Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

February 28, 2019

Woke poly food truck in the news

So maybe now in L.A., being out polys can enhance the brand of your business. If you're the right kind of people doing a right thing. In yesterday's Munchies, a foodie publication from Vice, we read,

The Woke Truck is run by a polyamorous, multiracial trio, and teaches history alongside the fusion food it sells.

The Woke Truck, based in Los Angeles, gets a lot of questions. ... [its owners] are Max Daniel, Kashmir Hughes and Michael Powers, all in their late 20s. When asked to give their elevator pitch, Hughes answers:

“We are three people in a polyamorous relationship who live together and own a business. We are Irish, Black, and Asian; [we] sell fusion food and teach history at the same time. And we use our business to give back to the community. We hire employees fresh out of rehab, train teen mothers for the job and we do stuff for the community, as well.” ...

Read on (February 27, 2019).

Today the story was picked up by the Los Angeles edition of Eater, a national foodie publication: LA’s Next Upstart Fusion Food Truck Is About as Woke as it Gets (Feb. 28).

Wasn't expecting to see this as early as 2019.

Update May 22: Are polyfamily-run food trucks becoming a thing? Here's another one in the news, in Venice, Florida, reviewed in Sarasota Magazine: Hashtag Pizza, a New Food Truck, Wants to Be Trending Among Your Friends (May 22, 2019).

It’s not surprising that with a name like Hashtag Pizza, the owners of Venice’s newest food truck want be trending in their customers’ minds.

“We love our Venice locals,” says Hashtag Pizza co-owner Jennifer Stevens. “We’re mobile, but our mission is to turn Hashtag Pizza into a destination, the same as a brick-and-mortar.”

Stevens owns Hashtag Pizza with Alexis Armstrong and Jessica Robison, and the trio’s not just a business team — they are lesbians and polyamorous, as well. Starting Hashtag Pizza had been a longtime goal for the women, who started working on the business by paying $10,000 for a used church bus last year. Armstrong, a former welder, was able to pull the bus apart, turning it into a fully operational food truck, complete with a stove oven. ...


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February 27, 2019

February 28th is Metamour Day! And metas in the media.

This just in from the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF). It's being spread by them, the Polyamory Leadership Network, and friends and relations:

Metamour Day is February 28th!

Metamour Day is meant to foster positive relationships between you and your metamours, whatever that might look like. It is not about forced compersion. It’s about communal appreciation within our family structures. Metamour Day is a celebration of the unique and special relationships between metamours. 

Metamour Day

As society evolves and non-monogamy becomes more common, the traditional nuclear family structure is constantly being challenged. Metamours are often taking on important family roles such as cohabitators and parental figures.

Metamour Day 4

It is important to acknowledge and appreciate the special role a metamour has in your partners’ lives and tangentially (or directly) your own life. As a non-monogamous person, it is worthwhile to celebrate that relationship in order to continue to demonstrate the supportive and beneficial impact of non-monogamy on our lives.

Metamour Day 5

Please join the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom in celebrating this day on February 28!

Here's the link to post the original announcement to your sites.


For newcomers: Your metamour is your lover's lover in a poly relationship. Good relations among metamours, at least as an ideal, is a defining characteristic of polyamory — compared to other forms of consensual non-monogamy (CNM) such as open relationships, which are more compartmentalized and often more about sex; swinging (recreational sex at party venues); or simply dating around. Polyamory, by contrast, carries an implied ethic of "We're all in this together."1


Some readings on metamours for the occasion:

● Just up by Eli Sheff, on her The Polyamorists Next Door blog at the blogsite of Psychology Today: Delighting in your Beloveds’ Other Lovers (Feb. 26, 2019)

Share the love on Metamour Day, February 28.

What are metamours?

People in polyamorous relationships routinely find that existing language lacks the words they need to describe their experiences. As a result, they tend to make up words of their own to explain their emotions and relationships. For instance, they created the word compersion to describe the joyful feeling some polyamorists get when they see their beloved happily involved with someone else. ...

Another home-made polyamorous word, metamour is the term for a partner’s partner. Your girlfriend’s sweetie or husband’s boyfriend is [your] metamour. As friends or chosen family members, metamours are linked through a polyamorous relationship but are not in a romantic relationship with each other. Rather, they are members of the same polycule (a family/small network of people united around a shared polyamorous relationship, not all of whom are lovers but share lovers in common) and hang out together to various degrees.

Why are they important?

For more than 20 years I have been studying polyamorous families with kids, and I have seen them face the usual difficulties that come with life – illness, economic challenges, divorce, disability, and the like. What has stood out to me about these families who remain together in long-term polycules – some of them for 60 or more years – is that the metamour relationships make or break the family over the long term. These emotionally intimate, non-sexual chosen family relationships are so important in polyamorous families that I made up the word polyaffective to describe them. I explain different types of polyaffective relationships and their impact on family resilience in other blogs.

Positive polyaffective relationships among metamours who become chosen family over time are the backbone of the poly family. Metamours who can’t stand each other and are never able to establish comfort (much less delight) in each others’ presence are not going to happily coexist over the long term. Metamours who add value to each others’ lives, however, can not only support each other when life inevitably throws them a curve ball, but also support the polyamorous relationship with their mutual partner if it falls on hard times. ...

...If you are lucky enough to have a metamour with whom you share compersion, celebrate them on February 28!

● Of course there are kitchen-table heartwarmers for such purposes:

Metamour Mug, from BashfulBatCreations

● And of course for your car:

Small bumpersticker from Cafepress. Other designs available.

● From The Establishment, a women's site on Medium.com, Why You Should Meet Your Partner’s Lovers (March 10, 2016)

By Kit O'Connell

Two months ago, my lovers met over tacos.

...I was confident they’d get along. Besides the obvious, they have several things in common: They both love cats, feminism, and, of course, Tex-Mex food. This would give us at least three topics to talk about, even if things got awkward.

Why Meeting Metamours Matters

...In my experience and for many polyamorous folk I know, meeting other lovers can alleviate jealousy and reduce relationship drama. Until you meet, “the other” is a scary unknown; if we let our imaginations run away, we can inflate them into something perfect and unattainable, and most importantly, better than me. But when you do meet, you find out they’re just another human.

