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



February 22, 2018

"Polyamory is on the rise, but negative assumptions still exist"


The Lily is a new online magazine from The Washington Post. It takes its name from America's first newspaper published by and for women, which helped to seed women's-rights and progressive movements from 1849 to 1853.

The "negative assumptions" in the article's title are trivialized notions of what polyamory means, now that the poly bandwagon is picking up speed and rolling downmarket.

Please remember about steering the bandwagon.


Polyamory is on the rise, but negative assumptions still exist

Illustration: Maria Corte for The Lily
By Sommer Brugal

...According to a 2016 National YouGov poll, consensual non-monogamy is on the rise. Forty-four percent of young Americans say they are open to relationships outside strict monogamy.

...Casual sex and polyamory are often considered interchangeable. Bethany says it’s a common misconception she often has to reject, especially on dating sites.

“I was very clear in new relationships,” says Bethany.

“A lot of people throw the word poly around, but I was genuinely looking for meaningful, romantic relationships. I wasn’t looking for partners to sleep around with.”

When using dating apps like Tinder, Bethany experimented with disclosing her relationship status on her profile. Including her polyamorous status on her profile, she says, often attracted men that were dismissive of her. They viewed her as someone they could simply sleep with.

“Because people assume you have other partners, [they] don’t take accountability of another’s feelings,” Bethany says. “The people you attract tend to walk all over you.”


Excuse me, people you attract who don't get what you're talking about may assume those things. Very early, ask directly: "What is 'polyamory,' as you see it?" Then be quiet and listen to what they say. Decide from there whether to smile and exit, or if they might be worth trying to coach (don't get your hopes up), or if you've found an actual co-traveller on your road.

Did it occur to her to find, or create, a good local poly community where you can be with people who understand what you're about? You need community.


Non-monogamous relationships aren’t free of the woes that befall monogamous relationships, including cheating. Sandy, a woman in her early 30s living in Washington, D.C., who is currently dating “three-ish” people, two men and one woman, says the same potential to breach the boundaries between partners exists.

If you agree to not engage emotionally with an outside partner, yet move forward to develop a romantic interest without discussing it, that boundary has been crossed. Sandy says non-monogamous relationships require more explicit communication.

While Bethany identifies as poly, Sandy views it as a framework she’s chosen to adopt. Both women believe monogamy isn’t inherent to humans and encourage people to question where their judgments and jealousies come from.

“If your first reaction [to non-monogamy] is ‘I would be so jealous,’ I invite you to really think about where your jealousy is coming from,” says Sandy. “Is it because you’re not good at something so you need to protect it?”

Addressing such insecurities, then applying that view to sexual or emotional intimacies, Sandy says, can offer insight into non-monogamous relationships and possibly boost satisfaction in your current relationship.

[‘Everyone is into polyamory these days’: 10 women talk about love]

Attitudes and perceptions toward non-monogamous relationships are changing quickly, says Terri Conley, a professor of women’s studies at the University of Michigan. Conley attributes the spark of interest to more people realizing that ultimately, they don’t feel monogamous deep down.

“[People] are attracted to others and they see that [many] monogamous relationships don’t work,” Conley says. “The only difference now is that people are more willing to be open about it.”

When asked what the future holds, Bethany and Sandy have similar responses: Monogamy is something they could entertain for some time, though not permanently.

“I don’t know what the future looks like, but I know poly isn’t something that I just won’t be one day,” Bethany says. “I want to get married, but I don’t think I’ll stop dating. Poly is who I am.”


The whole article (February 19, 2018).


● And just a bit too late for my last post, here's by another college newspaper writer: Forays into polyamory, in the University of British Columbia Ubyssey (Feb. 21)


By Annie Cavalla

Under two months ago, it was just a word. Now it’s the word. If you open my phone’s browser (and go to private mode), you’re accosted with it. If you were to take a trip inside my head, it comes up daily — more than daily, hourly — and is scrutinized minutely. It’s taken over so completely that I wanted to use it recently to introduce myself in a lab meeting to an interloping doctor. “Oh, you wanted to know about my project? Nope. But my boyfriend has another girlfriend. What’s up?”

...Life comes at you fast. ...


[Permalink]

Labels: ,



February 20, 2018

Last week in poly on campus: Val's day and Relationship Anarchy


Okay, I'm posting this late Valentine's bouquet of poly in the media (mostly college media) partly so I get a chance to boost this:

Courtesy Kimchi Cuddles. Used by permission.

Please can we make "just want to eat pizza in my duck suit" a thing?

But seriously, here's other stuff worthy of note.

● A glowing article ran in The Daily Californian, the independent student newspaper of UC Berkeley: How-to for more than 2: Exploring non-monogamy (February 13, 2018).

The illustration is someone paging through two of the stereotyped mainstream stock photos for poly articles that I've railed about: the cheating-looking couple caught from behind and the famous white duvet feet.


By Michelle Zheng | Staff

I started my exploration with non-monogamy last year when my boyfriend and I decided to open up our relationship. Ironically, I felt largely alone as I waded through awful Tinder matches and dating app after dating app.


...It was through luck that I stumbled upon Organ House, a “community devoted to normalizing non-monogamy and sexual exploration.” Unlike my aforementioned encounters, there was a feeling of acceptance and approachability. They had a wealth of resources for non-monogamous scenes in the Bay.

The polyam community is one of the most welcoming and accepting, regardless of whether a non-monogamous lifestyle ultimately ends up being for you.

“It’s strange,” Danelle Suchon, another Organ House member, remarked. “When you’re honest about your sex life, it carries over into every other part in your life. It’s nice to be surrounded by people who are on the same page.”

As Valentine’s Day lurks around the corner, many are consumed by the pressures of finding their one true soulmate. So what about those who are not only without a special boo, but also are uninterested in restricting themselves to just two?

Volunteering

Volunteering at a polyam-friendly event, rather than diving straight in as an attendee, is an good way to start, said Suchon, because volunteers have a reason to introduce themselves to new people.

Wholesome events

I know don’t always want to work while I’m trying to mingle. Organ House hosts plenty of wholesome, dry, polyam-friendly events such as group rock-climbing. People gather for semi-monthly polyam movie nights at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland.

...If you’re looking for Valentine’s Day plans, on Feb. 15, instead of watching the awful new “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie, Organ House is hosting Open Underground. ...


...All-out orgies


The Organ House organizes monthly play parties, and the ambiance has been described as warm, perfect and incredibly sultry. Obviously, you won’t be able to just waltz in to one of these, unlike when Elon Musk apparently attended one in Silicon Valley thinking it was a costume party instead. One must submit an application and be approved. ...


She gets it: You need community.


● In the Capilano Courier of Capilano University (North Vancouver, BC): Polyamory is exposing many of the flaws in the institution of monogamy


By Justin Scott / Managing Editor

Michael Fenton
Valentine’s Day is billed as an occasion for monogamous couples to celebrate their undying and exclusive love for one another, but for a growing section of society, this idea is increasingly unrelatable. “I can’t really say that I’ve ever been in a relationship that really fits the Hollywood ‘finding one true person’ model,” said Liam Helmer.... Although Helmer prefers to be called a relationship anarchist as opposed to a polyamorist, he is a member of the same community.

