Danielle Duplassie discusses her findings about opening couples
Canada's leading national newspaper printed another Q&A interview about open relationships, this time with a poly researcher, following the one the same writer did with a couple one day earlier. Both articles involved people heading off to the International Conference on the Future of Monogamy and Non-Monogamy in Berkeley.
The article seems to be all about conventional couples who opened their marriages or relationships. However, that probably is the most common way people get into poly.
Danielle Duplassie has caught the attention of Polyamory in the News twice before since 2007.
The myths, realities and challenges in polyamorous relationships
By Zosia Bielski
“Polyamory is a challenging lifestyle to live. We are not socialized to live this way and there are very few media models that demonstrate people actively living these lifestyles,” says Dr. Danielle Duplassie, a Burnaby registered clinical counsellor and sex therapist who works with non-traditional couples.
This weekend the University of California, Berkeley hosts the International Conference on the Future of Monogamy and Non-Monogamy, devoted to scientific and academic research on polyamory, open relationships, swinging and other forms of consensual non-monogamy. (Sample session titles include “Are Polyamory and Cheating all That Different,” “Jealousy Management,” “Issues in Polyamorous Parenting” and “Love Is Always Non-Monogamous.”)
Traditionalists view those practising polyamory with incredulity – “I give them a year,” being the common refrain. But it’s also no cakewalk for its own practitioners.
“Finding a good fit for two people is challenging. Finding a good fit with more than two people is even more challenging, even if sex isn’t involved in the dynamic for everyone,” says Duplassie. Here, the sexologist talks myths, realities and challenges in polyamorous and open relationships.
Pathologies. To the outside world, non-monogamous couples often appear in denial about their own imperviousness to jealousy, and worse: “The biggest misconception is that people assume that these types of relationships are an indication of pathology. I’ve heard both academics and lay people question those in open relationships, making assumptions about their ability to make commitment and questioning their attachment style.”
Different strokes. Some couples forge a primary union with outside partners serving sexual or platonic needs. Others practising non-monogamy prefer multiple relationships that are independent of one another. “Sometimes people will negotiate certain sexual roles with different partners as a way to get a variety of sexual needs met,” Duplassie says. “Maybe the primary partner will serve as the ‘home base’ for the sexual relationship, while a secondary partner is strictly for particular forms of sex play.”
Rules of the game. Open communication and rule-setting are cornerstones of polyamory.... [Uh-oh about the rule-setting; the wrong kind plants explosives and can have the opposite of the intended effect. –Ed.]
Third party. What happens to the third party once two primary partners decide to move on? “In a triad situation where the original pair decides to move on from the person they invited into the relationship, that third person will feel hurt and rejected....”
Time for all.... “Some of the unique and concrete challenges that were identified in my doctoral research included: inadequate time in a day to devote to all partners; believing the philosophy of non-monogamous relating in theory but questioning it when one feels insecure; engaging with a partner who may not be liked or accepted by another partner and violation of the boundaries that have been established.”
Realism and desire. “In many monogamous relationships, the idea of being attracted to someone else often feels threatening to a partner, and conversations about outside attractions are often avoided,” Duplassie says. “Those in non-monogamous relationships have a greater understanding that one’s sexuality does not fit into a box. We can be attracted and feel emotionally connected to more than one person at a time.”
Read the whole article (Feb. 21, 2014).