See a good story I've missed? Email me at alan7388(at) gmail(dot)com.
January 26, 2020
In Israel, a polyfamily of three are declared the children's equal parents.
Another step for polyfamily recognition: An Israeli judge, guided by "the best interest of the children," has granted a women and her two male living partners equal co-guardianship of their children. Erez Benari from Seattle tells us,
This broke yesterday and hasn't been officially translated to English yet. An Israeli thrupple asked to legalize their non-traditional union by approving all 3 adults in the family (2 guys, one woman) to hold "legal guardian" status of their 2 children. Each of the men had a separate child with the woman, and now each of the dads is officially a father to each child.
Hopefully, this is a first step towards a legal union between the adults.
The original article (Jan. 23, 2020) in Yedioth Ahronoth, reportedly Israel's largest-selling newspaper. Google Translate turns the Hebrew into English as follows:
The judge ruled: Mother, Father and Father
Orr, Gil and Glee formed a family and sought to register as co-parents of the two children born to them — each man as another guardian of a child who never came from his seed.
By Yoram Yarkoni
The Tel Aviv Family Court recognized triple parenting — a new family unit that includes Mom, Dad and more Dad as guardian. The two children born to three are officially siblings.
The state is in principle opposed to recognition of a family structure of three parents. ... The judge who recognized triple parenting is Yehoram Shaked. The decision that gave the three parents equal status to their children reads: "The children were created and born into a situation where they have three parents. Rejection of the lawsuit will have one and only meaning for the parties: Continued disobedience and conduct that does not benefit the minors or the whole family."
Judge Shaked further stated that when considering the best interests of the minors, the good of the whole family must also be taken into account. In the past, Shaked has made a decision on triple parenting, in another case with other legal circumstances, but is prohibited from [publicizing] and cannot [give details] about it.
...[The two men] living together wanted to have children. They contacted Glee, whom they knew, and together decided to start a single family with three parents. The pregnancy process took place abroad.
...The three parents' attorneys, attorneys Haggai Kalei, Danielle Jacoby, Carmel Ben Tzur and Carmit Mizrahi, argued that the request to add a guardian to each child came to reflect the reality in which the children live from their day of birth and that they consider themselves brothers for everything. The parents' attorneys said: "In the State of Israel there are thousands of families where children are born prematurely and intentionally to a loving family unit that includes three parents. In the LGBT community, this family structure is particularly common. But so far, the court has not given a proper response regulating the rights of these family [units]."
Itai Notak, a member of the Tel Aviv City Council and who assisted in the struggle of the three parents, said: "Life is stronger than conservative perceptions that our lives must not be waged."
Attorney Dalit Yaniv-Messer, a family law expert, said: "The importance of providing guardianship to a non-biological parent is that it has the right and duty to care for the minor's needs like his biological parents."...
Friday Polynews Roundup — Activists on the Tamron Hall show, two poly plays, poly-mono crises, my mission, and more
Once again, it's Friday Polynews Roundup! — for January 24, 2020.
● Polyfolks do the Tamron Hall show. Yesterday five of our fine representatives went on the new Tamron Hall daytime TV talk show, which is syndicated to stations by ABC/Disney and reportedly has 1.3 million viewers daily. Kevin and Antoinette Patterson and their polycule partners Chrissy Holman and Pace, plus open-relationship psychologist Dr. Justin Clardy, held forth for about 11 minutes during the second half of the one-hour show.
Many of you, alerted beforehand by Chrissy's social campaign, watched and then swarmed into the show's Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with supportive comments and explanations.
Antoinette and Kevin Patterson. "Ignore that tacky backdrop," writes co-guest Chrissy
Holman. "We said polyamory despite what the media would have you think."
So far the show's website has only 1½ minutes of the video up (and it's not embeddable here as best I can tell). But a friendly person got low-res video of the whole thing by pointing her phone at the TV for the three segments between ads. At that link: Left, Antoinette and Kevin start off alone. Bottom right, Justin Clardy came next. Top right, all four partners close it out. Too bad they got so little time as a group of four.
Our day was bananas. Talking to a mostly non-sympathetic audience of over one million people about polyamory wasn't an easy task, but we did it. Live. That took a lot - make no mistake. I am drained and I'm sure my Phillycule is, too.
The stars getting prepped to go on.
I am proud of us. We did our best with what they gave us, which wasn't much, but we made lemonade and will continue to do so. Hopefully this is a catalyst for many future conversations. Let's normalize and destigmatize non-monogamy. It's clear given their questions and assumptions that there's much work to be done. I'm here for it.
My personal mission is simple - make polyamory inclusive, center folks at the margins, and make polyamory as BORING as possible. My dream is to pick up a book or see a movie where there are polyam folks of all races, genders, abilities, and orientations... BUT... it's a non issue. No one even bats an eye. It becomes a non-issue."
