Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.



March 12, 2019

Bright sides, and dark, of tech's emerging culture of polyamory, intimacy and social exploration


Vice has published the latest article about the culture of polyamory, sex-positivism, and mind expansion that is emerging en masse in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Add to this a big dash of new wealth and power, and it's not always a happy thing.

Ignore the tabloid-style headline; the article is worth reading. Excerpts:


Shutterstock


Silicon Valley's Latest Bizarre Craze Is 'Organized Intimacy'

By Andrew Chamings

Much has been written about how the culture and fun has been sucked out of [San Francisco] since the second tech boom. ... Threesomes are tricky on a murphy bed.

In actuality, they’ve just gotten weirder, more organized, more frequent, and sometimes don't exactly involve sex ... from lunch-break tantric speed dates, to lakeside eye contact parties....

...San Francisco sex and intimacy parties in 2019 have been forever altered by the world of tech and money.

...The current popularity of living polyamorously is just as much about having more people to share the rent. Nevertheless, the new San Francisco transplants of the second tech boom are craving intimacy, and local event organizers are more than happy to help. A look on Eventbrite or Facebook on any given weeknight will present various new ways to get cozy with strangers — from lectures on tantra, workshops on “rope play,” sold out cuddle parties, something called "the Heart Fuck!," and another promising “Somantic Exploration” — a “very special evening of dance, connection and PLAY!”

...Nick Meador [organizer of the Cacao, Consent and Conscious Dance Party]... tells me he believes the Bay Area “is a good sandbox to experiment with new social structures and community constellations.... I've traveled a lot and I've never seen this unique mix of practical self-development opportunities, social justice initiatives, and a willingness to explore the taboo and the unusual.”

Elsewhere, those wishing to make connections can simply look into one another’s eyes. That’s the thrust of the world’s biggest [eye gazing] experiment on the shores of Lake Merritt in Oakland, where the high is delivered not from cacao, but from the release of oxytocin....

Allyson Darling, a writer in San Francisco, attended the mass gazing event, which she described as “more intimate than an orgy” for The Bold Italic. ... “The overall vibe of the event was...weird,” she tells me. “Some people were social and talking and joking around people sitting on the ground and staring into each other's eyes. People’s goals for attending the event were rooted in intimacy."

“There are few things more intimate than looking into someone’s eyes for an uncapped amount of time, whether they’re strangers or not," she says.

...Walking around a city where everyone thinks they are changing the world can be exhausting. You can smell hubris on the streets, alongside a lot of other undesirable scents. But in an industry where even at the biggest firms, team-building cuddle puddles and micro-dosing mushrooms at work are encouraged, the idea of finding new unchartered ways to love each other seems very normal. ...

Most of this New Era of Intimacy is clean (albeit out there), consensual fun. But just as the Summer of Love was eventually hijacked by pimps and bad dudes looking to use “Free Love” as an excuse to bang anything walking along Haight Street, the more drug-fueled orgiastic “cuddle puddles” of today have been exposed as toxic and sometimes dangerous events that revert back to a very unprogressive and misogynistic dynamic, in which entrepreneurial tech 2.0 entitlement and hubris is leveraged to excuse treating women, usually lower on the career ladder, as little more than sex toys. ...


The whole article (March 7, 2019).

● See also the many other posts here about poly in the tech world.

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March 2, 2019

The three recent polyamory stories on Canada's CBC


That lovely TV profile of a polyfamily in Calgary, Canada, came shortly after three serious treatments of polyamory on CBC, Canada's national broadcasting service. Was it inspired by them?

Only in the first one below did I learn about Ontario's All Families Are Equal Act, passed in 2016. Its key part relevant to polyfamilies is this:


References assuming two parents

(4) If, under this Part, a child has more than two parents, a reference in any Act or regulation to the parents of the child that is not intended to exclude a parent shall, unless a contrary intention appears, be read as a reference to all of the child’s parents, even if the terminology used assumes that a child would have no more than two parents.


● Accordingly, Matthew Pearson, a member of the out-and-proud FF and MM queer couples below, told their story of group parenting on CBC Radio's "The Sunday Edition": The Mamas and the Papas: How two Ottawa couples became co-parents (Jan. 27, 2019). He also wrote the article that appears with the audio on the show's website:


The Ontario law passed in 2016 gave equal rights to same-sex parents and multi-parent families. That's us.

The four co-parents in August 2016, when Karin was pregnant with Zora, their first child. Matthew is at left. (Matthew Pearson/CBC)


By Matthew Pearson

In the fall of 2016, I sat in the visitor's gallery at Queen's Park and witnessed the introduction of the All Families Are Equal Act.

The bill was enacted to enshrine in law the basic premise that all parents in Ontario deserve equal rights, regardless of the route they took to become a parent.

...The new law also cleared a path for multi-parent families, allowing up to four parents to be listed on a child's birth certificate. It was a game-changer for families like mine, which is comprised of four people — two queer couples — who joined forces with the intention of raising children together.

