Polyam legal action, other poly-life topics in the news, US public opinion edges our way, and more
Rachel Wright and partners (Courtesy Rachel Wright / Insider)
By Anna Medaris...Still, it took Wright years to pursue polyamory – and an amicable divorce to create the nontraditional family she lives with today.Wright, now a 34-year-old licensed marriage family therapist in New York, shared her story with Insider to raise awareness of polyamorous, queer relationships and the legislation – like the emergence of multi-person domestic partnership agreements – that supports them."These kinds of laws create a mindset shift" in communities, workplaces, and families, Diana Adams, Wright's lawyer and the executive director of the Chosen Family Law Center, told Insider. "It's a seal of approval from the government that this is something that's legitimate and should be respected."-----------------------------..."You know those relationships where all of a sudden you're like, 'Do we live together? Are we engaged?' It's the kind of whirlwind where it's happening, you're aware and you're consenting, but it's happening without you really pushing it," Wright said. "That's exactly how it was."...They were acting like a family of four – not two couples cohabitating or even swinging – but their legal unions didn't reflect that. Plus, the Wrights were helping to pay the mortgage, but weren't building equity.That's when they sought the help of Adams, the lawyer, who's been on the front lines of passing multi-partner domestic partnership laws in three Massachusetts cities."With that multi-partner domestic partnership, you could be married to one person, but a domestic partner to a different person, which is really radical and has never happened before," Adams, a founding member of the Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition, said. "It also means that three of you could get into domestic partnerships with each other, or if I have a boyfriend and a girlfriend who are not in a relationship with each other, I could get into domestic partnership with each of them.""So it really allows for the flexibility and the variety of relationships that we're seeing now," they added. They are part of a nationwide movement to recognize multi-partner partnerships...."With domestic partnerships, you don't entangle your finances like marriage," Adams told Insider. "In some ways, I think that's a good thing." ...
...She's the main money manager within her polyamorous throuple. It wasn't always that way, though. Janie met her partners Cody Coppola and Maggie Odell in 2013. Coppola and Odell were already together at that time, and Frank first assumed her relationship with them would be casual and fleeting. It wasn't. "Things didn't get serious super quickly, but we felt like a trio from the start," she remembers. In time, she was meeting Coppola's and Odell's families and spending nearly every night at their place.
...After the move-in, the three kept their finances separate and evenly split the rent, utilities, groceries, and necessities like toilet paper. There were some exceptions. Sometimes one person would treat the others to coffee. And, at that time, Frank made less money than the others, so if she couldn't afford something she needed or really wanted, her partners often offered to cover her.
But, later, when they all decided to move to a new state, Tennessee, and buy a house, things changed a bit. They'd need to take on a mortgage together. Frank was soon appointed the official money manager of the three, as it came most naturally to her and she had knowledge learned over the years, including from her coupon-genie of a mom. The throuple figured out that they could buy a house together by forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC). "It was a workaround because there wasn't really an easy way for the three of us to go in on a house together and get loans," Frank says. ...But the number one thing that helped the trio financially was scheduling regular family meetings on Sunday mornings to talk about important issues such as money. "We have breakfast every Sunday to discuss not just finances but what we have to do with the house, any shared debt, and what needs to be done," Frank says.These meals were places to air grievances and tackle the hard stuff, including the financial and emotional tolls on their relationship. For example, while dealing with the move and renovation, Frank presented a PowerPoint slideshow over pancakes to show Odell and Coppola where they were at with their budgeting (they were over). The presentation was complete with charts and an artfully crafted game plan that would have made Frank's coupon-clipping mom beam with pride. ...Frank has learned a lot from managing money with multiple partners, but the biggest nugget of advice she'd pass on is this: "Just be open and honest. Acknowledge what could cause problems later down the road, whatever your financial situation, because things can change. However you decide to split things doesn't matter as long as you’re communicating and making sure that everyone is equally comfortable with what you’ve decided on."
