"How Not To Be A Dick To To Your Polyamorous Friend"
It Happened To Me: I'm In A Happy Polyamorous Relationship. XoJane is a hip online women's magazine that claims 2 million monthly readers. Hiles "is the Sexual Health and Wellness Education Coordinator for Lotus Blooms in Old Town Alexandria [Virginia]," a sex toy and education shop that hosts frequent talks and seminars. "She lives a happy, mostly carefree existence with her poly family."
Now she has a new article just up in xoJane. It's gotten 200 comments in its first five hours.
How Not to Be a Dick to your Polyamorous Friend
By Rebecca Hiles
...While the vast majority of my friends and family were incredibly understanding when I came out as polyamorous, some had questions and criticisms. Even now, after about four years of being publically polyamorous, I know quite a few people who just “don’t get” polyamory.
While discussing relationship structures which may be unfamiliar to you can be a bit awkward, and lead to misunderstandings, it is important to ask questions rather than passing judgments or making blind assumptions.
Most [poly] people will understand that you mean well and are simply curious. However... here are some guidelines:
1. Treat your friend and their relationships with respect.
2. Don’t ask a question that you wouldn’t want someone to ask you.
It was only when I came out as polyamorous that I experienced someone asking me if I had sex with more than one partner at one time! What a personal question! ...Asking “Do you all have sex together?” can be as intrusive and jarring as asking “What position do you usually have sex with your partner in?”...
3. Just because they came out does not mean they want to be your “polyamory ambassador.”
...An excellent way to gauge how your friend would react to questions about their lifestyle is to simply ask “I have some questions, but they are rather personal. Would you mind answering them, or could you direct me to a resource that could?”
4. On polyamory and parenting.
...When discussing my life, many people feel the need to tell me that they hope for my future children’s sake, that I stop my polyamorous ways before I have kids.... Unless you see signs of abuse and neglect, the well-meaning concern that you are raising over a child that may be happy and well-adjusted is the same kind of concern that people have raised about same-sex and interracial parents. If you trust and love your friend, have faith that they are taking care of their child to the best of their ability.
5. Polyamory =/= cheating....
6. Don’t assume that polyamorous friends are interested in dating you or your partner....
7. Orientation is not an indication of relationship status.
Do not assume that just because someone is bisexual, or pansexual, that they are going to be polyamorous.... Do not assume that just because someone appears to be in a monogamous relationship or single that they are no longer polyamorous.... You should not make assumptions about your friend’s relationship or orientation based on the outward appearance of their relationship.
8. Do not make assumptions about someone’s sexual behavior based on their relationship status....
9. Don’t question the reasons behind their relationships....
10. There is no one way to have a relationship....
...Non-monogamy and polyamory work in very different ways for many different people....
Read the whole article (Sept. 24, 2013), and join the comments. They're good reading this time, and the author is active in them.
Labels: Poly 101