---------------------

I always wanted to be a dad, but I was focused on finding a partner first. Didn't I need to be with someone before I — or we — could decide to even have children?

That changed when my friend Karin, who, like me, was single, in her late 30s and identified as queer, asked me if I'd consider having a child with her.

...We started spending more time together, and we talked about the kind of things you talk about with someone you might spend your life with — values, beliefs, despair, dreams. We peeked into every corner of each other's life in an attempt to answer a singular question: Could I raise a child with this person?

As the answer became clear, something rather unexpected happened — we fell in love — with other people.

Karin met Janette at a mutual friend's wedding and I later met Alain through mutual friends. By a stroke of magic — and some serious heart-to-heart talks with these new partners — they both decided to take the plunge and join Karin and me on our co-parenting adventure.

The four of us spent hours talking about how the arrangement would work. We drafted and signed a parenting agreement — a contract outlining our expectations, responsibilities and values. It established how we would split our time with our child, including holidays, and how we would make decisions about the child's health and education. It also included a process for resolving conflicts.

...There was no roadmap for this kind of family, so we created our own. ...

Negotiating with one other person is likely hard enough, but we have four people. Four opinions, perspectives and desires, which sometimes vary. Four sets of arms wanting to hold and cuddle one little baby.

We had to learn to communicate clearly, to compromise, and to trust that we were in this together. We were family now.

On Family Day in 2018, the five visited the
National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
(Matthew Pearson/CBC)
...One of the upsides of co-parenting with three other people is the downtime — something all parents of young children could probably use more of.

...A few months after Zora was born, her birth certificate arrived in the mail. It listed all four of us as her parents.

Light as that piece of paper was, it was heavy with meaning. It was an affirmation that our family existed; that some space had been made somewhere in Canada for families that looked like ours.​

Karin will soon give birth to our family's second child, which will thrust all of us back into the bleary world of parenting a newborn.

Meanwhile, Alain and I just bought a house a stone's throw from Karin and Janette's, which will soon free us from cross-town commutes.

In the beginning, we were two — Karin and me. Then we were four with Janette and Alain. Zora's birth made us five. And soon we'll be six. Two moms, two dads, two children.

One family.


You can stream the 25-minute show with the "Listen" button on the original article. Or download the mp3 file (January 27, 2019).


● A couple weeks later, CBC Radio's "The Conversation" — one of Canada's most-listened-to radio shows — aired a 9-minute interview with a couple who opened their marriage by the conventional route: How this polyamorous couple makes their marriage work (Feb. 5):


'Just because it doesn't look or sound 'normal,' doesn't mean that it can't be wildly beautiful'

Bryde MacLean and Jeremie Saunders have talked about sex and relationships more than most couples.

That's partly because they co-host Turn Me On, a podcast they describe as "a no-holds-barred conversation about what it is to be a sexual being in the world."

...MacLean has a long-term boyfriend. Saunders has a long-term girlfriend and casually dates other people.

"Together the four of us have a very platonic and supportive relationship," said Saunders.

...Here are some of things that have helped keep their marriage on track.

Put it on paper

Bryde MacLean: "[Before opening up our marriage] we wrote up a contract [which is on our website] in as much detail as we could about all the potential concerns we had. Don't talk about our problems with other people, don't criticize each other with other people, have lots of respect and no sleep-overs... We pretty much reviewed and edited that, almost every day, if not once a week, for the least the first six months to a year. It really helped us define what we were doing as we went."

Be trustworthy

Bryde MacLean: "I remember the first time Jeremie told me that he was in love with somebody else. That was really, really challenging. After a couple of weeks of them hanging out a lot, I had to ask him, to ask them both, if they could take it a little slower, if they could limit the number of days per week … Neither one of them wanted to do that, because you're in the the energy of a new relationship and it's exciting … But they did and it was really respectful. It's really important to be trustworthy."

Work together

Jeremie Saunders: "It was always an experience that we were doing together, not separately, even though we are separately seeing other people, we're doing this as a team." ...


Why is this "conventional"? Because what they describe is mostly about the couple's rules they made between themselves, with no apparent regard for their other potential partners. Who will turn out to be real people too. Such arrangements can work if these others like being so secondary. Some people do; some are fine with the assumption that they're just friends-with-benefits to the core couple (meaning the third is disposable). Such "deliberate secondaries" may like the freedom from entanglement that this status implies (or should).

But the secondary better be savvy enough to see what the setup is right away — and lay their own needs and boundaries on the table at the outset, while it's still easy to walk away. And put those on paper too.


● A few days later, more modern and healthy approaches (IMO) were described on CBC News in Saskatchewan: 'A different way of doing things': Polyamory challenges idea that monogamy is always the way to go (Feb. 11). This is good, informative one; put it in your "show the parents" collection.


When Kayleigh Kazakoff started seriously dating, she held out hope of finding that one perfect partner, but she found that no one could live up to her expectations.

Then, eight years ago, the 33-year-old from Saskatoon was introduced to polyamory. She said it has made her a better partner in every way.