By Ian Kerner, CNNCan a monogamous couple become nonmonogamous? Of course, they can — but do these couples survive and thrive? What are the pitfalls and what are the pleasures?More and more in my practice I’m seeing couples of all ages who have always been in monogamous relationships but now are seriously thinking about opening up their relationships. They are young couples just starting out, couples with young kids and a mortgage, and empty nesters looking to find their wings.The reasons for taking the leap vary. Often one or both partners may be feeling sexually dissatisfied in the primary relationship.... Sometimes there’s a hunger for the excitement and energy that come when people first connect with someone new. It’s also possible one or both partners don’t believe in monogamy....In a 2020 study of 822 currently monogamous people by Kinsey Institute research fellow Justin Lehmiller, nearly one-third said that having an open relationship was their favorite sexual fantasy, and 80% [of those] wanted to act on it. ...“Research suggests that relationship quality is actually quite similar in monogamous and consensually nonmonogamous relationships,” he said. “Both relationship styles can work well — and both can fail, too.”I believe the key to successful nonmonogamy is in one word: consensual. ...For couples who choose to open their relationships ethically, there can be benefits. “Nonmonogamy can be fulfilling and a catalyst for self-growth,” Wisconsin-based sex therapist Madelyn Esposito said. “This self-growth can deepen understanding and desire for your primary partner as you have the space to explore yourself and your own sexual needs outside of relational confines.”...Sometimes the heat generated outside the bedroom finds its way back into the primary relationship. “Many nonmonogamous folks find that partner variety revs up their libido, and that this transfers over into increased sex in the primary relationship,” Lehmiller said. “Something else we’ve found in our research is that, beyond sex, these relationships can also mutually reinforce each other. Specifically, being more satisfied with a secondary partner actually predicts being more committed to the primary partner.”But making the leap into ethical nonmonogamy isn’t always easy for couples who have been historically monogamous. Often, one partner is “driving,” and the other is a reluctant passenger going along for the ride. Sometimes a couple can’t agree on what constitutes nonmonogamy (casual sex with different people versus repeatedly seeing one person), or they can’t agree on rules (posting a profile online, staying overnight, bringing someone home, no kissing). ...Educate yourself...“I see dozens of couples a year who come to therapy to try and negotiate their expectations in advance,” said Kimberly Resnick Anderson, a sex therapist in Los Angeles. “Couples who do their homework ahead of time have a much better success rate than couples who jump right in without preparation.“Even couples who prep responsibly are often surprised by their reactions to certain situations and need to renegotiate boundaries.”In my professional experience, the couples who succeed at nonmonogamy often don’t require many rules at all, because they trust each other, prioritize the primary relationship and hold each other in mind throughout the process. ...
By Emily Lavinia...It seems that we're reaching a more mature understanding of the ways in which healthy relationships and sexual encounters between consenting adults can configure in non-traditional ways, with more people – including myself – openly discussing being happier outside of the constrains of your textbook romantic arrangement. ...Women are more attracted to sexual variety than men are. ...In the past ten years a number of studies on human desire have shown that women are more attracted to sexual variety than men are. ... Psychotherapist Esther Perel suggests that women get bored with monogamy faster than men do, not with intimate relationships in general.Dr Wednesday Martin, a cultural critic with a PhD in anthropology and the author of Untrue: Everything We Believe About Women, Lust and Infidelity is Wrong and How The New Science Can Set Us Free, [says] ,,, ''The ample data showing that women tend to have a drop of desire in years one to four in an exclusive, cohabiting relationship, while men's desire tapers much more slowly, strongly suggest that monogamy is a tighter shoe for women, not men....'The worldwide ethnographic data demonstrate that we evolved as extremely flexible social and sexual strategists.,'...Essentially, the overriding cultural script that men are more sexual creatures who are more likely to desire multiple partners and sexual experiences may stem from it simply being safer for men to do as they please when expressing their sexuality. Which in many societies, is still the case....'We don’t have to identify as fully monogamous or non monogamous all the time'....Is the future monogamish?...'Non-monogamy will never replace monogamy entirely,' says [UK poly activist] Leanne [Yau]. She caveats, though, that see sees a future in which this way of being in relationships is seen as being on a par with monogamy. 'The variety, the novelty, the ability to customise your relationships and communicate more with your partner about where the boundaries are – there’s a lot more flexibility. That’s why it’s becoming more common,' she notes.'And I think people are becoming more sexually open, becoming more honest about their desires and more importantly, when their desires don’t match up and how to meet their partner’s needs.'...At the crux of this all is: Non-monogamy has taught me and many other women I've spoken to that how we frame our desire, how we talk about it, and how far our sexuality is used to shame us into behaving in ways that don't come organically, is what’s important. ...
