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

June 8, 2022

Kitchen Table polyamory – or Garden Party, Parallel, or a polyfamily? And other polyam in the news.

●  A Poly-Styles 101 article has popped up on The Body ("the AIDS/HIV resource for 27 years," with scores of partner organizations): Kitchen Table and Garden Party Polyamory: What Is the Difference?  (June 2)

Happy Pride Month  (iStock/FG Trade)

By Gigi Engle

What’s really special about polyamory is its commitment to nuance. There are so many different polycule (romantic network) configurations based on relationship style and boundaries, which makes it a highly customizable way to love. And for some, this is very appealing.

...Different terminology for one’s style of love can help people build the relationship they want within their specific lifestyle....“There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to building a polycule,” [says] Ryn Pfeuffer, a sex and relationships writer.... “It’s hard to predict how a particular dynamic will impact us emotionally.”

...Enter two related but separate kinds of polyamorous relationships: kitchen table polyamory (KTP) and garden party polyamory (GPP).

KTP relationships refer to when [members of] a triad, quad, or polycule all have close relationships with one another. In GPP, the members of the group do not have close relationships with one another, but metamours (your partner’s partners) do choose to come together to celebrate big events in their partner’s lives.

...This contrasts with parallel polyamory, wherein metamours don’t interact with each other. “Still, everyone is aware of each other’s existence in parallel polyamory,” [says Zachary] Zane. “No one is lying to each other, [though] the metamours [may not] have any form of relationship with one another.”

...The way to know which kind of polyam is right for you takes open and honest communication about how you want to live and love as a polyamorous person. Every single human in a polycule deserves to have their boundaries respected, a thing Zane tells us is crucial in order to have successful ethical non-monogamous (ENM) relationships. No kind of polyamory is better than any other. It’s about learning what you want and what you don’t want. All love is good love, as long as everyone is treated with dignity and respect. ...

A glaring absence here is the next step along the closeness spectrum, family-style polyamory. Some threes, fours or more bond to share their lives together, regardless of whatever are the sex links within the group. (Many long-term, cohabiting triads and quads are all hetero.) Some polyfamilies consider themselves to be group marriages — sometimes holding totally wedding-y commitment ceremonies and using language like "my husbands."

When you ask a bunch of polyfolks — at a convention workshop, for instance — to describe the life-setup of their dreams, the most common ideal you usually hear is close polyfamily embedded in a larger community. At least among con-goers.

But as T. S. Eliot said, "Between the idea and the reality, falls the shadow." It's hard enough for two people to find each other as excellent serious partners. It's exponentially harder for three or more — and then someone may realize this isn't quite what they wanted after all. Which must be respected no matter what. "Let your relationships be what they are," goes the old poly wisdom, and appreciate them for what they are — regardless of your ideal.

●  Remember Book Karnjanakit? She's the cartoonist from Thailand, now in Baltimore, who got published in the Washington Post's women's magazine The Lily last October with the illustrated I used to think there was one way to have a relationship. Then I discovered polyamory.

Now she's back, and on the Post website itself: How I overcome jealousy in my polyamorous relationship (May 29). Here are panels 1, 6, 8 and 9 of the 10:

●  Three days earlier, the WaPo's in-house advice columnist Carolyn Hax fielded a fret from an elderly mom: Parent has ‘grave misgivings’ about daughter’s polyamorous marriage (May 26). Her advice is good IMO.

Our only child, a daughter in her early 40s, married, with two young children, recently told us she had a polyamorous marriage. She hinted about it frequently for a year and then I asked her directly. The issue seems to have now completely dictated a shallow level of communication between us. She sent me a bunch of articles to read about the wonders of polyamory. [I hope this site helped! –Ed.]

Nick Galifianakis / Washington Post

...Grave misgivings fill my head and heart. She is very sensitive to anything that feels like criticism and always has been thin-skinned. The children are pre-hormone so I assume this is going undetected on their level. She has told me I need to practice acceptance.

I am concerned about the future. We do whatever we can to love and support the grandchildren, but I don’t know how to navigate the future with the knowledge I have. ... 

— Concerned

You treat her as your daughter. Which means, override your impulse to judge her and navigate the future by the usual standards. Care about her, trust her to manage her own life, and don’t offer advice unless asked.

...She is wrong on one point for sure; you don’t “need” to accept anything, any more than she “needs” to conduct her marriage to your standards.

...Frame it this way: IF your concerns for the future are founded, then your maintaining a solid relationship with your daughter and her children will be of utmost importance.

And the path to a solid relationship with your daughter is, all together now: to care about her, trust her to manage her own life, and not offer advice unless asked. I.e., wipe the judgy off the face.

