Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

February 28, 2022

Today is Metamour Day, "Honoring Polyamory's Most Distinctive Relationships." And not at all incidentally, stand with Ukraine.

Today, Monday February 28, is Metamour Day. Please share this year's graphic far and wide!  Here's where best to share it from.

The winner of NCFS's Metamour Day 2022 Graphic contest was
Nicole Kay of Dark Rose Press. Share it from here.

...And browse more Metamour Day graphics to enjoy and share, including in Spanish, French, Norwegian, Maltese, German, Italian and Hebrew.

So why February 28th? Because Valentine's Day times two!

And why an annual recognition day at all?

Because look at the slogan that goes with it: Honoring Polyamory's Most Distinctive Relationships.

Which is precisely the point. Your metamour is your lover's other lover. Respect and consideration for your metamours — which may extend well beyond consideration into friendship, solidarity, and intimacy — is what sets polyamory apart from other forms of consensual non-monogamy. It's also why polyamory can shatter social paradigms that are supposed to enforce isolation and division.

And, not so incidentally, it is time right now to reflect on the rights and freedoms by which civil, democratic societies allow us to create our own lives, in this and in countless other vital ways, as long as we do not harm others.

More on that in a bit.


The Metamour Day initiative, now in its fourth year, is run by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. NCSF is a nonprofit organization defending the rights and legal safety of kinksters, polys, and sex-positive people generally. In many places in the world such an organization is not allowed to exist, or to exist only under constant fear and uncertainty. There are some in our own United States who would use the power of government to suppress and eliminate people like us and organizations like ours if they could.

●  But first, let's start with excerpts from Elisabeth Sheff's article for the first Metamour Day: Delighting in Your Beloveds’ Other Lovers (February 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 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 (Jan. 2018).

"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. ...

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


● Kiki Christie's "The Benefits of Metamours," a cute 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.

So yes, share out the meme. But of course this is not the important news right now. 

Stand with Ukraine. Our freedom to create non-traditional relationships is just one instance of how a free and pluralistic society respects our dignity to create our own lives. Such a society is only possible where people have the power to govern themselves and legal structures that reliably protect the rights of all. 

For the last 15 years around the world, authoritarian brutalists have been increasingly emboldened to trash human freedom, dignity, and rights and to rule autocratically by fear, suppression and lies. People who create their own lives, and who insist on the democratic structures and legal protections that enable them to do so, infuriate and terrify such brutalists.

Now the lonely, isolated, brooding ruler of Russia, bent on empire by conquest, has launched a historic escalation in this global contest. "A turning point in the history of our continent," said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The outcome bodes to shape the future of the world.

For what it's worth, my stats say more people in Ukraine have read this little poly blog than people in any other country of Eastern Europe.

Do you put holiday lights in your windows? If you have blue and yellow bulbs, get them out and display them now. We've done that in our windows. Or put blue and yellow paper or posterboard on your door. More importantly, we're donating to relief agencies suddenly coping with the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from Ukraine into the now-shrunken free Europe — with nothing more than they can jam into their cars or carry on their backs. We wish we could do more. Maybe in time we can.

Do your bit.

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February 16, 2022

Throuple Restaurant, new polyamory books, the coming of three or more legal parents, and more

A table at Throuple

●  You just knew this would happen, right? A theme restaurant named "Throuple" popped up for Valentine's Day in London, set with lovely triangular tables for triads. Or would-be triads in the dating stage. The restaurant was a one-day promotion by Lelo UK, an upmarket sex-toy company.

Located in the booming, hip Shoreditch entertainment district, Throuple received a wave of publicity from the local press, Yahoo Finance, and elsewhere. All 15 tables were booked for the event. We'll see if this project becomes permanent or inspires imitators.

...This first-of-its-kind polyamorous eatery, aptly called “THROUPLE” will celebrate polyamory and break down the taboos surrounding non-monogamous love.

...Established sexual wellness brand LELO UK brand is encouraging people to embrace the freedom of being able to choose a relationship style which works for them and not feel restricted by the social norm of monogamy. THROUPLE’s intention is to create a safe space for people in polyamorous relationships, so they can enjoy a romantic night out with their significant others without having to worry about people questioning the additional seat or seats.

While designed for throuples, this unique restaurant welcomes all polyamorous people – whether they’re in a four-way or even five-way relationship. There’s a place for everyone.

Update: Reports Wales Online (Feb. 16),

The world's first-ever restaurant for polyamorous relationships sold out within 12 hours as 400 people tried to book a table for Valentine's Day. ...Luka Matutinovic, LELO’s CMO, said: "It safe to say that THROUPLE could become an annual event following its huge success this Valentine’s Day."

●  Getting serious: In the Washington Post comes The next normal: States will recognize multiparent families (Jan. 28). It barely mentions polyfamilies; it's more about stepfamilies, extended families, IVF/surrogate parents, and LGBTQ+ parents. But wow, is it ever relevant to us. It's by two law professors.


This legal change will make children’s lives more stable, not less.

