Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

June 27, 2014

10th Circuit gay marriage ruling: relevance for poly case?

On Wednesday the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Utah in its jurisdiction, upheld a Utah judge allowing gay marriage. This is the highest court yet to declare that same-sex marriage is a right. Other federal courts at this level are also considering the issue. Their decisions will pave the way for it to go to the Supreme Court for a nationwide ruling.

The decision was 2-1, by a three-judge panel (subset) of the full court. Here's their complete ruling.

This also happens to be the same federal appeals court that will hear any appeal of the Kody Brown family's polygamy/polyamory case.

Remember about that? Last December a Utah federal judge ruled for the Browns, saying that Utah's law against bigamy (merely living with another partner while married) was overly broad, and that while the state does not have to recognize multiple relationships as marriages, it cannot outlaw them. Here's my coverage of that ruling with links to more. The State of Utah has not yet appealed the Brown ruling; another part of that case is still pending.

After Wednesday's gay-marriage ruling, some buzz went around the polywebs that it might ease the way to recognition of multiple marriage, based on language such as this:

We nonetheless agree with plaintiffs that in describing the liberty interest at stake, it is impermissible to focus on the identity or class membership of the individual exercising the right.

To define the institution of marriage by the characteristics of those to whom it always has been accessible, in order to justify the exclusion of those to whom it never has been accessible, is conclusory and bypasses the core question

[A state] cannot define marriage in a way that denies its citizens the freedom of personal choice in deciding whom to marry, nor may it deny the same status and dignity to each citizen’s decision

Even in cases with such vastly different facts, the Supreme Court has consistently upheld the right to marry, as opposed to a sub-right tied to the facts of the case.

But to many others, that looked like a stretch.

Longtime legal observer In Finity (infinity_8p AT yahoo.com) read the whole ruling and posted this on the PolyLegal Yahoo group (reprinted with permission):

10th CCA OKs SSM, But Slams Polys

Poly activists will be keenly interested in this steaming load of bullshit from pages 44 and 45 of the ruling:

Utah’s ban on polygamy, for example, is justified by arguments against polygamy. See Utah Const. art. III (“[P]olygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.”); see also Potter v. Murray City, 760 F.2d 1065, 1070 (10th Cir. 1985) (concluding that “the State is justified, by a compelling interest, in upholding and enforcing its ban on plural marriage” based on its “commitment to a system of domestic relations based exclusively upon the practice of monogamy” which is “inextricably woven into the fabric of our society” and “the bedrock upon which our culture is built” (quotation omitted)).

The 10th Circuit is basically saying that banning same-sex marriage is invidious discrimination and unconstitutional, but adding dicta (text that is not directly relevant to the ruling and thus isn't legally binding) that is dripping with prejudice against polys, hypocritically denying that the very same type of prejudice and bigotry is unconstitutional when those icky polys are the ones being discriminated against.

Despite this disrespectful dicta, it should be kept firmly in mind that tangential statements like this can be and often are reversed when the very same court has to face the issue directly. The 10th Circuit did not face the issue directly in Potter v. Murray City - that case did not raise equal protection and due process objections to a ban on poly marriage. And another 10th Circuit case, Bronson v. Swensen (500 F.3d 1099 (2007)), also failed to pursue due process and equal protection attacks against Utah's prohibition of poly marriage. Both cases relied instead on legally dubious attacks such as the right to free exercise of religion, which failed miserably. As of today there has been no competent, sophisticated attack against any legal prohibition of poly marriage in any U.S. federal court.

Today's 10th Circuit decision does mark an important milestone in the fight for same-sex marriage. This is one of the many important same-sex marriage decisions that will be of great interest to those poly activists preparing to competently attack the constitutionality of legal prohibitions against poly marriage. It's well worth reading!

I have to disagree with In Finity's hot response. Right after the section he quoted above, the court writes "Similarly, barring minors from marriage may be justified based on arguments specific to minors as a class." It seems clear that the court was not denouncing polygamy/polyamory as such, but was describing past cases in which marriage was denied to certain classes based on actual arguments of harm given as justification. The court said that such precedents do not allow the banning of gay marriage, because in this case, the arguments for harm fail. The soundness of the arguments against polygamy and marriage or minors is not considered here, merely that the court had used such arguments to justify a ruling against a class.

Meanwhile, the Brown family's reality show Sister Wives just began its fifth season.


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June 19, 2014

"Can We Pray the Polyamory Away?"

