Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

January 31, 2020

Friday Polynews Roundup — More on sweet polyam on ABC sitcom, a Christian writer self-trolls, and that damn word "throuple" becomes unstoppable

It's Friday Polynews Roundup time again! — for January 31, 2020

The poly relationship developing in ABC's "Single Parents," a mainstream Wednesday night sitcom, prompted an editor at Salon to interview the show's co-creator J.J. Philbin about it: Polyamory is on the rise, and ABC's comedy "Single Parents" is normalizing it with a loving throuple (Jan. 29)

Brian (Nick Hargrove), Miggy (Jake Choi), and Homily (Sarah Yarkin)

By Hanh Nguyen

New throuple alert! Earlier this month, ABC's zany sitcom "Single Parents" became the latest TV series to introduce a polyamorous relationship into its main storyline. In such an ethical non-monogamous relationship, an individual can have an intimate and possibly even committed relationship with more than one partner.

This on-screen change reflects a shift in how Americans are approaching relationships. ... And the younger the person is, the more they are open to and accepting of non-monogamy. In a YouGov study, only 3 percent of Americans over 65 have had sexual contact outside of their relationship with the consent of their partner. That rises to 9 percent for Gen X, and 17 percent for Millennials. Overall, about 29 percent of adults under 30 consider open relationships to be morally acceptable.

Next we get a partial rundown of consensual non-monogamy in previous TV series:

TV has flirted with non-monogamy before, but the polygamy on HBO's "Big Love" and the reality counterpart "Sister Wives" is a completely different animal. The CBS series "Swingtown" tried to look at open marriages through a historic lens, but that didn't even last beyond its 13-episode first season.

Lately, the best depictions of the more modern consensual and ethical non-monogamous relationships are either on cable (Audience Network's "You Me Her" and Showtime's "The L Word") and streaming ("Unicornland"), or touched upon in a broadcast procedural (CBS's "S.W.A.T."). It's rarely been addressed in a smart and respectful way on a comedy.

Enter "Single Parents." In the ensemble comedy co-created by Liz Meriwether ("New Girl") and J.J. Philbin, a group of adults navigate single parenthood with their elementary school-aged kids with the help of each other.

In the show's Jan. 15 episode "Welcome to Hilltop!," friends Poppy and Angie  become concerned for their pal Miggy, whose girlfriend Homily is seen cozying up to another man. After a comical stakeout, they discover that's not just any man, but Brian, the couple's boyfriend they had met on a polyam app called Big Bed.

...Homily allays their fears about possible issues with jealousy or feeling left out. "We have a three-pronged approach for working through the sticky stuff: radical honesty, active listening, and open communication," she says. "And it just works."

And then the interview:

Salon spoke with Philbin to discuss the inspiration for the storyline, what sort of research was done to get the depiction correct without feeling preachy or exploitative, and how the writers' room landed on that app name.

J.J. PHILBIN:  ...Miggy and Jake do overlap in a lot of ways: they're young and open-hearted, and they're both very loving. . . . That's sort of the superpower that [Miggy] brings to the group. So it felt in line with who he was, and he's a character who's still finding himself and open to anything. And he's there to open the minds of the rest of our characters.

...In the writers' room, we obviously talk about everything, including our personal lives. We do have a writer on staff who wrote this episode, who is queer, and she was in a poly[am] relationship for a minute there. . . . She started explaining that in order to be in a relationship that involves three people, you have to be so upfront right away. The communication skills have to be totally on point. A lot of the stuff that like, in a new relationship when you're feeling out whether you're exclusive or not, or you're trying to pretend like you're not jealous – all that kind of goes out the window, because you have to be so upfront so quickly. She was saying that it's really freeing to be able to dispense with of all of that kind of beginning-of-relationship drama.

We started talking about that – maybe this is actually the way into what's going on with Miggy, because he would be someone who would excel at these kind of communication skills.... Once they realized that it was less about unveiling Miggy as being queer or sexually fluid and more about qualities that went with that, things started to fall into place. ... Our writer Dani Shank did such an amazing job of guiding us through this because obviously we wanted to handle it as maturely and sensitively as possible, while also like still being able to laugh and make it fun.

Was ABC on board with this storyline immediately or were there discussions on how to handle it?

We told them early on in the season, "This is our plan for Miggy. We're gonna wait until we feel like we have the right story for it." We wanted to give it what we think is its proper due, which turned out to be one of the biggest questions: How big a story is it – how much are we paying attention to this reveal about the character because again, we didn't feel like Miggy the character was like tortured about this in any way and didn't want to give that impression.

ABC was really cool about it. They were down for us to do that story. If they had any notes, it was they thought we were being silly about the stakeout. So they were like, "Okay guys, take it easy on the stakeout." But none of their notes were about Miggy revealing himself or being sexually fluid or being in a throuple at all.

