Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

May 19, 2018

Baaad poly in the news: 50 Cent sued for posting revenge porn after friend's girlfriend declined polyamory

This is becoming hot in celebrity and #MeToo news. In TMZ:

'Love & Hip Hop' star Teairra Mari made good on her tearful vow to sue her ex-boyfriend and 50 Cent for posting her sexually explicit video and photos.

In the suit, Teairra says her ex, Akbar Abdul-Ahad logged into her Instagram account and posted the video, which included an image of Teairra with ejaculate all over her face. She believes Akbar was getting back at her because she didn't want to be in a polyamorous relationship, as he had suggested.

Teairra says that's why she broke up with him earlier this month, and shortly afterward he informed her his phone had been stolen. In docs, obtained by TMZ, she says that was the moment she knew he was planning to post their sex videos.

Teairra says she deleted the IG post as soon as she saw it, but that's when 50 Cent got involved. According to the suit, the rapper posted the ejaculate screen grab in black and white, in order to highlight the fluid on her face. She points out 50 has 18 million followers....

Teairra adds, Fiddy [50] has a bad track record ... pointing out he already had to fork out $7 million to a Rick Ross baby mama for posting a sex tape clip of her.

Teairra says it's a brazen attempt to "slut shame" her that's causing her "significant long term emotional injuries, requiring psychiatric services." She's suing both men for revenge porn, invasion of her privacy and emotional distress.

The article (May 17, 2018).

The Blast:

...Marí says Abdul-Ahad was upset because she claims he was trying to develop a polyamorous relationship, and a reality show highlighting that polyamorous lifestyle, but she wanted no part.

Marí says after she removed the video and photo that Abdul-Ahad had posted, his friend 50 Cent posted the material on his own page. She says 50 even applied a “black and white” filter to highlight the color contrast of semen on Marí’s face. He captioned the photo “get the strap,” to which the reality star claims was a possible reference to encourage his fans to harm her.

Whole article (May 17).

USA Today:

...“[Abdul-Ahad] had my Instagram password, so he posted them on my Instagram to make me look terrible,” she said at the press conference.

...Bloom, who represents high-profile clients including Blac Chyna and Kathy Griffin, revealed that she planned to file both a police report and also a lawsuit against both Abdul-Ahad and the rapper that same day.

“Apparently, 50 Cent’s misogyny and ego is so inflated that he still needs to be schooled that the law applies to him, just like everyone else,” she added at the press conference.

In response to the controversy, the rapper, 42, has been posting a series of joke images to his Instagram. ...

Whole article (May 17). Many more.

● Akbar Abdul-Ahad says he wasn't the one who posted the tape and will countersue her for defamation.



May 17, 2018

"Polyamorous people worry Bountiful polygamy case will impact them." And Canadian poly study results

"Winston Blackmore, left, is alleged to have married 24 women in the practise of “celestial” marriage, while James Oler is believed to have five wives." (Jeff McIntosh / Canadian Press)

After more than a decade of legal wrangle, two leaders of a fundamentalist Mormon community in Canada have been found guilty of polygamy and face jail. In 2011 British Columbia's supreme court decided that Canada's law against polygamy is allowable, while carving out an exemption for people in polyamorous relationships that do not involve formalized multiple marriages.

However, the polyamory exemption is less than complete. "Polygamy," the court ruled, includes not just multiple marriages formalized by the state (which would require committing fraud to get an invalid marriage license), but also marriage-like ceremonies that have some other kind of binding power, such by Blackmore and Oler among the fundamentalist Mormons in Bountiful, British Columbia.

The Toronto Star, and its chain of papers Canada-wide, is reporting on the extent of the polyamory carve-out:

Polyamorous people worry precedent on Bountiful polygamy case will impact them

By Tessa Vikanders | StarMetro Vancouver

Polyamory and polygamy both include non-monogamous relationships, but lawyers and members of the polyamorous community say the buck stops there.

Although the two practices are vastly different, some polyamorous people worry the laws against polygamy could impact them.

On Tuesday, a Crown prosecutor recommended that Winston Blackmore and James Oler of Bountiful, B.C., be given jail time after they were convicted of practising polygamy, for having married 24 and five wives respectively.

The judge has yet to sentence the men, who are the first two people to be convicted of polygamy under Canada’s criminal code in more than 100 years.

Family lawyers say the case won’t have any direct impact on the polyamorous community, because the polygamy law is in place to prevent multiple marriages, and it doesn’t prohibit multiple romantic relationships.

John-Paul Boyd, director of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, said polygamy is a patriarchal practice and includes forced marriages that are said to be mandated by god.