...“Consent becomes more important in polyamory because we don’t have the script already written for us,” Helmer explained. ... Helmer believes that one of the most important factors in a successful non-monogamous relationship is open and clear communication. Establishing boundaries and expectations between the partners and their other partners helps everyone involved avoid crossing a line.

...A 2012 survey conducted by polyamory support and advocacy group Loving More found that 49.5 per cent of those who identified as polyamorous identified as women, with just 35.4 per cent identifying as men. Another study conducted by the Vanier Institute found that the number of Canadians involved in polyamorous relationships is on the rise.

...So are the communities around them. Polyamory communities and support groups are growing as a way for members of the community to both meet each other and seek support.

...“I think the best reason to get into it is wanting to connect with real people and also push your own boundaries of what you think is possible for yourself in your life,” [Helmer] said. ...



● RA in the Vanguard of Portland State University: Relationship Anarchy: a feminist twist on relationships (Feb. 16):


By Claire Meyer

...Often confused as a synonym for polyamory, relationship anarchy is a nontraditional relationship style, whether romantic or platonic, in which a special focus is put on open communication and constant questioning of norms between partners. RA is a feminist practice in that it breaks down patriarchal relationship norms.

“I think the more you’re confronting heteronormative beliefs, the more you’re going to bump into…I don’t want to say problems, but areas where you have to work harder,” said RA practicer Kale Gosen, who identifies as a queer, non-monogamous sex-positive feminist.

“I want relationships based around consent and communication,” Gosen added. “I highly value autonomy and direct communication, and therefore I won’t ask you for permission to do things, but I will talk to you about how you feel for as long as you need to!”

RA aims to ... deconstruct and dissect what it means to be in a relationship and customize relationships to individual needs.

“The idea of developing an explicitly ethical way of doing relationships resonates with key feminist ideas around…the idea that the personal is political,” said Dr. Meg John Baker, a relationship anarchist, sex and gender therapist and senior psychology lecturer.

...“Many people think RA is for people who just want to have a lot of sex,” said Sally Eck, a Portland State professor in the women’s studies department. Eck hosts RA meetings at her home.

“If that’s all someone wants, then I think relationship anarchy is way too much work. It’s a tremendous amount of work to live your life outside of assumption.” Rather than a free-for-all, Eck looks at RA as “an opportunity for conscious relating.”

RA practice emphasizes openness, communication, respect, cooperation and consent, and the principles of relationship anarchy can be practiced by everyone, even monogamous individuals.

Swedish activist and author of the RA instructional manifesto Andie Nordgren wrote, “Relationship anarchy is not about never committing to anything — it’s about designing your own commitments with the people around you.”



● Among millennials in particular, many poly people are identifying as RA rather than polyamorous. Why? One glaring reason showed up in San Francisco State University's Golden Gate Express, in Love comes in multiples (Feb. 14)


By Dimitri Bailey

...Like [in] most relationships, the key ingredients to a healthy [poly] relationship are honesty, communication, love, compromise, and last but not least, rules and boundaries. ... In polyamorous relationships there are rules and agreements that are tailored specifically to each individual relationship.


Uninformed writers, and people latching onto reassurance for their insecurities, often declare that poly always has rules: things you impose on someone else. Rules are quite different from boundaries: things you set up around yourself to protect yourself. Many people in poly relationships do agree to rules, primary couples especially. But the idea that polys always do this is what makes poly RA people say, "I'm not polyamorous."


● In the Panther of Chapman University in the Los Angeles area): Table for five: a polyamorous Valentine’s Day (Feb. 11)


By Jade Michaels

...For Rachel Yi, a sophomore film production major, the real challenge is balancing all of her dates without letting jealousy interfere.

Yi wanted to set her own terms for dating polyamorously, when it seemed to her like monogamy was only advantageous for men “to acquire women like property.”

“I just didn’t like the idea of ‘I complete you and you complete me,’ like we aren’t truly ourselves and complete without a partner,” said Yi, who has multiple partners. ... I just want there to be more education and dialogue on the matter because I still hear the craziest preconceived notions about polyamory. I hear, ‘Isn’t polyamory just cheating?’ a lot.”

Michaela Hook, a senior creative writing major, entered a relationship believing it would be monogamous, but later discovered that her partner was polyamorous.

“I know it’s not for everyone. I’m a monogamist myself, but I wouldn’t change my girlfriend for the world and will stand with her if she ever decides to pursue another partner,” Hook said. “We both had this preconceived notion of monogamy, so when she started realizing that she could possibly have feelings for someone else while still feel the same way about me, she felt extremely guilty and ashamed.”

Though she personally doesn’t want to date multiple people, Hook supports her girlfriend by exploring and overcoming any jealousy, and by setting her own guidelines for comfort.

“(My girlfriend) emphasized that, no matter who she has feelings for, I come first, because we’re a team and she doesn’t want to be with another person if I am not OK with it,” Hook said.


So not RA, which eschews relationships being predefined as primary-secondary.


...However, not all polyamorous relationships function this way. For Yi, all her significant others are equal, and each member communicates and respects the desires of the other. This makes Valentine’s Day difficult, so she opts out of it all together to allow everyone involved in the relationship a peace of mind.

Chapman professor Cheryl Crippen, who has studied LGBTQIA+ psychology for years, believes many people attach a negative connotation to polyamory because of its misrepresentation in popular western culture.

“(In the U.S), monogamous relationships are privileged and other relationship structures are considered deviant. Polyamorous relationships are predicated on trust, honesty, transparency and commitment between those in the relationship,” Crippen said.

She believes that, despite having multiple partners, polyamorous couples do not encounter any more problems than monogamous couples do. In fact, she believes the structure of a polyamorous relationship can actually promote stronger flexibility and communication between partners.

“Individuals who thrive in poly relationships tend to have a well-defined sense of self, are secure in their relationships with their partners, and are assertive in communicating their needs,” Crippen said. ...



● Just off campus, the Philly Voice ran a first-person story that exemplifies RA: Monogamy. Polyamory. Open relationships: Redefining love on our terms (Feb. 12)


By Kristine Rose

...According to conventional wisdom, mine is a cautionary tale. I am woman who's doing it wrong when it comes to relationships. I've been with the same guy for eight years, and though we live together and are completely committed, we're probably never getting married.

We both have really close friends of the opposite sex, some of whom have even been previous romantic partners. We hang out with them alone. ... I'm currently away for the winter visiting my best friend/former roommate in another state without my partner, Sean. He will most definitely be hanging out with girls I don't know and going to strip clubs in my absence. Take a minute to gasp in horror.

The author with partner Sean
...And to make it all that much worse, I'm 28. That's only two years away from 30, and everybody knows that if you turn 30 without your life looking a certain way, you spontaneously combust.

...I've had a friend confide in me that she was afraid it was a bad sign if she didn't want to spend every waking moment with her boyfriend. She was relieved when I told her that some people just need more alone time and it was perfectly natural. Variances like this don't occur to people because they're not often talked about.