Six states have enacted laws expressly allowing a court to recognize more than two parents for a child. Many others are considering similar proposals. (iStock)

By Courtney G. Joslin and Douglas NeJaime

It soon could be unremarkable for a child to have three or more legal parents. After months of political wrangling over how to support families, this may sound fantastical, but it’s fast becoming reality: Six states — California, Delaware, Maine, Vermont, Washington and most recently Connecticut — have enacted laws over the past decade expressly allowing a court to recognize more than two parents for a child. Many others, including Massachusetts, are considering similar proposals.

These new laws have been spurred, in part, by the rising numbers and public profile of LGBTQ families and others with children conceived through assisted reproduction. In many of these families, one or more parents are not genetically related to their children, and many states now legally recognize these “intended parents.” When we realize that genetic connection isn’t required for a legal parent-child relationship, and that social criteria are relevant, limiting the number of parents to two no longer seems necessary or logical.

These multiparent laws enable courts to protect parent-child relationships as they exist in the world. This is important. Legal recognition is more than a bureaucratic formality: When parent-child bonds lack legal protection, children suffer. They may be denied crucial benefits — unable to access health insurance through their parent or receive government aid. Worse yet, when a child’s relationship to a parent is not recognized under law, that relationship can be permanently severed — for instance, if there is a custody dispute or if the legal parent dies. If the child enters the child welfare system, they may be removed from a legal parent and placed in foster care, rather than placed with another person whom the child considers a parent. Such separation can have devastating and long-term developmental consequences. ...

...Multiparenthood is hardly new. ... Examples include children who develop parent-child relationships with one or more stepparents, as well as children who have living biological parents but are raised primarily or exclusively by other relatives or friends. Long before statutes expressly permitted it, courts extended parental rights to people besides a child’s biological parents. Such decisions reflected the understanding that these relationships can be vital to children and that protecting them is often critical to children’s well-being. ...

...The next normal, then, may not be a sweeping legal or societal change, but something simpler: more jurisdictions recognizing and protecting the families that exist today, right now. 

●  Parade is the largest-circulation magazine in America, inserted in hundreds of Sunday newspapers. It has been running since 1941 and is the picture of upbeat mass-market Americana.

On its website this week, though not in last Sunday's print edition, is We Hear the Term 'Open Relationship' a Lot These Days—but What Does It Mean, and Is It Right for You? Experts Explain (online Feb. 14)

...Relationship therapists say it can be done, but only with guidelines in place—and it certainly isn’t for everyone. Curious? Here’s what you need to know. ...

“To me, an open relationship is one of the many types of ethical non-monogamy, meaning two or more people have decided to date other people or have romantic relationships with other people that everyone consents to,” says Maria Laguna, LCSW, a  therapist at Frame.

Laguna says there isn’t one set way that this look. One couple, for example, may define an open relationship as being able to have sexual relationships with other people but not emotional connections. Another couple may decide sex outside of the relationship is off the table, but emotional bonds are okay.

...But open relationships in either case, Laguna says, are different from polyamory. “With polyamory, the bonds between different partners can be equally strong, whereas in an open relationship the bond is strongest between two people. For example, in a polyamorous relationship, there could be three people who all have the same intensity of [sexual or emotional] bonds,” she says....

And there things go astray. The interrelationships in a poly grouping are never the exact same strength or weight, at least not for long, and in a healthy grouping that's okay. "Let your relationships be what they are." The defining aspect of polyamory is not equal intensity but just mutual respect and consideration among all concerned — at least some degree of an ethic that "we're all in this together." That's the edge where "open relationship" grades into "polyamory" in today's common usage.

In fact, wanting all the relationships to have the same intensity is a dangerous utopia-chase leading to dark places: chaos, sneakiarchy and heartbreaking collapse, or, worse, reality denial, room elephants, and cultism. I hope word gets to those Parade readers.

The rest of it the article good basic stuff:  

Jennifer Silvershein Teplin, LCSW, the founder and clinical director of Manhattan Wellness, says that when she hears from someone (or a couple) that they are interested in an open relationship, she first asks them what the motivation behind it is. “If it’s a couple who has been in a committed relationship, such as marriage, and are now talking about opening it up, I first ask if there are needs not being met,” Teplin says.

Sometimes, she says, this unearths that a partner feels they lack an emotional connection or a physical connection with their partner that they once had. A relationship therapist can help a couple decide if the needs not being currently met can be met in their relationship or if it truly does make sense to open it up.

...“If one person in the relationship is only agreeing to an open relationship to satisfy their partner and it’s not something they truly want, it may not be sustainable and may create resentment,” Teplin says. For this reason, she emphasizes that both people must be fully interested in having an open relationship for it to truly work.

...If you weigh the risks and benefits and decide that an open relationship is right for you, all three therapists say it’s important to establish clear guidelines that make both partners feel comfortable. “This requires an honest conversation where both people voice what their needs are,” Teplin says. She says that it’s important for both people to feel safe physically and emotionally. This involves talking about using protection if the relationship is opening up to new sexual partners.

“Think of the guidelines as a living document; they aren’t set in stone and can change over time,” Teplin says. “But it’s important to keep communicating.”

