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



October 23, 2020

Friday Polynews Roundup: More poly TV coming. Why so many triads? New space for platonic romantic friendship, and more


●  A trend continues in TV land:  From the Los Angeles Times comes Open relationships are 'common' in Hollywood. ’Soulmates’ is helping TV catch up (Oct. 19). Soulmates is a new series on AMC that uses a science-fiction gimmick to explore "whether love is destiny or a choice." The show's creators tell how they were dazzled by the concept of poly.


By Sonaiya Kelley

AMC's new anthology series "Soulmates" imagines a world in which knowing one's fated love is only a test away. ...

...The show's third episode, "Little Adventures," which aired Monday [Oct. 19], follows Libby and Adam, a happily married couple.... After Libby's test results pair her with Miranda, she has to figure out which partner to choose — or if there's a possibility of making it work with both.

"It felt like a very relevant story to tell now about how relationships are changing," said [series co-creator Will] Bridges. "We wanted... an honest look on how (polyamory) affects the characters within that relationship."

...The writers drew on the experiences of people they know to inform their characters.

"I had a lot of friends, particularly in L.A., who [were a part of] throuples and dealt with all the different politics of open relationships," said [the show's other co-creator,  Brett] Goldstein. ... "I think there's something weird about how we always say 'It takes a village to raise a child,' but when it comes to our relationships, we believe in only one person to do everything," he added. "When you put it like that, that's mad."

"Remember like 20 years ago yoga was really weird? Now everyone does yoga and there's nothing weird about it," said Bridges. "And I feel like there's a world maybe where open relationships, or at least untraditional non-monogamous relationships, are much more acceptable and an option rather than, 'Oh, that's a weird thing you're up to.' "...

[Lead actor Shamier Anderson says,] "I did a bit of research but not too much, because my character was unfamiliar with it." ... 

"I think [open relationships] work when people are being open to the possibilities of it," said Bridges. ... "With the research that we did and all the people we spoke to, it becomes clear that it's not about sex," he added. "It's not about the tantalizing idea of what it's like to have another person to have a sexual relationship with. It becomes about what each person brings to the relationship and how that affects what you give to each person."


It's been 14 years since the very first polyamory-themed series was pitched to a TV studio, to the best of my knowledge. HBO "almost bought" Reid Mihalko's "Polly and Marie" series in 2006 after he and others filmed a pilot, he told the 2009 Poly Living conference, but HBO thought advertisers would be too scared of the topic. Now everyone in TV land seems to be trying to hitch a pull from this moving train, advertisers included.



●  However, a lot of the entertainment world's poly and CNM representation remains naive or superficial and fails to grasp the lived life. So of course there is a Facebook group: This IS the polyamory exposure I wanted. With 9,900 members. Have fun. 



Relationship Anarchy logo

●  The profoundly deep platonic romantic friendship flourished as a relationship style from the 1700s to the early 1900s, especially between women but also sometimes between men. It surely provided respectable cover for many closeted lesbians and gays. But at least as often, by all evidence, it was exactly what it seemed to be: a passionate romance entirely of soul to soul.

The passing of the romantic friendship as an understood thing has been a tragic loss for the modern world. Today "romantic" and "intimate" are so synonymous with "sexual" that many people can't imagine a working alternative. Unless they know about asexuals (aces) in their various varieties, who have self-identified and found each other only recently, or the very modern philosophy of relationship anarchy — the younger, wilder, overlapping sibling of polyamory.

And polyamory itself, with its freedom from rigid sexual assumptions and requirements, is giving old-fashioned romantic friendships new space to grow and thrive, as many have discovered and remarked. 

The Atlantic just published a long essay on the forgotten power of the platonic romantic friendship and its history in the western world: What If Friendship, Not Marriage, Was at the Center of Life? by Rhaina Cohen (online Oct. 20). “Our boyfriends, our significant others, and our husbands are supposed to be No. 1. Our worlds are backward.”

Go read it. It ends on a hopeful note of rediscovery:


Polyamory and asexuality, both of which push back against the notion that a monogamous sexual relationship is the key to a fulfilling adult life, are rapidly gaining visibility. Expanding the possible roles that friends can play in one another’s lives could be the next frontier.





●  New book on the history of monogamy and its alternatives. Luke Brunning, a UK philosopher, published a shortish book this week Does Monogamy Work? A Primer for the 21st CenturyHe is interviewed in Mashable: Does monogamy work? This new book explores the controversial question (Oct 20). The interview ends with this:


...You discuss the concept of jealousy and compersion.... Is jealousy an inevitable part of non-monogamy, or if it's possible to get to a place of full compersion?

I've written about this recently [Imagine There's No JealousyAeon, Feb. 27, 2019] and tried to think about it in more detail. What I've put in the book [is] based on this academic article I published [Compersion: An Alternative to Jealousy?Journal of the American Philosophical Association, Summer 2020] where I'm thinking through those questions. 

...[Some] people think jealousy is inevitable and you can never get rid of it. Other people take a completely different view and think it's easy. The emotion is linked to two things. One is our sense of personal vulnerability. The other is our beliefs about what we're entitled to, what we expect from other people, what we deserve....

Luke Brunning

It's relatively easy... to change your beliefs about relationships. You might think, 'Well, I've had all these dodgy beliefs about what I can expect from a partner or what I'm entitled to or how they should behave.' And so, change your kind of attitudes in that way. 

At the same time, the fact that you've changed those beliefs — you feel less entitled, you don't think that you possess your partner, you don't think can claim their attention — doesn't necessarily mean that you can alter — or alter quickly — your personal vulnerability ... [or] the way you get attached to people. ...

I know lots of people who've thought about this a lot, and they've got a clear sense of what they think is justified or not justified, and they think jealousy is not justified ... but nonetheless they feel horrifically insecure and vulnerable. 



