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



February 14, 2020

Friday Polynews Roundup — The dam bursts for poly on TV, what we offer everyone, when to stay away, and planted seeds are sprouting


It's Friday Polynews Roundup — for February 14, 2020.

Happy Val's Day. So many poly-in-the-media items poured in this week that I can't keep up. Therefore I'm holding everything that even contains the word "Valentine" for later. Even so, settle in for a long read (or a long skim).

The dam bursts for poly on TV.  Way back in 2006, Reid Mihalko came within an inch, he said, of selling HBO on a dramedy series to be called "Polly and Marie" (say it fast). A short pilot was made, but HBO backed off for fear of advertiser fears. "There's a lot of interest in getting this [topic] on TV," Reid told an audience at the 2009 Poly Living conference, "but nobody is quite biting, because nobody knows if the advertisers will want it. It's kind of happening, but you don't see it yet, because it's not on the air yet."

And so it went for several more years. The TV industry was well aware of the dramatic potential of modern, egalitarian polyamorous bonding, and its ability to grab viewers' attention, but they didn't quite dare. The first forays were carefully distanced from mainstream America by setting them in Mormon polygamy: first fictionally ("Big Love," starting in 2006), then in real life ("Sister Wives," 2010).

Now the dam is finally bursting, as regular readers here know; see my recent posts tagged TV (they include this post; scroll down).

The latest example aired night before last (Feb. 12), and within hours People magazine was on top of it: HGTV Features Its First-Ever Throuple on House Hunters: 'Representation Matters' (Feb. 13):


Geli, Lori and Bryan

 
By Gabrielle Chung

With 17 seasons under its belt, House Hunters made HGTV history on Wednesday when it featured its first throuple — three people in a polyamorous romantic relationship — on one of its episodes.

Titled “Three’s Not a Crowd in Colorado Springs,” the episode followed Brian, Lori and Geli on a quest to find their dream house in Colorado.

The trio wanted to find a new home that will accommodate their unique dynamic as well as provide space for Brian and Lori’s two children.

As with any episode of House Hunters, the family came armed with a list of must-haves for their new residence, including a three-car garage and a master bathroom that will accommodate three people.

At one point in the episode, Lori remarked about the lack of space in one house they were touring, saying, “This is a couple’s kitchen, not a throuple’s kitchen.”

...The episode ended with the family choosing a house above their budget as they all loved its view of the surrounding mountain.

However, viewers had a lot more to say about their relationship than their new home. Many House Hunter fans praised HGTV on social media for being so “progressive” and “educational” about the relationship dynamics of a throuple.

“Oh my god. A throuple on House Hunters,” Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay tweeted. “Great episode!!!! Educational.”

“HGTV really might be the most progressive show on TV. About to watch a polyamory couple fight over a house!” one Twitter user wrote. “Honestly I feel like I learned a lot #HouseHunters”

“literally perfect television,” a third tweeted, while another user applauded HGTV for “STORMING into 2020.”

Fans also came to Brian, Lori and Geli’s defense following the broadcast.

“Wow, shocked that this house hunters episode not only showed a poly relationship, but they called them a throuple the whole episode and outright said the women were bisexual. Guess we gotta stan!” one wrote on Twitter.

“This throuple on house hunters… good for them 🙂” another tweeted. “representation matters.”


Update: Stories remarking on the episode — positively! — have also just appeared on USA Today, Newsweek, the queer Out Front magazine, and The Daily Wire.


An important upcoming TV series. "Trigonometry" is an 8-episode series about a poly triad that will air on HBO Max and BBC TV later this year. The production company has just put out a 1-minute trailer. The Hollywood news site Deadline has this to say (Feb. 10):


The "Trigonometry" triad at home

 
‘Trigonometry’: First Trailer For Berlin-Bound Series From House Productions, BBC & HBO Max

...Directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari (Attenberg) and Stella Corradi (On The Edge), the show will air on BBC in the UK and HBO Max in the US. Writers are Duncan Macmillan and Effie Woods. BBC Studios is handling international distribution.

Set in crowded, expensive London, the series follows a cash-strapped couple who open their small apartment to a third person, discovering a new way to live – and love – in the process.

...House Productions’ joint CEO’s Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell told us, “We are absolutely thrilled that the first five episodes of Trigonometry will be premiering in the Berlinale Series this year. Trigonometry is a warm, funny and emotionally truthful drama about modern relationships that has been brought to life in such a beautiful way by our cast Ariane Labed, Gary Carr and Thalissa Teixeira.

“The trio take us on a modern day journey of the different faces of modern love. Duncan Macmillan and Effie Woods’ exquisite scripts have been beautifully realised by our two hugely talented and award-winning directors, Athina Rachel Tsangari (who directed episodes 1 – 5) and Stella Corradi (who directed episodes 6 – 8), to give a truly special show....”


Air dates have not been announced.