●  New book just out: A World Beyond Monogamy: How People Make Polyamory and Open Relationships Work and What We Can All Learn From Them. It's by British journalist Jonathan Kent, formerly of the BBC and Reuters. As a journalist Kent is writing not for us but for the general public interested in what we are up to and, as the subtitle says, insights we offer the wider world regarding healthy relationships. It's a biggie: 558 pages. In particular, Kent looks beyond the well-covered poly/CNM movement in North America and Europe to survey consensual nonmonogamy practiced on six continents, as told by dozens of interviewees. 

Last Sunday Kent had a feature article in the UK's Sunday Times: What I learnt about open relationships from 50 people in them (Feb. 13. The print version is titled "Are You a Relationship Anarchist?"). Bits:

...My first encounter with polyamory was in 2012 when I read a blog post entitled A short instructional manifesto for relationship anarchy by Andie Nordgren. Phrases burst out of the page: "every relationship is unique"; "customize your commitments"; "love and respect instead of entitlement."

It was an invitation not to dismiss monogamy, but rather to rethink what we mean when we talk about love, commitment and intimacy, something I'd barely stopped to question. So I decided to talk to people who had been pushing back the boundaries of what relationships might look like....


Many of these people, I've found, have discovered a level of intimacy through being nakedly — and hopefully also compassionately — honest with one another in a way that plenty of monogamous people could only dream of.

Seb, an international lawyer based in Southeast Asia, says that's what sustained his and his wife's relationship when they opened up their marriage eight years ago after being together for three years. They each have one [other] long-term partner and also date casually when the moon takes them. "There are people whose bandwidth for extra partners is limited," Seb says. But if it isn't then "It's a case of lots and lots of communication and being very clear what you want and don't want out of the relationship. ... The aim is to effectively grow these relationships so they're able to meet the needs of multiple people."  


...I asked one academic, Dr Dylan Selterman, now an associate teaching professor at Johns Hopkins University, what single thing he had encountered while researching consensual non-monogamy that had really made him sit up and think. His answer: compersion. "There's an association between the closeness and intimacy that people have with their partners' 'others' and feeling less jealousy. And that seems to be one of the big strategies."  

Not that compersion is required for healthy polyamorous relationships. But when it does happen, it's definitely a paradigm-buster.

Of course there are darker sides common enough to become Known Things. The Times article presents a long list of poly vocabulary words, including one new to me:

Cuckoos: Like cowboys, cuckoos try to monopolize a consensually non-monogamous person, but in a more insidious manner. In other words, "I'm saying I'm poly, but actually I want this person all to myself, so I'm going to try and make everybody else so uncomfortable in the relationship that they leave."

By Romano Santos

...In his research for the book, the journalist spoke to CNM academics and activists, as well as around 40 people of different ethnicities, religions, sexualities, and backgrounds from around the world who practice polyamory or some form of CNM. In the process, he questioned the nature of commitment, intimacy, and relationships at large, and found that there isn’t just one way to be polyamorous.

For starters, people get into polyamory for a number of reasons.

“There are quite a few people who think that they have always felt this way. It’s never made any sense to them why you should be devoted to one person in particular,” Kent told VICE.

Other people find themselves in polyamorous relationships because they happen to like having multiple sexual partners, sometimes because sleeping with just one gender, let alone one person, doesn’t quite encapsulate the totality of their sexuality. Some people turn to it because they want friendships without set boundaries, meaning they are able to flow into more physical or romantic spaces with some of their friends in different situations.

But polyamory is not always about having more, or hotter, sex. According to Kent, most of the polyamorous people he interviewed for the book stayed in their relationships more for the romance and emotion than for the sex.

When people hear about polyamory, many might imagine threesomes. But few will consider the possibility of three, four, or even more people sharing the responsibility for mundane things like cooking and washing dishes, as well as sharing more abstract things like emotional support and belongingness.

“We need to belong, or the vast majority of us do, and I think that sense of belonging is one of the powerful attractions of consensual non-monogamy—because people find themselves in something bigger than themselves,” Kent said. 

Seen in this light, polyamory is not just about the relationships one has with multiple lovers. It’s also about the relationships one has with their lovers’ lovers, and even their lovers’ lovers’ lovers, all of which contribute to a greater sense of belonging. ...

●  Another book just out for Valentine's season: Love and Choice: A Radical Approach to Sex and Relationships, by therapist and journalist Lucy Fry. From the Amazon blurb:

"Lucy invites us to examine [the mono-normative] blueprint consciously, accept that it may not be for everyone, and consider something outside the ordinary. By offering us a window into a life built on choice, and a radical approach, Lucy helps us explore what we really want, and what our relationship needs. With care, wit and candour, Fry blends insightful ideas with case studies drawn from interviews with experts, real people, and experiences in her own life."

For the book's arrival Fry got herself published in Stylist, a mass-market UK fashion mag: 5 things holding you back from a vibrant, fulfilling love life, according to a therapist (Feb. 6) .The five things are

1. Blindly following our ‘blueprint’

Each of us grows up with a ‘blueprint’ around relationships; a set of unwritten rules that we have absorbed or inherited. ...        

As Anita, a 46-year-old writer and coach, told me about her 30-something self: “I had internalised the supposed set of rules about how to live my life to such a great extent that I could not decipher any other options. The difference now that I’ve tried different relationship structures is that I am aware I have choices. I know exactly when I am choosing something and so I don’t feel weighed down like I used to.”

