Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

November 28, 2022

The new polyamory flag spawns a variant. Raising the children of poly. Gen Z normalizes. And more.

● Flag followups: 

–  That was quick. Within hours of PolyamProud's vote announcement, a well-known flag company started offering actual cloth flags of the new polyamory tricolor, in three styles and two sizes. They're on pre-order. 

–  Infinity-heart variant. The PolyamProud people point out that because they've made the new design completely public-domain, anyone can modify it as they wish. A criticism of the flag finalists up for the vote was that none had the infinity heart. Again within hours, somebody did something about that. The version here is by reddit user W4t3rf1r3. It swaps in Emma Essex's public-domain infinity heart.

Yay for people who take initiative. TBH, I maybe like this variant better. So it breaks a "modern" design principle or two? Eye of the beholder. Big hi-res version.

● 'I'm a Polyamorous Parent', a first-person "My Turn" essay, appeared in Newsweek: (Sept. 20). It's by Jessica Levity, "a polyamorous content creator on TikTok (@remodeledlove)" and co-author of the recent ebook Polyamory and Parenthood: Navigating Non-Monogamy as Parents of Young Children.

By Jessica Levity

My fiancé and I were having lunch with our friends where we live in Reno, Nevada, when one of them asked if we had ever considered polyamory. I had been with my partner for four years, and in a few months' time we were getting married. But in that moment, every cell in my body felt like it had been electrified. I instantly knew who I was—that I was polyamorous.

Being queer, I knew there was never going to be one type of person that was going to meet the whole of what I desire. I think monogamous people would say, "Well, you give up the other things when you meet somebody." I'm autistic, so my brain is naturally like, "That doesn't make sense to me, so I'll just do it the way that works for me."

...My husband consented reluctantly. He wouldn't say I forced him into it, but he described it as being dragged down a dark hallway. Although, now he would tell you he felt like he needed to be dragged down a dark hallway because he had so much fear and was raised pretty Catholic so he had a lot more to unpack than I did.

My husband and I are "kitchen table polyamorous," which is a form of polyamory in which we enjoy knowing each other's partners. It's very laid-back. My husband is often around my partner in the house, and I am very good friends with my husband's partner.

The cover features the author and hub.
I think my husband and I would lead a very different lifestyle if we didn't have two small kids, who are one-and-a-half and four-and-a-half years old. Our young kids are the center of our lives right now; we orbit around them. We have a dream for the future, of what our life could look like, but right now, parenting two kids as young as ours is really hard.

...I love my children's personalities, and how loving they are. My children love so deeply and so easily, and effortlessly, and there is a sweetness to both of them that is just so pure.

But raising children is not easy, especially as we don't have grandparents living nearby. My husband's partner loves our kids, but they live eight hours away in L.A.. In a world in which we had another partner who was very involved in our life and loved helping us with domestic caretaking, we would have a lot more freedom. But the nuclear family is brutal.

My husband and I try to allow each other to be as much of their own person as they can be, while maintaining the health of our family. We do that by giving each other "autonomous time," which is time away from the label of "parent" or "partner," where you can go and do whatever you want. For us, because we're polyamorous, we don't care what you're doing in that time: you could be at Bible study or you could be at an orgy. It's your autonomous time. ...

Our kids don't understand relationships yet. They just know that there are people that we love, that love them. They don't understand that the label of "partner" is different from "friend."

...I am a polyamorous content creator and educator. One of my TikToks went mega viral recently, but I couldn't read the comments because they were so awful. People have been very critical of my husband and I being polyamorous parents.

But I believe representation matters. People might be triggered by it, they might disagree with it, but at least they're seeing it, and somewhere out there, there's probably a person going, "Oh my god, this feels like me. I didn't even know this was a possibility."

She went a lot deeper on the Multiamory podcast recently (Episode 390, Sept. 30) using a slightly different pseudonym. From the transcript:

...One of the meatiest parts of our book is our traffic lights.... Our book is very oriented to parents of young children... we're hoping to write Volume 2 someday. Most of our red lights, yellow lights, green lights are very specific to parents of young children, even specific to those who practice kitchen table polyamory, which is our style.

A green light is something about the intersection of polyamory and parenthood that is just good, good, good, good, good all around. For example, I had a girlfriend who enjoyed trading childcare with me. A couple times throughout the week, she would drop off her daughter and I would watch our kids together, and then she would take them for equal amount of hours on the other part of the week, and then we would spend time together as well as one big polycule with kids.

It was a dream come true on so many levels. It lifted the burden of being a stay-at-home mom, it made her life easier, my life easier. The dads appreciated the break that came with that as well. ... 