● Moving on, one subgenre of poly in the media is bubbly articles about the lessons our movement and our values offer monogamous couples. A new one of these appeared this week in Business Insider: 5 lessons on jealousy and romance that couples can learn from their friends in non-monogamous relationships (Feb. 8).


Consensual non-monogamy [now or in your past] is as common as [currently] owning a cat. (Dougal Waters / Getty) 

 
By Jessica Stillman

About one in five Americans have engaged in some sort of consensual non-monogamy, or CNM, in their lifetimes — it's about as common as owning a cat, researchers say.

The ways that CNM emphasizes communication can be instructive for singles as well as people in other kinds of relationships. The process of differentiation — or knowing who you are and how you're different from your partner — is another big factor in CNM that can help just about everyone.

...The umbrella term of "consensual non-monogamy" covers everything from the casual sex of swingers to the loving, long-term relationships of polyamorists. If it involves more than two people, sex or love, and everyone has consented, then it's CNM.

...[Says] Heath Schechinger, a UC Berkeley psychologist and co-chair of the American Psychological Association's task force on CNM. "You likely have friends and colleagues who are doing this, but you just don't know about it."

"Comparison studies looking at all of the gold standards for measuring relationship quality — relationship satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, duration of the relationship, communication, etc. — show that consensually non-monogamous relationships perform equal or better than monogamous relationships," Schechinger said.

...CNM relationships tend to have unique habits that many folks involved in traditional monogamous pairings could benefit from.

1. They favor direct communication over standard scripts

Every expert agrees that non-monogamy is a communication-heavy lifestyle. ... The key lesson for others... is the fact that everything is on the table. Rather than blindly following traditional expectations for relationships, which experts refer to as relationship "scripts," non-monogamous couples tend to explicitly hash out and agree on how to run all aspects of their lives.

"Non-monogamy forces you to learn how to communicate openly and honestly with your partner(s) about awkward things, because otherwise it just doesn't work. There is no default script to fall back on. You have to define what you are doing for yourself," said Carrie Jenkins, a philosopher at the University of British Columbia and author of What Love Is and What It Could Be. "But the thing is, everyone should be defining what they're doing for themselves."

2. Fire needs oxygen to burn

...Constant closeness suffocates attraction, as well as your sense of individuality and freedom. Because of the variety built into their arrangements, non-monogamous couples often find it easier to "oxygenate" their relationships.

"Successful non-monogamous couples become good at having separate individual lives and interests, true to their own nature," explained psychotherapist Wayne Scott, who is himself in an open marriage. "People need to have independent interests and passions and experiences — it gives them richer lives and can even make them more interesting to their spouses." The term therapists use for this process is "differentiation."...

3. It takes a village

..."Non-monogamous relationships tend to challenge a little bit more the notion that we necessarily have to meet all of our partner's needs," Schechinger said. "Expecting one person to be our best friend, our lover, companion, our co-parent, can put a significant amount of pressure on the relationship."...

Whether or not you're up for opening your relationship, this principle holds. It's healthy to look to a broader base of friends, relatives, and community members rather than just your spouse.

4. Jealousy is a prompt for self-examination

According to a 2017 study, polyamorists actually experience less jealousy than the conventionally paired. Partly that may be because those who are less inclined to jealousy are drawn towards CNM, but the non-monogamous also tend to conceive of and process jealousy differently. ...

For many traditional couples jealousy is a problem out there. It stems from bad behavior on the part of one partner.... Those who practice non-monogamy more often speak of jealousy as an internal issue, something in here. They see jealousy as a symptom of insecurity or anxiety that should be handled by introspection to identify the cause and identify better ways to cope.

5. Thoughtful transitions beat messy breakups

With the messiness of infidelity largely off the table thanks to rules and communication, non-monogamous relationships often evolve rather than explode. The sexual spark might fizzle, for instance, but a couple will agree to move on to being co-parents and friends without recrimination or over-the-top drama.

...This process of self-discovery and negotiation isn't just for polyamorists, it's something that truly any relationship can benefit from.



● Another in the genre, from Insider: Polyamorous people are often experts at coping with relationship jealousy — here are some of their tips, by Julia Naftulin and Canela López (Feb. 6). The tips in brief:


Jason Boyd, 33, said acknowledging jealous feelings rather than ignoring them helps. ...

Audria O'Neill, a woman who used to be in a monogamous marriage, suggested talking about boundaries as early as possible....

O'Neill also suggested looking inwards to understand the root of your jealousy....

Kayla Lords said journaling helps her get in touch with her emotions and process them in a healthy way....

Lords also said active listening and a willingness to be vulnerable can help make jealousy-related conversations productive learning experiences....

Tara Skubella said getting to know her primary partner's other partner made her feel more secure and empathetic....

Lola Phoenix, a London-based writer, said it's important to set boundaries in your relationship to minimize jealousy. Set boundaries based on your needs, not societal expectations....