"I'm way less terrible to date. I would expect (my partner) to be my be-all-end-all. That's not fair pressure to put on anyone," Kazakoff said. "I'm a lot more relaxed now and able to accept my partners for who they are and acknowledge their flaws. I just feel a lot more fulfilled."

Kayleigh Kazakoff identifies as solo poly.
(Naomi Zurevinski)
...Polyamorous relationships can take various forms, including a triad or quad, which is where three or four people are all in a relationship with each other. Triads and quads can be open or closed, meaning they are either exclusive or individuals can have offshoot relationships from there.

...At one point, [Kazakoff] was dating five people. She currently has two partners, one of whom lives in Winnipeg and she's been seeing for five years; the other she has been dating for under a year and is close by.

..."Initially I could do polyamory or monogamy and I was fine with either. As I continued exploring it and (learning) about myself, I discovered it's more who I am than a choice I make."

[We asked 4 ethically non-monogamous daters what their terms are]

Jacq Brasseur, executive director
for the UR Pride Centre
(CBC News/Alex Soloducha)
...Jacq Brasseur, the executive director for UR [University of Regina] Pride Centre, said the idea that jealousy does not exist in polyamorous relationships is one of several misconceptions out there.

"In reality, scheduling isn't going to be easy; holidays aren't going to be easy. I think the other myth has to do with not committing to your partner, and that somehow this is the easy way out," Brasseur said.

"To be successful and to build a loving, supportive partnership in a polyamorous setting involves so much work and I don't think people understand that."

...Brasseur notes that [compersion] is not quite the opposite of jealousy.

"Compersion can be excitement, or it could be a desire to hear about your partner's other relationships — for example, if you want to hear about a first date they had, because first dates are exciting."

Brasseur added that "as we become less judgemental and more willing to understand that different ways of doing things are OK, I think more people will be open about their polyamory."

'You learn to look deep into yourself with what makes you feel comfortable and stable in a relationship, and through that you become more comfortable with yourself, too,' says Lindsay Rose of polyamory. (Naomi Zurevinski)


Lindsay Rose is polyamorous and currently has two committed partners. One of her partners is long-term, and she has been dating her other partner for a few months.

Her long-term partner initially introduced her to polyamory, and Rose immediately became interested because of difficulty she'd had in past relationships.

"I've always kind of been a serial dater and very codependent in my relationships," said Rose, who hails from Saskatoon. "I think it was coming from a place of needing someone else to show me how to love myself. Then I found out it was possible for more than one person to love me, and for me to love more than one person, and I wanted to further explore that."

She said that one of the major misconceptions about her relationship approach is what polyamory is actually all about.

"I'm sure some people assume that those who are poly have 12 different partners and are always looking to add more, but it's about having the option to develop more than one meaningful relationship," said Rose.

"It's not necessarily about seeking, but more so about having the freedom to explore things as they come up. If a human comes into my life that I enjoy, I'll pursue that relationship."


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February 28, 2019

Woke poly food truck in the news


So maybe now in L.A., being out polys can enhance the brand of your business. If you're the right kind of people doing a right thing. In yesterday's Munchies, a foodie publication from Vice, we read,


The Woke Truck is run by a polyamorous, multiracial trio, and teaches history alongside the fusion food it sells.


The Woke Truck, based in Los Angeles, gets a lot of questions. ... [its owners] are Max Daniel, Kashmir Hughes and Michael Powers, all in their late 20s. When asked to give their elevator pitch, Hughes answers:

“We are three people in a polyamorous relationship who live together and own a business. We are Irish, Black, and Asian; [we] sell fusion food and teach history at the same time. And we use our business to give back to the community. We hire employees fresh out of rehab, train teen mothers for the job and we do stuff for the community, as well.” ...


Read on (February 27, 2019).

Today the story was picked up by the Los Angeles edition of Eater, a national foodie publication: LA’s Next Upstart Fusion Food Truck Is About as Woke as it Gets (Feb. 28).

Wasn't expecting to see this as early as 2019.

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February 27, 2019

February 28th is Metamour Day! And metas in the media.


This just in from the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF). It's being spread by them, the Polyamory Leadership Network, and friends and relations:


Metamour Day is February 28th!

Metamour Day is meant to foster positive relationships between you and your metamours, whatever that might look like. It is not about forced compersion. It’s about communal appreciation within our family structures. Metamour Day is a celebration of the unique and special relationships between metamours. 

Metamour Day

As society evolves and non-monogamy becomes more common, the traditional nuclear family structure is constantly being challenged. Metamours are often taking on important family roles such as cohabitators and parental figures.

Metamour Day 4

It is important to acknowledge and appreciate the special role a metamour has in your partners’ lives and tangentially (or directly) your own life. As a non-monogamous person, it is worthwhile to celebrate that relationship in order to continue to demonstrate the supportive and beneficial impact of non-monogamy on our lives.

Metamour Day 5

Please join the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom in celebrating this day on February 28!


Here's the link to post the original announcement to your sites.