●  Speaking of books, remember Paul Dalgarno, author of the novel Poly that came out last summer?  He writes about his own poly life, and the competing plusses and minuses of both polyamory and monogamy, in Archer magazine in his native Australia: Polyamory and the mirror on the wall (Oct. 15)


Mirror on wall, by Suhyeon Choi




















...For monogamy, some of the bad press comes from the assumption it’s the natural way of things, as opposed to a practice that’s long been promulgated and bolstered by patriarchy and land (read ownership over other people) rights.

But monogamy also has plenty going for it.

Even though the “one-and-only” approach to love is prone to abuse through hush-hush affairs and their fallout, even though it’s vulnerable, as we all are, to the monotony of life and the law of entropy, having an “other half” provides a reliable data point – a mirror, as it were....

In my case... polyamory has providing me with, at best, a glorious infinity mirror, at worst a nightmarish funhouse of reflections in which my sense of who I really am becomes as stretched and distorted as the bedsheets in a cheap motel.

...Of all the benefits of polyamory, the one I’ve found most invaluable is the growing awareness that my relationships and the self-esteem I derive from them are chiefly my responsibility. There actually is no house of mirrors, no magic mirror on the wall – it’s you and what you bring to those around you that matters.



●  The Independent, one of the UK's major papers, just republished online a basic, longish Poly 101 from 2017:  7 things people with multiple partners want you to know about what it's really like (Oct 19). Its main source is Elisabeth Sheff. The 7 things it lists are,


1. They don't really get jealous [some don't, anyway, or at least not so much]
2. It's not all about sex
3. Sometimes people just fall into the lifestyle
4. It involves a lot of communication
5. It's not always easy
6. Kids don't complicate things as much as you might think
7. It doesn't always work
 


●  People complain: Among those happy polyfamilies so relentlessly featured in the British tabloids, why always so many triads?? A fresh example: Woman in polyamorous 'throuple' explains how they organise bedtime (Daily Mirror, Oct. 12, among others. With video.)


Janie, Cody, Maggie (TriAdventures / Instagram)

...Maggie and Cody first met on Tinder in February 2016, but became a throuple after meeting Janie in November that year.

In a video on TikTok, Janie says that while they weren't planning to end up in a relationship "it just sort of happened."

Cody and Maggie married in January 2018 at a courthouse and held a ceremony in May, where Janie was the maid of honour....

Now they share their life on social media on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, from their home in Chattanooga, southeastern Tennessee.

In a video, Janie says that meeting their pair was the "best thing that ever happened to me."

In one video, which has been seen three million times, she explains how they manage the bedroom dynamic.

Janie shows off their king-size bed and says that sometimes the couple do all sleep there together sometimes.

She adds: "I sleep in the middle and Maggie and Cody sleep on either end.

"But its not actually normal for all three of us to sleep together."

"And we don't have a sleep schedule. Usually we just decide whoever sleeps in the King by whoever hasn't been sleeping the best recently goes to sleep by themself."...


So why do the tabs seem crazy for "throuples" over other poly family structures?  

Surely it's just because triads are the most abundant. There are more triads than quads, more quads than quints, and polyfamilies of six haven't even earned a special name yet. The pattern is clear: The more complex the structure, the less often it "occurs in nature." 1  

So when the tabloids' content agencies go beating the bushes for polyfamilies to hire and exhibit, triads are mostly what they find.

And maybe another factor: The bigger the family, the more people have to agree to tabloid exposure. And, the paycheck will be divided more ways.

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

1.  The exception to this rule is the extended poly network. Network poly seems to be the commonest form today, at least in densely populated areas. A large network can absorb and damp out perturbations among its links, to continue through internal breakups, re-formations, new additions, and dropouts. A poly network is an intimate form of community. But within a network you almost always see, again, tighter sub-units forming: primary-ish couples, triads and quads, in that same decreasing order of abundance.

This is why I predict that even in a future society that's totally poly-friendly and -accepting, couples of two will be the relationship that most people are in for most of the time. Couples are just the simplest structure.

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October 9, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup: Good Morning America, successful polyfams, Covid coping, and more.


●  ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" today aired a 3½-minute segment about three-parent families, continuing the recent spate of news stories on the topic.

The segment draws on The Atlantic's article last month The Rise of the 3-Parent Family and features the same set of three parents. It also gives a few seconds of air time to lawyer Diana Adams, who specializes in legal arrangements for poly and other non-traditional families and runs the Chosen Family Law Center. That was too brief for her to deliver the kind of pithy quotes you may remember from the Atlantic story.

Watch here (aired Oct 9): 




●  Poly in the time of Covid stories continue to appear in the media, though less often now than last spring. Today, for instance, What it's like to be polyamorous and non-monogamous during a pandemic is in the "Executive Life" section of Business Insider Australia (Oct. 9) and other international editions of Insider. It's by Canela López, making this at least her fifth polyam story for Insider in the last year. 


...Poly and non-monogamous people are having to find alternative ways to keep themselves safe.

Ronaldo Schemidt / Getty

















By Canela López

...“This is really not a time to have multiple partners, especially if you’re going to be doing anything that involves taking off the mask,” Dr. Sandra Kesh, an infectious disease specialist... told Insider.

...“I think it’s about harm reduction in the terms of it being sustainable to social distance,” Ken, a polyamorous person in Spokane, Washington told Insider. “It’s a lot to ask non-monogamous people to not be with all of their partners, and for mental health, it just is not sustainable.”

Insider spoke to several polyamorous and non-monogamous people about how they are keeping themselves safe during the pandemic.

Frequent testing is key

A Tulane University senior [said] when the pandemic was declared in mid-March they stopped seeing people, relocated to California for the summer, and did coronavirus research for a highly ranked university. But when they returned to New Orleans in August, they gave it two weeks and decided to contact their old Tinder hookups and friends with benefits.