“Keeping them at arm’s length, never experiencing their actual humanity as a person, limits the potential of that relationship,” said Kiki Christie, a polyamorous and sex positive relationship educator from Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

“One of my early relationships was with a couple that was married,” Kiki told me. “I got to know my partner’s wife really well. They were living in a different city, so every time I went to visit him I would spend time with her, because it was at their home.”

Because they shared each other’s company so often, she felt safe bringing up problems and dealing with difficult emotions.

“Being in a familiar relationship with my partner’s partner, with her, meant that I felt more open about talking about my feelings to both of them. I didn’t feel like my communication had to be mitigated at all,” Kiki said. “If I had an issue I could speak directly.”

Genuine affection and connection blossomed between Kiki and her partner’s wife. They became such close friends that “we spent some holiday time together without my partner around. We just became very comfortable with each other. In fact he and I broke up, and she and I are still very good friends.”

Like Kiki, I shared a partner with a metamour for years. Our relationship remained platonic, but the intimacy we formed was genuine. We even had pet names for each other. The friendship outlasted our mutual relationship too, and we even got matching tattoos.

As Kiki said of her friendship, “It was its own relationship and it ultimately enhanced the poly relationship.”

Challenges And Fears

...“There’s going to be metamours that you don’t really click with, that you don’t want to be friends with, or that you might not even like all that much,” [Kiki] cautioned. “So how do you manage to still have a sustainable relationship through that? Focusing on people as individuals can help.”

...Even when I’ve felt jealous of one of my metamours, witnessing their small gestures of kindness and affection together during a meeting helps me open my heart to a better understanding of what my partner sees in them. When I’m challenged by difficult emotions, I focus on my partner’s happiness and often find I can share in it a little.

As Kiki explained, mutual respect is key when metamour relationships are challenging:

“If you’re constantly thinking of this person as someone who’s attached to my partner, or someone you’re not relating to one-on-one as an individual, even if you don’t particularly get along with them or see eye-to-eye with them, you’re not giving them or the relationship the respect it deserves. It’s like a relationship with a coworker you don’t get along with — you still have to see them as a person.”

Especially when there’s tension or distrust, we both believe metamour meetings can be crucial. ...

● Kiki Christie's The Benefits of Metamours, a list of six.

1. Backup, with benefits. ...like when (I've actually heard this one) "I don't like anal sex but my partner does, so when he finds a partner who likes it, I cheer and feel compersive!" Can also be applied to more mundane but equally subjective activities like skiing, movie-going, an affinity for jazz or love of dogs. ...

2. The Emergency Contact. ...

3. The Distraction. Someone who you know loves your partner who will go on a date with them while you're on a date with a Very Hot New Person.

4. The FWB for a threesome weekend, etc. Why not? ...

5.The sister/brother/wife/husband you always dreamed of. Share the pain, the joys, the chores and burping the baby. We. Are. Family. (If you can't hear funky music by now, you're younger than I am, but that's okay, sister)!

6. This is the biggest one, and the one I'm not at all inclined to make fun of. It's more than family. It is, in fact, true intimacy -- with someone your intimate partner is intimate with. With someone who loves your partner so much -- as you love them so much -- that the love just carries on over to everyone who is doing the loving.

● Best-case scenario, by Kimchi Cuddles:

Courtesy KimchiCuddles.com, used by permission. Here are all the Kimchi Cuddles comics involving metamours, 73 of them! That's 9% of Tikva's output of 808 strips since she started drawing them in 2013.

● Going deeper: an article by Louisa Leontiades on Salon, When your boyfriend loses his lover (Sept. 15, 2014). Excerpts:

I sit with him. His head is bowed, and he looks tired and sad. If tears could leak out of his eyes, they would. But my boyfriend has been trained not to cry....

There are some situations the polyamorous literature rarely covers. What to do when your boyfriend is grieving the loss of his lover?

...If it were me who’d been broken up with, I’d have some anger, some justifiable explanation of why he was wrong and I was right. But it’s not me. I have no anger, no justification. Nothing to water down the sorrow I feel on his behalf. I try to counter with some useless platitudes like, “Well, you’ll find someone else.” ... But in the end, I just keep quiet and listen.

“She changed,” he says. “Here one minute, the girl who was brimming with love and then her heart switched off. This girl, I don’t know her. So it’s not her now I’m grieving, it’s the girl I met. We were so happy.”

I know. I saw them together. It was a whirlwind of passion, tender moments and the look I haven’t seen on his face since – well, since we met all those years ago. He lost her. And we lost our dreams. Love with that depth doesn’t strike every day, every month or every year.

He speaks of her. Of memories. Of what ifs. Of his confusion. I try my best not to think guiltily about my own lover, my other significant other, sleeping in the bedroom. This heartbreak is his alone. And I am the lucky one.

But I miss her, too. We are still friends, supposedly. And yet everything has changed. She’s not coming over every other day. Her laughter doesn’t sound in the kitchen anymore. We have no exotic perfume traces on the sofa, the bedsheets or my clothes that she tried on and were three sizes too big for her.

...And I cry for him. ...

● Practical advice for a new kind of first get-together that you're probably nervous about: Meeting your Metamour, by Jess Mahler (July 21, 2016)

Some poly folk object to the term metamour. They feel like it forces them into a relationship with their partner’s other partner. To which I say, get over it.

Metamour is no different than “in-law” or “co-worker” or “classmate”. You share a connection with this other person through a common point of interest. ...

As I outlined last week, there are good practical reasons for meeting your metamour. Not having a "relationship" with them. Not becoming friends. Just… meeting them.

...Most cultures say you and this other person should hate each other for daring to love the same person. Instead, you are going to sit down and have a polite conversation, without the hidden war of words drama shows love.

Respect and honesty are the basis of polyamory etiquette. Keep that in mind as we go forward. ...

On being introduced:

...After introductions, you have a choice.

You can treat it like nay meeting with a new person. Spend some time getting to know them, what their interests are, make some small talk. This can help lay the groundwork for further conversation.

You can clear the air. Given the way many cultures view non-monogamy, there is likely to be tension. You can start by stating your feelings/concerns/discomfort areas and giving your metamour a chance to do the same. Then talk it out.

Making conversation....

Clearing the air.... [which uses Episode 5 of the fictional webseries Compersion for detailed dos and don'ts.]