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For newcomers: Your metamour is your lover's lover in a poly relationship. Good relations among metamours, at least as an ideal, is a defining characteristic of polyamory — compared to other forms of consensual non-monogamy (CNM) such as open relationships, which are more compartmentalized and often more about sex; swinging (recreational sex at party venues); or simply dating around. Polyamory, by contrast, carries an implied ethic of "We're all in this together."1

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Some readings on metamours for the occasion:

● Just up by Eli Sheff, on her The Polyamorists Next Door blog at the blogsite of Psychology Today: Delighting in your Beloveds’ Other Lovers (Feb. 26, 2019)


Share the love on Metamour Day, February 28.

What are metamours?

People in polyamorous relationships routinely find that existing language lacks the words they need to describe their experiences. As a result, they tend to make up words of their own to explain their emotions and relationships. For instance, they created the word compersion to describe the joyful feeling some polyamorists get when they see their beloved happily involved with someone else. ...

Pixabay
Another home-made polyamorous word, metamour is the term for a partner’s partner. Your girlfriend’s sweetie or husband’s boyfriend is [your] metamour. As friends or chosen family members, metamours are linked through a polyamorous relationship but are not in a romantic relationship with each other. Rather, they are members of the same polycule (a family/small network of people united around a shared polyamorous relationship, not all of whom are lovers but share lovers in common) and hang out together to various degrees.

Why are they important?

For more than 20 years I have been studying polyamorous families with kids, and I have seen them face the usual difficulties that come with life – illness, economic challenges, divorce, disability, and the like. What has stood out to me about these families who remain together in long-term polycules – some of them for 60 or more years – is that the metamour relationships make or break the family over the long term. These emotionally intimate, non-sexual chosen family relationships are so important in polyamorous families that I made up the word polyaffective to describe them. I explain different types of polyaffective relationships and their impact on family resilience in other blogs.

Positive polyaffective relationships among metamours who become chosen family over time are the backbone of the poly family. Metamours who can’t stand each other and are never able to establish comfort (much less delight) in each others’ presence are not going to happily coexist over the long term. Metamours who add value to each others’ lives, however, can not only support each other when life inevitably throws them a curve ball, but also support the polyamorous relationship with their mutual partner if it falls on hard times. ...

...If you are lucky enough to have a metamour with whom you share compersion, celebrate them on February 28!



● Of course there are kitchen-table heartwarmers for such purposes:

Metamour Mug, from BashfulBatCreations


● And of course for your car:

Small bumpersticker from Cafepress. Other designs available.


● From The Establishment, a women's site on Medium.com, Why You Should Meet Your Partner’s Lovers (March 10, 2016)


By Kit O'Connell

Two months ago, my lovers met over tacos.

...I was confident they’d get along. Besides the obvious, they have several things in common: They both love cats, feminism, and, of course, Tex-Mex food. This would give us at least three topics to talk about, even if things got awkward.

Why Meeting Metamours Matters

...In my experience and for many polyamorous folk I know, meeting other lovers can alleviate jealousy and reduce relationship drama. Until you meet, “the other” is a scary unknown; if we let our imaginations run away, we can inflate them into something perfect and unattainable, and most importantly, better than me. But when you do meet, you find out they’re just another human.

“Keeping them at arm’s length, never experiencing their actual humanity as a person, limits the potential of that relationship,” said Kiki Christie, a polyamorous and sex positive relationship educator from Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

“One of my early relationships was with a couple that was married,” Kiki told me. “I got to know my partner’s wife really well. They were living in a different city, so every time I went to visit him I would spend time with her, because it was at their home.”

Because they shared each other’s company so often, she felt safe bringing up problems and dealing with difficult emotions.

“Being in a familiar relationship with my partner’s partner, with her, meant that I felt more open about talking about my feelings to both of them. I didn’t feel like my communication had to be mitigated at all,” Kiki said. “If I had an issue I could speak directly.”

Genuine affection and connection blossomed between Kiki and her partner’s wife. They became such close friends that “we spent some holiday time together without my partner around. We just became very comfortable with each other. In fact he and I broke up, and she and I are still very good friends.”

Like Kiki, I shared a partner with a metamour for years. Our relationship remained platonic, but the intimacy we formed was genuine. We even had pet names for each other. The friendship outlasted our mutual relationship too, and we even got matching tattoos.

As Kiki said of her friendship, “It was its own relationship and it ultimately enhanced the poly relationship.”

Challenges And Fears

...“There’s going to be metamours that you don’t really click with, that you don’t want to be friends with, or that you might not even like all that much,” [Kiki] cautioned. “So how do you manage to still have a sustainable relationship through that? Focusing on people as individuals can help.”

...Even when I’ve felt jealous of one of my metamours, witnessing their small gestures of kindness and affection together during a meeting helps me open my heart to a better understanding of what my partner sees in them. When I’m challenged by difficult emotions, I focus on my partner’s happiness and often find I can share in it a little.

