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

April 18, 2018

Vogue UK: "Love All: The Art Of Polyamory"

In the British edition of Vogue, April 2018 issue (both print and online), comes a long, 2,500-word rumination that's getting some international notice. A few excerpts:

Love All: The Art Of Polyamory

As polyamory enters the mainstream, could a relationship revolution be under way? Rowan Pelling investigates the art of loving – and sleeping with – more than one person.

By Rowan Pelling

One bright spring day last year I was idly browsing Facebook when my friend Dr Kate Devlin (a lecturer in artificial intelligence at Goldsmiths) updated her status from “single” to “in an open relationship”. Since I’m 49 and live in uptight, windswept Cambridge [UK], rather than a sex-positive community in San Diego, this was a social-media first for me. It seemed clear the polyamory movement in Britain had finally achieved critical mass. There had been plenty of portents. ...

...For me, the significant thing about my friend Kate Devlin’s post was that it marked the moment when I first witnessed a bunch of well-heeled professionals all nod and say, “Good for you!”, rather than falling silent or expressing surprise. I sent her a message offering congratulations and suggesting polyamory would make a great article for my magazine The Amorist, which explores passion and sexuality. She replied, “I’m already halfway through.” The finished piece caused a bit of a stir, and a version was reprinted in The Times. ["I have other men. He has other women. We’re both happy."]  ...She concluded, “I am content though. Happy, definitely, in a way that I couldn’t be if I were with just one person. I am fascinated by people and delight in learning more about each one… I know polyamory is not for everyone. There are degrees of it that are not for me. I’m tentatively feeling my way blindly because the familiar social structures aren’t in place, but it’s OK. It’s OK. I remind myself that it’s OK. For every pang of insecurity I have an equal and opposite panic about being trapped. Then my heart lifts as I remember: I’m not."

...The modern polyamorist has a host of experts and guidelines to turn to, should they want to be guided. Consensual non-monogamy, 21st-century style, is about parallel loving relationships, rather than swingers’ parties and dogging. The Ethical Slut has been supplemented by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert’s More Than Two, which lays out ways to maintain good etiquette with all partners. Meanwhile, those with more anthropological leanings might prefer Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha’s Sex at Dawn, which makes a convincing case that the human ape – our inner bonobo – is not, at its core, a monogamous creature, and that women are just as likely to relish multiple partners as men. There are also numerous websites giving advice, although it basically comes down to ruthless honesty, impeccable empathy, good communication between all parties, respect for preset boundaries and not making any of your lovers feel peripheral. Everyone cautions against men (it is usually men, I’m afraid) who declare themselves “polyamorous” when what they really mean is commitment-phobic. ...

Proper polyamory involves a lot of fiercely honest negotiations and tenderness for all concerned. ... One difference between new-style polyamory and old-style couples who have “an arrangement” is that the possibility of side arrangements is often discussed from the beginning of a relationship. Emily Witt’s recent book Future Sex has a riveting chapter tracking polyamory among young tech entrepreneurs in California’s Silicon Valley, where the practice is common. In Britain, I’ve observed a similar phenomenon among Shoreditch techies. When you’re at the forefront of virtual reality and know sex robots are in development, you’re hardly going to find consensual non-monogamy outlandish. Stephanie Alys of Mystery Vibe, a London-based startup specialising in teledildonics (app-controlled sex toys) confirms this. ...

A couple of years ago I met the neuroscientist and sex therapist Dr Nan Wise at her office at Rutgers University in New Jersey, who turned out to be something of a spokeswoman for the poly movement in America. [That must have been at least 10 years ago. –Ed.]  Wise pointed out that you have to be the sort of person who embraces emotional complexity – who’s hungry to give a lot of love, as well as to receive it – to deal with the complexities that consensual non-monogamy throws up.

...It often seems to me that polyamory is a better solution for those couples who have navigated and exhausted every aspect of conventional fidelity, rather than a Tinder-reared generation who are unnerved by the discipline required for exclusivity. If you have managed to love one person well across decades, and perhaps children, too, you’re far more likely to be generous and understanding in your love for another. By then you will know from long experience that the heart’s capacity is not finite, and its terrain is not bounded by rules.

Read the whole article (online April 14, 2018). It's not in the American edition.



April 17, 2018

More on Mary Crumpton and her now world-famous triad

Last week Mary Crumpton, her triad partners Tim and John, and their extended romantic network in northern England received amazingly positive worldwide publicity in tabloid media, after Mary gave an interview to her local newspaper to "help people understand polyamory better."

She spoke to the Manchester Evening News two months ago. The paper didn't use the interview at the time, but then they finally printed it on April 10th after she announced that she's standing for Manchester city council as the Green Party candidate for her ward. And then, the story grew wings.

The Sun's version. Posted Crumpton, "Relieved they did a reasonably good piece even if there are some misquotes and inaccuracies. Could have been much worse."

"Mrs Crumpet," the tabloid Sun called her. To me that invokes cozy, homey English traditionalness, playing off how ordinary she makes their poly life sound.

Now, a week later, the UK's Daily Mail returns to this proven well of clicks with a long followup to its first article. However, much of the followup is a word-for-word reissue of the story the Mail published last week.

Woman with a husband, live-in fiancee and two boyfriends has been inundated with rude offers from men wanting to become number five after she revealed her polyamorous lifestyle

By Mark Duell for MailOnline

...The therapist, who is standing in her local elections as a Green Party councillor, has spoken publicly to allow others to learn more about those in multiple relationships.