...There's so much love and compassion, and this is what we need. I hope others can have the same love and support we're so blessed to have."
● In Dan Savage's "Savage Love letter of the day," a sad and oh-so-typical crisis of a poly-mono couple who married five years ago without discussing and learning of their basic incompatibility on like, maybe, the second date? Much less before getting married? At least there are no kids yet. She Can't Do What He's Asking Her To Do — So What Should She Do? (Jan. 21).
All I want to do is to cheat on my husband of five years, whom I love passionately. My husband is intelligent, goofy, athletic, respectful, adventurous, and intellectually curious. We share the same values, sense of humor, and hobbies. We have great conversations and amazing sex. But I’m always falling for other men, which has never diminished my love for my husband. Crushing on other men is exhausting, thrilling, and miserable. I hate the unavoidable blushing, ear-to-ear smiling, crippling guilt, and occasional panic attack. (Compounding the misery, I can’t giggle with anyone about my crushes since I’m a married lady. I instead repress everything, which feels horrible.) Two years ago, I thought I had a solution: severing ties with all my male friends and acquaintances. This ended badly. ...
My rant: When I got into polyamory-awareness activism 15 years ago, the concept that multi-relationshipping could be successful and joyous was practically unknown. A life mission I privately set for myself was to help make it a cultural norm that when a dating relationship turns serious, the question "Do you want us to be open or closed?" is right up there with things like "Do you ever want to have kids?" Rather than just assuming that of course everybody who's worthwhile always turns monogamous, there's no other way except being a rat, no need to ask.
And not just no asking, no cultural room for telling. Even in the most intimate soul-relationship of your life.
I'm kind of amazed that, as early as 2020, this discussion has gone from culturally unthinkable to a fairly widely known wise thing to do — across much of the Western world and beginning to spread elsewhere (India, Russia, Japan...). Too bad this couple failed to get word that they could and should, you know, talk.
● Two poly-centered plays are making news in California's Bay Area: How to Transcend a Happy Marriage by noted playwright Sarah Ruhl, reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle (Jan. 20) and elsewhere, and PolySHAMory, a solo standup show by Kate Robards, also reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle (Jan. 12) and elsewhere.
Both plays have been going around for two or three years; see my past posts for Transcend and PolySHAMory. From those SF Chronicle reviews,
[How to Transcenda Happy Marriage] Take all your feelings about matrimony and monogamy, in all their contradictions. ... Maybe you revere the way present-tense love can stretch forward and backward in time while you also chafe at the limitations of giving your whole self to only one person. Maybe you’re curious about what other modes and loves are out there but too afraid to admit it or explore what that means. Maybe all that affection and lust you feel — for your partner, but also friends, co-workers — resist the compartmentalization the world demands.
“How to Transcend a Happy Marriage” acknowledges all those feelings and then, miraculously, stages a kind of ritual that makes them all OK.
In Sarah Ruhl’s play ... orgy becomes sylvan vision quest, which in turn leads to botched animal sacrifice. Everything falls apart. There are cops and protests and scars and fractures and losses, all manner of trauma. But the result is that two heterosexual couples, all best friends, are a little less tethered, a little more truthful with themselves and each other, a little bit more like the family they perhaps always secretly wanted to be. ...
[PolySHAMory] Kate Robards recounts how a Cinderella story of a wedding devolved into a nightmare of a marriage. She describes the nightmare as her relationship’s particular breed of polyamory, but you can imagine members of the poly community questioning her use of the label. In Robards’ telling, her now ex-husband drives each step of the pair’s decision to start looking for “paramours,” as she fakes enthusiasm in return — sometimes hilariously, her words drying up, no more sound squeaking out — or awkwardly acquiesces.
If polyamory is supposed to come from a superabundance of love, receptivity and openness, Robards incarnates her ex, Josh, as a meathead prone to glossing over pain and complexity with a “Hey, babe.” ...
So is Robards a total poly-basher? Well, no. From an interview with the Chronicle January 7th:
Q: I was wondering if with the word “sham” you had any worries about reinforcing simplistic stereotypes about polyamory.
A: I’ve had a lot of people who are polyamorous come to my show, including friends … and they were like, “We get enough of a hard rap for this, and we don’t need one more person telling a bad story about it.” But I have to remind them that as an artist I have a point that I’m getting to and ideas and questions which are unanswered to me, which I want to explore in the piece, and they get that.
...Anytime you do anything autobiographical, I think you have to tread the line of being respectful to the communities and the people you speak about. … I make sure to use my “I” statements. It’s my personal story. It is authentic and it is autobiographical. I make sure not to delve into the other people’s perceptions, the other characters’. It’s just my point of view. It’s truly a monologue.
NCSF says its purpose for Metamour Day is "honoring polyamory's most distinctive relationship," as well as
to foster acceptance and heighten understanding of consensual non-monogamy (“CNM”), strengthen the CNM community, and create awareness of the NCSF mission.