Here's "perhaps the most, unintentionally, amusing anti-poly article ever," say a Facebook commenter. From Charisma News this morning:

Can We Pray the Polyamory Away?

By Jennifer LeClaire

From Showtime's Polyamory: Married & Dating
There's a saying in the gay community that goes something like this: "You can't pray the gay away." Although I don't believe that — I know of many who were delivered from same-sex attractions through the power of prayer — the media push for gays on TV has paved the way for a new wave of immorality: polyamory.

...Last week, NBC rolled out a report... that gets up close and a little too personal with a polyamorous "family" about what it's like to "live with multiple partners without sacrificing the comforts of home."...

...One member of the "family" tried to get cutesy with its definition of what polyamory means, describing it as "more laundry." Can you see how the prince of the power of the air is using media to push a new level of debauchery to generations young and old?

...Yes, polyamory is the new darling of an immoral media. I mentioned The Atlantic article earlier this year that profiled Diana Adams, who runs a Brooklyn-based legal firm that fights to offer traditional marriage rights to untraditional lovers — and is in a polyamorous relationship. Valentine's Day saw article after article on polyamory and sites like Live Science are working to debunk the myths around polyamory.

But it grows worse. I just learned there's even an app for that!...

As I've said before, slowly and steadily, the push for polyamory is rising in the media, in many ways taking a page from the gay agenda's playbook....

Can we pray the polyamory away? If we sit by and complain or stick our heads in the sand, arguing that Christians should not be discussing these issues, then we're admitting defeat and displeasing Christ. But if you believe that God can deliver some from the grip of immorality — whether that's adultery, fornication, masturbation, pornography, homosexuality, polygamy, bestiality, polyamory or some other sexual sin — then drop to your knees and join with me in intercessory prayer. It's not only about setting the captives free — it's about protecting the next generation of young minds the media is molding.

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma....

The whole article (June 19, 2014).

Meanwhile, a straightforward news article went up yesterday at the website of the National Review, America's leading conservative magazine since the time of William F. Buckley. Following the kerfuffle on the right over the NBC report, an intern at National Review Online did some straight reporting, even including — gasp — talking to real sources involved, such as Diana Adams and Leon Feingold. How old-fashioned.

Polyamorists Come Out of the Closet

Amid increasing tolerance for non-traditional relationship, non-monogamy loses its stigma.

By Celina Durgin

Non-monogamists have remained largely underground to avoid social disapproval, but increasing national acceptance of Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) relationships have encouraged some polyamory supporters to go public about their growing communities.

Leon Feingold, co-president of Open Love NY and a licensed real estate broker with Masonic Realty... told National Review Online that there is “absolutely” a growing trend of openness in the polyamorous community and of accepting attitudes toward it. He added, “A lot of people have misconceptions about what polyamory is.”

“Polyamory” does not refer either to polygamy or to a “swinging” lifestyle but to “responsible non-monogamy,” Feingold explained. Open Love NY is a New York-based organization for the polyamorous community. It plans various educational and social events for its members and encourages “a public climate in which all forms of consensual adult relationship choices are respected and honored.”

A frequently cited estimate of the number of U.S. polyamorous households is 500,000, which first appeared in a 2009 Newsweek article but has since been removed (the article was last updated in July 2011).

Diana Adams, the other co-president of Open Love NY and a founding partner of a New York City law firm serving LGBTQ and non-traditional clients, has worked with polyamorous households. Sometimes she helps draw up agreements between married poly clients to prevent marital problems from arising because of their sexuality.

The policy concerns for poly community generally regard securing domestic partnerships among the members of a polyamorous relationship. Some of Adams’s poly clients want to opt out of the adultery ground for divorce and do so in out-of-court contracts.

“At this point, polyamorous people are not seeking to redefine marriage as a whole for all Americans,” Adams told NRO. “They are seeking to find stability within existing legal institutions, with creative use of the law as it is now.”

The most common cases involving polyamorous lifestyles are child custody cases, Adams said. A parent’s sexuality can be used against him or her in court, particularly if the other parent argues that it is evidence of poor parenting....

“In almost all cases, I see parents who are exploring their own romantic and sexual possibilities on their own time, and that’s not affecting their children at all,” Adams said. “The same-sex marriage movement has initiated a lot of that conversation. Is it possible to have committed love and partnership without traditional marriage? The conversation is expanding our sense of possibilities.”...

Feingold also acknowledges parallels between the LGBTQ movement and the polyamorous movement. Many consider polyamory an orientation rather than a choice. He called the broad acceptance of polyamory the “next big frontier for public perception to cross.”...

