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

May 13, 2022

The polyamory model opens lives for non-poly people. Plus new novels, TV, theater, an Irish activist, and other poly in the news

The polyamory movement is making waves apart from sexual and romantic openness. We model how intimate partners can break rigid social assumptions and strictures about what is a "real relationship", so that they can design one of their own. One that fits, that lets them breathe and thrive.

Sometimes our model shows monogamous couples how they can take better charge of their own path as just two. Especially, we read, older couples with kids grown and gone.

This piece in The Observer / Guardian touches on poly only as a model for the main topic: long-term partners discovering ways out of unspoken models that can kill relationships: Nifty ways to leave a lover (temporarily) – how a gap year could save your marriage (April 23).

By Lucy Cavendish

Is life with your spouse stale and limiting? Maybe, instead of a divorce, all you need is a few months apart.

...They were in their mid-50s and they told me they had been married for more than 30 years. They loved each other. They had a marriage that had survived the ups and downs of most unions. They had three children all of whom had left home. Yet they were looking at a future together with apprehension. They didn’t want to divorce, they just wanted to work out how to stay together while also being apart. The wife was a homebody.... The husband had rediscovered an adventurous side in himself that had lain dormant for a couple of decades.

What they were proposing was a marriage gap year.

“I’m a doctor,” the husband told me. “I just want to experience something different.” His intention was to go and spend a year working as a volunteer in Malawi.

...His wife, understandably, was nervous about it. “I don’t want to go to Africa,” she said. However she also did understand how important it felt to her husband. “I love him so I don’t want to stop him from having this year out,” she said.

...But, in reality, how does this work? It’s not easy to explain to your long-term partner that you want to take a break.

As a counsellor I find this fascinating. ...

...My gap-year couple agreed that sex with other people was off the agenda. ... But for some people it is also about having different sexual experiences. ... My friend’s sister and her husband agreed they would be free to date and have intimate relationships with other people. ... She had a fabulous two years travelling the world and taking lovers, then came home and the marriage continued. “It’s better than ever now,” she said. “I feel settled. I’ve done my thing and now I am home and I’m happy to be here.”

Younger couples are far more au fait with this sort of thing – polyamory and “ethical non-monogamy” appear to be growing in popularity – but it’s a whole new game for my generation of forty- to fifty-somethings. ... We were brought up to believe in The One. And in... a kind of stoicism. Young people don’t see it like this. They can have very strong prime relationships that are open and communicative and connected while also having relationships with other people. They have a completely different working model. ...

For older couples, it is not easy.

...For most it’s about relocating for a while, working at a different job, volunteering. ... The marriage or relationship can even be enhanced as the couple involve each other in hearing about these new adventures – bonding them more securely.

My original couple ended up being excited at the prospect of the gap year. “I can’t wait to wake up in the African sun,” the man said, “and then I’ll come home to suburbia and begin again.” ...

Read the whole article.

Lots of poly arts and culture items have popped up in the last couple weeks: novels, plays, news of TV series. For instance, 

More poly in Young Adult fiction. I recently linked to Why Not Both? 8 [YA] Books With Love Triangles That End In Polyamory and The State of Polyamory in YA Fiction; both appeared on BookRiot. Here's more, from the University of Utah's independent student newspaper The Daily Utah Chronicle: Healthy Depictions of Non-Monogamous Relationships in Books (May 1).

“Endless Love” (Fredrik Kleppe / WBUR)

By Whit Fuller

...When the subject of non-monogamy first appeared to me in literature, it came in the form of Gabby Rivera’s young adult novel Juliet Takes A Breath. Protagonist Juliet learns of non-monogamous relationships during her internship with feminist author Harlowe Brisbane. Brisbane and her primary partner Maxine have a conversation with Juliet about their relationship structure and introduce her to the concept of hierarchical polyamory. Rivera’s novel explores the concept of consensual non-monogamous relationships honestly and through intersectional feminist lenses that discuss the importance of acknowledging and understanding connections formed in polyamorous relationships with interracial dynamics.