This post is part of the Polyamory Etiquette blog series.

● The metamour Bechdel Test:

● Multiamory podcast #185: Can Men Get Along with their Metamours? (Aug. 21, 2018):

"On this episode we speak with Dr. Alex Bove about the findings of his recently published research on metamours and masculinity, titled Meta, More or Less? A Phenomenological Study of Polyamorous Men’s Relationships with Their Male Metamours. Tune in to find out more about the three phases of the metamour relationship, as well as the key traits of healthy metamour connections."

The transcript.

● Be okay with metas gossiping about you, because they're gonna. Remember, in complex relationships a sense of humor will get you through times of no sanity better than sanity will get you through times of no humor.

● Rebecca Crane gave a Metamour Intensive workshop at the 2012 Transcending Boundaries conference:

Transcript of this, by MayMay.

● And finally, by Wilricke Sophia, A letter to the women who sleep with my man

...Thank you for enriching his life. You can give him things I never can; for the simple reason that you are not me. ... With that, you hand him another mirror to look into. You can show him things about himself that I never can.

...You have a different past. With that, you can teach him things I never can.

Thank you.

Thank you for being so brave and courageous to see him and to receive him. Because you know of my existence. I see you. I see that it takes guts to take of your clothes for a man who has a woman who knows about you. You didn’t run away. Instead you came closer.

...He’s lovely, isn’t he?

With all my heart I hope you enjoyed every moment you spent and will spend with him. ...

There’s only one thing I ask of you:

See me. ...



1. Your metamour, or "meta," is not deeply involved with you by definition. Otherwise you would be "partners" or "co-partners with". But even if you don't see much of each other or even much like each other, polyamory carries the expectation that you will treat each other with respect and good-heartedness and honor your partner's connection with them.

Many polyfolks develop their network of partners and metas into extended family, or hope to. Think of a traditional extended family. Maybe you're great pals with your brother-in-law, or maybe you're just as glad to see him drive away after Thanksgiving. Either way, in a healthy extended family there's a sense that you'll treat each other as family and be there for each other to some reasonable degree. Your sister (let's say) chose him as her mate, and your first response should be to respect her choice.



February 23, 2019

A little more insight than usual, in the Irish Times

Serious mainstream media pay attention to polyamory often enough now that you can usually guess how it'll go — they get the basics right, thankfully, but may have an outsider's tin ear to subtleties. The feature story in this morning's Irish Times, a leading daily in Ireland, strikes me as a little more perceptive than usual, once it gets rolling.

Its jumping-off point is Jenny Yuen's recent book Polyamorous, part autobiography and partly a professional newspaperwoman's report on poly in Canada and elsewhere.

The piece is by a writer on women's "life & style" topics, hence the headline.

Polyamory: The women in love with more than one person

"Jenny Yuen lives with her husband and nesting partner, Charlie, and her other partner, Adam, who is 31 years her senior, lives up the street."

By Laura Kennedy

...It is difficult to definitively say whether polyamory is more common than it used to be or simply more visible, but it is certainly the latter.

...A reporter for the Toronto Sun, [Jenny Yuen] writes frankly in the book about her relationships and her route to motherhood. ... It helps, she says, that she has an excellent support system. ... Yuen describes their relationship as a V – she and Adam are romantically involved, as are she and Charlie, but Adam and Charlie don’t share a romantic relationship, though they are close and the three operate as a family unit.

People ask Yuen how her daughter will be raised in a poly family – “I want people to know that she’s going to have more support. My partner lives up the street. My husband’s at work right now; my partner was able to spend some time with me this afternoon and also take care of the baby. That’s a benefit and a luxury that not everyone has and that we are lucky to have . . . thanks to polyamory.”

...All of the emotionally laden conversations and interactions that characterise a serious monogamous relationship feature in polyamory. Quite literally everything is a conversation. If you live with multiple partners, the tedium of asking who takes out the bins has to be performed with more than one person; ditto where the new sofa is going. Even if you live alone but have multiple partners, there are conversations about who you are having dinner with when, and where partners should leave their things at your home. Does everyone get a sock drawer? Poly people are and must be skilled, emotionally sensitive and enthusiastic communicators.

Lea, a bisexual poly student from Cork, who has a long-distance relationship with a male anchor partner (the term primary partner is frowned upon, because it suggests a hierarchy), chuckles when I mention that some people consider polyamory a vehicle which enables male promiscuity. If anything, she says, it encourages men to improve their communication skills in relating how they feel.

It seems clear that polyamory is too much work for anyone who is just in the mood to sleep with a stranger without strings attached; there are apps for that. Lea describes polyamory as empowering for women, just as it is for men, because it prioritises clear communication of one’s needs and regularly checking in with how partners are feeling.

...There can be issues unique to polyamory, however. Some poly women face being fetishised or commodified as “thirds” by married couples – termed unicorn hunters – who seek someone (normally a bisexual woman) to be brought in as a third without being allowed to form her own outside relationships. Of course, some women enjoy this, but it seems that most don’t and demand for such thirds far outweighs supply.

Erica from Louth describes herself as a 35-year-old cisgendered bisexual woman who works in tech. ... She has found that some men who don’t understand what polyamory is can make presumptions: “Men I know who would be in relationships have hit on me once they find out I’m polyamorous or want me to help them cheat, and that’s just not what it’s about.”

This is a subversion of what is considered “good” poly practice, which suggests that everyone’s needs must be equally recognised and respected. Of course, as in monogamy, this is a delicate balancing act which may be desired more than it is observed.

...If polyamory had a dirty secret that unsettles the monogamous norm, it would be that it is qualitatively like monogamy, except that the emotional work of relationships is multiplied by the number of partners.

While many people unfamiliar with the mechanics of polyamory are hand wringing over the idea of orgies, the reality of polyamory seems to be seeking out the same deep connection that monogamy instantiates, but more of it. This idea is offensive to some who consider such connection possible only with one person at a given time. However, that really seems like a determination each of us can only make for ourselves.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of polyamory is that it is counter-cultural, which could easily be – and has been – mistaken for being controversial. ...

The whole article (February 23, 2019).

Also from Ireland:

● In the Irish Examiner, Is fidelity old school as – it appears – open relationships become more common? (Jan. 9, 2019)

...Polyamory in all its ethical-non monogamy shouldn’t be confused with having an open relationship. In the latter, sex with others is part of the package. Falling in love is not.