2. Confusing intimacy with merging  

Too many people grow up believing that a happy, committed relationship means you should want or try to spend all your free time with your partner. ...

It’s difficult to engage in any fulfilling, meaningful connection with another without a strong sense of where you end and another begins. ...

3. Avoiding conflict 

If you’re scared of disagreeing with a partner, it’s likely you have pushed down some important issues that would be better out in the open. ...

4. Destructive or indirect communication 

Just as learning how to argue better can enhance your relationship, so too can learning constructive communication methods. ...

5. Unresolved attachment issues  

The way you’ve been loved (or neglected) in childhood will impact how you ‘do’ relationships as an adult. This is particularly true for those who have not yet looked at their own inherited ‘attachment patterns’: the ways they relate to others, particularly under stress. 

Attachment patterns are like a personal schema for how someone deals with separation (or the threat of it), conflict and closeness. But they become issues when we continue to follow old patterns unconsciously. It’s like trying to use a computer without ever doing any updates – possible, but increasingly difficult as time goes on.

Kickstart your exploration with questions like: Do you believe loved ones will respond to you and be reliable (within reason, most of the time)? Or do you worry that they will leave, that you are too much, not enough or wrong? ...

Read the whole article. She goes into useful depth.

Fry also got an article published in the UK's conservative Telegraph: Why I opened up my marriage: the truth about (almost) monogamous relationships. "Are ‘semi monogamous’ relationships happier? Yes and no, says author and therapist, Lucy Fry. It all depends on how you do it"  (Feb. 7, paywalled). 

And in UK Metro, prompted by the book: Should you try ethical non-monogamy? 11 questions to ask yourself (Feb. 10)


...[Fry] wrote Love And Choice because it’s the book she needed but couldn’t find when she and a former partner — together for nine years, seven of them civilly partnered — found themselves wondering, ‘Is this all there is?’ and decided to open up their relationship.

She says: ‘We were open-minded, yes, but also uneducated and unprepared. We really didn’t know enough about our options so we made a lot of mistakes.

‘There are better and worse ways to open up a relationship. One comes from a place of strength and trust, and one from a place of fear, frustration and resentment.'...

●  Another new book for the Valentine's season is Rachel Krantz's brainy Open: An Uncensored Memoir of Love, Liberation, and Non-Monogamy, as told in my post before last

●  And while we're doing books, here's a YA fiction rave from a writer at The Strand of Victoria College, Canada: On Xiran Jay Zhao's Iron Widow: Why polyamory is the only way to solve love triangles (Feb. 15).

Rosa Schaefer Bastian
By Catherine Der

When I saw Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao [a Young Adult bestseller published last fall] in my local bookstore, I knew I would buy it. A red and black colour scheme with an Asian woman on the cover? It’s my whole aesthetic. When I turned it over, the words “fight to shatter patriarchal definitions of power” read loud and clear. 

...However, I was not expecting my entire definition of a classic romance trope to change. ... I’ve become quite acquainted with the love triangle. Usually, it’s one female being pursued by two guys. I can almost guarantee that one of those men is morally grey and mysterious with a dangerous past, probably with colourful eyes or a tattoo. ...

...[But] Just as Zetian and Shimin are becoming close, Yizhi finds his way back to her. I mean, it was obvious he would, especially after he offered to marry her instead of having her go off to war. ...

...Zhao has done an impeccable job at developing a totally shippable polyamorous relationship. The readers can clearly see the attraction and passion between all three characters, as well as the love that underlies it all.  So much of the relationship is implicit, which speaks to the skill that Zhao has in developing characters and their romance. ...

...By the time I was halfway through the book, I was shipping all three of them together. I had never done that before. I had never before wanted a main character to end up with both her love interests, and at the same time want the two love interests to end up together. ...

Enough of the classic love triangle—if we can even call it that. The resolution of these triangles is always so unsatisfying anyways.  No more killing off beloved characters; no more making them leave because of some inexplicable reason; no more merging the two love interests into one person (I’m looking at you, Rick Riordan). Polyamory is the only solution to love triangles, and Iron Widow is the prime example on how to do that.

Lastly for now,

● The Roku Channel just put up 8 short documentary segments in a 47-minute series titled Poly"an exploration of consensual non-monogamy and evolving definitions of love and commitment focuses on people who identify as polyamorous or have open marriages." It's free to watch via that link.

Not bad! I particularly liked the perky, super-straight young Mormon couple all enthused about bisexuality and their loving relationships outside their marriage, though they have to keep it secret from the church people in their Utah town — none of whom, maybe they think, get anywhere near the Roku Channel. Though if it happens, the wife says she's quite prepared to be excommunicated because she's all good with herself, love, and God.

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February 8, 2022

The Polyamory Foundation,
a new source of activist funding

Several years ago at a Poly Living convention, a pair of friends took me aside and told me they wanted to discuss something over dinner. It turned out they were writing their wills, and one wanted to leave a substantial sum of money for polyamory education and support. But they weren't sure where, or how.

