Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

November 11, 2023

New Poly/CNM activist group revs up. Better mainstream-media advice for throuples. Being poly in a backwater. Being an exploitation-free unicorn. And more.

● The new nonprofit group OPEN, Organization for Ethical Non-monogamy, is on a roll. Founded last year, it is showing more energy, capability, and strategic vision than any polyactivist group I've seen in my years in this movement.

OPEN graphic and description

OPEN started up last year. Its directors and staff have proven to be impressively competent and capable. OPEN is running serious projects to get American medical, psychotherapeutic, and other professional associations to better understand and serve ENM clients and employees. They're helping activists develop poly non-discrimination ordinances for progressive cities and towns. They've started an annual Visibility Day celebration with coming-out events, and they're loudly pushing social-media companies to recognize a broad range of relationship structures (which got them New York Times coverage).

OPEN has started hosting monthly online Peer Support Circles for people without good local poly discussion & support groups. It has published useful brochures and fact sheets, from a Non-monogamy Myths, Facts, and FAQs trifold to a safety-oriented Mixers Guide for social-group organizers. More irons are in the fire.

From an email to their supporters October 26:

🚨 Action Alerts!

  • (US only): The Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) is gaining momentum in Congress, and we must act swiftly to protect our online freedom. KOSA threatens to create digital censorship and restrict internet access. Join us in taking a stand against this bad internet bill by contacting your Senators now and urging them to say "NO" to KOSA. Click here to take action via our friends at the Woodhull Freedom Foundation.
  • Earlier this month, we raised the alarm when Meta's new AI "practical dating coach" chatbot spouted harmful myths and stigma around non-monogamous relationships. Although Meta quietly updated the bot, their meager fix doesn't go nearly far enough. We've had enough of companies like Meta erasing non-monogamous families and relationships. Add your name to our letter to Mark Zuckerberg and Meta!

🎁 Resources Galore!

  • Our free, monthly Peer Support circles continue on the second and third Tuesday of November! RSVP for the Support Circle on Friday Nov. 14 or the New To Non-monogamy Support Circle on Tuesday, Nov. 21.
  • Not all media portrayals of non-monogamous relationships are created equal. OPEN's NEW Non-monogamy Media Guide presents a set of questions to help writers, readers, and viewers assess the intent and impact of depictions of non-monogamy in the media. Check it out on our blog or on InstagramThreads, or Twitter.
  • Want to help promote awareness and understanding – and grow the movement for rights and acceptance – at your event or venue? We published two new printable brochures that provide key facts and talking points about non-monogamy and the growing movement. Click here to download the files to print at home or request printed copies by mail (US only)!

💪 Volunteer Opportunity!

Looking to get more involved with OPEN's mission? We're looking for a few volunteers to help build OPEN's media list in support of our earned media strategy. This project involves online research and can be worked on asynchronously / independently. Click here to learn more about this volunteer project and get involved!

☝️ One more thing...

As we look ahead to 2024, we're working to grow our team and deepen our impact – but we can't do that without your support. Here's how you can help support our work:

💖 As always, thank you for being part of the movement for a more open and inclusive world!

With love,
Brett Chamberlin, Executive Director

OPEN recently held an online seminar of experts about fighting workplace discrimination and creating ENM-friendly employee policies. Watch the recording. OPEN plans to publish a workplace activists' guide drawing in part on material from this event. 

It will hold another experts' webinar (with funding from the Polyamory Foundation) on end-of-life planning for polyfamilies, again to develop material for a legal and practical guide. Wills, medical care, access rights, assets. . . a subject sociologist Elisabeth Sheff recently wrote about: Queer Families Need Planning for Loved Ones’ Deaths (Oct. 14).

To keep up, join their email list and/or Discord server.  Facebook.  Insta.


●  Elsewhere, Relationship Anarchy (RA) and the philosophy behind it are explained, at length, in of all places Women's Health: What Is Relationship Anarchy? Experts Explain This Alternative Relationship Model (Oct. 8). Traditional women's mags (this one's Rodale/Hearst) are trying to keep up with changing audiences. 

Have you ever questioned why romantic relationships are often given higher priority than friendship? Are you someone who treats all your relationships equally and don’t believe in putting one above the rest? Better yet, are you all about rejecting labels and norms and forming relationships based on personal needs versus societal expectations? Then relationship anarchy (RA) might be for you.