Krystal Baugher, a Colorado-based writer, said it's important to take care of yourself first before engaging with a partner....

Hailey Gill, 26, has practiced polyamory since high school and said communication about new partners is key between them and their husband....


In the last five years, I've spotlighted several dozen such articles on what we offer mono folks. Start with this latest roundup, which contains links to the previous five batches. And a pile more await my working up.


● Yahoo Lifestyle this week ran a fine little intro to the commonest poly structure. They picked it up from PureWow ("beauty, food, wellness, family"): What Is a Triad Relationship? (And What Are the Rules of Engagement?) (Feb. 8). It's a one-source quickie, with its quality coming from marriage and family therapist Rachel D. Miller in Chicago.


...Think of it as a subset of polyamory. But not all triads are the same. Miller tells us that triads can take various forms....

So why would people form this relationship?

That’s kind of like asking any couple why they’re together — there are myriad reasons for consensual non-monogamy: love, lust, convenience, stability, etc. “Truthfully,” Miller explains, “the reason people form them is often unique to the people involved, but what they have in common is an openness to a nontraditional way to love and be in a relationship.” Here are few of the reasons behind a triad relationship she’s heard over the years:

1. A couple felt like their union was overflowing with love, and they wanted to share that with another person.

2. Polyamory felt like an orientation rather than a choice, so a dyad was never part of their vision for a relationship.

3. A person fell in love with two different people and wanted to maintain relationships with both, and everyone involved was in agreement about the arrangement.

4. A friend of a couple became more than a friend for one or both partners, and they decided as a unit to expand the relationship to include all of them.

5. A couple wanted to add some spice to their sex life and, in doing so, discovered another person they connected with on a multitude of levels.

What are the dynamics of a triad relationship?

...Some common denominators of a healthy triad include genuine love and caring for all involved, large support systems (this can be emotional, financial, etc.) and a desire to remain open to all the types of love that present in their lives. Miller elaborates that within any poly or consensually non-monogamous relationship, the things that need to be present are ongoing consent and the power and ability to renegotiate the terms in order for all members to get what they need from the relationship.

What challenges do people in nontraditional relationships face?

...Per Miller, “Society is set up to support traditional ideas around marriage — e.g., only two people in the relationship can be protected by legal marital status.” The implications of this can can leave one member of a triad feeling less secure or that they have less power within the relationship. The fix? Like any relationship: good communication and open dialogue.



● Does mediocre, flawed media coverage ever do us any good?

Well, remember that much-criticized New York Times Sunday Magazine cover story, Is an Open Marriage a Happier Marriage? Its answer was "Often yes," but let's not even get into its poor representation and other stuff.

Nevertheless, on the opposite side of the continent, a student noticed it lying on a library table. It changed her life. Three years later comes her story in The Martlet, the student newspaper of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, A venture into non-monogamy (Feb. 10):


By Darian Lee

...[The NY Times Magazine lying on the table] was the first time I had heard of anything besides monogamy, and after reading the article I decided that I wanted to open up my relationship.

Darian Lee
The whole situation of asking my partner was nerve wracking. I’ve never been good with words, so I came up with a genius plan to avoid rejection and actually communicating. I’d just point out the magazine, opened to the feature, and said, “Hey, this is kinda interesting, right,” to gauge his response. He glanced at it, shrugged, and started talking about something else.

Plan A failed, so ... I just blurted out “I want to open our relationship!” and waited anxiously for a response. He said that we shouldn’t, and the disappointment crushed me. He explained it was because we weren’t good at communicating. After that, we didn’t talk much for a bit....

...I started following the “UVic Confessions & Crushes” Facebook page. A common theme in the posts was being torn between partners, and many users commented messages along the lines of “monogamy is flawed.” I decided to give it another go and propose non-monogamy to my partner again. We had grown up so much together since then and could finally communicate openly and honestly, and I actually had the words to clearly express what I wanted and why. This time, my proposal was met with enthusiasm, and I was overjoyed!

The first step was to define the terms of our relationship. We did some research and found that the idea of an “open relationship” didn’t actually line up with what I wanted. An open relationship generally refers to a relationship where you have a main partner, and are sexually non-monogamous. As a hopeless romantic, I wanted to experience all the lovey-dovey fun stuff of dating and share intimate bonds with other people. In this case, “polyamory” seemed to be the better label for our situation.

Now came the hard part: actually meeting other people. ...


Spoilers coming.


I’ve learned to combat jealousy (something I’ve always struggled with) and express how I feel in a way that I’ve never been challenged to do in the past. My partner has also grown emotionally and so far this experience has had a positive impact on our relationship, contrary to the doubt conveyed by friends. My biggest takeaway from this experience so far is that with a lot of communication and honesty, as well as getting to know oneself better, non-monogamy can really work and not damage your pre-existing relationships.