This is in large part because Tulane requires its students to get tested for COVID-19 twice a week. ...

...Ken started seeing his partner Angie in early August when restrictions on social distancing began to loosen up. Because Angie has four partners and Angie’s spouse additionally has multiple partners, everyone in the polycule — “people involved in the polyamorous dynamic” — has to get tested for COVID-19 once a week.

Limiting high-risk activities like kissing has made some people feel safer

New York City put out guidelines in June on how people could reduce their risk of infection during sex, like wearing masks, doing positions like doggie style or rider positions, and avoiding swapping [the virus] by performing anilingus or kissing.

While they don’t wear a mask during sex, the Tulane student said they try to follow the advisory to limit the exchange of fluids with their partners to reduce their risk.

...Because they live on-campus and aren’t allowed to have guests in their rooms, they meet elsewhere.... They once even got caught having sex in Audubon Park, a public park located across the street from Tulane.

Open and honest communication about social distancing and boundaries

Like discussions within polyamorous and non-monogamous dynamics prior to the pandemic, boundaries and expectations are incredibly important to set before adding a partner to a polycule or rotation of people.

“Ken was definitely very intentional and being like, making sure I knew that they would wear masks during dates, they would be socially distanced, telling me whenever they planned on actually going over to Angie’s house,” Ri said. “We’re super talkative with each other about those things.”

The 21-year-old Tulane senior told Insider they are fully transparent with each of their sexual partners about the number of people they’re having sex with and how many people they generally interact with. “I let them know that they’re not going to be like the only person in my life that I’m involved with sexually because I feel gross if I keep people in the dark,” they said. As of early August, no one in their rotation has tested positive for COVID-19. ...



●  Actor and bi-poly relationship educator Nico Tortorella is on the the cover of Attitude, the UK's "best-selling gay magazine": Nico Tortorella lifts the lid on their queer polyamorous relationship (short version online Oct. 7, also in OutPinkNews, and elsewhere; full interview paywalled in the November Attitude print issue).


...The star of The Walking Dead: World Beyond is more than happy to help educate family, friends and fans about the vast spectrum of sexual identity if it opens hearts and minds.

...Nico met his now-wife Bethany C. Meyers during college, and the pair have maintained a relationship for almost 15 years while often exploring their sexualities independently of one another.

...While society's understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ people has moved on leaps and bounds over the last two decades, the concept of polyamorous relationships remains taboo to many people, straight and queer alike.

..."I think both of those words, queer and polyamorous, are heavily weighted, and they mean different things to different people. And what they mean to us works for us. And sometimes it doesn’t. We still struggle. We’re not experts in any of these fields. But what’s different about it is we’re having these conversations publicly. Every single day is a learning process for us. The next step is us bringing children into the conversation and into the mix."



●  Polyfamily researcher Eli Sheff, author of The Polyamorists Next Door and a long-running Psychology Today blog of the same name, is out with a pair of advisory pieces on the most common things that newly opening couples seem to want. Unicorn Hunting for Heteroflexible Threesomes ("Why it is so difficult for heteroflexible couples to find women to date?", Sept. 21),  and How Can Nonmonogamous Couples Improve Their Dating Lives?  ("Tips on expanding your dating pool and treating partners right," Oct  9.)





A woman in a polyamorous relationship who accidentally got pregnant has revealed she now wants her boyfriend to have a baby with his other girlfriend, too.

Trainee public accountant Hayley Hale, 22, from Cincinnati, Ohio, and psychology student Ciara DeJesus, 20, both spent their high school years casually dating receptionist Devin Hale, 24.

Hayley and Devin decided to make their relationship more serious in 2015 and have been together ever since, but in 2018, Ciara got in touch and asked if they wanted to form a three-way relationship. 

Although Hayley had reservations about the idea, Devin was excited and she decided to give it a go.

The initial 12 months were difficult, with both girls' previous relationships with Devin making it hard for them to connect on the same level.

Hayley says that jealousy in a polyamorous relationship can turn small disagreements into massive flare ups, but by working on their individual relationships, the trio now get on well.

After Hayley and Ciara focused on developing their own relationship, the romance between the throuple also blossomed.

Hayley said: 'Polyamory to us is just like a regular relationship but more complex because it involves three people.

'It's more like having four relationships - we all have individual relationships with each other and then one as a whole.'
 
The trio already live together and share a bed and all of their finances, and they hope that with three incomes supporting their household, they will be able to have greater financial freedom

The trio plan to have a wedding ceremony, which will not be legally binding, to show to their families how committed they are to their polyamorous relationship.

'Being a triad means we get more out of life because we will be able to have an even bigger family with more love, support and financial freedom.'  

...'Everyone is so different and so is everyone's version of love.

'Live the life you want, be happy, love is love'.



Till next time! Take care, and check your voter registration status in any of the 50 states. So that if you've been purged from your local voter list without your knowledge, as happens, you can demand it be fixed.

And if you have not registered to vote where you currently reside, you can also check that link to see whether you still can. Deadlines are passing; do it right now.
 
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October 6, 2020

Canada Polyam Action Call Right Now: Allow our partners under the new cross-border travel rules


Canada is about to allow relationship partners to visit from the US, but only if the relationship is "exclusive." We have two days to change "exclusive" to "committed."


A still from a CTV News report on Canada's travel restrictions being eased to accommodate partners from the US.

The following action notice is going around Canadian poly groups and was posted to the Polyamory Leadership Network list this morning:



This is an action alert to folks in Canada. Please share in your groups.

Over the weekend, Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced that starting this Thursday, October 8, they will begin allowing long-term partners of Canadian residents to visit the country, provided they complete the standard 14-day quarantine.

This is great news, except for one word: "exclusive." Eligible relationships will be any "exclusive dating relationship of at least one year." Applicants will be required to sign a notarized declaration of their relationship status. This wording excludes all polyamorous people, regardless of the length or seriousness of our relationships.

