"For those who aren’t aware of what polyamory is, it’s kind of like an open relationship but better."
The sprawling, international, millennial-gen magazine Vice ran an interview yesterday with Canadian poly organizer Zoe Duff. It appears in Vice's American, Canadian, U.K., and Australian editions online, and maybe in other languages for all I know.
We couldn't ask for a better spokesperson. And I'm delighted to see that Zoe's book Love Alternatively Expressed will soon be out.
Ignore the article's title; it's meant to catch the eye of snarky hipsters:
Polyamory Is a Good Way to Be Slutty Without Hurting Anyone
By Gabe Gilker
...I can’t tell whether it’s because I always develop a wandering eye after a few months, or if I just start to feel suffocated and trapped like a tiger in a cage, but monogamy always gives me that same old feeling of jamming a puzzle piece into the wrong place. I thought people in committed relationships were huge suckers. Then I had a friend sit me down and explain polyamory.
Polyamory supporters in a San Francisco Pride Parade.
For those of you who aren’t aware of what polyamory is, it’s kind of like an open relationship but better. It’s based on the belief of loving multiple partners, so you can have many lovers, yet still forge deep and involved emotional relationships. The ideal polyamorous relationships are egalitarian, communicative, and honest. It sounds a little complicated at first, but once you get into the swing of things it’s can be a pretty great way of living if you’ve struggled with the idea of “till death do us part”....
I called up Zoe Duff, the director of the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association, one of the organizers of “Claiming Our Right To Love,” the first ever Poly Convention in British Columbia, and author of Love Alternatively Expressed which is due out this fall, to dispel some misunderstandings of polyamory and maybe help me sort out why I generally feel less than human when it comes to traditional relationships.
VICE: Some of my friends who are presently in polyamorous relationships talk about the "rules" of being poly. What are some of these rules?
Can you quickly explain to me some of the pros of being in a polyamorous relationship?
There are more minds on [any given] problem, more incomes on the bills, more hands to take care of the housework, and more loving parents/grandparents to take care of the kids. Partners share different interests with you and so there is someone to dance with, someone to laugh with, someone to fix your computer, lots of snuggles, and schedule permitting, lots of great sex.
What are some of the down sides of a polyamorous relationship?
Poly is a lot of work. If more monogamous people worked this hard on communication, compromise, and inclusivity there would be a much lower divorce rate. Things like jealousy and safer sex are obvious issues that come up more often in poly relationships — but in general, poly people learn to negotiate honestly and find solutions. Sometimes this is very hard work. You can't get away with hiding information or bad behaviour.
How do you avoid jealousy? It’s so human.
The trick is to keep the feedback continuous and be alert to the first signs of jealousy. It is a perfectly natural reaction to needs not being met. It is important to openly discuss it and find the true source. There are desensitizing exercises that are terrific in Deborah Anapol's book [Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits]. You should not feel like you are "not poly enough" because you are experiencing jealousy, and it is essential that your partners work with you and support you working through it. There is always a period of adjustment when new people are added to the relationship, and if everyone works together with compromise and consideration the balance is restored and the relationship shared by all is enhanced.
...How do you go about choosing a new partner to add to your already existing relationship?
Generally that is a process that you agree upon with your other partners. Everyone has a different amount of discussion required in being comfortable with adding new partners. In our family, we most often meet someone through an online dating site or a poly community event. If it’s online, we meet for coffee first and then date the person with the understanding that we are in a poly family and any long term relationship would involve getting to know other family members.... In my experience it is important for the same-gender partners or "metamours" to have a good solid friendship for poly households to be happily successful.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen from people who have attempted a poly relationship?
It never ceases to amaze me how someone who has struggled with discrimination will in turn be critical of someone else's choices because they differ from theirs. This happens in the poly community because we are reinventing relationship forms and living on the growing edge of personal development. “You don't do poly the way I do, so you're wrong” — that’s very counterproductive to community building and always hurtful....
Read on (August 26, 2013).