...Since speaking out Mrs Crumpton has been left in tears by hundreds of supportive messages from people praising her for talking openly about her unusual lifestyle.

But she added that she has also faced a plethora of abusive messages, with some people sending her private messages saying: 'You should kill yourself'.

Mrs Crumpton admitted there have also been 'a few guys sending me pictures of their penis, saying 'Do you want me to be number five?'

But she said the abuse 'doesn't matter', and had been outweighed by the positive comments - with some people approaching her in the street to give her a high five.

Mrs Crumpton is standing as a Green Party councillor in the local elections next month, and admitted the exposure from the interview could help her attract votes.

But she told how the interview actually was carried out two months ago, before she had decided to stand for the council which is 'almost 100 per cent Labour'.

She has sided with the Green Party, which passed a motion at its autumn 2017 conference, officially recognising the validity of polyamorous relationships.


...She pointed out her concerns over being in a polyamorous relationship when she has to write a will or be asked for a single next of kin in hospital.

Mrs Crumpton added: 'It's not yet a protected characteristic, but somebody, your employer, could sack you if they found you were in multiple relationships.'

She said she used to be a teacher in a Catholic school, and could have been sacked if she was in a polyamorous relationship while there.

And she now wants a change in the law 'so that nobody will fear being discriminated against for their polyamorous lifestyle'.

She is also pushing for improvements in social housing and an increase in policing levels on the street, as she stands for the elections on May 3.

Asked how many people practice polyamory in Britain, she said: 'It's a lot more than you would think. There are polyamorous social groups all across the country.'

Mrs Crumpton said there are 'hundreds of people at conventions', and 'a lot of people go to a Facebook group but only if it's really locked down'.


'I don't have children, and have no desire to have children. I see no problem with bringing children into a polyamorous set-up though, because I have seen co-parenting work really well for other polyamorous groups. It is not something we plan though.

'Mostly people have been great. They had lots of questions about it, and some family members needed reassurance that we were all happy and no-one was getting hurt. I find that I have a huge capacity for romantic love.

'I just naturally fall in love with more than one person at a time. So to settle down with just one person for the rest of my life just doesn't feel natural to me.

'People sometimes ask me if it means that I love my husband, or any of my partners less. And I say no. Perhaps it is a bit like how we love our children - when a parent has a second or third child, it doesn't mean that they love their first child any the less.

'I think that romantic love is unlimited too. Time is limited of course. But I do not believe that love is. It certainly isn't for me.


'We all go out together. For example all going out for drinks for my birthday or to social gatherings and events organised by friends or trips to the cinema or whatever. Tim, John and I go down to London to see my family the three of us. And my sister's children refer to us as 'Auntie Mary, Uncle Tim and Uncle John'.

'People have the idea that polyamory is all about sex which isn't the case. I don't do one night-stands. I generally wait a month or so at least before becoming sexual with anyone I start dating. I suppose in that sense I am old-fashioned.

'My relationships themselves vary in how sexual they are - one of them being more platonic with not much more than cuddling and kissing.

'I suppose that, for me, is another good thing about polyamory - each relationship can find its own level in terms of sex and with other things too. And there is no pressure on one relationship to tick all the boxes, so to speak.'

...A Manchester Green Party spokesman said: 'We are humbled and proud of our council candidate for Chorlton, Mary Crumpton, for openly discussing a topic that many people would fear due to potential controversy. ...

Read the whole article (April 13, 2018).

Embracing the name. (Facebook)
Mary posts on Facebook, "It amuses me that the Mail headline focussed on my throw away comments about getting rude offers. Rather than focussing on all the messages I have had from people thanking me for speaking out about polyamorous relationships."

As for commenters' accusations that she's just seeking publicity for her city council candidacy, she posted: "[I] did the interview in February long before I agreed to stand for the Greens. The M.E.N. [Manchester Evening News] just took a while to publish. Did it to help increase the visibility of polyamory. In the hopes that others in similar situations will feel less like they have to hide it. And also in the hopes that people in polyamorous relationships might one day get the same rights as people in monogamous relationships."

● She just did a BBC TV interview (viewable only in the UK) "in which I explain, amongst other things, why I spoke to the media about our private life". (Her part starts at 51:18.  Victoria Derbyshire show, BBC2, April 16, 2018.)


Labels: , ,

April 15, 2018

The definition of "polyamory," and more media getting it right

My last post, about the Independent article "Straight men need to stop using polyamory as an excuse to manipulate women into casual dating" and others like it, stirred up a swarm of reactions on Facebook and Reddit pro and con.

Some people told colorful tales of sleazebags who had no interest in honest loving relationships using "poly" bafflegab on women. One told of visiting a bar where a pickup-artist class exercise was in progress, with an obvious row of nervous males approaching, one by one when it was their turn, each incoming unaccompanied woman and trying to impress her with hip-sounding polyamory buzztalk. Other readers described offenders against the word who were more clueness than scuzzy.

And there some outraged butt-hurts, who defended their right to use the word however they want regardless of what other people think it means, and if women are going to be so anti-male about it they're nasty SJWs, so there.