●  India is the non-western country where modern egalitarian polyamory has caught on most firmly. Lots of past examples in Indian media (scroll down). Here are five more, starting with this one just out:

  In Feminism in India, When My Partner And I Decided To Date Other People — Navigating Polyamory In Delhi  (June 6). It's long. Excerpts:

Intimacy in our minds is neatly fit into monogamy versus exclusively physical intimacy, although I wanted something which transcended these. 

Shreya Tingal for Feminism In India
By Shardha Rajam

When my partner and I decided to start seeing other people, I was excited. I had wanted to do this for a long time and knew in my heart that monogamy did not appeal to me. ...Quite apart from the physical intimacy, I wanted to experience what I did not know how to verbalise back then.

...Once we started... I realised that my partner and I were navigating through very different realities. While he had trouble getting women to trust him as a stranger in a misogynistic city, that was the only impediment he faced. For me, online dating applications often meant creepy men showing up at my doorstep unannounced. Men telling me I was, “cheating on my partner” and giving moral lectures about it. And, of course, men who did not understand consent.

...I thought of connecting with known men, hoping the common circles would enforce some degree of accountability and prevent non-consensual behaviour. ... However, known men were often disrespectful of consent too, and this regularly gave rise to more complications with respect to confidentiality.

...I was also not keen on verbalising my desire for the kind of intimacy I wanted, given our culture’s swift dismissal of any non-physical intimacy as clinginess without probing a blurred, more ambiguous form which fit into neither category.

...The Indian urban landscape has rarely been a space for women to exercise their sexuality — from my mobility to my clothes, to who my partner was with, and my own profile on a dating app — everything was open for questioning from different avenues, and masked as “safety concerns”. 

But it got better.

Although it did result in some unpleasant experiences, being non-monogamous introduced me to affectionate and genuinely caring people — people who were unabashed about their vulnerabilities, and did not hide behind cautious banter. As an ambivert myself, romantically meeting people encouraged me to move far out of my comfort zone — and introduced me to people I would simply not have met otherwise.

I met journalists, graphic designers, artists, photographers, lawyers and MBA graduates, PhD candidates, and legal researchers. My experience also reaffirmed my belief that romantic love need not be restricted to one partner — it was beautiful each time I found the intimacy I craved, and as I watched people unravel their own defences, each time I listened to realities and insecurities I would not have imagined them having, I formed a rapport deeper than friendship.

Shardha is a lawyer whose areas of interest include gender, social inequality and feminist legal studies. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.

  In the Deccan Chronicle, The new trend is Polyamorous Relationships (May 7, 2021):

By Nivi Shrivastava

...Designer Aman Bajaj, 43, who identifies himself as heterosexual and polyamorous, explains: “Polyamory is an evolutionary process for me, and each day I learn something new by accepting my true feelings for people. ... I feel polyamory is absolutely natural and everyone is polyamorous to some extent. ... It is also about acknowledging your true feelings and being mindful and respectful about the way other people feel.

Thirty-four-year-old Anika Verma, working in the creative and gender development sector... identifies herself as pansexual and polyamorous. ... “It’s all about accepting your feelings and acting on them with respect and trust. ... I had too much love to give and I didn’t want to lie about it or cheat.... Once I communicated this to [my husband] and my family, we made an arrangement to never hide anything from each other.”

“The most important factor about polyamory is to build trust and let the relationship grow organically with your partner,” says Aman.... in acknowledging your true emotions.”

  In the Assam Sentinel, Indians Speak On Open Relationships And Polyamory (Jan. 18):

...Open relationships and polyamory are gradually buzzing in college campuses, Reddit threads as well as in therapy sessions. ... Polyamory is the situation when partners can engage in multiple sexual relationships with the consent of all the people involved. It is ethical and responsible non-monogamy where no one is in a single committed relationship. But, in a largely conservative society like India, there is a considerable taboo attached to these concepts. ...

Harsh and Yashika feel that any individual should not be judged for their choices and have cited that people have the right to do whatever they feel like doing within the parameters of the law. Yashika feels that many people are trapped in this bubble that one can only ever love one person. ...

  In the Free Press Journal of Mumbai, Unlocking Your Intimacy: Three is not a crowd! (Jan. 23). This thoughtful, informed advice to a reader could have appeared on any good poly-community blog or discussion site. 

By Aili Seghetti

Q: My husband and I have been in an open marriage for two years. I really want my husband to meet my partners and do stuff together but he is not very keen. He prefers meeting partners without me and I often get jealous. I feel he is keeping things secret. What should I do?