Polyamory makes sense. Expecting a lifetime of willing or enforced monogamy often leads to disappointment, betrayal and heartbreak, and that’s just among the ones who discover they’ve been deceived. ...

● In RSVP Live ("the modern Irish woman’s destination of choice for news, information and entertainment"): Irish people reveal what it's like to be in an open relationship (July 2, 2018):

...Sarah from Mayo said they initially wanted to be in an open relationship to help them deal with their insecurities.

"I recognised in myself that having a desire to see someone other than my partner didn't negate my love for them, and I want to try to unlearn the feeling in myself of insecurity that I think we are socialised to feel when someone we are in a relationship with is interested in someone else," they said.

...Jamie, who lives in Ireland but is originally from the US, also said that honesty is paramount.

"I'm seeing a bunch of people non-hierarchically, so since I am the only constant my only rules are to be extremely honest with everyone pretty much from the get-go....

"I find that I'm only jealous when I'm with someone else that is also jealous, which doesn't come up as much when poly stuff is set as the norm from the start." ...

All the poly in Ireland's media on this site since 2006 (including this post; scroll down).


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February 21, 2019

That scare headline, "There's a dark side of polyamory that nobody talks about"

That attention-getting headline going around comes from an article that appeared Tuesday in Business Insider, one of the several Insider sites. The "dark side" turns out to be other people discriminating against polyfolks. Hey, yoohoo! People do talk about that. A lot. See "coming out." And "child custody cases."

There's a dark side of polyamory that nobody talks about

Two guys and a woman, The caption is "Polyamory takes many different forms."
"Polyamory takes many different forms." (Marco Piunti / Getty)

By Lindsay Dodgson

–   Polyamory is not a legally protected status, like being straight or gay. You can lose your job for being polyamorous. Courts can use it against you in child custody proceedings.

–   Polyamory and non-monogamy take many different forms.

–   For instance, egalitarian polyamory means not having a primary partner at all, and there are many asexual people who are polyamorous.

About five years ago, Cameron Mckillop was talking to a friend at work, when an older woman came up to them and abruptly put an end to their conversation.

"[She] loudly told the other girl to stay away from me or I'd take her back home and make her another one of my wives," Mckillop told INSIDER.

"The friendship never really recovered, and after that most of the women in that class and then on the call floor wouldn't interact with me. Also, the older lady would always look daggers in my direction whenever I was near her."

Mckillop is polyamorous, which means he has multiple partners. Polyamory and other types of non-monogamy are an alternative to what Amy Gahran, a writer and editor based in Boulder, Colorado, calls the "relationship escalator."

...Gahran told INSIDER, "As young as 12 or 13 I was imagining relationships that worked in very different ways." ...

[Read more: 7 things people with multiple partners want you to know about what it's really like]

But although awareness has come a long way in the 20 years Gahran has been in the non-monogamous community, there are still misconceptions. And these misconceptions can lead to judgment, abuse, and even legal problems.

"Being polyamorous in particular, or otherwise consensually non-monogamous, at least in the US, is not a protected status," Gahran said. "It is something you can get fired for. It is something that can jeopardize child custody arrangements, it can complicate divorce proceedings, it can complicate people's ability to get access to jobs or education."

[Read more: What it means for couples to go 'unicorn hunting' — and why it usually doesn't end well]

Gahran now lives as a solo-polyamorist, meaning she has more than one lover at a time, but leads an independent life and doesn't consider herself to be part of any couples. She also practices egalitarian polyamory, which means there are no primary or secondary partners in her relationships. ...

The rest of the long article wanders off to discuss the various kinds of polyamory, the ethics of primary-secondary relationships, how polyfolks deal with jealousy, and so forth (Feb. 19, 2019).


While we're on the subject, here are some substantive things about anti-poly discrimination. The first two are by Eli Sheff:

Polyamory at Work (Oct. 10, 2017)

Polyphobia (July 14, 2017)


Why polyamorous people fear 'coming out', by Lux Alptraum (Sept. 13, 2016).

Employee dismissed for being “polyamorous” not the victim of unlawful discrimination (in Australia; March 23, 2016).

● The book It's Called "Polyamory": Coming Out About Your Nonmonogamous Relationships, by poly psychotherapist Tamara Pincus and speaker/activist Rebecca Hiles (Thorntree Press, 2017) is a comprehensive, very readable guide to many aspects you may not have thought about.

● Remember, you don't have to come out to be a good person. People who have to stay closeted need to build ways ways to cope with their situation in a healthy manner — as Liz Powell, an officer in the army for five years and now an independent queer and poly therapist, explains in text and video.

● And especially, How to Decide Whether to Come Out as Poly or Kinky Online: Real Risk Analysis Beyond Shame — solid guidelines for evaluating your personal risk, from Diana Adams of Diana Adams Law & Mediation.



February 20, 2019

On NPR, "The New Sexual Revolution: Polyamory On The Rise"

It's been 10 years since Newsweek (then a major magazine) published a game-changing article calling polyamory "America's Next Romantic Revolution." Other media and commentators kept citing that article for years afterward. Now a headline like that passes without surprise.

Many National Public Radio stations aired an excellent 35-minute discussion of polyamory this week titled The New Sexual Revolution: Polyamory On The Rise. It was produced by WAMU for its talk show "1A" (think "First Amendment"), which is syndicated to other NPR stations; it replaced the immensely popular Diane Rehm show after she retired two years ago. Thanks to friends who were listening on Monday and told me about the topic.

The show's first half features Janet Hardy (co-author of The Ethical Slut) and sociologist Dr. Eli Sheff (The Polyamorists Next Door) talking with host Joshua Johnson. Halfway through they're joined by Ron Young, founder of Black & Poly ("Love. Family. Community."), and Crystal Farmer, editor of Black & Poly's website and online magazine. The host is intelligent and interested, and the guests were well chosen for insight and experience.

And here's a shout-out to those who sent the texts and emails about their poly lives that Johnson read on the air.

It's is 35 minutes long. You can listen here:

Or download it as an MP3 podcast.

