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

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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Blogger Tara Shakti-Ma said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 18, 2014 11:27 AM  
Blogger Tara Shakti-Ma said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 18, 2014 11:28 AM  
Blogger Tara Shakti-Ma said...

Whoa!!!....hang on a second. Not *all* polyamorous relationships have limits or rules!!! Good grief! Many successful polyamorous relationships are that way under the strength of each person recognizing the other's self-sovereignty over their own hearts and bodies. I'm currently in two such relationships, one for nearly 7 years and one for 3. We don't place limits and we have no "operating" agreements.........we trust!!!

June 18, 2014 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Leon Feingold said...

...then you are in agreement that you will trust each others' judgment.

In the end, of course, as long as everyone is on the same page and happy with the relationship, everyone wins. It's just that most poly people are more explicit about what they want and expect from their relationship and partners, to make sure they *are* on the same page.

-Leon Feingold, Open Love NY

June 18, 2014 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Diana Adams said...

Tara, as Leon said, you DO have agreements. If you have a "trust" that your partner isn't lying to you, you have an agreement for honesty. I understand that some folks like you are more on the free love end of the continuum in the poly community. BUT...
As media attention on poly grows, we need to be aware of messaging to make clear that we are not just having no responsibility or commitment to our partners, and that we're not cheaters. We need to be conscious of this clear concise media messaging to destigmatize poly in the mainstream, have positive education about it, and keep out those who want to have no responsibility to anyone else and just get laid with bi chicks... Your concept of self-sovereignty does not sound like something that could convey these important points in the 50 words or less often available in an article.

June 19, 2014 4:30 PM  
Blogger Tara Shakti-Ma said...

Hi Leon:

You may have misread my statement. I am objecting to the sweeping generalization that all polyamorous relationships have "limits" and/or rules...and if you want, you can call them agreements.

I respectfully submit that being *in* agreement by default or "accident" is not the same as cobbling together specified limits, rules or agreements intentionally. I know plenty of polyamorous folks who shun such practices and simply acknowledge that each person is self-sovereign over what they do with their hearts and bodies.

And the fact is I neither *always* trust or agree with a lover or partners decisions. What I do is acknowledge their right to make those choices....and the trust that whatever they choose to do, they do so from an authentic place. I learn more about them, and more about me in how I respond to that.

But looping back to my original statement, not all poly relationships have "limits" or "rules" and they are able to be very rich, fulfilling deeply bonded and sustainable.

June 19, 2014 4:38 PM  
Blogger Tara Shakti-Ma said...

Hi Diana:

You know I am very fond of you, but I need to set my boundary here and state firmly that no one can tell me I have formed agreements that I actually have not. Like I shared with Leon, being *in* agreement is not the same as *creating* agreements. An even further leap would be to say that because I trust someone, I am in an "honesty" agreement with them...let alone that I intentionally created an agreement with them for that. Trusting that a partner isn't lying to me in no way means we have an agreement to be honest. Ideally, we just are. And if not?..well, that's a different can of worms. The only thing I can trust is that my lovers and partners will make choices from an authentic place, from which I have the opportunity to learn more about them, as well as about me.

It is a fallacy and misleading to say that in polyamory there are "limits". As media attention on poly grows, it is essential that we speak out truth, not what we think people want to hear, and not in a way that sweeps healthy autonomous relating under the rug.

I find the suggestion that all poly relationships "have limits" offensive on a number of levels. Why speak an untruth when we can speak a truth: Polyamory is about everyone's self-sovereign right to form the (multiple)intimate relationships of their choosing, while still engaging in deeply bonded and caring, loving sustainable - potentially life long - relationships. Polyamory is not a free-for-all, or engaging in 'affairs'. Polyamory is the practice of open and honest multiple intimate relationships."

Warmly: Tara

June 19, 2014 4:55 PM  
Blogger Tara Shakti-Ma said...

All that said, I agree with the main point of the article....that those who can "come out" would be doing all poly folk a favor if they did. This is one of my soap boxes too. :)

June 19, 2014 5:00 PM  

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