As the photo caption at the top of the article said: "If men have no interest in a serious relationship, and are looking to casually date multiple people, that is absolutely fair and their choice, but that is not polyamory." Which is multiple loving relationships (poly-amory, right?), which means (per the word's inventor, the Oxford English Dictionary, and all the informal online dictionaries the author found) "close emotional relationships" and "with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned."

So it's valuable to have more media coverage like the following, which appeared a few days ago in Canada's very mainstream CBC News, Newfoundland edition:

Melanie Lynch and Alex Wilkie are a polyamorous couple.

For these young romantics, 3 (or more) is the perfect company

Group offers support for people in or seeking polyamorous and non-monogamous relationships

CBC News

With big smiles and youthful faces, Melanie Lynch and Alex Wilkie look like an average happy couple on social media, head over heels in love.

While the smiles are real and the love is genuine, this couple does not have your average relationship.

They are polyamorous — meaning that while they live together, they also date other people.

"No one is cheating here," Lynch said. "Everyone is on the same page, there's good communication constantly. Partners are always talking."

The couple is part of a support group, started on Facebook, to help guide people who are either in a polyamorous or non-monogamous relationship, or who are interested in the lifestyle.

It's a mystery to the common person, Wilkie said, and something that draws a lot of curiosity.

"I think that's why we have a support group in the first place," said Lynch. "There's a big stigma against what we are doing."

Lynch and Wilkie entered into the relationship with the goal of being polyamorous. ...

..."You have to talk about a lot of hypothetical situations that you normally wouldn't have to think about," Wilkie said. "Like, if you're going on a date with somebody, is it OK if you went back to your apartment after?"

"We also have an excellent calendar together," Lynch laughed. "We're good at scheduling."


Jeff Anstey, another member of the support group, said his relationship works a little bit differently.

His partner is monogamous, but Anstey has dated other people throughout the course of the eight-year relationship.

"When we met, we were both pretty young," he said, noting they began a monogamous relationship by default. "That's kind of the way our culture is. People are taught from a young age those types of expectations, I guess, and it's kind of implicit."

But after three years together, they began talking about feelings they were having. At first they discussed a typical open relationship — seeking other sexual partners without a strong emotional connection.

Throughout their conversations, Anstey realized polyamory — something with more of an emotional connection — was more along the lines of what he was searching for.

He said his partner understands and respects his feelings, but doesn't feel the same way.

Even though his partner does not date other people, Anstey said that doesn't make him any less committed.

"Most people associate commitment with an exclusive sort of connection," he said.

"I'm very committed to my partner. We've been together for a long time … But that doesn't make feelings go away. That doesn't make, you know, other parts of who I am disappear." ...

...Lynch and Wilkie consider themselves "nesting partners," meaning they live together and intend to stay together but have other relationships, too.

"My other partner, I would refer to him as a satellite partner," Lynch said. "Someone who kind of comes in and out of my life in a different sense than Alex does."

Then there are situations where all partners are considered equals — these relationships commonly happen in groups of threes called triads.

..."Most people when you talk to them are genuinely curious," Wilkie said. "And they have a lot of questions, which is nice."

Read the whole article (April 10).

● Here's the CBC radio version: "On The Go" with Ted Blades, When One Partner's Not Enough"Ted talks with three members of NL's polyamory and non-monogamous community" (18:12).

Writes Jef Anstey, one of the people interviewed, "This is the radio interview which the article was quoting from! It goes much more into depth; the article just snagged a few snippets."

● Elsewhere, appearing in the weekly Minneapolis City Pages:

Meet the Minnesotans finding love through polyamory

By Erica Rivera

Andy is in a relationship. Make that several.

Over the past three years, the 31-year-old divorced mother with a ballerina’s physique, septum piercing, and “R-E-A-D M-O-R-E” inked on her knuckles has had three male partners — and subsequent heartbreaks.

She also dates a young married couple and occasionally sleeps with another married couple. Once, both married couples and Andy went camping together, children in tow.

...MN Poly, a St. Paul-based meetup group, boasts more than 1,200 members.

...No two non-monogamous arrangements are exactly alike. People seek additional partners not just for sex but for affection, companionship, love, co-parenting, and socializing. These configurations require ongoing negotiations about appropriate partners, parameters of sex and dating, STD protection, and birth control.

Even the language non-monogamists use is carefully curated. Non-monogamy is an umbrella term; beneath it are myriad variations on the theme. Polyamory involves loving more than one person, with all the inherent emotional involvement and time investment. Sometimes polyamorous practitioners identify one partner as “primary,” creating a hierarchy to prioritize their many relationships.

[Other] non-monogamy subtypes [include]open marriage, [which] allows one or both spouses to have sex with other people, often in a friends-with-benefits-style arrangement. Cuckolding is a fetish, one in which a husband takes pleasure in his wife sleeping with other men; voyeurism is often involved. Swinging is a limited-time opportunity for couples to have sex with other people; post-coital contact is discouraged. (Among non-monogamists, there’s a joke that goes: “Swingers have sex; polyamorous people have conversations.”) As for polygamy? It’s the black sheep of the non-monogamy family, weighted with religious, consent, and power structure issues.

...“I keep dating these people that have never really heard of, or tried, or read any poly literature,” Andy laments. “I have to coach, educate, counsel, and date them.”

In Andy’s experience, men will often present as single when in fact they’re still coupled, however tenuously. She says some men are willing to try non-monogamy for the first time but can’t hack the honesty required for the arrangement to work.

