A burst of Irish poly in the media
"We're excited because this is essentially the first time a major, respected news source is picking up [our] story," writes Randy of Polyamory Ireland in Dublin. "The guy interviewed is from our regular poly group. I was told that the author of the piece did not choose the headline (she disapproves of its somewhat salacious nature). Overall, not too bad."
Polyamory: ‘People think it’s like a swingers’ party’
By Tanya Sweeney | The Irish Times
As narratives go, “boy meets girl” is as old as the hills. So too is “Boy meets girl, then meets someone else, and then everybody gets upset”....
Well, what about “boy meets girl, then meets someone else, and they all live happily ever after”? Monogamy has long been our main expression of love for one another, but a growing number of Irish people have realised that there’s another way.
Polyamory Ireland, a 300-strong group of people who practise the relationship model of having more than one partner at any given time, hold regular meetings in Dublin. Its members range in age from teenagers to grandparents and are multicultural and well-travelled.
“A lot of people think that it’s like a swingers’ party where we all pair up,” says Tim Sinnott, smiling. “The fact is, polyamory can be pretty complicated, and it’s handy to talk to people in a similar situation about it.”
Monogamous relationships aren’t without their complications, certainly, but the fact that three or more people are involved in a poly relationship means that the interpersonal combinations are plentiful. There is a “V” (one person is the “hinge”, and has two lovers who aren’t romantically involved with each other), a “triad” or a “quad” (a relationship between three or four people). A “W” denotes a fivesome in which two lovers have their own separate lovers. Some, not all, have a primary relationship, then secondary or tertiary lovers. With the constraints of monogamy effectively by the wayside, anything is possible.
“The only rule I have with my partners is that we use protection [during sex],” says Sinnott. “But for the most part, we treat it as ‘don’t put rules on each other’. In a lot of monogamous relationships, you just stop talking about your relationship with each other, but in poly you’re expected to talk about it a lot.”
This stands to reason, and it’s something that appears to be common among the polyamorous people I’ve interviewed.... Jealousy and possessiveness can occasionally rear its head, but polyamorists tackle the issue with their lovers head-on to find a way around it....
Is it different for women?
Do female polyamorists encounter a different reaction from others? “Anyone I know who is polyamorous is wildly sex-positive and wouldn’t have any squeamishness about being seen as sluts,” says Tara. “Frankly, you don’t get into this kind of relationships if you care what people think.
“I always say to people, ‘Do you love both your parents? Well, you don’t pick one of them to love’,” she adds.... “In a way I imagine it is what it would have been like growing up gay. You never see any relationships depicted in popular culture that match your own.”
...The public might be edging towards a place of understanding. On RTÉ2’s hit reality show Connected, Elayne Harrington, aka Temper-Mental MissElayneous, spoke openly about her relationships with her boyfriend and girlfriend. “Even as a child as young as seven, I found myself challenging social conventions,” she says. “For example, I turned vegetarian. This gives an idea of my mindset, even then, in terms of morality and making decisions based on opinions I had independently formed.”...
Harrington’s appearance on Connected has prised open a dialogue for an audience previously unfamiliar with polyamory. “The feedback I’ve received has indicated that the viewers have appreciated that [frankness and openness], whether they agree with my lifestyle choices or not. No one has felt the need to impose their beliefs on to me, as I have not on to them.”
Irish traditional society has long been a powerful moderating force when it comes to matters of the heart, and monogamy seems unlikely to die out as the dominant model. Still, for anyone who feels left out of that one-size-fits-all model, the option to try another route to emotional happiness is here for the taking.
Here's the complete article (Feb. 13, 2015). It includes a 2-minute video clip of its interview with Tim Sinnott.
Then two days later, RTÉ radio ("Ireland's National Public Service Broadcaster") aired a 25-minute program on monogamy and polyamory, featuring an interview with two people from Polyamory Ireland, on its Sunday show "Life Matters." Listen from here (Feb. 15, 2015).
Irish media have picked up on poly and its Dublin representatives before; here are my six posts regarding Ireland since 2006 (including this one; scroll down).