...We both have best friends who are not each other, and those friendships are equal in importance to our relationship. If one of us wants to take a trip alone or with friends, we do. If one of us wants to go out, we do. ... I would, at some point, like to live my life without the constant barrage of questions:

The author with best friend Joanna
"Is your relationship okay?"

"But...it's just so weird!"

...What I want is the type of relationship that's able to withstand – and even flourish – in these conditions. ...

Communal living

To make matters even "weirder," my partner and I have always thought the best living situation for us would be communal.

We would both prefer to live with close friends as well as each other. My best friend, Joanna, and her partner plan to join us in Philadelphia this summer. She's bought a beautiful townhouse in Fishtown which we will all live in together for (presumably) the rest of our lives. People cannot seem to wrap their heads around this at all. Honestly, I'm just as committed to my friend as I am to my partner. I can think of no happier situation than living with two of the most important people in my life. ...


Totally RA.


...There are so many unique paths you can take in life. It's important to do what feels right to you and not feel pressured to subscribe to a certain ideal. I want to encourage critical thinking and living with intention. Growing up, we are presented with one or two examples of how your life will turn out in the future, but this is only a construct. There's so much more out there if you keep an open mind.


[Permalink]

Labels: , ,



February 15, 2018

Another country heard from: Polyamory in Iceland


This just in from the Reykjavík Grapevine:


Interest In Polyamorous Relationships Increases Among Icelanders

By Alice Demurtas

In a country [of only 333,000] where “if you can think it, there is a Facebook group about it,” the polyamorous of Iceland have indeed created two online platforms to talk about their experiences. One of the Facebook groups, which is closed, counts 100 members, while the open one includes about 200.

María Rós Kaldalóns
The power of intimacy and love

María Rós Kaldalóns, one of the administrators of the aforementioned Facebook groups, explains that this kind of relationships is not simply the opposite of monogamy.

Instead, it needs to be explained as a natural desire to form meaningful relationships with more than one person. In a nutshell, it’s not just about sex but also about emotional connection, intimacy and love. “We reject the idea that you are meant to love only one person at the time, or that you’re bound to live with only one individual,” María Rós told RÚV [in Icelandic]. “You could be married or living with your partner but also with other people.”...

Sexuality: does it matter?

...María Rós explains that a high percentage of polyamorous people in Iceland are pansexual, ergo sexually attracted to people of any sex or gender, including transgender people, the androgynous or the gender fluid. ... “We don’t really look at one’s gender as a defining factor in a relationship.”...

A heart rock she spotted.


The whole article (February 15, 2018).

[Permalink]

Labels:



February 14, 2018

Four in a deep poly family will go on NBC Today Show Thursday morning


Update: The segment was preempted by the Florida school shooting. No word yet on rescheduling.


Zaeli writes, "Here's a picture of us last May buying a copy of the Times!" with them in its Sunday Magazine. "Taken at Book People in Austin, Texas. L-R: Blake Wilson, Zaeli Kane, Joe Spurr, Ixi Kirkilis."

Here's one to watch! Four polyfolks, deeply committed to the kitchen-table variety and raising kids, will be on NBC's Today Show tomorrow morning (Thursday Feb. 15) during its 9 to 10 a.m. segment. Zaeli Kane, one of the four, sent me her explanation of why they're doing it and the message they hope comes across:


What you're going to see on Thursday is four consenting adults in three distinct romantic relationships, several types of friendship, and one very fluid family agreement. We hope to dispel some myths about non-monogamy -- that it's for the commitment-averse or the greedy, that it's only about sex, that it's fundamentally less stable -- and instead emphasize that for us, it is simply the result of a practice in solidarity, which happens to deepen adult relationships to intimate levels of trust.

When I say solidarity, I mean internal solidarity between our conscience and our behavior, solidarity amongst ourselves as civil sovereign beings, solidarity in and between our genders, and now, solidarity with other polyamorous families, some of whom may be hiding their light in a closet.

We feel polyamory is not for everyone any more than snowboarding is for everyone -- there's no point in forcing someone to take it up and doing so is asking for drama -- but solidarity is a skill that we all should practice in whatever relationships we do have. That's what we admire about polyamory so that's where we aim to focus.


I love them already. She also tells how the show came about:


In the middle of the summer, an NBC producer found my Twitter account (@zaelikane) after reading Susan Dominus' article "Is An Open Marriage A Happier Marriage?" in The New York Times Magazine last May -- I was pictured on the cover and within the article, along with my husband and our other partners.

[The producer] asked if my husband and I would be interested to participate in a segment on open marriage, and I said we might be IF they included our other partners, because in my opinion, the metamour dynamic is perhaps the most "news-worthy" and socially useful aspect of ethical non-monogamy. By the end of the year it was agreed upon, with a Valentine's peg.

We agreed to put ourselves out there again for a few reasons. First of all, we're obviously already "out". Secondly, there is no more important conversation to us than the pursuit of stable families and ethical relationships. We're all careful people and I've written a lot about this, so we felt prepared to step more deeply into the role of "spokespeople", as we'd inevitably be seen.

We did hesitate, though. As parents and private citizens, we're naturally wary about the spotlight. Backlash after the Times piece wasn't as bad as we'd feared -- we'd braced ourselves, and there is some liberation in not minding what strangers say about you -- but it did bother our friends and loved ones, and it's unnerving to know what strangers are capable of when they strongly disagree with your choices.

But ultimately we're open to sharing with the media, despite a few frustrations (we declined all interviews after the Times article except one, an outlet I won't name, which took up a fair bit of our time for a piece that cut one of us out entirely, which was painful, and in the end they didn't publish it at all -- preempting it, understandably, to cover the firing of James Comey).

We as individuals all feel comfortable with this type of transparency. Collaboration is our mutual passion, and we're flattered to be asked by news sources to offer our perspective for the public record. We are not interested in suggesting that one configuration of love is superior to others. We're not interested in pretending to be perfect. We just hope the lessons we've learned (over and over again) will be useful to others, poly or not!

To that end my partner Blake and I (both comedians), will be launching a YouTube channel this month to address co-parenting, relationship, and cultural dynamics with a healthy dose of levity. But for now if people would like to be in touch, they can find us on Twitter and Instagram, and of course it'd be lovely to hear some support there because mostly it's the trolls that bother to comment!

Our names: Zaeli Kane, Joe Spurr, Blake Wilson, Ixi Kirkilis

Twitter:
@zaelikane
@joespurr
@blakekwilson

Instagram:
@zaelikane
@blake_wk
@blakeandzaeli
@ixitheunicorn

Thanks.


Watch this link for the video of their segment after it airs. I'll also post a followup.

[Permalink]

Labels: ,



February 11, 2018

As Valentine's Day approaches, poly in the media ramps up


Every year around Valentine's Day the polyamorous possibility gets extra media attention. Here are some examples so far.


Now magazine of Toronto profiles local reporter Jenny Yuen and her partners for its Val's Day issue: More to love: how polyamorous relationships work (online February 7, 2018). Yuen has a book on the subject coming out next fall.


