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

February 8, 2015

Your input sought for two forthcoming poly books: on breakups and on families

Kathy Labriola, a longtime poly counselor in the San Francisco Bay Area, is working on a new book. She published Love In Abundance: A Counselor's Advice On Open Relationships in 2010 and The Jealousy Workbook: Exercises and Insights for Managing Open Relationships in 2013. Her new one will be about breaking up in a poly context.

She writes,

(Poly) Breaking up is hard to do: requesting your stories about poly break-ups

Dear friends in the open/poly/kink communities,

I am in working on a book about "breaking up" within the context of an open relationship. I am writing to ask you to share your personal stories of going through the break-up of one relationship while being in an open relationship and having one or more other ongoing relationship(s).

I am a counselor working with many people in open relationships who are experiencing the loss of one of their relationships. Many clients express shock that these endings are so excruciatingly painful, and so intense, complicated, and very different than the demise of a monogamous relationship. And many are mystified and confused about what caused the relationship to end, as so often the break-up is completely unexpected, making it more devastating. Many people feel alone and overwhelmed by a "poly break-up" and are desperately looking for a road map or some help navigating their grief and moving towards recovery. To make things even more painful, many are frustrated by the response by friends and family that polyamory was the "cause" of the break-up, and that this just "proves" that open relationships don't work.

I have often been asked by clients for reading material or other resources to help them heal from what one woman called "a broken heart, poly style." Since I could not find any books, articles, or other resources on this subject, I decided to write it myself, with help from you! I hope you will be willing to share your experience with the pain and healing of going through an open relationship break-up. This will give me more information and a more complete picture of this uncharted territory. This is not a scientific study; I am seeking anecdotal information to get a better picture of what this experience is like for poly people. I believe my sample is quite skewed as I receive frantic calls every day from people who are experiencing the most painful situations, and would like to get a more balanced sample. The main goal of the book will be to help anyone experiencing such a break-up, to understand what is happening and giving them support and techniques to get through it and learn from it.

An additional goal is to help us all understand more about this very painful situation, such as:

–What are the most common causes of poly break-ups?
–How can we better nurture our relationships to make them more sustainable and lower the risk of losing them?
–Being poly, Is is inevitable that some of our multiple relationships will end, and is so, how can we be better prepared to cope with these losses?
–Do some models of open relationships create a higher likelihood of break-ups?
–How can we become more resilient in recovering from the loss of a relationship, while honoring that relationship and appreciating its importance or its role in our lives?
–How can we attend to the needs of our remaining partner(s) and sustain our remaining relationship(s) while suffering through a poly break-up?
–What can we learn from a particular break-up to enhance our poly relationship skill set, and to prevent us from making some of the same mistakes in the next relationship?
–How often is breaking up caused by our picking incompatible partners?
–How often is polyamory and related issues the primary reason for a partner ending the relationship?
–How often is our own behavior or inability to respond to our partner's needs and feelings the primary reason for the break-up?
–What are the most painful aspects of a poly break-up?
–How is our experience within a poly break-up different from a monogamous relationship break-up?

Please write me at anarchofeminist {at} yahoo.com if you are willing to share either your personal stories of poly break-ups or your thoughts or ideas about some of the questions above. If I want to use anything you have written as part of the book, I will ask for your explicit permission to quote you by name or ask permission to use the information anonymously. I am grateful for any information you are willing to give me, no matter how short or long.

Last but not least, if you know of any other articles or anything already written on this subject, I would really appreciate it if you let me know so I can add that into a bibliography.

Kathy Labriola,


Meanwhile, Elisabeth Sheff would like a few more accounts of polyfamilies with kids — especially by children of poly upbringings themselves — to round out her Stories from the Polycule: Real Life in Polyamorous Families, which will be published next October by Thorntree Press.

Poly family with kids? Elisabeth Sheff is editing an anthology of stories from polyamorous families and has gotten many great submissions from adults, but not enough from children being raised/who were raised in poly families. If you child is willing to write something for the book — or too young to write and wants to dictate something to adults — please contact Elisabeth at drelisheff {at} gmail.com.




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