By Shawn Pablo...Many black people have experienced relational trauma and disconnection due to systemic oppression, and polyamory can provide a space for healing and connection that may not be possible in more traditional monogamous relationships. Polyamory also allows for greater exploration and expression of sexual and romantic desires, which can be empowering for individuals who may have felt limited or constrained by societal expectations.However... one of the most prominent challenges is the lack of representation and visibility of black polyamorous people in mainstream media and culture. This can lead to feelings of isolation and erasure, and can make it difficult for black polyamorous people to find community and support. Additionally, black polyamorous people may face discrimination and stigma from within their own communities, where traditional monogamy is often seen as the norm. ...
Dania Wright / Yes!
Expanding our kinship networks can enrich our lives.By Jenn M. Jackson...This was the first moment I realized monogamy and the nuclear family weren’t for me; they were containers that often required that I deny my own desires to prioritize a romantic partner’s feelings and needs....In the last century, the nuclear family has become deeply unstable in the United States. Property ownership has been mired in redlining, predatory lending, and other white supremacist and anti-Black systems of exploitation and exclusion. Sustaining large families on one income has become untenable.... The reality is the nuclear family is now a minority.In this moment, we are called to reimagine what the family might be and embrace the possibilities before us when we release ourselves from the culture of monogamy enforced by patriarchy and capitalism.I rely on Black queer feminist models of community and kinship to determine how I will raise my children and build community around them. As bell hooks writes in All About Love: New Visions, “Capitalism and patriarchy together, as structures of domination, have worked overtime to undermine and destroy this larger unit of extended kin.”Rather than participate in these dominant, restrictive familial models, I have chosen an expansive model for my children. I’m polyamorous, meaning I love many people simultaneously and don’t reserve romantic love for a single person. As a lesbian who is deeply embedded in the queer networks around me, I also curate an environment wherein “chosen family,” rather than blood relatives, plays a primary role in rearing and guiding my children. This means that my children have an extended community of elders and parental figures invested in their guidance, care, and development, even when my parental bandwidth is minimal. ...
Olesia Bilkei / Shutterstock
By J Mikka Luster...We're more than two, so we have more adult supervision if needed. Moreover, we have an option for date nights almost any time we wish, in almost any configuration you could imagine.Date night doesn't always have to be fancy; just being able to sit down and have an after-work glass of wine and a chat while someone else takes the kids to bed is a balm for the soul.On the other hand, parenting in a polyamorous family means managing more parenting styles.We have to arrange a lot more (thanks, Google Calendar), and communicate more to be on the same side of everything when it comes to educating, safeguarding, and parenting them.The kids love it. There's always someone who will play with them, always someone to ask for help, always someone to explain things.Since we all have our distinct circle of friends, too, and those people like to come by a lot with their kids, it's never boring in the lodge.Tonight (it's 9 PM here), I bathed them (my fault; I let them help me make cookies, they looked like a gingerbread nightmare movie) while the ladies played Guild Wars 2 together and got dinner ready.While we ate (and shared stories; it's the best time of the day for me), we divided up the chores for the week (I got slapped with an extra "remove all cookie dough from various sites in the house") one, and later one will go on a date while we're doing laundry.We're a normal, happy, slightly more social family.The thing about us is that we didn't start into this polysyllabic world of high-brow poly pod parenting.We just let it happen, working with the kids to not feel different (and if they did to see it as an amazing thing), and our circle of friends and the kids' school friends see it as a good thing, largely because they see how happy the kids are.Our teacher asked us a few weeks in about the whole setup. We explained it as gently as we could.She asked if she could come by and see it (we're not the first poly family in the school, but the others seemed to be worried to be judged and might have construed it as a veiled welfare check), and we let her.When she came over, I was in the middle of building a life-sized Angry Birds level in the dining room, one partner was working from home, and the other one was in the basement hanging laundry.She stuck around until after dinner, left, and has since had nothing but good things to say about our form of parenting (always prefixed by "I couldn't do this, this wouldn't work for me, but...").
