Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

August 18, 2015

A surprised columnist: "Polyamorous relationships and the 'messes' of love"

Chicago Tribune

Here's an interesting one. A news columnist for the Chicago Tribune, a millennial judging by her photo, wrote a column that went up on the paper's site this afternoon about her surprise that something called polyamory exists. She heard about it from a friend (who described it pretty well), assumes that it's mostly a new thing for millennials, and is intrigued but skeptical.

It's interesting to see the assumptions that someone makes these days when they first hear about this thing.

Polyamorous relationships and the 'messes' of love

Is the heart big enough to accommodate polyamory?

By Dawn M. Turner

My introduction to the concept of polyamory, or Polyamory 101 as I like to think of it, occurred a few months ago when I was walking with a friend across Harvard Yard. My friend, who's in her late 20s, mentioned that she engages in polyamorous relationships.

For a second, I thought: A poly-who?

Then, my knowledge of Greek and Latin kicked in and helped me divine the word's meaning. Still, I didn't know it was a thing. Or, maybe I should say, a new thing.

A polyamorous relationship is one in which consenting adults openly have several deeply intimate, monogamous-like relationships, but without exclusivity. It may, as my friend described, include sex. It may not.

Confused? Keep reading.

In my mind, it's a concept that used to be called "playing the field" if you were single, and "swinging" (or engaging in an "open relationship") if you were married. Now, it's been repackaged and hybridized into a heady euphemism for millennials.

I must tell you that I conducted a highly non-scientific survey of several Gen Xers and baby boomers, folks between the ages of 38 and 60, and asked them if they'd heard of polyamorous relationships. They hadn't....

To be clear, the concept is not new. (We're just late to the party, so to speak.) For my research, I found the websites of several local polyamory meet-up groups, one started in 2012....

So what distinguishes polyamory from "swinging" or "playing the field?"

The big difference, said my friend, is that it's a way of negotiating a relationship — talking about how you feel and what you want in your many companionships — and not merely negotiating sex....

...But I wonder: Is the heart so big, so muscular, that it can accommodate so many loves, however open and honest couples are?

What do you think?

Read the whole article (August 18, 2015), and comment with some further information. (Free registration required.)


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alan- Dawn Turner Trice is not a Millennial, but a longtime Tribune columnist. We used to work together and I believe she was born in the '60s. I'm commenting because I am a polyamorous 20-something, and the media's equation of poly culture with wishy-washy, noncommittal Millennials peeves me, too. I do believe Gen X trend piece writers are to blame for this, and it frustrates me as much as you that they overlook the long histories of non-monogamy and the practice of having multiple committed relationships. But what's exciting to me about the way young people (albeit mostly over-educated and urban young people) have embraced polyamory in recent years is the prospect of a future a couple decades from now in which we Millennials are the middle-aged, out of touch columnists, and we think polyamory is totally normal.

August 19, 2015 11:13 PM  
Blogger zenmom said...

I went to read the entire article, but Chicago Tribune requires either subscribing or registering and allowing them access to your Friends list etc. Didn't care to do either. But from what I read on the Poly in the News page, "Late to the party... 2012"? Um, no. It was going on back in the 60's and 70's when I wandered into the notion, and farther back in various experimental living situations in the 1800's. Probably before that too, just not mentioned in polite society maybe? Anyhow, thanks for keeping tabs on, well, poly in the media. xoxox, M.

August 24, 2015 2:29 PM  

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