As Kiki explained, mutual respect is key when metamour relationships are challenging:

“If you’re constantly thinking of this person as someone who’s attached to my partner, or someone you’re not relating to one-on-one as an individual, even if you don’t particularly get along with them or see eye-to-eye with them, you’re not giving them or the relationship the respect it deserves. It’s like a relationship with a coworker you don’t get along with — you still have to see them as a person.”

Especially when there’s tension or distrust, we both believe metamour meetings can be crucial. ...



● Kiki Christie's The Benefits of Metamours, a list of six.


1. Backup, with benefits. ...like when (I've actually heard this one) "I don't like anal sex but my partner does, so when he finds a partner who likes it, I cheer and feel compersive!" Can also be applied to more mundane but equally subjective activities like skiing, movie-going, an affinity for jazz or love of dogs. ...

2. The Emergency Contact. ...

3. The Distraction. Someone who you know loves your partner who will go on a date with them while you're on a date with a Very Hot New Person.

4. The FWB for a threesome weekend, etc. Why not? ...

5.The sister/brother/wife/husband you always dreamed of. Share the pain, the joys, the chores and burping the baby. We. Are. Family. (If you can't hear funky music by now, you're younger than I am, but that's okay, sister)!

6. This is the biggest one, and the one I'm not at all inclined to make fun of. It's more than family. It is, in fact, true intimacy -- with someone your intimate partner is intimate with. With someone who loves your partner so much -- as you love them so much -- that the love just carries on over to everyone who is doing the loving.



● Best-case scenario, by Kimchi Cuddles:

Courtesy KimchiCuddles.com, used by permission. Here are all the Kimchi Cuddles comics involving metamours, 73 of them! That's 9% of Tikva's output of 808 strips since she started drawing them in 2013.

 
 
● Going deeper: an article by Louisa Leontiades on Salon, When your boyfriend loses his lover (Sept. 15, 2014). Excerpts:


I sit with him. His head is bowed, and he looks tired and sad. If tears could leak out of his eyes, they would. But my boyfriend has been trained not to cry....

There are some situations the polyamorous literature rarely covers. What to do when your boyfriend is grieving the loss of his lover?

...If it were me who’d been broken up with, I’d have some anger, some justifiable explanation of why he was wrong and I was right. But it’s not me. I have no anger, no justification. Nothing to water down the sorrow I feel on his behalf. I try to counter with some useless platitudes like, “Well, you’ll find someone else.” ... But in the end, I just keep quiet and listen.

“She changed,” he says. “Here one minute, the girl who was brimming with love and then her heart switched off. This girl, I don’t know her. So it’s not her now I’m grieving, it’s the girl I met. We were so happy.”

I know. I saw them together. It was a whirlwind of passion, tender moments and the look I haven’t seen on his face since – well, since we met all those years ago. He lost her. And we lost our dreams. Love with that depth doesn’t strike every day, every month or every year.

He speaks of her. Of memories. Of what ifs. Of his confusion. I try my best not to think guiltily about my own lover, my other significant other, sleeping in the bedroom. This heartbreak is his alone. And I am the lucky one.

But I miss her, too. We are still friends, supposedly. And yet everything has changed. She’s not coming over every other day. Her laughter doesn’t sound in the kitchen anymore. We have no exotic perfume traces on the sofa, the bedsheets or my clothes that she tried on and were three sizes too big for her.

...And I cry for him. ...



● Practical advice for a new kind of first get-together that you're probably nervous about: Meeting your Metamour, by Jess Mahler (July 21, 2016)


Some poly folk object to the term metamour. They feel like it forces them into a relationship with their partner’s other partner. To which I say, get over it.

Metamour is no different than “in-law” or “co-worker” or “classmate”. You share a connection with this other person through a common point of interest. ...

As I outlined last week, there are good practical reasons for meeting your metamour. Not having a "relationship" with them. Not becoming friends. Just… meeting them.

...Most cultures say you and this other person should hate each other for daring to love the same person. Instead, you are going to sit down and have a polite conversation, without the hidden war of words drama shows love.

Respect and honesty are the basis of polyamory etiquette. Keep that in mind as we go forward. ...

On being introduced:

...After introductions, you have a choice.

You can treat it like nay meeting with a new person. Spend some time getting to know them, what their interests are, make some small talk. This can help lay the groundwork for further conversation.

You can clear the air. Given the way many cultures view non-monogamy, there is likely to be tension. You can start by stating your feelings/concerns/discomfort areas and giving your metamour a chance to do the same. Then talk it out.

Making conversation....

Clearing the air.... [which uses Episode 5 of the fictional webseries Compersion for detailed dos and don'ts.]

This post is part of the Polyamory Etiquette blog series.



● The metamour Bechdel Test:



● Multiamory podcast #185: Can Men Get Along with their Metamours? (Aug. 21, 2018):



"On this episode we speak with Dr. Alex Bove about the findings of his recently published research on metamours and masculinity, titled Meta, More or Less? A Phenomenological Study of Polyamorous Men’s Relationships with Their Male Metamours. Tune in to find out more about the three phases of the metamour relationship, as well as the key traits of healthy metamour connections."

