Poly (Greek, "multiple") Amor (Latin, "love")
A weekly alternative/ arts/ entertainment paper in Albuquerque features polyamory and some of its local practitioners in a long, front-page feature story.
The cover illustration is lovely: three hands atop each other. This is a particularly effective (for me) solution to the perpetual journalistic problem of how to illustrate an article about people who want their privacy.
By Marisa Demarco
“Compersion.” It's a word that describes happiness at seeing a partner get joy from someone else almost the opposite of jealousy. Monogamous lovers might hesitate to imagine feeling anything aside from anger at the sight of their other half being loved by someone else. But compersion is a kind of fulfillment gained by the polyamorous, those who maintain honest, committed romantic relationships with more than one person.
The word "compersion" is one of many invented or co-opted by polyamorous people to give names to nouns and verbs outside the dominant paradigm of monogamy. Julian Wolf thinks back to a confusing time before she had words for her preferred method of loving. "It took me going to college and finding other strange and fun people that lived differently before I got words for all of the things I had been doing my whole life," Wolf says.
...With straight red hair and conservative business attire, she's eating oatmeal and taking a break from her nine-to-five day job to talk about her "starfish."... Not that long ago, Wolf was dating five people. Her friend Riotgrrlscout came up with a shape for it. Wolf was the center of a starfish whose arms sometimes touched and sometimes didn't.
...In spite of being at the center of a starfish, Wolf emphasizes that her relationships are not always sexual. In fact, she often won't have sex with a person until she's known them for years.
...Polyobvious, [Erik] Erhardt calls it: When you have multiple "partners" for any definition of the word partner, "and everyone knows about everyone else." It is vital to the philosophy of polyamory that everyone involved in a relationship knows about everyone else and is comfortable and agrees with the situation.
..."One thing polyamorists are not is beyond feeling jealous," says Erhardt. In fact, that's one issue bubbling to the surface of the discussion group he facilitates regularly. Ethi-Q Slutdom meets odd-week Thursdays to talk about challenges and strategies for polyamorous relationships....
Read the whole article (issue of Feb. 14-20, 2008).