In an effort to broaden the reach and celebration of this holiday, we encourage you to spread the word and host an event for your community. Some of our supporters are hosting parties, others are participating in our greeting card contest (details on the website), and using our hashtag #MetamourDay2020 on social media to promote the occasion. We would love to hear about what you do so we can share in the fun and boost Metamour Day now and into the future.
Eventually, we want to create an archive of information and examples of the fantastic things our constituents do to acknowledge this important relationship. Additionally, if you need any participation from us, we are happy to help. Please let us know if you’re interested by reaching us at firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest convenience. Please visit our website, https://ncsfreedom.org/metamour-day-2/, for more information.
Used by permission. Click to embiggen.
● And before that comes #PolyamoryWeek, February 9 – 15, though I'm seeing less momentum there so far. Yet people do keep putting up graphics on Instagram....
Watch, and comment on, polyfolks on ABC-TV's Tamron Hall Show. Airs Thursday Jan. 23
--- UPDATE --- The show airs at different times in different cities. List.
This just in from Chrissy Holman via the Polyamory Leadership Network list:
We have some exciting news for the entire non-monogamy community. On Thursday, 1/23 (yes, this Thursday), Kevin Patterson of Poly Role Models, Antoinette Crumby Patterson, Pace and myself will be on the Tamron Hall show on ABC/Disney, talking about polyamory and open relationships. EXCITING! They will be talking to the four of us about what our polyamory looks like, and how we relationship in this dynamic. This outlet seems highly sympathetic, which is both rare and gorgeous. This is a nationally syndicated talk show with over a million viewers. This is a huge deal for our community, and we hope you’ll join us in destigmatizing and normalizing non-monogamy… but we need your help.
2. Share this information on your social media and with your email lists. Wrangle all your non-monogamous friends across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other channels, and let them know where to tune in, and how they can also help. I've provided sample copy below, so edit at will, but make sure you use the provided hashtags and promote Kevin's work (links below). Start conversations where you can.
3. Help us moderate the comments sections across the Tamron Hall social media channels (listed below for your convenience). The show has covered non-monogamy before, and as expected, there are some not-so-positive comments. How do we combat stigma and judgment? With accurate information! Your lived experience matters here. If you’re good at keeping a cool head and want to educate some misinformed people, the comments sections across the Tamron Hall show channels are a great place to help. In addition to promoting Kevin’s work (links below), tagging his pages (@polyrolemodels), share your own experiences.
Thank you so very much for your time and energy! Let’s normalize non-monogamy!
Sample Copy (edit for your own voice, but make sure you use the hashtags and tag Kevin @polyrolemodels and link to his work where appropriate):
Exciting news! On Thursday, 1/23, Kevin Patterson of @polyrolemodels, Antoinette Patterson, Pace, and Chrissy Holman will be live on the Tamron Hall show on ABC/Disney, talking about polyamory and open relationships. Find your channel or stream here: https://www.tamronhallshow.com/ #TamronHallShow #TamronHall #polyamory #openrelationships #nonmonogamy #polyrolemodels
BTW, in the How It's Done department: If you're ever going to be on a TV show yourself, this a model for how to crank up community support.
The Tamron Hall show, aimed mainly at women who are at home on weekday mornings, runs for 1 hour starting at different times of day in different cities. List of times. No word on when during the hour the polycule will be on. The show does not seem to post its full episodes online, at least not right away.
Friday Polynews Roundup — Network TV shows, tabs, estate planners, Metamour Day, Poly Week, and more
It's Friday Polynews Roundup! — for January 17, 2020.
● Poly invades even network TV shows. On ABC's comedy series Single Parents this week, a triad involving key characters explained themselves. (This was in Season 2, Episode 12, "Welcome to Hilltop!", aired January 15.) From a transcript:
Poppy: [Sighs] I have a question. Sorry to sound like the old Millennial, but how does this work? Anybody ever feel left out or...?
Homily: We have a three-pronged approach for working through the sticky stuff — radical honesty, active listening, and open communication. And it just works.
Angie: Well, now I want to be in a throuple! How did you guys meet?
Brian: Oh, there's a poly dating app. It's called Big Bed.
Each episode becomes viewable for free a week after it airs, in this case January 23.
Polyamory is the emergent radical sexual revolutionary idea that is popping up on everything from cable shows to police dramas. We can now add "network television comedy" to the growing list of Hollywood junk pushing this idea.
This week, the ABC sitcom "Single Parents" introduced a "throuple".... Single dad Miggie (Jake Choi) and his gilfriend, left-wing public school teacher Homily Pronstroller (Sarah Yarkin), create a throuple with a guy they met on a polyamorous dating app.
