Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

November 23, 2016

A poly movement stirs in Japan

"Complex intertwined love relationship"

Do any readers know if polyamory is actually becoming a thing in Japan? This long article, at nihonzine.com, suggests it is, at least a little. The writer profiles a quad of two couples and reports on a poly meetup at a "Books & Bar."

Modern egalitarian polyamory, "with the knowledge and agreement of everyone involved," has taken root mostly in Western societies. I'd be very interested to know if it's gaining traction elsewhere.

Google Translate does a poor job of Japanese to English. But open the link above in Chrome, then at its top right click the little Translate icon (two tiny black-and-white pages). Below are excerpts of what you get, touched up a bit. Can a Japanese speaker give a clearer picture, and maybe links to additional coverage and resources?

Whether the pure love of the sexual minority holds that polyamory practitioners of testimony – more love?

By Fujii Atsushitoshi (July 14, 2016)

More-than-one-person sexual love that is different from affair and cheating

"I, in addition to the wife, am currently in a relationship with her three."

While surrounded by three women, the men in front of my eyes began to speak quietly. They are inclined still ear. That said, there is no such heaviness in this place. Because love everyone of him, because it is accepted.

..."Polyamory ( ポリアモリー ). You know the word?"

Greek plural (poly) a combination of the Latin word of love "amor", a coined word that has been made in the United States. In short, we love more than one person at the same time, connecting also a sexual relationship.

In this manner chastity idea is low; it may seem like just playboy. But when you look, it has a different meaning. As a new love style, cheating and infidelity? In fact, how different from either.

Given in the common sense, there is suddenly unbelievable part is also honest. I went to listen to the details of the story.


[He] had come to pick me up at the nearest station. Mr. Fumizuki works as an editor at the publishing company (Fuzukiren). 32 years old. Good young man of intellectual impression. Apartment the couple live, it was the place where I walked for about 15 minutes. Floor plan is 2LDK, is guided to the living room of about six tatami mats.

Bookshelf, which accounts majestically the corner of the room. Practitioners Mr. lined many pictorial books and technical books, who was involved as an editor. Such as the large number of paperback books and comics were also appointed clean.

In addition to Asumi's wife (32 years old) Neri's lover two people. 4 people to build a square relationship rather than triangular relationship as polyamory told me gathered. Practitioners's lover, even, who works as a zookeeper (21 years old). Working at hotel accounting (23 years old).

Four of relationship is very good. Impression that each other recognized each other.

To the original husband and wife who live in this apartment, occasionally woman have also come to stay. In addition, previously had been another woman living together. It looks like summarized in the current relationship diagram [see top of this page].

Asumi's answered so with a smile without any hesitation. ..."At that time, in a magazine article that I found by chance polyamory know the word.

"LGBT Toka, featured in the form of various love. One that appeared among them is polyamory. If you are self-proclaimed, I was surprised and I'm Some People."

But had much is in the mood, and then when I was after a while of the month. Practitioners Ms. suddenly remember the word polyamory.

When "try and search for somehow net Poly lounge, discover the event. Because it was free time on the day, I readily accepted I went suddenly. Is variously heard, so if he is or was a polyamory satisfied that. So at a later date, it was reported to Asumi-chan."

In this way new life as polyamory couple began. Went to Poly lounge, among to meet people with troubles like many similar Neri's not only Asumi's wife, I had to also deal with more than one lover.

...Although they accepted the idea, anxious. For example, how will you do when you go to bed at home? Her answer, Kei-san said:

"I go to bed with everyone, become the character of the river. Asumi's wife is doing the care, sometimes they will not use the futon in the only practitioners Mr. and two." (Kei)

Mr. Asumi told that there is no particularly dissatisfied appearance. If Omoiyare that of each other, it just does say that it is natural behavior.

"You are well misunderstanding, but 4 people collectively are not one-to-one relationship.... If good all that, and even more in the Sex of Speaking, I Ariel not may, automatically never mean it so."


Meeting called to get outside the home are doing on a regular basis, "practitioners' Books & Bar". The knowledge of the participants "do not deny that the people." Lined with wording such as "be all right to silence."

There is also a hesitation and anxiety.

Do you tell that it is polyamory to someone other than the polyamorous? In the current Japan, including such common sense and prejudice to that live against the society, Neri says. Not amusing even if not have a fear of something in the future. Is even san while considered now is should I Tanoshikere, remembered the touch of uncertainty.

"Although I am in this state because it is happy fun now, when it's time that must be someday tell the family, would get lost what to do say ......"

..."To tell the truth, we are subtle even with parents. After that to understand for people who do not try to understand is really difficult." ...

Uncertain future is anyone anxiety. During the interview, I noticed that the calculations and even san is holding hands gently. The midst of looking for happiness of the way.

Watch to the eye, time is near 22 o'clock. The interview was over in about three hours. Kaerigiwa, Mr. Neri left me a message like this:

"We do not necessarily deny monogamy (who love the only one); you do not even going to quibble with your philosophy of love. Much less recommend that many become polyamory. Trial and error in the midst of looking for happiness of the way all the while. These people also hope for the day they get accepted, and are in the world."

I also ran into this: Tokyo Polyamory.


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November 22, 2016

Poly in the Time of Trump: discussion at the BTL conference

As promised, here are my notes from the "Next Four Years" discussion session that was held at the Beyond The Love poly conference in Columbus, Ohio, the weekend before last. It was four days after the election.


The Next Four Years: Poly in the Time of Trump

Discussion session at Beyond The Love, Columbus, Ohio

November 12, 2016

Notes by Alan M.

Twenty people gathered in a freshly-scheduled discussion of what the election means for the poly community — in particular, how to support each other, provide for the common defense,” and move boldly forward. Many people were scared, especially those with nonwhite and/or queer identities in addition to being on the cultural edge with poly.

The session ran about 40 minutes. Here’s my summary of thoughts expressed. (Some quotes are paraphrased.)

Trump may not care about the right’s social/sexual agenda, but the power behind the throne is likely to be Mike Pence, a nasty piece of work who does. Someone said he’s announced that he wants to re-establish the McCarthy-era House Un-American Activities Committee, and to defund HIV clinics and instead fund conversion therapy (quack treatments to try to turn gays straight). Even more than Dick Cheney was for the not-too-bright George W. Bush, Pence may become the shadow president.”

We polys will probably be very far down on the list of targets. We’re too few and unimportant (and never came up in the campaign). A lot of us are pretty privileged. But we have many intersectionalities with the people under more immediate threat: black and Latino people, independent women, queer/LGBT, non-Christians, other non-traditionalists in general.

“Very few of us are just one thing,” remarked someone. “I’m also an atheist. I’m also in BDSM. Trump has put it on the map that it’s okay to be a bully. We have to be resolute in speaking up to say ‘No, you cannot do that’ wherever we see it.”

Several said that privileged polyfolks should use their privilege to get out front early against racist and fascist outbreaks. Pastor Niemöller was quoted.