Ans: You want to practice ‘Kitchen Table’ polyamory, while your husband prefers ‘Parallel’ polyamory. Both are ethical non-monogamy preferences based on your personality traits, attachment styles and the current relationship you have with each other.

Sometimes couples open up their relationships because they have a strong need for independence. When partners feel that they need space and time for themselves, it is usually a sign that they have merged too much with each other. For any relationship to last you need to maintain a delicate balance of connection and autonomy.

Currently your husband enjoys his relationships running in parallel, no interactions between metamours. It is great he is expressing his need for autonomy and his boundaries. What are yours? ... Speak about a middle ground with him.... It would be interesting to see what exactly you want to know about his lovers. This will be a great opportunity for you to understand where your insecurities lie. ...

The writer is an Intimacy and Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual well-being (www.theintimacycurator.com)

 And in ED Times ("Economy Decoded"), a youth publication, What Does Gen-Z Think About The Rise In Polyamorous Relationships?

Polyamorous relationships are relatively new to India but the possibility of having a consensual, non-monogamous relationship is catching on.

India has seen a rise in the number of polyamorous relationships recently, so we asked some individuals about their opinion, here is what they said.

[Two opinions out of many:]


Sticker for cohabiting polyfamilies

●  Meanwhile, the amount of poly-themed merch even just on Etsy has exploded. Search there on polyamory polyamorous metamour polycule and you get 703 shirts, flags, stickers, pins, cards, hats, earrings, pendants, coffee cups, Christmas tree ornaments....

I remember when this little pin seemed to be the only one you could find at all. It's from 2005. My first. Thank you Jak and Karawynn, the vendors.

●  The TikTok vids have become uncountable. The quality pyramid is what you'd expect, so here's Ali Wunderman's 10 Polyamory Experts to Follow on TikTok, as published in Cosmopolitan.

●  The annual round of polyamory conventions, retreats, campouts, and other gatherings is starting to open up again in hopes that the pandemic recedes. Some conferences remain online in whole or in part; many have a proof-of-vaccination requirement and/or other Covid protocols. See Alan's List of Polyamory Events for the next 12 months, frequently updated.   


And the wider picture. Shit will get real. 

We polyamorous people are a small, weird minority of social-rule breakers. Some people call us a threat to society — because by living successfully outside their worldview, 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 power 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 lives — by intimidation, repressive laws, inflammatory disinformation 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.

(See also, for instance, Tom Friedman's I Thought Putin Invaded Only Ukraine. I Was Wrong.)

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

Need a little help bucking up? Play this. Loud. Another version.

More, you want? Just some guys near Kharkiv the other day helping to hold onto a free and open society, a shrinking thing in the world. (The tossed grenade seems to have saved them.) Maybe your granddad did this across a trench from Hitler's troops. For you, and for us. Even if he didn't realize it at the time.

Bravery takes other forms. For instanceAnd this. Or cartoon animator Oleg Kuvaev. His Masyanya was a popular family series in Russia for years, South Park style. Then, after the start of the war in February, he put out Episode 160. The raucous, oval-headed mom dumps the "no politics" rule ("So this is the result of your No Politics!" says her partner. "It's our fault.") and toward the end she barges in on Putin and presents him a blistering lecture and a hara-kiri sword to solve his problems. No spoilers what comes next. English subtitles. Kuvaev is out of Russia, the series remains up via overseas backups, and Russian authorities have implied they will hunt down the backups and wipe them. Don't drink any polonium tea, guy.

Remember, these people say they're doing it for us too. They are correct. The situation is going to get worse before it gets better. The global fight between a free, open future and a terrible return to the dark past past that is shaping up, including in our own country, is still in its early stages (start at the 3rd paragraph there).  The outcome is uncertain, and it will determine the 21st century and the handling of all its other problems.


BTW, it's safer to say a thing if people around you say it too. What this audience is chanting in St. Petersburg is Khuy voinyeh, "Fuck the war," potentially worth a 15-year prison sentence.


Some person in that crowd started it. Maybe you can be a first mover too. Or the first reactor to a first mover, just as crucial. When the moment appears, remember not to flinch. We'll have a better idea after the election. Whatever else you do, vote.

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Blogger John U said...

The problem glib articles like the one in The Body, seemingly written by people who may not have a whole lot of experience, is that they set up two concepts that are not mutually exclusive and act as if everyone will have to choose one or the other. IMHO, one finds people one wants as partners and then sorts out the level of interaction with metamores, how public the relationship(s) should be, etc. Call me a curmudgeon, but false dichotomies gravel my ass.

June 08, 2022 2:39 PM  

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