While there have been several failures on the boyfriend front, Andy is happily dating a married couple, the wife a fashionable bookworm, the husband a beer enthusiast. She sees the couple weekly and speaks to them daily.

“I fall in love with them more when I see them together because I watch how much they love each other and well they run their lives together,” Andy says. “They counsel me. They’re the emotional, strong, foundational support in my life.”

...Karen* and Jim* are a couple who share a suburban home with Karen’s bisexual partner Rob*, where all three parent four teenagers together. Karen and Jim didn’t plan on having a non-monogamous marriage per se, though Karen often joked that it would be nice to have a wife around to help with the child-rearing and housework.

Fate introduced the couple to Rob....

...“It’s not a fear of commitment. It’s commitment, plus one,” [Karen] says. “Jim and I spent 20 years together monogamously and this is not a plug to fill a problem. This is something that the parts are greater than the whole and it would be sad to not take advantage of this opportunity for everybody’s life to be fuller, richer, better.”

Sex is a part of, but not the epicenter, of their arrangement. “It’s not as racy a story as all that. It’s about driving kids to practice or who’s going to be home any given night of the week,” Karen says. “We don’t have specific designated anything. It’s catch-as-catch-can, but we try to make sure that there’s a balance and that nobody’s getting nothing.” ...

The whole, very long article (February 28, 2017).


Labels: ,

April 11, 2018

"Straight men need to stop using polyamory as an excuse to manipulate women into casual dating"

The Independent, one of the UK's major dailies, gives a Pink News reporter space to send an increasingly necessary message:

Straight men need to stop using polyamory as an excuse to manipulate women into casual dating

It’s easy to see why someone interested in dating multiple women with zero commitment might see this as the perfect excuse, but polyamory in fact requires more commitment and trust than monogamy does.

"If men have no interest in a serious relationship, and are looking to casually date multiple people, that is absolutely fair and their choice, but that is not polyamory." (iStock image)

By Jasmine Andersson

Something unsettling is happening in heterosexual dating.

It’s beyond the tactics of submarining, ghosting and whatever the hell you name a person’s lack of commitment when it comes to being a decent human being, but it’s in the same ballpark.

It would seem that women are experiencing a unique curveball on the dating scene, in which men who do not want to commit to a relationship are explaining away their dishonesty as “polyamory”. In the past six months alone, four men I’ve dated have used this as a way of masking their attempts to shirk commitment, and tried to pressure me into agreeing to an arrangement I had no interest in.

There is a clear difference between a polyamorous person saying they’re polyamorous on the first date, and a guy who just doesn’t want to settle down using it as a shield to hide behind.

People who identify as polyamorous sometimes argue it is a sexual orientation akin to being gay or straight, while others see it as a lifestyle choice. Either way, polyamorous relationships are typically characterised by an intense sense of commitment – both to one’s primary partner and any additional relationships. It is about constant communication and respect, which allows for the fact that there is such a thing as ethical, consensual non-monogamy.

There has definitely been a shift in the way that straight people consider monogamy. As apps such as Feeld, designed for non-monogamous people, flourish, so do the ever-increasing gender identities and relationship requests that can be listed on the likes of OkCupid.

Google searches for polyamory are on the rise, and a 2016 YouGov poll found that 31 per cent of women and 38 per cent of men believed their ideal relationship to be consensually non-monogamous, so it's easy to see why someone interested in seeing multiple women with zero commitment might see this as the perfect way to convince their partners to want the same. What casual-seekers have also failed to realise though, is that polyamory in fact requires more commitment than monogamy.

Polyamory rejects the notion that loving, committed relationship must by design feature just two people, but it’s very different to an “open relationship”, which involves committing to just one person while allowing for sexual experiences with other people. And it certainly has almost nothing in common with dating – and sleeping with – multiple people at the same time without ever really committing to anyone.

As someone who wants a monogamous relationship, I decided to chat to someone who identifies as poly. He explained: “I see cis-gendered, heterosexual men looking for an excuse for the same old cheating douchebaggery that they have always indulged in. ...

A pseudo-poly bro who tries to convince you that your thoughts, values and feelings are un-progressive, and that you just need to be a bit more “open minded”, is about as far from the values of polyamory as it’s possible to get. ...

Pseudo-poly bros need to stop exploiting an ideology that thrives on love and commitment, and single women must stand by their values and not allow themselves to be manipulated into a one-sided “relationship”. ...

Jasmine Andersson is a reporter at PinkNews.

Read the whole article (April 10, 2018). She also discusses the equalizing effect of the dating app Bumble, which "aims to empower women to make the first move when it comes to dating."

● Also, a couple days ago in a Silicon Valley episode review in the Palo Alto Daily Post:

In the low-lit atmosphere of the scene, it almost felt like Ben was about to say he practiced ethical polyamory, a romantic philosophy that has a number of Valley adherents, and that can be principled but is also a favorite cover for some garden-variety sleaze.

The more we call out such misuse of the word by predators and sleazes, the more people will see through their bullshittery and the less we will be tarred by it. A couple more examples:

● As early as six years ago, by author O. M. Grey: Successful Polyamory, or Poly vs. Amory (Nov. 7, 2012)

Although every definition I can find on polyamory emphasizes the honesty, openness, ethics, integrity, commitment, and love, my experience is that the bulk of people who identify as polyamorous are not practicing these basic principles.

