Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

March 9, 2024

Media fascination with polyamory rolls on: Relationship agreements, finances, housing, parenting... and, that reality show.

●  Let's start with USA Today asking in a headline, Why are we so obsessed with polyamory? (Feb. 23)

MangoStar_Studio / Getty / iStock

By David Oliver

Polyamory is everywhere. ...

It permeates society at every turn....

Why, exactly? Many factors are at play, according to experts, including changing attitudes toward monogamy as a result of the pandemic and increasing, unfettered access to information online about different relationship styles. Not to mention that finding that once-in-a-lifetime-love doesn't happen for everyone.

...During times of political strife and unease – war, climate change, economic turbulence (and of course, a pandemic) – people tend to question other institutions as well. That includes marriage and primary relationship structures.

...If you are curious about polyamory, here are things to consider:

Don't let it be a last resort. If you've been fighting with your partner, and you think opening up your relationship could solve all your problems, think again. ...

Educate yourself. Listen to podcasts, read books, give polyamorous creators a follow on social media. Find out if this is legitimately something you want to pursue.... Remember that many TV and film portrayals might not portray polyamory or non-monogamy in a successful light.

Overcome [fear of] stigma and accept that not everyone will understand. ...

Communicate effectively. "The biggest, most important piece of being successful with polyamory is good and frequent communication."...

Consider therapy. It couldn't hurt to air out your issues with an outside third party....

...but cheaper is experienced, good-hearted polyamory community, both online and in person, if you can find it.

...We're likely headed for some wiggle room around what traditional monogamy looks like. Exclusivity after a period of dating is no longer assumed – you have to have a conversation about it.

Yes. A goal of the polyamory movement for at least 20 years has been to make the "Shall we be exclusive?" conversation into a societal standard, rather than a taboo that couples feel tongue-tied about and make unspoken assumptions about.

...It's important to remember that while monogamy won't work for everyone, neither will non-monogamy.

And that's okay. Don't let anyone bullshit you into this thing against your wishes or inclinations. If you're not compatible, find out early.

Also, you don't have to be even remotely interested in polyamory to read up on it, [University of Michigan professor Shanna] Kattari adds: "The more that even monogamous people are willing to learn and educate themselves about polyamory, the better it is for everyone."

On the CNN Audio podcast "The Assignment" for February 29, host Audie Cornish ran with Polyamory Is Having a Moment (30 minutes).

What's driving the current conversation around polyamory? How do people fall into it? What are the misconceptions about how it works? And what do you do if you find yourself at the crossroads of considering a polyamorous relationship? Audie asks Kevin Patterson, author of Love's Not Color Blind: Race and Representation in Polyamorous and Other Alternative Communities and sex therapist Dr. Lexx Brown-James

A bit from the transcript:

Kevin Patterson
Kevin: ...Someone might just be like, "Oh well, I'm polyamorous" — someone who is not doing that research, someone who is not educating themselves, someone who's just using a word to dodge a commitment. That's a manipulation. And that's the same manipulation that's been drilled into us. Like we always feel... we become Batman when it comes time to find a new way to manipulate a shorty into bed. Or manipulate someone into our lives somehow — and saying you're polyamorous is a new way to do that.

I think it should start a conversation. If someone says "I'm polyamorous," you have to ask, "What does that mean to you?" And if you don't get an answer that is reasonable and cohesive to your life and the way you want to live, you should leave that person, you know. Thank you for your time. Pay the check and hop in the cab.

Although people unfamiliar with polyamory often assume that living this way must be stressful and rife with conflict, research at the University of Western Ontario published in 2020 found no evidence to support that. 

By Christine Sismondo

...“(My wife) and I were finally in a position where we had extra space and so my other partner moved in with us,” he said. “We all kind of liked the idea of a more communal group living and, because we all really like each other and are comfortable together. It’s been fantastic.”

...Some ask him if it was hard to make the change, assuming that it must have been, as he puts it, a “horrible mess of backbiting, jealousy and hatred.”

But Roy said the opposite is true. “It was pretty easy,” he said. “A lot of the stuff we had to figure out were things like whether the dishes go in the sink or on the counter, the shower schedule and what temperature to set the thermostat. Mostly just normal roommate things.”