Thousands of Canadians are rejecting the idea that you can love only one person at a time. We spoke to Toronto author Jenny Yuen on why polyamory works for her.

By Michelle Da Silva

On Sunday nights, Jenny Yuen and her husband, Charlie, walk up the street to Adam’s house. The three of them cook dinner and then settle onto the sofa to watch a movie. ... It was a pretty typical date night for anyone in a relationship. The difference is that Yuen is in love with both Charlie and Adam (whose names have been changed for privacy), and all three of them are in a committed relationship.

Jenny Yuen
According to the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association, thousands of Canadians practice non-religious polyamory, which is when a person has more than one committed intimate partner at the same time.

The 36-year-old journalist and author of the forthcoming Polyamorous: Living And Loving More (Dundern, November 2018) says when she started doing research for her book, she found at least 100 Facebook support groups and online polyamorous communities.

“A lot of people I’ve talked to across Canada have different reasons for going into polyamory,” says Yuen. “Some of them feel like they’ve always been polyamorous. Then there are people who came to polyamory not because something was missing out of their relationships, but more for the variety.”

The future book cover 
For Yuen, it was because she found herself falling in love with two people at the exact same time.... “Everyone’s always telling you that you have to pick one because that’s the only way we know how to do things, but I couldn’t choose,” she says. “It broke my heart.”

So Yuen decided to be honest about her feelings with Charlie and Adam. Surprisingly, they were both open to being in a polyamorous relationship.

“It was a workable alternative solution because everyone gets something, but everyone doesn’t get it all – except for me. I kind of get it all,” Yuen says with a laugh.

...Yuen told her parents, who told the extended family, and she came out to friends in a Facebook post in 2015.

“I did it on National Coming Out Day to clear the air about why there were pictures of me with two people,” she says. ... “We’ve always talked about the three of us being poly-fi, which is polyfidelitous,” Yuen explains. “Charlie and Adam actually call each other ‘co,’ as in co-partners.”

...Her advice to people considering polyamory is to join online and off-line communities (Polyamory Toronto hosts monthly meet-ups) and to be honest with their partner if they’re already in a relationship. Yuen says polyamory isn’t for everyone, but neither is monogamy.

“People need to find what’s right for them,” she says. “As long as monogamy or polyamory is a choice and not the default, I think it’s healthy.”



● Women's Health magazine: 7 People Share What Valentine's Day Is Like In A Polyamorous Relationship (Feb. 6). Separate quotes from various people:


Getty

– Kamala Devi, 42, lives in San Diego. She’s been married to Michael for almost 16 years. They have about a dozen other partners. “We tend to travel with lovers to celebrate Valentine’s Day. In past years, we've gone to the Bay Area for performance art or New York to visit friends and watch theater. Oftentimes there are lovers who can't celebrate with us, because of scheduling conflicts or other constraints, so we make an effort to celebrate on another date. We like to think of it more like Valentine’s Month."

– "Since becoming poly I really have internalized the realization that not all relationships will last forever or end in marriage, and that's okay. With that knowledge, it's much weirder to get someone a card that essentially says we will be together until death."

– "I was once dating six people who were also dating multiple people. We had to decide when and if we could physically see each other on that day or if another day that week was more plausible. Sometimes there were difficult feelings about who might get the actual day."

– "One of the best parts of being poly on Valentine’s Day is that there are more people telling you their feelings for you. It’s a great love boost!"

– "These days, I buy into the whole Valentine’s Day thing a lot less. When I was in a monogamous relationship, I placed quite a lot of stock into those kinds of rituals and they always felt a bit formulaic: demonstrate love with XYZ gesture, lingerie, and cards. Once you've broken the big rule of monogamy, it becomes easy and fun to break lots of little rules. For example, I like to buy one of my male partners flowers for Valentine’s."

– "You have to kind of accept that you'll never be able to equally distribute time across all partners. Sometimes that doesn’t even make sense — one of my partners isn’t really into Valentine’s Day anyway, so he'd find it strange if I went to great lengths to spend the whole evening with him every third year, for parity!"

– "All of us went to dinner, along with a couple of other partners that are connected to the group through my partners. I love it when there's an extended little circle of people hanging out."

– "I enjoy ‘silly’ holidays like Valentine’s Day, and I love celebrating them with multiple people. This past year I bought a monogamous-worded card for my husband and crossed some things out and re-wrote it to fit our marriage."

– Lola, 65, lives in Burlington, Vermont. She’s dating two women, both of whom have other partners. "We communicate everything up front, so we’re open about what we’re doing with our other partners that day without fear of retribution or disaster. The only complications are around expectations and scheduling. If someone has some deeper expectation of something special happening, and they don't make that request to the partner, there's room for ‘ouch.’ So it's an opportunity to grow our skills at asking for what we want or need."

– "There was definitely a competitive atmosphere among the girls I went to school with around whose boyfriend could produce the most romantic day of all, which made my unpartnered classmates feel unworthy. Looking back, I regret the power I let Valentine's Day hold over me. In my post-monogamy life ... my partners and I typically pool our resources and go in on a single excursion or indulgence that we all can enjoy. My partners and I also try to avoid feeding the capitalist machine around Valentine's Day if possible, so we don’t do many material gifts."

– Page, 36, lives in Cleveland, Ohio. She’s married to her husband and dates two women. Her husband dates one of her girlfriends, too. "The way I've typically celebrated is by having a big party near the actual date. All my partners are invited, along with their other partners, many of our friends, and those friends' other partners. We watch terrible movies and mock them, eat fried chicken, have drinks, and catch up with one another. It might be cheesy, but life is good and my relationships are so strong that every day feels like Valentine's Day. I know I'm loved year round."



● In the online women's magazine Hello Giggles ("part of the Time Inc. Style Collection and the Time Inc. Lifestyle Network"): Polyamorous couples share how they celebrate Valentine's Day (Feb. 6).


By S. Nicole Lane

...This will be Emilie’s first Valentine’s Day as a poly person with two partners. They say that “it’s so beautiful” to be in a poly relationship, and that all three partners share holidays, special events, and birthdays together: “It’s more complicated, and the planning is a lot more tedious, but in the end it’s all about love.”

While I am in a monogamous relationship now, I did spend three years in a poly relationship. In that partnership, I explored various ways of dating, celebrating pivotal events, and defining clear boundaries. It’s important to discuss your options with your primary partner. Since poly relationships come in all forms, with various dos and don’ts, it’s up to the people involved to create their own boundaries. In a poly relationship, especially a poly relationship with many partners, the people involved should remember to not make any partners feel unimportant. Discussing assumptions and expectations with a partner is considerate and important for a poly agreement.

Since couple’s privilege may cause a third partner to feel left out or abandoned, remember to discuss your plans with everyone involved in the poly relationship. Emilie explains that the term “primary” can be used to “create a perceived hierarchy among partners.” They continue, “I’m still working on finding my own language to describe my relationships.”