My advice is to make sure you have very open communication in the first place, and to do plenty of research regarding what you want so you can be clear-cut with how you’re feeling. I’ve met plenty of people here in Victoria who are in a variety of non-traditional relationships, so it’s not as unusual as I would have thought, and it really helped to know this to feel comfortable telling others. Hopefully, sharing my experience can have the same effect on anyone considering this.


Pass it forward.


● An open marriage sometimes manages to work in a much more traditional, old-school context. This week in the Brisbane Times and other Australian newspapers in its chain, Non-monogamy has been the real secret to our happy 37-year marriage (online Feb. 8, in the Sunday print edition Feb. 9)


By Anonymous

...Whatever John was up to, or not up to, it was ruining my life and it hit me that I didn’t have to let it. I couldn’t change him, but I could change myself.

...In her new book, A Happy Life in an Open Relationship, sex and relationship therapist Susan Wenzel argues that it is possible to have a happy, open marriage, provided you develop trust and communication skills, set healthy boundaries and overcome jealousy.

...None of this was in my mind on my wedding morning in 1982. ...




Confusion when different people may think the word means different things. The Dear Abby advice column appearing in newspapers this week fields a parent's question: Was teen daughter’s response to boy’s sexuality ‘shaming’? But did the boy, the girl, the mom, or Dear Abby know what each other were talking about?


DEAR ABBY: I’ve got a new one for you. My beautiful 16-year-old daughter was interested in a boy her age from school. He was interested in her, too. He told her he wanted to date her, but that he is “polyamorous” and would be dating many girls simultaneously. She told him he’s too young to know what he is yet, and he was just using it as an excuse to date multiple girls, and she wasn’t interested.

...He has been acting very hurt, pouty and angry. He told a mutual friend he is “deeply hurt” [that] he came out to my daughter and that she won’t accept him as he is. I’m worried this will escalate, and he will claim that she shamed him for this.

Abby, I am all about supporting how people self-identify, but this is absolutely ridiculous....

— NOT FUNNY IN COLORADO


DEAR NOT FUNNY: That boy is sulking because his pitch didn’t sell. Polyamory is the practice of openly engaging in multiple intimate relationships with the consent of ALL the people involved. What that boy may have meant was he enjoys “playing the field.” Your daughter didn’t discriminate; she showed good common sense. ...



There's still no good dating app for non-monogamous people, says Mashable in substantial and useful detail (Feb. 6). If you're on the dating market, read this.


● Sometimes the obvious needs to be restated and explained in detail. Here's Elisabeth Sheff's When Consensual Non-Monogamy Won't Work for Monogamous Folks. "3 things that make CNM unrealistic or excruciating for monogamous people" (Feb. 11).


Because public awareness of CNM is expanding in the US and abroad, people who never considered it before are suddenly becoming aware of the polyamorous possibility. For some, this opens exciting new relational vistas of multiple partner bliss. But for others, especially deeply monogamous people, this boom in the practice and awareness of CNM is uncomfortable at best and tragic at worst.

Both my research findings and my relationship coaching practice have demonstrated repeatedly that non-monogamy is not a good fit for everyone. CNM is, however, the right thing for a significant minority of the population. Research indicates that at least 20% (estimates range from a low of 21.2% to a high of 32%) of people have some lifetime experience with consensual nonmonogamy, and 4 to 5% are currently in CNM relationships. That means CNM is far more widespread than previously thought, and people in the US are thinking and talking about it a lot more than they used to. This... can feel like pressure to the other approximately 80% who practice monogamy (usually serial monogamy), cheat, or remain single.

Flickr
There are at least three factors that make CNM completely unworkable for some people....

Don’t Want CNM....

Don’t Like to Share....

Monogamous by Orientation....

...People have deep and unchanging sexual and relational characteristics. Everyone’s ability to express their innate sex/relationship characteristics is shaped by society with differing degrees of approval and stigma. Changing these deep personality structures is difficult to impossible, as the discrediting of gay conversion therapy demonstrates. ...



● At the University of Chicago, as reported in the Chicago Maroon, Visiting Professor Criticizes "Compulsory Monogamy" as a Creation of the "Settler-Colonial System" (Feb. 12).

By Chloe Brettmann

On Monday [Feb. 10], University of Alberta Associate Professor of Native Studies Kim TallBear spoke as part of an event organized by the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory. Her lecture, “Settler Love Is Breaking My Heart,” explored the constructs and structures of “compulsory monogamy” as a tool for the colonization of indigenous peoples, and how “more than monogamous” relationships are a tool for decolonization and restitution of indigenous ways of life. ...

Briefly:

#PolyBlackHistory Month continues. See what's going on at the hashtag, and maybe contribute!

● Emma Carnes at the University of North Texas is preparing a thesis on polyamory and the law. "I am examining the relationships between polyamorous people and their attorneys (CNM-friendly or otherwise), what legal barriers exist for poly people, what legal changes would enhance their lives, and how this differs based on lines of gender/class/race/ethnicity." She needs to interview more people about their experiences. "All data will be de-identified to protect the identity of participants. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions." Email EmmaCarnes@my.unt.edu .