● Meanwhile over at CBS, the police/crime show S.W.A.T is now in its third season. Jessica M. writes us,
In Season 2 starting with Episode 6 ("Never Again"), the female bisexual character of Christina "Chris" Alonso is dating a gal named Kira. Kira tells Chris that she is engaged to a guy named Ty and that they are polyamorous and looking for a woman to be their third in a triangle. This plotline appears in the following episodes as well: Season 2 Ep. 8, 10, 13, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21; Season 3 Ep. 3, 7, 8.
Unfortunately the relationship doesn't seem to last, as Chris moves out when it becomes clear to her that she has more intense feelings for Kira than Ty, but the whole situation is handled in a pretty realistic manner, in my opinion.
● More doings on TV. The Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association and Polyamour Montréal have issued press releases objecting to a falsehood on Télé-Québec:
In episode 24 of "Zone Franche," a TV show on Télé-Québec, Canadian lawyer and television personality Anne-France Goldwater stated that polyamorous relationships are the equivalent of bigamy and polygamy, and therefore were criminal acts in terms of the law. The episode was broadcast on January 6, 2020.
Goldwater’s comments are not true, of course, because on November 23, 2011, British Columbia’s Supreme Court ruled that Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada [against polygamy] does not apply to unformalized polyamorous relationships. ...
Ava Miller, from Washington State, has been in the unconventional relationship with her husband Anthony Miller, 37, and her fiancé Ashley Welp, 24, for around two years.
Ava and Anthony, who married in 2003 and have two sons together, claim the trio are 'head over heels in love with each other' despite the 'strange looks' they often receive when together in public.
'People who judge poly families need to realize that we are people just like them. Sharing is the best part of polyamory, it makes me so happy.
'We have built a beautiful foundation together and my family feels complete.'
...Ava said: 'At first we told the kids that Ashley was our friend. They grew to really love her and considered her their fun auntie.
'But one month later, the kids caught on. They asked us, "Are you guys in one of those triangle relationships?".
'We told them we were and they accepted us immediately. I was relieved at how laid back they were.' ...
The story includes a video of another MFF triad:
Lots more of these stories from my past collections; scroll away.
Where do the tabs find all these people? Hint: They pay! Contact the agencies in the image credits — but expect to earn that money, and to sign a scary nondisclosure agreement about the amount. Get competing bids from a couple of the agencies, try to bargain up from their first offer (which is probably for suckers), and insist on editorial control over the final product so you can keep them from portraying you as freaks. Remember, the tabs are not journalism on anyone's part.
My partner and I are non-monogamous, and I know that it would be ok for me to be with someone else, but I’m scared to.
I don’t feel this way about my partner dating, and I don’t get jealous. But any time I have feelings for someone outside our relationship I get filled with self-loathing feelings. I worry over hurting my partner. I feel like a traitor. ...
My partner encourages me and wants me to date additional people if I so choose, and I want to as well. But I don’t know how to deal with these feelings.
Less Than Two
...You’re not the first person I’ve heard from who has issues like this. ... And often, the reasons are what you’ve listed here: they’re worried about hurting their partner or that they are betraying their relationship somehow. It doesn’t matter that their partners are fully ok with them dating other people. Nor does it matter that their partner doesn’t feel threatened or upset by the possibility that someone they love may also have feelings for other people. ...
So I think it’s worthwhile to dig in and start asking yourself the hard questions....
Are you actually poly? ...Is it possible that you’re feeling self-loathing or worry, not because you’re afraid of hurting your partner but because you feel like you’re supposed to want these things but don’t? Are you feeling like you’re betraying your partner by NOT dating other people?
(The non-poly folks are shaking their head at this but trust me: it’s a thing.)...
The next question I think you have to ask yourself is what, exactly, is stopping you from trusting your partner when they say that they’re cool with your dating other people. ...
Another possibility is to ask yourself: are you worried that this is going to expose fault lines in your relationship? ...
● The Capitalism Always Adapts department. WealthManagement.com is advising professional estate planners about a newly visible category of clients to pursue. WealthManagement is a newsletter for "over 540,000 financial advisors and wealth professionals [who] rely on WealthManagement information, editorial insight, and analysis to assist them in their client activities." Now up in its Estate Planning section: Dead Celebrity Podcast: Jerry Weintraub and Modern Polyamory (Jan. 6):
By David H. Lenok
If you had a client with multiple partners, would you know how to handle their estate planning?
...In this episode, WealthManagement.com’s senior editor, David Lenok, speaks with Kim Kamin, principal at Gresham Partners, about the success of Jerry Weintraub’s estate plan. Its success is notable given that this Emmy-Award winning producer, talent manager, and actor had lived with a long-term girlfriend while still staying married to his wife. Together, David and Kim discuss... the overlooked prevalence of polyamorous couples in today’s society, and considerations for advisors who are working with polyamorous clients.