The transcript.


● Be okay with metas gossiping about you, because they're gonna. Remember, in complex relationships a sense of humor will get you through times of no sanity better than sanity will get you through times of no humor.



● Rebecca Crane gave a Metamour Intensive workshop at the 2012 Transcending Boundaries conference:



Transcript of this, by MayMay.


● And finally, by Wilricke Sophia, A letter to the women who sleep with my man


...Thank you for enriching his life. You can give him things I never can; for the simple reason that you are not me. ... With that, you hand him another mirror to look into. You can show him things about himself that I never can.

...You have a different past. With that, you can teach him things I never can.

Thank you.

Thank you for being so brave and courageous to see him and to receive him. Because you know of my existence. I see you. I see that it takes guts to take of your clothes for a man who has a woman who knows about you. You didn’t run away. Instead you came closer.

...He’s lovely, isn’t he?

With all my heart I hope you enjoyed every moment you spent and will spend with him. ...

There’s only one thing I ask of you:

See me. ...


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1. Your metamour, or "meta," is not deeply involved with you by definition. Otherwise you would be "partners" or "co-partners with". But even if you don't see much of each other or even much like each other, polyamory carries the expectation that you will treat each other with respect and good-heartedness and honor your partner's connection with them.

Many polyfolks develop their network of partners and metas into extended family, or hope to. Think of a traditional extended family. Maybe you're great pals with your brother-in-law, or maybe you're just as glad to see him drive away after Thanksgiving. Either way, in a healthy extended family there's a sense that you'll treat each other as family and be there for each other to some reasonable degree. Your sister (let's say) chose him as her mate, and your first response should be to respect her choice.

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February 23, 2019

A little more insight than usual, in the Irish Times


Serious mainstream media pay attention to polyamory often enough now that you can usually guess how it'll go — they get the basics right, thankfully, but may have an outsider's tin ear to subtleties. The feature story in this morning's Irish Times, a leading daily in Ireland, strikes me as a little more perceptive than usual, once it gets rolling.

Its jumping-off point is Jenny Yuen's recent book Polyamorous, part autobiography and partly a professional newspaperwoman's report on poly in Canada and elsewhere.

The piece is by a writer on women's "life & style" topics, hence the headline.


Polyamory: The women in love with more than one person

"Jenny Yuen lives with her husband and nesting partner, Charlie, and her other partner, Adam, who is 31 years her senior, lives up the street."

 
By Laura Kennedy

...It is difficult to definitively say whether polyamory is more common than it used to be or simply more visible, but it is certainly the latter.

...A reporter for the Toronto Sun, [Jenny Yuen] writes frankly in the book about her relationships and her route to motherhood. ... It helps, she says, that she has an excellent support system. ... Yuen describes their relationship as a V – she and Adam are romantically involved, as are she and Charlie, but Adam and Charlie don’t share a romantic relationship, though they are close and the three operate as a family unit.

People ask Yuen how her daughter will be raised in a poly family – “I want people to know that she’s going to have more support. My partner lives up the street. My husband’s at work right now; my partner was able to spend some time with me this afternoon and also take care of the baby. That’s a benefit and a luxury that not everyone has and that we are lucky to have . . . thanks to polyamory.”

...All of the emotionally laden conversations and interactions that characterise a serious monogamous relationship feature in polyamory. Quite literally everything is a conversation. If you live with multiple partners, the tedium of asking who takes out the bins has to be performed with more than one person; ditto where the new sofa is going. Even if you live alone but have multiple partners, there are conversations about who you are having dinner with when, and where partners should leave their things at your home. Does everyone get a sock drawer? Poly people are and must be skilled, emotionally sensitive and enthusiastic communicators.

Lea, a bisexual poly student from Cork, who has a long-distance relationship with a male anchor partner (the term primary partner is frowned upon, because it suggests a hierarchy), chuckles when I mention that some people consider polyamory a vehicle which enables male promiscuity. If anything, she says, it encourages men to improve their communication skills in relating how they feel.

It seems clear that polyamory is too much work for anyone who is just in the mood to sleep with a stranger without strings attached; there are apps for that. Lea describes polyamory as empowering for women, just as it is for men, because it prioritises clear communication of one’s needs and regularly checking in with how partners are feeling.

...There can be issues unique to polyamory, however. Some poly women face being fetishised or commodified as “thirds” by married couples – termed unicorn hunters – who seek someone (normally a bisexual woman) to be brought in as a third without being allowed to form her own outside relationships. Of course, some women enjoy this, but it seems that most don’t and demand for such thirds far outweighs supply.

Erica from Louth describes herself as a 35-year-old cisgendered bisexual woman who works in tech. ... She has found that some men who don’t understand what polyamory is can make presumptions: “Men I know who would be in relationships have hit on me once they find out I’m polyamorous or want me to help them cheat, and that’s just not what it’s about.”