Whew! All that in less than a week.

Till next time...

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February 11, 2020

Polyamory Week is under way. . .

Characters from Polybat

Valentine's Day this year is encompassed, lovingly of course, by the larger Polyamory Week, February 9 – 15. And we're in the middle! As a press release from the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association explains,

"New this year is Polyamory Week — a collaboration of polyamory content creators on Instagram using the hashtag #polyamoryweek"

The rest of the CPAA press release (I've added art from the hashtag):


Media Advisory. For Immediate Release.

Polyamory Continues To Grow

@Poly_Inclusion
February 8, 2020 – As February 14th approaches, the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) highlights the growing popularity of polyamory -- a relationship orientation where you can have more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved. For those who are polyamorous, Valentine’s Day is not just a celebration of one’s only love – but all our loves.

Last year saw continued growth in public knowledge and the acceptance of polyamory throughout North America and the Western world. Growth continued in media coverage and in the number and size of polyamory conferences, local polyamory groups and online communities, new books, and academic research.

And new this year is Polyamory Week -- the week of February 9 to 15 -- a collaboration of polyamory content creators on Instagram using the hashtag #polyamoryweek

"We're pleased to see the growing awareness that for some people, multiple interrelated relationships -- with the agreement of all concerned -- can be a successful, rich, and joyous way of life," said Zoe Duff, spokesperson and coordinator of the CPAA.

Keeping pace with the growing popularity of polyamory, the CPAA maintains a list of Canadian online resources where people – who are already polyamorous or are just trying it out – can find community, support, and practical advise. See find-poly-community/.

It was only recently in 2011, that BC’s Supreme Court released the landmark ruling that Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada (the so called “anti-polygamy law”) does not apply to unformalized polyamorous relationships, opening inroads into making polyamory more popular and accepted in mainstream society across Canada.

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

Concepts critical to the practice of consent and other ethical behaviours within polyamory are gender equality, self-determination, free choice for all involved, mutual trust, and equal respect among partners.


The CPAA advocates on behalf of Canadians who practice polyamory. It promotes legal, social, government, and institutional acceptance and support of polyamory, and advances the interests of the Canadian polyamorous community generally.

For more information on the CPAA, visit polyadvocacy.ca, or email info@polyadvocacy.ca. The CPAA is on Facebook at facebook.com/polyadvocacy.



While we're at it re graphics, there's a Facebook group Polyamory Memes (10,318 members). "The sole objective is memes and funny shit about polyamory." As always, the quality pyramid descends from brilliant to pretty funny to meh to bleh. They do list reasonable community standards for posting. Add yours, and go help upsort good ones by giving them Hearts (mere Likes mean nothing to FB rankings, I'm told).

AdventuresOfPolyCat

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February 7, 2020

Friday Polynews Roundup — Kids of polyfamilies, more TV, by 2030 "a growing market for ‘polymoons’" after multi-weddings, and more


It's Friday Polynews Roundup again, for February 7, 2020.

'There’s zero evidence that it’s worse for children': parenting in a polyamorous relationship. That's the title of a personal piece by Lucy Fry in the Weekend Magazine of the UK-based Guardian, one of the world's major progressive newspapers (Feb. 1)


  ‘We won’t know the impact of our choices until our son can articulate it.’
Illustration: Mikel Jaso 


By Lucy Fry

Almost three years ago, my partner and I decided to experiment with opening up our relationship. More recently, we’ve “come out” as polyamorous, meaning we are free to be involved with more than one person at a time, physically and/or emotionally, in a transparent, consensual way.

In practice, this means that I currently have a wife, who I live with, along with our two-year-old son. I also have a girlfriend, who lives elsewhere and has a daughter. I love both my wife and my girlfriend deeply, in different ways. My wife has a new male love interest, also living elsewhere, also with children.

...When I tell people about the recent change to our 11-year relationship, I’m usually met with fear and confusion. ... The biggest anxiety our situation raises, it seems, is that we’re parents. The overwhelming suspicion seems to be that our child will either be exposed to a dangerous level of eroticism, or somehow miss out on attention, stability and love.

...Children need consistency, right? But does consistency have to mean monogamy?

“There’s no reason to believe that monogamy is any better [or worse] than other family structures – of which poly families are just one,” says British psychotherapist, academic and author of The Psychology Of Sex, Dr Meg-John Barker. “Structures with more adults involved, and more community support around them, may well work better for many people. Of course, conscious non-monogamy isn’t necessarily any better than other models: there are problematic parenting behaviours across all relationship styles. But there’s certainly zero evidence that it is worse as a basis for childrearing than monogamy.”