In this episode, you will learn:
– About the many variations of modern polyamory
– How to tactfully ask your coupled clients about their relationships
– Considerations that have to be made depending on whether the polyamorous relationship is a public or private arrangement
– Ways to help your polyamorous clients dodge estate planning hurdles
● Metamour Day is already coming around again, can you believe it? We're already hearing word of groups planning stuff for February 28th, which of course is Valentine's Day times two.
Which is exactly on target. Your metamours, of course, are your lover(s)' other lover(s). The defining aspect of polyamory, the thing that sets it apart from other forms of consensual non-monogamy such as open relationships, is the understanding that your metas — your partners-in-law — are significant persons in the mix who require, at minimum, your consideration, respect, and basic good will. Even if you hardly know them and/or don't much like them, and even if ordinary politeness is as far as you go. Because polyamory, much like a traditional extended family, carries an implicit ethic that for better or worse, "We're all in this together."
And, of course, metamour relations often blossom into deep friendships and companionships, platonic or otherwise, and sometimes outlast the relationship with the person who brought the metas together in the first place.
Are you creative? Want to show your appreciation for your metamour, or help others to do so? We're hosting a Metamour Day Card Contest!
All accepted contest submissions will be featured on the Metamour Day page, and will be available to download to give to your metamour on February 28th. More details, including prizes, will be announced soon. Follow our social media to stay up to date with the latest news on the contest.
Guidelines for contest submissions:
- Must be original artwork; no copyright infringement, please!
- No personal information. We want these cards to be useful to everyone!
- Keep in mind that there are many varieties of metamour relationships out there.
For inquiries or submissions, email email@example.com
Let's see if we can get this one to take off too. Writes Canadian polyactivist Steve Ks, "I kind of like how this pre-empts Valentine's Day (without mentioning it)." Though of course we're not pre-empting traditional couple romance, we're adding to its possibilities!
Ta-ta till next Friday, unless something big comes up before then.
Friday Polynews Roundup — Poly hospital drama in the NY Times, L Word, conservatives turn on a heretic, and more
It's Friday Polynews Roundup time! — for January 10, 2020.
● Polyamory and open relationships are fundamentally different (yes I know about the blends and overlaps), and the difference is the metamour relations. In this morning's New York Times comes a heartfelt reminder that sometimes, life doesn't want you to compartmentalize your relationships: Two Open Marriages in One Small Room. It's the Times's Modern Love article for Jan. 10, 2020.
A motorcycle accident brings together four lives that had been kept intentionally separate.
Brian Rea / NYT
By Wayne Scott
“I want to see the body,” said my 12-year-old son, Miles.
He and I were sitting in our minivan outside of the hospital. ...
“Miles, it’s not ‘the body,’” I said. “You only say ‘the body’ when a person is dead. Eric’s still Eric. He’s just had a terrible accident.”
“Then I want to see him,” Miles said. “Can’t we go inside? Just for a few minutes.”
“It’s private,” I said.
“Well, Mom is there.”
“Mom and Eric have a special relationship,” I said. “Eric is in an intensive care unit. They’re cramped spaces full of sensitive equipment. We don’t want the room to be too crowded.”...
“I think it’s just Mom there, and Eric,” Miles said. “Maybe Shelley.”
Here’s where it gets interesting. Shelley is Eric’s wife. My wife (and Miles’s mother) is Eric’s girlfriend. We both have open marriages and respect each other’s privacy, but this accident propelled us into a new reality.
...Like other couples we know in open arrangements, my wife and I compartmentalize, keeping our dating relationships mostly off each other’s radar, a buffer against jealousy and insecurity. ...
Good luck with that.
...Months later, Eric would come through all of this — ambulatory and healed, if altered. But that evening, looking at him, I felt a fluttering in my gut, a stir of mortal awareness, as if holding him in our gaze was the only thing tethering him to the earth.
Well the next episode aired last Sunday, and Insider issued a new story:
By Canela López
Episode 5 of Showtime's "The L Word: Generation Q" had audiences gasping Sunday night after the lesbian drama portrayed long-time audience favorite Alice Pieszecki and her wife possibly turning their relationship into a "throuple."
...With more celebrities openly identifying as polyamorous, it may not come as a surprise that the boundary-pushing show is attempting to normalize this unconventional way of dating.
...The episode doesn't reduce the throuple to a messy side story to poke fun of. Rather, the three are portrayed working through a strategy on how or if they should tell the children, how they should show up in public, and what other boundaries they'll have in their relationship.
This portrayal of communicative and, for the most part, healthy polyamory is a big departure from typical portrayals of being poly which typically conflates the practice with polygamy — a far more sexist version of non-monogamy [such as "Big Love" and "Sister Wives"]....
The episode's two-minute trailer:
● It's all too much for National Review, America's long-established magazine of old-style conservatism. This week it published an article against a conservative writer, Geoffrey Miller, who recently defended poly at length in another conservative magazine.
