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

December 14, 2011

Polyignorance in Ireland

The Irish Independent

In Ireland the poly movement is in its infancy but definitely alive (thank you Randy!). A clueless therapy columnist at the leading daily newspaper The Irish Independent seems to get this, but is otherwise mostly at sea. The article begs for your informed comments. Go for it, and please represent us well.

Open marriages are on the rise here too

So, less than 15 years after divorce was legalised here, are the Irish open-minded enough for open marriage?

More married couples here are saying 'I Do' to polyamory, according to one relationship expert -- but are only likely to end up alone.

"It's definitely happening here on a small scale," says marriage therapist Owen Connolly, who runs a private practice in Stillorgan, Co Dublin. "But it's not something people are willing to boast about. Open marriage is really no different to swinging or wife-swapping -- and rarely lasts. I've never found two people who were completely committed to the idea.

"In my experience, there's always one party who would prefer to remain monogamous -- usually the woman. However, some of these women may agree to an open marriage because they think their happiness depends on their relationship."

(Unfortunately, that part is too often true.)

"Over the years, I've worked with a lot of couples to try and repair the damage done by an affair," the consultant psychologist adds.

"An open marriage shouldn't even be treated as a marriage. People think that they can divorce the physical from the emotional, but it doesn't work.

"There's no such thing as an 'open marriage' -- just a consensual affair."

See www.counsellor.ie DEIRDRE REYNOLDS

Here's the original (Dec. 13, 2011). Commenting is easy and requires no registration.

Update, 4 p.m. EST: My, you guys are doing a good job with the comments there.

P.S.: Here's my earlier article on the emergence of a polyamory movement in Ireland.




Blogger Natja's Natterings said...

I posted but I am not sure if it will be approved but I hope so.

December 14, 2011 3:45 PM  
Anonymous Dawn Davidson said...

They're moderating the comments. Here's what I just submitted:

Dierdre, I completely disagree with what you and Owen Connelly have said here. Polyamory (= Multiple LOVES) is definitely a viable relationship choice for some people. Polyamory is a relationship style that's based upon honesty and respect for ALL the partners. I know a number of polyamorous unions that have far exceeded the average length of monogamous marriages, so they can certainly be "successful" on that score. In addition, duration is not the ONLY measure of the "success" of a relationship--how about the happiness and fulfillment of the partners? Contributing to each other's growth? Most poly relationships I know are *at least equal* to most monogamous relationships I know in these ways--and some far exceed them in happiness, fulfillment, and growth.

Open marriages are also NOT the same thing as a "consensual affair." The word "affair" implies dishonesty, and the very definition of a marriage that is open is one where all the parties are in agreement about their relationships. They are OPEN and honest with each other, as well as being open to the possibility of other relationships.

Illicit and dishonest affairs ARE damaging, to the relationship and to the participants. But what is causing the damage is not simply the presence of an additional person, but instead the lying and cheating. By choosing to be open and honest with each other in discussing wants and needs, people who engage in various forms of ethical non-monogamy (e.g., polyamory or open marriages) are able to negotiate with each other about those wants and needs in a healthy manner. This contributes to the health and well being of the relationship, and the individuals.

You also misunderstand many ethically non-monogamous relationships when you characterize them as "divorcing the physical from the emotional." Polyamorous relationships in particular *celebrate* the emotional depth and connection that is possible between more than one pair of partners. "Love shared is love multiplied," as we like to say! I often use the image of a candle: when you light one candle from another, the first candle doesn't go out, and the flame is not divided between them; it's *multiplied* and gives twice as much light. The same is often true, in my experience, for successful polyamorous relationships.

And as others have said, I think the fact that therapists often don't find people who are "fully committed" to the idea of polyamory/open marriage, is because they only see relationships that are *already in trouble*. As a coach/counselor specializing in polyamory, I can tell you that there are many thousands of people (in the US, and worldwide--and even in Ireland!) who are indeed "fully committed" to the concept and practice of loving, multiple-partner relationships. People come to people like me to help them figure out what people like you are telling them "can't work"--because I KNOW it can work, and I am able to share practical tools and tips from my many years as both a polyamorous individual and coach to polyamorous people.

Polyamory isn't for everyone. But with attention to communication and negotiation skills, understanding jealousy and other strong emotions, prioritizing the happiness and fulfillment of both/all partners, and a myriad of other tools to support the success of such a relationship (or ANY relationship, actually), open, honest, and ethically non-monogamous relationships--such as polyamory--can be at least as fulfilling as any monogamous relationship you can imagine.

December 14, 2011 4:24 PM  
Blogger Natja's Natterings said...

Great post Dawn!

December 15, 2011 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Dawn Davidson said...

Thanks, Natja! I appreciated seeing your post up there, too! It's very encouraging that of all of the comments on that post, as of today (12/21/11) ALL of them are more or less pro-poly, and disagree with what the article said. Yay for anti-ignorance!

December 21, 2011 7:25 PM  
Blogger Colette Kinsella said...

Hi - I'm interested in speaking to people in polyamorous relationships in Ireland for a radio show I'm making. I'd like to dispel some of the myths about polyamory and ask the question, is monogamy the only way?

Wold you be able to help me find people to speak to? I can guarantee full anonymity with voice/name changes. My deadline is next week, so I'd be very grateful for any help.

I've already been in touch with the meetup.com group but it is proving difficult to find people to speak to me on tape. I think hearing about polyamor from practicing polyamorists would be an interesting, challenging and thought-provoking piece for an Irish audience.

Many thanks in advance

Colette Kinsella (cmkinsella@aol.com)

January 21, 2015 7:07 AM  

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