Will the current upsurge of ugly incidents blow over? An attendee from Scotland told how the same things erupted after the UK’s Brexit vote last summer. But they died back in the face of public rebuke. He said that according to police records, in the three weeks after the Brexit vote, the UK had a 51% increase in racist incidents and a 141% increase in homophobic incidents. But by six weeks after the vote, the rates fell back to “normal.”  “I think it may have been because society said No,” he said. “Speak up to say this is not normal, this is not our country, not who we are.”

A recurring theme was polyfolks’ need to ally with communities under threat. “If we defend them, they’ll defend us.”

Are we overstating the threat? Someone pointed out that we’re currently in shock, and that makes people prone to worst-fears extremifying. Beware of your echo chamber. Your echo chamber will over-amplify what you fear, and will keep you from the other perspectives, maybe more realistic, that you need.

● Resist the instinct to polarize. “We distill things down to opposites: Good and Evil. Right and Wrong. But it’s much more complicated than that. None of us fit in a little box. Each one of us believes we make the choices we make because we are good people. Every one of us is complicated and full of the unexpected.”

The point? Put aside our emotional reactions and reach out to our Trump-voting relatives, co-workers, etc. with curiosity; engage with them in a way that they can hear. [Remember this over Thanksgiving!]

Many people continued this theme:

● Write to family and friends who voted Trump: “I know you are a good and ethical person, not a racist or KKK supporter. So, now it’s up to you to speak up and say ‘No, this stuff is wrong.’ Or else you’re complicit in it. Because your vote did set it loose.”

● A suggested variant: “I know you, I know you’re not a racist bully, but your vote has made lot of actual racists think they have your okay to terrorize people and take away their civil rights. People are scared. Can you come out and say, ‘Yes, I voted for him for [whatever reason], but I didn’t give anyone my okay to do [whatever awfulness the discussion is about].’ ”

 ● Another:  “If you pretend it’s not happening when it is happening, you’re just giving them cover. They'll see it as a wink of the eye. And that makes you part of it. Is that really what you want?”

● “We can’t just demonize people. We have to address the reasons they voted as they did.”

● It’s important to make anti-Trump and anti-reactionary opinions safe to voice in public. “Speak up at work, when you are out and about, among people who have contrasting perspectives.”

● “The Southern Poverty Law Center is keeping track of hate crimes.” If polys become a target, make sure incidents get reported as such to the SPLC.

● The Polyamory Leadership Network should recommend organizations to donate to. “Planned Parenthood, SPLC, Relationship Equality Foundation....”

● “Never underestimate the power of personal interaction with people different from you. Talk to people outside your group. Listen with respect. Ask them questions.”

● “Remain respectful when engaging with people with opposing viewpoints. Think about your words. Break those barriers down, so they can hear us.

● “At conventions, offer classes/workshops on how to do anti-bullying intervention.” Many good materials are available. Learn how to defuse a situation. If you see someone being harassed or threatened, go stand next to them and ask “Are you okay?” directly to their face. Sit or stand there with them, look them in the eye, engage them in conversation and say “I’m here so you’re okay.” Ignore the problem person or people around you; do not respond to them.

Yep, if you wear that safety pin, you’re promising to offer up your safety at any moment. Else take it off now. Training will help you keep focused under stress.

● “Most people who voted for Trump did so reluctantly, as the lesser of two evils.” So if they thought he was an evil, tell them they need to speak up now that there's just one.

SPEAKING FOR MYSELF: I was impressed by the quality of the discussion. Looking long-term, I would add “Don’t be stupid.” Seriously. This is going to be a long war, and ‘war’ is how the conservative side sees it whether you do or not. Being smart means thinking ahead realistically in terms of tactics and strategy. Being stupid means thinking in terms of taking a moral stance, as if that were enough. When liberals walk out on an open battlefield unarmed and shout at the enemy "You're wrong!", the other side laughs at how stupid liberals are — at how easy they are to trick, flummox, and blow away.

Be smart enough that they will stop thinking you’re stupid. That means always gathering new information and perspectives, being quick to spot changing situations, seeing opportunities early and taking advantage of them.

Also: How to argue effectively with someone who holds different opinions or values. 

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November 20, 2016

Ad agency: polyamory will be a top trend to ride in 2017

Mikey Burton / New York Times
But first:

Folks, I see too much fear and panic going on post-election. Let’s stop and take a deep breath.

It's easy to let fear amplify in your echo chamber and run away with you. In the military the result is called FUD – Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. It diminishes your abilities and drives you into bad decisions. Don't go there.

Instead, make the choice to firm up. Don't let 'em get you on the run. If worse comes to worst, there's going to be huge, well-mobilized solidarity. Which you need to help provide to others. Which means taking care of yourself now.

As I said in What’s Next, polyamorists never even made the Trump/Pence radar. Instead, the radar is painting America's tens of millions of Hispanics, blacks, Muslims, queers, independent women, etc. Polyland has lots of intersections with these groups — and that’s where we must step up and pitch in. Ally with others, and you'll have allies all around you if your time comes.

"Life rewards people who move in the direction of greatest courage." It really does! Move yourself from fear to resolve. It's gonna be interesting times, and in interesting times, it's way more fun to drive events than to let them drive you.


As one sign of how culturally entrenched polyamory is becoming, a hot ad agency that claims to use deep cyber tools just spotlighted poly as a social trend for 2017 that marketers can ride. If you start seeing triads on billboards, quads cuddling in Viagra ads, and other poly tropes grabbing eyeballs, this report may be the reason why. From the press release:

Sparks & Honey report of Top 100 Cultural Trends for 2017 includes Polyamory, Death Positivity and the Museumification of Everything

Agency's annual report highlights the Top 100 Trends brands and consumers need to know to be relevant in the new year

Click here for the report.

NEW YORK, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/— sparks & honey, the New York-based agency that synchronizes brands with culture in the now, next and future, today released its annual report, A-Z Culture Glossary of 2017: The Trends You Need to Know to be Relevant, a list of the 100 cultural trends sparks & honey predicts will shape the world and shift consumer behavior in the next year.

This is the third edition of this report. ...Of the trends that the Culture Glossary has predicted and scored over the series of reports, sparks & honey has an average 81 percent accuracy rate.

...Polyamory: monogamous coupledom is being challenged by alternative lifestyles, and polyamory is beginning to establish itself into mainstream culture.

This year's report is the culmination of two months of deep 'cultural forensics,' cultural listening and predictive modeling, looking at trends from the edge to the everyday. These 100 trends, from A-to-Z, are an excellent beacon for marketing to improve relevance, and they can be leveraged as innovation platforms. ...

...Employing a disruptive marketing platform and cultural newsroom model, sparks & honey leverages proprietary tools, algorithms and human insights to identify emerging cultural trends and engage brands in relevant and meaningful conversations. sparks & honey leverages the proprietary sparks & honey cultural intelligence system to deliver services in three areas for brands — innovation, cultural insights, and content. Named to Ad Age's 2014 A-List as an "Agency to Watch"....

The whole press release. The full report.

Here's what the report says about polyamory:

Society is only beginning to understand the spectrum of sexuality and gender, and we’re also spotlighting alternative forms of connection, whether based on romance, sex-only, or community and friendship. Monogamous coupledom is being challenged by alternative lifestyles: a party of two is not for everyone, and polyamory is growing roots into mainstream culture. Expect to hear more about new forms of connection in 2017.