I told them I was donating to Loving More (which puts on Poly Living) and also named the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, Woodhull, and a couple others. But what they were talking about was in a different league. In particular, they were not expecting to die and the money to come available for many years.

We were quite aware that activist organizations come and go over the years and sometimes fall into unexpected hands. We knew of tragic stories where a benefactor left a big pot to a small beloved cause, and then when the bequest finally came through it was misused by unintended people or flat-out stolen. A poorly guarded treasure chest is likely to draw sharks, and the only winners may be the various parties' lawyers.

I had also heard tales of a progressive group that was destroyed by a benefactor dropping an unexpected bequest on it. Factions formed up and fought to mutual destruction for the pile of gold that each felt they ought to control, for the purest of reasons. When the stakes were low they had gotten along and accomplished things.

"What this movement really needs," I mused to the two over dinner at the convention, "is a grant-making foundation. It would give money to fund projects, not people or organizations. It would need an independent board that would make grants to projects on their merits on a case-by-case basis. It would need a mission and guidelines that were legally locked in. Lots of other movements have foundations like that, and we don't."

"Well, Alan..." said the will-writer, giving me a spreading grin....

"Ohhhhhh, shit," I thought.

Now, after several years of discussions in the community, team building, several offers of promising routes forward that petered out, lawyer brought in, incorporation and 501(c)3 and all sorts of IRS regs navigated, i's dotted and t's crossed, it's real: The Polyamory Foundation is alive and open for business.

It is set up as a tax-exempt private grantmaking foundation, educational and charitable. Our purpose is to provide money for projects "that advance awareness and understanding of egalitarian, ethical polyamory as a valid and workable relationship choice; or that inform the public of polyamory’s principles and best practices; or that support the needs and interests of the polyamory community."

Along the way, somebody none of us had heard of showed up out of Seattle high tech, got enthused, and donated a treasure chest of early money just like that -- enough to fund a respectable first year of grants. We're guessing that this is a sign there's more money out there that has been looking for a home like this.

For more about the foundation, see its website. We're ready to take grant applications now -- to help pay expenses (receipts required) for your educational, charitable, or community-support polyamory project that's within our statement of purpose. Posted around the treasure chest are the regulation guard dragons; if you would like a handful of the gold to use, expect paperwork and agreements as required by the IRS rules for private foundations, as well as our own bylaws.

Two points from the grant page: 

In choosing what to fund, we expect to give particular consideration to projects that:

● Will have benefits that are concrete, widespread, and permanent. Efficacy matters.

● Will reach marginalized or under-represented communities that have particular unfilled needs and opportunities for polyamory education, awareness, and support efforts. Representing such a community counts in your favor.

What sort of projects? Some possible examples from our announcement page:

Have you nurtured an idea for advancing polyamory awareness and community but lacked the funds to carry it out? Have your plans to put on a conference been thwarted by the large deposit that hotels require upfront? Have you been running a poly conference but it took a bad hit from Covid cancellations, and you don't know where the money will come from to get it back on its feet? Do you want to offer scholarships for more low-income people to attend your poly educational event, but you can't afford to? Do you have great material to present but need a bit of help to finance a tour? Need equipment for a poly-community project?

Talk to us. Whether your idea is large or small, if you have developed a plan but are stymied by lack of funds, that's what The Polyamory Foundation is here for.

Per our charter, we fund expenses for specific projects and activities. We can help you achieve your goals that fit our Statement of Purpose (see homepage), especially if cost has been a problem. The polyamory-awareness movement has always had lots of great people with great ideas. If you've got it together, we may be able to help you carry out yours.

We are still new and small as foundations go. We are currently accepting applications for grants in the range of $100 to $4,000. 
We hope to make 10 or 20 grants in our first year, and yes, we do take applications for as low as $100. For some effective, creative people even a hundred bucks -- for a printing bill, or expenses to give a presentation, or necessary materials -- can be a roadblock that it wouldn't be for someone with more means. We hope to even that up a bit.

Since the modern poly movement began taking shape about 37 years ago, it has accomplished spectacular success in public recognition and understanding on the barest of financial shoestrings. That has happened thanks to passionate volunteers all over. We hope to help. We intend for the Foundation to become an increasingly significant resource supporting creative choice in consensual relationship structures for decades to come.

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February 1, 2022

Why so many triads?! And other polyamory in the news.

Pin On Poly

This week brought a spate of polyfamilies in various media, all five of them triads.

I can see the comments already: Why do the media think poly is only "throuples"? Especially, pre-existing couples who get a "third"?

Some people in the online polyam world these days go dissing on all triads, especially FMFs, sight unseen. For this we can blame the damage by stereotyped unicorn hunters: self-centered (or clueless) couples who feel entitled to take lopsided advantage of a new person — to make that person's rules, order them around or gaslight them around.

But dissing every relationship between three people as a result is prejudice (literally, "pre-judging") just as ignorant and crappy as instant-judging a member of a racial or immigrant group regardless of who they are.

As to why we see so many coupley triads in media representations, five reasons:

1.  Most adults are in couples living together, per census data (58% of US adults in 2021). So no surprise that's where a majority of people interested in CNM start from.