The reply is noteworthy because it's not overtly based on religion and does raise some issues that are worthy of attention (if you can get through the rest of it). It's titled The Counterfeit ‘Honesty’ of Polyamory (online Jan. 7).
By Daniel Frost and Hal Boyd
The trend toward privileging desire over commitment and morality has predictable consequences.
Hold it right there. Poly and other forms of ethical nonmonogamy are all about commitment and morality. Yes, we know that unethical people do the opposite of those things. That's why we do it our way.
[Segueing from a discussion about a man who visits sex workers,] evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller recently wrote favorably about a related, albeit slightly different, form of openness: “polyamory,” which, he argues, “is going mainstream, like it or not.” ...Miller and others tout polyamory, or consensual non-monogamy, as allowing more honesty regarding our true desires. ... Miller, in fact, characterizes polyamory as “radical honesty,” claiming that it allows once impermissible desires to be articulated and pursued more openly and truthfully.
This is perhaps one of the main arguments advanced by advocates of polyamory and consensual non-monogamy. After millennia of deceiving ourselves and others, we’re told, polyamory finally permits us to say what we really think and to act as we really feel.
...But before polyamorists congratulate themselves too much over their honesty, it’s worth investigating what they mean by “radical honesty.” It turns out that, in practice, this kind of “honesty” more often deals in half-truths and plays the role of legitimizing a self-centered form of sexual consumerism.
Actually, half-truths are not honesty at all, and "self-centered consumerism" is not ethical, caring, or loving. But the authors, who teach at Brigham Young University's College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, come from the doctrine that sex outside of monogamous marriage is contrary to God and therefore is necessarily destructive and bound to end in misery. And therefore so is love outside of strict bounds. In fact, their jobs at BYU require them not to think otherwise in public. So they close that loop of circular logic right away, perhaps without even knowing it.
But then things get more interesting:
Proponents often tout polyamory as an ethical, “consensual” form of non-monogamy. However, a recent survey, co-sponsored by the Wheatley Institution and Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life found that less than half of women who had been in a consensual non-monogamous relationship said that both partners desired the arrangement equally.
And, among all survey respondents, it turned out that “men desired an open sexual relationship almost four times more than their female counterparts.” To be sure, plenty of male respondents in the survey reported that their female partner wanted an open relationship more than they did; but, no matter the direction of the data, the findings suggest that the mainstreaming of polyamory would likely result in many individuals (particularly women) feeling pressured to enter arrangements that would not be their first choice.
And there exists a genuine problem. Women (and men) must have the power and agency to say no to a relationship style they don't want, and to leave it if necessary. But Poly Under Pressure, PUP, indeed happens, and as I've said before, it's a sick puppy whose diarrhea fouls us all.
Polyamory is the latest expression of sexual freedom championed by the affluent. They are in a better position to manage the complications of novel relationship arrangements. And if these relationships don’t work out, they can recover thanks to their financial capability and social capital. The less fortunate suffer by adopting the beliefs of the upper class.
...Marriage norms have seriously deteriorated among the poor, with serious consequences for single parents and children.... We are arguing that the spread of “radically honest” views of commitment and relationships will make family stability increasingly unlikely.
First, consensual non-monogamy is not peculiar to the upper class; elites simply attract more eyes no matter what they do, and they have less to fear from saying what they think. A 2016 study, spanning 8,718 individuals, found that the percent of the US population reporting experience with CNM "remained constant across age, education level, income, religion, region, political affiliation, and race." If the poor and marginalized lead more troubled, chaotic lives than the affluent, maybe it's because not having money means life is usually bouncing between trouble and chaos.
In fact, CNM can be adaptive among the marginalized. Talk to folks at a black polycon and you will hear that for many generations, long before the word polyamory was invented, networked intimate relationships in the black community were providing buffers against hard circumstances, even if they were kept on the down-low out of white view.
On the other hand... it's true that social trends often degrade as they go mass market. I've been saying for 12 years that as the poly bandwagon gets rolling, we need to steer the bandwagon to keep it on a path of good ethics, respect, integrity, and compassion, difficult as those things may be, or our defining word will come to mean nothing. So, yeah.
BTW, if the BYU profs are reading this, remember that quote from last week, "When a man is penalized for honesty, he learns to lie." Often without even realizing it.
The most important factor contributing to the success of opening a relationship is ensuring that it is truly consensual. Bullying, badgering, and coercing a partner until they finally give in to something they really don’t want to do is setting yourself up for disaster, and getting your mess all over the people you try to date. [The PUPpy diarrhea.]
...Real consent is a living thing negotiated among people who can say yes or no. When someone is unable to say no, then their yes is just lip service and not true consent. Consent is not only negotiated, but it can also be renegotiated as requirements and experiences change. People who want to try CNM would do well to educate themselves about how to attain and sustain true consent because it can be especially tricky in CNM relationships.
