"Power of Three" in the news
Successful poly is still fascinating and unbelievable to many people ("How is that even possible?"), and mainstream media continue to find it newsworthy accordingly. Even when journalists don't get everything right — or get things right that are unflattering to us — this attention serves a crucial function for creating our future. It educates people that poly life is possible, and is happening, and that in time everyone will get used to it.
This latest major newspaper feature (3,000 words) appears in several leading papers in Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Times, and Melbourne Age are part of a chain (Fairfax Media) that reprint each other's articles throughout Australia and New Zealand, so it may show up in more of them.
Also: even now, articles like this continue to come as a life-changing revelation to isolated polyfamilies and groups who still think they're the only ones, not knowing about today's abundant sources of support and hard-earned community wisdom.
The power of three
By Jacqueline Maley
Intimate affair: Darren Ramsey with his fellow polyamorists – and lovers – Jennifer Lee (at left) and Melissa Coller. Photo: Randy Larcombe
Darren Ramsey is a consultant, life coach and relationship coach whose methods include talk therapy and neuro-linguistic programming.... His tiled, Italianate home in Devon Park, in Adelaide's inner north, has a well-kept garden (it's that kind of suburb), a concrete driveway and a couple of dogs out the back....
Ramsey is part of what's known, in the "poly" world, as a triad. He has two female partners, 28-year-old Jennifer Lee and 35-year-old Melissa "Melly" Coller, who are also lovers. They sometimes have sex as a threesome. "There are three separate connections, so each has its own dynamic and own little cocoon," Ramsey explains. "It's just that it's more open when we're interrelating."
Defined broadly as "ethical non-monogamy", polyamory — distinct from swinging (which emphasises recreational sex rather than love), polygamy (marriage with multiple partners) or good old-fashioned adultery — is an increasingly vocal and active movement.
Polyamorists say that jealousy is learnt, not innate, and can be overcome. They believe a person's capacity for love is infinite and, just as a parent's adoration for their first-born does not limit the love they have for subsequent children, so the heart expands with numerous sexual partners. Polyamorists even believe jealousy can be transmuted into a feeling of joy, experienced when you see your partner enjoying the love of someone else — a feeling so uncommon, polyamorists had to make up a word for it: "compersion". (It's not in the Oxford Dictionary.)
When I visit the Ramsey ménage, it is a light-filled evening and the burghers of Devon Park have turned sprinklers on in their gardens. All three householders greet me on the patio. Ramsey, slight, fit and silver-haired, puts his hand out first, and introduces me around. Lee is creamy-skinned and pretty, with dyed-red hair and a Goth-lite aesthetic. She has a tattoo on her calf and a quiet, shy manner. Over the ensuing hours, she frequently defers to Ramsey in conversation, as though not quite confident she has landed on the right word. Coller is friendly and self-confident but also hangs back, perhaps out of deference to the group dynamic. Ramsey does most of the talking....
...By phone from California, Janet Hardy explains polyamory as "ways of structuring a relationship that are not about ownership. There are a whole lot of ways to love and be loved: the romantic, the sexual, the intellectual. The chances of finding all those in one person are small. In the [poly] lifestyle you have all these people you connect with in different ways. It just feels a lot more fulfilling. I don't have to give up anything."
...In the small and unscientific sample I interviewed, it seemed only bisexual polyamorous women were truly interested in having partners outside their primary relationship.
Niko Antalffy, 38, is one such woman. "I kind of knew from about 23 that I wasn't monogamous," she says. "After a few turbulent years, I realised I could either be happy but unethical, or ethical and unhappy. You either cheat on people and you're horrible, or you are monogamous."
Antalffy insists it's not just about sex. To her, polyamory is more a "life philosophy". "Life is full of potential connections and possibilities. I did not want to miss out on those. I didn't want to say no to connections because someone else expected me to," she explains.
Antalffy has a live-in partner, Chris Wotton, 31, with whom she has just had her first child.... Speaking before the birth of his child with Antalffy, Wotton said he didn't expect to change his lifestyle. "If you got pregnant, would you suddenly stop playing golf with your golfing buddies?" he asked. A few months after the birth, he is more circumspect. "We've talked about the fact that polyamory is very much still part of our lives," he says. "But practically it's hard to find the time for ourselves, let alone other people."...
Read the whole article (Jan. 19, 2013).
Niko Antalffy in the article comments, "I'm so glad there's such a big bright representation of ethical non-monogamy in the Good Weekend magazine! [of the Sydney Morning Herald]. Well done, guys."