...Mancub, 16, is the child of polyamorous parents living in Northamptonshire, whom he quite simply calls “my adults”: Cassie (his mum), Josh (his dad) and Amanda (their partner). “Even at a young age, I was able to grasp the concept that my mum and dad could love more than one person,” he says. “The only thing I’ve found challenging about having three adults in my family is getting away with things, because it means more people to check up on you, to make sure you did your chores. But I also have more people around to give me lifts here and there, to help with homework and to come to my lacrosse games. The saying ‘raised by a village’ definitely applies to me. I feel like a completely normal teenager, just with polyamorous parents.”

This kind of positive response is not uncommon. Researcher and relationship coach Dr Eli Sheff is author of The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships And Families, which details 15 years of studying polyamorous families. This includes interviews with 206 people in polyamorous families in the US, 37 of them children.

“Looking at these kids overall, I would say that they are equally – if not more – emotionally healthy than their peers,” Sheff says. “The kids from poly families are pros at establishing new relationships. They’ve been growing up marinated in personal growth and honesty, and exposed to a wide range of ideas. They don’t necessarily think they’ll be polyamorous themselves, particularly since most grow up in an environment designed to foster independent thought.”

Though my wife and I have no plans to live with any other partner, we will continue to be cautious about how and when we introduce our son to significant others. In my view, he has certainly benefited from the presence of my girlfriend: the pair have a touchingly close relationship; she was the first person ever to babysit him. ...

One frequent criticism of blended families is that children lose important people when relationships atrophy. ... At the moment, it isn’t a pressing concern; the things that matter most to him right now are ice-cream, trains, and refusing to wear pyjamas. As he grows, however, it will become important to answer his questions in an age-appropriate way....

...We won’t know the impact of our choices until our son can articulate it. When the time comes, I intend to listen, allowing him to express his ideas or complaints. ...

Once he is old enough to understand, I’ll also tell him this: my relationship with his mother has strengthened since we allowed each other to be attracted to, or fall in love with, other people. That’s not to say it has been easy (hell no: the opposite). But ultimately it has been worth it, because the freer we are to look elsewhere, the freer we are to choose each other. My wife and I are more honest and less co-dependent than we have ever been in our 11 years together. I believe our son is more likely to grow up with two parents who love one another, and are committed to one another. Which is surely what matters most.


Lucy Fry just published her memoir Easier Ways to Say I Love You, "one woman's remarkable and candid account of transforming a difficult and uncomfortable love triangle into an honest polyamorous relationship."

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

While we're on about kids of polyamory, this 30-minute documentary appeared in September: It Takes A Village: Polyamory in the Family, "an Ethnographic Documentary by Maleia Mikesell and Richard Rocha." It's a click-through from here:



Also, last September I posted a big roundup of poly parenting and poly kids in the news. See also from November, "Polyamorous parents chart their own course".


We still need stories like this one because many people have still not heard. In Montreal, The Link serving Concordia University and the surrounding area published a 2,000-word piece that will surely give some of its readers a shock of recognition and change some lives: How Non-Monogamy in Montreal Challenges Us to Look Inside Ourselves (Feb. 4)


Esteban Cuevas
When Juniper Cupressaceae, 23, told their mother they were seeing two men, she didn’t take it well.

“She started crying and saying that she was a bad mother […] and that she failed as a parent,” said Cupressaceae. “She said things like, ‘You don’t actually care about these people.’”

Over time, their mother’s grief shifted to grudging tolerance. ...

Cupressaceae’s preferred form [of CNM] is called relationship anarchy: “You meet someone and you get to define exactly what you want your expectations and limits to be with that person, and that’s worked out pretty well for me.”

...MJ first discovered ethical non-monogamy on a date three years ago. ... For MJ, who struggled with faithfulness all her life, the lifestyle was a revelation. ... “For me, growing up and early adulthood, into my thirties, I thought there was something wrong with me.”

She insists sexual desire is not at the centre of her lifestyle. Rather, she relishes the freedom to allow connections with others to grow organically, without the need to pigeonhole people into certain roles in her life.

“That’s what it’s about for me,” she said. “It’s about connection.”

While many non-monogamous people report having to work through feelings of jealousy, many polyamorous people describe an inverse emotional experience known as compersion.

“The British call it feeling frubbly, which I think is a little bit cuter,” said Nathan Rambukkana, an assistant professor of communication studies at Wilfrid Laurier University whose doctoral studies at Concordia helped inform his book, Fraught Intimacies: Non/Monogamy in the Public Sphere.

...Roxanne Maltais, 25, described how she and her boyfriend discovered ethical non-monogamy three years ago [when he] heard ethical non-monogamy discussed on a podcast. ... Maltais believes non-monogamy has enriched her relationship, in large part because of the level of communication it demands. ... She credits her sexology education, feminism, and interest in psychedelic drugs with the critical mindset that equipped her to revisit the parameters of her relationship.

...Al Hendrickson, 57, co-organizes two polyamory meetup groups, including Black and Poly Montreal. He said there are particular challenges involved in being non-monogamous and Black.