November 17, 2016

"Polyamory looks a lot like ordinary family life", and other Canadian normalization

This morning Canada's largest daily newspaper, the Toronto Star, carried us another tiny step toward normalization.

Every piece of good mass-media coverage like this makes it a little easier to explain yourself, a little easier to be out.

Polyamory looks a lot like ordinary family life: Modern Family

An estimated 4 to 5 per cent of Canadians identify as polyamorous, which is when both partners are free to form romantic connections with others.

According to a study published in the journal Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy in 2012, when given the opportunity to live as they please, polyamory looks a lot more like ordinary family than one big, free-loving party. (Dreamstime)

By Brandie Weikle

Jacki Yovanoff’s Waterloo, Ont., household looks like any other blended family. She and her common-law husband live together with their four combined kids — two each from their former marriages — ages 7, 9, 10 and 12.

Jacki Yovanoff
But the couple is polyamorous, meaning both of them are free to form romantic connections with others.

Polyamory gets its name by combining the Greek word for “many” with the Latin for “loves,” Yovanoff says, and it’s a relationship form that falls under the umbrella of what’s known as “consensual non-monogamy.”

People tend to think of swingers when they first hear about polyamory, she says. “That’s kind of where our brains go — that ’70s-style key party is the image that that conjures up.”

But for the estimated 4 to 5 per cent of the Canadian population that self-identify as polyamorous, according to a study published in the journal Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy in 2012, when given the opportunity to live as they please, polyamory looks a lot more like ordinary family life than one big, free-loving party.

Yovanoff’s journey into polyamory began with her and her current domestic partner — who prefers not to be named for privacy reasons — dating other couples.

“We began a relationship with a couple about three and a half years ago. Our kids would also be hanging out and we would be like a big family and they would stay for the weekend,” she said. “I was involved with both of the parties of the other couple but my partner was only involved with the other woman.”

Did the children know what was going on between their parents?

“No, because we don’t talk about our sex lives with the kids,” says Yovanoff. “What I mean by that is we don’t talk specifics. I know my kids will very likely Google things … I’m am open to them knowing I have relationships with more than one person and those relationships may or may not have a sexual component.”

In the meantime “we’re very open with our kids,” she says. “If they are asking questions, I feel they deserve an answer, whatever we feel is age appropriate for them.”

Her children do know that she identifies as pansexual — attracted to all genders — and that both she and her partner are poly, just as kids of same-sex parents understand what it means to be gay. The kids have seen their father holding hands with another woman, for instance, and other signs of affection similar to what they’d see between their parents.

...Only Yovanoff and her domestic partner live together, but for other poly families it may look like three or more spouses under one roof along with the children, and it’s a far more stable environment for the kids than people may assume.

“Polyamorous families across Canada are raising healthy, happy children,” says Zoe Duff, director of the Victoria–based Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association and author of Love Alternatively Expressed: The Scoop on Practicing Polyamory in Canada. While public perception of polyamory is still quite reserved where kids are concerned, Duff says, “these are homes where the resources, attention and love of several adults enhance, support and empower children and youth.”

...Another point in favour of polyamorous households?

“In this economy, having more than two adults pay the bills, arrange child care, appointments, sports, lessons and listen to the children just makes sense,” says Duff.

...“Polyamory is not for everyone, though, and demands a great deal of soul-searching,” adds Duff. It requires a great deal of communication to “overcome any hurt feelings and jealousy.”

Yovanoff says it requires a lot of “talking and thinking and work that does not necessarily come along with monogamy.” ...

The whole article (November 17, 2016). It's been reprinted by the Hamilton Spectator and probably others.


Also, here are two other Canadian items that were waiting in my queue:

● In September we saw a wave of coverage of a report calling for Canadian law to adapt to poly relationships; see my roundup post of the news then. Turns out I missed a big one: CBC Radio's popular nationwide program "The Current" aired a 25-minute segment on September 16th, Polyamorous families want Canadian law to catch up with their relationships. You can listen or read the complete transcript at that link. This is from the link's shorter article:

In June 2016, the Canadian Research Institute for Law and Family surveyed 500 Canadian polyamorists and their families — the first of its kind — and found the number of Canadians living in polyamorous relationships is significant, and believed to be growing.

Polyamorists have more than one committed intimate partner at a time. And unlike polygamy, polyamory is completely legal — though they face unique legal issues.

Tia Thompson and Abhann Cupper Scott are two members of a three-person relationship and say it's time Canadian law reflect the reality of polyamorous relationships.

Abhann Cupper Scott, Tia Thompson and Braelor Rolston are in a polyamorous relationship and say their family unit deserve more rights. (Courtesy of Abhann Cupper Scott)

Thompson tells The Current's Friday host Piya Chattopadhyay that their daily life reflects a typical family.

"We're a normal family that has a whole lot of love to give to a whole lot of people. We all sit down and eat dinner together and we adopted two cats... and we all work. We all watch Orange Is The New Black."

Scott tells Chattopadhyay that unlike polygamy, a polyamorous relationship is not driven by religion, "even though as Wiccans that fits our philosophies and beliefs." As well, Scott points to the difference that polyamory is based on a "shared voice together and equal communication and equal rights."

Thompson says medical benefits and a lack of legal precedent are just some of the challenges polyamorists face. ...

John Paul Boyd is the executive director of the University of Calgary's Canadian Research Institute for Law in the Family. He conducted a national survey of polyamorous families and found the number of people involved in polyamorous relationships seeking advice about issues such as parental rights, formalising relationships, and immigration is on the increase.

"Our research showed that the lion's share of of people involved in polyamorous relationships lived in three provinces — British Columbia followed by Ontario followed by Alberta," says Boyd.

"They tended to be young, with almost 75 per cent of respondents being 44 years or younger .... have higher incomes than the Canadian population as a whole and they tended to be far better educated."

Boyd says that B.C. is the most "friendly" towards people in polyamorous relationships, while Alberta is the "least friendly."

"We're not talking about legalizing relationships that are already legal." Boyds tells Chattopadhyay. "We're talking about extending coverage under benefits and rights and responsibilities of the laws — on domestic relations to people that are in family structures like this."

● Last February, longtime Canadian poly organizer Zoe Duff went on CKNW news-talk radio in Vancouver to discuss Polyamory Grows in Canada (length 7:09. Dated Feb. 13, 2016).



November 16, 2016

‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ TV series being developed at Syfy

The first edition, hardcover
The polyamory movement wouldn't be what it is today had it not been for Robert Heinlein's science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land, published in 1961. It laid out a vision of polyamorous group relationship with a purity like nothing readers of the time had ever seen. It has been called one of the books that made the 1960's happen. It changed countless lives, including mine. As late as the 2000's, when you asked any group of poly activists what got them started, some always cited Stranger. In fact, Stranger's most important early apostle and his life partner created the word polyamory itself (during a kitchen-table brainstorming in about 1988; see the 2015 updates to that link).

You can read more in my 2010 piece, Polyamory, Robert Heinlein, and his definitive new biography.