“Those two things are the key distinctions between what’s happening in Bountiful and the experience of people who identify as polyamorous,” he said.

“Polygamy involves one dude and a harem of women, but for polyamorists the potential range of relationships are endless ... and people place a very high value on equality, regardless of gender.”

Jenny Yuen, [with a] forthcoming book Polyamorous: Living and Loving More, has two romantic partners. Polyamory, she said, is about respect, and both of her partners can be with other people.

“It’s open, it’s fluid, everyone knows what’s going on and consents to it,” she said. ...


Things can get sticky though, when polyamorous people want to get married and have a ceremony.

barbara findlay, a lawyer who specializes in gender and family law, said the law stipulates that three people living together for two years, in a polyamorous “triad” relationship, are given common law status, but they can’t have a legal marriage with a ceremony.

Zoe Duff, co-ordinator and spokesperson of CPAA [the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association], said people contact her “all of the time” with questions about whether the laws against polygamy could affect their polyamorous relationships.

“Recently I’ve been getting people who want to do some type of ceremony for their triad, and they’re concerned about the legality of it ... but when you get into ceremonies there can be problems,” she said.

Based on her consultations with lawyers, Duff said she usually tells people to avoid having a ceremony if possible, especially for those who are looking to sponsor a spouse for immigration purposes. But for those who feel strongly about it, there are ways around it.

“If it’s not a religious ceremony, incorporated in an organized way, it will skirt the law,” she said.

findlay said the government needs to update family laws to reflect the polyamorous relationships and families that already exist. But immediate protections for polyamorous people are not required.

“People in polyamorous relationships are not at legal risk of being arrested or prosecuted for being in a polyamorous relationship,” she said. ...

The whole article (May 16, 2018).

● This comes after a Canada-wide study on poly households and their legal needs made the news. An article in Canada's The Lawyer's Daily sums up some of its findings:

Mapping the demographics of polyamory

By John-Paul Boyd

John-Paul Boyd
The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family began a national study of polyamorous individuals and polyamorous relationships in 2016. The institute’s first research paper on the subject was summarized in a previous article in The Lawyer’s Daily [Polyamorous relationships might be the next frontier for family lawyers, Sept. 17, 2017] discusses how polyamorous relationships are and are not accommodated by the domestic relations legislation of Canada's common law provinces, and it provides an overview of the initial results of its national survey on polyamory.

The institute’s second research paper was released in December 2017 and presents a detailed analysis of the data collected from the survey. It examines the sociodemographic attributes and attitudes of people identifying as polyamorous, the composition of polyamorous relationships and perceptions of polyamory in Canada, with the goal of better understanding the prevalence and nature of polyamory to inform the development of family justice policy and legislation.

The survey, which ran over a course of seven weeks in the summer of 2016, yielded 480 valid responses. The majority of respondents (91.6 per cent) lived in British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. Most respondents were aged 25 to 34 (42.3 per cent), identified as female (59.4 per cent) and described their sexual orientation as heterosexual (37.3 per cent) or bisexual (31.7 per cent).

Respondents to the institute’s survey tended to be younger, better educated and wealthier than the general Canadian population. ...

The whole article (March 14, 2018. Registration wall.)

Boyd notes there that 55 percent of the survey's respondents had taken no legal steps to formalize the rights and responsibilities of the members of their relationships. The steps most often taken were "the execution of emergency authorizations, cohabitation agreements, school authorizations, medical powers of attorney and legal powers of attorney." Three-quarters of the respondents felt that the Canadian public increasingly accepts poly relationships.

Boyd also points out that "The legal needs of those involved in cohabiting polyamorous relationships can be complicated, and determining how those needs can be addressed through the current law on domestic relationships, wholly predicated on the assumption that all family relationships involve only pairs of adults, can be still more so. Lawyers assisting the polyamorous must be highly creative and prepared to reassess their understanding of the law. However, given what we know about the demographics of the polyamorous community, serving the needs of this community has the strong potential to develop into a stimulating and lucrative practice niche."

Boyd is the executive director of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family in Calgary.

Vanier Institute / BigStock photo
He summarized the first of the survey's two reports on the Vanier Institute of the Family's site here: Polyamory in Canada: Research on an Emerging Family Structure (April 11, 2017).

Here are the survey's two original reports, as published on the University of Calgary's Faculty of Law site:

Polyamorous Families in Canada: Early Results of New Research from CRILF (Aug. 24, 2016)

Second CRILF Report on Polyamory Studies Sociodemographic Attributes and Attitudes (Mar. 27, 2018).

