Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

December 18, 2021

A "Metamours 101" in Cosmopolitan, Forbes opens the door on Feeld, and more polyamory in the news

Cafe Press

Welcome back for another roundup of polyamory in the news.

●  Cosmopolitan continues on its roll with a "Metamours 101" piece: Metamours: Everything to Know About Your Lover's Lover (Dec. 14)

By Ali Wunderman

...In ethical non-monogamy, however, having metamours is part of the goal. Multiple people come with the territory, and they too may bring even more people into the mix....

There is a misunderstanding that your partner’s lover must share an intimate relationship with you too. But a metamour is first and foremost your partner’s partner, not yours. It’s true that sometimes the relationship can evolve to bring you all together, but that happens circumstantially. In fact, it’s a red flag if the central partner tries to force a friendship or romantic connection between their lovers where one would not exist naturally. ... Whatever connection you end up forming with a metamour should be on your terms. But when your shared characteristic with a metamour is loving the same person, it can actually be really easy to get along. ...

Writing professor Patricia Fancher, author of this essay on building a queer, polyamorous family, says she got along so well with her husband’s girlfriend—her metamour—that the girlfriend became more like her husband’s metamour instead. “We just liked each other so much that the relationship shifted,” she says.

...It’s worth examining your motivation in making [metamour-closeness decisions] either way: Is avoiding meeting them a way to pretend they don’t exist? Is getting together for coffee at the beginning of the relationship a way to exert control? Do you subconsciously want to ensure your partner’s connection with them involves you on some level?

...If this relationship construct is by design based on the wholehearted consent of yourself and your partner(s), then there is nothing to fear. ...

●  Yet more from Cosmopolitan: 8 Open Relationship Questions, Answered by Someone Actually In One (Nov. 30), also by Ali Wunderman.

I first dipped my toe into the world beyond monogamy by opening my relationship with my husband more than a decade ago. Since then, I’ve been asked a million and one questions. ...

They're very basic and handled reasonably okay, such as this one:

What happens when you catch feelings?

[Many] couples design an open relationship with the agreement that no new romantic bonds will be formed. But, humans gonna human, and catching feelings can be inevitable. “It’s important to understand your biology when exploring sexually,” says Saynt. “When you meet someone new and form a connection you may experience a spark. This ‘new love energy’ may feel like something more than intended as your brain pushes serotonin and oxytocin into your body, creating a high we may not always feel with our core partner.”

Also known as ‘new relationship energy,’ it can be intoxicating, but it is also avoidable. ... However, if it is something you are struggling with and you are navigating a monogamish relationship, you may need to discuss the options of polyamory with your partner.”...

●  Right next to Cosmo at your grocery-store checkout is Men's Health. Both are published by Hearst, have huge circulations, and are more alike than their gender split suggests. Appeared on the Men's Health site the same day as the Cosmo story above was 20 Questions With Open Relationships Sex Therapist Dulcinea Alex Pitagora (Nov 30). It's longer and presents better answers, IMO. 

By Sophie Saint Thomas

...Q: How did you become interested in ENM enough to make it your specialty?

Dulcinea Pitagora

Pitagora: I focus on working with the communities I’m personally connected to and identify with, which also happen to be among the most underserved and misunderstood groups. As a polyamorous person, my own life experience provided a foundation for and dovetails with the specialized training I received in clinical sexology.

...Q: What are the most common misconceptions about ENM?

Pitagora: The most common things I hear are that:

  – ENM people have extremely high libidos.
  – They are at higher risk for STIs and get them more frequently.
  – They're just experimenting until they find "the right person to settle down with."

None of these misconceptions are based on anything related to common practice or scientific data. ...

...Q: What are the biggest misconceptions about polyamory in particular?

Pitagora: The misconceptions I often hear about polyamory are:

  – Polyamorous relationships are harder than other relationships.
  – They’re expensive and only for people with money. [??  We're talking about life relationships, not dinner-and-a-movie.  –Ed.]
  – That it’s not possible to have deep connections and love feelings for multiple people.

The truth is that no one relationship structure is harder than any other, and all relationships take communication and work to be sustainable, satisfying, and enjoyable. The only thing finite is time... and spending time together doesn’t have to cost anything.

...Q: Are there some people who truly are monogamous and not built for ENM?

Pitagora: Definitely, though I believe this is always a combination of nature and nurture.... 

Or as I've heard that expressed, "It can be very difficult to tell hard wiring from installed wiring." But the difference doesn't matter in respecting someone's preference. Read on.

●  More in the Poly 101 department: From PsychCentral, Throuple, Quad, and Vee: All About Polyamorous Relationships (Nov. 23), with much about the definitions of words.

●  Speaking of words, poliamor is making news across the Spanish-speaking world this week for its entry into the Royal Spanish Academy's quasi-official Diccionario de la Lengua Española (Dictionary of the Spanish Language). It's defined there as a "relación erótica y estable entre varias personas con el consentimiento de todas ellas."

