"Bigger Love: Polyamory in Halifax"
The capital of the Canadian Maritimes, with a large student population, gets a well-researched, 4,300-word feature on local polyfolks in its alternative newspaper (mission: "to cover Halifax better than any other media organization on the planet").
Bigger love: Polyamory in Halifax
More partners means a lot more emotional work, and not necessarily more sex.
"The rules are simple: Don’t have sex with someone for the first
time before hanging out with me and telling me about them,
and don’t sleep over without letting me know." Art by Justin Lee
By Katie Toth
Amy sits with a styrofoam box of potato skins, legs crossed in front of her. "I'm mopey," she explains in between nibbles. She has recently been dumped.
Fortunately, she's got a pretty amazing boyfriend to help her get through it.
Robert is "a peculiar animal," she says happily. "He rubs my back when I'm sad." Amy and Robert won't be using their real names for this profile: the couple is open about its status with many people, but not quite ready to be out as polyamorous in print.
...It started when Amy was chatting with a friend who had become poly with her own boyfriend. At first, Amy said, she thought it was an awful idea. "I'm a pretty jealous person," she says. But that night after a few drinks, Amy came home to Robert. "You know, Drunk Amy," she jokes. "I was like, we should try being polyamorous!"
Polyamory is the state of having romantic relationships with more than one other person at the same time. Polyamorous people are quick to distinguish themselves from swingers or couples in open relationships — situations where usually, members of a monogamous couple have casual sex with other people. And they're not cheating on their partners — these relationships lack the secrecy of an affair. Rather, polyamorous people develop full romantic relationships with more than one person, and prioritize honesty with all parties.
When Amy sobered up the next morning, the two of them still thought it was a good idea. They got a copy of Opening Up — canon reading for people new to polyamory — and jumped right in, starting with small steps. First they made out with different people at parties. Then they started dating other people, but they'd check in nearly constantly with each other, requesting permission to send the next text message, go on the next date or have the next hookup.
Eventually that got tedious — and they got more comfortable with the dating-other-people thing anyway. So now they only have two rules: "Don't have sex with someone for the first time before hanging out with me and telling me about them, and don't sleep over without letting me know."
The hard part about being poly, Amy says, isn't her boyfriend — it's the way her friends react. Some of Amy's friends won't stop worrying about her. "They'll ask, 'Whose idea was that?'" she says. "They immediately assume that Robert has pressured me...because he wants to fuck other girls."
But that doesn't mean they have any intention of stopping. Amy says the shift in their relationship has allowed them to be more honest and have more fun with each other. When the two were monogamous, she remembers, they didn't even talk about other people who they found attractive. Now she feels like Robert is an even closer friend. After his first date with someone else, she remembers, "I was super excited." When he came home that night to tell her about his evening, "it was like, girl talk!"
It's only been six months, but Amy says the experience has forced her to confront her own jealousy and insecurity: "It's been liberating and terrifying at the same time."
Amy and Robert aren't alone. While official numbers on polyamorous people are hard to come by, it's a movement with growing visibility in once-conservative Nova Scotia. The Halifax Polyamory facebook group has over 60 people, and regular potlucks happen in the city for polyamorous people to meet each other. And on Sunday, April 14, Venus Envy held a seminar on lessons in non-monogamy — a discussion not just for the newbies, but geared towards people who've been non-monogamous for a while....
Myriam & Alex: An S/M Poly Interaction
Myriam is at work, but her computer is all play. She's pulling up her boyfriend's Google calendar. Upping the ante of their S&M dynamic, Alex has asked her to start organizing Alex's schedule.
Myriam is Alex's top. She tells Alex what to do, and they like it that way.
But when she opens the calendar, she sees a night marked off — "busy." Myriam may be in control, but that's not going to stop her sub from saving that day for someone else.
Myriam sees red, but she can't quite point to her emotion. Is she jealous? She shouldn't be. After all, isn't this is what they agreed upon?...
Read on (and on) (April 2, 2013).