● As discussed in 2016 on CBC Radio's popular national news-and-opinion show "The Current": Polyamorous families want Canadian law to catch up with their relationships (text article and audio link, Sept. 16, 2016).

● Regarding the Canadian situation, in Law Times: Consider research when it comes to polyamory, by Rebecca Bromwich (Sept. 18, 2017).


Also: in the US last month, the Brown Law Offices in Champlin, Minnesota, published Exploring the Legal Complications of Polyamory for Americans (April 18, 2018).


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May 14, 2018

Another country heard from: "Polyamory takes off in Norway"

From a TV report: "LARGE HEART. Lynn Myrdal, leader of the organization PolyNorge, is happily married and has children, but gladly dates others." (Lovise Gangnes / TV 2)

A radio report with the title at top came out the other day from Deutsche Welle, Germany's international public broadcaster. It's just the latest reminder of Norway's upfront poly scene, led by PolyNorge. The blurb:

Monogamous relationships in Norway are a thing of the past and the future belongs to...living openly with more than one partner. That's according to a Norwegian group founded about a year ago. [No, that's extremifying what they say.] It wants acceptance and ultimately the possibility of marriage for those who love in groups of three or more. Our reporter John Laurenson went to Oslo to meet some of them.

Listen here (6 minutes, in English). The interviewer talks to a longtime open MFM V triad with a baby and attends a public event hosted by PolyNorge, which he says has about 100 active members (May 11, 2018).

For a group that small, PolyNorge seems to have a lot going on. It formed officially in September 2016 but its roots go back at least a decade earlier. It's been quite effective in getting media notice and starting public conversation about the open-ended possibilities of love and relationships. When the group launched, a member posted this to Polyamory.com:

Norwegian Poly NGO founding gets huge press

In connection to the public startup of the Norwegian polyamorous NGO PolyNorge, the national press was in touch even before the startup. The past two days, poly people were featured in the national news channel NRK three times:

● A radio interview featuring a polyamorous woman, a poly friendly psychologist and a polyamory researcher: Polyamorous people start up NGO on the debate program "Ekko" on NRK P2, "the culture channel" [Sept. 17, 2016].

The researcher, Audrey Stark, has published her master's thesis, based on 8 in-depth interviews with members of the Norwegian polyamory network: Polyamory – A Labor of Love: Boundary Work and Legitimization of Non-Normative Intimate Relationships [June 2015].

● Text summarizing the radio interview: Lynn har to elskere — ektemannen har kjæreste (Lynn has two lovers — her husband has a girlfriend). The intro says, "Lynn Myrdal loves plural men. Saturday, the country's first organisation for polyamorous people will be founded. Many more than you would think, expert says." [Sept. 17, 2016]

● An article on the broadcaster's debate forum, NRK Ytring: Kjærlighet er ingen privat sak (Love is not a private issue) by a well-known journalist, based on the NGO startup and her own poly experience. It prompted a huge debate. [Sept. 18, 2016]

More articles are listed on the PolyNorge site; see the News section at its bottom. Google Translate handles the language well.

We have a compelling message, and it continues to spread.



May 9, 2018

Eliot Redelman as an upcoming new poly spokesperson?

I posted yesterday about Eliot Redelman and the story of his poly life that he sold to an Australian newspaper chain ("From the age of 12, I knew that monogamy wasn’t for me"). Today he's is getting press worldwide. The Daily Mail is running a long interview with him, 'Imagine all the love of a single relationship, multiplied': Polyamorous man, 26, explains how he juggles 'two and a half' partners (May 8); it's in both the Australian and UK editions. It has been picked up by the UK's tabloid Daily Star and a women's mag in Hungary, so it's syndicated and off and running.

Redelman looks to have the makings of a great new poly spokesperson. He managed to get some remarkably intellectual poly points across in trashy outlets, no small skill. He's got a lot so say, and I'm betting he'll find wider platforms to say it. Does he have a good reputation in the Sydney community? Should I invite him to apply to the Polyamory Leadership Network? If you're there, please email me privately at alan7388 (at) gmail.com.

Several thoughts in his Daily Mail interview, some of them new to me:

'One thing I love is that I get to appreciate all the special things of one partner because I get to directly contrast to another partner. I get to realise why I value each partner for what they have.'

'Monogamy takes so much for granted. I need security and stability above and beyond weak assumptions about the way people are supposed to behave in relationships.'

'I really like the analogy of dog years. There are seven dog years to a human year. Poly is like that but for relationships. In one year, I could be going through two, three, four, or more relationship years.'

