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

August 4, 2008

More great Spanish poly coverage: El poliamor los tiene 'atrapados', and others

El Mundo; La Vanguardia (Spain)

Spain's largest and most established newspapers, the conservative El Mundo and the liberal El País, have both been preparing long feature articles on polyamory, including profiles of the Barcelona triad who have become Spain's very public poly spokespeople. The El Mundo article appeared in the paper's Sunday magazine section on July 20, 2008. The article by El País is still in the works, and because they got scooped, they may hold it back for a while.

Juliette Siegfried (aka ktylove) of the Barcelona triad sends this translation of El Mundo's first several paragraphs:

Polyamory has them "captured"

By Loreto Marmol. Photography by Chema Conesa.

A man in the arms of two women who are devoted to him and fight for his attention could be the dream of any man, or a portrait of Roland Combes. Juliette Siegfried is spontaneous, joyful and passionate but, except for the name, has nothing in common with Shakespeare's [Juliet]. She doesn't believe in eternal love nor would she be willing to die for it, not even for what she feels towards Roland, her husband of 10 years. And she is not the only "Juliet" he has eyes for. Roland is also devoted to his girlfriend Laurel Avery. They met during a move, and from the beginning there were sparks. They just celebrated their first anniversary together.

Juliette, 41, greets us barefoot in the Barcelona apartment she shares with Roland, the same age, and where Laurel, 42, visits often. First dispute: how to sit together on the sofa. They don't want Roland giving an image of a king, so Juliette decides to sit in the middle. And if it looks like someone always loses in a love triangle, right then; their cat Deci sits between them both.

No jealousy nor possession

They consider themselves a polyamorous family, with the possibility of loving multiple people at the same time, without feelings of jealousy or possession (or at least they work to manage these). The fundamental values are respect and non-possessiveness. According to the French psychologist Yves-Alexandre Thalmann, author of The Virtues of Polyamory: The Magic of Multiple Loves [Las virtudes del poliamor: La magia de los amores múltiples], in this concept "the equality of the sexes is a given and even promotes feminine emancipation." On the other hand, remember that polygyny (one man married to several women) and polyandry (one woman married to several men) assume a dominant/dominated relationship.

In September they will move in together. They are looking for a home in Sitges with three bedrooms (the current one has two). They are looking for an apartment, not just rooms, because they are not bisexual and don't [all] sleep together. When it comes to sex "We take turns," they explain. And if they both want him at the same time? Juliette says the night is long [laughs]. "To the one who's waiting, I say, 'Just finished, on my way!' he jokes. "No, we can wait a night," the women say.

It's not for sex

The objective of polyamory is not to form a harem. They are no more interested in sex than anyone else: "Sexuality is not a determining aspect of polyamory; its principal content is love," confirms the expert. People usually think polyamory means having several girlfriends, "but there's not time to go from house to house. For us it's more important to have long lasting, deep relationships," explains Roland.

They are also looking for a larger apartment because Laurel is pregnant. Is it Roland's? Juliette pauses and says, "Definitely." Laurel, a homeopath, hadn't thought of having children until she met them. During her youth she saw how her mother, single, had to work very hard to get ahead.

Children and finances

"I'm very happy that they are both going to be parents of my child," she says. And she believes that this will offer more love, time, money, and resources to care better for the child. "In a society like ours things are easier with three because we can combine our incomes," points out Roland, a programmer. Juliette, a medical translator, things it is better because they will be able to share the work of caring for the baby. In her opinion, two is not enough: "It's our way of growing our family," and is the only circumstance in which they wanted to have children. Thalmann advises polyamorous parents not to share the details of their love lives with their children: "Let them know about your polyamorous nature, yes; but tell them details about your encounters, no."

They meet twice a month to review finances, and they have a joint account for expenses. Their individual purchases are made from their own accounts and if they are expensive, they consult with the others first. However, dates and dinners out are their biggest expenses. "If cheating is expensive, being honest is cheaper," says Juliette....

This is the conservative paper? There is a sidebar with the obligatory warning from a psychologist:

A Risky Game

Pilar Varla, psychologist and author of Pure and Lasting Love (Amor puro y duro; La Esfera de los Libros, 2004) believes that "you can't be in love with two people at the same time." Therefore, this expert in loving relationships distinguishes between the love that underlies connections of protection, gratitude, living together, economics, comfort, caring, and romantic love.

"Not having sexual exclusivity with the one you love causes a lot of pain and a feeling of fraud," she warns.

According to the psychologist, maintaining multiple relationships is an "inconvenient formula" and she doesn't recommend it because it "rarely works." Varela points out that normally there is no symmetry: "One proposes it and the other tolerates it, one commands and the other agrees, one enjoys more and the other less and even suffers in silence. The fewer external interferences in a relationship, the happier they will be with the relationship and with themselves."

Here's the whole original.


And here's more from Spain.

  • La Vanguardia, the largest newspaper in Barcelona and Catalonia, has a column titled Urban Pathologies ("Ultrasonography of an unstructured society"), whose author recently wrote a column on polyamory, "a trend that emerged a few years ago but now seems to have an ever greater media and social presence" (July 24, 2008). He explains the concept well and is much more sympathetic to it than the title of his column would suggest! He also gives a mention to the new book by Yves-Alexandre Thalmann, Las virtudes del poliamor.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the people who think that every situation is comprised of one person who "demands it" and another who merely "tolerates it".

There's a simple solution to that. Find two people who both equally "demand it" and there is no one left to simply "tolerate it"!

I'm also amused at the psych "experts" who insist that our relationships are not "fulfilling" or "real love" when they haven't spoken to us first.

People who hear the so-called experts say things like that need to understand that those psychologists are people who only see those who come to them for help. Their sample population is skewed because they *only* see the relationships that "don't work". Those of us who have functioning relationships don't go see therapists.

August 04, 2008 2:52 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

Hi Joreth!

> I love the people who think that
> every situation is comprised of
> one person who "demands it" and
> another who merely "tolerates
> it".

Yup. However, the sad fact is this *does* often happen in couples, as therapists see. And if Spain's culture is closer to its pre-feminist traditions than ours is, it's going to happen more, because the woman can't do much to stop him.

So I'm fine with the shrink giving this as a warning not to be bullshitted into poly unwillingly.

But saying it *has* to be that way? Yeah, dumb.

August 04, 2008 4:01 PM  

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