...“This year’s Valentine’s Day is about to be a damn dreamsicle,” says Emilie. Their partner is dating someone new and wants to spend the night, and since Emilie isn’t a night person, they are going out together earlier in the day. In the evening, Emilie is sharing time with their other partner. Emilie continues, “We will probably send each other selfies. We have a group chat on Facebook and it’s disgustingly adorable.”



PrideSource Michigan: Be Mine…You, Too (Feb. 7).


Nicole MacRae, Doug MacRae, Dana Chase, Phil Chase and Rachael Feher. (BTL Photo: Andrew Cohen)

By Dana Chase

The other morning I was standing in the checkout lane behind a man who was buying two Valentine’s Day cards, each curiously turned faced down. ... After his strong assertion of monogamy, I felt moved to say “Not that there’s anything wrong with having more than one partner. I’m polyamorous and have multiple Valentines.” Blank stares from the clerk and the customer. ... I sometimes enjoy flashing my polyamorous identity, even more so during a holiday steeped in monogamy.

First, let me break it down. I have been legally married to Phillip for nearly a quarter century. We live in a big, love-filled house with Phillip’s girlfriend, whom I consider a kind of sister-wife. Together we are raising our two teenage sons alongside her teenage boy and eight-year-old girl. I am also partnered with Doug, who is married to Niki. They do not live with us, but Doug resides here scheduled nights of the week and his twins often join us at family gatherings. We consider ourselves chosen family.

People tend to view that which is foreign to them through an over-sexualized lens, thereby turning the exotic into the erotic. ... There are times when I hate having to painstakingly explain the sexual dynamic of our polycule, especially to those who have no idea whatsoever how to even begin to process what I take as a normal part of my sexual expression. Polyamorous people don’t have sex with everything that moves. We are, generally speaking, some of the most sexually responsible beings on this planet. ... Polyamorists have many of the same issues with labels as those who wave the rainbow flag. Small talk inevitably turns towards the family dynamic, and who is connected to whom.

...Tell me something: if a young girl knows the difference between polyamory and cheating, why can’t society see it, too? Rachael’s daughter tells all her friends about her polyamorous family. When one of them exclaimed “That’s cheating!!!” she replied “No it isn’t. My mom and Phil’s wife are friends on Facebook.” Which, of course, makes it all legit.

...After all, who out there can put a box around love? Or wrap it up in just one Valentine card?


Chase goes on to interview several of her partners about their (very sound) advice for newcomers to poly life. "Actively putting a face to polyamory for close to a decade, Dana has appeared at conferences, spoken to college classes and church groups, served on professional boards, and even held a feature spot on the evening news. She hopes to one day publish a memoir of her colorful polyamorous journey."


● And in the Vancouver edition of Canada's Metro newspaper: 'It's really just a dance:' Polyamorous community celebrates Valentine's Day (Feb. 8).


 Adrian Buckley, John Wood, and Cass King of Cass King & The Next Right Thing. The bandmates are hosting a Valentine's day concert  [named Alt-V] that is inclusive of Vancouver's polyamorous community.  (Jennifer Gauthier / Vancouver Freelance)

By Tessa Vikander

...“There's this kind of Google Calender lifestyle that you kind of have to adopt,” [musician Cass King] said. “Celebrating Valentine's Day or New Year’s or any sexy holiday is always a kind of a negotiation.”

...“I tend to form longer term love bonds,” explains King. “To me it's really a family thing. If we are in love, then you are a member of my family,” she said.

...In an effort to refocus the evening of Valentine’s Day as “a celebration of love, but not necessarily of coupledom,” King and her band, Cass King & The Next Right Thing, are playing a poly-positive show that’s open to everyone, including asexual people, and even monogamous couples, whom she encourages to attend.


“You don't have to worry about being hit on by a bunch of ravenous poly people!” she said jokingly. “It's really just a dance….”

Because King’s band is chock-full of poly people, they expect a big turnout from Vancouver’s polyamorous community. ...




● So why not use Val's Day to publicize your own group? Steve K. of Vancouver sends us a nice press release that the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) issued three days ago: Polyamory Continues To Grow In Canada. Wherever you are, you could copy much of its text for your own use. (Ask the listed contact person, Zoe Duff, for permission).

[Permalink]

Labels:



February 10, 2018

More on the BBC's poly documentary "Love Unlimited"


The BBC's 1-hour documentary Love Unlimited: Polyamory in Scotland last Wednesday aired only in Scotland (see previous post). It's now viewable online throughout the UK, and worldwide if you spoof your IP address to the UK with a VPN or proxy, but only until March 7th. However, the show's echoes are going wider.

I asked Noni, one of the people prominently featured, what she thought of the experience. She wrote back,


I became involved through my friend who runs the poly meetup in Dundee. He was approached by Benjie [Bateman], the maker of the documentary, and thought I would be interested. I met up with Benjie before any filming started and he seemed very genuine, and respectful.

Throughout the whole filming he was super keen to learn and understand. The same goes for pretty much everyone I spoke to within the BBC. Having read the article, and seen the show now, I do feel like I have been truthfully represented, everything I said in the show I think comes across in the same spirit I meant it.

All in all, I'm really happy with how it came out, and my experience working with the BBC was overwhelmingly positive.


Remember that if the BBC and/or Benjie Batemen come looking for more polyfolks to work with.


● Meanwhile, here's a new composite of clips from the show, courtesy of BBC Scotland:



The BBC is also featuring, on its World Service online, a video from Erika Kapin's Open Photo Project — which "uses photography, audio and text to present the beautiful, complex lives of consensually non-monogamous people":

If that embed won't display, here's the link that will. Ruby Bouie Johnson, the dynamic organizer of the of Poly Dallas Millennium conference, writes "The video exhibits some of the most beautiful families. Kevin Patterson allows the world into his home, his life, and himself. The sincerity, genuineness, and authenticity is felt in the video (it is for me). I am very proud of the strides and exposure that Kevin has given the Black American Community, the Polyamorous Community, and the Multicultural Community. You and your wife and your babies are beautiful, my friend and brotha."


● The Guardian yesterday followed up with an opinion piece by the mom of a Love Unlimited star:


My son is trans and polyamorous — here's what I learned from him

I wasn’t sure I wanted to see a documentary featuring my son and his partner but I wanted to understand the paradigm shift millennials are spearheading

Iain, Ross and Pav in Love Unlimited. (Photo: Benjie Bateman/ Fall Films/ BBC Scotland)

By Claire Armitstead | associate editor, culture

...In Tuesday’s books podcast, we marked LGBT history month by interviewing Christine Burns, a campaigner for transgender rights, about her history of the UK’s trans community. The next day, my son was in a TV documentary – deep breath – about polyamory.

I’d known for a while that Love Unlimited was coming but was not sure I wanted to see it... had it not been for the subtitle of Burns’s Trans Britain, which collects the sometimes bleak experience of trans people over half a century into 22 essays.

The subtitle is Our Journey from the Shadows, and its point is that, in order to be understood, people first have to be seen.

Love Unlimited wasn’t about trans people, but about life choices that challenged traditional thinking about relationships.