Few who come into the poly movement today have heard of Stranger, and the book itself has not aged well. It's casually sexist and homophobic, its science-fiction projections of the future (the story is set around 2000) were ridiculously naive, it has structural problems (its first two thirds and crucial last third were written a few years apart, with somewhat different thrusts) — and as a guide for real life it's useless: everything rests on magic psychic superpowers learned from Martians, via Heinlein's infatuation with the long-forgotten metaphysics of General Semantics.

But it's still a heck of a thought-provoker, not to mention adventure story, and those who love it always will, dearly.

Various projects to make a movie of Stranger have foundered during the last 55 years. Now, at long last, it looks like it will come to the screen, as a TV series.

Don't you dare screw this up, Syfy, or I will COME AND GET YOU!

From Variety:

‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ Being Developed at Syfy

By Daniel Holloway

Universal Cable Productions and Paramount Television are teaming to develop a series adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s 1961 science-fiction novel “Stranger in a Strange Land” for Syfy.

A piece of the American science fiction canon, “Stranger in a Strange Land” tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human born on Mars who comes to earth in early adulthood and eventually transforms its culture. The television adaptation will be executive produced by Brad Fischer, James Vanderbilt and William Sherak of Mythology Entertainment; Scott Rudin, Garrett Basch and Eli Bush of Scott Rudin Productions; and Joe Vecchio of Vecchio Entertainment. Mythology’s Julia Gunn will be co-executive producer.

“Paramount TV is excited to have the opportunity to adapt Robert Heinlein’s seminal work of science fiction,” said Paramount TV president Amy Powell. “This novel has resonated with me since college and there’s a reason it has continued to find new fans for over forty years. Syfy’s understanding of imaginative and futuristic programming is unmatched, making them an ideal partner for this series.”...

The whole item, written from a press release (November 15, 2016).

Forbes article:

...Although Stranger in a Strange Land began as a cult favorite when it was published in 1961, its cult status didn’t last long. It won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1962, one of four of Heinlein’ s books to win the coveted prize. (The others were Double Star, Starship Troopers, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.) Stranger was the first science fiction novel to make the New York Times bestseller list, and the US Library of Congress included it in an exhibition called The Books That Shaped America.

Writing in the New York Times, Michael Dirda characterized The Books That Shaped America as an exhibition that

puts on display what one might call the classics of upset and troublemaking. When first published, these books shocked people, made them angry, shook up their deepest beliefs. They shamed readers with accounts of racism, greed, corruption, Puritanism and provincial narrow-mindedness.

Stranger did all of that. It’s about a human raised by Martians named Valentine Michael Smith who is discovered on Mars and returned to Earth. Smith is baffled by human culture and society, and he proceeds to found the Church of All Worlds that promotes communal living and uninhibited sexuality. Some have seen Stranger as foreseeing aspects of the mid-to-late ’60s counterculture that the media labeled as “free love” and “hippies” (we didn’t called ourselves that).

Heinlein was not happy with the version of Stranger that became famous.1 His original manuscript ran to something like 220,000 words but his publisher, Putnam, insisted it be cut to approximately 160,000. In 1991 Heinlein’s widow, Virginia Heinlein, renewed the book’s copyright and had the original manuscript published in its entirety.

Whether or not SyFy’s version will please the book’s many fans remains to be seen. SyFy did a good job adapting the first book in James A. Corey’s Expanse series, but the prominent role played by sexuality in Stranger in a Strange Land may be too much for the network to handle. Given what’s on display (so to speak) in Westworld, HBO might have been a better option.

...Cast, directors, scriptwriters and broadcast dates have not yet been announced.

The whole article (November 16, 2016).


1. Actually, he was happy with it. In a letter to Oberon Zell (appended to this article as comment number 11), Heinlein said he thought the slimmed, speeded-up version of Stranger was the better one.


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November 14, 2016

Free legal consultations for polyfamilies, with Trump and Pence on the way

Back to more serious stuff. Diana Adams — longtime polyamory activist, poly-community organizer, and head of a law firm that specializes in legal arrangements for nontraditional families — has announced this offer:

My law firm is now offering free phone consultations to poly families all over the US, to LGBTQ families in New York, and to Americans in Germany about how to protect their family rights under the new administration.

We expect challenges to nonbiological parental status in particular, and want to support LGBTQ and poly families in determining whether they should do a second-parent adoption, will or estate planning, co-parenting agreement, get married or divorced, or do a cohabitation agreement to protect their rights. We can also help evaluate the risks of being out as poly or trans depending on potential discrimination, and can provide referrals internationally if we aren't the people to help. We'll be sending out a 'Know Your Rights' article in our newsletter tomorrow, and thereafter be doing a monthly newsletter keeping poly, LGBTQ, and nontraditional families up to date on what they should know about legal issues that may affect their families. To sign up for the mailing list or request a consultation, we're at www.DianaAdamsLaw.net

I'm angry, disappointed and worried about my community and my clients, but at least this is one way I can direct some of that energy. We are here for you, your community, and your poly family. I'm part of an army of LGBTQ lawyers, and we are relentlessly dedicated to safeguarding the civil rights of all Americans.

Diana M. Adams, Esq.
Diana Adams Law & Mediation, PLLC

UPDATE: Here is Diana's post-election newsletter as promised, with a list of advice for poly families and platonic co-parents, transgendered people, same-sex couples, and others in nontraditional relationships: How to protect yourself legally under a Trump administration as an LGBTQI, poly, or nontraditional family.


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November 13, 2016

Spot the Mistakes in This Picture

Here's something to lighten up with. Dan Savage, in his column this week in several dozen alternative newspapers, takes two questions on poly issues. Can you spot the problems?

● One question comes from a poly man whose primary partner put a seemingly petty rule on his outside relationships. This is a stereotypically common thing, but Savage offers a take on it that I've never seen before. Is he on to something, or just being too cute by half? My call follows.

I am a bi man in my late 20s in a poly relationship. My primary partner’s name is Erin. One of the rules she mandated is that I cannot date anyone else named Aaron or Erin. She thinks it would be confusing and awkward. Since those are fairly common names, I have had to reject other Aarons/Erins several times over the last couple of years. ... Overall, it seems like a superficial reason to have to reject someone. Is there any sort of compromise here? We haven’t been able to think of any work-arounds.

—Not Allowed Multiple Erins

Savage presents answers from Dossie Easton (of Ethical Slut fame) and from Franklin Veaux (More Than Two), then one of his own:

...So in the interest of fairness, I’m going to offer a defense of Erin’s position.

It’s not uncommon for people in open relationships to insist on a rule that seems arbitrary, even capricious, to their partners. I call these rules “Brown M&Ms,” a reference to 1980s hair rock band Van Halen. The band’s touring contract stipulated that bowls of M&Ms be set out backstage with all the brown M&Ms removed. To see if their contract had been followed to the letter — a contract that included a lot of technical requirements for their elaborate and potentially dangerous stage shows — all the band had to do was glance at those bowls of M&Ms. If a local promoter couldn’t be trusted to get something simple and seemingly arbitrary right, they couldn’t be trusted to get the bigger stuff right. And if the promoter didn’t get the big stuff right, it wasn’t safe for the band to perform.

