arrangements are varied....

Read the rest (May 17, 2015).



May 16, 2015

"Could Polyamory Be the Key to Lasting Marital Bliss — Even for Parents?"


More good press because some excellent poly exemplars impressed an outsider. Thanks, people!

Could Polyamory Be the Key to Lasting Marital Bliss — Even for Parents?

By Toni Nagy / AlterNet

...Once you have [a baby], there will be no more quickies on the kitchen floor or against the living room door. (That’s how little Johnny gets traumatized and experiences his first primal wound.) Sexual spontaneity takes a back seat to planning, scheduling and trying not to fall asleep before 9 pm....

When you add the complexity of kids who are always trying to sleep in your bed or break your spirit by insisting on wearing the only pair of shoes you can’t find, it is easy to lose sight of your sexual identity. Many couples are resigned to the idea that sex just isn’t that important anymore.

...Yet other couples make a different choice. They decide that not only are their sexual selves of major importance, but they also want to explore beyond the marriage to ignite that fire that can only be lit by someone new.

There has been a shift in the cultural zeitgeist, and the conversation around marriage and monogamy has expanded. After reading many articles on this subject, I wanted to know firsthand what it was like for those who take the leap to step outside the norm.... married couples with children who choose a lifestyle that includes having relationships outside of marriage, although their spouse is still their primary partner. Most of them keep their polyamory to themselves for fear of being judged — especially as moms and dads.

I interviewed some polyamorous parents for my podcast to better understand this unusual life choice. At first I was concerned that I would be asked to join an orgy, but I quickly realized I didn’t look that cute — and also how many preconceived notions I have. After two minutes of talking to this couple I wasn’t thinking “wow, what sexual deviants.” The only thing abnormal about them was how profound and deep their friendship was. This couples was totally free of the most poisoning influence in a marriage — resentment.

When you explore an open marriage, you have to have a more open dialogue about everything. The result is less unresolved bitterness left under the dinner table to rot. This culture of honesty is contagious, and lends itself to a familial standard of truth before feelings....

Read on (May 14, 2015). Toni Nagy "writes for Huffington Post, Salon, Thought Catalog, Hairpin, Do You Yoga, and Elephant Journal. She has her own blog and hosts a podcast."

Update: The article is reprinted on RoleReboot (May 21, 2015).



May 15, 2015

Has Ask Amy come around?

Many newspapers

"Ask Amy"
Here's a surprise. Just a month ago, newspaper advice columnist Ask Amy (Amy Dickinson) declared that "open marriages don't work" — because

What are the odds that both partners will find other fulfilling sexual partners at the same time, have relationships of the same duration and intensity, and not damage their marriage? The prospects are not good. Open marriages don’t work because the “openness” more or less negates the “marriage.”

I urged you to write her and clarify matters, and at least a few of you did. Maybe it worked! Because this week she has another column on the topic. A reader sent in a question that invites easy snarking about "commitment," but Amy ends up saying

...In some "open" or nonmonogamous relationships, the "primary" romantic partner gets a vote on other potential sexual partners.... I think committed relationships can work alongside almost any other kind of behavior as long as the commitment and the relationship come first. You and he need to define very clearly what the word "commitment" means to each of you.

If you want to play with him and other consenting adults, then go for it. Always use a condom with all partners....

Here's her whole column (May 15, 2015).


While we're at it, here are some other advice columns since my last roundup of them:

● The V-Spot runs in the Valley Advocate of Western Massachusetts:

The V-Spot:
Hopin’ 2 Open

By Yana Tallon-Hicks

Dear V-Spot,

My husband and I were married in May. We’ve been together for eight years.... I’d like to be able to have a “monogamous-ish” (thanks Dan Savage) type thing while he’s gone. How do I bring that up to him? I’ve tried in the past in a casual way, and I don’t think he’s okay with it. How do you start a real conversation about that? I’m totally okay with him doing the same while he’s away, and I’d want a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Any tips?