...The interviewees included three gay men, two of whom work as nurses, who are filmed whiling away an evening with board games in their Edinburgh flat before retiring to their two bedrooms (there isn’t room for all three to sleep comfortably in one bed, and shift work means often only two of them are in anyway). Their setup is known in polyamorous circles as a triad or “thruple”. What, they say, could be more ordinary?

My son’s arrangement is a daisy chain, in which each person is free to have other lovers while remaining committed to each other. He currently has only one partner, but “they” – the pronoun of choice – are also in a lesbian relationship, so I resonate strongly with the splendidly upfront mother of one of the gay nurses as she recalled her initial reaction to the introduction of a third partner: “[I thought] that’s my baby’s man … Does this mean they’re not going to get married? Is my baby going to be lying in bed alone at night crying because his partner’s not there and is away shagging some other bloke?”

But that maternal worry isn’t going to disappear because I try not to think about it. The film says my son and his partner regard themselves as non-binary “in that they identify as neither exclusively masculine nor feminine”. Wrong, says my son, when I discuss it with him: they see themselves as neither exclusively male nor female, but his partner strongly identifies as femme.

Such delicate distinctions can wrongfoot the best of us. ...

...While Trans Britain valuably documents the long history behind what can seem to be a new phenomenon, Love Unlimited points to a paradigm shift among some millennials that is clearly enabling them to flourish. There’s even a very chatty Dundee polyamory group, which meets up once a month over coffee and cake to debate “poly” posers such as how to deal with envy and jealousy.

What, the interviewees were repeatedly asked, were the main challenges of their lifestyle? Trust, they said – and timetabling. I for one feel greatly reassured. There will still be board games in the evenings.


The whole article (February 9, 2018).

------------------------------

Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust
● Aaaaand, turning to the British tabloids, here's a heart-melter that's started going around. From the Mirror: Blind, bisexual and polyamorous goose involved in love triangle with two swans dies at 40 (Feb. 9). More on this worldwide sensation: Thomas The Bisexual Goose Will Be Buried Beside His Male Partner Of 30 Years: "After enjoying a romantic triad with two black swans, Thomas died at the ripe old age of 40." Inspirational, says the writer of A Case For Modelling Your Life After This Bisexual Polyamorous Goose:


Thomas will be buried next to Henry where they originally lived together. The ceremony will be public, and no doubt packed with people — it’s all I can do not to book a flight to New Zealand right now.

Honestly, if we have learnt anything from Thomas, it’s that love and relationships don’t have to fit into the oppressive boundaries we’ve created for ourselves (yes, I am trying to make a serious case for polyamory based off the life of a goose).


Followup, February 21:


Thomas the bisexual goose was laid to rest next to his soulmate, Henry the Swan, in a moving funeral service.

A bagpipe procession led the crowd of about 60 people at Thomas’ funeral.

A member of the Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust – where Thomas spent his final days – held a small coffin with the goose’s body inside.

Thomas was buried next to his love of nearly 30 years, Henry the Swan with a plaque put up near the grave in his honor.

...The trio were in an amicable polyamorous relationship until Henry died in 2009. Thomas was heard crying in the years after Henry’s death.

...Pinky Agnew, a local, wrote a poem for Thomas:

Here lies Thomas, the great-hearted goose,
Nestled near Henry, in their final roost,
Here where they raised young, and found sanctuary,
Somewhere above us, these great souls fly free.



[Permalink]

Labels:



February 7, 2018

One-hour BBC documentary: "Love Unlimited: Polyamory in Scotland"



Today [Wednesday February 7, 2018] a one-hour documentary titled "Love Unlimited: Polyamory in Scotland will air on BBC Two Scotland at 9 p.m. GMT.

The trailer looks good (click the link; I can't get it to embed here. All video clips.)

So does the blurb on the show's website:


A growing number of people are finding that traditional relationships don't work for them. So instead of just one, they have multiple romantic relationships. It's known as polyamory. Polyamory requires the full consent of everyone involved, but even then things can get complicated. Existing partners can easily feel left out, jealous or hurt. So open and honest communication is essential for polyamory to work — plus some careful timetabling.

From left: Oliver, Noni and Morgan

Love Unlimited features polyamorous relationships of many kinds. Noni is a young woman with two boyfriends, Kima and Toms are a bisexual couple in an open relationship, and Ross, Iain and Pav are a trio of gay men in a three-way polyamorous partnership. Jayne and Dom are very much in love but feel it's important to keep their relationship open to the possibility of additional partners. What they all have in common is that they have rejected monogamy in favour of a more open and fluid approach to relationships.

There is much negativity and confusion surrounding polyamory. It can be especially hard to understand for family and friends. There's also the emotional strain of dividing time and affection between partners and the stress and anxiety of opening up an existing relationship to new potential partners. Poly people insist that it's about multiple meaningful relationships and not an excuse to sleep with lots of different people — although that can happen too.

Despite the challenges, new research shows that overall satisfaction can actually be higher in polyamorous relationships. So how do you go about loving more than one person? And what can polyamory teach us all about happy healthy relationships?


The live program is viewable only in Scotland. It will be available online throughout the UK here (and worldwide if you can spoof an IP address), but only for 30 days.


 Yesterday the BBC published an article about three people in the show who are in an MFM vee: ''I'm polyamorous, why should I limit my love?' (February 6, 2018):


By Steven Brocklehurst, BBC Scotland News

Noni is polyamorous — she has two boyfriends and is committed to them both equally.

The 23-year-old, who lives in North Berwick, says she felt trapped and claustrophobic in monogamous relationships, no matter how much in love she was.

She tells the BBC Scotland documentary Love Unlimited: "There is nothing wrong with one partner.

"I just don't see why I should artificially limit the amount of love that I put out into the world."

Polyamory is having more than one romantic relationship at a time.

Noni says it could include non-monogamous practices such as swinging but for her there is an "ethical" dimension that means the relationships themselves are important.

Noni is in relationships with Morgan, a 27-year-old administrator, and Oliver, a 24-year-old drama graduate.

...Morgan had been with girlfriend Hannie for four years when he met Noni — and they are still together.

"Hannie introduced me to the idea of polyamory," says Morgan.

"When I mention that to some people they are quite surprised because they think open relationships, polyamory, that's clearly the man's idea because it's lots of sex, right?

"Lots of communication, a little more sex," he says.

...According to Morgan, Hannie, who is not currently seeing anyone else, is "happy for him" to have a relationship with Noni. He says: "She is very encouraging, she is very supportive. There is a lot of mutual joy in all of it."

...Oliver has been seeing Noni for about 18 months. [He] says Noni was clear from the start of their relationship that she was polyamorous. "That was who Noni was and it's fine," he says.

...[Noni] says there is no favouritism and the relationship she has with each is vastly different.

"I could not tell you what I liked more between chocolate and theatre," she says. "That's the way I see it. No matter how much I love one, that's not going to mean the other will fade away."

...Another "ethical" aspect of polyamory that is important to Noni is to protect each other from sexually transmitted diseases.