The whole article (June 18, 2014).

A thoughtful pastor responds, with irritation: A Concerned Christian Response to Jennifer LeClaire’s “Can We Pray the Polyamory Away?” (June 20, 2014). We're still sinners, however.



June 18, 2014

Designer relationships as society's future


The effect that the polyamory movement will have on the world at large, including the monogamous majority, is becoming clear. The effect will be the recognition of what the poly movement calls relationship choice. We declare that all persons have the ability, and the right, to build the intimate relationships and family structures that work for them — not necessarily the structures that society or religion seek to impose.

And yes, you can bring up children better this way too.

Poly opinion leaders routinely pound the concept of relationship choice, including the options for monogamy, celibacy, or asexuality. It's written into the mission statements of Loving More, Modern Poly, and the Polyamory Leadership Network. It's gaining traction and winning because it's part of the slow, centuries-long evolution of advanced societies toward people determining their own lives more and more, and the social surroundings you were born into making your life decisions for you less and less.

This recognition — that individuals and couples can build their own "designer relationships," perhaps including polyamory — was enthusiastically described in an Alternet article a few days ago by the authors of the new book Partners in Passion:

Life-Long Sexual Monogamy Just Isn't Natural — Here Are Some Other Options.

By Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson / Cleis Press

Thinking about a partnership as something people design or craft allows for flexibility and change.

Gerrit du Toit/Shutterstock.com
We are in the midst of a second sexual revolution, one that is taking place with astonishing rapidity. A decade ago, it was almost inconceivable that marriage equality would be the law in so many states and that a substantial majority of Americans would support it. It would also have been hard to imagine that Time magazine would feature a transgender television star on its cover while calling the trans movement “America’s next civil rights frontier.” A similar but somewhat less visible shift is taking place in cultural attitudes toward alternative relationship styles.

When Nena O’Neill, co-author of Open Marriage, died in 2006, the New York Times opined that the 1972 book read like “a period piece” with ideas that seemed “quaint” and “naïve”.... Eight years after O’Neill’s death, the ideas expressed in Open Marriage, or at least in its one chapter on sexual non-exclusivity, seem more seminal than quaint.

The current shift has been influenced by a wide variety of cultural factors – the growing and politically active polyamory community, the emergence of the sex-positive movement, the increasing popularity of both swinging and kink, and the work of psychologist-authors like Christopher Ryan, Esther Perel, and Tammy Nelson....

...Conventional relationships aren’t in trouble because alternatives are proliferating; they’re in trouble because they’re failing large numbers of people. The truth is that conventional monogamy – one man, one woman, ‘til death do us part’ – is rare. Serial monogamy, with or without cheating, has been the norm for decades. People typically embrace monogamy as a default mode, without even thinking about what it means or defining it for themselves. This often leads to dissatisfaction, both emotional and sexual, with various forms of cheating and unhealthy sexual behaviors as an upshot....

The change that is taking place enables people to develop relationships based on their own sexualities, understandings, and agreements.... A designer relationship may be sexually exclusive or not exclusive; it may involve multiple partners where long-term bonds exist among all or some; it may involve more casual kinds of interaction; it may include kink or make room for someone to explore kink when a partner is ‘vanilla’; it may encompass all of these.

The possibilities are limitless, and thinking about a partnership as something people design or craft allows for flexibility and change. Relationships can open and close or have varying degrees and kinds of openness as circumstances demand. In the context of a designer relationship decisions are made consciously, carefully, and deliberately. In contrast to what often takes place in unconscious monogamous relationships, agreements are discussed, arrived at, and honored, and when agreements no longer serve, they can be renegotiated....

Rather than eroding “traditional” marriage, this panoply of relationship options can also benefit those who choose to be sexually and emotionally exclusive. The benefit lies in the fact that they’ve been exposed to the available options, have genuinely thought them through, and have chosen what is truly appropriate for their partnership....

...Based on our own experiences and on our interviews with numerous people for Partners in Passion, we believe... people who are in non-exclusive relationships are often very deeply bonded, and the available studies suggest they have a higher level of life and relationship satisfaction.

In some respects, having an open relationship is far more demanding than having a closed one.... Being non-exclusive requires good communication skills, self-awareness, and a level of transparency that is rare among more conventional couples. It also requires a far more thoughtful approach to relating than is typical in mainstream society.... The concerns of social conservatives aside, the rise of the designer relationship may also be monogamy’s salvation.

Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson are a devoted married couple. They have been creative collaborators – teaching and writing about sexuality and Tantra together – since 1999. Michaels and Johnson are the authors of Partners in Passion (Cleis 2014)....

Read the whole article (June 12, 2014), and join the 260-plus comments.


June 17, 2014

Dan Savage has Diana Adams exhort for coming out poly

Many alternative newspapers and websites

In his latest Savage Love column, sex and relationship writer Dan Savage takes a reader's question on whether to come out poly, then turns it over to Brooklyn queer-and-poly attorney Diana Adams, who's bursting to expound on the topic:

Q: I’m a fairly boring person by your column’s standards in that I’ve always identified as a straight male into typical relationships. I’ve realized, after multiple long-term relationships that were unsatisfying, that monogamy isn’t for me.... I’ve struggled to remain faithful in the past and don’t want to cheat on anyone. I just want the rules to fit me so that I don’t have to be considered a cheater. Do you think this detail is something I should disclose to my family and friends?... While polyamory seems to be more common today than in the past, I don’t see anyone who is publicly “out” as is the case with most of the queer community. I’m also not too deeply involved with that community, so maybe I just don’t see the activism happening.

— Pondering Over Life’s Yearnings

A: If you’re not seeing anyone who is poly and publicly out, POLY, then you’re not watching Showtime, which broadcast two seasons of Polyamory: Married & Dating, and you’re not paying attention to poly activists who are out — like Diana Adams, an attorney (dianaadamslaw.net) who specializes in nontraditional family relationships.

“I applaud POLY for considering boldly coming out as polyamorous to his family and friends,” said Adams. “We need more people to come out in order to destigmatize polyamory. I came out as poly in the national media six years ago, and I built my career as an attorney advocate for queer and polyamorous families.”

Adams recognizes that not all poly folks can be out—some work for conservative employers, some could lose custody of their kids—but she believes that poly people who can be out, should be out. “For those of us who have the privilege to be out, I encourage us to speak our truth, which will support a cultural understanding of healthy relationships beyond monogamy — and, of course, help us find like-minded partners. In POLY’s case, I urge him to learn more about poly first. Poly has become a major subject of media attention, with profiles of out poly people published practically weekly. Link up with groups like Loving More (lovemore.com) and Open Love NY (openloveny.com), and follow people like me on Twitter (@dianaadamsesq), and he’ll get tuned in to the nationwide activism that’s happening. He’ll also get tapped into resources for creating successful poly relationships.”

And a word about those successful poly relationships: Just like successful monogamous relationships, poly relationships have limits — both sexual and emotional. But instead of coming to an agreement with one partner about those limits, you have to hammer out agreements with two or more partners. So when you say you want to be poly so that the “rules fit you,” POLY, you better be using the plural “you” and not the singular.

“Poly may not be easier to maintain than his monogamous relationships,” said Adams. “Poly works for emotional ninjas who possess tremendous emotional awareness and communication skills to create their own agreements with their partner(s). If POLY is ready for that level of effort, poly may work for him so well that he’ll want to tell the world.”

Here's an original of the column, with additional readers' questions (week of June 17, 2014).

Update: Dan Savage follows up in his weekly podcast: Dan Savage Podcast Episode 400: How do poly people balance all those relationships? (June 24, 2014).


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June 14, 2014

HuffPost Live: "What Happens In A Polyamorous Apartment Complex" turns into a Poly 101.

HuffPost Live

The Huffington Post has a popular news-and features video channel that's had more than 1 billion views since its August 2012 launch. Yesterday it aired a 17-minute segment that started as a report on Brooklyn's new poly-friendly Hacienda Villa, but a friendly host let the guests turn it into an enthusiastic and articulate Poly 101 seminar. The guests were Open Love NY co-presidents Leon Feingold and O-Man, and Hacienda Villa resident Lily. O-Man's skype connection crapped out early, but the other two show how it's done:

Watch carefully. The ones who get a lot of air time act lively, upbeat, and have practiced what they want to say. And Leon, at least, remembers to smile on camera, raise his eyebrows often, and otherwise look engaging. (The picture above isn't them; it's a generic stock photo.)

From the segment's webpage:

What Happens In A Polyamorous Apartment Complex

Remember the rule about not hooking up with your roommates? Throw it away. An apartment building in Brooklyn has been converted into Hacienda Villa, a residence for polyamorous people. HuffPost Live takes a look inside.

The Huffington Post has paid fairly regular attention to polyamory over the years.