Arbitrary rules in open relationships are like Van Halen’s brown M&Ms: a quick way to check if you’re safe. If your partner can’t be trusted to not sleep with someone else in your bed, not take someone else to a favorite restaurant, not use your favorite/special/beloved sex toys with someone else, etc., perhaps they can’t be trusted to get the big things right — like ensuring your physical and emotional safety and/or primacy. So, NAME, if obeying a rule that seems silly and arbitrary makes your partner feel safe to “perform,” i.e., secure enough to be in an open/poly relationship with you, then obeying their seemingly silly rule is the price of admission.

My opinion? Too cute by half. Yesterday, at the Beyond The Love poly convention in Ohio, Ferrett Steinmetz made a more astute observation about such situations. In poly relationships, he told a class, sex between you and me and nobody else ceases to be The Big Thing that defines a "real" couple, as we were all taught to think. So an insecure couple will often seize on something else that must be exclusive to them — maybe involving names, or not drinking tea from a green cup, or not taking anyone else to Bob's Crab Shack.

Rules like that are often a passing phase as a newly open couple gets used to the water. Or they may be a small, permanent accommodation, or a warning sign of deeper problems.

● The other letter raises another common poly issue: whether to open a marriage to solve an intractable sexual mismatch. Dan's advice here is probably good, but one glaring problem leaps out at me. I won't tell you what yet. Can you spot it? Let's see if we flag the same thing.

Joe Newton
I, like many hetero, monogamously inclined single women in their 20s, have had a difficult time finding love in the Tinder age. I’ve been single for two years, peppered with some mundanely heartbreaking flings throughout. Recently, I met someone at work and we’ve been dating for a few months. We’re emotionally and politically compatible and he is solid and kind. The only issue is that I don’t feel the level of sexual chemistry that I’ve felt with others. Part of me feels like, at 26, I’m too young to settle in the passion department. The other part of me feels like it’s a dating hellscape out there and I’d be an idiot to walk away. Please advise.

—Seeking Hot And Lasting Love Or Whining?

Dating is a hellscape, SHALLOW, but it has always been thus. Before Tinder and OkCupid and FetLife came along, women (and men) complained about singles bars, blind dates, moms who gave [your] phone number to [their] dentist....

...If the spark isn’t there — no strong physical attraction — you should bail. You say you’re “monogamously inclined,” and that’s wonderful and I support your lifestyle choice. But monogamy would preclude entering into a companionate marriage with Mr. SolidAndKind while Messrs. ComeAndGo meet your needs in the passion department. The monogamously inclined need to prioritize strong sexual connections (chemistry) and sexual compatibility (similar interests/kinks/libidos) right along with kindness, solidity and emotional and political compatibility.

The problem? "Messrs. ComeAndGo." He's suggesting they're a solution at least for other couples. But people are not dildos. Casual sex has a way of sparking deeper connections, and then what? And if you and your husband have ruled out polyamory in advance, you have agreed to use your future other partners as things. If Mr. ComeAndGo turns out to be an actual person with a heart, you're the dick. "Sin, young man, is when you treat people as things."

The whole column, in Savage's home paper (November 9, 2016).


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November 11, 2016

What's Next

Mikey Burton / New York Times
The people of America have stepped into the abyss. The new president-elect is an unstable bigot, sexual predator and compulsive liar; he is capable of anything.

–Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian (November 9, 2016)

All of a sudden we live in interesting times.

Polyamory and alternative lifestyles may or may not become a direct target, but we're in for a time of deliberate official ignorance, cruelty, and minority scapegoating, led by a narcissistic sociopath who gives license to the worst elements around and behind him.

Moose and I remind ourselves: We do not choose the place and time in history we are born into. But we choose how we respond to it. Will our society, and our vigorous little subset of relationship radicals, face “the times that try men’s souls,” as Thomas Paine said in circumstances much worse? Maybe our fears are exaggerated? Whatever comes, we resolve to meet it head-on with courage, goodness of principle, fact-based good judgment, duty (self-chosen), and honor. And Moose and I have pledged to each other to, in Kurt Vonnegut’s two-word summation of life, “Be kind.”

Several things.

1. I’m typing this on a plane to the Beyond the Love poly conference in Columbus, Ohio. I’m running a discussion session there tomorrow on how the change of government may impact polyfolks and the polyamory movement.

The purpose of the discussion (which I've promised to keep firmly on-topic) is to bring out people’s ideas for ways that we can support each other with care and mutual respect across opinions; provide for our common defense if times get bad; and carry forward our radical message of relationship choice with power, clarity, and boldness. Notes will be taken, and a summary of the gathering’s ideas will be published next week on this site and by Beyond The Love. What an appropriate title that is for the conference now.

2. As I said, I don't think that the polyamory movement will become a very direct target of the new government and its supporters; they have bigger targets in their sights. It may be fairly easy to skate by while living a non-mainstream life if you’re as socially privileged as much of our movement is. For a while.

The test of your character — the test by which you will forever be judged an honor to your time or a cowardly disgrace — will be in how you stand up for those who are in harm's way before you are. Remember Pastor Niemöller.

3. On Wednesday evening our Unitarian church, as it has does every November 9th for decades, held a gathering on the town common in memory of Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass.” On this night in 1938, Nazi civilians sacked and burned thousands of Jewish businesses, homes, and synagogues. This was when the Nazis discovered that they could commit hate crimes on a mass scale and get away with it. The crowd on the Common this year was unusually large and emotional. As always, we pledged “Never again,” but the pledge seemed less theoretical than usual. We began to realize that it is a pledge to put "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor" on the line right here should the time ever come — and to do it while there is still a choice. Which means it will be a very hard choice.

As many of you know, Moose and I are Democrats. We spent weekends and the four final days up to the election canvassing door-to-door in towns in New Hampshire. I recommend this activity; it's good for you on many levels. We are damn proud: we helped to deliver New Hampshire away from Trump by, at last count, 2,528 votes out of 700,000 cast. Not that this made a difference in the end — but if some other states had broken differently, it would have decided the presidency. You never know.

More consequentially, we helped to elect a new Democratic U.S. senator in New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan, by a margin of 733 votes out of 700,000 cast. She declares that she will fight for the values of goodness and civilization against the new administration as necessary, starting with fighting to block threats to women and to minorities of all stripes, who face the most immediate threats.

We Did Our Bit.

5. Take care of yourself. At the Kristallnacht observance, our minister read into the microphone a letter written by E. B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web and other classics. It was 1943, in the depths of World War II. A reader wrote to White that he was afraid he was losing faith in his fellow man. White wrote back,

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate.

Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time.

I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly.

It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time, waiting to sprout when the conditions are right....

Hang on to your hat.
Hang on to your hope.
And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.

Folks, wind the clock. It will firm you up. If your duty calls, and maybe it is already calling, remember Franklin Veaux's perceptive observation: "Life rewards people who move in the direction of greatest courage." You will certainly not be alone.

Back to Polyamory in the News with my next post, I hope.

–Alan M.


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November 6, 2016

A razor-thin turning point in history


Of the 1,238 posts I've put up on this blog in the last 11 years, only a couple have been overtly political. Now it's time.