Although people unfamiliar with polyamory often assume that living this way must be stressful and rife with conflict, research at the University of Western Ontario published in 2020 found no evidence to support that. The team tracked people who were thinking of opening up their relationships and found that those who did reported “boosts in sexual satisfaction” and no significant changes in “relationship quality.”

...The first time his kid asked if he was dating someone outside the marriage, Roy felt the big worry was about the possibility of dishonesty, or of friction or anger.

“I just said, ‘Well, here’s the thing, both your mom and I date other people and love other people, and this is OK, and you should feel free to ask any questions you want,’” he said. “Once they realized that everyone was happy, they were just like, ‘OK, well whatever. Who cares?’”

As far as Roy knows, his kid has never experienced discrimination at school. Neither have Yovanoff’s children. Is it possible that the stigma around polyamorous relationships is starting to diminish, possibly partly related to decades of hard work by LGBTQ activists?

...Yovanoff added that humanizing alternative ways of living and relationship styles like polyamory is one of the better ways to defeat stigma and change attitudes.

“I was the first nonmonogamous person that a lot of people of my acquaintance knew,” she said, “I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘I judged you at the beginning.’ Then they’ve told me that getting to know me personally over time changed how they think.”

Maeve, 34.  Tom and I have been together for five years, but for the past two we have been having sex with other people. It started with a drunken threesome. The “guest star” was a mutual female friend of ours, so the experience felt safe and loving. One minute we were on our sofa playing a drinking game, and the next no one had their pants on. The three of us remain friends to this day.

After that, Tom and I set up a joint dating profile and started inviting strangers to join us in the bedroom. I tend to worry a lot in bed – about my body, and whether I’m even any good at sex – but during threesomes I feel strangely confident. What I like about it is seeing myself through a stranger’s eyes: as someone enviably self-assured and dominant. Often, I’ll stand at the foot of the bed and direct Tom and the other woman, like a sexy conductor.

Like any relationship, polyamory has its ups and downs; I suppose I’m just in a down-phase. Eight months ago, we started going out on dates alone. That is more challenging, because Tom is now in relationships with two other women, whereas I often find myself struggling to get a date. 

Ryan Gillett / The Guardian

We live together, and it’s conflicting having him climb back into bed for a cuddle after he’s been out with another partner. Tom is more affectionate with me after seeing another woman, so in some ways it brings us closer. But in my head his other partners are perfect beings with perky bottoms and breasts, who will whisk Tom away from me.

Tom tells me I’m his priority and we can go back to monogamy any time I like. But in his previous monogamous relationships he felt unfulfilled – and I don’t want him to be unhappy.

Tom, 30.  We’ll often spend an afternoon in our living room, flicking through dating profiles on our phones. She’ll show me her potential dates and I’ll show her mine. In previous relationships, I felt ashamed of my desire to sleep with people other than my girlfriend, but now dating other people is like a fun, shared hobby.

At the moment, there are tensions because I am seeing two other women, whereas Maeve has had a string of bad dates. She has started to compare herself with my other partners, which is spiking her body insecurities. But to me, it’s obvious that she’s just going through a dry patch. Maeve is intimidatingly beautiful. The first time I met her I felt too shy to speak. Any minute now, some swarthy rugby player is going to pop up on her phone and seduce her.

...The other week, Maeve had a one-night stand and I made her tell me every dirty detail. Her desire for this other man actually started to turn me on. It made me see her as a sexy, mysterious stranger all over again.

We’ve implemented a weekly Sunday night check-in, where we talk about how polyamory is going. If Maeve is still unhappy in a few months, we’ll go back to monogamy. She is my priority and I see her as my future wife. But I think that will be hard. It’s like we’ve opened Pandora’s box: how do we go back to pretending we only want to have sex with each other?

Answer: You don't have to pretend! You can nudge each other and giggle over hot people you spot and not act on it. Duh?

●  Not happily ever after. Another tale from the Guardian: The couples who tried polyamory – then changed their minds: ‘I never expected my husband to fall in love (Feb. 28)

...But when Kragness struggled to make an extracurricular connection of her own, she began to feel jealous of Porter’s budding relationship.