'These days, nearly everyone I meet [in Sydney] is open to it and willing. I'm actually constantly shocked about how open people are to the idea. It might not sound like first-date material to talk about, but I keep having positive reactions so I must be doing something right.'

'The most important thing to do with feelings is to listen to them. Validate them. Give them the space to breathe. ... That's why we talk about it. You don't make feelings go away by suppressing them. You just make everyone miserable. And I mean everyone.'

'I want people to think about the way they have relationships right now and be curious about how the defaults shape our lives.'

'If the poly community can teach the world anything it's going to be communication. Not just "we talk". But so much more,' he said.

'If you've ever thought "I could never say that, my partner would be so upset", that means there's something very right and very wrong with your relationship. Very right because you care so deeply about your partner that you are willing to sacrifice your own emotional validation for what you guess is their emotional candor. Very wrong in that it's a guess, and you didn't even give that person the right as an autonomous adult to correct your guess.

'Who knows, maybe both of you are poly inclined but don't know how to talk about it. And wouldn't that be sad. People trapped in assumptions for the rest of their lives.

'If you can't talk about topics with your partner, that means either you are not feeling safe enough to talk about it, or you can't find the words. Either way you can work on those. Try this. Ask each other: "What can't we talk about?". And see how many answers you can come up with.'

And especially, this:

At the tender age of 12, Eliot said he realised he didn't want to be in a monogamous relationship after reading a blog about polyamory.

'I was reading a blog of an American writer. He was talking about his marriage experiences and how he moved to polyamory. That was really inspirational and from then it made more sense,' he said.

That was around 2004 — so betcha it was Franklin Veaux (on what he then called Xeromag, now More Than Two). Karma points to you, Franklin, for setting a kid on the far side of the world on a path to become such a good spokesman for us today. "It is not given to us to know the results of our works. We do them anyway, on faith." But sometimes a result newly seen reminds us why.


Update May 14: Redelman writes us that it wasn't Franklin but Ferrett Steinmetz — another worthy early poly blogger who is still active today.

Also Redelman sends, for the record, his original email replies to the interviewer's questions; "You should see what I sent the Daily Mail before they butchered it."

Hi, my name is Eliot and I'm 26.

How long have you been polyamorous for?
In some ways I've always been poly.  I've had somewhere between 25-35 relationships in my life - some poly, some not.  It's always hard to count, but I'd say at least 5 years.

When did you realise you didn’t want a monogamous relationship?
When I was 12, I was reading a blog of an american writer by the name of TheFerrett.  He was talking about his marriage experiences and how he moved to polyamory.  That was really inspirational and from then it made more sense.

Girls didn't exist before I was 16.  From about the age of 8 I made a unilateral decision that girls were too confusing and I would not talk to them.  Life was simpler with only 50% of the population to deal with. On my 16th birthday I reversed that decision and had to learn how to communicate to other humans.

Have you ever been in a monogamous relationship?
I have had a few monogamous relationships.  I was a romantic 16 year old. It was disgustingly sappy.  I used to text poetry to my girlfriend and she wouldn't take any notice of it.

Why do you think monogamy doesn’t appeal to you?
I could never understand why I wasn't allowed to love or care for more than one person at a time.  I have more than one friend, I have more than one parent, two siblings, several pets, I have plenty of people I have close relationships with - why is some definition of "relationship" different or special.  Somewhere there is a line in the sand about what "counts" and the way societal expectation says we must do relationships in an exclusive way. I don't have to agree with that.

I can love and care for more than one person.  I can have sex with more than one person, I can go to a romantic dinner date with more than one person, and I can cuddle on the couch with more than one person (at the same time or at different times if we all consent).  What makes a relationship and what matters to me? that's a discussion I am happy to have. Let's talk about what is significant to our relationships. Don’t pretend that we are special to one another just because of some assumption that we are.  It’s time to know why we matter to one another and share and connect over those details. Monogamy takes so much for granted. I need security and stability above and beyond weak assumptions about the way people are supposed to behave in relationships.

What are the benefits of being in a polyamorous relationship?
Imagine all the love of a single relationship, multiplied.  Then imagine all the stress and all the interpersonal drama, also multiplied.  Not only do I get to love and care for more than one person, I receive that love and care back several times over.  I really like the analogy of dog-years. There are 7 dog years to a human year. Poly is like that but for relationships.  In one year, I could be going through 2, 3, 4, or more relationship years.

One thing I love is that I get to appreciate all the special things of one partner because I get to directly contrast to another partner.  I get to realise why I value each partner for what they have, and that's a huge gift.