"Laura, Nicky and their friend Janny on a hike."
By Katie HarrisI’ve had a few burning questions since my sister brought her two girlfriends home to meet the family in Christchurch several years ago.Do you get jealous? How did you meet, and who’s in charge of killing the spiders? The basics, really.But prior to interviewing Laura about her five-year three-way relationship, there is just one seemingly trivial tidbit I am dying to know.“Literally at work people are like, ‘I don’t care about your relationship, I just want to know what size bed you have’,” she says.The answer is a king, if you’re wondering.But in the early days, they made do with a double, synchronising when to roll over in the night.Coming of age in a relatively hetero-normative Christian environment and attending a religious school, Laura followed the same path of committed monogamy paved by generations before her....Then she started dating women....Befriending her now-girlfriends, who were already in a relationship with each other, [working] in a West Coast hospital ward changed everything.“When I met them I liked them both, and I was like, ‘This is different, what does that mean?’”...Their relationship and lifestyle in Bay of Plenty, in a tiny home complete with a dog, several chickens and work in the medical field, sits outside what people usually think of when it comes to polyamory.They’re not a married couple looking to spice things up with a relationship on the side, a person dating multiple partners, or a man with two committed girlfriends. ......In hindsight, Laura believes her throuple could have done things better when they first began dating, and says it has taken them five years to “do it well”.“I’ve heard being in a throuple is like level 100 of polyamory, and you should not start there.”...
...If you're fortunate enough to find your way into a polycule there are two major rules to keep in mind: communication and respect. While most open and polyamorous relationships have their own set of rules, these two components are essential for all relationships, especially ones where there's more than just two people. ...You can't force people to feel certain ways about others, so don't think you can move everyone around like chess pieces to fit your polycule. We're talking about human beings with feelings, complex emotions, and mental and physical needs, so don't ever lose sight of that....It can't be stated enough that these types of romantic and sexual relationships aren't a fit for everyone. Don't rush into a polycule because it seems like the trendy thing to do. Instead, consider what the relationships mean to you and what you can bring to the relationships. ...
Last year, partners Claire Thornhill and Katy Rupple hit big off a $100 bet. Naturally, they decided to share the winnings with the man who’d given them the $100 gift in the first place: their other partner, comedian/voice actor Justin Rupple (How to Train Your Dragon 2, Spiderman: Homecoming).
@thrupples on Instagram...In Claire’s Instagram bio, she describes herself as “polymagical”. It’s the same poly magic that the triad credits for their $1.4 million lotto win.“We like to think of the jackpot money as a little bit of a karmic gift for opening up to the world, and believing in ourselves and our relationship,” Claire explains....The same hand of fate that brought them prosperity with last year’s big win is seemingly what brought them together in the first place.“After we discussed with each other how much we wanted to spend our lives with each other we knew we had to tell our families immediately,” they recall. “We had acceptance from all of our families.”Apparently, the only nudge needed towards acceptance is often just to see this trio in action....“We just work better and thrive as a throuple.”...“We truly all get along very well. It’s like a triangle where each one of us has a strength, and we lean towards that strength,” they said. According to the Daily Star, “Katy is the coordinator, Claire the scheduler, and Justin is the facilitator.”...
The Russian family-cartoon series Masyanya
turned dissident. Watch. The cartoonist got out.
Update: a sequel of turnabout, with a
coda of empathy in wartime.
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.”
"Defenders of Bakhmut," by Natasha Le from Mikolaiv. She reinterprets traditional
guardian angels as riot grrls for an upcoming
🇺🇦Witch tells the story of the Bakhmut Asphalt Plant❤️ pic.twitter.com/UC3y0NsDjQ— Sofia Ukraini (@SlavaUk30722777) February 22, 2023