The word polyamory has come to mean any type of non-monogamy, ethical or not, as I’ve learned, and this deeply saddens me. If a word has too many meanings, then it has no meaning at all.

A rose by another other name may smell as sweet, but when I say the word “rose,” you know the type of flower I’m talking about. If I say “rose” and I mean “steaming pile of dog shit,” that rose doesn’t smell as sweet, because it’s not really a rose. It’s a steaming pile of dog shit. You can throw up gorilla dust, beat your manly chest, spout spiritual-sounding words about radical inclusion, and demand that it is a rose and “your truth,” but the reality is that it’s still a steaming pile of dog shit. Even if you call it a rose.

● An advice columnist for Flagpole, the alternative weekly paper of Athens, Georgia, goes out of her way to make the point in responding to a letter titled My Manager's Girlfriend Stole My Boyfriend (Jan. 24, 2018):

Polyamory is a real relationship model that involves plenty of commitment and compromise, but your boss and her partner are terrible at it. Calling oneself “poly” isn’t an excuse to wreck homes and treat staff like a harem. Behavior like theirs is the reason people associate the polyamorous relationship model with selfishness and dishonesty. They shouldn’t use the label or involve others in their messy shit until they know how to be respectful and responsible to their potential partners.

Once again: we need to defend, loudly, the meaning of the our key word against bullshitters, pickup artists, and other fakers. Go for it, and send me the link when you do: alan7388 AT gmail.com . I hope to post a collection of your work.


Labels: , , ,

April 8, 2018

More tabloid poly goodness worldwide, this time an MFM open triad

If you represent polyamory well, the British tabloids and their worldwide partners are eager for your story to intrigue, or shock, their readers. Here's another typical happy result (the Daily Mail online version):

Mary Crumpton has a husband Tim (right), a fiancé John Hulls (left), and two boyfriends.

My controversial polyamorous lifestyle works fine for me, my husband, my live-in fiancé and my TWO boyfriends says Mary, 44, from Chorlton-cum-Hardy

Meet the 44-year-old therapist who has a husband, a fiancé and two boyfriends.

Mary Crumpton, from Chorlton, is speaking publicly about her relationships in the hope of allowing others to understand people who follow the practice of polyamory.

...Mary, who became interested in polyamory when she was 29, has a husband, Tim, 43, a fiancé, John, 53, and two boyfriends - Michael, 63, and James, 73. She lives with Tim and John and the other two men live nearby.

The former teacher said: 'I was brought up in quite a traditional home. I had boyfriends and was monogamous. Having more than one partner never crossed my mind. In my twenties I got married and settled down in Chorlton fully intending to be with my husband for life. ...

'The idea that loving more than one person might not make me a terrible human being only dawned on me when, at a pub, I bumped into a person who had more than one partner. I had never come across it before, or the term "polyamory" which means "more-than-one love". I was quite shocked, and curious about how it all worked for them. 'My partner was with me, and he was curious about it too. At the time neither of us considered it for ourselves, but I think the seed had been planted.'

In 2003, she suggested to her partner they could try an open relationship: 'I took to it immediately. I had a friend that I was already close to and that friendship drifted very naturally into something more.

'My partner had a similar experience with a friend of his. It was a revelation to me. I quickly realised that I had been "wired up" this way probably all my life - loving more than one person now seems like the most natural thing in the world to me and I can't imagine being any other way.

'For me, it is all about love. Of course, some of my relationships have been sexual, but sex is not the driving force for me.

Today, she says,

'I have a partner, John, 53, who I have been with since 2011, and who I am planning to 'marry' this year. We can't legally marry, but we are having a full wedding-style commitment ceremony at Chorlton Unitarian church in May.'

Mary said her [current] husband and fiancé are friends: 'Tim and John get on well, I suppose a bit like brothers, going on bicycle rides together for example.'

She says that boyfriend Michael spent last Christmas with them, and that she bonded with her other partner James over football.

... 'Living in a house with more than one partner is something I have done for a number of years now. I suppose in many ways it is no different from living in a shared house with a group of friends, or family. All the usual things about whose turn it is to wash up etc. Tim and John get on well, I suppose a bit like brothers, going on bicycle rides together for example.

'So it seems to work okay. They have something in common in that they both love me of course, and friends joke that I need two of them to keep me in line.

'Like in any relationship, insecurities can arise. Though in some ways there is less jealousy perhaps - no fear that a partner might cheat on me because why lie about it when having another partner is allowed anyway?

'Sometimes there might be a fear that a new partner is 'better' in some way than a current one, but good communication and offering reassurances allows that to be dealt with.

'In many ways I have found that being in open relationships has forced me to communicate much better. I am very honest and open with my partners about my feelings and needs, in a way that I didn't have the courage to be in previous monogamous relationships. So I think I have grown as a person, and have better and stronger relationships now.

'Of course, all of that is possible in monogamous relationships, and I am not suggesting polyamory is in any way better, just different. But it works well for me personally.

...'I get different reactions. Most people are interested and people often say 'I wish my wife/husband would let me do that'. I sometimes get negative reactions too - I have been called a slapper or a slag. I think that negativity mostly arises because I am doing something a bit different and sometimes that can make people feel uncomfortable. ... Polyamory is more widely known about now too so it is perhaps less of a shock to people now than it might have been, say, 10 years ago.