How many people are you dating at the moment? How do you make it work and how do you manage multiple relationships?
Right now two and a half.  I live on my own. Any time we want to see each other, we send a message, and open our diaries and find the next available day.  Sometimes as I say goodbye I plan the next time I see them. Calendars definitely help. As long as you are willing to communicate, lots of methods can work.  I know people who have regular days. People who plan two months in advance, then plan the next month half way through, keeping always 1-2 months ahead.

How often do you see your partners?
Most weeks I will have seen all of them.  Depends on all kinds of life circumstances.  Someone might have to travel for work, someone might be sick.  We just make it work.

Were there ever any jealousy from your other partners? If so, how did you deal with it all?
Of course!  You talk about it.  

Jealousy often points to something deeper.  It's not about the momentary "I feel Jealous". It's about the other half of the sentence.  "...because I am worried that you don't value me". Or "...because I feel like I am missing out".  The most important thing to do with feelings is to listen to them. Validate them. Give them the space to breathe.  Once you realise that you care about not missing out on special experiences, then solving that stress gets a whole lot easier.  That's why we talk about it. You don't make feelings go away by suppressing them. You just make everyone miserable. And I mean everyone.

How do your polyamorous relationships start? Do you lay out the ground rules?
I talk about it on the first date, preferably sooner, but that's why we have first dates - to talk about these things and see if we like each other.  I think it's wrong to lead people on. It's unfair to go any further than that and not have the conversation. I've done that too and it's not something I'm proud of.  These days, nearly everyone I meet is open to it and willing. I'm actually constantly shocked about how open people are to the idea.

It might not sound like first date material to talk about my girlfriend, but I keep having positive reactions so I must be doing something right.

Why did you decide to share your story?
I’m not afraid to talk about it.  I feel like I understand myself, my partners, and relationships much better than anyone stigmatising this lifestyle.  I suspect most stigma comes from misunderstanding or fear before it comes from hatred or anger.

Why do you want to challenge the stigma surrounding poly relationships?
There’s a lot less stigma than people expect.  These are my interpersonal relationships, no one has a right to take issues with my personal life unless they are involved.  I would like people to be happy for me the same way I am happy for them to have their own relationships.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I want people to think about the way they have relationships right now and be curious about how the defaults shape our lives.  If the poly community can teach the world anything it's going to be communication. Not just "we talk". But so much more. If you've ever thought, "I could never say that, my partner would be so upset", that means there's something very right and very wrong with your relationship.  

Very right because you care so deeply about your partner that you are willing to sacrifice your own emotional validation for what you guess is their emotional candor.  Very wrong in that it's a guess, and you didn't even give that person the right as an autonomousagenty adult to correct your guess. Who knows, maybe both of you are poly inclined but don't know how to talk about it.  And wouldn't that be sad. People trapped in assumptions for the rest of their lives.

If you can't talk about topics with your partner, that means either you are not feeling safe enough to talk about it, or you can't find the words.  Either way you can work on those. Try this. Ask each other, "what can't we talk about?". And see how many answers you can come up with.


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May 8, 2018

"From the age of 12, I knew that monogamy wasn’t for me"

In Australia this morning, the organizer of the Sidney Polyamory dating group gets his enchanting first-person story into daily papers owned by the News Corp. chain.

You can do this too.

From the age of 12, I knew that monogamy wasn’t for me

WHEN people think of polyamory they tend to think of lots of sex ... but the reality is often quite different.

By Eliot Redelman

Eliot Redelman
I’M at the pathologist again. She smiles at me.

“The usual?”

I look at the pathology form. My doctor forgot to write out the STI tests. I rush back to him and he scribbles on the page. HIV, HEP, SYP, CHM, HSV.

“Round 2”, I say to her. This is our ritual.

“How many girlfriends this time?” she asks.

I pretend to count on two hands. “Three and a half right now,” I say, and she laughs. It’s a cute little dance we have going on. I’ll be back for ‘the usual’ in about 2 months.

48 hours later, I’m collecting the results. I text my partners “All good” to let them know I got the all-clear. I don’t feel anxiety myself, but one of my partners, Annie, likes the peace of mind that comes with the routine tests.

...It’s before dinner on our regular Wednesday night and I’m sitting on the couch with Annie, cuddling and having a catch-up about our week. She saw Chris this week — they’ve been together about two years. Chris is the opposite of me — heavily introverted and needs a lot of time to himself. They work well with a low-pressure relationship. Too much contact and they stress each other out. They catch up about once a fortnight for dinner, cuddles, probably more. It’s lovely to hear that they’re going well. I don’t have to ask much; it’s none of my business. But, it’s always good to know that someone I care about is happy.