Here is the FiveThirtyEight.com diagram of where the Electoral College stands with two days to go:

Little New Hampshire is currently the tipping point. As of now, Clinton leads Trump there by just 2% with wide uncertainty. That's a margin of 15,000 votes out of the high turnout expected. Sparkle Moose and I are canvassing for the Democrats there For The Duration.

What are the consequences? In the New Yorker, a serious scholar sees many parallels to Mussolini's electoral rise to power: A Scholar of Fascism Sees a Lot That's Familiar with Trump. That's one of many similar articles you can find by sober military experts and historians. This could well be our Italy 1922. Or even Germany 1933.

If you aren't in or near a swing state, or can't canvass (no experience is necessary!), you can join the nationwide Get Out The Vote phoning system from home.

Go to https://www.hillaryclinton.com/start. ​Register, and you'll be offered a chance to canvass, get on a bus to canvass, etc. Keep clicking through the screens till you get "Call voters from the comfort of your couch." You'll need a phone you can use while watching your computer screen.

The system autodials selected target voters in swing states — voters friendly to Dems but with a spotty voting record. It connects you only to a live person answering. On your computer screen are the name and place of the person, a script to read them, and buttons to log the results. Then click to get the next person. It's fast and easy, and you can dip in and out of doing it.

Your grandchildren will someday ask "What did you to to stop Trump?" I urge you to drop whatever you're doing for the next three days and Do Your Bit. It will not wait.

​Please like and pass this on.​



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November 4, 2016

Marriage in trouble? Add more people! When that actually works.

Sydney Morning Herald

This one ends with quite the surprise twist. One of Australia's largest newspapers (and maybe others in its chain) today is running an 1,800-word feature that seems like the classic poly snark: "Marriage in trouble? Add more people!"

And then it takes an unexpected turn. Which will be even more unexpected to the paper's mainstream readers.

It's a reminder that there's no piece of Poly Conventional Wisdom that some people, somewhere, aren't successfully breaking.

Here's are excerpts as a tl;dr:

My husband of 17 years survived cancer, then told me he wanted to open our relationship

By Jill Baker [pseudonym]

...His remission was a relief, but it was also a rebirth for him. He joined a gym, bought new clothes and started going out late with friends, without me. His libido went into overdrive; mine had stalled. I went from fearing I would lose my husband to cancer, to fearing I was losing something else....

Nine months into his remission, my husband asked to speak to me privately. ... We sat in a cafe by the river; it was a little cold to be outside but he wanted to smoke.

He held my hand. He told me he loved me. He told me he still loved having sex with me. And then he dropped the most extraordinary bombshell of all: he wanted to open our marriage and bring other lovers into it. Not just him but me as well. He quoted Dan Savage and told me about "monogamish" and polyamory.

I was surprised, and deeply hurt. Despite my shame, I cried openly in the cafe. ... In the following days, I moved like a sleepwalker. ... I'd find myself feeling ashamed, weeping and cursing my husband for proposing this absurd path. I thought about leaving him.

Despairing, I confronted him again and said: "Whoever she is, go and f--- her and come back to talk to me afterwards." He denied there was another woman. I suggested a trial separation. He said he didn't want that. Instead, he waited and was loving. He hugged me whenever he saw me. He asked how I was feeling....

...Weeks passed. I began to wonder. I was still angry at him but I began to remember my freedom before we settled down. It was a pretty audacious idea. What if? What might this open relationship look like?

I went to see a psychologist. I told her I was terrified of grief, of loss and being vulnerable. She gently suggested that there could be great strength in vulnerability too.

...I found a sex advice column in a newspaper about a couple opening their relationship and the therapist recommended a workshop-sex play party called Curiosity. ... Three months after our first difficult conversation, we attended our first session which gave us a safe place to explore, and it introduced us to an extraordinary group of people.

The key theme was the concept of communication, consent and feedback. It's such a simple formula and yet has such a powerful implication on relationships. For the first time, I began to wonder if I could ask for what I wanted, and be open enough to receive it. I felt empowered. And curious about where this might lead.


...Dating others was intoxicating. For a little while, there were so many opportunities, I found my ego and vanity appeased. We set up profiles on OK Cupid and linked them. We found a polyamorous meetups group and attended regular gatherings. We met people like us who were new at open relationships, and some who had been "poly" for years.

We made agreements with each other about dating and family commitments and what was acceptable in terms of nights out and who cooked dinner and took the kids to basketball training.

Jealousy rarely appeared. I don't know why. It seems like it ought to have. But I was so pleased that I was desired by interesting and lovely people, that I felt that my husband's pleasure seemed fair and balanced against my own. Also, I genuinely liked the women he dated.


...Our lovers sometimes stay the night. They have dinner with us, and bring cake and wine. My husband's lover brought me flowers when I had a bad day. My lover brought games to teach to the kids.

I reflect on how our lives have changed in the past year. I still love my husband, more than ever. The intensity is made stronger by the delirious energy of new loves.

...I've found my own vulnerability and it still terrifies me. It is also exhilarating. After my lover has left and I crawl into bed with my husband, he sleepily enfolds me into a spooning hug and I dream I have two loving men in my bed. My husband keeps me safe. I feel loved. The conversations continue.

The whole article (November 4, 2016).

P.S. Don't expect to hear from me in the next four days. I'll be flat out doing Get Out The Vote volunteering for the Democrats in New Hampshire.

Sympathetic? If you're not in a swing state or don't want to hit the streets, you can phone-bank from home, using your phone while watching your computer screen for instructions and to log your results. Start here: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/start/.



November 1, 2016

What the world is hearing now for "Poly 101": a boatload of samples

Media old and new are telling people how to try polyamory successfully, as I mentioned last week. Gone are the days when actual poly people were the only ones giving such advice.

It's especially crucial that we keep doing it, so we don't lose control of our own narrative! The media mostly repeat things we say, and I think we've done a good job of setting the lead. So keep your blogs and websites stocked and publicized. They shape what journalists do when the boss says "This thing is trending, go write something."

A fine example appeared at the end of that glowing quad article a few weeks ago in the UK's usually-awful Daily Mirror. Good work, guys.

Here's a smorgasbord of Poly 101 items I've recently collected, published both by us and by them.

● A great one to start with, and to bookmark, is this poly network's Poly 101 for friends and the public, on Medium.com: The Coffee Break Polyamory Primer (Feb. 28, 2016). The excerpts below are mostly section and paragraph headings. If you follow just one link here, this is it.

Demonstrating astronaut moves to a 1920s audience. (Joseba Elorza) 

By Adam Powers [with "tremendous thanks to Amanda, Bridget, Kara, and Mari for the edits, advice, and support that made this article possible."]

The author and their community run meetups and discussion groups for the non-monogamous, and we’ve identified the need for a simple guide to bring folks up to speed. This is our best attempt to compile such a guide....

We’re assuming you don’t have all day. ... Your author compiled this primer as a friendly (but opinionated) overview with jumping-off points, curated for your convenience.

...Polyamory (“many loves”) means intimate connection with more than one person, ethically and with consent from all involved. That’s it, really....