Update: Leon also just got a half-hour interview on BBOX, Brooklyn Community Radio (June 15.)


Less happily, Fox News's The O'Reilly Factor did a hit job June 12th on the recent NBC News online profile of the Atlanta Poly Weekend organizers, with clips from the NBC report.

Best Fox News line: "The worst part about it is that all the adults are unattractive." Actually, as people on TV go, they were pretty spiffy; the guys are handsome and trim and the gal is cute and expressive. I'm fascinated by conservatives' obsession that we're all ugly. I have two theories. The first is that it's simply projection: to cultural conservatives the subject is gross, so they see everyone in it through gross-colored glasses.

But I lean to another theory: The only people who conservatives routinely see openly acknowledging their sexuality are strippers and porn stars. So strippers and porn stars are what people unashamed of their sexuality are supposed to look like. Normal people rarely do.


June 12, 2014

"Dozens of media outlets have tried to get us to agree to a reality show or documentary"


If you're somehow unaware that polyamory fascinates people and that the media know this, remember the poly-friendly apartment building that's opening in Brooklyn. A couple weeks ago the 15-bedroom brownstone got a blizzard of attention from New York newspapers, radio and TV. The story spread as far as the Netherlands. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Followup: Realtor and Open Love NY co-president Leon Feingold posts that all the rooms but three are now taken. He writes, "Dozens of media outlets have tried to get us to agree to a reality show or documentary — all of which I've vetoed, because it's designed as a safe space to live, not for others' ridicule or sensationalism."

Meanwhile, this followup story just appeared in BushwickDaily.com:

Up Close and Personal with Lily, the First Tenant of Polyamorous House in Bushwick

By Jennifer Shipon

Hacienda Villa’s first inhabitant half-jokingly bills herself as a “hippie elitist snob” — the result of degrees from Ivy League schools and an abiding interest in Burning Man....

“I was always the token monogamy person,” said Lily [a pseudonym]. Until she met a couple she hit it off with several years ago. “Our relationship was like Friends, but sexy.” It lasted for four months, and they’re all still pals. “[Being with two people] doesn’t feel like being polyamorous to me. It feels like ‘monogamy twice.’ Did I just invent that term? I should use that term!”

...Before moving to Hacienda, Lily lived in the Village with a roommate who confessed that it would be weird for her if Lily had more than one lover over at a time. “It’s a factor any place where I live, and it’s nice to be in a house where we speak the same language,” Lily explained....

Lily believes there isn’t nearly enough serious material published about open love. In fact, she is a member of a scientific sex research group comprised of colleagues and peers working on their own projects and distributing them via all forms of media, from books to TV shows to blogs. “There is a clear distinction between sex orgy people and people who have a sophisticated understanding of what it means to have relationships with multiple people,” Lily emphasized.

Lily says she might try to fill the dearth of legitimate open love writing and inaugurate her arrival at Hacienda Villa by starting a blog about what life is like there.

“I don’t understand jealousy,” Lily said. “Love is not finite, it’s infinite. You just need to create it.”...

Read the whole article (June 10, 2014).


In other news... The Kinsey Institute is collecting and categorizing all the slang and invented terms that people use for all kinds non-monogamous relationships. The idea seems to be to pin down their exact meanings, similarities, and differences as they are currently being used. Go take the survey.



June 11, 2014

NBC: "One Big Happy (Poly) Family"

NBC News website

I'm just back from Atlanta Poly Weekend, a thriving hotel con that Billy Holder, Jeremy Mullins, and Melissa Holder-Mullins have run for four years now. More on that later. This morning the three of them are in a 6-minute video report at the NBC News website about their happy home life with their smart young daughter and additional partners:

Even though they've made the decision to be very, very out in conservative Georgia (remember their excellent long article on CNN.com last October?), it was tough having a camera crew follow them all around the house for two days. I'd say they can be very proud of the result.

Meet the Polys screenshot

Billy writes this morning,

They came and spent 36 hours with us. Cameras, mics, schedules, being followed to Starbucks and restaurants. It was truly an experience. One that made us all very sure we never wanted to be on reality TV. LOL This was enough.

The producers and cameraman we very professional, caring, and conscious of the people and the story that was to be told. To them I say Thank you. Anna and her team, I am truly grateful to have worked with such professional folks.

The story is on the NBC News homepage, right next to Eric Cantor getting voted out.

Apparently it won't be broadcast, it's just on the website. The site's tagline: "A polyamorous family from Georgia explains how life can work with multiple partners, without sacrificing the comforts of home."