“Relationship anarchy is an approach that rejects pre-defined relationship structures and, specifically, hierarchies, allowing individuals to define their connections [on their own terms],” says Jesse Kahn, LCSW.... “This means that labels, rules, and expectations are not assumed and are instead discussed and agreed upon.”

...TL;DR: If you take the definition of “anarchy,” meaning “having no ruler,” and apply it to romantic and platonic connections, then relationship anarchy could be defined as a bond with no rigid rules.

...There are many reasons why people might choose to practice relationship anarchy, from wanting more personal freedom in relationships to rejecting societal expectations for how certain bonds should progress, according to the experts.

...Put simply, relationship anarchy is a relationship style that rejects learned structures and hierarchies for all types of bonds. It’s “a philosophy for loving that encourages people to build creative and unique relationships based on the needs and desires of the individuals involved,” rather than societal beliefs, explains relationship anarchist and therapist Anna Dow, LMFT.

It’s also an intentional way of co-creating connections, allowing people and those they’re in relationships with to choose what works for them, says [Jesse] Kahn. This could entail selecting from a smorgasbord of various relationship arrangements and behaviors (more on that later). ...

...[Liz] Powell says. “If it’s really difficult to wrap your head around the idea of not having those distinctions, then do some additional reading, explore the concept in more depth, just to expand your own way of looking at things,” before ruling RA out.

At the same time, it’s okay if relationship anarchy isn’t for you. There’s a debate within non-monogamous communities about whether it’s better or worse to practice RA....

●  From Forbes, How Do ‘Throuples’ Make It Work? A Psychologist Explains (online Oct. 8). The Poly 101s in mainstream media are becoming better informed and less superficial year by year. 

By Mark Travers

Falling in love with two people at once is a genuine and profound experience for many. It’s not merely about divided affection; it’s about an expansive capability to care, connect and commit to more than one person. ...

Here are two conversations that can help throuples smooth out the kinks in what can be a potentially unstable dynamic.

1. The “Are We Ready To Do This” Conversation

 Self-awareness. How well do you know your own boundaries, needs and triggers? ... 

Past relationship dynamics. What did you learn from them, and how can those lessons inform the dynamics of the throuple? ...

Financial compatibility. How do you envision sharing financial responsibilities? Will the financial contribution be even, or based on individual contribution? ...

Cultural and societal concerns. Given the non-traditional nature of throuples, are you prepared to face potential societal biases or prejudices? How will you handle questions or critiques from family, friends and strangers? ...

2. The Regular “Check-In”
Emotional well-being. Are the emotional needs or concerns of each partner addressed? ...

Time management. How are all three partners ensuring that they get quality time both individually and collectively? Are any adjustments needed? ...

Boundaries. Are the established boundaries still working? Do they need revisiting or adjusting? ...

Future planning. Throuples need to consider their future — living arrangements, financial plans or even family planning if that’s on the table. ...

When it comes to making a throuple work, the foundation lies in trust, understanding and respect. While open conversations about your expectations and goals are important in any relationship, conversations about the whats, whys and hows become especially important in non-traditional arrangements. ... Recognizing that change is constant and being willing to navigate it together is crucial.

Mark Travers, Ph.D., is an American psychologist with degrees from Cornell University and the University of Colorado Boulder. ...

●  Another out-and-proud FFF triad profile: I’m in an all-female throuple — we started as friends then fell in love (New York Post, Oct. 31; reprinted on MSN and elsewhere). With video.

I love being in a throuple —
we share a king-sized bed but no jealousy
"Girlfriends Amber, Kenzie and Legacy regularly face social media
backlash for being an all-female throuple. TikTok / @amourdetrois"

By Asia Grace

...And since welcoming girlfriend Amber, whom the couple met on a dating app, into their polyamorous fold, the all-female throuple has endured crashing waves of vitriol from virtual haters saying, “This will end badly” and “You’re going to hell.”

But rather than becoming defeated by digital digs, the ménage à trois has taken a trendy approach to shutting down trolls. 

“First off, b- – -h mind your business,” sang the lovebirds in a popular TikTok post dedicated to their detractors. 

In the clap-back clip, which scared up over 1.8 million views, Kenzie, 23, Amber, 26, and Legacy, 26 — based in Raleigh, North Carolina — responded to critics who’ve said, “You can’t be in love with two people.” The poly paramours titled the video “Throuple life” and stamped it with #Throuple, [a hashtag that] has amassed over 1.4 billion TikTok views.