What poly is not: A license to cheat.... A way to avoid commitment.... Polygamy.... Swinging.... All about sex....

What poly can be:. A master course in working on your shit.... Emotionally and sexually liberating.... Politically subversive: modern polyamory has the potential to move the needle on how people live in groups, raise children, and consume goods and services.

Important concepts:
   – Honesty. With yourself, and with everyone else....
   – Autonomy. Your body, mind, and life are yours alone, regardless of who you choose to share them with. This freedom comes with the responsibility to respect the autonomy of others....
   – Communication. Regularly and gratuitously.... If honesty is the heart of things, communication is the nervous system....
   – Compassion. Putting empathy into action when it’s needed the most....
   – Vulnerability. Being willing to share your true self, including your needs and desires, and overcoming the fears of rejection, of criticism, and of pain that arise whenever we wish to be bare before others....
   – Consent. Asking, rather than taking; offering and listening, rather than going with assumption....

Types of non-monogamy: Hierarchical polyamory.... Egalitarian polyamory.... Solo polyamory.... Relationship anarchy.... Open relationship....

Relationshapes: This list is not even remotely comprehensive. Triads and quads.... Vees.... Polyfidelity....

The relationship escalator....

Scarcity and abundance....


Jealousy: In the poly worldview, jealousy is not considered a single emotion, nor a fixed personality attribute (“I’m just a jealous person”), but an amalgam composed of baser emotions, like fear — of loneliness, of abandonment, of inattention — as well as situational reactions to instability caused by mistrust or mistreatment. Addressing jealousy is thus seen as the ultimate self-improvement exercise: learning to integrate a deeply-felt sense of your own intrinsic worth, showing up to your relationships with mindful awareness, and loving yourself enough to break away from the ones that are doing you a disservice....

Compersion: A feeling which could be described as splash-zone happiness: joy felt at your partner intimately connecting with another, for no reason other than seeing them happy....

New Relationship Energy....

Couple privilege:

Unicorns and unicorn hunting....

The ugly: An honest discussion of open relating would be incomplete without even a brief look at some of the problems that currently exist in the community and among its practitioners. A diversity issue.... An exercise of privilege.... Selective hearing. Some new practitioners of poly are fully on board with the “seeing multiple people” and “working on jealousy” thing, without catching all the other stuff about respecting vulnerability and garnering consent....

Final thoughts: ...If you take one thing away, it should be that every single person is different — and that’s something that should be both reckoned with, and wholeheartedly celebrated. If you take one more thing away, we recommend: be gentle with yourself.

● This one's been reprinted various places in the past month after appearing on Thought Catalog: 7 Signs You Are Not ‘Bad At Relationships’ – You’re Polyamorous, by Valentina Rayas (Sept. 22, 2016).

I love love. I always have. ... I always wanted to commit to the person I was with – I really, genuinely did – but something about doing so never felt quite right. ...

Here are a few signs that you, too, may be polyamorous – rather than simply bad at relationships.

1. You love love, but feel trapped inside monogamous relationships.
2. You have always felt as though you’re capable of loving more than one person at once.
3. The thought of being tied down to just one person for the rest of your life gives you serious anxiety.
4. You have a varied set of needs and desires, which you’re not sure just one person could ever fulfill.
5. You have a plethora of different things to offer potential partners.
6. You are okay with the thought of your partner being with other people – in fact, it may even turn you on a little.
7. You are able to maintain deep personal connections with multiple people simultaneously.

● The glossy men's mags sometimes take a, let's say, male-centric approach to the subject, but even they can be coached into getting some things right. On Esquire's UK site: Polyamory, Open Relationships And 'Hall Passes': A Guide To Non-Monogamy (Oct. 3, 2016)

...If you're tempted to examine and discard your monogamous leanings, the first thing to realise is that you have to ditch your assumptions along with them.... In a polyamorous relationship, you can never assume – you need to establish with your partners what you all want, and constantly communicate to make sure everyone's happy.

● On the other side of the gender binary, Everyday Feminism has run about 20 consistently good poly articles in the last two-plus years. Browse the titles and descriptions.

● One of polydom's dedicated community activists and thought leaders uses the name MusicalRose for her blog Our Better Natures. She goes deeper than the usual Poly 101 stuff in Hard Polyamorous Truths (Aug. 7, 2016).

1) Polyamory will change you, and it will change the people you are close to.

...Even if you ultimately decide polyamory isn’t for you, a person that you are in love with may decide it is very much for them.

...It is a rare person or couple who can come to polyamory and walk away for any reason without having learned something new about themselves and/or their partner(s) that they can’t unsee.

2) If you enter polyamory in a relationship, even if the two of you intend to be primaries and lifemates, you are not safe from having that relationship change or end, even if neither of you does anything wrong.

...The harsher version of this harsh truth: You should mistrust people making promises to you about “always” or “never.” They might be right, and they might be able to hold to those promises, but those promises can easily become something toxic, especially if they were made in a different mindset than the one a person is currently in. ... If someone says, “I’ll never want to have children with anyone but you,” it is likely going to feel like a betrayal if they meet someone amazing and suddenly have a strong desire to have children with that person.

...Humans are generally really bad at predicting themselves, their feelings, and their future behavior. This effect will multiply with added people. Make space for that.

3) You will likely experience more heartbreak, and it can even happen in more than one relationship at once.

Polyamory will not fix insecurities, fulfill empty places in your heart, or do anything to fix an otherwise broken or toxic relationship. Polyamory is relationships on advanced mode. ... One of the quickest lessons many people who are new to poly learn is that you are ultimately learning how to have a good relationship with yourself. Learning how to self-soothe is important, especially when we take the risk of having our heart broken in more than one place at once.

4) Polyamorous people are not all enlightened relationship experts. There are still predators, otherwise toxic people, and holier-than-thou judgmental individuals in every community.

In my experience, many poly people and communities spend a lot of time thinking about relationships, how they relate to one another, and finding ways to do it all better. To an outsider coming into a community or interacting with other poly people for the first time, it can feel like you’ve stumbled into a nest of insight and enlightenment.

However, it is good to remember that everybody grows in different areas at different paces. Someone who is incredibly enlightened and emotionally mature in one area can regress to a frustrating and childlike immaturity and irrationality in another.

Because of this, you will need to do your own work as well as learning from the work of others. ...

5) I’ve missed some pitfalls here.

...This is a large, still-somewhat-uncharted territory. New philosophy about love and relationships is springing out of the polyamory world every day. Old philosophy that didn’t catch on right away, or only caught on in isolated communities, is just now finding its way to the mainstream and social media world. Not all of the mistakes have been made.

Also from her: Some Common Polyamorous Rookie Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them) (Feb. 26, 2016).

● Not that there's anything wrong with the standard basic newbie stuff; it's the result of vast experience. For instance, What I Learned from a Decade of Polyamory, by Erin Kennedy on Thrillist, (Apr. 29, 2016).

Polyamory may sound sexy on Saturday night. But on Tuesday morning, you still have multiple relationships to maintain with multiple humans with multiple real-life feelings. Polyamorous relationships can be astonishingly fulfilling, exciting, and fun. But... I've learned a lot [that] would have made a big difference if I'd known them when I was still a poly newbie.