Hendrickson pointed to the conviction some hold that the family unit is key to improving the prospects of the Black community as a whole, making its subversion that much more sensitive. “That’s what our recent generations have been taught,” he said.

There are also stigmas in the community around masculinity, he said, which are challenged by a polyamorous lifestyle.

These, of course, are in addition to judgments coming from outside the Black community that are informed by racism. ...

...Non-monogamy has the advantage of spurring reflections about one’s desires and boundaries—hard questions that monogamous people, to whom society provides a script, can more easily avoid or defer.

But Cupressaceae doesn’t think polyamory is inherently better.

“My favourite monogamous friends […] questioned themselves, and they asked themselves if they would do non-monogamy, and if that’s something that they wanted, and it turned out that it wasn’t, and that was OK,” they said.

“My friend who grew up with four moms had a coming out,” said Gabriel. “They said, ‘Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom: I’m monogamous.’”



● Another like that: Polyamory works wonders for one Cedar Rapids couple appeared in Little Village, a biweekly newspaper for Iowa City and Cedar Rapids (Feb. 5).


Julia DeSpain/Little Village
By Emma McClatchey

When Cinna Lewis’s husband gets home from a date, she’s the first one to ask how it went. It bolsters the friendship side of their marriage, she says, a marriage that has flourished for 10 years, this May. ...

Beau and Cinna got hitched with no playbook, she said. They’ve been figuring out what being married means to them as they go along. And for the Lewises, polyamory — opening their marriage to other partners — has been the secret sauce.

“I’m very stubborn; I don’t want to be told what to do. I don’t want to tell somebody else what to do,” Cinna said. “I think being in love is the most amazing feeling in the whole world, I really do. The rush we get or the pleasure we get from being a part of a partnership — whatever that looks like, there’s nothing like it.”

If there’s a gene that makes the average person prone to romantic or sexual jealousy, Cinna thinks she was born without it. Growing up, if she sensed a boyfriend had a crush on another girl, she’d encourage him to flirt with her.

“It just didn’t bother me, where my friends were like, ‘you’re insane.’ I was always far more injured by dishonesty, secrecy, things like that. I’d rather know what you’re thinking and feeling.” ...

...“I think it’s a part of how I’m wired,” she said. “My husband really identifies as polyamorous. He can just feel that in his bones.”

...When they decided to introduce it into their marriage, it wasn’t because monogamy wasn’t working out for them, Cinna said, but because it was working. With such a strong foundation, why not build on it?

...It can be hard to be an “out” poly person. Their immediate family and friends have been accepting, and Cinna even brought a girlfriend to a work function once without conflict. But no legal protections exist to protect polyamorists from discrimination.

“There’s a lot of threat to it. People can lose their job. If there’s a custody situation, people have to worry about it being brought up in court,” Cinna said. “It’s hard to be out, and maybe that’s part of the problem. I think there’s probably way more of us out there than what any of us know.”...



● In Aeon magazine, a thoughtful clash of worlds as a monogamist reacts to a friend's coming out: The joy of intimacy, by British author Lily Dunn (3,700 words, Feb. 4)


...‘I could never do that,’ I [told my friend, failing to keep the defensiveness from my voice. ... I told him about my upbringing with a father who had multiple partners, kept secret during my parents’ marriage; the shocking nature of some of his transgressions. My father was long dead – a protracted suicide through alcohol poisoning – and yet, in that moment, I felt his presence beside me, taking up most of the passenger seat.

‘That’s a lot to contend with,’ my friend said, holding my gaze. There was a knowing look in his eyes that shouted: And it sounds like you’re still pretty hung up about all this! ...


The article does show some confusion with an over-broad definition of "polyamory."


I thought this was a satire, but no. It's in an advertorial article on the chic Harper's Bazaar site, How romance will change the way we travel in 2030 (Feb. 5):


Polyamorous couples will drive the rise of ‘co-romantic breaks’ which suit the requirements of all parties, and there will be a growing market for ‘polymoons,’ with many hotels adding triple beds to the standard double and twin offering.


That comes from a report by a London consultancy firm called The Future Laboratory, "in collaboration with" the high-end travel company for which Harper's Bazaar published the advertorial.


● The Café Poly in Paris, a monthly discussion gathering that's been running since 2009, got a writeup in The Local for English speakers: Paris 'polyamory' café to launch English-language group to help foreign residents embrace the joys of multiple love (Feb. 3).


...The room was packed. Around fifty people sat around, sipping wine. Latecomers had to ask for extra chairs to be brought in.

...[First-time visitor] Alexandra moved from Washington DC to Paris “for love” more than 20 years ago. Twenty-five years and three children later she and her husband were “still happily married.” As veterans of monogamy, they decided to open up their relationship to include a third person.

“I was skeptical at first, but my daughters talked me into it,” Alexandra said. ... “When my daughters explained it to me it made so much sense.”...


