An alignment of polyamory and queer in recent media
By Vienna Austin...When the historical and current oppression of the LGBTQ community is discussed, one specific group’s oppression, one that exists very prevalently in the broader queer community today, is often left out. This group is the polyamorous community.Despite significant progress for the queer community, the marriage of polyamorous relationships, polygamy, is criminalized in much of the world, including the United States. Polyamorous people, a community defined by their compatibility with a mode of romantic and sexual relationship organization that includes more than two individuals, can face anywhere from a felony charge to a misdemeanor charge for marriage, depending on the state....Though acceptance is growing of this community, it is still extremely low. According to Gallup polls, the percentage of Americans who see polygamy as morally acceptable went from 7 percent in 2003 to 20 percent in 2020. This is drastically lower than the 72 percent who believe that homosexuality should be socially accepted, according to the Pew Research Center. ......With queer issues being increasingly prevalent in the public consciousness, it is time for our societies to acknowledge and to fight the oppression of the polyamorous community.
A POLYAMOROUS THROUPLE have spoken of the backlash they've received for their relationship -- including anonymous hate letters sent to their places of work.Maggie, 27, and Cody, 31, first met on Tinder in 2016 and got together almost immediately. Realising they were both interested in polyamory, they downloaded a dating app for non-monogamous people, hoping to find someone to have a fling with. Meanwhile, Janie, 26, had recently discovered she was bisexual and downloaded the same app in search of some fun. She soon matched with Cody and Maggie -- and the rest is history. She joked: "We were supposed to just have a casual threesome -- but then I never left."
You mention in your letter, Frustrated, that you’re not all that comfortable with the idea of an open relationship [with the ace person who could be fine with one]. You might want to consider: Why not? ...You definitely don’t have to be in an open or polyamorous relationship if it’s not right for you. But it may be helpful to consider all the options fully before dismissing them off hand. ...
...At the same time, non-monogamy works sort of like queerness — that flexibility means it’s possible to feel at home engaging in one version of the practice that works best for you rather than trying to be in lockstep with everyone else. Also like queerness, ethical non-monogamy has spawned a host of terms describing these specific forms. ...
“We can’t always neatly break things into ‘friends’ or ‘more than friends.’ There’s different kinds of love.”
...Julie: When we moved to Charlotte we got into contra dancing. Matt introduced me to it. The Charlotte contra-dance community was the best. I define community around them. Everyone takes care of each other, when you’re not asked to. Even after moving back to Denver again later, they still feel like family.Our first polyamorous relationship came from contra dancing, but ultimately she got accepted to a college out of state, and she moved away. We were grateful, because we could feel that it needed to end, but we were able to all stay friends.Matt: In 2013, we moved from Charlotte back to Denver [again]. We ended up buying a house, which is where Julie is interviewing from right now. Then things got really hard.Julie: We tried to get into contra dancing in Denver, met another woman through that, and tried a second polyamorous relationship. That lasted through our breakup, and she was really great in supporting both of us.Read: Multiple lovers, without jealousy.Julie: [The second woman] was okay with getting into the more romantic side of the relationship. That was the first time I really was able to explore my feelings about women. That, and the need to explore spirituality in a way that Matt didn’t, were probably the two biggest reasons that I needed to leave the relationship. It took me six months to figure my thoughts out, and Matt was the most patient, wonderful partner throughout that.He was asking a lot, “What can I do better? What have I done?” It sounds so cliché, but, really, it’s not you. It’s me. I need to figure myself out.Matt: Which is fair. We had been together for 12 years and married for nine. Initially, it was really hard. I remember very distinctly that when Julie felt comfortable enough to open up and to ask for what she wanted, she sat down in the backyard and was sobbing.[Interviewer]: Was the divorce process contentious or fairly amicable?Julie: It was very amicable. It was kind of funny. When I went to the court to do the divorce, they expected me to have a lawyer and go through other people to send Matt the document. I was like “No, he’ll sign it, it’s not going to be a problem.”[Interviewer]: So you didn’t use lawyers?Julie: No.Read: The DIY divorce.Julie: In polyamory, there’s a term, compersion, that pretty much means unconditional love. If you want to be with somebody else and that makes you happy, then that makes me happy. "Allowing" is a funny word, but him allowing me to leave because he wanted me to be happy, and that would make him happy, even though being together would be better in his mind, is compersion. It’s a perfect example....[Interviewer]: It sounds like your post-marriage friendship has just recently started to blossom. How has it felt getting back into a deeper friendship recently?Julie: I am extremely grateful for my wife, who is absolutely not the jealous type. Each of us has experience in polyamory and open relationships, so we don’t have to explain ourselves to each other. She is so okay with me being friends with Matt.
Matt: I invited Julie and Mythica to come to my birthday party this year. One of my friends afterward was talking to me, and I was like, “You got to meet my ex-wife, Julie, right?” They were like, “Oh, yeah, Julie was so proud that she knew all these things about you.” We were together for 12 years—of course we know each other so deeply.
Julie and Matt at their wedding
Julie: I didn’t even realize the extent of our spiritual connection until he moved back to Denver and I could feel his distress. I was texting with him every morning as we were both getting ready for work.Matt: We still text each other “three things that you’re grateful for today.”...There are a lot of different flavors of friendship. We can’t always neatly break things into “friends” or “more than friends.” There’s different kinds of love, and there’s different kinds of relationships that you can have with people.If Julie needed anything, I would do everything I could to make that happen. Even when we were going through the divorce, it was like, What can I do to make this easier? I would say that Julie and I are more than friends. At this point, I categorize Julie as my sister. It’s deeper than friendship, but it’s not romantic, and it’s certainly not sexual.Julie: My wife and I have this phrase: “Earth words suck.” There just sometimes aren’t the right words to describe the many different kinds of friendship out there.
Dear Amy: My boyfriend and I have been together for a year and a half, and for the most part it has been amazing!This is the best relationship I’ve ever had.We’re very much in love. We have talked about marriage and one day starting our own family (he has three children, I have none).The problem is that recently, my perspective regarding things I’ve believed all of my life has shifted. ... I no longer feel that monogamy is right for me....I revealed my feelings to my boyfriend during the summer and suggested an open relationship. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.... I told him I didn’t see any other way our relationship could work. It all seemed fine until he learned that I had actually slept with someone else (actually, multiple people).It is obvious that he is hurt, even though I’ve tried to explain to him how my sexual desires for other people don’t reflect my love for him.He says he’s fine with my choice, but he is visibly upset.It hurts me to see him hurt, which is not fun.I’ve started counseling and I’m trying to be patient to see if he can really do this, but is it right to keep this going, knowing that I have no intention on being monogamous, and knowing how much that hurts him?– Open and Lost in the SouthLoving relationships are supposed to exist along a basically balanced axis. Partners don’t always get what they want when they want it, but ideally, they will share core values. A core value is a behavior or belief that you place at the center of your life.Monogamy is a core value.Polyamory is, too.These two values are in direct conflict.Is it fair for you to continue in a relationship where your choices hurt and diminish someone who loves you? Are you being loving and kind toward your partner?The answer is: no.
● Finally, a snippet in the Guardian that indicates how widely we are now assumed to be known: Why we should resist the urge to reinvent ourselves after so long in lockdown (Nov. 12)
We want to slip the net and open a cheese shop, or join a polyamorous collective, or throw all our money at bitcoin – but should we?Making big decisions in the wake of trauma is not always a mistake … but in many cases it is. ...