Yellow lights are examples of things that can be tough. There's usually a lesson involved in that, something that can make you dig in a little harder and recognize like, "This was hard, but it was okay." An example of that is, maybe I'm on solo parenting duty because my husband is on a date, and maybe that night, the kids were kind of rough. Maybe I got broken up with as well, and now I have to parent, and I don't really have time to process the breakup — and not have to simultaneously be like, "Have fun, babe."

It's not going to kill me, it might make me a little bitter, and I might have to process those feelings later. It also might lead me to looking within and communicating some boundaries. ... That's yellow light. It's kind of shitty, but it leads to growth.

A red light moment is something that there's no explanation, there's no "This happened for a reason," there's no reframe that's going to make it okay. It is just crappy. We say a red light moment is going to be where you're like, if you end up quitting polyamory, for lack of a better phrase, it's going to be on a red light moment.

I just had one on the way here, actually. My lover asked me to go on a road trip with him this weekend and I couldn't because of the kids. I said no, and on the way here to drop me off, he was like, "Oh, so this new girl—" that he's dating, she's going to go with him.

It's just like, "Ah." Evolved-poly me is like, "Yay. I'm so happy that you have somebody who can randomly go on a road trip with you and you won't be alone. Super happy." But human me is like, "I'm grieving. I'm grieving [to have a] world in which I have more help at home, that maybe we have two more wives or two more husbands or aunties or grandmas who can help my husband at home so that I can go on a random road trip...." There's no justification, it's just red light moment. ...

●  New books have been coming thick and fast. Another: The Polyamory Paradox: Finding Your Confidence in Consensual Non-Monogamy, by counselor Irene Morning. From the publisher's blurb,

Changing your relationship structure can feel overwhelming and scary. It can trigger major anxieties and insecurities, throwing you into an utterly depleting emotional tornado. ... The surprising intensity of your triggers can leave you wondering if you have what it takes and questioning whether your existing relationship will survive.

...What if you’re interested in opening up, but taking steps in that direction is causing unmanageable turmoil? While it may not be easy, it is possible to alchemize polyamorous pain points into secure intimacy, boundless pleasure, and deeper healing.

That’s what happened for coach and sexual health counselor Irene Morning, who found healing for her own complex-PTSD through the practice of non-monogamy.

At the Amazon link above, you can click the Look Inside to read the table of contents and the first chapter.

●  Up pops another little ENM/ open relationships 101, quick and plain but the kind of thing the public needs to have put in front of it as large numbers start considering ethical non-monogamy: I want to try polyamory but don’t know where to start – how to open up your relationship. It appeared on the site of the UK's iNews newspaper (Nov. 21).

Grumpy/Smiley Department: The web is full of this kind of "journalism": short, quick, just good enough (maybe), often cranked out by employees under pressure to produce a daily quota of short content on Google Trends topics. Or pieces that are routinely accepted from sources with some interest to push (the writer here is psychotherapist Silva Neves, whose book Sexology: The Basics was published a few days ago).

The polyamory movement is lucky that — thanks to years of effort by you dedicated educators and activists — a lot of Basic Poly Wisdom has become so widespread that now, in the mass-market era, a worker bee with a two-hour deadline to produce 800 words of polyamory how-to is likely to land on decent material to rewrite. Thank you.

●  Another piece that comes off as hasty and derivative but mostly orients people in the right direction: Breaking Down the 4 Types of Polyamorous Relationships (And Their Complications) (Goalcast.net, approx. Nov. 21).

●  Another hurried-sounding job that's mostly on target: 10 Effective Rules That Will Help You To Navigate Through The Maze Of A Polyamorous Relationship (ScoopWhoop, Nov. 26). "...At the end of the day, consent, respect, and communication form the pillars of any relationship."  

●  A longer 101 about a central concept: You Can Still Be Cheated On In An Open Relationship — I’d Know (Refinery29, Nov. 24)

“Deviating from the social script of monogamy isn't about not owing anyone anything. It's really an exercise in responsibility, accountability and trust towards both your romantic or sexual partners and yourself.”

By Megan Wallace

It’s 2022: monogamy is out, non-monogamy and polyamory is in. How could you miss it?...

...So in a relationship where you can sleep with or date multiple people, what does cheating look like?

According to Marianne Johnson, a couples therapist and director of The Thought House Partnership, there is a unified definition of cheating that we can employ across all relationship styles. "Cheating can be thought of as a digression from the contract and the rules of the relationship, whether those rules are tacitly or explicitly defined," she explains. 

...While the rules in non-monogamy are different and vary hugely from relationship to relationship, they do still exist. Whether it’s respecting boundaries set by a partner or promising to tell everyone involved about your sexual and romantic activities, breaking relationship rules set out by your partners can be a form of betrayal and even infidelity.
...Ana Kirova is the CEO of Feeld, a progressive dating app with over 20 sexuality and gender options. "Cheating to me is not solely defined by physical boundaries but transcends into a more nuanced realm," she says. "Any breach of trust or dishonest act can be considered cheating."