●  Elsewhere in the tabloids: POSI-POLY. I live with 2 boyfriends and 6 cats – we don’t all share a bed but it’s a love-filled household (U.S. Sun, Oct. 31). They live in Toronto.

●  What Everyone Is Getting Spectacularly Wrong About Polyamory (HuffPost UK, Nov. 5). Hint: Drop your obsession about sex.

By Katie Baskerville

...Polyamory is one branch of the ENM tree....

So, what does being polyamorous actually mean? Poppy Scarlett, a pleasure educator and content creator based in London... explains: “In its simplest form, it’s having the capacity or the desire to love multiple people at the same time. But what that really means to me is about living authentically and allowing relationships, regardless of whether they’re sexual or romantic or platonic, to take whatever shape feels natural rather than forcing it into a specific box.”

...Alex started questioning monogamy and exploring relationship styles when the world was disrupted by Covid-19. ... For him, polyamory is about having the freedom to “just have a relationship that I want and the rules that I want around it without shame”.

For London-based Abigail Hardingham, finding polyamory proved to them how flexible humans can be. They tell me: ”We can rewire the way we think. That you can choose to live a lifestyle that doesn’t fit what is prescribed to us from a young age. It means creating a queerer more communal way of living.”

Michael Munro, from Brighton, praises polyamory for teaching him about personal growth and the rejection of traditional relationship norms. “It’s a way of recognising the complexity of human emotions and relationships while prioritising honesty and respect in all connections,” he says. ...

Embedded factoid:

An ongoing study by YouGov suggests that polyamory isn’t on the cards for most [British] folk. ... As of August 2023, the data shows that most people have never heard of polyamory and therefore wouldn’t be “open” to it. However, younger age groups seem to be more receptive to the idea, with 12% of 18-25 and 10% of 25-49-year-olds saying they haven’t heard of it but would give it a go. 

●  Similarly, from Buzzfeed: People Get a Lotttt of Things Wrong About Polyamorous Relationships and Here Are 17 Folks to Straighten Them Out  (Nov. 5; reprinted many other places.)

●  Chafing at living in a poly backwater? The alternative weekly Pittsburgh City Paper presents Polyamorous Pittsburghers discuss being out in “the most nebby town in the universe” (Nov. 1).

 By Amanda Waltz 

...Rogers explains that, beyond the romantic aspect, practicing non-monogamy has added a level of security to her and her partners’ lives. This ranges from supporting each other financially to sharing household duties like preparing meals. It even extends to pet care.

“My one partner just got a dog, which has been their lifelong dream,” she says. “But it was just a lot of change really fast of, okay, we're going to pick this little guy up and we got to get all this stuff. And they were just like, wow, really glad to have an extra set of hands.”

Melissa Rogers, John Kowalski, and Hana Jimenez pose for a portrait at Soergel Orchards. CP Photo: Mars Johnson

This ultra-domestic scene stands in stark contrast to portrayals of non-monogamy in the media, many of which involve hyper-sexual images of orgies and illicit underground sex clubs.

“I would say it's 99% not sex,” Roberts says with a laugh, adding, “It is not glamorous.”

Both Rogers and Roberts believe that practicing non-monogamy has also allowed them to explore aspects of themselves that would not be possible in a more rigid monogamous relationship structure. ...


Roberts admits that stigma still very much exists around non-monogamy, especially in Pittsburgh, which she calls “the smallest town and the most nebby town in the universe.” While she has come out to and been accepted by her family and friends about being ENM, “there have been instances when people know and their behavior toward me changes or they mistrust my friendship all of a sudden,” she says.

“And that really bums me out,” she adds. “Like, if I wanted to date you, you'd know it.”

Still, she believes talking openly about it benefits not only her, but the local non-monogamous community.

“I feel like because I'm a white middle-class lady who has a lot of privileges, that I can try to talk about this kind of stuff and try to bring some light to it,” she says. “And if that helps someone else that has a higher risk for being treated poorly or discriminated against, then that's a good thing. 

●  More how-to advice from Well+Good magazine, which is on a poly roll:  Throuple Relationships Prove That Sometimes, Good Things Really Do Comes in Threes (Oct. 19)

...How to be in a healthy, happy throuple relationship:
   1. Learn about polyamory...
   2. Acknowledge that there are *four* relationships at play in a throuple...
   3. Talk about “worst-case scenarios”...
   4. Prioritize equity over equality...
   5. Have regular check-ins...
   6. Learn how to communicate in relationship...