“I’d get snappy or grumpy right before they went on a date,” Kragness said. “I would pick a fight, get isolated or cold. None of that is healthy or positive.”

Things worsened. The couple spent less time together, avoided talking and slept in different bedrooms. At a family wedding, the bubbling drama boiled over, and the couple confronted their issues head-on. “A decision had to be made: are we going to continue together, or are we going to part ways because of the poly lifestyle?” Kragness said. ...

●  More stories about carryover of polyworld ideas into mono life: The Boston Globe publishes Relationship agreements aren’t just for polyamorous couples (March 6). But... oops.

Ally Rzesa / Globe Staff

...By Beth Teitell

The agreements can be written or verbal and are not legally binding, and they are gaining attention as alternatives to traditional two-person relationships work their way further into society.

...Some who are in the bubble of more traditional relationships may wonder about the practicalities of such arrangements, with their seemingly limitless variations on potential problems – including issues surrounding children and finances. ... [But] “For a lot of people, polyamory is where they are most comfortable,” said Elly Humphrey, a licensed mental health counselor and owner of Queer Therapy Boston, a telehealth practice that works with people navigating identity and relationship issues. “It’s being monogamous that feels like it has a lot of rules and restrictions.”

It’s just that those restrictions are often assumed, and not written down or explicitly stated.

Indeed, when a couple comes to Humphrey for help expanding their two-person relationship to allow for other partners, she often uses a relationship agreement worksheet that’s 16 pages long.

Its questions are aimed at eliciting what each partner is comfortable with the other person doing with their other partners. Is it ok to see a secondary partner on birthdays or holidays? What about dating a person who is cheating on their own partner (i.e. not in an ethical consensual non-monogamous relationship)? Can you get drunk with other partners? Which sexual acts are off-limits with your other partner or partners?

By definition, a big point of ethical non-monogamy is being open about those extra relationships. But that doesn’t necessarily mean people outside the relationship won’t cast judgment, and some agreements focus on keeping polyamory hidden from outsiders. As in: Secondary partners will be introduced to others as “friend.”

“It makes me sad that I don’t feel comfortable [openly] sharing,” said a therapist in Greater Boston who has been married to her husband for over a decade, and each has other partners, “but it’s a cost-benefit analysis.”

She and her husband were raised Catholic and met at church. Their parents are “good Christian people,’’ she said, “and I don’t want them thinking, ‘What’s wrong with my child? What did I do wrong?’”

Even more significant, she said, is the impact going public might have on the couple’s toddler. “Will other parents judge her? Will her teachers judge her? Will the kids be mean to her? Will she be punished for my decisions?”

...Kara Katz, a licensed independent clinical social worker with South Shore Family Health Collaborative, has a dream for everyone in any kind of relationship. “I wish relationship agreements would carry over to monogamous relationships.” she said.

Sadly, this story misses the mark. Its "typical" examples of written agreements are mostly newbie couples' micro-managed attempts to build insecurity shields, often with no thought to decent treatment of outside people:

You can’t get matching tattoos with anyone but me, or call someone else “honey bee” or “boo,” for example. Or: You and your “comet” (occasional lover) can have sex, but can’t cuddle or go bowling. No dating my colleagues or my ex’s. If your secondary partner meets your cousins, they have to be introduced as a “friend.”

...No dating anyone who lives inside I-495.

The agreements often hint, no, scream, at so many possible triggers that an onlooker might wonder how polyamory could possibly work, when it’s hard enough to get along with just one other person, or even yourself.

Successful, healthy polyfolks soon realize something about relationship agreements. Detailed, nit-picky attempts to guard your insecurities don't work. Lists like that are kiddie training wheels at best. In a healthy poly relationship, lists of agreements condense over time into broad principles: Use good judgment. Don't be a dick. Don't let new-relationship energy make you a jerk. And of course, communicate, communicate, communicate. Fearlessly, and often; that way good principles and a good heart can set you both right. 

That attitude also frees up mindspace for agreements that are practical and important. Examples might be,

  -- Safe sex, to defined standards, and inform everyone of a slip-up right away.