There's no "right" way to be polyamorous.

...People who are new to polyamory often want to know what the rules are. They want to feel secure that they are doing it "right."

The truth? The only steadfast rules of poly are the same rules that apply to any relationship.... Ethical polyamory includes transparent communication, authenticity of self, and an openness to others' wants and needs. Beyond that, polyamory is completely customizable according to your comfort and experience. The key is to share your needs and fears with your partners, and be honest about your intentions and behavior. ...

Google Calendars will save you.

...Splitting time between multiple partners can be like keeping several plates spinning at once. Google Calendars can be shared with multiple people and help everyone communicate and stay on the same page. ...

Polyamory will not fix relationship issues.

If you're having difficulty being ethical in your monogamous relationships, polyamory is not the solution to your romantic woes. ... Likewise, adding a partner to the mix is not likely to "spice up" your relationship if someone isn't getting their needs met. People are not need-filling machines. It takes a lot of communication, self-reflection, and emotional maturity to maintain romantic and sexual relationships with multiple partners.

We don't always choose metamours.

It's really a wonderful situation when everyone can hang out and play Cards Against Humanity together. You may not be attracted to your partner's metamour, but accepting him or her as your partner's partner and maintaining a cordial -- if not friendly -- relationship makes everything a lot less sticky.

I love being friendly with metamours, but there have been a couple of times in my experience when I had to ask myself, "How can someone I love, love someone like her? We’re so different!"

Polyamorous partners are not immune to jealousy....

Raising kids in a polyamorous family is complicated.

The benefit of polyamorous parenting is that children get more one-on-one time with parents, which aids in healthy emotional and social development. And according to some recent studies, children in polyamorous families spend less time in daycare, and have a wider variety of interests and hobbies just from having more people in the household.

The drawback is obviously the occasionally fluid nature of relationships in polyamory. Children can feel some negative emotions when a polycule breaks up and certain parental figures are no longer around. Of course, this also happens in monogamous relationships....

Love is unlimited. Resources are not.

After looking at the cost/benefit analysis of all your romantic entanglements, you might find in the end that fewer is better.

Compersion is possible.

...It happens suddenly. The first time it happened to me, I watched my boyfriend kiss my girlfriend, and the look of peace and contentment on their faces brought me to tears.

I was so thrilled that the people I love loved each other that I couldn't contain my own joy. I haven't felt that emotion in every polyamorous relationship I've been in, but the times I have felt compersion make it all worth it, and then some.

● Here's a long article on LastSummerWeekend.com: 8 Lessons of Polyamory (Oct. 4, 2016). The section heads:

1. What is love? And what it isn't
2. Jealousy is not part of love
3. There is no such thing as a soul mate
4. Don’t try to change your partner
6. There is no mind-reading
7. Relationship roles, life scripts are the death of love
8. No dating rules and relationship games in polyamory

● Lifehacker.com fields a reader question: Lovehacker: My Girlfriend Wants Us To Be Poly (Sept. 22, 2016).

...Is it about sleeping with other people, casually dating, or having committed relationships with others? If she does want to explore other relationships, that opens up a whole new series of questions and poly possibilities. Here are just a few:

Separate poly relationships: you aren't involved in her other relationships and vice versa.
Hierarchical: despite other relationships there is still a primary partner who takes precedence over the others.
Poly triads or quads: you're all involved romantically with each other.
Open poly relationship: where you can have lovers outside of the group.
Closed or monogamous: There are no sexual or romantic partners outside of the group.

...Some people who identify as poly prefer fluidity over labels. In your case being as specific as possible will be beneficial, particularly if you're considering it to be a deal breaker. Honest communication is imperative; you need to know what you both want and where you stand.

...You should also ask yourself where you saw the relationship going before she dropped the p-bomb....

● "Poly coach" Laurie Ellington presents much good Poly 101 stuff throughout her site; for instance.

● Fifteen years ago something like this in pop media was unheard of. Now it's unremarkable: 9 Lessons Non-Monogamy Has Taught Me About Jealousy, by Emma Kaywinn (Aug. 16, 2016).

...If you’re going to live this way, you have to figure out how you’re going to meet this strong emotion out in the open. Here’s what I’ve learned from my personal experiences.

1. Almost Everyone Gets Jealous — And That's OK

2. Jealousy Often Has Deep Psychological Roots

...Researchers have found that underlying causes include possessiveness, shame, insecurity, paranoia, and humiliation. Being able to recognize these in yourself can help you work through feelings of jealousy when they do arise. Open relationship counselor Kathy Labriola's The Jealousy Workbook and Love in Abundance are particularly good guides for this.

3. Compersion Is Real

4. You Can Work Toward Feeling Compersion

So how do we get from jealousy to compersion? Incrementally, with lots of self-work, self-care, and communication with your partners. The self-work is about identifying why you feel jealous. What are the root causes? What triggers you the most? Once you identify the reasons, you can work on them to stop them from taking you over with such power.

Self-care is about being able to protect yourself and love yourself. This can include things you can ask your lover(s) to do for you....

Finally, communication: No one’s a mindreader, and they might otherwise not know that they are making you feel jealous!

5. You Can't Just Will Away Your Emotions

6. You Might Go Through Jealousy And Compersion Cycles

7. Even Illogical Feelings Are Valid

8. Communication Is Jealousy's Kryptonite

Remember that perhaps the most critical tool in your communication toolbox is listening, actively and openly, without interrupting or jumping down the other person’s throat to get your next angry retaliation in.

9. It's OK To Need Help Managing Jealousy

Here's lots more on Bustle.

● And lastly, again on Bustle, some too-true humor: 15 Things You Should Never Say To Poly Couples (May 17, 2016). Section heads and a few bits of the text:

By Kathleen Burdo

...Here are 15 things that people actually say to poly couples that I'd love to never hear again.

1. “Can I join you guys?”

2. "Can I _____ with your partner?"

3. "Oh, I get it...I'm 'poly' too. Just don't tell my partner!"

4. "I believe that if you're happy in a relationship, you don't have space in your heart for somebody else."

5. “Is it because your partner is bad in bed?”
Uh, no. Because poly isn't actually about sex. Remember: poly = many, amory = love, and asexuals exist.

6. “Oh, I know about that, I watch Sister Wives!”

7. "I could never do that!"
     Thanks for sharing? I didn't realize I'd suggested you should.

8. "Why did you get married if you’re just going to cheat on each other?”

9. “Aren't you worried your partner is going to leave you for someone else?”

     Not anymore than I would be if I were mono, and actually, less so — my partner doesn't have to leave me to pursue their new interest.

10. “Don’t you get jealous?”

11. "What about kids?"

     What about them? I'd much rather raise them as part of a poly network than with just two parents, because I'm totally "it takes a village."

12. "You guys must have a lot of threesomes/orgies!"

13. "I’d never let my partner do that."
     I don't let my partners do anything, because they're not children and I'm not their parent, I don't own them, and I have no right to control their body.

14. "Oh, so you're available then!"

15. "But wait, I thought you loved X?"

That's all for now, folks. More to come.