The formal rules and application forms are set to be released on Thursday, so we have a very narrow window to exert influence on this decision. We can call our MPs and educate them about the ways this one word will impact us, and ask them to lobby the ministry to change it. The single change we are suggesting is for "exclusive" to become "committed." 

You can find and contact your MP here: https://www.ourcommons.ca/members/en

This isn't a situation where we need to flood the lines with indiscriminate calls and emails. This is a situation where we need people to have personal, targeted calls with their MPs and their MPs' staff about the validity of our relationships, the way this rule will affect us and those we care about, and the importance of making this change. We need to talk to members of all the parties (or at least, the three major left-leaning ones—Liberal, NDP and Green). Their staff are usually very receptive to constituent concerns. Ask for them to follow up with you in writing.

Here is a public (shareable) Facebook post from a married polyamorous woman with a long-term partner in the USA who she hasn't seen since February: https://www.facebook.com/ashley.speed.18/posts/10164101869375459

Here's Carrie Jenkins' tweet about the situation: https://twitter.com/carriejenkins/status/1312474710001684480

Thanks for your help!


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October 2, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup: Kids with multi-parent polyfamilies, a new poly comic, and more


Welcome to Friday Polynews Roundup for October 2, 2020.

This site feels to me like a nook of normalcy in a national hurricane that's likely to get worse in the next five weeks, or, God forbid, six. Moose and I are pledged to Do Our Bit1 to try to help drag America back from the cliff-edge of thuggish authoritarianism. At minimum, we will have something we can say to our someday-grandchildren when they ask us, "What did you do when the Republic was ending?"

So, I may skip a week or two here.

Among other things, I've been handwriting stacks of letters for VoteForward telling registered but spotty voters who are likely to lean Democratic "why I am a voter." I write that it's because
this is our one actual, for-real pull on the levers of power — for whether we will live under decent, humane leaders of good character who will respect us, respect facts and truth, and respect what America is supposed to stand for.  

All those years of saying the Pledge of Allegiance since childhood? It feels like acting now is what we were pledging to do then; we just didn't know it at the time. Please join us.

And now back to the show in progress.

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

●  Earlier this week I posted about an article in The Atlantic, The Rise of the 3-Parent Family. Several states now fully allow a child to have three legal parents, and this arrangement is attracting increasing notice. A long-term, committed polyfamily is only one of the situations that the option can apply to. 

●  Coincidentally this week, the Paging Dr. Nerdlove advice column addresses, in depth, a multi-parent polyfamily's dilemma: How Do We Tell Our Families We’re Polyamorous? (Sept. 28)


My wife and I have been together for 11 years and have 3 great kids. About three years ago my wife’s friend moved in during a tough spot and never left – we have been a ‘throuple’ ever since and she gave birth about a year ago. After our daughter was born we even had a ceremony and signed a living will to make us all ‘married’.

Here is the issue: She won’t tell her family. They all think we took her in during a rough patch and let her stay after she got knocked up by a dude they have all made up in their minds she was dating. They think it’s cute that she and my wife call me ‘daddy’ when they hand me the baby (‘go to daddy’ etc). My mother and sister know and are, broadly speaking, supportive. My wife’s family adores [her]....

I get that her family is very conservative but I am not comfortable hiding our deal. I am in love with two beautiful women and have great kids. Let’s shout it from the mountaintops or, at least, speak it in conversational tones from a well sized hill.

How do we come out to her family? I’m not comfortable hiding.


...While I can completely understand your wanting to be out, open and proud about your relationships, the truth is that while people are increasingly more aware and accepting of polyamory and ethical non-monogamy, there’re still a lot of legal and social hurdles that can end up causing problems. For example: there’re very few legal protections for someone in a polyamorous relationship. ... Similarly, being poly can — and has — been used against parents in child custody cases in court.

...I bring this up because you mention that your co-wife’s family is very conservative. Right now, they’re cool with their daughter and granddaughter living with you while they think that you and your legal wife are helping their daughter out. If they found out that their daughter was actively sleeping with you and that you are the imaginary dirtbag who knocked up their precious baby….well, that could have any number of repercussions for her… and for the rest of your family. This could range anywhere from kicking your co-wife out of their family to actually challenging the three of you for custody of their granddaughter. While this is, admittedly, one hell of a worst-case scenario, there have been cases where in-laws or grandparents have sued for custody because they discovered that their child was in a poly relationship. And if you live in a state that doesn’t have third-parent adoption laws — which is most of them — the biggest thing keeping your family together would be the judge’s opinion on the matter.

I get that you aren’t comfortable hiding… but this isn’t strictly about your comfort. Your co-wife knows her family best, and if she isn’t comfortable being out to her family, then I think it’s best to respect her wishes. ...

I reached out to my friend and poly relationship expert Dr. Liz Powell, author of Building Open Relationships: Your Hands-On Guide to Swinging, Polyamory, and Beyond! and they recommended that you check out It’s Called “Polyamory”: Coming Out About Your Non-Monogamous Relationships by Tamara Pincus and Rebecca Hiles. This can help give you some tips and talking points to help navigate the process of coming out as poly to your co-wife’s family, and give you some perspective on if, when and how she wants to come out. Dr. Powell also had this to say: “The three of you will need to figure out what she needs to have set in case her family shuns her. Is she financially stable? Does she have a therapist or coach for support? And figure out if her work would fire her if they found out. Some folks can be vindictive.”

My suggestion is that you do your due diligence, TSM, and discuss this as a family. ... However, at the end of the day, I believe the ultimate decision resides with your co-wife.