  -- No one gets the house key until we both know the person well and agree.

  -- No one meets the kids until we both know the person well and they are some kind of permanent.

  -- A background check never needs an apology.

  -- If living together: Make sure I know where you'll be and when you expect to be back. If time runs over, call to say you're okay.

●  The brave and indefatigable sociologist Elisabeth Sheff educates on Fox News Radio: The Rise of Polyamory: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships, on the "Kennedy Saves the World" show (March 6.  22 minutes). The episode's description:

Sociologist, Expert Witness, and Coach Dr. Elisabeth Sheff is a Certified Sexuality Educator and is here to explain polyamory and why humans are drawn to having relationships with multiple partners at a time. Dr. Sheff shares that this may not suit all individuals and relationships, and navigating this lifestyle can be very emotionally challenging.

Eli was direct, honest, and did fine. The hostess seemed disarmed and couldn't find any real comebacks other than some lame risqué quips, obviously rehearsed.


The Couple to Throuple reality show fallout continues, now that all 10 episodes are up and streaming.

●  Regarding the show, a respected medical-news site felt called to post this public service article: 'Couple to Throuple' Misses the Mark on Polyamorous Dating (March 4). It's relatively restrained.

By Erick Mitchell

...[Clinical sexologist Ness] Cooper says that while the show is an interesting watch as a whole, it does not accurately represent how “polycules” are formed in the real world. ... "Couple to Throuple" host Howard recently posted on X that the show is a "conversation starter. NOT a poly docuseries"...

...Tips for exploring ethical non-monogamy include:

Checking in with one another and yourself
Exploring attachment styles
Educating yourself and reading up on the pros and cons of non-monogamy
Understanding that non-monogamy isn't always only about sex, but real connection
Being true to yourself and your partner(s)

“Many relationships go through stages, and generally, it takes going through many developmental stages for a couple or polycule to form a secure relationship where they can also be truly vulnerable and themselves too,” Cooper says. “The show only shows the early developmental stages of the relationships forming, which can make it hard to judge whether or not the relationships will be successful in the future.”

●  Much less restrained! On NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour comes Polyamory gets a bad rap in 'Couple to Throuple' (22 minutes. Online March 6). It's a hilarious, totally informed takeapart of the show, the best one I've encountered. The title is subdued compared to the content. Transcript.

●  From a queer/trans viewpoint: Couple to Throuple is a predictably toxic portrayal of polyamory, by Ian Thomas Malone, "transgender comedian, critic, and podcast host."

●  You knew the imitators were coming.  'Married At First Sight UK' could feature its first polyamorous couple  (BANG Showbiz/ Yahoo movies, March 6).

'Married At First Sight UK' star Paul C Brunson wants a polyamorous couple on the show. The 49-year-old relationship guru and matchmaker -- who also works as Tinder's head of global research -- admitted the Channel 4 show needs to "keep up" with changes in the way society views romance.

He told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "...I have friends in polyamorous relationships and I’ve done the research on them and I know there are high levels of satisfaction when you have high levels of communication.

"So, as society demands changes in our relationships, we as a show will have to keep up with that and we’ll have to follow the same path."


More attention to poly parenting.

●  On the parenting site Romper: My Dad Life Includes Family Vacation With The Polycule (Feb. 14)

Our kid has, on their own, asked questions and figured it all out and everything feels very normal to them.

By Ryan G., as told to Alyssa Shelasky

My wife and I have been married for 16 years and polyamorous for eight or nine years. ... We opened things up when our child was around 6. ... Our kid has, on their own, asked questions and figured it all out and everything feels very “normal” to them.

...Of course, there have been some questions about privacy and how much to share at school, but no real issues, or judgment from other parents that I know of. I’m sure it’s happened, but nothing that’s really hurt.

[Other partner Lola] is fully integrated into my family life. ... Lola always stays at my place now when she visits. My kid interacts with her. They watch anime together.  