...'Cohabiting with two of my partners makes things easier financially for us. So much so, that the three of us took the decision that I would reduce my paid-work hours and do more unpaid voluntary work in our community.

'The only negative for me really is dealing with other people being judgemental sometimes. But thankfully I am quite thick-skinned. And I hope that my being open about it with friends, and your readers, will help people understand polyamory better.'

Mary is standing at the next local election for the Chorlton ward, representing the Green Party.

She got eight straight paragraphs of uninterrupted quotes!

The whole article, with many pix (April 8, 2018). Versions also appear in Metro UK, The Sun, the Daily Star, the Manchester Evening News, the Mirror, the Scottish Daily Record, Germany's TZ, Hungary's Blikk, HuffPost South Africa, Nigeria's FiloPost and NAIJ, Indonesia's Tribun News, the  Chinese-language papers Apple Daily and ETtoday, the Chinese-language broadcaster SETN, and others.

Happy-poly stories must be proven click generators.


Labels: , ,

April 5, 2018

Women's Health mag: "What's the Difference between a Polyamorous and an Open Relationship?"

Women's Health again presents a Poly 101 article, this time about accurate terminology. It gets a thumbs-up from me.

A pressing issue for the polyamory awareness movement, as I've long said, is to keep our defining word — the one that identifies who we are and lets people google us! — from becoming watered down and meaningless as it moves into mainstream use.

What's The Difference Between A Polyamorous And An Open Relationship?

For once, the ambiguity of this stock photo is relevant to the story.

By Kristin Canning

Being in an open relationship is totally the same thing as being polyamorous, right? (Asking for a friend...)

Actually, while the two share some similar characteristics, they’re very different. “An open relationship is one where one or both partners have a desire for sexual relationships outside of each other, and polyamory is about having intimate, loving relationships with multiple people,” says Renee Divine, L.M.F.T., a sex and relationships therapist in Minneapolis, MN. [And more than that, "polyamory" implies an ethic of mutual support and good will all around, even where there aren't romantic connections. –Ed.]

Both open and poly relationships are forms of consensual non-monogamy, and technically, polyamory can be a type of open relationship, but expectations tend to be different when it comes to these relationship styles.

Are you looking for more love or more sex?

Open relationships typically start with one partner or both wanting to be able to seek outside sexual relationships and satisfaction, while still having sex with and sharing an emotional connection with their partner.

“People are looking for different experiences and want to meet the needs that aren’t being met in the relationship,” says Divine. But there’s never an intention for feelings to get involved.

In polyamory, the whole point is to fall in love with multiple people, and there’s not necessarily any relationship hierarchy, says Divine. For example, someone could be solo poly (meaning they want and seek poly relationships whether or not they’re dating anyone), and they may enter into two separate relationships at the same time and view each as equal.

In their nature, poly relationships are open, since they involve more than two people. But not all poly groups are looking to add more people to the dynamic, and aren’t always actively dating. This is called closed poly, meaning the group includes multiple relationships, but there’s an expectation that no one involved is expanding the group.

What kind of boundaries do you want to set?

In open relationships, couples may talk with their primary partner about their outside relationships, or they might decide together that it’s best to keep those exploits to themselves, says Divine. They may have sexual encounters together, in the instance of swinging, or they may go out with other people on their own.

In polyamory, there tends to be more sharing between partners about other relationships as there are emotions involved. A poly group might consider themselves “kitchen-table poly,” which means the whole group could hang out together comfortably. Two poly people might also date the same person, or have a triad-style relationship, and that typically doesn’t happen in open relationships, says Divine.

...Which path you follow depends on what you want out of the additional relationships. ...

The Most Common Misconceptions About Polyamory

...People who want to be poly “believe you can love multiple people,” says Divine. “They’re open to additional people in that way, and they want that emotional attachment. Plural love is the main focus.”

In either case, expectations need to be clear with any partners who are making a change with you. “In some couples, one wants to try something new, and the other is okay with that, without participating themselves,” says Divine. “The key is communication. These relationships styles are all about being upfront and honest about what you want and what your needs and boundaries are. The most successful ones are those where people are on the same page.”

The original (online April 2, 2018).



April 2, 2018

Another happy, bubbly triad family with kids is in tabloids worldwide

As I've said, the downmarket tabloids can't get enough of happy polyfamilies these days; long gone is their pretend moral outrage. The heartwarming (if a bit treacly) story below first popped up in Rupert Murdoch's The Sun in the UK, and now it's showing up in syndication around the world.

These three folks had a slow and bumpy beginning. But once they discovered the word "polyamory" and started reading up, they realized they could create their own family the way they wanted.

Illy, Kayla, Will and the two older kids


Happy With Our 'Strange' Brood: Three kids, two mums, one dad — meet our polyamorous family

It might be unconventional, but Illy Mortus, 22, from Georgia, US, says life with her husband, their lover and their three children is perfect.

By Hannah Carroll and Sarra Gray

SITTING on the floor chatting as we changed nappies at the mother and baby group, Kayla and I looked just like all the other new mums.

The difference was that after the session, we wouldn’t go our separate ways – instead we would be heading back to the home we shared with my husband Will, the father of both our babies.

Some people may not be able to get their head around the idea, but I love being in a polyamorous relationship, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It wasn’t always the three of us.