—Hopin’ 2 Open

Hey H2O,

...You’ve shown a lot of bravery and openness to change in these actions, yet your question drips of very valid fear.

Opening your relationship whether it’s through a “monogamish” relationship, or “clopen” relationships as I like to call them, polyamory, or something else, can be scary. But if you can’t be brave and honest with yourself and your husband, an open relationship will never work.

You say that you’ve “casually” brought up having an open relationship in the past and “don’t think he’s okay with it.” Your road to monogamish will be a bumpy one if you can’t directly present your desires to your husband in a way that makes no assumptions about the way he feels. In an open relationship, assumptions are kryptonite.

Which brings us to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or DADT.... DADT is based entirely on fear — fear of your own jealousy and of what may be triggered within yourself when your husband bangs someone else. DADT also gives the false sense that it protects us from doing what’s hard: telling our partners that we’re attracted to someone else, being accountable to our partner’s needs, and facing their jealousy head-on. You think you’re shielding yourself from your own insecurities, but you’re just denying and feeding them....

Some of my hardest open relationship moments have been meeting my partner’s other partners. But they’ve also been the most soothing: You meet a real human....

Read on (Feb. 18, 2015).

● Ask Dr Nerdlove:

Ask Dr Nerdlove: She's Poly, And I'm Confused

By Harris O'Malley

Dear Dr NerdLove,

...We kept talking all night up until she had to get to bed for work in the morning. The next day we text some more and she mentions her boyfriend. OK, it’s cool she was talking about being in a poly relationship before and I am similarly inclined myself. So I ask her if he would be upset that some random guy is sending her texts. “Oh no, I told him all about you.” Promising....

...This next part confuses me.... She then tells me how she decided poly wasn’t for her, and that it just takes too much energy. OK she has two partners but isn’t polyamorous any more? Maybe it’s just open, I’m not sure. She then says she understands why I’m looking for more and keeps talking to me all night.

I can’t really tell what she wants.

—Polymorphously Perplexed

Polyamory is one of those areas where it really helps to have everyone define their terms. Polyamory is a wide, wide descriptor for many different relationship styles....

The single biggest commonality of poly relationships is the generally accepted assumption is that it’s primarily romantic, or at least emotionally committed. And when you add more individuals into a relationship, the relationship maintenance involved (not to mention the potential for drama) scales up exponentially....

Not surprising then that your friend declared that polyamory was exhausting.

...Being clear, open and direct is much more desirable than trying to read the tea-leaves and guessing at what other people mean. When in doubt: ask. You may not get the answer you were hoping for, but you’ll get an answer.

The whole column (May 4, 2015).

● Miriam Katz writes, "I was on your site the other day and noticed you have a section for poly advice columns. I have one as well: askmiriam.ca. I do blog on there about poly as well — it's not just advice.

● Some previous posts on advice columns (includes this one; scroll down).



May 14, 2015

"How Polyamory Became More Mainstream than Peanut Butter: From Scandalous to Swank in Ten Years Flat"

Minx at Emerald City Comic Con, March 2015
When the histories are written of how the polyamory movement sprouted and grew and changed the world's assumptions about relationships — as I think is becoming inevitable — the list of people in our time who made it happen will certainly include Cunning Minx, the indefatigable creator of the Polyamory Weekly podcast. She's been hard at it for ten years this spring. She is not only entertaining and a fine listen, she's smart, forthright, and an exemplar of our best attitudes and values. In recent years she's branched out into giving seminars and classes, and last year she published perhaps the best short book for poly newbies: Eight Things I Wish I'd Known About Polyamory Before I Tried It and Frakked It Up.

Last weekend she gave the keynote talk at Loving More's Rocky Mountain Poly Living conference in Denver. She spoke on the movement's history and future. I wished I was there, and maybe you did too. For those of us who missed it, she has just put up her slides and audio (20:39). Enjoy:


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