2.  Very rarely will three people, all unknown to each other, all run into each other at once and fall in love at once. Triads (and larger polycules) almost always assemble stepwise, one at a time. (Just like molecules in chemistry, and for the same reason: It's very rare for the correct three reactive atoms or molecules to all bang into each other at the same instant.)

3.  Three is simplest number after two, so it will be the commonest polyfamily after two. You see this in poly enclaves all over. So that's what the media are likeliest to find when they go looking.

4.  The smaller the group, the more likely they'll all agree to expose themselves in the media. Read carefully, and a lot of the trios in media profiles have additional links, even additional polyfamily members it would seem, who stayed out of the group photo.

5. "Because triad stories are the easiest to sell to an audience who see relationships as closed bubbles," writes reddit/r/polyamory user ilumassamuli. When people meet any new concept, they usually frame it as, "It's just like that thing I already know, but with a twist." (Marketers know this fallacy and use it.) So, writers and editors new to the subject may immediately think, "Monogamy plus one!" And off they go.

Okay, two years of covid have gotten everybody down, but come on. Educate people about unicorn abuses and keep your own eyes open, but please don't make hostile prejudice-judgments on people you don't know, just like you get mad at your Trumpy relatives for doing.

●  For instance, there's no reason to judge the people in this article as being anything other than the careful, considerate persons they appear: What’s It Like to Be in a Throuple? A Real-Life Triad Shares Their Experience (Jan. 18, AskMen)

How These Three People Make Being in a Throuple Seem Like a Piece of Cake

Celeste, Emily, Jacob

By Rebecca Strong

Relationships with three people — otherwise known as a throuple — are just one iteration of polyamory that has become increasingly common. Not only has media representation of these romantic arrangements been rapidly growing (see: You Me Her, Genera+ion, and Trigonometry), but there are even dating apps geared toward couples seeking to be a part of a triad. 

...To be clear, a throuple can be monogamous or non-monogamous. Some are exclusive (referred to as a “closed triad”), while others may have an open relationship that allows all three partners more sexual and romantic freedom. Jacob, Celeste, and Emily are an example of the former.

“The triad structure is what works best for us, but it may not work for everyone,” they tell AskMen. 


...Flash forward to early 2019, the year Emily met Celeste through a roller derby league. 

...We started running together and developed a friendship over the course of a couple of years,” explains Celeste. “We really grew close while training for a relay race and a marathon together.”

...Soon after, Emily and Celeste went out dancing with a group of friends and shared their mutual feelings for each other. Once they began to pursue that connection further and saw the potential, Celeste opted to end her marriage, which she deemed “unfulfilling” at that point.

Celeste then started having conversations with Jacob to make sure they were on the same page about how to best support Emily as a partner. Initially, Emily was the “vee” or hinge.... When Jacob and Celeste eventually started developing feelings for each other, they had to take a step back and reassess their understanding.

“I was very worried about even telling Emily this because I felt like I was imposing on their secure and long-standing relationship, and infringing on their marriage,” says Celeste. “I also had anxiety about it minimizing our relationship as bisexual women experiencing their first lesbian relationship together.”

But it turned out to be a relief for Emily, who had been anxious about being able to fulfill both Jacob and Celeste’s needs on her own.

“This wasn’t anything any of us were looking for,” Jacob tells AskMen. “It just kind of fell into our laps and it made a lot of sense.” ...

...Emily adds that there’s no right or wrong way to handle this in a three-way relationship, as long as everyone is aware, communicating, and consenting. ...

Read on. It's long.

The man behind Something Inside So Strong and It Must Be Love talks about his half-century in music, coming out in the 70s – and his menage a trois on a Welsh mountain.

Labi Siffre (left) with his partners Rudolf van Baardwijk and Peter Lloyd

By Tim Jonze

...Many people I speak to have never heard of him. Some remember his 80s anthem Something Inside So Strong. Others are dimly aware of a solo career before that....

And then there are those whose eyes light up – those who, like me, regard him as one of the key figures in British pop history, and wonder why he’s not celebrated as such. “Labi Siffre’s fingerprints have been on popular music for many decades now,” wrote the electronic musician Matthew Herbert in 2012. “But his actual voice is rarely heard.”

Labi Siffre today
...“The most important thing in your life is what happens at home,” says Siffre. “Many people don’t understand this. It is head and shoulders above everything else. And from the moment Peter and I met, I never took [that love] for granted.”

...Perhaps one reason Siffre seems content with his standing is that music always came second to the great love of his life, which is love itself: not just Peter but also a “third husband”, Rudolf “Ruud” Cornelis Arnoldus van Baardwijk, who joined the pair in the mid-90s. The three of them shared an idyllic-sounding life – for some time – in a house halfway up a mountain in south Wales.

“I went looking for love,” he says. “But it was only when I met Ruud and we became three that I stopped looking entirely. For nearly 16 years the three of us lived together in a menage a trois. And I realised I’d made the family that I’d been trying to make for the whole of my life.”

And another kind. Polyamory is usually sexual but not necessarily. Nor even "romantic." When does it grade off into being an especially intimate friendship? Doesn't matter. The real world overflows with variety, often poorly classifiable. (Hey, I'm married to a biologist!) But three is the simplest number after two.

