Lovely series of poly interviews in New Zealand
We spread. Just up on New Zealand's The Wireless is a long article, with the video below, of Kiwi polyfolks talking about their lives and loves and what poly means to them. The video in particular allows them to tell their own stories.
The Wireless, run by Radio New Zealand, is a news-and-feature site of "inspiring, insightful and entertaining stories for New Zealanders who have grown up in the digital age."
Sharing the love: What it's like to be in a polyamorous relationship
By Natasha Frost
In a Grey Lynn flat, finishing off breakfast while their flatmates head to weekend jobs, Monique, Chelsi and Matthew might be any young Kiwis catching up on a Saturday morning. But these three aren’t friends — they’re lovers.
Or rather Matthew and Monique are. And Chelsi and Matthew are. And so are Monique and her secondary partner Meeks, who has another girlfriend as well as more casual partners. Any of them are free to see or pursue anyone they like, provided they keep any interested parties in the loop along the way.
Chelsi, 20, explains that though she doesn’t have additional partners, she still considers Matthew a secondary partner as they don’t have what she calls “primary dynamics”. And though she and Monique aren’t romantic or sexual partners, she says they get along “like a house on fire”.
Polyamory — literally meaning “multiple loves” — means different things to different people. It’s sometimes described as ethical non-monogamy, as everyone’s expected to be open about their feelings, expectations and experiences.
...On the other hand, Chelsi says she’d always had polyamorous tendencies. “When I was 13 years old, I had a school dance and really wanted to take two of my really close friends. I was told that that wasn’t okay, I had to choose one of them … I couldn’t understand for the life of me why that was.”
...Matthew takes a reasoned approach. He believes that jealousy springs from fear, whether of being alone, losing someone you care about, not being respected or simply looking stupid in front of other people.
“It’s just a matter of figuring out and reflecting to myself, ‘Okay, what do I need to do to help this work, and make myself feel better, and make her feel better”.
Jesse*, 24, is a Nelson-based coder in a closed triad with his wife Jodie*, a 25-year-old jeweller, and his girlfriend Grace*, a 28-year-old writer.
“We’re not looking for anyone else and we don’t date anyone else.”
He and his wife have been together for seven years, and have a young daughter. Grace currently lives separately, though they’re hoping to move in together soon.
“We very strongly identify as a family — we’re a family unit, and we act as one, rather than a couple with a child and another person. We’re not just dating someone.”
...Grace and Jodie were initially reluctant to meet one another, but when they did “they just clicked,” he says. “They’re both bisexual and they’d really never had an opportunity to explore that.”
...“We respect each other equally and would like equal legal standing. But no government department has a form or a system in place to handle poly relationships — one is a primary relationship, and the other is just a person.”
...Their daughter has known Grace since she was four, and sees her as a friend or sister, though the triad has recently been trying to assert her as a parental figure.
Though it’s never been explicitly explained, the assumption is simply that Grace will be there, whether out for dinner or on holiday — more questions would be asked if she were not.
“She’s seen every combination of us kiss and hug. She’s never reacted negatively, but a lot of things just go over her head, though obviously we’re not overtly sexual around each other.”
They’ve talked about having another child, with Grace being the biological mother, and are keen on the idea of sharing parenting of a newborn between three parents rather than two.
For the time being, though, Jesse says that polyamory makes him a better person.
“Imagine your wife telling you off, but there’s someone there agreeing with them. It makes it more balanced and more of a discussion when more points of view are there.
“I’m surrounded by two amazing, supportive women, who have made me better. I can’t see my life without them both.”
While Jesse’s and Monique’s relationships roughly conform to shapes, Auckland-based Bee, 33, and Esther, 31, have more of a constellation.
“Each person gets a say. And they can all change their mind. For me, that supports autonomy as much as it supports dependence, and everything's negotiable.”
Bee was engaged to be married when she fell in love with someone else. The experience, she says, made her question whether she even believed in marriage, or indeed monogamy.
“It confused the living daylights out of me, because there was no thought or part of my being that did not want to pursue the engagement or not be with the man I was going to marry. I couldn’t fathom how I could fall in love with someone else, and it wasn’t something I’d done on purpose.”...
...So polyamory is about talking - but it’s also about love, and not just where you might expect to find it. Esther mentions compersion, another term often used in polyamorous communities.
...She gives the example of seeing Ed kissing Bee.
“I almost feel the good feeling that Bee would be feeling from that connection, and it's a warm feeling, and it's lovely.
“You think, ‘Oh wait - shouldn't that be jealousy? Why aren't I feeling jealous? I'm feeling really happy for their happiness.’ That's a really lovely spin-off of being poly.”
Read the whole long article, 2000 words (August 3, 2015).
P.S.: Some of the people shown recently started a Polyamory NZ Facebook group, the latest addition to quite a few New Zealand poly resources.
A bunch of previous poly in the news regarding New Zealand.