I tell Annie that I had dinner with Dianne and her parents on Monday night — Dianne hasn’t told her parents she’s poly yet, but she’s not feeling any pressure. She’s still learning how — or even if — she wants to label herself; there are too many types of relationships once the door opens to non-monogamy. Dianne had another boyfriend, but he let her know he wasn’t up for dating right now. They’re friends, and from time to time they might sleep together. But it’s not ‘a relationship’. She’s deciding if she eventually wants to try to find another boyfriend, but she says she is in no rush.

I’m always open about my relationships if asked, but my grandma doesn’t exactly know all the logistics.

...Bella starts telling me the latest about Eric, a German guy she’s been dating for about a year. Whenever I meet him, we end up talking about economics for hours. He’s been travelling for work, and is about to leave again for a few months. Bella says she’s finding it hard being long distance.

We order our food and start talking about what’s gone wrong with Eric. At first, I think Bella is simply feeling fed up because he’s heading away again, but something different is troubling her. She tells me that he was down in Melbourne last week when he reconnected with an old flame. That was fine, she tells me. She’s a nice girl; Bella’s met her several times, and the two of them even Facetime from time to time. But Eric and his ex went to a restaurant called Pastuzo that Bella’s been telling Eric she wants to try, for months. She’s had some twinges of ... something. Jealousy? This was a special thing between Bella and Eric — at least it was in Bella’s eyes. “And he went and took someone else there”, she says, resentfully.

She says she’s feeling bad about resenting the situation, but also that she can’t help how she feels. She tells me she knows it’s okay to feel upset about it. I nod. ...

People often thinks that it’s jealousy that kills poly relationships. But I believe it’s poor communication. These days I work very hard to make sure that we can always tell each other anything without anticipating painful reactions or any reactions in general. There needs to be a sense of safety.

One thing that frustrates me is that people assume that because I have multiple relationships, I think that everyone should. I really don’t. I won’t speak for everyone, but generally, people in the poly community very much recognise that relationships need to suit the people participating in them. Our commitments are as individual as we are. Socialising with the poly community very much opened my eyes to the diversity and complexity of ethical non-monogamy. I wish everyone could be more curious about how strangers live, and that they wouldn’t judge until they hear what it’s like through other people’s eyes.

Eliot Redelman runs the Sydney Polyamory dating group.

Read the whole article (May 8, 2018).


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May 3, 2018

Two new magazine articles laud the joys of polyfamilies

In one afternoon, out come two long magazine features bubbling about the blessings of the good poly home.

● A Slate writer tells how his happy FFM household surfs the demands of modern life more easily than the typical couple, who can feel grindingly short-staffed.

Easier With Three

My wife’s girlfriend moved in with us, and balancing work, life, and leisure has never gone better.

Evan, Cassie, and Mandy celebrate a birthday. (Courtesy Evan Urquhart)

By Evan Urquhart

When people think of polyamorous relationships, they usually jump right to the potential complications: How will you deal with jealousy? How will you schedule your time so that nobody feels shortchanged? ... I once had these worries too, but for nine months I’ve been living with my wife and my wife’s girlfriend (a poly threesome V, rather than a triad [he means not a "full" triad –Your picky editor], because all three of us are not romantically involved). We’re finding that having more people around means less, not more, complexity — more hands for the chores, more options for socializing and fun, an extra income to help with the bills, and more time for any one of us to spend going our own way.

A typical day at our house begins at 6 a.m., when I grab my laptop from my bedside table and begin my work for Slate without getting dressed, or even out of bed. ... When it was just the two of us, my wife’s breakfast and morning routine often got in the way of my early-morning productivity. I’d feel obliged to keep her company at breakfast, chat about our plans for the day, and help her find her missing shoe (under the blanket, dear, on the floor by the couch). Nowadays Cassie and her girlfriend, Mandy, get up at about 7. Mandy makes breakfast. She and Cassie feed and walk our dogs, plan their days, and commute together to their respective workplaces. I get a plate of bacon and eggs brought into the bedroom as I work.

...When we inevitably forget which day is trash day, I’m there to do a last-minute dash for the curb. I’m around to let a worker in to do repairs or receive a package, and often I’ve got extra time in the afternoon to take a dog to the vet or make a trip to the store.