●  Speaking of multi-parenting and coming out, news also surfaced about Dr. Ian Jenkins's forthcoming autobiography Three Dads and a Baby: Adventures in Modern Parenting. He's part of a very out gay triad in San Diego who set California's legal precedent for tri-parent polyfamilies. This story just appeared in San Diego's Patch newspaper: "Three Dads and a Baby" tells journey of a polyamorous family (Sept. 29). They are the "first polyamorous family to secure 3 names on birth certificate" (at least in the US).


Dr. Ian Jenkins



Meet Ian Jenkins – he's a doctor, living in San Diego, a specialist in hospital medicine and a professor at a major university. He's been with his partner, Alan, for seventeen years. And they've been with their partner, Jeremy, for eight. And they have two biological children – Piper, who is three, and Parker, who is 14 months. ...

...Piper and Parker were conceived with eggs donated by a longtime friend and carried by surrogates. Thereby lies a tale of patience, love, and persistence that broke new legal ground and changed the way California law defines family: Piper was the first child ever to have a poly family listed on a birth certificate, paving the way for her younger brother two years later, and the future children of other polyamorous parents.

         

The story of how three poly dads, three amazing and giving women, and an intrepid and compassionate team of medical and legal experts built this uniquely wonderful American family, is at the center of Dr. Jenkins' upcoming book. ...

While Ian admits that of course his family is unique, he questions the perspective of people who think that it isn't "normal." "I'm pretty sure it's lifelong monogamy that's weird," he says. "Our culture is filled with all of these stories about longing and infidelity. It's natural for us to feel affections for more than one person. What's exotic is that we actually did it – we made a life many people think of as an unattainable dream, but we're ordinary people otherwise."...

Navigating the endlessly complex and often heartbreaking process of creating life through a series of expensive medical procedures, Three Dads and a Baby shares a whirlwind of a surrogacy journey. ...

...He admits he has been somewhat relieved by the normalcy of their life in the time since his book was completed. The conception and birth of their second child, Parker, was, comparatively, "a breeze." Everything that was so challenging and unique in bringing Piper into the world – getting that third name on the birth certificate, winning over skeptical lawyers and reproductive specialists, creating a parenting agreement – was all effectively in place....


You can preorder it on Amazon. 


●  And attorney Diana Adams posts (Oct. 1), "Thrilled to do an interview for Good Morning America today! Via video from Germany with unicorn slippers on! I spoke as Executive Director of Chosen Family Law Center, Inc. about 3-person co-parenting and the movement for tri-parent adoption! When the airdate is confirmed, I will post about it and certainly post video. Hooray for a major tv platform for family advocacy!" 


●  Australia has a snappy youth-culture online magazine called Pedestrian. Just appearing it, What My Polyamorous, Inner West, Out-Of-Work Actor Housemates Taught Me About Love (Sept. 30). "Inner West" refers to certain suburbs of Sydney. They sound cool.


By Michael Di Iorio

...It wasn’t until I moved into the Inner West that I learnt of its ways, especially after moving in with a polyamorous couple. Specifically, a polyamorous couple who occasionally did medieval roleplay, sung sea shanties and were, for the most part, actors out of work.

...Let me introduce the pair that taught me all about love. My first housemate, who has decided to operate under the pseudonym Wally Weegee, is a bi badass who loves the colour purple, has two cats named Usidore and Dorkus, and identifies as she/her and polyamorous.

My second housemate, who would like to be known as Bo Jangles, used to work on pirate ships, has an affinity for medieval weaponry, and is really damn tall. He identifies as he/him, and polyamorous.

Together the two operated as a dedicated four-person polycule at the time, with each individual sometimes branching off with others here and there.

... So obviously I confided in the people who open up to more than just one partner on a regular basis.

...Here is my first housemate, Wally Weegee.

“When I opened up to polyamory, it was kind of like a light had turned on,” she said.

“I hadn’t changed, but the world around me became so much more open. I was suddenly allowed to be myself, as cliche as it sounds.” ...

“I remember telling you that things can’t happen unless you say them,” Wally told me. “You can’t skirt around the edge of things. You need to find what you want and talk about it. It might be safer to think something, but you have to actually say it if you want it to happen.”

...Next, I spoke to my second housemate, Bo Jangles.

“...My partner has always been my reassurance, my best friend, even my psychologist, and through polyamory, I’ve had to re-learn some of that. When you open up to more than one person, you learn to identify what you need from each individual, and what you, in turn, can give to them as well. ...

“There are little conversations that can feel impossible, but you need to have them.”...



●  From Finland comes a new polycomic artist — new to most of us, anyway. Sara Valta has been cartooning for some time. In the US her "My First Year of Polyamory" is hosted on Erika Moen's "Oh Joy Sex Toy" Pinterest page and got noticed this week by several sites with wider audiences.



She is a serious introvert. Several panels later the story takes a turn. (And notice the Finnish architecture.)



That's it for Friday Polynews Roundup. Till next time.

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1.  BTW, here's the original Pledge of Allegiance, as patriotically recited by Porky Pig in 1939 on the brink of World War II. Notice what he doesn't say.

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September 27, 2020

In The Atlantic: "The Rise of the 3-Parent Family"


The Atlantic, one of America's top big-think magazines since 1857, is currently making news as a major force documenting and analyzing the unprecedented threats to the future of American democracy. This week it made headlines far beyond its normal readership with The Election that Could Break America.

Meanwhile, it also published this shorter piece: The Rise of the 3-Parent Family (online Sept. 22). The story focuses on asexuals and the founder of AVEN, then broadens to other types of extended chosen families raising children. There is a small but growing trend for three or more adults to become the full-fledged, and some states legally official, parents of children.


The typical path to parenthood didn’t work for David Jay, a founder of the asexual movement. So he designed his own household—and is trying to show others what is possible.

Preston Gannaway photo














By Angela Chen

David Jay [at right above] is the oldest of 12 cousins on one side of his family and the third-oldest of 24 cousins on the other. As a kid, family to Jay meant having a lot of people around, a feeling of community, and crucially, a sense of permanence.... Jay had always wanted his own family with kids—and had known, for almost as long, that he wouldn’t be able to build one the usual way.