I got together with Will when I was just 16, after we met at a concert in September 2011.

...In January 2013, I met Kayla, who worked at the cafe where I’d just got a job. By the end of my first day I was overawed by her – she was confident, funny and beautiful. ...


...I felt so conflicted, as I adored Kayla but I was betraying Will’s trust.

After four months, I felt I had to confess. Will and I had been together for four years, and I owed him my honesty.

...Will admitted he’d known deep down something was going on with Kayla, but then said as I still loved him, we’d make it work.

I couldn’t believe he was being so understanding, and that evening I typed into Google: ‘Is it possible to be in love with two people at the same time?’

Instantly, the word ‘polyamorous’ popped up, with an explanation referring to having sexual or romantic relationships with more than one person at once, with the consent of everyone involved.

It was such a relief to realise the way I felt wasn’t weird or wrong – I was just polyamorous.

Armed with my new title, I felt empowered, especially when I realised thousands of people across the world were the same.

When I told Will what I’d discovered, he blurted out that he was attracted to Kayla too, and perhaps we could invite her into our relationship.

The next morning, I excitedly pitched the idea to Kayla, who looked at me like I was deranged. How would it even work? I didn’t have the answers, but I knew I couldn’t give either of them up.

We talked about all of the pros and cons of having a three-way relationship, and I assured Kayla she wouldn’t feel left out even though Will and I had been a couple for so long.

We also discussed the effect it could have on my little girl.

We decided that things didn’t need to change for a while – I would stay in separate relationships with both. It worked really well, to the point that Will and I decided to get married in October 2015, and Kayla even helped with preparations.

It was nearly a year later, when I became pregnant with my second child that Kayla decided she wanted to be in a relationship with both of us.

...From then on we tried to do more as a threesome. Kayla would come over and sleep in our bed, and in January 2017, she officially joined our relationship and moved in.

By March, we felt ready to finally tell people about the situation.

Some friends asked if I might become jealous, but I was getting everything I had dreamed of: the two people I loved were falling in love with each other too.

Of course, a lot of people wanted to know how it all worked, and I’d explain that we tried to be very open and inclusive, so sex is often a group event.

But if the mood strikes when Kayla and I are cooking, then sex naturally happens. We’ve learned what each other likes, so it works whether we’re all together or one-on-one.

Most of our friends were accepting of our relationship, and so were Kayla’s family and mine.

However, when we told Will’s family, they took it badly, telling us that polyamory wasn’t love, it was just a fetish. I was half expecting that reaction, but it still hurt.

...The icing on the cake came for us in April 2017, when I was almost eight months pregnant – and Kayla discovered she was expecting, too.

...I gave birth to Willow, now 11 months, in May 2017, and Kayla had Xander, now three months, in December.

It’s fair to say we don’t have the most conventional family, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Soon Kayla is going to legally change her surname to Mortus to match mine and Will’s.

Thankfully Merliah, now almost four, is happy she has three parents.

She understands that most people just have two, but says she just has more people to love.

She’s even come up with a way to differentiate us all – I am Mummyo, Will is Daddyo and Kayla is Mummy.

We know it might not be smooth sailing when the kids get older, but when is it ever? They are going to face challenges, but we will tackle them as a family.

I feel so lucky, as I don’t just have two partners, I have two best friends.

One day I hope that polyamorous families aren’t viewed as strange, but until then I’m still happy to live with our unconventional love.

The whole article (April 1, 2018).


Labels: ,

March 26, 2018

"Wondering How Polyamorous Relationships Work? Start Here"

That confident headline appears in HealthyWay ("inspiration & guidance for a life well-lived"), one of the many new online women's magazines I'd never heard of. The article lives up to the headline. It's by Sian Ferguson, a prolific, poly South African freelancer "covering health, social justice, cannabis & more," who has written poly pieces for many other publications.

Extended excerpts:

Wondering How Polyamorous Relationships Work? Start Here

We spoke to three women who are in polyamorous relationships to find out what polyamory looks like in real life.

Uncredited generic photo

By Sian Ferguson

...I’m not talking about cheating here. I’m talking about consensual non-monogamy: when someone is romantically committed to multiple people with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

This sort of relationship might seem rare, but according to a 2016 report in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, one in five Americans have engaged in consensual non-monogamy. That’s surprisingly common — and it seems like public interest in consensual non-monogamy and polyamory are on the rise. A 2017 analysis using Google’s Trends tool showed that more and more people are looking for information about open and polyamorous relationships online.

...HealthyWay spoke to three polyamorous women about their personal experiences with polyamory....

Cameron Glover, 25, a writer and sex educator [known to many as BlkGirlManifest] ...was introduced to the concept when she dated someone who was polyamorous a few years ago. She became interested in the academic side of polyamory and checked out books, podcasts, and blogs about polyamorous relationships and non-monogamy.

...“I identify most strongly with solo polyamory — it’s the idea that I am my own primary partner and centers things that I really value, like self-autonomy, independence, having my own space.”

Solo polyamory” is a broad term typically used to refer to polyamorous people who are committed to their own autonomy.

“As long as it’s consensual, positive, and ethical, I don’t think there’s a wrong way to practice polyamory. You can customize it to whatever works best for you, and it’s okay if that changes over time.”