It turns out that splitting household chores three ways is a lot easier than dividing them in two! With dishes, we rotate so that everyone has a luxurious two days off in between each day they spend scrubbing a pan. We each take responsibility for cooking dinner once a week, and then those of us who like to cook (Mandy and myself) work out the rest of the cooking informally between ourselves. ... I hate having to make calls for appointments, insurance, or home maintenance, so Cassie kindly takes them off my plate. When the whole house needs to be cleaned, the work goes quickly with all hands on deck.

And the benefits spill over into socializing. My extroverted wife and I had a long-standing tendency to clash on how often we’d go out. With Mandy around, there’s an extra person to go do something with her if I’m not in the mood — and we also do things together as a family, comfortably watching TV, playing video games, or going out for a picnic in the park. And, would you believe, it’s actually pretty nice to have a bed to stretch out on by myself three nights a week? One of the few problems we have encountered is that my wife might like to sleep alone once in a while herself.

...A rent we could afford as two becomes easy as pie with three, and there’s something extra relaxing about the nights when Mandy treats both of us out to dinner. ...

Of course, not everyone is going to want to get involved in a polyamorous relationship, and even those who do won’t necessarily find it easy to replicate the structure that we have. It helps that Mandy and I were friends before she and Cassie began to date, and that we’d each had success dating others casually without incident before Cassie tried adding a second, serious, long-term relationship to the mix. We talked a lot before and immediately after Mandy moved in about how to make things work and set some ground rules ... Cassie felt strongly that she didn’t want a hierarchical structure where Mandy felt like she was second class, and while there were a few jitters early on, we’ve found that relating to one another as equal members of one family really works for us. ...

It’s a shame Americans have to luck into work-life balance and that, even with two working adults in the house, so many families are struggling to make ends meet. With employers demanding more and more at work, so many people find they have little left to take home.... That’s why so many Americans are so worn down, and work-life conflict is affecting everything from their health to their relationships.

...Whether we need an extra set of hands, an extra listening ear, another chum to hang out with, or an extra couple of bucks, our family has found that three can be easier, not harder, than two.

Read the whole long article (May 3, 2018). Watch for pieces like this to become a trend, especially among urban millennials (as with co-living, the practical, no-nonsense update of the hippie commune for those with the income.)

The article is one of the Better Life Lab's contributions to Slate. Better Life Lab is a partnership of Slate and the New America Foundation, "dedicated to renewing America by continuing the quest to realize our nation's highest ideals, honestly confronting the challenges caused by rapid technological and social change, and seizing the opportunities those changes create."

● Secondly, in Flare, "Canada's fashion magazine," it sounds like a unicorn quest turned out well for everyone.

Here’s What It’s Really Like to Be in a Polyamorous Relationship

For starters, it’s about loving multiple people — not just sleeping with them

By Jeffrey Vallis

Vincent Sumah, Maryëva Pelletier and Amethyst Blanchette. Photo courtesy of the partners. [Their Instagram account: PolySoulTribe]
Until six months ago, 28-year-old Maryëva Pelletier didn’t look very favourably on polyamorous relationships. “I had a false impression that polyamorous people are having orgies and aren’t loyal,” she says. “I always thought that a relationship was supposed to be monogamous.”

Then she met Vincent Sumah, 36, and his 25-year-old partner, Amethyst Blanchette, on the dating app Happn, and three days later, they all met for coffee. The Montreal-based couple, who co-parent three kids, were looking to add a third partner to their relationship. Their multiple attempts over the last five years to find their other soul mate were unsuccessful, but with Pelletier, something clicked.

“For me, it was never only about sex. I wanted something deeper and long-term,” says Sumah. “At first, Maryëva wasn’t into poly stuff, but she was so amazing that I still wanted to meet her as a friend. She fell for both of us, and the feeling was mutual.”

Pelletier says her compatibility with the couple plus her curious nature sparked her willingness to try polyamory. “I told them I want to know and understand everything, [and that] it has to make sense to me,” says Pelletier. “There was a lot of information to process…[but] maybe because I have a very fiery personality, I jumped into it.”

The closed nature of the relationship — meaning they don’t see others outside of the three of them — made the transition easier for Pelletier. “It feels right, now that I’m in a triad with these two wonderful people,” she says. “Maybe that’s why all my past relationships messed up in the end. I don’t think we’re meant to be only monogamous.”

What is polyamory and how many Canadians practise it?

...Polyamory — the practice of having more than one intimate relationship at a time — is gaining traction. ... And when the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family at the University of Calgary recently conducted a polyamory survey to gain insights into the community, it discovered that attitudes towards polyamory in Canada are changing, too.