For example, here is UK psychotherapist Lucy Fry's tale of her current triad group: After years of a tricky polyamorous romance, I’ve discovered a friendship ‘throuple’ that feels just right (in the UK's iNews, Jan. 26).

Stock photo by Jordan Siemens/ Getty

I used to think about friendships as straight lines – a reciprocal exchange where one listens as another talks; one shoulders whilst the other leans, or one jokes whilst the other laughs.

...In the last 12 months, however, I’ve had a friendship epiphany. Something I never expected possible has happened. I have become a crucial part of a three-way friendship that is 100 per cent triangular in nature: where the primary unit is the triad.

Put more simply, I have realised that “throuples” really can work and need not involve the kind of gossip, envy or conflict that I have experienced in the triads of my past. Granted my current favourite throuple is not sexual nor romantic in nature, which probably makes things simpler.

Yet still, I’m astonished it works, since my history with threes has not been pretty. 

I was born the youngest of three children. ... Then I was, for many excruciating years, third wheel in my parents’ volatile marriage. ... I then recreated this destructive dynamic later in my mid thirties, when I became one third of a polyamorous relationship. Ouch. This one was romantic, full of love and jealousy too. It really ripped open those old wounds. In a way that felt hauntingly familiar, I found myself either stuck between warring factions, besieged with my co-dependency and unable to advocate for my own needs, or torn apart, pulled too hard in different directions. ... 

But, as I know from interviews done for my new book [Love and Choice: a radical approach to sex and relationships], there are throuples that make it work. What is less commonly understood is the potential in a triangle, whether platonic or romantic, for beauty and strength.

We met on a professional training course as three females (thirty- and forty-somethings) who knew each other a little before choosing, one night, to have dinner a trois. ...  Something magical happened over that Thai meal as we laughed and cried our way through an incredible bonding evening. Next day, we each admitted that there was something about our (platonic) chemistry, the mix of our viewpoints, stories and senses of humour, something that wasn’t the same with just two members.

Soon our triangular dinners became an essential part of the monthly calendar, held to consolidate a near-daily Whatsapp chat where we shared voice notes and texts including everything from deep anxieties to in-jokes and everyday frustrations. Gradually, the centre of the triangle coagulated as a unique, shared language developed, an understanding and trust between the three of us.

Finally, at the age of 40, the symbolism of triangles make sense to me. It is a shape regarded throughout centuries to represent enlightenment, revelation, and a higher perspective. Our friendship triptych is like this too. ...

●  Canada's nationwide CityNews TV network just ran a 43-minute special titled "Thoroughly Modern Families." One of its segments featured this Ontario triad living in a remade former church: Life, love and struggle in a polyamorous relationship (Jan. 27):

Article on the segment's webpage.

Speaking from a very different place on the same show was social activist Alicia Bunyan-Sampson of the Polyamorous Black Girl blog and author of No Filter, her memoir. 'Polyamorous Black Girl' battles for acceptance with online blog (Jan. 30):

Article on the segment's webpage. 

The whole 43-minute show aired last Sunday, January 30.

●  The Washington Post just put up Meet Janie and Maggie and Cody, a throuple surviving the pandemic together (Jan. 31). These are the @3.mountains TikTok stars that I posted about last November. (This story also ran the same day in The Seattle Times and maybe elsewhere.)

Maggie Odell, left, Cody Coppola and Janie Frank at their home under
renovation in Chattanooga, Tenn. (Michael A. Schwarz/ Washington Post)

By Karen Heller

Couples traditionally vow to stay together for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. Rarely do they mention for 24 hours a day, for seven days a week, for every single meal, for so much streaming, for two blasted, interminable years.

So imagine what the pandemic has been like for a throuple, three individuals in a loving, committed relationship. Also one that’s moved seven times since early 2020, including driving nearly 1,300 miles from Denver to Chattanooga in one car with three cats.

Cody Coppola, 31, and Maggie Odell, 28, have been together for six years, and married for four. Janie Frank, 26, is Cody’s girlfriend of more than than five years. She is also Maggie’s. They all work in construction and design.

...Within their partnership, “there are four separate relationships,” Janie says in a phone interview. “The three of us together. Me and Maggie. Me and Cody. Cody and Maggie. All of those relationships need to be cared for and nourished.”

Janie, Cody and Maggie dwell in a couple-centric world. They understand that people are intrigued by their otherness. Few of their friends are throuples, though they recently became acquainted with a foursome, or quad. They hope to enlighten people about their relationship and convey that, rather than some orgiastic outtake from “Fellini Satyricon,” it involves laundry and utility bills. As Maggie says, “it’s actually kind of boring.”

Cody cites two primary advantages to being a throuple, a word he dislikes, though they use it regularly. “When I am completely overwhelmed and need a partner to be supportive and loving, I now have two. It doesn’t fall on one person,” he says. Conversely, “when I’m not in a good place, and I don’t want to be around anyone, I’m not the everything for one person. They get a night to themselves, and there’s no guilt on my end about basically abandoning someone.”

...In the past two years while living through the pandemic, Maggie says, they have “experienced every single stressor that you can put on a relationship”: loss of employment, money issues, change of jobs, moving, home renovation, moving and moving again.