Lola came into town this Thanksgiving. My parents came. My wife’s parents came. Also, my wife’s other boyfriend, and his soon-to-be-wife were there. It was like this 10-person polycule, plus the grandparents. It was so great. After the holiday, Lola, my kid, my wife, and I all went to the Redwoods. Again, it all feels normal to my kid. We were all enjoying the outdoors, relaxing and reading. I have a picture of me, my wife, and Lola standing in front of this giant heart that says “I love you.” The image means so much to me.

●  I'm polyamorous – and it’s made me a better parent (in the UK newspaper iNews, March 7). "There's so much I have learnt in non-monogamy that has resulted in me having healthier relationships with my partners and with my stepson."

By Siobhan Kenna

People who say parenting is a thankless job have never been a step-parent.

...“Scarcity mindsets” are defined by the idea that there isn’t enough of a particular commodity for everyone, and this has come to dictate how Western societies think about romantic love. ... In polyamory, we approach our relationships with an “abundance mindset”, meaning that there is plenty of love available, so it can be shared.

Approaching step-motherhood with an abundance mindset means that I understand my stepson has an infinite capacity to love all his parents and that in all likelihood he’ll love us in different ways. I don’t compete for his affection because I understand there is plenty of love to go around. It doesn’t mean that his love isn’t extremely precious and something I won’t protect, but more about acknowledging that we both have plenty of love to give.

...Opening our monogamous relationship helped Rich and I realise the most authentic expression of our love. Our relationship strengthened because we came to appreciate the uniqueness of our connection. We also found that we didn’t need to qualify our love by declaring it was superior to any of the romantic connections we’d had before, or that we’d have in the future. Our relationship isn’t better or worse than others we’ve had, it just is.

This idea transformed my relationship with my stepson, too. Rather than comparing my connection with him to the other adults in his life, I’ve come to cherish the inside jokes we share, the books we read and the snuggles we have in the early morning. I play my own part in nurturing him, just like he unlocks a unique part of me.

...The classic parenting saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” stipulates that children need a range of people, influences and care to grow into healthy and well-rounded adults. This idea has been fundamental to my ability to thrive in non-monogamy. Adults need a village too. We need varied love and care too.

There’s so much I have learnt in non-monogamy that has resulted in me having healthier relationships with my partners and with my stepson. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t learnt a great deal from my monogamous relationships too. Teaching my stepson choice, respect and capacity to embrace difference with an open mind are crucial in him determining his own future, where he’ll love how he wants to love and grow into a happy adult. 

●  What We Can All Learn From Polyamorous Parents (Greater Good magazine, "science-based insights for a more meaningful life," published by the Greater Good Science Center, a nonprofit at UC Berkeley. Feb. 28). "Experts on polyamory share insights around communication, community, and support that can be helpful to all parents."

By Vicki Larson

Parents are dealing with more than ever before, yet all too often they believe that they alone are responsible for doing it all—managing their child’s care, development, and education with no outside help, family-friendly policies, or community support.... 

"As parents, we (especially moms) have internalized this propaganda. Burdened by guilt, most are managing a delicate balancing act, struggling to make it work, yet forever feeling inadequate, unable to live up to the ideal we imagine we should achieve . . .  ."

There is one model that comes from a place that will seem unlikely to many people:  polyamorous parents. ...

Honesty builds trust

Polyamorous people have to communicate—a lot.

In order to navigate agreements and explore boundaries while building intimacy, being honest with each other is essential. According to Elisabeth Sheff, who has studied polyamorous families for decades and is the author of The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships and Families, the kind of transparency that typically occurs in poly families can bring them closer together.

“The whole thing about polyamorous parenting is providing honest and age-appropriate information when the kids ask,” she tells me in a phone interview. “Polyamorous parents in their romantic relationships do a lot of truth telling to each other. It’s the fundamental basis of polyamory, one of the core values, to tell each other the truth about what you’re doing and to tell yourself the truth.”

This trickles down to their children.

Sheff says one thing many children in poly families have shared with her is that they appreciate that their parents can admit when they’re wrong and even apologize. Doing that sets the stage for the children to learn how to be accountable: “Yeah, people make mistakes. We screwed that one up. Sorry about that.”

(Stock photo in the article)
That helps develops trust between parents and children, which helps children feel safe.