In reading Mary McCoy’s Indestructible Object, I [saw how] books can involve polyamory without centering it in their narratives. McCoy explores relationship dynamics through main character Lee and her boyfriend Vincent. There are moments of discomfort and betrayal, but the book culminates in a moment of growth and an understanding that loving multiple people doesn’t make one flawed, but allows the indestructible object of the heart, as McCoy wrote about it, to keep beating and loving in its own time. ...

...To see young adult literature engaging with non-monogamous relationships amid self-discovery and coming of age is particularly powerful....

Appearing on TV (spoilers ahead):

  S.W.A.T. is a police action series on CBS. From Movieweb comes S.W.A.T.: How the CBS Police Drama Explores Polyamory with Respect and Grace (April 27).

By Kassie King

One of the main cast of characters is fan-favorite Officer Christina "Chris" Alsonso, the only woman SWAT member in the department and a total badass. ... In addition to having superior tactical skills and a delightfully sardonic personality, Chris is also openly bisexual. ... In seasons 2 and 3 as she and the show itself explore a subject matter that is still somewhat taboo for primetime television police procedurals: a polyamorous relationship. And it wasn’t a joke. Or a disaster.

Kira, Chris, Ty

In early season 2, it's revealed that Chris has begun dating a woman named Kira, who admits that she is engaged to a man and that they practice polyamory. The couple is looking for a third person to join their relationship as an equal partner — colloquially known as a "throuple." Chris declines at first... but soon realizes how deep her feelings for Kira are and decides that she’s interested in meeting her fiancé Ty and exploring the possibility of a relationship. ... Chris looks to Street for some guidance before making the leap, and he thoughtfully suggests, “Who knows? They could be the loves of your life. You should just do what you want to do. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.”

...Since she doesn't fully understand the dynamics of polyamory yet, we as viewers are able to learn about it alongside her. S.W.A.T. does an excellent job bringing us inside this new experience, rather than presenting viewers with something they might not understand and expecting them to just get on board with it. ...

Ty and Kira explain some of their "we rules,” which focus primarily on open communication. They tell her, “This only works if we all feel secure and valued.” One of Chris' major concerns is that the relationship won’t remain equal between the three of them because Ty and Kira are getting married. Chris confides in her only married teammate, Deacon (Jay Harrington), [who] warns her, “That couple is in a relationship that predates you. They’re getting married, and you’re not part of that marriage, no matter how they try to sell it to you. I think you’re setting yourself up for heartache.” Despite her fear, Chris moves forward with the relationship and eventually accepts Ty and Kira’s offer to move in with them.

Although some of Chris' teammates seem concerned about this new development in her life, it is always treated as a worry that she will be heart-broken due to the complicated nature of the relationship, rather than a disdain for polyamory itself. In fact, the only significant pushback within the narrative comes from Annie (Bre Blair), Deacon’s wife. The couple’s daughter Lila asks Chris about Ty and Kira, and she tries to explain to the little girl that it’s okay to love more than one person. This conversation upsets Annie, and she tells Chris that she doesn't believe polyamory is moral, nor does she want her kids to grow up thinking that it is.

...Although this confrontation was heartbreaking for Chris, and for viewers who care about the story, it was important for S.W.A.T. to portray an opposing viewpoint. Public contempt, especially from loved ones, is a realistic complication that people who practice polyamory have to deal with in the real world. 

...Although the relationship between Chris, Kira, and Ty did eventually end, S.W.A.T. never treated it as a silly plot device or something taboo that was just presented to be criticized. Instead, the show explored the real dynamics of polyamory, the complexity of the emotions involved, and the external pushback that can arise, all with the same attention and grace they would have given any other relationship on the show. ...