She says: "Using condoms and letting your partners know who you are or are not using condoms with is a necessity to practising polyamory in a way that is safe and ethical because obviously if I mess up and catch something then that risks my partner's health and that risks my meta's health and so on."

Although she is only 23, Noni insists that polyamory is a lifestyle choice she intends to continue and does not think it is incompatible with raising a family.

She says: "I know people who are polyamorous and have children.

"It is really outdated to think a child needs [exactly] one mother and one father.

..."I would not say we are blazing a trail, but we are definitely creating an environment that allows for a healthy community."



 Meanwhile, British tabloids have been exciting all over themselves about the show's gay male triad. The Daily Mail's version, with many pictures: 'I love my son's husband –and his boyfriend': Mother reveals how she came to terms with her polyamorous gay son's three-way relationship (Feb. 4). Excerpts:


A mother has told how she grew to love her polyamorous son's husband — and his boyfriend.

Debbie McKinnon was delighted when son Ross told her he was marrying long-term partner Iain Waddell, 33.

But Ross, 27, then told her a third man, Pav Gill, 24, would be joining the relationship.

"Debbie McKinnon was delighted when son Ross (centre) told her he was marrying Iain Waddell (back right). But she was angry when told Pav Gill (back left) would be joining the relationship."

Mrs McKinnon's delight quickly turned to anger but she has now learned to love both of the men in her son's life — and is now a proud mother-in-law.

Ross met fellow nurse Iain on a dating app and they had an open relationship. They married in 2014 just days after Pav had moved in to their apartment.

Mrs McKinnon, 45, of East Lothian, told the Daily Record: 'I was worried my baby was going to be lying in bed alone at night, crying because his partner was in the next room sleeping with some other bloke.

'But Ross explained that while Iain and him had a deep, deep love, it didn't mean they didn't want to have sex or relationships with other people.

'They still got married, and Pav was at their wedding. Now Pav is Ross's boyfriend — they fell in love as well — and the relationship the three of them have is very beautiful.'

...Ross says sex with other people is now just a form of exercise for him and said the trio are completely honest with each other.

And he admitted he feels sorry for people who only have one lover. ...


This story also appeared in Scotland's Daily Record, Metro UK, The Sun, the Mirror, the Coventry Telegraph, and elsewhere.

[Permalink]

Labels: , ,



January 30, 2018

Cosmo's "Polyamory Diaries" goes on a trainwreck. Why you need poly community.

The lodge, seen from the creek
It's the end of January, and right now I'm sitting on a couch in the living room of the Center for a New Culture lodge at Abrams Creek in the mountains of West Virginia. It's snowing. Yesterday was the last day of the Winter Poly Wonderland retreat here. Some of the polyfolks who run this place, and some of the friendly drop-ins who orbit this remarkably enlightened little New Culture nest, are burbling happily around the kitchen table down the hall, and arranging for repairs and supply pickups on the phone in the office, and showering upstairs. In a half hour most of us will gather on the couches for a snuggle meeting and mutual check-in on our various states of being. My kind of meeting. Meanwhile I'm browsing the media for polyamory in the news.

And up on my screen pops a pathetic mess of ugliness posing as avant-guardism in Cosmopolitan UK.

It's Cosmo's new series "Polyamory Diaries," now in its second month. "Jack" chronicles the true story of him and his wife "Lucy" opening their marriage after she demanded it. This is supposed to save the marriage. She demanded that he date also, against his wishes, because it's "enlightened." Ugly dynamics are moving in the background, room elephants loom unspoken, and the crazy grows. Those poor people!

The January installment, the first, was titled Polyamory Diaries: “I want us to sleep with other people”. From Jack's narrative:


Louisa Parry

...We’d been through some hard times recently... which was why I was determined to make this evening special – flowers, champagne, her favourite food. ... But Lucy had some new ideas of her own. “Jack,” she said, turning to me. “Yes…” I replied, expectantly, thinking her next words would be, “Let’s go to bed and make everything alright.” “Jack… I think I’m polyamorous. I want to sleep with other people. But I want you to as well.”

...She went on to describe a lifestyle that, it turns out, she had been researching for the last six months. Polyamorous wasn’t a term I was familiar with, beyond it having vague connotations of sleeping around. Sometimes called ‘ethical non-monogamy’, polyamory is seen by its proponents as a more enlightened, modern way to conduct relationships. Sure, it means sleeping with whoever you like, but here’s the catch: as long as it’s agreed beforehand with your partner. In the unconventional future Lucy mapped out for us, our relationship and family life, centred around our three children, would still be our ‘primary’ – i.e., the most important part of our lives. However, we’d also be free to have ‘non-primary’ sexual relationships with others. ...

---------------------

...The next morning as the hangover kicks in, my feelings of excitement are quickly replaced with ones of rejection and insecurity. At breakfast I ask Lucy if there is someone she has in mind who she wants to get together with, who sparked her interest in this whole new ‘poly’ lifestyle. She insists there isn’t and that she’s actually more interested in other women than men. (This isn’t a total surprise ... and, the truth is, another woman seems a lot less threatening than another man.)

“You know, polyamory doesn’t mean our lives have to change,” she says [Oh God. –Ed.], nuzzling my shoulder.

“Yeah, well, I don’t see why we have to change anything. I like how our lives are now. ... It’s not like we’re both going to suddenly set up Tinder profiles!”

A week later, I set up a Tinder profile.

Poly or divorce?

It takes a few days for the milestone realisation that ‘swiping right’ was going to be part of my life to set in. It’s hard to focus at work in the wake of Lucy’s first ‘indecent proposal’. Home life veers between talking in a thrilled way about how this new lifestyle might pan out, and having blazing rows that seem to escalate rapidly from the smallest issue.

...I fire off messages to a couple of exes and ‘ones that got away’ on Facebook, not revealing or suggesting anything, but simply to make new connections in my mind – the type of connection that, until very recently, seemed forbidden. ...

When, one night, I attempt to backtrack and suggest that maybe we should try more conventional ways to save our marriage – like counselling – Lucy becomes very negative. We had tried one session a few weeks before and she thinks it’s unlikely to help. In one heated moment she even says that we either give polyamory a go or get divorced. Given such a stark choice, the decision is pretty simple. Lucy is adamant she still loves me deeply and wants us to stay together as a family. I still love her too, so, really, there only seems to be one possible path…

When, that same week, I get news of two different couples I know well getting divorced, it feels like a sign. ... I realise that if this somehow works out, polyamory is surely better than divorce.

...Lucy hits me with another bombshell. Having previously stated that polyamory was just an idea at this stage, and something driven primarily by her sapphic side, she tells me that, in fact, she has got a man in mind. She met him at a party a few months ago, and if she wants to have sex with him, well, we are polyamorous now, so that should be fine with me.

I try to remain calm, although I am devastated. We draw up a written agreement setting out the parameters of our new relationship. ... It is the saddest point of our marriage to date. ... Part of me feels like I’m being forced into a life I never wanted. I thought I’d put all the hassles of dating behind me. I desperately want to go back to the safety of monogamy, where nothing can threaten our special bond.

