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

June 22, 2009

"Multi-love: It's complicated"

RedEye (Chicago)

The mainstream Chicago Tribune puts out RedEye, a free daily "lite" newspaper read by more than 100,000 public-transit commuters. It's aimed at (as it tells advertisers) "young, urban professionals who are short on time and long on disposable income." Today it offers the longish feature article excerpted below.

Nitpicks aside, this is another little step toward our poly-friendly future world.

Multi-love: It's complicated

For some Chicagoans, enjoying multiple serious romances without cheating makes more sense than monogamy.

By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz

...Today, Kumar, Prather and Bennett are in a relationship known in polyamory parlance as a "vee," because the structure resembles the letter "V": Bennett, representing the center point, is married to Prather and is dating Kumar, but Prather and Kumar are not romantically involved with each other (though they are close friends).

Unlike swingers, who swap or add partners to spice up their sex lives, polyamorists maintain multiple intimate relationships that are emotional as well as sexual — "swinging with breakfast," some call it. The "vee" is one of many forms of polyamory, which, once you add hierarchies and outside partners, can begin to look like an extended family of lovers.

...Sound complicated? It can be. The relationships take work, scheduling is paramount, and partners are not immune to jealousy. But for some people, enjoying multiple serious romances without cheating feels healthier than committing to one person for life — and society increasingly is taking notice.

...Though no statistics show the ranks of the polyamorous are increasing, anecdotally there seems to be growing awareness of and interest in the lifestyle, particularly among young adults, said Richard Sprott, executive director of the Berkeley-based Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities.

"Many people question if one person can fulfill all of their needs," Sprott said. "They want to explore many parts of themselves and not put such a burden on one person. And they want to do it honestly, ethically, upfront."

...People are hard-wired to want the security of connecting profoundly with one other person, said Josh Hetherington, a marital and family therapist with the Family Institute at Northwestern University.... "Anyone I've come across who wants to have multiple partners or multiple relationships, somebody is feeling burned by that," Hetherington said....

...But just because monogamy works for most people doesn't mean it works for everyone, said therapist David Rodemaker, who runs Many Loves, a workshop that meets monthly at the Center on Halsted for people practicing or interested in consensual nonmonogamy....

...To many, multiple partners may seem like more trouble than they're worth. But Prather said Kumar brings important elements to his marriage: a different point of view, a companion for Bennett, and another person to turn to in hard times. "He's like family; he's on our emergency contact list," Prather said.

And if Bennett and Kumar broke up?

"I'd be heartbroken," Prather said.

Read the whole article (June 22, 2009). With it are two sidebars: "Poly Lingo" and "Living the polyamorous life".

Nitpick: the writer naturally sought voices expressing the other side, but is the family therapist she quoted really so dumb as to think that the troubled couples coming to him for therapy are the only kind of couples? High-school students should know more about sampling error than that.

(Side rant: One of my beefs about our dumb high schools is that basic concepts of statistics often go untaught, even in the data-driven 21st century. Why? Because algebra and calculus were what our great-grandfathers needed — to get mechanical-engineering jobs based on pencil-and-paper math and 19th-century analytical techniques. So in 2009, algebra and calculus still often fill up the whole math curriculum, no room for anything else, sorry, don't bother us.)


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Blogger Andre said...

wholeheartedly agree on the curriculum point, alan!

June 22, 2009 8:39 PM  
Blogger Pagan Topologist said...

I am surprised by the curriculum point. Where I teach, we require math majors to have a course in probability and one in statistics, and not at the intro level, but at the upper undergrad level. Where is this different??

June 22, 2009 11:17 PM  
Blogger agahran said...

Oh, I am so with you on the math education side rant... When I got into calculus and started taking calculus, I said, "Why am I only learning this NOW? This shit is USEFUL!"

- Amy Gahran

June 23, 2009 3:11 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

> we require math majors to have
> a course in probability and one
> in statistics, and not at the
> intro level, but at the upper
> undergrad level. Where is this
> different??

I'm referring to high school. Every person who votes, reads health-research claims, etc., needs to know at least a few basics like random vs. systematic error, some subtleties of sampling errors, and maybe what the percentage likelihood is that a 1-, 2, or 3-sigma result is a fluke.

A similar rant of mine concerns the 1910 committee that decided chemistry would be a required high-school science and astronomy, for instance, would not. That was back when every village drugstore was a "chemist's shop," and there was no space program. So even today, high school students have to know how to balance complex chemical formulae -- but not why a satellite stays up.

(Yes, an educated person should know about atoms, molecules, compounds, the periodic table, and how they work -- but 2/3 of my kids' *year* of high-school chemistry was utterly wasted for anything they'll ever need to know. Because of a decision made in 1910.)


June 23, 2009 4:16 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

Oops, I misremembered. It wasn't in 1910 -- it was 1892! The committee was known as "The Committee of Ten." (Easily googled up.)

June 23, 2009 4:40 PM  
Anonymous David Rodemaker said...

As a whole, I was quite happy with the article and pleasantly surprised with how positive it was. While I agree with your nitpicks, I have to say that I'm not too bothered by these examples - they were not particulary effective or convincing.

July 08, 2009 2:57 PM  

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