●  Also: 90 Day Fiance: Love in Paradise. From Showbiz CheatSheet, May 5: "The new season features two new LGBTQ couples, including the franchise’s first triad (a polyamorous relationship consisting of three people)."  It's on TLC. 

●  Afterglow, a queer poly play. I just posted about Fiveplay, a new theater piece about a rollicking queer poly household that recently ran in DC. Now the better-established play Afterglow has opened in the Los Angeles area. West Hollywood's WEHOville reviews it and interviews the writer/director: ‘Afterglow’ explores the naked truth of open relationships (May 5).

By Brandon Garcia

S. Asher Gelman gets letters from people who said seeing “Afterglow” led to the end of their relationships.

“That is fantastic,” the writer/director says. 

“It’s a fantastic thing that you were able to communicate effectively. We are so primed to consider that the worst thing in the world is to be alone. That’s not true. The worst thing in the world is to be with the wrong person.”

S. Asher Gelman

Five years ago, “Afterglow” took the off-Broadway world by storm with its frank depiction of an open gay relationship and its generous helping of on-stage, full-frontal male nudity. The tiny off-Broadway production was only supposed to run for about eight weeks. Instead, it blew up, ran for 14 months and spun off productions all over the world. ...

While the show makes headlines for its fearless erotic flair, “Afterglow” exerts its true power after the curtain closes, raising taboo questions and inspiring tough conversations in the minds of its audience.

“I think it really paints a real picture of what relationships actually are. We have a very romanticized version of what relationships are and it’s unrealistic and these characters get into the grip of it all,” [Gelman] said.

The tale of two men who embark on a polyamorous relationship with a third was drawn from the writer/director’s real-life experiences. 

...He has found peace and satisfaction in the romantic paradigm depicted in the play – but the road to happy polyamory was not without its perils. ...

“I wrote this play because I realized I had done something wrong but I couldn’t figure out what. So I essentially used the play to troubleshoot what I always thought the ‘crime’ that I committed was — allowing myself to fall in love with someone else — which is actually not true. The crime that I committed was that I was not being completely honest with everybody and just thinking that if I fudge the truth a bit, it’ll all work out. Of course my dishonesty thinking that I was being so good about everything by telling everybody 90 percent of the truth, it was awful and caused a lot of pain. ... 

“Being honest and forthcoming with everybody about boundaries and wants and needs is just the most freeing thing,” he said. “When there’s nothing to hide it’s kind of amazing what you can do.”


●  In Ireland, the major newspaper Independent.ie spotlights therapist Ruth Crean, a member of the parade-marching Polyamory Ireland: ‘There’s a perception that polyamorous people are highly sexed, which I find really annoying’ (April 12).

Ruth Crean (Eamon Ward photo)

I was always a little bit different. When I was a teenager, I was the person who was trawling second-hand shops and wearing the things that made me feel good about being myself. My mum was great. I remember someone saying to her, ‘How do you let her dress that way?’ And she just said, ‘Because they’re expressing themselves. Why would I stop that?’

So from a young age I had support around expressing myself. But that took longer to filter through to other things. Relationship-wise, I was really steeped in that rom-com idea that one person fulfills you. Like you could have happiness and success, but if you were alone then something was missing in your life. ...

It's paywalled after that, but Ireland's NewsTalk followed up a day later interviewing Crean for radio: Polyamory: 'It's more about an expanded sense of what a relationship can be' 

There is a common misconception that polyamory is all about having as much sex as you can, with as many people as you can.

Ruth Crean, psychotherapist and a member of Polyamory Ireland joined Sean on the show to dispel that myth....

●  From Israel: 'Polyamory is playing with fire': Israeli couples' navigation of non-monogamy. Originally published in Maariv. Here it's in English on YnetNews, April 23. The title sounds dire, but the article is upbeat.

...Keren [left photo above, with Shavit] started researching polyamory online. "I suddenly discovered that there was such a thing as polyamory, whereby being married, I could go out on dates, feel excited and fall in love – I could have my cake and eat it," she says with a smile.