Children in poly families don’t get in trouble for asking questions, according to Sheff, which often happens in families with a more authoritarian parenting style. Because of that, they also are more likely to tell their parents the truth because they know it’s safe to be honest.

...In her 2015 report on polyamorous parenting studies, “What About the Children?! Children in Polyamorous Families: Stigma, Myths, and Realities,” sexuality educator Jacki Yovanoff notes that the straightforward way poly partners talk to each other influences the way they talk to their children.

“The priority put on openness, honesty and emotional literacy can foster an environment where children develop a tendency for higher emotional intelligence,” she writes. It also can lead to “a higher degree of maturity, self-confidence and self-reliance, as well as great interpersonal skills.” ...

It takes a village

...“Pooling their resources also allows adults to have more personal time, work more flexible hours, and get more sleep because there are multiple people around to take care of the children,” Sheff writes. “Poly parents said that they felt more patient and had more energy for their children when they were well rested and had sufficient income—all of which benefitted their children.”

...Beyond that, parents can learn and ask for advice from their partners and “metamours”—their partners’ partners, although it also can lead to more disagreements about how things should be handled.

“By having more input from more adults, parents learn really important parenting skills from each other,” Sheff tells me.

And children have other adults they can talk to besides their parents for different perspectives, who can act as role models and may remain in their lives even if those adults are no longer romantically involved with the child’s parents. “Sometimes kids don’t want to talk about something with their parent, but they do want to talk to a trusted adult,” Sheff says.

...That’s what Benedict Smith experienced growing up in a poly family. ...

...Basically, both the parents and the children have a village.

...Children in her studies have told her that they consider their parents’ long-term partners as trusted adults and turn to them for emotional support and practical assistance, even if they are no longer part of the polycule, a term to describe all the partners in the same polyamorous group. ...

How might that apply to you? Consider trying to let go of any jealousy you might have toward your child’s other caregivers, allow your children to love their caregivers, and support and encourage those bonds.

Connected even when apart

Sheff observes that it’s often the non-sexual, emotional connection that maintains a poly family for the long haul—what she calls “polyaffectivity.”

Even if there once was a sexual aspect of a poly parents’ relationship, they often keep an amiable connection if their relationship ends. This benefits their children.

“The end of sex does not have to mean end of relationship. Remaining friends is a real choice, and especially important when people have had children together,” she writes.

Removing the emphasis on sexuality creates a path for former partner parents to be friendly with each other so they can focus on cooperative co-parenting, she says. That’s essential because studies indicate that divorce per se isn’t the problem for children; conflict is. ...

The lesson for everyone else? If the relationship with your child’s other parent ends, be respectful, kind, and supportive to your former romantic partner so you can co-parent together without conflict and anger.

...Children have one essential need—to feel safe and secure, child development expert Nancy Carlsson-Paige shares with me. Tapping into the wisdom of poly parents just might offer a way to do that.

●   Seattle's Child, "your guide to a kid-friendly city" features a polyfamily of five adults and four children roaming between two houses and looking to consolidate into one bigger one. Where we live: The close-knit polycule (March 6). 

"Living in a beautiful chaos"

The Wall-Nance-Trembath clan enjoys full group activities
at either house. Photo by Joshua Huston.

By Joan King

...This is where the story becomes slightly less conventional: Tiffany and Dusty really hit it off. Eventually, they and Greg agreed to enter into a polyamorous relationship and become a polycule: Three or more people connected romantically. 

Dusty became Tiffany’s romantic partner while Tiffany remained married to Greg. Dusty, his wife April, and their two kids moved to Washington from the California Bay area to nurture and support the polycule. 

Logistically, there are two primary residences. The couples shuttle between the homes. That means, at times, Tiffany and Greg spend the evening cooking together at the Nances’ house in Issaquah. At other times, Dusty and Tiffany spend time together at the Walls’ house in Tacoma. You will also find Greg spending time with his romantic partner Tasha Trembath, at the Nances’ house. 

Greg and Trembath met in 2021. In private practice as a marriage and family therapist, Trembath currently lives in the Nance house. Following her and Greg’s decision to extend the polycule and in the midst of skyrocketing housing costs, Trembath moved in last year. 

