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

February 10, 2011

A therapist for polyfolks speaks out

Chico News & Review

For its Valentine's-week issue, a long-established alternative paper in northern California profiles a local marriage and family therapist who specializes in poly relationships.

Polyamory: Love, multiplied

Counseling people who have more than one partner

By Christine G.K. LaPado

On a list of specialties that includes life coaching, relationship issues, sex therapy and spirituality, local marriage and family therapist Adrienne Parker-Morano also includes polyamory.

Say what?

...Polyamory, explained Parker-Morano, means “having more than one love.” Marriage to one of those lovers may or may not have anything to do with it.

“I think that we’re all polyamorous,” said the statuesque 56-year-old, seated in her office on the fourth floor of the Waterland-Breslauer building in downtown Chico. Parker-Morano is married to widely known local musician Jerry Morano (see “Keeping Chico’s beat,” CN&R, Jan. 13, 2011), and is the proud grandmother of “a passel” of grandkids.

“We all love more than one person,” she offered. “It’s the possibility, the potential, the option to have more than one relationship that distinguishes polyamory.

...“It’s important to understand,” she added, “that the focus is on the intimate love relationship, not on the sex. It’s really all about love, although sex is an option.”

Parker-Morano said that approximately three-fourths of her clients “are dealing with polyamory [issues].” Clients often “come out of the woodwork,” she said, and from as far away as Sacramento and towns north of Chico. Parker-Morano said she receives “a lot of referrals” from other therapists who do not have the expertise in the field of polyamory that she does.

Most of her clients, she said, “are married, but most are not monogamous, or if they are, they are contemplating opening up their relationship. Maybe they’re trying to be monogamous, or are having affairs, cheating, sick of lying, and are saying, ‘How can we open up our marriage without deceit, lying or hiding?’ ”

...She spoke of the frequency in the poly world of people who have a “primary” partner — often a legal spouse with whom they raise children and share finances — and a “secondary” relationship. In such an arrangement, a person’s “first and foremost responsibility is to the primary relationship,” said Parker-Morano, adding that’s it’s “not a hierarchy of love, but rather a hierarchy of time and energy.”

She recommends that married polyamorous couples “make a conscious effort to renew their vows yearly, and have their vows reflect their evolved views” of the relationship, so that things remain open and honest.

Parker-Morano said she first became aware of polyamory in the early 1980s when she was attending a conference and met a “quad” — two women and two men living together as a “polyfidelitous” — or “polyexclusive” — entity....

“I was intrigued from that point on,” she said. “I thought, ‘Wow — people can actually be in more than one loving relationship at a time, and they tell the truth.’ ” Parker-Morano said she was impressed by the “openheartedness and the inclusiveness” of polyamory.

...“Polyamory offers people another choice,” she said. “Polyamory is a lot about maintaining relationships. As a therapist, that is one of my personal biases. Not that I am opposed to divorce — sometimes it’s the right thing. But I definitely do have a bias to sustaining the relationship. Sometimes they just need to switch things up a bit. Or a lot.”

...“Whether you’re monogamous or nonmonogamous, you have to keep to your agreement,” Parker-Morano summed up. “If your agreement is you’re going to be monogamous, you better darn well be monogamous. But if your agreement is you’re going to have more than one sexual partner, you’re not cheating.”

“I freely admit — it’s complicated. There’s no blueprint,” she said. “If you’re a person who likes things simple, polyamory probably isn’t for you. Polyamory takes a lot of emotional maturity, and it’s not for everyone.”

Read the whole article, with photo (Feb. 10, 2011).




Anonymous David said...

"not a hierarchy of love, but rather a hierarchy of time and energy."

I think that's a brilliant way of putting it!

February 11, 2011 8:44 AM  
Blogger Anita Wagner said...

Adrienne and I have been online friends for a long time. I look forward to meeting her one day, she is truly awesome. Love her blog, too - http://tellmewhatanotheris.blogspot.com/

February 11, 2011 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Dawn Davidson said...

Great article! We could have used someone like her when we were in the death throes of our marriage. Ah well. Glad she's there for the folks in the Chico area!

February 12, 2011 3:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there needs to be some kind of poly-friendly directory for therapists and other social services! Does this exist already?

April 13, 2011 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes. Google kink-aware professionals. It's not an exhaustive list, but it can be quite helpful. Make sure to vet any therapist first though!

April 18, 2011 1:51 AM  
Blogger Adrienne Parker-Morano LMFT said...

Wow! I just found this. Thanks for including me in Polyamory in the News, Alan. I've been a big fan for a long time. Thanks for all the sweet comments everyone.

May 11, 2011 4:17 AM  

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