From the show's webpage:

The New Sexual Revolution: Polyamory On The Rise

...For many people, “partner” need not be a singular idea. Polyamory, or ethical non-monogamy, “can involve any number of people, either cohabiting or not, sometimes all having sex with each other, and sometimes just in couples within the larger group,” The Atlantic reports.

And it might be more common than you think.

From Quartz:

What research there is suggests otherwise: a survey of some 8,700 US single adults in 2017 found that more than one in five engaged in consensual non-monogamy at some point in their lives, while in a 2014 survey 4%-5% of Americans reported currently being polyamorous.

Here’s what one poly woman told The Chicago Tribune:

“Polyamory isn’t for everybody and that’s OK,” said Topaz Steele, a Chicago native who has identified as poly for about 10 years. “I’m not here to say that everyone should try to be nonmonogamous or that everyone is capable of loving people in this way. I do know that being polyamorous works for me and my lifestyle and I wouldn’t push anyone to do it just because.”

Steele spent last Valentine’s Day out on a date with her two boyfriends. While out, the trio grabbed a bite to eat and spent time discussing their favorite videos games and anime shows. Throughout the date, she casually made a point to hold both of her boyfriends’ hands, either separately or at the same time. She said she couldn’t care less what people think of seeing the three of them out together on a date.

We’re breaking down how ethical non-monogamy works and the stigma some associate with having multiple partners.


Janet W. Hardy, Co-author, The Ethical Slut; @janetwhardyr

Elisabeth Sheff, Sociologist and relationship consultant; author, The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple Partner Relationships and Families; @DrEliSheff

Ron Young, Founder, Black and Poly

Crystal Farmer, Editor, Black and Poly Magazine; @crystalbfarmer

The original (Feb. 18, 2019).

● Also, on NPR's website two years ago: text article A Cultural Moment for Polyamory by Barbara J. King (March 23, 2017). That too came from WAMU.


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February 17, 2019

A great polyfamily TV report, with articulate kids

Ten or 15 years ago this TV report, which aired yesterday, would have been epochal for us. Now it's a new normal. The Calgary affiliate of Canada's CTV network aired a sweet segment about a local FFM triad polyfamily raising the five kids of both women. They've all been living under one roof for five years.

You know the producers are going to treat them well as soon as you hear the soothing background music, which runs throughout.

My favorite quotes come from two of the kids:

"I like it 'cause you've never really by yourself, you can always like, hang out with someone."

Another tells how she explains her family to friends and other people: "I just tell them it's like basically the same as having just a regular mom and dad except you have one extra, and they all love each other and they're all like in a relationship."

The moms met through a children's playgroup. The adults say they never planned this, it just naturally happened as friendships turned romantic.

My experience is that polyfamilies who weren't looking for such a thing, where it "just happened" naturally among friends, have a high rate of success.


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February 16, 2019

Giving us more love – poly in the news this Valentine's Day

Every Val's Day, media looking for an angle give polyamory some extra attention. Here's a representative scattering of what they said and showed about us this time.

New York magazine put up a touching, excellently produced 23-minute video exploring the concept and people who live it. Featured are Sophie Lucido Johnson, author-illustrator of the recent memoir Many Love (with scenes from their wedding), alt-relationship coach Effy Blue, and a young Latinx couple pushing through relationship problems to hold to their poly ideals. Recommended. (Feb. 14):

● In the Chicago Tribune's arts & entertainment weekly RedEye: No ordinary love: Polyamorous couples celebrate Valentine's Day their way (Feb. 12):

They used a still from the She's Gotta Have It series.

By Demetria Mosley

...“Polyamory isn’t for everybody and that’s OK,” said Topaz Steele, a Chicago native who has identified as poly for about 10 years. “I’m not here to say that everyone should try to be nonmonogamous or that everyone is capable of loving people in this way. I do know that being polyamorous works for me and my lifestyle and I wouldn’t push anyone to do it just because.”

Steele spent last Valentine’s Day out on a date with her two boyfriends. While out, the trio grabbed a bite to eat and spent time discussing their favorite videos games and anime shows. Throughout the date, she casually made a point to hold both of her boyfriends’ hands, either separately or at the same time. She said she couldn’t care less what people think of seeing the three of them out together on a date.

“If people are looking at us, I’m not looking back at them. I’m paying attention to the people I’m with,” she said.

...For the past 15 years, Jennifer Nicole has practiced solo polyamory, which to her, means having no desire to ever live with or share finances with any of her partners.

Nicole, who is an active member of Chicago Poly Info and MeetUps on Facebook, is currently dating four people. She said she loves the freedom that her relationships allow her to have.

...Last year, one of her long-distance partners sent her small gifts in the mail every day for a week to celebrate the holiday. Another partner took her out to dinner to celebrate.

“Every one of my partners warms my heart in a different way and I express that to each of them differently,” she said. “There’s no copying and pasting the same message to everyone. They are all so different and I would never do that.” ...

(A correction to the article posted by Elisabeth Sheff: It "erroneously credits me with research [by] a team led by Dr. Teri Conley at the University of Michigan. It was Dr. Conley and her team that produced the statistics on the number of people in the US who are in consensually non-monogamous relationships.")

● In Men's Health magazine, Why Polyamory May Be The Future of Love (Feb. 14):

By Richard Godwin

...If you were expecting a hedonistic free-for-all, you’ve come to the wrong party. Open relationships are complicated. They won’t spare you emotional conversations or banish awkward concepts such as guilt, cheating and unloading the dishwasher. (Rather, imagine splitting these things three or four ways.) Polyamory, the practice of having multiple consensual partners, involves hard work, and almost certainly more of it than the relationship you’re in now.

“A lot of people go into open relationships – and particularly open marriages – thinking it’s going to fix things,” says Laurie Penny, a 31-year-old writer and activist who has been an “ethical non-monogamist” for the past decade. “There are rare occasions when one partner says to the other: ‘Have you thought about trying this?’ and the other says, ‘Wow! I’m so glad you asked!’ But mostly it doesn’t happen like that.”

Initially, she says, you’ll spend longer talking about all of the ramifications than doing it – discussing consent, desire, fantasy, society and how it’s not about a lack of rules but about working out what the unwritten rules are, and whether there might be better ones. Later, you might find yourself borrowing cutlery from your partner’s partner, as Penny did the other day, or attending their wedding. “All of their partners did. She has two boyfriends, and he also sees other people.”