●  Well+Good also advises on how to be what some call a conscious unicorn: an un-exploitable addition to a couple, who creates an arrangement to be "the third" the way she or he wants: What It Means To Be a ‘Unicorn’ in a Relationship, and Why This Polyamorous Dynamic May Appeal  (Oct. 7). Some people do prefer the ease of being a loosely attached secondary. 

●  Poly & Christian Dept.  Broadview is "an independent Canadian magazine featuring award-winning coverage of spirituality, justice and ethical living" with 191-year-old roots, now affiliated with the mainline United Church of Canada. It just published Why the church needs to talk about polyamory (Oct-Nov print issue; online Oct. 18). It's by Rev. Tori Mullin, is a United Church minister in New Brunswick, writing in particular to other ministers:

Focus not on monogamy, but on how to care for others ethically in relationship.

Three smiling young women representing a polyamorous triad/throuple
"A 2021 study found that nearly 17 percent of [single people in the US] would like to engage in polyamory, and nearly 11 percent have done so during their life." (Adam Winger photo)

If you have had a reason to be on a dating app recently, you may have noticed phrases like “poly and partnered” or “solo poly” on profiles. This is a relationship style that is growing in popularity in Canada, and I have not seen our churches speak to it.

...I and other ministers connected with the non-monogamous community want to see the church speak to the Gospel into these not-so-new forms of relationships. If the church desires to be relevant, then it needs to start talking about polyamory.

Jesus, in my mind, would have had plenty to say on this subject, as so much of his ministry focused on living ethically within community. His annoyance at his listeners’ fixation on sexuality, such as with the woman accused of adultery in John 7:53–8:11 or his teachings on divorce in Matthew 19, show his concern is less with upholding monogamous principles and more so on living justly.

...I want to see a conversation about non-monogamy that asks important questions about what it means to live a sexually and romantically ethical life, knowing full well that if we refuse to be a part of the conversation, we will be missing out on an important moment in our cultural formation.

The new call of the United Church is deep spirituality, bold discipleship, daring justice. We envision a church that has much to say on the subject of ethical living, one that engages in courageous conversations about what a faithful life of service to Christ might look like.

Is there a place, then, for polyamorous Christians to share their experiences and wisdom with us? Their struggles and hopes? Might we make space for members and their partners in our communities? What could these members teach us about ethical communal living and respectful relationships?

The conversation is just beginning. ...

From Japan: Asahi Shimbun, sometimes called the New York Times of Japan, interviewed polylegal activist and queer-family attorney Diana Adams, founder of the Chosen Family Law Center in New York. The paper rendered the interview as a first-person story: All families are not the same. Three or four parents? Family shapes are expanding in America (Oct. 11. Open it in Chrome and use the Translate icon at right on the address bar.)

Three parents with a baby sign happiiy documents in a judge's chambers
Signing up for three-parenthood before a judge

In the United States, there are states that allow three adults to have equal custody of a child. How widespread is the "three-person parent'' trend? How have families changed and what will they become? We spoke to Diana Adams, a lawyer and founder of the Chosen Family Law Center (New York), a nonprofit organization that promotes family diversity. (Interviewer: Saori Honma)


Three-parent custody is legal in at least 10 states, including California, Washington, and Maine. In fact, there are probably more places that acknowledge it informally.

Since starting my law firm in 2007, I have helped thousands of families. We create co-parenting agreements for families with three or four parents. We act as mediators for families across the country, helping them reach agreements on financial burdens and co-parenting arrangements.

...Many researchers have found that it doesn't matter what [an adult family] makeup is, as long as there is stability and love. Courts' recognition has also changed to the point that a legal parent-child relationship is more important than a biological connection, and that it is better not to deprive children of their parents.

...In fact, raising children requires a lot of support. It's reassuring to have more adults who love and do everything for you like my parents did. It is also good for children to have more adults to spend time with without getting tired. Parents can also raise their children without feeling exhausted. From now on, I think the number of parents will increase from 3 to 4 or 5. ...

Naoya (top), Saki, Nagisa, and friend

  Also in Japan: The popular anime series Girlfriend, Girlfriend, which follows the adventures of a high-school MFF triad, may be renewed for a third season says HighOnFilms.com (Oct. 19):

...“Girlfriend, Girlfriend,” or simply “KanoKano,” is a Japanese romantic comedy manga created by Hiroyuki.... The story revolves around a high school student involved in a polyamorous relationship with his childhood friend and another girl who confessed her feelings for him.