But, with Lucy already planning her first date for 10 days’ time, trying to turn back the clock isn’t an option. ... I need a date, and fast, preferably next Wednesday, so I can be out when Lucy’s out and not be sitting at home agonising about what she might be up to. Only one method I’ve heard about promises to yield dates this fast… Tinder.

...Within 24 hours, I have a dozen matches and even a couple of phone numbers, though I don’t disclose my relationship status. I figure, let’s get chatting first, then I can tell them what’s going on once we build up a rapport. When I do reveal my ‘situation’, I am unceremoniously ‘dumped’ by one promising match. I feel raw and resentful of being forced into this position of rejection that I didn’t want. That night, Lucy and I have a huge argument and I go to bed hopelessly depressed.

The days until Lucy’s date are passing quickly and, just as I’m starting to give up hope of ever being out that same night, a profile makes my heart leap… Nell is a girl who is actually describing herself as polyamorous. ...

...Sometimes my conversation with Nell feels less like a date, more like a counselling session. I’m going to lose Lucy, aren’t I? What am I even doing here?


February's installment, much shorter, is just out: Polyamory Diaries: “Last night my wife had sex. Just not with me”.


...When she gets to the bit about her having sex with another man for the first time, I feel heartbroken. It leaves me wondering if our own sex life is really that unfulfilling. But Lucy has insisted that polyamory will strengthen our own bond. So now that I’m anxious to prove this, I focus on having sex with Lucy again as soon as possible.

The next day, I make my move in bed… and she brushes me off. She says she’s ‘had a long day’. I’m upset but try to remain calm. After all, we do at least kiss and, rather more crucially, share a bed for the first time since our daughter was born two years ago. ...

The next day is Friday, and I feel much happier. In my rush to embrace polyamory – and catch up with Lucy in the sex stakes – I have lined up a Tinder date (my second in three days). It is a disaster. She’s a rich lawyer – pretty, but also pretty self-centred. Still, she’s a good conversationalist, and I have vague hopes of some romance – until, after dinner, we talk about relationships. On her Tinder profile, she said she wasn’t up for anything serious. For my part, in our Tinder chat, I mentioned my wife, although didn’t spell out the polyamorous situation, thinking it was a non-issue in a casual relationship. I was wrong.

She is surprised to find out I’m still with my wife, having assumed we were separated. She thinks the whole polyamorous thing sounds bizarre. Despite her commitment-phobic profile, monogamy, for her, still seems an important endgame. At one point, she even describes Lucy as ‘selfish’, then lashes out at her, claiming that the guy Lucy slept with the other night didn’t seem to have much respect for her....

The fallout from the date is pretty destructive. I come home in a bad mood, secretly blaming Lucy for the awful time I’ve had. Lucy is, in turn, annoyed that she’s let me go out on a ‘hot’ date, and now I seem grumpy and ungrateful. All this is starting to pile on the pressure. ... If the idea of polyamory was to bring us closer together, it isn’t working.

By Sunday, the pressure has built even further. I buy flowers, champagne and cook Lucy’s favourite Chinese food. ... and the situation explodes into a huge argument, with screaming, slammed doors, tears and separate rooms. I swallow a minor, but deliberate, overdose of prescription sleeping pills. If this is poly, I want out.


No, it's not! What a terrible rep the Lucys of the world give us. PUP — Polyamory Under Pressure — is one sick puppy and its diarrhea fouls us all.

People seem so much more likely to blunder into poly catastrophe when they try it without consciously examining, and shedding, a whole raft of mainstream mono assumptions around ownership, control and codependency. And that's not just about orders forbidding someone to have new relationships. It's also about orders that they must have new relationships! And assumptions that one person shouldn't have relationship choice for themselves, including monogamy. Didn't she learn anything about boundaries and agency and respect in those six months of "researching"? Did she just read Cosmo and the tabloids? What about nonviolent communication, active listening, kindness, compassion, even the old bit to "Go as slow as the slowest partner"? And, "First get your existing relationship(s) into excellent shape"? And how about simple respect?

Me, I don't think I'll ever want to explore a deep relationship with someone who's not already skilled in poly/ New Culture/ mindful-relationship practices. Unless they're one of the blessed few who come by these things naturally.

How do you find such people? Be one of them. Gather with them. Community is what you need.

---------------------------------


P.S. January 31: And still the tabloids can't get enough. The Daily Mail today features another happy-sounding poly family with happy pix, this one the absolute stereotype of the unicorn setup: Polyamorous couple plan to 'MARRY' the long-term girlfriend who shares their bed (and their two sons already call her 'mommy'). See how many embedded explosives you can count here. Excerpts:



The polyamorous couple, who share sons Dario, eight, and Anthony, three, (pictured together) met Courtney (far right) on a dating website.


By Emily Chan For Mailonline

...Courtney, 27, moved into their family home shortly after they met, with the trio now planning to commit to each other in a ceremony.

The couple's girlfriend, who has already changed her last name to Catano, hopes to legally adopt the couple's children, Dario, eight, and Anthony, three, who already call her 'mommy'.

Matthew, 32, insists that he loves both women equally, and says that they are not in an open relationship as many people believe.

Mortgage adviser Michelle, 31, said: 'We never considered adding someone to the mix until we were married. Our relationship has always been incredibly strong, but we thought that by adding someone else in to the mix it would be a fun new element.

'I was searching on a dating website and came across Courtney's profile, and Matthew and I couldn't believe how attractive she was.

'We got talking and we soon met up, and we both fell in love with her straight away.'

Courtney moved into the couple's home shortly after they met.... The trio's relationship has gone from strength to strength ever since.

Courtney even quit her job to become a full-time mom to Dario and Anthony — with both referring to her as 'mommy' as well.

Despite the unique situation, the trio claim that they all live harmoniously together, and that their children are happy and aware of the situation.

...'There's absolutely no jealousy whatsoever between us all, and we make sure to spend our one on one time together as well as individually.

'We'll explain to the children fully when they're older why they have two moms, but for now they just think they're the luckiest kids in the world to have three parents!'


The text-and-photos package came from one of the agencies (Caters News this time) that sell content to tabloids and clickbait sites.

There's no way to tell if these three people are really as hearts-and-flowers as they sound, or if they'll continue to be that way once Courtney grasps the implications of giving up her income and career to work as a free nanny to a couple who can dump her at any moment if something doesn't go their way. I hope they've all sat down and, with compassion and fearnessless, drawn up how Courtney will be paid for her labor and how to ensure equal freedom and agency all around.

For instance, what if her relationships with each of them don't continue to develop in perfect sync? The couple don't sound ready to "let your relationships be what they are" (quoting More Than Two). Can she have another partner if she chooses? No, says Matthew, they're "not in an open relationship." If she decides to marry another partner and set up a new household, will they put aside any regrets and come to her wedding with warm hearts for her happiness? Many polyfolks would, and do.

If you and your polyfamily decide to work with one of the tabloid agencies (they're beating the bushes to find you), please represent better.

How? Remember: You need community.

[Permalink]

Labels: , ,