Greg describes the two-family polycule in two words: “Beautiful chaos.” The families share multiple calendars to track all the kids’ various activities, including sports practices, dance, and saxophone lessons. The calendars include the adult responsible for pickup on any given day.

The Nance children include 12-year-old Kat and 7-year-old Reyna, while the Wall children include 12-year-old Jamie and 14-year-old Moo. Each adult member of the polycule participates in parenting in a symphony of coordination.

Like any parents or guardians, they rely on each other and show up to as many of the childrens’ extracurricular activities as possible. ...  “Our kids are lucky and have a lot of parents in their ears all the time,” says Greg.

Dusty says one of his favorite aspects of the polycule is the four kids spending time together. The families get together as much as possible for activities such as mini golf. The five adults of the polycule enthusiastically nod their heads when they collectively list the various sporting events, concerts, and recitals where the children will show up to support one another. 

What the kids say

When the parents broke the news to the children, the children surprisingly didn’t have much to say. Greg credits their reaction primarily to the straightforward way the adults navigated the conversation: 

“I think a big part of that is not ever having sat the kids down for a big talk about how things are going to change. It was pretty matter of fact: ‘Mom and Dad love other people, and you’re going to start seeing expressions of that love in our family.’ We were very intentional about the language that we used, keeping it age-appropriate while still being very direct. They honestly didn’t have a lot of questions about it.” 

Moo’s response to the question of how she likes the setup was likewise direct: “It’s fun because I have a second family and we all get to go hang out. And anytime we get to do something, I’m like, ‘Are the Nances coming?’ Because it’s ten times more fun if they do.” 

...While polycule relationships don’t always result in co-housing, the Nances, Walls and Trembath say it makes sense for them and boils down to two factors: time and finances.  ...

Such setups lend weight to the spreading bumpersticker slogan Monogamy? In This Economy? Expect to hear more about that in a few months, courtesy of poly coach and educator Laura Boyle. She's the force behind the Ready for Polyamory blog, podcast, and book (2021). Her second book is coming out August 29. It's titled Monogamy? In This Economy? Finances, Childrearing, and Other Practical Concerns of Polyamory.

She says it's based on her survey of nearly 500 poly households with three or more adults participating, and deep followups with more than 100 of these people sharing their homes, childcare practices, and finances. She plans to publicize it with a multi-city book tour this fall with support from The Polyamory Foundation.


●  Stats from a city that has an out and proud elected official: Atlanta sees rising interest in polyamory and open relationships (Axios Local, Feb. 20)

In Atlanta, 28% of OkCupid daters over the past two years said they would consider an open relationship, according to data shared with Axios.

Dating app Feeld has seen a 120% increase over the last three years in the number of Atlanta users including the terms "ethically non-monogamous" and "polyamorous" in their profiles, according to the company.

About one-third of polled American singles say they've had a consensually nonmonogamous relationship, according to Match's 2024 Singles in America study.

A slightly higher proportion described their ideal relationship as something other than monogamy in a 2023 YouGov survey.

What they're saying: Atlanta City Council member Liliana Bakhtiari told NBC News in 2022 that she's nonmonogamous and has been dating two partners for several years.

Kris Brown, Bakhtiari's partner for over a decade, said the three of them prefer the label nonmonogamy over polyamory.

"We're openly showing it and proud of it," said Bakhtiari during a video interview beside her partners. "It should be destigmatized. It's a very valid familial structure that people should embrace."

●  This isn't just the western world. From India, ‘Not another word for cheating’: Navigating polyamory in modern India and its gaining popularity (The Indian Express, Feb. 14)

IN10 Media Network’s streaming platform DocuBay presents Going Poly, a documentary that delves into the lives of individuals from Mumbai and Kolkata, exploring the nuances of love, loyalty, and societal acceptance.

...“Polyamorous relationships are a phenomenon in India, but surprisingly we found hardly any movie or documentary made on the topic. The taboo surrounding this topic intrigued us, prompting us to explore it further, for our viewers,” highlighted Girish Dwibhashyam, COO of DocuBay.