Jay is the founder of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) and one of the most prominent people in the asexual movement. (Asexual people, or aces, don’t experience sexual attraction, though many do have sex and form romantic relationships.) ... As he grew older, the questions on his mind moved beyond identity and attraction to issues of parenting and family life.

...The problem was that he wanted kids and also wanted a co-parent to help him raise kids, but wasn’t interested in romantic partnership. Before exploring single parenthood, he was curious whether there might be another way to form the family he wanted.

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

...Today, Jay is part of a three-parent family in northern California. He lives with a married couple, Avary Kent and Zeke Hausfather, and is not part of their marriage, but is a father to their biological daughter, Octavia, or Tavi, whose full name includes all three of their last names.

Jay is Tavi’s parent just as fully and permanently as Kent and Hausfather—and just as legally too, since three-parent adoption has been recognized by the state of California. (Three-parent adoption has also been recognized by state statute in Maine, Washington State, Rhode Island, and Vermont....)

Three-parent families are not a new phenomenon, and Jay doesn’t consider himself a trailblazer. Many parents, particularly those who are single or have low incomes, have long cobbled together child care by bringing relatives and friends in as informal co-parents, according to Philip N. Cohen, a sociologist of family at the University of Maryland. The idea that the default family unit consists of two straight parents and their children is outdated and doesn’t reflect the U.S. today. One 2014 Pew Research report, for example, found that fewer than half of American kids lived in a so-called traditional family environment, with two married parents on their first marriage. Divorce and remarriage are more common than they once were, as are blended families and stepfamilies—many of which feature a third parental figure. The queer and polyamorous communities, too, have plenty of examples of three-parent families.

But formalizing these families through law, as Jay has done, is a relatively new possibility. Diana Adams, the founder of Chosen Family Law Center, says that interest in this option has been growing over the past 15 years, spurred by the increasing acceptance of queer families and the popularity of assisted-reproduction technologies. (Chosen Family Law Center works with New York and New Jersey residents and does national legislative advocacy.) ...

Just as marriage provides benefits that cohabitation doesn’t, legal tri-parenting creates stability and rights that less formal arrangements lack. ...

For Adams, tri-parenting is a way of reclaiming the “diversity and beauty of the queer community.” When it comes to queer rights, the big fight of past decades has been to legalize gay marriage, which has been significant, but has also played into the narrative that the two-parent family is and should be the default structure. “That has taken away some of the power of being able to live radically queer lives without needing to fit into a capitalist, patriarchal structure of a nuclear family,” Adams told me.

Jay’s family is one step removed from what a “traditional” three-parent structure looks like. It doesn’t have roots in assisted reproduction or even polyamory, but rather in ideas about relationships that Jay has been considering for most of his life, informed by his asexual identity. ...

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

Jay suspects that his being a platonic co-parent has led people to be much more accepting of his family structure.... While their arrangement goes against the norm of a two-parent family, it doesn’t challenge the norm of two-person romantic relationships. “We sidestep all of the shaming and social scripts that would be [involved] in a poly three-parent family,” he told me....

...“All of our research points to the fact that it’s the quality of the relationships that matters [for child raising], and the handling of communication and conflict, and the number of people in the household is not really the key,” says Pamela Braboy Jackson, an Indiana University sociologist and a co-author of How Families Matter: Simply Complicated Intersections of Race, Gender, and Work. ...



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September 25, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup: Tales of "how poly remade me for the better," and a student's radical broadening of that. The Oneidas, Brides mag, and more.


●  Psychologist and poly relationship therapist Jessica Fern, who specializes in attachment theory, has a significant new book out: Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy. Fern has been an excellent and effective presenter at many poly conventions back when they were happening in person.

Across the Atlantic, her new book just became a jumping-off point for a long feature article in The Irish Times: Building bridges: How polyamory made me a better friend, lover and person (Sept. 19). The article is another in the "how polyamory remade me for the better" category. I posted about some others last week.  


When singer Jess Kavanagh discovered polyamory, she didn’t expect it to improve every facet of her life

Singer Jess Kavanagh: ‘Having multiple romantic partners has forced me to investigate elements of my emotional coping mechanisms that were unsustainable and hidden among the nooks and crannies of monogamous comforts.’ (Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaills) 


By Jess Kavanagh
 
My relationship with my partner has come a long way from me sobbing into a gin and tonic two years ago, clumsily asking for an open relationship. At that point, I had a very little idea of what I was asking for or what I was getting myself into.

...Although I am still extremely new to these experiences of sharing my partner and dating in a scene which is overwhelmingly catering to monogamy, some lessons I have learned from my dating journey have been very unexpected.

Jessica Fern, psychologist and author of Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy, describes consensual non-monogamy as “the practice of having multiple sexual and/or romantic partners at the same time, where all people involved are aware of this relationship arrangement and consent to it” and polyamory as a “part of consensual monogamy . . . looking for multiple people to be in love with”.

On a Saturday afternoon I sat down for a discussion with Fern about how polyamory is becoming not only a realistic relationship choice, but also a distinct way for us to employ emotional work and express a collective love at a time where there is a global lack.

...Having multiple romantic partners has forced me to investigate elements of my emotional coping mechanisms that were unsustainable and hidden among the nooks and crannies of monogamous comforts. There is a narrative held dear in our society that once we are our loved one’s only sexual and romantic partner, that allows us to feel secure in that relationship.

Fern says: “In such cases, our self-esteem and sense of worth are contingent on our partner being monogamously committed to us instead of anchored in our own internal sense of self-worth, self-love and self-esteem.” In polyamory, when that narrative isn’t available as relationship-scaffolding, it is crucial to find other ways to make our partner(s) feel special and to re-establish a sense of inner-security. The freedom and innovation in these explorations can be transformative.

