Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

February 28, 2020

Today is Metamour Day. It has deep meanings.

Metamour mug from BashfulBatCreations

Today is Metamour Day,  "Honoring Polyamory's Most Distinctive Relationships."  Why February 28th? Because it's Valentine's Day times two!

This initiative comes from the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. NCSF is a well-established nonprofit advancing the rights and legal safety of kinksters, polys, and sex-positive people generally.

Although this is only the second year for Metamour Day, the idea hatched in 2017, posts cartoonist Anna D. Hirsch, a.k.a. PositivelyPolyAnna. She writes,

"In 2017, I dreamed about a holiday to celebrate metamours. I bought the URLs MetamourDay.com and WorldMetamourDay.com. ... I was stoked to learn in 2019 that Keira Harbison, having the same important idea, along with the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom launched a Metamour Day initiative, ​declaring February 28 as the day. Later, I shared some of my art with NCSF for their 2020 greeting card contestI am so happy that this idea is growing. I am grateful that NCSF picked a day and has done a ton of work to get the word out, so that we can all celebrate metamours even more.​"


So why is this thing important?

Because look at that small-print explanation: Honoring polyamory's most distinctive relationships.

Which, to repeat, is precisely on target.

Your metamour is your lover's other lover. The defining aspect of polyamory – the thing that distinguishes it from other forms of consensual non-monogamy such as open relationships and swinging – is the understanding that your metas are significant full persons in regard to you, 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. A lot like extended family. Because polyamory carries an implicit ethic that for better or worse, "We're all in this together."

And of course, there's no limit to how close you and your metas may become. 

No other model of romantic love 
– that magical thing that has enraptured and tormented and motivated humanity since humanity began generalizes this magical thing beyond private couple-love where most societies have fearfully and rigorously walled it away.

Consider, for instance, that the basic human emotion called compersion did not even have a word, as far as I know, until roughly 1980. (Yes the Buddhists have mudita, but that is not specific to romantic love.) For every emotion word in English, at least, there was always a word for the opposite emotion (happy/sad, anxious/calm, etc.) except for the one emotion of romantic jealousy. Until as late as about 1980. 

Share this on Facebook, from the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association.
Share it on Twitter from there too.

● Let's start with some of Elisabeth Sheff's Metamour Day article from last year, Delighting in Your Beloveds’ Other Lovers (Feb. 26, 2019):

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

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

...By promoting Metamour Day, NCSF hopes “to foster positive relationships between you and your metamours, whatever that might look like. It is not about forced compersion. It’s about communal appreciation within our family structures."

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

● That bit about "the metamour relationships make or break the family over the long term"? That's not just Sheff's observation of the families in her own long-term study. Joanna Iwanowska of the University of Warsaw has published a paper titled Metamour Connections as the Underpinning of the Fabric of Polyamory.

"These bonds are significant and constitutive of polyamory," she writes;

...Polyamory stresses not so much the openness to having multiple romantic relationships, but the openness to having metamour relationships with other people. It is this second kind of openness – the openness to metamour contact and communication – that singles out a polyamorous person among other people who might be open to a multiplicity of romantic and/or sexual relationships, e.g. from such a monogamist who leads a double life.

...In a paper that appeared in the Journal of Applied Philosophy, Luke Brunning (2016) writes that “the presence of a third party is a constitutive feature of polyamory” (p. 9), and the third party is typically one’s metamour or a potential metamour. ... In addition to that, I argue that accepting the prospect of one’s partner dating another person entails agreeing to be in a relationship with this person, even if this relationship might remain indirect....  Metamour connections are the underpinning of the fabric of polyamory, and they deserve as much academic attention and research as the polyamorous romantic connections. ...

The paper gets way more academical that I can follow (you need to know your Seneca and your Aristotelian tree model of reality), but those are the basic ideas.

● Cartoonist Tikva Wolf writes, "When things are good, bask in the joy!"

Courtesy KimchiCuddles.com, used by permission. Here are all the Kimchi Cuddles comics involving metamours, 81 of them! That's 9% of Tikva's output of 861 strips since she started drawing them in 2013.

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

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

2. The Emergency Contact. ...

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

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

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

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

● Best-case scenario, by Tikva:

Small bumpersticker from Cafepress

  More about today: Here are NCSF's Metamour Day Things To Do suggestions (right-hand side). Another thing you can do is browse PolyAnna's Metamour Day cards and print one out for your meta(s). And there's other swag to browse from NCSFCafePress, Zazzle, and Etsy.

● Shoutout to the folks putting on the Southwest Love Fest in Tucson, the next big hotel polycon on the event calendar, happening April 2–5. For Metamour Day they say "we’re throwing a sale! On Feb 28th, buy two regular tickets and get 1 free. Use the code METAMOUR on checkout."

● Posts the Polyamorous Librarian, on Minx's Polyamory Weekly Facebook page, for Metamour Day "I made an event and invited my partners and a couple metamours I knew I had consent for, and asked everyone to do the same...now the event has fifty people invited. 😳"




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