The film, produced by VICE Studios, offers viewers a glimpse into the lives of polyamorous individuals from diverse backgrounds and age groups... through the complexities of polyamory, addressing issues such as jealousy, morality, and inheritance.

●  And to close, in Uruguay an MMM triad just married as three (unofficially) in a big multifamily wedding that's getting lots of coverage there and in neighboring countries: Max, Willi and Capi, the triejas who got married and made history in Uruguay: “It was very nice to see the three families together”  (El País of Uruguay, Feb. 27) Their ceremony was on February 24.  En Español.  English translation.

Max Adoue / El País

...Willi and Max had already [been together] for more than twenty years, when they got married in Argentina, their native country, and still didn’t know Capi. [He] joined the couple in 2019, a few months before the pandemic. ... Max and Willy are legally married and Capi, the “new” one, is united with them in a symbolic way.

...The rings have a history of their own. Following the symbolic thread, Max, Willi and Capi had special rings made with three different types of gold: silver, rose and common. With the help of a chemist, once they chose the design, they combined the colors. “We are the Lord of the Rings,” Max joked during a conversation with Clarín.

...Max is a hotelier, Willi is an accountant, and Capi is a website and application programmer. Willi recently had the chance to go to work in Luxembourg and it is there, in that tiny European country, that the three will live for the next few years. ... 


Meanwhile, as the larger world stage darkens. . .

(Look up their phone / email.)

Here again is why I've been ending posts to this polyamory news site with Ukraine: 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.

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 that goes increasingly unhidden.

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, weaponizing police abuse, 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 updated list of vetted organizations (Oct. 2023) or elsewhere. We're giving to a big one, Razom, and to a little informal one, Pizza for Ukraine in Kharkiv, the project of an old friend of my wife.

But that is only the start. For those of us born since World War II, this is 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. 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. 

Need a little help bucking up? Take perspective. Play thisAnother version. More? Some people on the eastern front trying to hold onto an open society. (TW: war is awful.) Maybe your granddad did this from a trench against Hitler's tanks — for you, and us, because a world fascist movement was successfully defeated that time, opening the way for the rest of the 20th century.

But the outcome didn't look good for a couple of years then, either. Popular history remembers the 1945 victory over the Nazis and the joyous homecoming. Less remembered are the defeats and grim outlook from 1940 through early 1943.

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 that. And they're also stamping hard on the old culture of everyday, petty corruption.  More on that.  More; "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 helping 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; in the last generation the ideal of modern European civil society has become widely treasured, and social progressivism has room to thrive. The status of women is fast advancing, especially post-invasion (pre-invasion article). More than 43,000 women volunteer in the armed forces, flooding traditionally male bastions — including as combat officers, artillery gunners, tankers, battlefield medics, and snipers. (Intimidating video: "Thus the Witch has Spoken".) Ukraine has more women volunteering in combat positions than any other armed force in the world.
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 in Russia or occupied Ukraine, but to speak for "non-traditional sexual relations." Pre-invasion, 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 full material backing for as long as it takes them to win their security, freedom, and future. Speak up for it.

Your congressperson's email and phone. Putin-aligned Republicans right now are blocking some $60 billion in aid, especially ammunition, that the Ukrainians desperately need in order not to be overwhelmed by Russian advances. Just a handful of Republicans getting the courage to do what they know is right would be enough.                         

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

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

PPS:  U.S. authori-tarians, 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 story of one of their battles near Bakhmut.

Update February 2024: More than a year later Vidma is still alive, still directing the mortar unit (now in muddy trenches), and is                            posting TikToks. A young girl who looks high-school age has joined themAnother. Their lives, and their promising society, depend on us. 

And maybe our own? Says Maine's independent Senator Angus King (Jan. 31, 2024),

Whenever people write to my office [asking why we are supporting Ukraine,] I answer, 'Google Sudetenland, 1938.' We could have stopped a murderous dictator who was bent on geographic expansion…at a relatively low cost. The result of not doing so was 55 million deaths.


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Blogger tosii2 said...

Thanks, Alan!

March 11, 2024 12:44 PM  

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