"How do I love thee? And thee? And thee?"
(Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
Edmonton's hip "weekly source for news, arts and entertainment" has a long cover story on polyamory this week (Feb. 8, 2007), built around a profile of a happy young FMM triad.
The worst reaction Patrick has gotten was from his mother: "‘I wish you’d just pick straight or gay... It’s too hard to try to explain why you have a boyfriend on one arm and a girlfriend on the other.’"
...All three are quick to admit that they face difficulties, but the troubles they describe are often familiar, albeit sometimes with a twist. Like anyone involved in a romantic relationship, they worry about what they’ve gotten themselves into, and what might come of it. [When asked about their fears:] "[I fear] I’ve bitten off more than I can chew," admits Patrick, "I fear hurting people I love; I fear losing them; I fear alienating them through my shared love."
Tina laughs as she concedes her fear: "That I am here only to make babies!"
"Moving in together... was a big, scary step," Patrick remembers. "Two people who share me, moving on to sharing a home together with me."
Moving in together? You can hear the barricades being personed in greater numbers the farther we get into the subject....
Once [the] trio all lived together, communication became even more important. "We all sit down very regularly, and discuss the relationship," he explains. "The usual check-ups that a relationship needs."
This sounds so matter-of-fact to them. I don’t remember regular check-ups in my monogamous history. A lot of break-ups, but not a lot of check-ups.
Patrick, Tina, and Ryan admit that their relationship takes a hell of a lot of work.
"A poly relationship is a lot like gardening," Patrick meditates. "You spend so much time on your hands and knees mucking around in the dirty chores . . . and sometimes you’re down there so long you almost forget to straighten up, take a look around you, and see the beautiful things you’re helping to grow."
...Patrick expects that fewer than five hundred people in Edmonton identify as polyamorous, but he, Tina, and Ryan all believe that polyamory’s popularity is growing. As Ryan suggests, "People are slowly moving away from the one-size-fits-all relationship, and just doing what feels right for them."
Read the whole article. And see the (cover art).
The article has a sidebar too, with a title I've never seen in a mundane publication:
A Polyamory How-To:
Making the Switch
1. If your partner is a particularly jealous or insecure person, and you don’t want to lose her or him, forget about it. If your partner is not these things, or if you’re willing to take the risk, proceed to 2.
2. Express your polyamorous interest to your partner. But, as Patrick warns, "Be prepared for emotional fall-out." Your partner might not be the rock you thought she or he was.
3. If you have not already done so, find a third person that you, your partner, or better yet, both of you, are attracted to. "Find someone you trust and know you could do stuff with," says Tina.
4. Talk to this person: be open about your current relationship, and about your poly interests–why you want to give it a try, and why you’ve chosen her or him in particular to complete the V or triangle, whatever it might become. (Make the person feel special.)
5. Stress what’s in it for him or her: sexual and emotional access to at least one, maybe two fantastic people. Don’t make it sound like a favour!
6. Talk about your potential poly relationship in terms of the infinity of love.
7. Move slowly and respectfully. You don’t want to pressure anyone into loving. As Patrick advises, "Anyone at any time should be able to say ‘No.’ Without repercussion."
See what happens. "And if it all falls apart, laugh, and keep going. Not everything turns out like a porn video!" reminds Tina.
Makes it sound simple, huh? Here are a few more I'd insert right off:
1.1. Read, read, read. The poly world has accumulated a lot of trial-and-error wisdom that didn't exist 25 years ago. Discussion sites, blogs, memoirs, books, Loving More magazine.... This is still pioneer country, but it's better mapped than it used to be. Study the maps before setting out with your covered wagon.
2.1. Get your existing relationship into tip-top condition first. Take all that good poly wisdom about communication, honesty, empathic listening all the stuff about safe zones, mirroring, differing love languages and use it to make your mono couplehood shine. First.
2.2. Move at the pace of the slowest person.
8. "Let your relationships be what they are" (per Franklin Veaux). Friendly, relaxed cordiality all around, of course. But don't try to force metamours into sexual or romantic relationships with each other that don't feel right. No two relationships are equal. Accept this.
9. "Be prepared to find what you were not looking for" (per Jerry Rubin).
This could go on. Comments?