...[Saki and Nagisa] choose to live with Naoya since his parents have to live somewhere else for work. The show is mostly about their daily lives at school and the problems and difficulties they face as they deal with their unique love triangle relationship.

  ANNOUNCEMENT:  Longtime polyfamily researcher Elisabeth Sheff will host a Parenting in Polyamorous Families Online Workshop November 14 (Tuesday) from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern time (US). Sliding scale fee from $60 to $15; pay as you can afford.

This workshop will explore: the advantages of polyamorous families for kids and adults; the primary findings from the 25+ year Longitudnial Polyamorous Family Study; talking to children about polyamory; co-parenting with multiple adults; and managing family interactions with a mononormative social world. Participants will have a chance to ask questions afterwards, and the recording will be available if you want to check it out but can’t make it to the live workshop.



“History is coming at us fast right now.
 The geopolitical snow globe has been well and truly shaken.”
– Dominic Nichols, UK

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

Because I've seen many progressive movements die out because they failed to scan the wider world accurately and understand their position in it strategically.

We polyamorous people are a small, weird minority of social-rule breakers. Increasingly powerful people call us a threat to society — because by living successfully outside of their worldview, we expose its incompleteness.

One couple, many hands. "A new mural painting in Kyiv dedicated
to Ukrainian volunteers. If you have helped Ukrainians during this
year and a half, you may consider yourself to be one of them."

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 possible only where people have power to govern themselves, combined with legal structures that are at least supposed to guarantee the rights of all.

Innovative 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. Now with direct mutual support.

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 power, or eventually, artillery.

For what it's worth, Polyamory in the News received more pagereads from pre-invasion Ukraine over the years (56,400) than from any other country in eastern Europe.

You can donate to Ukraine relief through this list of vetted organizations or many others. We're giving to a big one, Razom, and to a little one, Pizza for Ukraine in Kharkiv, the project of an old friend of my wife (story).

But that is only the start. For those of us born since World War II, we are seeing the most consequential war of our lifetime. Because we have entered another time when calculating fascism, at home and abroad, is rising and sees freedom and liberalism and social tolerance as weak, degenerate, delusional  inviting easy pushovers. As Russia thought it saw in Ukraine. Now the whole world is watching what we will do about it.

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

Need a little help bucking up? Take perspective. Play thisAnother version. More? Some people on the eastern front helping to hold onto an open society, a shrinking thing in the world. Maybe your granddad did this across a trench from Hitler's troops — for you, and 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 are 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 it has quite the history of being run by corrupt oligarchs — leading to 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 thatMore; "Ukraine shows that real development happens when people believe they have an ownership stake in their own societies."

Now, writes US war correspondent George Packer in The Atlantic, 

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 been getting them through  to the extent 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 tend traditional, rooted in a thousand years of the Orthodox Church, 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. The status of women is fast advancing, especially post-invasion (pre-invasion article). A reported 43,000 women volunteer in the armed forces, flooding traditionally male bastions — not just as staff but as combat officers, artillery gunners, tankers, battlefield medics, and snipers. (Intimidating video: "Thus the Witch has Spoken".)
Ukraine's LGBT military unicorn emblem
Ukraine's LGBT military unicorn.
The thorns and barbed wire
represent old restrictions
now being cut away. 
Some LGBT folx in the armed forces display symbols of LGBT pride on their uniforms, with official approval, whereas in Russia it's a prison-worthy crime for even a civilian to show a rainbow pin or "say gay." A report on Ukraine's LGBT+ and feminist acceptance revolutionsAnotherAnotherAnother. War changes things.

And in December 2022, Russia made it a crime not just to speak for LGBT recognition, but to speak for "non-traditional sexual relations." Until last year Russia had a visible polyamory education and awareness movement.

Polyfolks are like one ten-thousandth of what's at stake globally. Ukraine must have our continued material aid for however long as it takes to win. Speak out for it.

A Russian writer grieves: "My country has fallen out of time."

Ukrainian women soldiers in dense undergrowth
Women fighters in a trench in the Donetsk region

PPS:  US authoritarians (such as Sen. Ted Cruz) are saying that allowing women in front-line roles is a woke plot to weaken America's armed forces. Ukraine puts that shit to bed. Do you have a relative who talks like that? Send them this video link to Vidma, who commands a mortar platoon, recounting the tale of one of their battles in Bakhmut – the Verdun of this war.

Don't miss Polyamory in the News!

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