● Good advice for anyone in Gay Star News: Polyamorous people reveal how they celebrate Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)

Eunice (center), Charlotte (right), and Conaire in the UK

'Not every monogamous couple celebrates the same way, so you can imagine the variety for polyamorous people!'

By Charlie Mathers

"I think anyone who isn’t in a long term, monogamous, allosexual, cishet relationship feels the pressure of society on us a bit around this time,’ Eunice explains.

She is an organizer behind Poly Speed Dating, a regular event in London for polyamorous people to meet like-minded others.

...Eunice’s partner is Charlotte. They’re both also mutually dating Conaire.

...Eunice realized she was polyamorous just over a decade ago now. She met people who mentioned the concept to her – One of these people would go on to later become her metamour (the term for your partner’s other partner).

From there, she took a year out of dating to research the idea of polyamory. She spoke to other who had more experience and spent time thinking ‘deeply about what being ethically in relationships meant to me.’

...While her partner Charlotte also hasn’t face stigma, she adds: ‘My main issue is that I’m queer and all the cards with actual figures on are gendered. ... Cute sparkly owls do not need gendering.’

...[Eunice] said: ‘Some might spend [V-Day] with one partner, and the next night with another, and so on. Some might decide to do big (or small) group celebrations,’ she said.

‘Some take a whole week. A few I know choose to make it a day to celebrate and connect with their metamours, instead of their partners. Some people choose not to celebrate at all.’

Eunice says the most loving way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a partner is always in the ‘the way that makes them feel most loved. So sometimes, that’s cooking someone dinner. Taking them to a show that they love but you’re not that interested in.’

‘Giving them a new teapot/lingerie/book/dildo for their collection. Cuddling up on the sofa under a duvet sharing cool music videos with each other.

‘Making them a beautiful piece of art. Going to swingers or kink parties together.

‘Or maybe, it’s sending them funny “I love you” memes/gifs and amusing articles all day.’

Charlotte echoed this idea polyam people celebrate Valentine’s Day ‘in as many ways as non – polyam people celebrate the holiday. We’re a pretty diverse bunch.’

She added added it is ‘probably more popular’ to celebrate on a day that isn’t the 14th.

...She continues: ‘Do it your way, the way that makes you feel loved, because that’s really the whole point of the day.

...The most important thing however is that you talk with your partner about how they wish to celebrate the day, if it all – ‘Talk about it before setting up a huge party with a hundred guests for your introverted poly network, because on the day is too late.’

...Charlotte’s advice? ‘Communication, communication, communication. Talk about scheduling, who wants what, who wants to celebrate on the day and who would rather wait to have more time at the weekend. As usual communication and compromise win the day.’

● At Binghamton University in upstate New York, in the Sex Issue of the student newspaper Pipe Dream, Researchers believe sexual habits are changing among BU students (Feb. 14):

Polyamorous, open relationships see increased acceptance, survey indicates more [BU students] are participating in group sex

By Amy Donovan

...In Pipe Dream’s 2016 sex survey, which received roughly 750 responses, just 11 people said they had taken part in group sex, but in this year’s survey, 60 respondents said they had experience with group sex.

According to Ann Merriwether, a BU lecturer of psychology who conducts research on causal sex and relationships, there have been changes in the sexual habits of BU students since she began her research in 2011. Merriwether said her team has seen an increase in women engaging in casual sex and a decrease in sex. They’ve also seen more students expressing varying sexual orientations, with many beginning to describe themselves as “mostly heterosexual” as opposed to “exclusively heterosexual.”

...One polyamorous student, who asked to remain anonymous, said he defines being polyamorous as engaging in emotional and physical relationships other than his primary partner.

“I’m still very new to this type of relationship and figuring out my boundaries and my partners boundaries with it,” he said. “It’s something I’ve wanted to try for a little, and while there are surprises and obstacles it’s generally what I thought it would be on my end.”

He also said he has found a surprising number of polyamorous students at the University, most of whom are open about their experiences.

“A lot of people I know here are in polyamory relationships, a surprising amount if I’m being honest,” he said. “And while it’s not a community in that same way the queer community is a community, my [polyamorous] friends are always willing to talk about their experiences and help me with my new experiences.”

● In another college paper, The Northern Light of the University of Alaska, Anchorage: Consider Polyamory (Feb. 11).

By Ben Edwards

...This Valentine’s Day, couples should recognize the full breadth of romantic options that they have.

Adopting polyamory depends on the enthusiastic consent and trust of both partners. Additionally, it requires clear communication on what the terms are for the new polyamorous agreement. Even the word itself is subject to interpretation. It could imply multiple romantic connections or strictly sexual diversification. At its semantic foundation, polyamory can be thought of as “multiple love.” How couples define that is up to them. What couples should not do, however, is continue to suffocate within the arbitrary confines of monogamy. If the current arrangement makes both partners truly happy, then there is no need to change. But if there is mutual dissatisfaction, then they should not feel guilty or scared of trying something new. ...

● Another college paper, The Martlet at the University of Victoria in BC, Canada: A Crash Course in Polyamory (Feb. 14):

Polyamory is magical in that it allows us to explore our insecurities and rise above them; to love freely, without fear or the desire to confine one another.

By Kierra Moseman

...I like to define polyamory as engaging in romantic relationships with more than one person at a time, with the consent of all involved. Polyamory is also associated with concepts such as ethical non-monogamy, relationship anarchy, and the open relationship. The key difference is that polyamory promotes the idea of love and romance between multiple people, while other types of non-monogamy may only allow for sexual freedoms. ...

...Polyamory can look however the participants need it to look. As long as the consent of every person is established, you’re practicing correctly. ... What most people don’t realize about polyamory is the amount of difficult, personal work that an individual must do to be happy in such a radical form of loving. ...

● Also in the Victoria BC area, in a chain of local papers: Valentine’s Day can be ‘tricky’ for those in polyamorous relationships (Feb. 14)

By Nick Murray

“Valentine’s Day can be a tricky one for polyamorous relationships,” says Cora Bilsker, the owner of Nested Heart Counselling.

“It can be celebrated with single or with multiple partners. Some people like separate celebrations and others like to celebrate together. I have spent it with three or four people before, and it has been really sweet.”

Polyamory is the practice, desire or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time, with the knowledge and consent of all partners.