You will see common themes of lying and a disregard for a partner’s feelings across all forms of cheating. This was true for 26-year-old Jackie*, who was formerly in an open relationship with a man she met on Hinge. ...

...Johnson says: "Non-monogamous relationships require more communication and an openness to renegotiate the terms of the 'contract,' as members of the polycule may evolve their needs and desires." 

...Amina sums it up: "People who are not necessarily the most considerate find themselves in all kinds of relationship dynamics."

● Sign of the times"Ethical non-monogamy (ENM) is on the rise, with 33 per cent of single Australians believing it is the way of the future.(News.com.au, Nov. 4) That number rises to 47 percent when the sample is limited to people currently dating (Perth Now, Nov. 25). The dating site Bumble hired a marketing research firm to survey Australians about what they're currently looking for in dates.  

Bumble's Dating Redefined Report is based on a nationally representative online survey of over 1000 Australians aged 18 to 59, conducted by Lonergan Research. ...

...As for the generation breakdown, Gen Z is the most supportive of ENM (42 per cent agreed), followed by millennials (36 per cent), and Gen X (24 per cent).


And again, because it really matters for our future:

Why have I been ending posts to this polyamory news site with Ukraine?

Because I've seen many progressive movements become irrelevant and die out by failing to scan the wider world correctly and understand their position in it strategically.

We polyamorous people are a small, weird minority of social-rule breakers. Some increasingly powerful 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.

The Russian family-cartoon series Masyanya
turned dissident. Watch. The cartoonist has fled.
Update: a brilliant sequel of turnabout, and a
message of empathy in wartime. 
Such a society is only possible where people have power to govern themselves, combined with legal structures that are at least supposed to guarantee the rights of all.

People, communities, and societies who create their own lives, and who insist on the democratic structures and legal rights 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 lives — by intimidation, repressive laws, inflammatory disinformation and public incitement, abusive police powers, 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 Ukraine relief through this list of organizations, or many others. We're giving to a big one, Razom, and to a little one, Pizza for Ukraine in Kharkiv, a project of an old friend of my wife. (Story)


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 hard things of us. 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 thisAnother version, on the streets of Kherson the night after its liberation November 11. More? Just some guys in Kharkiv (our Pizza for Ukraine town) 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, because a world fascist movement was successfully defeated that time, opening the way for the rest of the 2oth century. Although the outcome didn't look good for a couple of years there.

Remember, these people say they're doing it for us too. They are correct.  The global struggle between a free, open future and a fearful revival of the dark past that's shaping up, including in our own country, is still in its early stages. It's likely to get worse before it gets better. The outcome is again uncertain, and it will determine the 21st century and the handling of all its other problems.


PS: Ukraine should not be idealized as the paragon of an open democratic society. For instance, see If Ukraine Wants To Stand for Liberty and Democracy, It Should Rethink Some of Its Wartime Policies. And the country had quite a history of being run by corrupt oligarchs — until the Maidan Uprising of 2013, the Revolution of Dignity in 2014, and Zelensky's overwhelming election in 2019 as the anti-corruption candidate. So they're working on that.

Now, writes US war correspondent George Packer in The Atlantic (Sept. 7), 

Here was a country with a tragic history that had at last begun to build, with great effort, a better society. What made Ukraine different from any other country I had ever seen—certainly from my own—was its spirit of constant self-improvement, which included frank self-criticism. For example, there’s no cult of Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine—a number of Ukrainians told me that he had made mistakes, that they’d vote against him after the war was won. Maxim Prykupenko, a hospital director in Lviv, called Ukraine “a free country aspiring to be better all the time.” The Russians, he added, “are destroying a beautiful country for no logical reason to do it. Maybe they are destroying us just because we have a better life.”

They have a word there, with a deep history, for the horizontal, self-organized mutual get-it-done that grows from community social trusthromada. Learn that word. It's getting them through as well as they've been able. We polyfolks often dream of creating something like that community spirit in miniature, in our polycules and networks. Occasionally we succeed.

Social attitudes in Ukraine are generally traditional, but not bitterly so like often in the US; the ideal of modern European civil society is widely treasured, and social progressivism has room to thrive. More than 40,000 women reportedly volunteer in all roles in the armed forces, including as combat officers, platoon leadersartillery gunners, tankers, and snipers. LGBT folx in the armed forces openly wear symbols of LGBT pride on their uniforms, whereas in Russia it can be a crime for even a civilian to show a rainbow pin or "say gay."

They will require our long-continued support. 

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