The poly alternative: word spreads on campus
1. From the Cherwell at Oxford University in England:
The non-monogamy train
By Christopher Graham | 4 March 2010
“I think we should see other people.” “You breaking-up with me?” “I just think we should see other people.”
The open relationship. Non-monogamy. She's dating other men, and you're free to date other women. You can even sleep with these other people. In a way it's like any other relationship, two people joined together in the search for passion, inspiration and fulfillment. Only this time the backdrop is richly coloured, varied and nuanced... it's like the sun is shining just for you but from a thousand little lamps, blinking out across the city; an ocean of pleasure awaits.
Then you discover the pit of your stomach; explore it, feel it grow and tingle, constantly reminding that out of sight is not so easily out of mind. What do these other people have that you don't? How long must you keep up this experiment, which every day feels less and less like a mere (a safe) pretense? What if your partner meets someone they like better?
Thus we have a composite of experiences of, and expectations about, non-monogamy, drawn from conversations with over a dozen individuals and couples during the past eight months....
Alice and Paul have been living together for a few years, during which time both have taken several lovers. (Did you know there is an iPhone application that tracks a woman's menstrual cycle? Alice uses it to make her rendezvous doubly safe, it's one of their rules. The other is perfect honesty.) They tell each other all about their lovers, what sorts of feelings or emotions led to the attraction, and in the process learn a huge amount about each other. Alice and Paul are the most ‘in love' couple I have ever seen.
Alas, Alice and Paul are also amongst a very small minority of people with positive views of non-monogamy. Ask around Oxford (or even New York, my former home) and one is much more likely to encounter uncertainty, suspicion, even hostility.
"I think it makes sense in theory, but there's no way I would be comfortable with that."
"I could do it, but I know my partner wouldn't be able to handle it, so I've never raised the question." (How could you know this if you've never asked? "I just know.")...
Read the whole article.
2. From The Martlet at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada;
Tell your lovers about your lovers
Hazen Phoenix, Celine Adelle | March 25, 2010
Q:...I’ve been exploring my options and dating multiple people — both men and women. While the polyamoury thing has been really fun, I recently had an awkward situation arise.
I was out at Lucky Bar with a great girl who I’ve been seeing and this dude I’ve been seeing showed up.
He proceeded to try and break into our dancing and invade our table space, hitting on me and buying drinks for me while totally disregarding my date for the evening.
This was totally awkward. How do I keep this from happening in the future?
--One Date At A Time
A: Polyamoury can be tricky business, but honesty right from the outset is really the best policy in order to avoid awkward situations.
When this dude showed up, he probably didn’t clue in to what was really going on.
Have you told him that you’re seeing other people?
If you are seeing multiple people and letting them think they’re the only one, you’re not being polyamourous — you’re just being unethical.
To avoid these situations, you need to take the lead. Take the date intruder aside and let him know you’re out with someone else and that he needs to back off.
Repeat after me: “I am here with someone else. It was great seeing you, have fun tonight. Call me later.”
If you’re fairly new to the game and want some schooling, we suggest you check out Victoria Poly 101(victoriapoly101.blogspot.com).
...Another option is attending some workshops put on by Vancouver Island Polyamory Group, or reading The Ethical Slut....
Read the whole article.
3. From the Excalibur at York University, Ontario:
CHERRY ON TOP: All you need is (a lot of) love
By Michael Lyons | March 25, 2010
A woman raises her hand.
She explains that she lives with a female partner and this partner’s child. These two women have a non-sexual relationship. They even sleep in separate rooms but still consider each other partners, and the child refers to her as “auntie.” They both date and sleep with other people but always have each other to come home to.
Another man says he has been happily married to his wife for 10 years. With a great deal of communication, they have mutually opened up their relationship. His wife has a long-term female partner, and he sees and sleeps with other people as well. Because they’ve both consented to opening up their relationship, they’ve managed to make their marriage work and keep it a happy one.
...Our instructor, Kiki Christie, looks like an adorable, kindly librarian. She explains that she has four partners, two local and two long-distance. We are all at the Canadian University Queer Services Conference, and Christie is giving a workshop on “polyamorous” relationships. She asks if anyone else has had a poly-relationship or experience, and about half the class raises their hands. I raise my hand too, but with hesitation.
“Can you be poly-curious?” I ask, and everyone laughs benevolently. Christie assures me you can....
...I really think polyamory is a form of radical love that is slowly, but surely, replacing the outdated hetero-normative kind.... If we could all wrap our heads around this concept of love, I don’t think relationships would be such a crapshoot....
Read the whole article.
4. From the Bowdoin Orient in Maine:
The more the merrier
By Natalia Richey | Feb. 5, 2010
During Winter Break, I spent a significant amount of time traveling with one of my closest friends, who happens to be one of my go-to people for in-depth chats about relationships, hooking-up and of course, sex. That said, we started talking about the typical "hook-up" scene at college. You know, the whole "meet someone at a party, head back to bed, brunch the next day, and 'I'll see you around' type of thing."
...We came to the conclusion that colleges naturally foster "casual hook-ups" that are not only easy to achieve, but also desirable, especially given how explorative they can be.
Bowdoin students have been particularly critical of the all-too-common hook-ups, claiming that the College lacks a proper and wholesome dating scene....
Rather than focusing on the pros and cons of hooking up and the ways in which Bowdoin might develop a more traditional dating scene, I'd like to focus on the other end of this subject: polyamory, a world of non-monogamous relationships that isn't simply hooking up with lots of different people.
...Literally, polyamory translates to "loving many," but more generally refers to consensual, romantic love with more than one person.
In a recent Boston Globe article entitled "Love's New Frontier," Sandra A. Miller describes the polyamorous lifestyle that hundreds of people in Massachusetts are practicing, and thoroughly enjoying.
Not to be confused with the patriarchal man-with-many-wives polygamy, "polyamory has a decidedly feminist, free-spirited flavor, and these are real relationships with the full array of benefits and complexities," writes Miller....
...Many who never felt a natural inclination towards monogamy have found open, polyamorous relationships to be more fulfilling and suitable for themselves. And just to prove that "it works" for more serious families, several polyamorous couples featured in Miller's article have children who are aware of their biological parents' multiple partners and don't seem to mind.
For what's it worth, the lifestyle of polyamory is worth pondering especially since it highlights the fact that it is OK, and very human, to not always be totally satisfied — be it emotionally, physically, or sexually — by one person. Even if polyamory is not always applicable to college students, a style of relationship that is focused on awareness and being vocal about personal feelings and desires is certainly one that should be discussed more openly.
Read the whole article.
Here are all 17 student-newspaper stories collected on this site (including this post; scroll down).