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



May 9, 2018

Eliot Redelman as an upcoming new poly spokesperson?



I posted yesterday about Eliot Redelman and the story of his poly life that he sold to an Australian newspaper chain ("From the age of 12, I knew that monogamy wasn’t for me"). Today he's is getting press worldwide. The Daily Mail is running a long interview with him, 'Imagine all the love of a single relationship, multiplied': Polyamorous man, 26, explains how he juggles 'two and a half' partners (May 8); it's in both the Australian and UK editions. It has been picked up by the UK's tabloid Daily Star and a women's mag in Hungary, so it's syndicated and off and running.

Redelman looks to have the makings of a great new poly spokesperson. He managed to get some remarkably intellectual poly points across in trashy outlets, no small skill. He's got a lot so say, and I'm betting he'll find wider platforms to say it. Does he have a good reputation in the Sydney community? Should I invite him to apply to the Polyamory Leadership Network? If you're there, please email me privately at alan7388 (at) gmail.com.

Several thoughts in his Daily Mail interview, some of them new to me:


'One thing I love is that I get to appreciate all the special things of one partner because I get to directly contrast to another partner. I get to realise why I value each partner for what they have.'



'Monogamy takes so much for granted. I need security and stability above and beyond weak assumptions about the way people are supposed to behave in relationships.'



'I really like the analogy of dog years. There are seven dog years to a human year. Poly is like that but for relationships. In one year, I could be going through two, three, four, or more relationship years.'



'These days, nearly everyone I meet [in Sydney] is open to it and willing. I'm actually constantly shocked about how open people are to the idea. It might not sound like first-date material to talk about, but I keep having positive reactions so I must be doing something right.'



'The most important thing to do with feelings is to listen to them. Validate them. Give them the space to breathe. ... That's why we talk about it. You don't make feelings go away by suppressing them. You just make everyone miserable. And I mean everyone.'



'I want people to think about the way they have relationships right now and be curious about how the defaults shape our lives.'



'If the poly community can teach the world anything it's going to be communication. Not just "we talk". But so much more,' he said.

'If you've ever thought "I could never say that, my partner would be so upset", that means there's something very right and very wrong with your relationship. Very right because you care so deeply about your partner that you are willing to sacrifice your own emotional validation for what you guess is their emotional candor. Very wrong in that it's a guess, and you didn't even give that person the right as an autonomous adult to correct your guess.

'Who knows, maybe both of you are poly inclined but don't know how to talk about it. And wouldn't that be sad. People trapped in assumptions for the rest of their lives.

'If you can't talk about topics with your partner, that means either you are not feeling safe enough to talk about it, or you can't find the words. Either way you can work on those. Try this. Ask each other: "What can't we talk about?". And see how many answers you can come up with.'


And especially, this:


At the tender age of 12, Eliot said he realised he didn't want to be in a monogamous relationship after reading a blog about polyamory.

'I was reading a blog of an American writer. He was talking about his marriage experiences and how he moved to polyamory. That was really inspirational and from then it made more sense,' he said.


That was around 2004 — so betcha it was Franklin Veaux (on what he then called Xeromag, now More Than Two). Karma points to you, Franklin, for setting a kid on the far side of the world on a path to become such a good spokesman for us today. "It is not given to us to know the results of our works. We do them anyway, on faith." But sometimes a result newly seen reminds us why.

--------------------------

Update May 14: Redelman writes us that it wasn't Franklin but Ferrett Steinmetz — another worthy early poly blogger who is still active today.

Also Redelman sends, for the record, his original email replies to the interviewer's questions; "You should see what I sent the Daily Mail before they butchered it."



Hi, my name is Eliot and I'm 26.

How long have you been polyamorous for?
In some ways I've always been poly.  I've had somewhere between 25-35 relationships in my life - some poly, some not.  It's always hard to count, but I'd say at least 5 years.

When did you realise you didn’t want a monogamous relationship?
When I was 12, I was reading a blog of an american writer by the name of TheFerrett.  He was talking about his marriage experiences and how he moved to polyamory.  That was really inspirational and from then it made more sense.

Girls didn't exist before I was 16.  From about the age of 8 I made a unilateral decision that girls were too confusing and I would not talk to them.  Life was simpler with only 50% of the population to deal with. On my 16th birthday I reversed that decision and had to learn how to communicate to other humans.

Have you ever been in a monogamous relationship?
I have had a few monogamous relationships.  I was a romantic 16 year old. It was disgustingly sappy.  I used to text poetry to my girlfriend and she wouldn't take any notice of it.