What were the conversations with Jake like? [Jake plays Miggy.]

He made it so easy. I told him in the beginning of the year that we were thinking about doing this, and he was just nothing but excited and open. "However you guys want to unveil this, that's fine with me." He definitely weighed in on making sure that we were staying in the reality of it and how to explain it. That was a lot coming from Jake, the fact that it's just about the vibe of the person and less about their sexuality.

Are we going to be seeing any sort of mention of this again before the end of the season?

I think we are getting towards the end [of the season], but we still have three episodes that I'm hoping to get them to get some mention or just kind of update on how this is going. In my head, he's happily in this relationship, and I like the idea that it's stable, and it's not like going to be [drama]. ...

● Yet another California triad family was spotlighted in several British tabloids this week: Woman who is in a 'throuple' with her husband and a woman they met at yoga insists SHE was the one who persuaded her husband to welcome another person into their marriage (January 28, 2020). With, again, piles of photo-professional pix.

...Explaining to a bemused Abbey that no one had cheated on anyone and they were in fact in an open relationship, the couple then invited her to their house the following day.

'Abbey came round, we cooked a huge feast and then later we went to the beach to watch the sunset,' Samela said.

'It was a beautiful sunset and there was a lot of tension in the air. Patrick and I still weren't 100 per cent sure if Abbey just wanted a platonic friendship or if she'd be interested in more.

'We didn't want it to be weird or to be intimidating, with the two of us coming on to her.

'But something about watching the sunset was so beautiful and we shared a kiss and asked Abbey if she would be interested in having more.'...

...In June, the three lovers took a 'crazy leap' and moved in together after four months together.

'We spent all our time together anyway, so we thought, 'Why not just have all our stuff in one place?' Samela explained.

...'We do one-on-one dates, too, because it's important to tend to the individual as well – but the real fun times are when we're all together.'

...The three-way couple have even launched their own podcast — aptly titled Throuple Trouble and have received messages from people who want to open up their relationships.

...Proving just how strong their bond as a threesome or 'throuple' is, the lovers have now planned a ceremony in February to declare their love and to commit to each other for a year and one day.

...'They've bought me a crown to wear on the day of the ceremony and it's symbolic because Sam and Patrick treat me like royalty.

'I truly believe having two people in your heart is better than one.'

● Oh heck, here's a couple more of these from the backlog. From Washington state, in the UK's The Sun, THRICE AS NICE - Throuple say people are disgusted by their three-way relationship but their six kids find it ‘incredibly exciting’ (Dec. 27, 2019)

The couple - who met when they were nine years old and share Atticus, seven, Maxim, five and Solomon, three - had never explored polyamory before meeting the British mum-of-three.

After striking up a friendship with Naomi - who moved to the US from Essex in 2004 - the families began to spend time at one another's homes while the kids played.

Within a few months, the three adults had fallen in love.

..."This was also our first foray into polyamory so there was a lot to decipher emotionally."

Explaining how their dynamic works, Mackenzie said: "We are a polyfidelitous triad, which means we are a closed relationship.

"But all of us are in love with the others; we are all equal parts in this relationship."

Although the mum hit back at society's "toxic" view of polyamory, Mackenzie said: "The best things about being in a triad are the abundance of love, being in a relationship with both a man and a woman, always having someone you love around, and the teamwork that helps us get through life with ease and joy."

In the UK's Daily Star, from Bakersfield, California, Polyamorous quad claim ‘jealousy is not an issue’ with bed rotation each night (Sept. 12, 2019)

Day in the park: the four with their eight kids

The polyamorous quad live together with their kids and say their relationship is just as loving as any other.

The former firefighter says he knew he always wanted a large family and that being monogamous would not bring him happiness.

Now, the polyamorous quad share their family life on YouTube to support and connect other polyamorous families. ...

About that word "throuple", used so often above. A lot polyfolks hate it.

"Triad" has been the term within the community for a half century — ever since Grace Slick introduced David Crosby's song by that name on the Jefferson Airplane album "Crown of Creation" in 1968.

Meanwhile the gay community, on its own separate, parallel track, started using "throuple" some years ago. It does have the advantage of obviously being an expansion of "couple." But some think it sounds trivial-ish and couple-centric.

Curious, I put throuple (and its variants thruple and thrupple) into Google Trends. This graph shows the relative search rates for all three, worldwide, for the last 8 years. (The lines were very flat for many years before.) Yup, taking off.

(The numbers are relative search rates scaled to set the peak as 100%.)

Anyone know what might have caused those two recent spikes? They're in late June and late October of last year.

So we're going to have to get used to "throuple." But triad forever shines in my heart (I'm listening to that Airplane album right now, having looked it up), and I suspect the poly community will always use it in preference.