...[It's different than] an open relationship, which is one that is not sexually monogamous but is often more about the freedom to have different casual, sexual partners outside a relationship. Even though some use the term “open relationship” as a synonym for “polyamory,” those interviewed for this story argued that polyamory is about loving multiple people, not just sleeping with them.

Alaina Partridge
...Alaina Partridge, a 30-year-old queer mother from Winnipeg, is romantically or sexually involved with several partners who are not in relationships with each other; she is the common thread. She has been with her male live-in (or “nesting”) partner for five years, and has been seeing her female partner for about a year. On top of these relationships, she also has two ongoing friends-with-benefits relationships. None of her partners are involved with each other, but some have other partners of their own.

...With several relationships at once, Partridge says being open and honest with her partners is vital. “I’m a pretty good communicator—I really try to be,” she says. “But it’s not always easy finding partners that are also very good at it.

What is easy, however, is picking her plus-one to an event. “It’s kind of like if you have five friends and one of them likes golfing, and one of them likes dancing,” she explains. “You don’t take the golfing friend dancing.” ...

But polyamory is not just about having different partners to spend time with. For Partridge, she says it’s more of a sexual orientation, and she doesn’t believe she will ever only want monogamy again. “I remember always thinking [that] monogamy was so stupid,” she says. “I just didn’t realize there was a better option for me at the time.”

...Toronto-based sex and relationship expert Jessica O’Reilly, the host of the Sex with Dr. Jess podcast, says that more millennials are becoming interested in non-monogamous relationship options. For many people in poly relationships, she says, the desire to be with more than one partner is actually realistic.

“Younger couples have seen their parents divorce or remain in unhappy relationships, and they realize that there isn’t one way to make a relationship work,” she explains. “Monogamy as a default often fails. It’s not that polyamory is the answer, but it’s one of many potential alternatives. It works for some people.” But, she adds, “Polyamory is not a solution to a failing relationship.” ...

The whole article (May 3, 2018).


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April 30, 2018

So have we arrived yet?

In family newspapers everywhere this week. Apparently, no explanation needed.

Thanks to Michael Rios for the tip. He comments, "What is really wild is that Frank And Ernest has to be the least edgy comic strip in the paper!"

When Robyn Trask took over Loving More in 2004, she said she intended to make polyamory a household word. It didn't seem a bit likely. But 14 years on, I guess we're there.

While we're at it: Cool actual poly comics, long-running ones, include Kimchi Cuddles (of course) and the autobiographical The Feeling is Multiplied. Others you'd recommend?

All my posts tagged "comics".


April 28, 2018

Atlantic video, "Couples Speak Honestly About Open Relationships"

Yes it's couple-centric, but that's because most of society is. A month ago The Atlantic put up a nice 6-minute film of people talking about their open and poly relationships. It's part of a collection of independently produced videos that the magazine curates. It seems to have grown legs, with 66,000 views so far. Several people have forwarded it to me.

From the text with it, Couples Speak Honestly About Open Relationships (March 30, 2018):

Polyamory. Ethical non-monogamy. Open relationship. There are many ways to describe the consensual choice a couple can make to live a non-monogamous lifestyle — and ever more ways to navigate it. Maria Rosa Badia’s new short film Polyedric Love [an obsolete spelling of polyhedric, many-sided] features honest conversations with couples about the rewards and challenges of their unconventional relationships.

“We’ve always been told that there’s this one way of being with someone, and if you retract from it, it’s not right societally,” says a woman in the film. “But if it’s right instinctually…”

Making the film was an eye-opening experience for Badia, who came to see non-monogamous relationships as an inspiration. ...

Amy Gahran, author of Stepping Off the Relationship Escalator, posted her evaluation:

- Racially diverse
- Accessible to a mainstream audience
- Nicely produced
- Defines unfamiliar terms in a graceful way
- Addresses some negatives along with positives: supports believability.

- Opposite-sex couples only.
- No age diversity; all subjects appear to be in late 20s-early 30s
- Completely couple-centric; reinforces the stereotype that polyamory = couple+
- Only pre-existing couples that had "opened up" are included. Other partners not included.
- No solo poly representation.
- Mentions hierarchical polyamory, but no egalitarian models.

Also, to the cons I'd add the irrelevant clickbait cover illustration that someone at The Atlantic stuck onto it: a matchstick demonstration of sex positions. This is a cynical treatment for heartfelt interviews about loved ones that contain barely a mention of sex. More evidence that that's the only thing some people can think of when seeing a nontraditional relationship.

I find this trivialization especially insulting because Badia dedicated the film to the life and memory of Yuanyuan Wang-Fiengold, who briefly appears in it.


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