2. Cultivate Relationship Skills
Polyamory and other forms of consensual nonmonogamy require some skilled relationship maintenance. Just like other kinds of relationships, polyamory thrives on compassionate communication, active listening, and creative problem-solving. For these relationships to be successful, people must be willing to put in effort and view relationships as worthy of investing time and energy. This usually means taking the time to learn communication skills, listen deeply, work on compassionate responses to conflict, and try different things when the old ways no longer work.
If all of that sounds like a tall order, it is. ...
3. Be Flexible
Many people in established monogamous couples — especially heteroflexible couples composed of heteroflexible or bisexual women with heterosexual men — approach CNM with a very clear idea of how it will work for them. Often based in fantasy, this idea can calcify into an inflexible structure that might not actually work in the real world. ...
4. Find Support
Finding social support is key for establishing a happy polyamorous relationship. Swinging, open, monogamish, and some other forms of CNM tend to be more separated from family life and sometimes exclude emotional intimacy. Polyamorous relationships, in contrast, are generally more deeply embedded in daily social life and family interactions. Connecting with [others] provides access to advice, other perspectives, role models, friendship, emotional support, and companionship.
...Sometimes, however, CNM does not work even when couples work to establish consent, gain relationship skills, stay flexible, and get support. The third and final blog in this series addresses when CNM will not work for an established couple and what to do about it.
I really wanna be in a triad relationship with two boys (I’m a girl), but I've never met anyone who is down with that and it's all I really think about and I really want this?
It’s totally fine to have desires and fantasies and dreams — most people have at least a few. ...
It’s important to remember, though, that ultimately, we date people, not relationships. Pursuing a specific relationship style rather than seeking intimacy with individuals is an easy mistake to make but it will lead you down some rough roads. Seeing a relationship as a “goal” to “achieve” will also cause you tons of anguish, so be careful with that.
Work on yourself, find ways to meet polyamorous people organically (dating sites, meetups, the local scene), and try to be patient. ... Inevitably, reality won’t end up looking like your expectations, and it’s better to live in the present than the future. ...
● From another advice column, "Ask an Alaskan: Sex and Relationship for the Last Frontier" in the alternative Anchorage Press:Poly Problems (Jan. 8)
...Now we are in a situation that I never expected. I am going to break up with my boyfriend that I moved to Alaska with, but I also want to continue dating the person that we started dating together.
How do we break up with each other but continue to date our mutual partner when we are not together?
Since opening up to my partner about being poly-curious a few years ago, we've been talking and reading resources about open relationships, and we're thinking about opening up. Our current relationship is strong and my partner has expressed their open-mindness about this.
We recently visited a local polyamory support group to seek advice but didn't feel that we could do so once we got there. Besides an interest in open relationships, we didn't really have all that much in common with the other attendees.
Where should a long-term couple like us start?
My own advice? Go back to that group and pick their brains for knowledge even if you don't "really have all that much in common." In a big important way, you do.
Even if, let's say, you're quiet churchmice and they're fluorescent-haired 20-something psychonauts. To learn new things, be ready for new things.
That's Friday Polynews Roundup for now. See you next week, or sooner if something big develops!
Friday Polynews Roundup — Black poly on NBC, family poly on The L Word, we're now in country music, and more
It's Friday Polynews Roundup time! — for January 3, 2020.
● This week NBC's LX division ("LX, or Local X, stands for the exponential possibilities of storytelling in our communities") put out a sweet 7-minute segment on a poly group. A couple opened their marriage four years ago after the wife was intrigued by a TV program just like this. They've ended up in a quad, and their communication and honesty all around made it work.
And if you've been waiting for one of these nice TV profiles to exhibit successful poly entirely in the black community, bookmark this one.
Simone and Tony Frederick opened up their monogamous relationship after four years of marriage. They are now in a polyamorous relationship, meaning they're in intimate relationships with more than one partner with the consent of all partners involved.
I don't how widely this is airing. NBC's LX division says it's "redefining local news"; I assume this means it supplies human-interest filler for the local news shows on NBC affiliates all over. Notice, for instance, that there's no indication of where these nice people live.
In what we can vouch to be the steamiest of lesbian threesomes, the scene was just about Alice, Nat and Gigi — one that was not shot for the male gaze, and is passionate and simply beautiful.
By Pooja Salvi
When Alice (Leisha Hailey) had suggested that her current partner Nat (Stephanie Allynne) and Nat's ex-wife Gigi (Sepideh Moafi) rekindle their friendship, we had expected the show to take the same downtrodden path — a love triangle destined to be doomed.
What we did not expect — okay, actually, we had already called it — is one episode later, the trio will be participating in an extremely steamy threesome!