As a black, queer, cis woman who is also polyamorous, Glover also notes that there’s a great deal of oppression in polyamory-friendly spaces. As in many different communities, polyamorous communities can face issues of fetishization, casual racism, misogyny, and abuse. “I think there’s work being done to change that, but it’s still there and it still keeps a lot of people excluded from spaces that are rightfully theirs,” Glover says.

As with many other polyamorous people, Glover views her experience with polyamory as an interesting and dynamic journey. “I’m still learning so much about myself and what shapes my polyamory will take, but that learning excites me,” she says. “I get really passionate about the potential to push away from social constructions of what love and relationships need to look like to create something that is very much on my own terms. There’s a real power in that.”

Page Turner, 36, a relationship coach, author, and the founder of Poly.Land, has been practicing polyamory for over a decade. ...“Currently, I’m seeing my husband and two girlfriends. One of my girlfriends I see separately; the other my husband also sees,” she tells HealthyWay. “My husband has someone of his own that he sees that I do not. One of my girlfriends is married. The other is married and has a boyfriend.”

When Turner first entered into polyamorous relationships, she struggled to deal with her feelings of jealousy. “A big part of my process was learning how to recognize those feelings when I was having them and figure out why. Was I feeling neglected? Overshadowed? Envious of something someone else had? Was I afraid of losing my partner?”

Now she tackles jealousy by letting the feelings wash over her, then processing why she’s jealous and how to address the cause of the jealousy.

Turner also struggled with feeling like she wasn’t giving each of her partners 100 percent of her effort and time. ... This challenge provided her with the opportunity to work on her relationship skills.

“I learned how to optimize,” she explains. “I became better at time management, communication, assertiveness, and setting boundaries. Because I had to. There wasn’t any room to slack off or be bad at any of this stuff.”

Diana, 30, has been in a polyamorous relationship with her partner for the past five years. “I have never felt comfortable in monogamy, and I always thought there was something wrong with me, that I was deviant in some way,” she says. “I would not only be attracted to, but have genuine romantic feelings for multiple people at once.”...

...[Diana and Martin] met another polyamorous couple, Elsa and Andrea, and Martin started dating Elsa. “The couple, who have two kids, invited us both to move in with them as they were buying a house,” Diana says. “We run the household as a community now, with four adults all working together to keep things going and to parent the kids.” Since moving in with Elsa and Andrea, Diana and Martin got married.

In times of crisis, Diana finds it helpful to have this small community to support her. If any of them are ill, for example, the others pitch in with cooking, cleaning, childcare, and chores.

Polyamorous relationships have posed a few challenges for Diana. She’s struggled with the stigma especially. “I am not out to my parents and many of my friends and none of my coworkers out of fear of judgement,” she says. “When my parents visit we have to pretend to be monogamous. I am constantly anxious a colleague will see me out with a partner, not my husband.”

She’s also struggled with managing her time. ... Diana is currently in five relationships. ... “They all require varying amounts of emotional intensity, none of them are just sexual or casual,” she says. She says she has to make time to see each of her partners and attend to their emotional needs. “Combine that with life admin, my job, running a house, helping look after kids, and trying to have alone time, and it gets very, very difficult,” she says. Much like Turner, she’s had to learn excellent time-management skills to help her maintain her relationships.

Can polyamorous relationships be successful and healthy?

...“There has been no research to suggest that polyamorous relationships are less successful,” Fisher says. “In fact, some practitioners would suggest that polyamory requires greater self-awareness, more sophisticated communication skills, and greater attachment security than monogamy. I would agree with that, based on my research.” ...

Interested in entering a polyamorous relationship? Here’s some advice.

There are many reasons why people consider polyamorous relationships. Like Diana, they might feel that monogamy doesn’t work for them. Alternatively, they might simply feel like they have a lot of love to give, and that they’d like to commit to multiple people. Whatever leads someone to a polyamorous relationship, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. ...

Communication is key. It’s imperative to discuss your feelings, your expectations and desires, your needs, your time, boundaries, safe sex, and other issues. “It’s really important to have these discussions fairly early on to prevent miscommunication, mismatched expectations, and hurt,” Diana advises. “If you don’t know what you want, that’s okay, but explain that to your partners or potential partners so they have full knowledge of what they’re getting into.”

Turner agrees. “...Relationship agreements are helpful not for the rules themselves, but because by going through an explicit process of talking about those concerns when you set a relationship agreement, you create a mutual understanding of what’s important to you.”

● The challenges of communication and self-awareness can be easier to handle when you have a community behind you — one that offers support, advice, and perspective when needed. For this reason, both Diana and Turner recommend finding polyamorous friends. Turner notes that Facebook groups, the subreddit r/polyamory, and social media can be great for meeting people online. It’s also helpful to have polyamorous in-person friends, so consider looking for local polyamorous groups on meetup.org.

● ...Glover also warns against objectifying others while practicing polyamory. “Go into polyamory with the idea of seeing people as people first, rather than fulfillments for your own expectations,” she says.

Many couples, for example, might enter polyamory looking for a third person to fulfill their sexual fantasies. This could be done in an ethical way, but when the third person is seen as an object of desire — and not an autonomous person with their own feelings and desires — it can be unethical. “I think that we have to take responsibility individually to treat other people with the same compassion and respect that we would treat a romantic partner or loved one,” Glover says.

...What it comes down to is a willingness to learn, communicate, and introspect while practicing mutual respect and compassion.

Read the whole article (March 22, 2018).