As I began to date other people, I started to experience my first bumps in the road. I was developing big crushes and chasing those butterflies to my detriment. In polyamory terms, this high is called NRE or “new relationship energy”. I was overextending myself to keep certain people interested.

...It was crucial for me to manage my insecurities and I started to take my emotional health very seriously. I started meditating more, researching attachment theory, trauma, and seeking therapy. Although all rejections and break-ups warrant varying levels of processing, the emotional maintenance I was doing reduced wallowing and self-destructive behaviour across all aspects of my life. A byproduct of polyamory I never expected.

...In the past, I found single, monogamous culture internalising what Fern calls a “hyper-independence”: a lack of accountability to casual partners' emotions, a type of frenzied everyone out for themselves behaviour. This always made me feel uncomfortable, having to extract love from sex if the outcome wasn’t monogamy. ...

Then there is friendship. Polyamory has given me the ability to see the nuance of romance, and moments of platonic intimacy with friends as much as with partners. I have found myself waking up energised and loved-up from a night out with pals in the way I would feel after a good date. I have more friend crushes. The boundaries of connection have not blurred, but shifted, where I can feel varied shades of love along the spectrum of the romantic to the platonic.

...There is something we all can take from an orientation that embraces the imperfect, heralds respectful communication, and acknowledges the many embodiments of love.

Fern says: “Non-monogamy can offer a bigger sense of love that we all need, [it] breaks down the nuclear-ness, the Us vs Them mentality and provides bridges of love to different people.” ...

Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy is published by Thorntree Press in October.



●  And another such testimonial, in MamaMia!  'At 21, I was in a relationship with an older married man – and his wife' (Sept. 18)


By Anonymous

...At 21 I found myself dating an older, married, polyamorous man, and the way I love has never been the same since.

...It began from a simple Bumble date... on which he wore his wedding ring.

At first, I was very sceptical as to how open his relationship with his wife was, but he was incredibly honest about his previous relationships and dating patterns.

We easily clicked, and he was the most interesting person I had ever met. The way he explained his approach to love was fascinating, and I was hooked. 

..In this particular situation, he and his wife were each other’s primary partners, while she also had a long-term boyfriend and continued to date other people as well. However, as their relationship with each other changed, they dropped the hierarchical measure of relationships.

At first, I couldn’t really wrap my head around why you would actively go out and seek other people when you’re in a happy and healthy relationship to start with. ...

...I soon realised polyamory was instead about the joy of love. ...

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

..So what did I learn?

My whole perception of love and relationships changed within the short span of our relationship. 

I began this experience with a very short-sighted view of what a healthy dynamic is and found that a relationship doesn’t need to conform to the traditional norms that society has defined. 

In my previous relationships, I was quite defensive and often jealous. Through the experience of polyamory, I learnt to understand where my jealousy was stemming from and to critically analyse whether it was derived from my own insecurities or rooted deeper within the relationship itself, such as needing more quality time together. 

I came to terms with facing potential conflict such as possible trust issues and relying on communication to overcome these challenges. It was also striking to me how traditional monogamous relationships are often framed with very possessive language, creating an extremely toxic culture of jealousy and controlling behaviour. 

Polyamory invigorated my sense of self-worth and inner strength which I was unaware that I had. ...

...Polyamory felt like a boot camp for these skills which significantly developed my muscles in these areas. I now feel ready and prepared for the next relationship coming my way, and I’m excited for when it does.



●  The same day, a more radical generalization of those discoveries appeared in The Campus student newspaper of Allegheny College: Could polyamorous relationships mitigate the shortcomings of the nuclear family?  (Sept. 18)


By Peyton Britt, Opinion Editor

...In her book “What Love Is: And What It Could Be,” philosopher Carrie Jenkins notes that changes in society occur against a foundation of the pre-existing conventions. She considers monogamy a principal characteristic of romantic love’s social role, that role being to curtail love between grown adults and force it into the mold of the stable nuclear family.

...I imagine a society in which children whose two parents are fighting can go stay the night with a third parent until the home environment is peaceful again. I imagine women in abusive relationships finding solace, and eventually escape, with the support and assurance of their other husbands. I imagine teenagers with qualms about their rapidly developing identities having more than two parental figures whom they can consult and with whom they can relate. I imagine a man leaving for his third shift job as a partner returns from first shift, both equally comforted to know that their wife will not be alone in the burden of childcare. I see no issue with broadening what constitutes as a family in order to strengthen a sense of community. 

I also imagine that traditionally monogamous, heterosexual relationships will continue to create nuclear family units, a possibility by which I am unbothered. The society for which I yearn is simply one in which love is unfettered by the strains of convention, and people give and receive affection in whatever multifarious fashions they desire. ...



●  Sign of the times: Brides magazine, a juggernaut of the traditional wedding-industrial complex for 85 years, now presents How to Know if an Open Marriage Is Right for You (Sept. 24). The advice is decently good, granted that it's entirely couple-centric.


Navigating non-monogamy with your partner is no small feat but, if you’re both willing to put in the work, can ultimately bring you two closer than ever. It takes two to make a thing go right—right? That math might just have a little wiggle room.

...“When people come into my practice wanting non-monogamy, it’s usually because they had a pivotal moment,” explains [relationship therapist Gwen] Lotery, but need help clarifying and communicating it with their partner. “I realize this is coming from a therapist,” she laughs, “but counseling can really help with that!” 

O'Malley Photographers
For couples that do come to her wondering if an open marriage is the right path, she empowers them to ask each other exciting, sometimes uncomfortable, and very much crucial questions such as, “Is your idea purely sexual, or more of another relationship? Do you play [outside the marriage] together, or do you play separately? Both?” Then, based on those answers, the pair can decide if and how they want to move forward.