...Bilska says that most of her clients are between the ages of 20 and 40, and the lifestyle is growing “leaps and bounds,” especially in Greater Victoria, as it becomes better understood.

...The Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) says that behaviours associated with the movement – and in its view are central to it – are gender equality, self-determination, free choice for all involved, mutual trust, and equal respect among all partners.

...But while polyamory edges closer towards the mainstream and becomes better understood, Valentine’s Day can present challenges for polyamorous partners.

“It can be an emotionally loaded time, but it does depend on the relationship,” Bilska explains.

More generally, she has advice for people embarking on a polyamorous relationship.

“Making it work, you need a strong sense of self. It’s a journey that will challenge your insecurities and it’s a journey to give you what you need, not relying on just a partner to help you learn about yourself.”

● In the Hartford Courant, the daily paper of the capitol of Connecticut, This comedian wants you to hear his story of polyamory (Feb. 14):

Brett Johnson's "Poly-Theist" standup show is at the Elbow Room Feb. 22.

By Christopher Arnott

...“I grew up religious, Evangelical. I married at 21, straight out of Christian school,” Johnson says.

But a few years later, he was “no longer Evangelical, no longer monogamous” and began to explore polyamory, which allows for multiple romantic partners in trusting relationships simultaneously.

Johnson, who lives in Boston and is no longer married, has turned this life transformation into a one-man show titled “Poly-Theist”.... The show follows events in his life up to “just a few months ago,” including — “Spoiler alert,” he says, laughing, a current relationship in which he is again exploring monogamy.

Johnson started performing the hourlong “Poly-theist” in December, and it’s become his main gig. In coming weeks, Johnson will do the show in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Portland, Maine, and various cities throughout Massachusetts. This summer, he’ll be bringing it to the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

...“I didn’t grow up even thinking this was a thing.

...The reaction to “Poly-theist” has been positive, even from Johnson’s ex-wife, who she says hasn’t seen the show but helped him title it.

Here's Brett's the Poly-theist tour schedule for the next few months, around New England and points farther afield.

● The news site of Australia's national broadcasting network offered Five Sydney couples share their relationship secrets on Valentine's Day (Feb. 13). The first couple is poly and genderqueer.

By Mridula Amin

Eme and Jen are polyamorous, which means they are committed to each other but can have intimate relationships with multiple people.

"We didn't just wake up one day and say 'Oh yeah let's be open'," says Jen.

"We got to that through six years of communication and then last year we opened it."

..."We'd both migrated from the Philippines, we were into the same obscure films," says Eme. ... "We were like everyone else is a bit boring, let's go outside and have a cigarette on Glebe Point Road and talk."

Years later, it's the same thing they did to talk about Eme transitioning to gender non-binary.

..."The trust to give each other freedom has been a highlight, just to be able to be at this stage in our relationship that we're still growing — that's what I love."

● Also in Australia, sexuality educator Siren Vandoll posted How I Manage Being Polyamorous on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 9), with a list of commonsense advice.

● From India, a long feature article in the Times of India: Polyamory is a reality in Kolkata! (Feb. 13). With a poly-talk glossary. India has had a lot of polyamory in its news in the last few years that I haven't gathered into a post yet.

● And Elle publishes a Valentine's feature on Emma Goldman, that beloved anarcha-feminist from the turn of the 20th century: What Happened When the Mother of Non-Monogamy Fell Head Over Heels in Love (Feb. 13).

● Also, in Elle's UK edition, What is a Relationship? The New Rules of Attraction for 2019 (Feb. 14).

From debates around consent to the redefinition of romantic relationships, the entire dating landscape is in flux. Welcome to a brave new world.

...Newer concepts such as non-monogamy, as well as polyamory (a recent survey found that a fifth of Brits identify as ‘poly’), as well as relationship anarchy (an anti-hierarchical approach to relationships, where everything from friendships to romantic love are given equal weighting), are changing what relationships look like – and what we want from them.

My own situation is a case in point.

For almost two years, I have been in an ethically non-monogamous relationship.

In Australia it's summer on Valentine's Day. (Getty.)

... Anyone who knows anything about poly life will know that it is not a free-for-all; there are rules and boundaries and colour-coded Google calendars. The truth is I feel a thrill at this facet of our relationship. It seems to me a radical act of compassion to accept that my partner may feel attracted to someone else, like we all are from time to time.

If you’re thinking, ‘Nice idea, but I could never do it. The jealousy! The paranoia! The sharing!’, I get what you’re saying, but I’ve also seen how poly life has started to influence the dating experiences of my most monogamously minded friends. ...


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February 8, 2019

Psychology task force on polyamory & CNM is off to a roaring start

The American Psychological Association (APA) has a Division 44 that deals with LGBTQ and gender issues. Within it, as reported here earlier, Heath Schechinger and Amy Moors are spearheading a task force to overhaul therapists' understand of polyamory and other forms of consensual non-monogamy (CNM). The intent is to train America's psych professionals to serve CNM clients well, which often does not happen now.

Schechinger recently posted a progress report to the Polyamory Leadership Network (the emphases are mine):

Heath Schechinger
[In January] I had the privilege of representing the Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force at the bi-annual Executive Committee meeting of the Society for Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity (APA Division 44). It was clear throughout the two-day meeting that Division 44 is supportive of the CNM Task Force and our initiatives.

I was thrilled by the gestures of support, with many going out of their way to express their excitement, acknowledge awareness of the historical significance of the Task Force, and/or their desire for the CNM Task Force to become a Standing Committee ensuring ongoing representation.

Amy C. Moors
They also unanimously approved our Task Force a year ago (as well as our modest budget proposal this year), were supportive of our petition to support relationship diversity, and asked me to do a Q&A in their newsletter to highlight the Task Force and de-mystify the process of getting involved with Division 44. The incoming editor expressed interest in receiving CNM research for the Div 44 academic journal, Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity (PSOGD).

It was clear they were not merely tolerating us, but celebrating our presence. This seems to highlight the shift we are witnessing in the non-monogamy movement, as one of the most powerful psychology organizations in the world is demonstrating a clear interest in addressing monosexism and acknowledging the historical erasure of non-monosexual relationship structures.