In the latest episode of 'The L Word: Generation Q', Alice is being interviewed by LA Times — her work, her show, her queer life, her partner, their life together.
At the same time, Gigi shows up at the office with the kids and their change of clothes for the shoot. The newspaper gets a photo of the three together around the kids, as a family.
We — along with countless fans of the show — are hoping that the makers of 'The L Word: Generation Q' explore polyamory for the trio going forward.
...The throuple not only has physical chemistry with each other but also an emotional connection. ... With the next episode literally titled 'Labels', could it be that Alice, Nat and Gigi put a label on their relationship? 'The L Word: Generation Q' airs on Sundays at 10/ 9c on Showtime.
Polyamory is the next frontier in the radical left’s sexual revolution. Every left-wing medium, from the New York Times to network television, has been attempting to “normalize” and desensitize the public to this "lifestyle." It was only a matter of time before Showtime's The L Word: Generation Q, a show dreamed up in a lesbian fantasyland somewhere in Los Angeles, would join the polyamory push.
In this week’s episode, “LA Times,” on December 29, talk-show host Alice (Leisha Hailey) created a “throuple” with her current lesbian lover Natalie (Stephanie Allynne) and Natalie’s ex-wife Gigi (Sepideh Moafi). Of course, Gigi and Natalie were already raising two children together. What could go wrong for children to live under such sexual chaos?
Before the explicit scene that establishes the threesome’s new “relationship,” the trio are already talking about themselves as a “family.” They first use the word “family” after friends show Alice a recent feature article and headline promoting her as the “Queen of Queer Life.” ...
● Meanwhile, poly invades country music! "Polyamory" by Colorado's Sugar Britches:
Oh, Luna Fortuna is more than queer author Stacy Bias’ weird little picture book for adults about trauma, mental health, and dog rescue in the vein of Go the Fuck to Sleep (i.e. not for kids). It... shows us how loving something else requires us often to love ourselves first. Bias, an author and well known fat activist, weaves together polyamory, animal rescue, and PTSD into a slim graphic memoir that will make many LGBTQ folks nodding vigorously with recognition (and sometimes delight). Available from Etsy/Oh Luna.
I’ve been practicing polyamory for three years. ... My big problem is that once my partners either a) show an interest in someone or b) have sex with them, I immediately do not want to spend any time with that person. I barely want to make eye contact (avoidance much?).
...I know I’m missing out on valuable and lovely social experiences because of this, AND I’m disappointing my loved ones.
— Avid Avoider
First, not all non-monogamous relationships are required to include interactions with partners’ partners in order to be successful. The boundaries of all relationships (monogamous or not) are able to be negotiated to best suit the emotional and mental health of all players involved. ...
I find it interesting that you differentiate here between your jealousy (which you describe as “manageable”) and your desire to entirely avoid your metamours. It makes me wonder, what’s fueling your avoidance?.... Are you good at reframing negative self-talk? Do you have effective ways of caretaking yourself and your feelings during a jealous spell that could work here?
...Also, what is The Big Scary you’re avoiding by not making eye contact with these lovers of your lovers? I sort of wonder if some casual “exposure therapy” is in order here. Meaning, what would it be like to gradually face these fears and thoughts rather than keep them in the dainty little glass cabinet called Avoidance you’ve stored them in, leaving them untouched and, ultimately, perfectly intact?
...Whatever you do, the only way to stop avoiding is to stop avoiding. ...
● News You Can Use
This week I'm reading Jim Fleckenstein's new book Love That Works, a collection of 38 relationship hacks. Jim has been a kink and poly activist for decades. He formed the Institute for 21st Century Relationships back when "21st Century" meant science fiction; it later became the nonprofit foundation of his other passion, the kink and poly National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), which thrives today. He's also a relationship coach. Love That Works is not poly-specific but offers tools that poly people and groups should find useful.
I've just started the book, and it begins with an insight I've rarely seen elsewhere, though it's obvious when you see it. Before any relationship processing can work between people, they have to explicitly prepare a safe space between them for difficult disclosures and discussions.
Family therapists often miss this fact because their own office and presence provide such a setting automatically. In fact, that simple thing is a lot of what you pay them for, though no one might quite say so.
"If it’s not safe to share everything," writes Jim," then it’s not really safe to share anything, because you never know what’s going to be triggering and derail the conversation."
He quotes Criss Jami: "When a man is penalized for honesty, he learns to lie."
So, for this week's News You Can Use from the community itself, here's from Hack #1:
Reflect upon a time in your relationship when you punished your partner for telling you an unpalatable truth, large or small. ...
Do you think that your approach encouraged future honesty, or did it encourage deception and secrecy?
What might be some ways that you might have handled it differently?
Just sit with that one for a while.
(Disclosure: I have no financial interest in the book, but Jim's a friend and I hope it succeeds.)
See you next Friday, or sooner if something comes up!