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Briefly:

Another TV bit: On HBO's new sci-fi comedy Avenue 5, Hugh Laurie captains a luxury space cruise ship full of troublesome passengers. Writes Erez Benari from Seattle, "In Episode 3 (11:30 mins in), we see the captain skype with a woman and man "back home." The woman says "Oh, look, our husband is in space... awwww...." We also get a glimpse of their wedding picture; Erez sent the screenshot at right. "Avenue 5" is supposed to be happening only 40 years in the future.

● Meredith C. writes, "I just wanted to share this poly-in-the-news relevant podcast with you. It's on the Diversity podcast put out for Cornell University's staff and faculty: Welcoming Polyamory. I don't think it's great, but I'm happy that it appeared at all!"

Metamour Day is February 28. A few days ago the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), which originated Metamour Day last year, sent out a press release about it to the wider news media via PRWire. The Associated Press picked it up. It popped up on my radar when Yahoo Finance ran it. A nice item to send people new to the concept is Eli Sheff's piece for last year's Metamour Day, Delighting in Your Beloveds’ Other Lovers (Feb. 26, 2019).

● If you missed the thing about the new YouGov poll I posted a few days go, here it is: Millennials are less likely to want a monogamous relationship (Jan. 31). With interesting data breakdowns. There were significant shifts across all age groups except the elderly since YouGov asked the same questions in 2016.

Another reason to hate Facebook: The good-hearted couple who created the #open consensual-nonmonogamy dating app say Facebook is refusing to sell them ads, "specifically denying us based on #open offering partnered dating options (https://hashtagopen.com/fb). We've created a petition to tell them that this discrimination is wrong."  The petition link tells more. Go sign it.

And if you're near Philadelphia, the annual Poly Living Convention is under way this very weekend, Feb. 7–9, at the Embassy Suites near the airport. Come on down! Day passes available.


That's Friday Polynews Roundup for now. If you spot a newsworthy item, send it to me at alan7388 (at) gmail (dot) com. See you next Friday, unless something big comes up sooner.

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February 2, 2020

New survey: "Millennials are less likely to want a monogamous relationship"


YouGov, a polling operation known for middling-good accuracy for elections, just announced results of a survey asking people about their preferred relationship style on a scale from monogamy to total openness. It's a followup to a similar survey that asked the same questions in 2016. From the press release:


A January poll of more than 1,300 US adults finds that about one-third (32%) of US adults say that their ideal relationship is non-monogamous to some degree.

Millennials (43%) are particularly likely to say their ideal relationship is non-monogamous, though an equal percentage (43%) of this generation says that their ideal relationship is completely monogamous.



YouGov’s data suggests that Americans as a whole might be gradually warming up to the idea of non-monogamy.

When asked in September 2016 about their ideal relationship, 61 percent said it would be completely monogamous. In January 2020, that number has dropped slightly, to 56 percent.

The survey also confirmed that many partnered Americans are already in non-monogamous relationships:

Among US adults who are in a relationship, 23 percent say their current relationship is non-monogamous to some degree. About three in ten Millennials (31%) in a relationship say their relationship is non-monogamous. Of this group, 8 percent define their relationship as “completely non-monogamous.”

When asked about how they would feel if a partner came to them wanting to engage in sexual activity with someone else, most Americans (67%) say they wouldn’t be okay with this. Just 6 percent say that they would be okay with this, while 17 percent say their comfort with this would depend on the details of the situation.

Millennials (56%) are less likely than members of Generation X (69%) and Baby Boomers (74%) to say they would not be okay with this under any circumstances. Just over one in five Millennials (22%) chose “Whether or not I am okay with it depends on the situation,” while 9 percent said they would be okay with it.

See full survey results here [PDF file], and full results from the 2016 survey here.


The YouGov release, with more graphs (Jan. 31, 2020).

A lot of interesting stuff shows up in the tables of the full results, especially comparing with the September 2016 survey. Three that caught my attention:

● More women than men say their ideal relationship is "completely monogamous" (65% of women vs. 47% of men in 2020, down from 76% vs. 66% in 2016), which supports the usual stereotype of what men vs. women want and undermines some recent claims otherwise. Also, in the last 3¼ years, interest in nonmonogamy rose almost twice as fast among men as women, so the 2016 imbalance has almost doubled. Uh-oh.

This means that when dating, it's more important than ever to clarify very early whether you offer each other compatible relationship styles.

● Contrary to conservative panic that morally degenerate elites are modeling consensual nonmonogamy to the stricter, more religious lower classes who can't handle it, the survey finds that both the desire for monogamy and the practice of it increase with education and income.

● In the South, where religious and social conservatism has its strongest lock on politics, monogamy is no more people's "ideal relationship type" than it is in the liberal Northeast. And monogamy is only slightly more people's actual ideal than in the West, where many of America's social and sexual innovations first bubbled up.

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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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