The conservative site Newsbusters is upset: NBC Puffs ‘One Big, Happy (Poly) Family’ (June 11, 2011).

Updates June 13:

"The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News tore into them yesterday, including clips from the NBC site. Best Fox News line: "The worst part about it is that all the adults are unattractive." Actually, as people on TV go, they were pretty spiffy; the guys are handsome and trim and the gal is cute and expressive. I'm fascinated by conservatives' obsession that we're all ugly. I have two theories. The first is that it's simply projection: to cultural conservatives the subject is gross, so they see everyone in it through gross-colored glasses. But I lean to another theory: The only people who conservatives routinely see openly acknowledging their sexuality are strippers and porn stars. So strippers and porn stars are what people unashamed of their sexuality are supposed to look like. Normal people rarely do.

Conservative host Laura Ingraham decries the NBC report as where gay marriage slips the slope to (June 13).


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June 3, 2014

Elisabeth Sheff: "Why I am not polyamorous, but you might want to be"

Psychology Today blogs

Elisabeth Sheff of The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships and Families1, who will speak at Atlanta Poly Weekend this weekend, has built up a large set of explanation-of-poly materials on her blog at Psychology Today. It's a good place to send journalists and others interested in our sociology. Now she reveals more about where she's coming from personally.

Why I am not polyamorous, but you might want to be

How to make cliche mistakes and still think polyamory can work well for others.

By Elisabeth A. Sheff, Ph.D.

I decided to write this to both clarify my status for people who comment on my various blogposts and seem to assume that I am polyamorous, and to explain my perspective on the research I use to inform this blog. In this first part I explain why polyamory did not work for me in the past, and the second part explains why I do not identify as polyamorous currently.

The Poly Debacle

My own brush with polyamory was long (in one way, quite brief in another), slow, and painful, so much so that I am reluctant to try it again. To make a long story short, when I was 22 I fell in love with a man — “Rick” — who wanted to be non-monogamous. We discussed it for 10 years, with him excitedly detailing how great it could be for us to find another woman to add to our relationship, and me dragging my feet and trying to manipulate us in to a monogamous relationship.... We both made mistakes that ultimately destroyed our romantic relationship and damaged our friendship almost beyond repair. Our mistakes are so common as to be cliché in poly circles....

Three Cliché Mistakes

1. Unicorn Hunting....

2. Making a Lot of Rules....

3. Expectations Collide with Reality....

...I thought I would be jealous and insecure so I created rules that I thought/hoped would “protect” me, and it turned out that I was surprisingly comfortable with Rick’s additional relationships. Rick thought he would be secure and loved by two women, and it turned out that he was very jealous when I wanted to establish a romantic relationship with another man. Rick and I found ourselves abruptly switching places....


Leaving Rick

When I realized I had to choose between Rick and Steve – not the ideal poly model, but a surprisingly frequent poly occurrence when things go south – I chose my one- and three-year-old children. Because Rick was their father, and things had been good with him in many ways for the 10 years before the poly debacle, he seemed like the logical choice....

For the next five years I tried everything I could think of to stay with Rick – got a new job in a different state and sold our house so we could move away from the small town we had shared with Steve, got couples and individual counseling, married Rick, and went through bouts with exercise, meditation, aromatherapy, and denial. None of it worked very well.... One night I came home from work and thought to myself “I need a drink if I am going to deal with this family life tonight” and it suddenly dawned on me that my next coping mechanism was going to be alcoholism. That same night I made the decision to leave....

Poly Single (in practice)...

Monogamous (mostly)...

After I had sown my wild oats, I fell in love again (something that does not happen very often) and simply stopped dating other people. Not because she asked me to, or because we had a big talk about it, but because I was just not interested in other people. Now “Kira” and I refrain from polyamory for three main reasons:

1. Low(ish) Sex Drive...

...[and] I am surprisingly vanilla for a sexuality researcher. I intellectualize things that frighten me, so I have ended up studying polyamory and sexuality because each of them freaked me out until I understood them.

2. Too Busy...

3. Love of Solitude...

While I do not identify as polyamorous, I am also not in a traditional monogamous relationship. In the final installment of this topic, I [will] explain my monogamish and polyaffective relationships.

Read Part 1, Part 2. (May 18 and June 2, 2014). I'll post a note when Part 3 goes up. Update: Part 3 (July 6).


1. For a 20% discount on the book (better than Amazon's), use the code 4M14SHEFF at the publisher’s website through the end of 2014.