This is a subversion of what is considered “good” poly practice, which suggests that everyone’s needs must be equally recognised and respected. Of course, as in monogamy, this is a delicate balancing act which may be desired more than it is observed.

...If polyamory had a dirty secret that unsettles the monogamous norm, it would be that it is qualitatively like monogamy, except that the emotional work of relationships is multiplied by the number of partners.

While many people unfamiliar with the mechanics of polyamory are hand wringing over the idea of orgies, the reality of polyamory seems to be seeking out the same deep connection that monogamy instantiates, but more of it. This idea is offensive to some who consider such connection possible only with one person at a given time. However, that really seems like a determination each of us can only make for ourselves.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of polyamory is that it is counter-cultural, which could easily be – and has been – mistaken for being controversial. ...


The whole article (February 23, 2019).

Also from Ireland:

● In the Irish Examiner, Is fidelity old school as – it appears – open relationships become more common? (Jan. 9, 2019)


...Polyamory in all its ethical-non monogamy shouldn’t be confused with having an open relationship. In the latter, sex with others is part of the package. Falling in love is not.

Polyamory makes sense. Expecting a lifetime of willing or enforced monogamy often leads to disappointment, betrayal and heartbreak, and that’s just among the ones who discover they’ve been deceived. ...


● In RSVP Live ("the modern Irish woman’s destination of choice for news, information and entertainment"): Irish people reveal what it's like to be in an open relationship (July 2, 2018):


...Sarah from Mayo said they initially wanted to be in an open relationship to help them deal with their insecurities.

"I recognised in myself that having a desire to see someone other than my partner didn't negate my love for them, and I want to try to unlearn the feeling in myself of insecurity that I think we are socialised to feel when someone we are in a relationship with is interested in someone else," they said.

...Jamie, who lives in Ireland but is originally from the US, also said that honesty is paramount.

"I'm seeing a bunch of people non-hierarchically, so since I am the only constant my only rules are to be extremely honest with everyone pretty much from the get-go....

"I find that I'm only jealous when I'm with someone else that is also jealous, which doesn't come up as much when poly stuff is set as the norm from the start." ...


All the poly in Ireland's media on this site since 2006 (including this post; scroll down).

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February 21, 2019

That scare headline, "There's a dark side of polyamory that nobody talks about"


That attention-getting headline going around comes from an article that appeared Tuesday in Business Insider, one of the several Insider sites. The "dark side" turns out to be other people discriminating against polyfolks. Hey, yoohoo! People do talk about that. A lot. See "coming out." And "child custody cases."


There's a dark side of polyamory that nobody talks about

Two guys and a woman, The caption is "Polyamory takes many different forms."
"Polyamory takes many different forms." (Marco Piunti / Getty)

 
By Lindsay Dodgson

–   Polyamory is not a legally protected status, like being straight or gay. You can lose your job for being polyamorous. Courts can use it against you in child custody proceedings.

–   Polyamory and non-monogamy take many different forms.

–   For instance, egalitarian polyamory means not having a primary partner at all, and there are many asexual people who are polyamorous.

About five years ago, Cameron Mckillop was talking to a friend at work, when an older woman came up to them and abruptly put an end to their conversation.

"[She] loudly told the other girl to stay away from me or I'd take her back home and make her another one of my wives," Mckillop told INSIDER.

"The friendship never really recovered, and after that most of the women in that class and then on the call floor wouldn't interact with me. Also, the older lady would always look daggers in my direction whenever I was near her."

Mckillop is polyamorous, which means he has multiple partners. Polyamory and other types of non-monogamy are an alternative to what Amy Gahran, a writer and editor based in Boulder, Colorado, calls the "relationship escalator."

...Gahran told INSIDER, "As young as 12 or 13 I was imagining relationships that worked in very different ways." ...

[Read more: 7 things people with multiple partners want you to know about what it's really like]

But although awareness has come a long way in the 20 years Gahran has been in the non-monogamous community, there are still misconceptions. And these misconceptions can lead to judgment, abuse, and even legal problems.

"Being polyamorous in particular, or otherwise consensually non-monogamous, at least in the US, is not a protected status," Gahran said. "It is something you can get fired for. It is something that can jeopardize child custody arrangements, it can complicate divorce proceedings, it can complicate people's ability to get access to jobs or education."

[Read more: What it means for couples to go 'unicorn hunting' — and why it usually doesn't end well]

Gahran now lives as a solo-polyamorist, meaning she has more than one lover at a time, but leads an independent life and doesn't consider herself to be part of any couples. She also practices egalitarian polyamory, which means there are no primary or secondary partners in her relationships. ...


The rest of the long article wanders off to discuss the various kinds of polyamory, the ethics of primary-secondary relationships, how polyfolks deal with jealousy, and so forth (Feb. 19, 2019).

------------------------------

While we're on the subject, here are some substantive things about anti-poly discrimination. The first two are by Eli Sheff:

Polyamory at Work (Oct. 10, 2017)

Polyphobia (July 14, 2017)

Also,

Why polyamorous people fear 'coming out', by Lux Alptraum (Sept. 13, 2016).