Shavit, 37, sensing changes in Keren, told himself that this was a passing phase of post-natal depression. "I remember her feeling that something was missing. Things weren't right for about two years. She was looking everywhere for some kind of freedom. She started writing Facebook posts, expressing support in non-monogamy. Anyone reading these postings assumed that we were in an open relationship and I wasn't there, not even in my mind.

I asked her to remove the Facebook posts and I didn't ask nicely," he admits. "I now understand that for quite a long time, I'd been feeling everything that Keren was talking about... but at the time it was the cause of a lot of friction between us." 
Tell us a little about the process you went through. ...

BTW, yes: Carelessness with poly can indeed be like being careless with fire. But we've learned how to use fire. You probably have a stove in your kitchen, a furnace in your basement, and gasoline in your car. If a religious outfit tried to frighten you into rejecting those things, you would know they had an ulterior motive that was not about your well-being.

●  And, the latest from the British tabloids: WHO'S THE DADDY? We don’t know who our kids’ fathers are – our unusual family dynamic may surprise you. (in The Sun May 6, and many other outlets since).

They're a quad with adorable pix.

Sean, Taya, Alysia, and Tyler with their two older kids. The dads are giving early kisses to the next two, who were still on the way.

Romantic, yes. However, the learned-by-experience advice that you will hear in the poly community — the topic comes up fairly often — is that it's a bad idea to not find out who the bio dad is. If there's any uncertainty you should arrange for DNA tests at the time of birth.

Why? Several reasons.

First and foremost, for the kid. Their genetic lineage could have vital medical relevance, maybe not until years from now. And, the kid will likely want to know which dad is the bio dad as they get older, and it is wrong to withhold it or prevent them from finding out. The grandparents (or non-grandparents) will almost certainly want to know and could make trouble in court; it happens. And if you ever break up, the kid deserves proper legal access to support.

The advice you will hear is do the test now, while you're all together and in love, rather than later when you may be broken up, and maybe on bad terms or unable to find each other.

Another reason, from my own observation of quads with kids. The child's bio dad will become pretty clear anyway, especially if the dads don't look alike. But this will happen gradually. Everyone will slowly see and slowly know. But if no one is supposed to talk about it, it'll always be an elephant in the room. Room elephants damage relationships, families, and children.

If you are romantic enough that you really don't want to know, do the tests and put the unopened results envelope in a safe-deposit box or on file in a lawyer's office. That way, you'll have it when the time comes.



We polyamorous people are a small, weird minority of social-rule breakers. Some people call us a threat to society, because by living outside their worldview successfully, we expose its incompleteness. Our freedom to choose our relationship structures, and to speak up for ourselves about the truth of ourselves, is just one way we depend on a free and pluralistic society that respects people's dignity to create their own lives, to access facts, and to speak of what they know.

Such a society is only possible where people have the ability to govern themselves, combined with legal structures that are at least supposed to protect the rights of all. 

People and communities who create their own lives, and who insist on the democratic structures and legal protections that enable them to do so safely, infuriate and terrify the authoritarians who are growing in power around the world and in our own United States.

Such rulers and would-be rulers seek to stamp out other people's freedom to choose their own way — by intimidation, repressive laws, propaganda and public incitement, or, eventually, artillery.

For what it's worth, this site has received more pagereads from Ukraine over the years (56,400) than from any other country in Eastern Europe.

For now, you can donate to Ukrainian relief through this list of organizations vetted by the Washington Post, or many others. (Avoid scams.)

But that is only the start. For those of us born since World War II, this is the most consequential war of our lifetimes.

The coming times are going to require tough things of us. We don't get to choose the time and place in history we are born into. But we do get to choose how we respond to it. Buck up and be ready.

PS: Need a little help bucking up? Play this new release from Pink Floyd. Loud.
Another version.

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