Speaking of triads, in the conservative Christian magazine The World, Janie B. Cheaney surely didn't grasp how she was accidentally trolling herself in Picture a Triangle: Polyamory makes deviance the norm (Jan. 30):

Picture a triangle. Any structural engineer will tell you there is no more stable figure. Bridges, roads, and skyscrapers would not exist without a sound underpinning of countless triangles. Picture a family: A man and woman become husband and wife, and in the normal course of events they produce and nurture one child, or two, or eight. Father, mother, and offspring make a triad. ...

...As Augustine observed, triadic structures form the foundation of the universe, built upon the creative dynamic of Father, Son, and Spirit. Peer into any corner of the natural world... Reality can break down into smaller pieces, but the bond of three is irreducible.

She was reacting to conservative Geoffrey Miller's 3,000-word defense of polyamory last October, Polyamory Is Growing—And We Need To Get Serious About It.

● Last week's Polynews Roundup included coverage of Sarah Ruhl's play "How to Transcend a Happy Marriage," now onstage in San Francisco. This week it got a lavish review in Broadway World (Jan. 25).

..."How to Transcend a Happy Marriage" soars on Ruhl's intelligent script and fine performances across the board. By challenging the concept of monogamous marriage, the play's introductions of polyamory can be a metaphor for many other alternative lifestyle choices facing us in 2020 and the future. If the hesitant couples presented here can have their minds shifted by new exposures, all things may be possible.

...But a reviewer at The Daily Californian, the student newspaper of UC Berkeley, finds it to be more of a mishmosh of Ruhl's theatrical pretentions and calls it narratively bewildering (Jan. 29).

More theater, again from Broadway World. Soon to open in London is a play called "La Bohème,"

a thoroughly modern look at relationships, addiction and co-dependency in London's hip and happening Peckham. On-off couple Marcello (Marcus) and Musetta (Melissa) navigate the emotional complexities of a polyamorous relationship, whilst flatmate Rodolfo's (Rod) gratification on Grindr is disrupted when he meets the beautiful and enigmatic Mimi (Luca).

See Inside Rehearsal For Opera Undone: TOSCA and LA BOHEME (Jan. 31).

From writer E. L. Byrne, who discovered polyamory fairly late in life: My Friendships are Key (Jan. 25)

"One of the things I love most about the way I live my polyamorous life is the freedom I have to make and grow strong friendships. My relationships with my romantic partners purposefully don’t take up all the space in my life. I know I am a better person, more well rounded, more secure, happier, and easier to be with when I have multiple people in my life. ...

PSA: February is Black History Month, and Chanee from Black Poly Pride (its convention happens June 4–7 in Washington, DC) writes,

Black Poly Pride will be running a campaign throughout the entire month highlighting people, organizations, communities, and works of art related to Poly Black History. In our ongoing effort to combat the whitewashing of polyamorous culture, it is important to showcase the living legends that are Black and polyamorous, as well as the culture of Black polyamorous people.

To that end, we need your help! We will be sharing Poly Black History facts on all of our social media outlets as well as exclusive content with our Patreon subscribers. Please; share, share, share!

Twitter: @BlackPolyPride
Facebook: https://www.Facebook.com/BlackPolyPride
Instagram: @BlackPolyPride
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/BlackPolyPride

If you are willing to share with your email lists, local groups, or would like to receive the content in advance to share with your networks, please reach out to me directly at ChaneeKendall (at) gmail (dot) com. I’m also interested in and open to hearing your ideas about topics relevant to Black polyamorous history.

That's Friday Polynews Roundup for now! See you next week unless something big comes up sooner.


P.S.: The Poly Living Convention is this weekend (Feb. 7–9) in Philadelphia. Register online or at the door. Day passes available. See you there!



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January 26, 2020

In Israel, a family of three adults 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 woman and her two gay 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 both kids, as is the mother.

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."...

This recalls a similar landmark ruling in Newfoundland, Canada, in April 2018.

Update February 11, 2020: Erez writes about another, similar case:

Another precedent set in my home country of Israel. A throupple of one man and two women has received a "Common law partner" recognition by the court.

The man, referred to as "R" in the article, was recognized as a common-law partner of one woman, but felt his connection with the 2nd woman ("N") was strong, so he took it to court with lawyer Shiri Robbins Golan. N says she signed a partnership contract with R because has has multiple financial assets and she wanted him to feel comfortable with their relationship, and not be concerned about her motives (as in, being financial rather than romantic).

Original article in Hebrew.


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January 24, 2020

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 FacebookInstagram, 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.

Posts Chrissy,

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."

BTW — Come meet Kevin in person in two weeks at Loving More's Poly Living convention in Philadelphia!  He's keynoting the con on Friday night. See you there.

● 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.