This parallels the news wave in 2006 when polyamory entered the Oxford English Dictionary, the closest thing that English has to a final authority. An article in Spain's El País: Bitcóin... poliamor, transgénero y quinoa, nuevas palabras en el diccionario de la RAE (Dec. 16).  An article in English: The new words of the RAE Dictionary: polyamory, transgender, quinoa, bitcoin. Interesting that of the 3,836 new terms that were introduced, poliamor is one of the few making the news. 

●  Of all the attempts to create the go-to polyamory-specific dating site since PolyMatchMaker launched in 2001, Feeld has come closest to capturing the market. Its founders and owners are, by all accounts, good-hearted believers in the concept, unlike some dating-industry businesses that spotted a trend, tried, and failed because they didn't get it.

So the business magazine Forbes takes a look at Feeld and its workplace culture: Ethical Non-Monogamy— Exploration Of All Types Of Relationships—Dating App Will Pay Employees An $80,000 Salary (Nov. 26)

By Jack Kelly

In a heartwarming wholesome holiday season story, Feeld—the world’s most progressive dating app with over 20 sexuality and gender options—will offer all its workers a baseline salary of $80,000.  

The platform is built for the sexually curious. The unique site champions ethical non-monogamy and the openness to explore non-mainstream types of relationships. You can seek out members of the site who are into threesomes, domination and submission, quirky kinks, polyamorous relationships, bi-curious, swingers and anything else you might be interested in. It's a smorgasbord for sexual exploration.

Feeld was founded in 2014 by a couple, who like other startup founders, sought to find a solution to a problem. Bulgarian-born software designer Dimo Trifonov, founder of Feeld and Ana Kirova, who is now the CEO of Feeld, had been in a relationship for a couple of years. Ana realized that she had feelings for another woman. She shared this with her partner, and he was understanding. 

This gave birth to the idea of creating a space in which people could be open to sharing their sexual interests and finding like-minded people. Feeld’s mission is to normalize a wide array of sexual desires. ...
Kirova’s action [in setting high baseline salaries] is a masterclass in showing appreciation and respect for her workers. It's also a smart recruitment and retention tool for this currently tight job market, characterized by a Great Resignation and all out war-for-talent.

Kirova initiated other important changes including forming a “leadership team of 60% female-identifying members, over 50% female-identifying newly hired engineers,” ... Her management style includes offering ‘transparency’ so that everyone knows what is going on at the company and feels like an integral part of the team. ...

●  Advice columnist Dear Prudence at Slate turns this one over to readers: Help! My Girlfriend and I Can’t Do Anything Together Without Our Partner Getting Jealous. (Nov. 26, paywalled)

I live with my longtime girlfriend, “April.” About a year ago we started seeing someone together, who I’ll call “Jamie.” We had many wonderful months as a triad, until last summer when Jamie had to move back in with their family in another city due to financial matters. We have been long-distance since then, with Jamie promising to move back to our town this summer.

A major problem right now is that Jamie is very jealous of seemingly everything April and I do together. They’re jealous if we get takeout, go on a hike, hang out with friends, or just spend the evening watching TV. While I fully understand their jealousy ... it feels like everything we tell Jamie upsets them, and if we don’t tell them what we’ve been up to, Jamie is still upset because we aren’t sharing about our day with them!

We talk to Jamie about it and are very sympathetic. ...

●  Marty Klein, sex therapist, researcher and author, may have done as much as anyone to advance sex positivity as a concept after Wilhelm Reich invented the term in the early-mid 20th century. Klein himself got going almost 50 years ago. I didn't know he was still practicing and preaching, until up popped this piece he just wrote: Mistakes When Pursuing Poly & Non-Monogamy (Nov. 20).

...Here are some of the fundamental mistakes my patients have recently made in choosing or implementing poly. While there’s nothing wrong with non-monogamy, each vignette provides a cautionary tale. ...

...In fact, an increasing number of my patients turn to non-monogamy as a way of fixing broken relationships. This is a strategy that almost never succeeds: “Our relationship doesn’t work? Let’s add more people!”

[Also common:]

Grandfathering in an affair...

Imposing [poly] on a partner...

Doing it without clarifying the rules...

Underestimating the maintenance that non-monogamy requires...

●  One small step for legal recognition. Remember the sad court case in New Zealand of a 15-year triad who broke up while owning a home and farm? A family-court judge threw up her hands and said she couldn't adjudicate property distribution among them because three wasn't a family relationship under the law.

An appeals court has overruled her, saying that just because they were three doesn't mean it wasn't indeed a family relationship, and the court ordered her to go back and adjudicate it as such. Family Court will hear case of farm owners who were in three-way relationship (Dec. 3).

● Lastly, researchers at Canada's Simon Fraser University have put out a call for interview subjects involved in consensual non-monogamy. They'll pay for your time:

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