We also have 75 volunteers who are contributing to our 12 Initiatives. The co-leads [Schechinger and Moors] have identified their goals and are in the process of contacting their contributors to strategize their efforts to accomplish their goals.

And what are those initiatives? Here's the current list (also available as a better formatted PDF with an introduction):

1. Consensual Non-monogamy Fact Sheet  (Lead: Amy Moors, Ph.D. & Heath Schechinger, Ph.D.). An easy-to-read infographic that provides helpful information about CNM, including a definition, stats, dispelled myths, and recommendations for further reading.

2. Healthcare Brochures  (Co-leads: Michelle Vaughan, Ph.D. & Heath Schechinger, Ph.D.).  Resources designed to educate medical and mental health providers about consensual non-monogamy.
3. Consensual Non-monogamy Inclusive Practices Tool (Lead: Heath Schechinger, Ph.D.). A benchmarking tool to highlight inclusive clinical practices and policies related to equity and inclusion for people engaged in CNM.
4. Therapist Recommendations (Co-leads: Heath Schechinger, Ph.D., Dossie Easton, Geri Weitzman, Ph.D., & Amy Moors, Ph.D.). This team is creating a guide with empirically informed recommendations for therapists working with clients who engage in consensual non-monogamy.
5. CNM Literature Project (Co-leads: Daniel Cardoso, Ph.D. & Michelle Vaughan, Ph.D.). This team is creating and supporting resources designed to summarize, index, and organize peer-reviewed and historic CNM literature that can be used by researchers, educators, and clinicians. These resources include the Consensual Non-monogamies Literature List and the Kenneth R. Haslam Collection on Polyamory.
6. Special Call Campaign (Co-leads: Lisa Dawn Hamilton, Ph.D., Sharon Flicker, Ph.D., Daniel Cardoso,
Ph.D., & Ashley Thompson, Ph.D.). This team is responsible for organizing special calls (e.g., journal issues, conference symposia) related to consensual non-monogamies.
7. Intersecting Identities Campaign (Co-leads: Leonore Tjia, M.A., Roberto Abreu, Ph.D., & Christopher Stults, Ph.D.). This team is promoting awareness of issues facing individuals engaged in consensual non-monogamy with multiple marginalized identities through writing a peer-reviewed paper on the topic, compiling a list of advocacy groups that work intersecting CNM identities, and challenging common homogeneous narratives about CNM.
8. LGBTQ Resources Campaign (Co-leads: Dawn Brown, M.S. & Stephen Forssell, Ph.D.). This team will work with local and national LGBTQ leaders to increase CNM representation in LGBTQ resources. They are creating resources addressing the intersection of CNM and LGBTQ identities and providing recommendations for how to can be inclusive of CNM.
9. Legal Issues Campaign (Ashley Thompson, Ph.D. & Ryan Witherspoon, Ph.D.). This team is committed to addressing legal and discrimination issues related to consensual non-monogamy, such as the effects of stigma and discrimination and the implications for family law and employment discrimination, as well as CNM being a protected status. This team is producing a peer-reviewed paper.

10. Healthcare Provider Directory Campaign (Co-leads: Heath Schechinger, Ph.D., Bree Zimmerman, M.A., & Deanna Richards, Ed.M.): This team is dedicated to removing barriers to accessing culturally competent care through organizing a campaign to include consensual non-monogamy (and/or related terms) on healthcare provider locator directories.
11. Inclusive Education Campaign (Co-leads: Lisa Dawn Hamilton, Ph.D. & Apryl Alexander, Psy.D.). This is developing a pledge campaign to promote CNM inclusion in education and training programs. One project will include recruiting educators to pledge being inclusive of consensual non-monogamy in their courses. They will maintain a database and promote awareness of individuals and organizations who pledge in order to increase visibility and advocate for inclusion.
12. Inclusive Demographic Forms Campaign (Co-leads: Jen Rafacz, Ph.D. & Rachel Ann Kieran, Psy.D. This team is committed to increasing awareness about including relationship status/structure (e.g., monogamous, polyamorous) on client history/intake and demographic forms. A couple initiatives of this group include writing an article addressing inclusive demographic forms, organizing a pledge campaign, and providing sample language for assessing relationship style on demographic forms.

Advisory Board Our Advisory Board consists of individuals with substantial experience in a particular domain (e.g., therapy, public outreach, research) who have made themselves available to provide consultation and guidance to the Task Force Co-chairs and project Leads. Our network of advisors include:
Alan MacRobert
Charles Moser, PhD, MD
Cris Beasley
Cunning Minx
Dave Doleshal, Ph.D.
Dossie Easton
Elisabeth Sheff, Ph.D.
Jes Matsick, Ph.D.
John Sakaluk, Ph.D.
Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D.
Richard Sprott, Ph.D.
Susan Wright, M.A.


It's wonderful to see such an ambitious poly-awareness initiative take hold and advance inside a powerful professional organization.

Looking back, most of what the our movement has accomplished in the last 30 years has been done by amateur volunteers with irregular time and energy, little coordination, and lack of money or organizational structures to carry out big ideas.

As for money: it's amazing that even on pathetic financial shoestrings, we've spread understanding across the Western world about, for most people in mainstream society, a huge new "impossible" idea: that successful, ethical multi-love relationships are entirely possible and actually happening among the many who are suited for it, and who access hard-won poly community wisdom about what works. The "polyamorous possibility" (Eli Sheff's phrase) has become much more widely known. And once known, it is remembered.

But with more people encountering the idea and considering it for themselves, more people need the knowledge and community support to not screw it up. And, more people are likely to face job discrimination, housing discrimination, and official ignorance in court. As the movement grows, the needed work grows.

No dollar donation specifically aimed toward poly awareness and support has ever, anywhere, exceeded four figures to my knowledge1 — with one big exception. That was when Robyn Trask purchased Loving More in 2004 when it was a for-profit print magazine heading toward extinction. She then sacrificed her investment to turn Loving More into the nonprofit organization it is today, so that its advocacy, support efforts, and conferences could survive and thrive. She has also personally made up a number of its financial shortfalls.

So, 15 years later, here I am riding a train to Loving More's 14th annual Poly Living conference in Philadelphia. Everyone who is involved in modern polyamory enough to be reading this site owes Robyn more than you may know, whether that debt is once or twice or ten times removed.


1. Am I wrong? Please share in the comments here.


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