They nursed big dreams to relocate to Prague and, in preparation, shed most of their belongings. But this was the spring of 2020. The coronavirus had other plans. ...

...Their TikTok account @3.mountains, documenting “just your average throuple in the south,” with more than 263,000 followers, tends toward goofiness, hugs, cats and “Newlywed Game” videos, plus Maggie-designed merch and sponsorship from an invisible teeth aligner.


● A new book is in the news this week: Rachel Krantz's Open: An Uncensored Memoir of Love, Liberation, and Non-Monogamy. The most interesting and informative review I've seen so far is on NPR: 'Open' explores polyamorous relationships through personal experience (Jan. 29)

By Ilana Masad

...On their second date, he told her that, should they continue seeing each other, "[she] could still date and sleep with other people, even fall in love again. I don't want to restrict my partners' experiences."
...She was fascinated by and powerfully drawn to him, so she decided to give it a shot.

Her first book documents what happened next, using extensive research, interviews with experts, and her own meticulous record-keeping to flesh out and interpret her personal experiences.

I'll admit that I was trepidatious when I first approached this memoir. I've never really hidden the fact that I am polyamorous, nor that my partner of seven years and I have always had, to one extent or another, a non-monogamous relationship. Though anyone who is poly (or polyam, the short form Krantz uses in the book) or non-monog knows when to share this information and when to silo it away in order to avoid the judging eyes and skeptical questions of the monogamous overculture. Knowing the memoir was about Krantz's introduction to non-monogamy — and not only that, but that she was introduced to it by a straight cis man, who are often assumed to abuse this this relational preference — made me brace myself for a traditional happy ending about how it was a valid life choice but simply not for her.

I couldn't have been more wrong. It's no spoiler to say that Krantz still identifies as polyam, at least according to social media, and while Open is about non-monogamy, of course, it's neither a manifesto of polyamorous ideals nor an argument against it. Instead, more than anything else, it's Krantz's sincere and curious reckoning with the cultural messaging we all receive about gendered expectations and power dynamics in romantic and sexual relationships in general. How do we untangle those from our own desires? ... The highs and lows of a first non-monogamous relationship prove the perfect canvas on which to explore these fundamental questions. ...

Readers should take the word "uncensored" in the memoir's title seriously... "I put myself forward for naked examination because I'm morally opposed to being told to cover up in shame." Sex parties, swingers' meetups, and drug use are unapologetically rendered, but Krantz is no less forthcoming with her anxieties, fears, and attempts to understand what is going on in her primary relationship with Adam. Her vulnerability — along with the 20/20 hindsight... — is precisely why the memoir works so well. ...

-- The women's mag Marie Claire interviews Krantz: Diary of a Non-Monogamist (Jan. 24)

...What do you hope people take away from all of this?

RK: I hope to foster more love and openness and less shame, and also a greater empathy for people who are living different lifestyles. And maybe if people see themselves in these stories, they’ll have a greater compassion for themselves and also maybe for the people who hurt them. I hope it opens up conversations in relationships of potentially more expansive possibilities, because I think there’s a lot in between total monogamy and total relationship anarchy that might benefit a lot of couples. ... Maybe there are some options that would actually be quite fun that wouldn’t challenge jealousy that much. You see in the book a lot of different options, a lot of different outcomes, the pitfalls and the pros and cons.

-- Yahoo Lifestyle reprinted the book's first chapter. It does draw one in.

-- The Michigan Daily, the student newspaper at the University of Michigan/ Ann Arbor, has an interesting take. “The most vulnerable person in the room”: In conversation with Rachel Krantz, author of ‘Open’  (Jan. 31)

By Elizabeth Yoon

...While readers are busy putting together the warning signs of abuse, Krantz flashes her own insecurities about her queerness and positionality in the peripheral. It’s a brilliantly employed and aggressively engrossing tactic. By the midpoint of the book, the readers find themselves at a mental table opposite of Krantz, questioning the binaries they subscribe to and what liberation looks like for them. 

The novel frames ideas and anecdotes through critical feminist frameworks, making reading a treasure hunt for theory and its application in the real world. Krantz is a product of elite institutions (though she does not name or reference her alma mater, NYU, in the novel). ... Perhaps because of Krantz’s past in journalism, scenes featuring Krantz’s queer friends and cosmopolitan lifestyle feel like more than incidental visits; through Krantz and her connections, the reader receives an insight into inclusive queer spaces, guided by a wonderfully expansive accepting network. In sum, the vignettes transform the novel into a conversation that branches out and touches on a great many things other than just non-normative sex and relationships. 

Update: A radio interview with her on WNYC in New York (March 15).


● The polycons stir from hibernation. As hopes grow that the pandemic will diminish, the annual round of polyamory conventions, retreats, and similar events is beginning to open back up a little. See the signs of life returning on Alan's List of Polyamory Events.

Most will require onsite measures against spreading covid, and admission will usually require proof of vaccination. Ask about their refund policy if either you or they change plans due to pandemic developments, and I wouldn't book expensive travel without a refund provision. Some events — such as Southwest Love Fest in Tucson coming up in April — will limit in-person attendance and have an online option.

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