...“The biggest mistake a couple can do is jump in,” warns Lotery. She compares opening up a marriage successfully to training for a marathon, saying, “You wouldn’t buy tennis shoes on Friday and then run the marathon Sunday—you won’t make it!” What does work, in her professional opinion, is “a lot of talking, a lot of listening … and most importantly, only going as far and fast as the slowest partner is ready for.” Below, we’ve broken down her advice into three core components....

...Lotery does have one final (and might we add excellent!) piece of advice: “More important than learning how to communicate, hands down, is listening.” In her own practice, she regularly “really [teaches] people how to listen well because, if you understand what your partner is saying or wanting or desiring, there’s bound to be more compassion and a willingness to stay curious and connect.” ...



●  Erin K. Barnes writes us, "I wrote this article about my cute relationship with my metamour for Men's Health and wanted to spread the word!"



That’s right: the love of my life is dating another woman, and she’s awesome.

By Erin K. Barnes | Sept. 24

My husband has a girlfriend...and I love her. That’s right: the love of my life is dating another woman, and she’s awesome.

The topic of my metamour—that’s my partner’s partner, in polyamorous terms—is controversial. It doesn’t matter that it was my idea to open our marriage. It doesn’t matter how my husband Cliff looks at me with heart eyes, or how many sizzling affairs I have. Most people feel sorry for me, or even disgusted, that I actually like the woman who—as they see it—threatens to replace me.

...A number of my girlfriends kept my non-monogamy a secret from their spouses for fear they wouldn’t be allowed around me. I wondered, would their husbands restrict them from associating with a single woman? Why was I so different? Cliff’s best friend pulled me aside tearfully after a night of drinking, telling me, “I don’t want to lose you.”

I didn’t blame them; despite the myriad polyamory explainers on the internet like this one, most people misunderstand our arrangement.

It wasn’t always this way. ...

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

One night, I lay awake with my pulse pounding, gripped with the sudden courage to tell my husband that I wanted to have sex with other people. I put his hand on my breast to cushion the blow...and woke him from a dead sleep.

“There’s something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about,” I whispered. ... I said I was grateful we were still in love after 17 years. That I felt like I was going through a change, and rather than rebel alone, I wanted him to be my partner in crime. And that it really turned me on to think of us in an open marriage.

My husband sat up in bed. “Wow,” he said. I had always been the vanilla one. “Yes,” he said, kissing me. “Yes!”

Cliff looked as giddy as I had when he had proposed; only this time, we were choosing us, and setting each other free. ...

With freedom, my pent-up sexual tension deflated. I could be around hot dads without losing my mind. I indulged in pastimes I never thought I’d relive, like lying in bed with a new man, tracing his tattoos with my fingertips and alternating between talking and rendering each other speechless. I also explored profound platonic friendships with men I’d have surely missed out on in monogamy.

Cliff wanted kitchen table polyamory, where both partners have serious secondary relationships. I wanted lust and extramarital fun. In a twist of irony, I fell in love with someone new and had my heart broken, organically extending my own boundaries. While my family didn’t need to know the details, I didn’t hide my feelings. “Children,” I began with puffy eyes, “I’d like to introduce you to the music of the Smiths. They tell people that it’s okay to feel sad sometimes.” Being a 37-year-old mom with a broken heart sucked, but knowing it was possible to love two people at once gave me stability for what was to come. ...

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

When the time came for Cliff to go to Allison’s house for an intimate date night, I texted her, saying, “I hope this isn’t weird, but I wanted to introduce myself so you know that I’m okay with this.”

We followed each other on Instagram and discovered we share the same absurd sense of humor. We gleefully bonded over memes. She entered our lives respectfully, without being pushy, but she also didn’t hide from me, nor I from her.

...Today, we have a happy little polycule. Allison and I hang out together, and when we do, Cliff sends us video chats that start with a grinning, “Hey ladies...” Cliff is notoriously late to everything, so Allison helps him get home on time. ...

Society wants me to hate this gem of a person -- the person who texted me after our dog died to send us “love beams,” only she accidentally wrote “love beans,” so now we often jokingly send each other “love beans.” People want to believe that I’m either a freak or uncommonly evolved to handle this unconventional arrangement. In truth, I’m not very remarkable at all; it’s simply not that hard. Concepts that once seemed terrifying are surprisingly easy when we meet the people involved...and they’re awesome.



●  The BBC just posted a 7-minute mini-documentary on the Oneida Colony, America's 19th-century attempt at a polyamorous religious utopia that seems to be getting ever more attention as the decades pass. If you've wondered what the Oneidas were actually about, it's a good quickie. Oneida: The 'free-love utopia' that chased immortality (video by Maria Badia, posted Sept. 24). It's part of the BBC's  "Hidden History" series, "delving into the mysteries of the past to shed light on the present."

I hadn't known, for one thing, that the Oneidas were preterists: Christians who believe that the Second Coming of Jesus already occurred in 70 AD (in the lifetime of his original followers as he promised), that the Kingdom of Heaven has existed on Earth ever since, and that we only need to understand this and act on it.


  Announcements:  

     – Loving More online group discussion, Tuesday October 6, 7:00 - 8:30 pm Mountain time; 9 to 10:30 Eastern. "Join Loving More for an online polyamory discussion. This is open to all Loving More meetup members and is hosted from our office in Loveland, Colorado. Topic: TBD. Discussion is always open to current issues people may be dealing with." Hosted by Robyn Trask. 

     – The Poly Dallas Millennium conference, which centers the Black experience (people of all colors welcome) will happen online this year, November 6-8. CEUs available for psychology professionals. Facebook.

     –  Polycon Canada, November 22-23. "24 hr livestream event from sundown Nov 22 to sundown Nov 23 (Pacific time). Honouring Intersectionality and Diversity in our Communities."

     – Have an announcement that ought to be here? Email me at alan7388 (at) gmail.com.

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