Employee dismissed for being “polyamorous” not the victim of unlawful discrimination (in Australia; March 23, 2016).

● The book It's Called "Polyamory": Coming Out About Your Nonmonogamous Relationships, by poly psychotherapist Tamara Pincus and speaker/activist Rebecca Hiles (Thorntree Press, 2017) is a comprehensive, very readable guide to many aspects you may not have thought about.

● Remember, you don't have to come out to be a good person. People who have to stay closeted need to build ways ways to cope with their situation in a healthy manner — as Liz Powell, an officer in the army for five years and now an independent queer and poly therapist, explains in text and video.

● And especially, How to Decide Whether to Come Out as Poly or Kinky Online: Real Risk Analysis Beyond Shame — solid guidelines for evaluating your personal risk, from Diana Adams of Diana Adams Law & Mediation.

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February 20, 2019

On NPR, "The New Sexual Revolution: Polyamory On The Rise"


It's been 10 years since Newsweek (then a major magazine) published a game-changing article calling polyamory "America's Next Romantic Revolution." Other media and commentators kept citing that article for years afterward. Now a headline like that passes without surprise.

Many National Public Radio stations aired an excellent 35-minute discussion of polyamory this week titled The New Sexual Revolution: Polyamory On The Rise. It was produced by WAMU for its talk show "1A" (think "First Amendment"), which is syndicated to other NPR stations; it replaced the immensely popular Diane Rehm show after she retired two years ago. Thanks to friends who were listening on Monday and told me about the topic.

The show's first half features Janet Hardy (co-author of The Ethical Slut) and sociologist Dr. Eli Sheff (The Polyamorists Next Door) talking with host Joshua Johnson. Halfway through they're joined by Ron Young, founder of Black & Poly ("Love. Family. Community."), and Crystal Farmer, editor of Black & Poly's website and online magazine. The host is intelligent and interested, and the guests were well chosen for insight and experience.

And here's a shout-out to those who sent the texts and emails about their poly lives that Johnson read on the air.

It's is 35 minutes long. You can listen here:

Or download it as an MP3 podcast.

From the show's webpage:


The New Sexual Revolution: Polyamory On The Rise

...For many people, “partner” need not be a singular idea. Polyamory, or ethical non-monogamy, “can involve any number of people, either cohabiting or not, sometimes all having sex with each other, and sometimes just in couples within the larger group,” The Atlantic reports.

And it might be more common than you think.

From Quartz:

What research there is suggests otherwise: a survey of some 8,700 US single adults in 2017 found that more than one in five engaged in consensual non-monogamy at some point in their lives, while in a 2014 survey 4%-5% of Americans reported currently being polyamorous.

Here’s what one poly woman told The Chicago Tribune:

“Polyamory isn’t for everybody and that’s OK,” said Topaz Steele, a Chicago native who has identified as poly for about 10 years. “I’m not here to say that everyone should try to be nonmonogamous or that everyone is capable of loving people in this way. I do know that being polyamorous works for me and my lifestyle and I wouldn’t push anyone to do it just because.”

Steele spent last Valentine’s Day out on a date with her two boyfriends. While out, the trio grabbed a bite to eat and spent time discussing their favorite videos games and anime shows. Throughout the date, she casually made a point to hold both of her boyfriends’ hands, either separately or at the same time. She said she couldn’t care less what people think of seeing the three of them out together on a date.

We’re breaking down how ethical non-monogamy works and the stigma some associate with having multiple partners.

...Guests:

Janet W. Hardy, Co-author, The Ethical Slut; @janetwhardyr

Elisabeth Sheff, Sociologist and relationship consultant; author, The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple Partner Relationships and Families; @DrEliSheff

Ron Young, Founder, Black and Poly

Crystal Farmer, Editor, Black and Poly Magazine; @crystalbfarmer


The original (Feb. 18, 2019).

● Also, on NPR's website two years ago: text article A Cultural Moment for Polyamory by Barbara J. King (March 23, 2017). That too came from WAMU.

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February 17, 2019

A great polyfamily TV report, with articulate kids


Ten or 15 years ago this TV report, which aired yesterday, would have been epochal for us. Now it's a new normal. The Calgary affiliate of Canada's CTV network aired a sweet segment about a local FFM triad polyfamily raising the five kids of both women. They've all been living under one roof for five years.

You know the producers are going to treat them well as soon as you hear the soothing background music, which runs throughout.



My favorite quotes come from two of the kids:

"I like it 'cause you've never really by yourself, you can always like, hang out with someone."

Another tells how she explains her family to friends and other people: "I just tell them it's like basically the same as having just a regular mom and dad except you have one extra, and they all love each other and they're all like in a relationship."


The moms met through a children's playgroup. The adults say they never planned this, it just naturally happened as friendships turned romantic.

My experience is that polyfamilies who weren't looking for such a thing, where it "just happened" naturally among friends, have a high rate of success.

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