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.

Honeysuckle magazine is a black-culture print and digital quarterly. Now up: Porn and Politics with King Noire and Jet Setting Jasmine: On Being Black and Polyamorous (online Jan. 22). Jasmine and King Noire are "the powerhouse couple behind the award-winning adult entertainment company Royal Fetish Films."

By Keyanah Nurse

Although polyamory is neither new nor revolutionary, the increased buzz around it brings forth a slew of questions around how polyamorous people and communities appear within mainstream media. As others have rightfully highlighted, coverage largely focuses on polyamory’s white middle class practitioners, creating the impression that polyamory simply isn’t for people of color. But even when larger media outlets specifically highlight this issue, their analyses always stop short of simply acknowledging that yes, people of color, and black people particularly, practice polyamory. Such coverage is useful insofar as it provides a platform for the conferences, online communities, and books that have emerged specifically by and for black polyamorous people. However, it still begs the simple question: how does it work? ...

Metamour Day this year is gonna be a Thing! It's February 28, Valentine's Day times two. And as told here last week, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) is throwing its weight behind making this take hold in 2020 after a good start last year.

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 metamourday@ncsfreedom.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....

See you next Friday, or sooner if stuff comes up!


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January 22, 2020

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.

Here’s How You Can Help!

1. Tune in to the show! We are LIVE on Thursday, 1/23. Find your channel or stream here [near top of page]: https://www.tamronhallshow.com

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!

Tamron Hall Show Social Media:

Promote Kevin’s Work!

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

Hashtag Bank:
#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.


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January 17, 2020

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.

The right-wing Newsbusters site grumps, Now Even Network Sitcoms Have 'Throuples:' ABC Comedy on Polyamory: 'It Just Works!'

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. ...

The whole statement.  En Français from Polyamour Montréal. The episode itself, "Le couple ouvert, pour ou contre?". More on the combative host Anne-France Goldwater.

● The British tabloids keep piling on with the happy polyfamily profiles. I've got 27 new ones burdening the queue for the next data dump of these, which may never happen at this rate, but I'll inflict only one on you now: this week's Mother reveals her family now 'feels complete' after she and her husband became a throuple with another woman after 15 years of marriage, from the state of Washington and published in the Daily Mail (Jan. 14, 2020). With lotsa pix. It's typical of the genre.

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.

Another advice column. Here's an unusual question on The Good Men Project: Ask Dr. NerdLove: I’m Too Scared To Let Myself Be Polyamorous (Jan. 12)

Dear Dr. NerdLove:

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.

Metamour Day was successfully launched last year by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), which ran a campaign that was widely picked up on blogs and social media. For this year their slogan is, "Honoring polyamory's most distinctive relationship."

Click to embiggen. Used by permission.
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.

This year NCSF is running a Metamour Day Card Contest:

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 metamourday@ncsfreedom.org

Metamour Mug, from BashfulBatCreations

Small bumpersticker from Cafepress. Other designs available.

Polyamory Week. Meanwhile, a bunch of folks on Instagram have just launched #polyamoryweek, with the graphic at right among others.

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.


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January 10, 2020

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.

Spoiler coming:

...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.

● Remember last week's buzz about polyam coming to another TV show? Insider, for instance, ran 'The L Word' just showed a lesbian 'throuple' on TV in one of the first same-sex polyamorous storylines. That was Episode 4 of "The L Word: Generation Q."

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:

UPDATE: The poly thing didn't last. From a recap of the season finale on TVLine.com, dated January 26:

...During her conversation with Gay, they talk about the notion of being a bad queer (a nod to the Bad Feminist book) and how Alice feels like one because she desires the typical hallmarks of heteronormativity. She thought she could do the radical, beyond-the-norm approach by experimenting with polyamory — and including her girlfriend’s ex-wife! — but it turns out that she doesn’t want that. She just wants Nat, and only Nat. ... They get back together — just the two of them.

● 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.

● Sociologist Eli Sheff, in her long-running Psychology Today blog "The Polyamorists Next Door," is doing a series on how and whether to open a marriage together. Part 1 was Relationship Broken, Add More People? "Dangers of opening a broken relationship, what to do instead, plus one caveat" (Nov. 18).  Part 2 is When Can Opening a Heteroflexible Monogamous Relationship Work? "Four tips that can help when opening a previously-monogamous relationship" (Dec. 30). From the second one,

1. Establish True Consent

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'll flag that when it comes out.

● Zinnia's daily Polyamory Advice column has returned from a four-month hibernation, taking new questions every day since January 6th. Yesterday's was about a common newbie issue: I really want to be in a specific type of triad, and it's all I can think about (Jan. 9)

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?

● From another newspaper, in New Zealand, We want an open relationship but don't know where to start (Jan. 10).

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!


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