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

February 20, 2009

Dear Prudence: The teens hate my triad!

More poly fun in a mainstream advice column. "Dear Prudence" (Emily Yoffe) appears weekly on Slate.com — this column appeared there yesterday — and is syndicated to newspapers in the following days.

Dear Prudie:

I am a female involved in a four-year-long polyamorous relationship with a married couple. We are all happy and love one another very much. They have invited me to move into their home, and I would like to. The problem is that their two teenage children are beyond angry with the relationship. Even though they are not losing anything as a result of the relationship, they blame me for breaking the family apart and are very rude to me and their parents as a result. We don't want to break up to appease their children, who will be out of the house and on their own soon enough. But I can't imagine putting myself in the middle of such an uncomfortable living situation. Any suggestions for getting these teens to learn to accept me and the relationship?

—Three Is Not a Crowd

Dear Three,

Teenagers are just impossible these days. Mom and Dad go out and get a perfectly nice girlfriend to share, and the kids totally destroy the great erotic vibe you've all got going with their insolent remarks like, "Ewww, gross!" and "Why can't you be normal like other parents and just get a divorce or something?" They sound like complete downers who don't even understand the stimulating couplings and triplings that could take place when they have their friends sleep over (before the friends' parents hear about this, and all of you end up explaining polyamory to social services). It's too bad these rotten kids don't understand that their parents' need to fulfill their sexual appetites takes precedence over providing them a stable home. But since the teenagers are doing nothing but making life unpleasant for your happy threesome, my only suggestion for you is to find a couple who had the good judgment not to have children and leave this family alone.


Begs for replies, no? You know what to do. Here's the original on Slate.com (scroll down), and here's where to google up other sites displaying the column. Have fun, but please, as Mama Hogswatch says, "Be a credit to your kink."

(P.S.: If you don't want to agree to onerous Terms Of Service when you register on a media network to comment, such as agreeing to receive spam, DJ Velveteen points out that www.BugMeNot.com provides anonymous, temporary logins to comment boards on many sites.)

Update! A boiling-mad discussion of Prudie's ignorance and bigoted assumptions is going on at the LiveJournal Polyamory community. Several people there have written letters to Prudence (prudence@slate.com) calling her out — and Prudence has written back to them! Two of her replies:

If three or 12 consenting adults want to spend their evenings wearing tutus and smearing each other with Gorgonzola cheese, in the most loving way possible, that's fine by me. It's when you throw children into the mix that I have a problem with threesomes. I don't care how loving the group is, you're not going to convince me that a husband and two wives or a wife and two husbands is in the children's interest.

And then, a little later,

I really don't understand the lifestyle, I'll admit, since I've gotten numerous letters like yours saying these threesomes are about love, not sex. So polyamory is about getting a nice roommate to split the rent and help with the groceries -- who knew?

As for single parents and live-in boyfriend or girlfriends -- I'm against that too. If you're not sure enough about your relationship to want to marry and have the new partner take on the real responsibilities of being a stepparent, I think it's best not to live together.

Sigh. Go for it.

Remember: we have swamped advice columnists in the past so heavily, and so persuasively, that they've actually gone back and publicly recanted. Case 1; Case 2.

Update, Dec. 29, 2009: Your letter-writing certainly got noticed and remembered. At the end of 2009, Prudie wrote a wrapup column on her "best and worst advice of the year." She devotes two long paragraphs to the unexpected "outpouring of condemnation I received for my sarcastic answer to the conundrum posed by the woman in a 'polyamorous' relationship with a couple."

Sure, I'd heard of threesomes before, but naive and sheltered as I am, I didn't realize there was a whole movement (is it run by a troika?) to go along with it. I know now, because many adherents denounced my narrow-minded, ill-informed response. I was told, "Polyamory is a real lifestyle choice, with serious emotional benefits, and is not about sex." And, "If you did a little research you would have discovered the differences between polyamory, polyfidelity, polygamy, swinging, open, and other nonmonogamous relationship styles."...

Nevertheless she still concludes, "I actually don't care if three or 12 people want to, say, smear each other with cashew butter each evening in the most loving, emotionally supportive way possible. I'm concerned about what happens when this 'lifestyle' involves kids."

Maybe it's time to ask her what exactly she's concerned about regarding the kids. If mom really is into cashew butter behind closed doors in the bedroom, what business is it of the children in any family?




Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have gathered that "Prudence" is DC based, and oddly enough DC actually has Tristan Taormino and Jenny Block coming to town soon (http://wholedc.com/Tristan_and_Jenny_Events.html), so it wouldn't be bad to recommend she check out that event as a means of learning more about polyamory.

February 20, 2009 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Prudie sounds very angry and judgmental. Is she a child of a troubled divorce or something?

February 20, 2009 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, yeah, could have done without the snark. As the original questioner even suggested, waiting until the kids move out would have been an advisable recommendation. That could have been handled with a whole lot more tact and compassion for everyone involved while still maintaining a position of "think of the children". If the questioner was a single woman being asked to marry a widower with kids, and the kids hated her, I would bet money that Prudence's advice wouldn't be nearly as rude.

February 20, 2009 4:45 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I liked Emily Yoffe back when she stuck to being a guinea pig instead of showing off her childfree-hating, poly-hating biases. But this certainly does prove that poly folk shouldn't write in to a mainstream columnist (that's what Miss Poly Manners is for, right), because then you get this reaction.

I concur on the "don't move in yet" advice.

February 20, 2009 5:57 PM  
Blogger Lieren said...

Too bad she doesn't confess her ignorance of the subject matter and lack of effort when it comes to research in the column itself. Pathetic...

February 20, 2009 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love people that Ask for advice and then can't handle an honest opinion. Why are all of you getting so riled up... the letter writer should have known whom they were asking. Probably should have read her column before hand or asked a forum more understanding of the situation. It's an opinion.... no one has to follow it, not even the letter writer.

March 13, 2015 12:11 PM  

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