Why do you think monogamy doesn’t appeal to you?
I could never understand why I wasn't allowed to love or care for more than one person at a time.  I have more than one friend, I have more than one parent, two siblings, several pets, I have plenty of people I have close relationships with - why is some definition of "relationship" different or special.  Somewhere there is a line in the sand about what "counts" and the way societal expectation says we must do relationships in an exclusive way. I don't have to agree with that.

I can love and care for more than one person.  I can have sex with more than one person, I can go to a romantic dinner date with more than one person, and I can cuddle on the couch with more than one person (at the same time or at different times if we all consent).  What makes a relationship and what matters to me? that's a discussion I am happy to have. Let's talk about what is significant to our relationships. Don’t pretend that we are special to one another just because of some assumption that we are.  It’s time to know why we matter to one another and share and connect over those details. Monogamy takes so much for granted. I need security and stability above and beyond weak assumptions about the way people are supposed to behave in relationships.

What are the benefits of being in a polyamorous relationship?
Imagine all the love of a single relationship, multiplied.  Then imagine all the stress and all the interpersonal drama, also multiplied.  Not only do I get to love and care for more than one person, I receive that love and care back several times over.  I really like the analogy of dog-years. There are 7 dog years to a human year. Poly is like that but for relationships.  In one year, I could be going through 2, 3, 4, or more relationship years.

One thing I love is that I get to appreciate all the special things of one partner because I get to directly contrast to another partner.  I get to realise why I value each partner for what they have, and that's a huge gift.

How many people are you dating at the moment? How do you make it work and how do you manage multiple relationships?
Right now two and a half.  I live on my own. Any time we want to see each other, we send a message, and open our diaries and find the next available day.  Sometimes as I say goodbye I plan the next time I see them. Calendars definitely help. As long as you are willing to communicate, lots of methods can work.  I know people who have regular days. People who plan two months in advance, then plan the next month half way through, keeping always 1-2 months ahead.

How often do you see your partners?
Most weeks I will have seen all of them.  Depends on all kinds of life circumstances.  Someone might have to travel for work, someone might be sick.  We just make it work.

Were there ever any jealousy from your other partners? If so, how did you deal with it all?
Of course!  You talk about it.  

Jealousy often points to something deeper.  It's not about the momentary "I feel Jealous". It's about the other half of the sentence.  "...because I am worried that you don't value me". Or "...because I feel like I am missing out".  The most important thing to do with feelings is to listen to them. Validate them. Give them the space to breathe.  Once you realise that you care about not missing out on special experiences, then solving that stress gets a whole lot easier.  That's why we talk about it. You don't make feelings go away by suppressing them. You just make everyone miserable. And I mean everyone.

How do your polyamorous relationships start? Do you lay out the ground rules?
I talk about it on the first date, preferably sooner, but that's why we have first dates - to talk about these things and see if we like each other.  I think it's wrong to lead people on. It's unfair to go any further than that and not have the conversation. I've done that too and it's not something I'm proud of.  These days, nearly everyone I meet is open to it and willing. I'm actually constantly shocked about how open people are to the idea.

It might not sound like first date material to talk about my girlfriend, but I keep having positive reactions so I must be doing something right.

Why did you decide to share your story?
I’m not afraid to talk about it.  I feel like I understand myself, my partners, and relationships much better than anyone stigmatising this lifestyle.  I suspect most stigma comes from misunderstanding or fear before it comes from hatred or anger.

Why do you want to challenge the stigma surrounding poly relationships?
There’s a lot less stigma than people expect.  These are my interpersonal relationships, no one has a right to take issues with my personal life unless they are involved.  I would like people to be happy for me the same way I am happy for them to have their own relationships.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I want people to think about the way they have relationships right now and be curious about how the defaults shape our lives.  If the poly community can teach the world anything it's going to be communication. Not just "we talk". But so much more. If you've ever thought, "I could never say that, my partner would be so upset", that means there's something very right and very wrong with your relationship.  

Very right because you care so deeply about your partner that you are willing to sacrifice your own emotional validation for what you guess is their emotional candor.  Very wrong in that it's a guess, and you didn't even give that person the right as an autonomousagenty adult to correct your guess. Who knows, maybe both of you are poly inclined but don't know how to talk about it.  And wouldn't that be sad. People trapped in assumptions for the rest of their lives.

If you can't talk about topics with your partner, that means either you are not feeling safe enough to talk about it, or you can't find the words.  Either way you can work on those. Try this. Ask each other, "what can't we talk about?". And see how many answers you can come up with.


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