Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan



August 20, 2014

Offbeat Bride: "Angi & Bret's polyamorous backyard wedding"


Offbeat Bride features another poly wedding story with lots of pictures. This one's by activist Angi Becker Stevens, who unofficially married her boyfriend while still married to her husband, who assisted at the wedding. She wrote about their plans nearly a year ago in Salon and more recently in another story in Offbeat Bride. It all happened as planned.


Angi & Bret's polyamorous backyard wedding

Poly V and daughter
New husband Bret, Angi, daughter, legal husband Kory. (Photo: Josh Barnhart) 

As a polyamorous couple having a non-legal ceremony, our wedding was inherently pretty offbeat. We had a very small budget, and a primary goal of having a celebration that really felt like a reflection of our personalities and our relationship. We DIYed practically everything, from the invitations to the 400 paper flowers for the bouquets and the centerpieces to the iTunes reception playlist to the ceremony itself. My other partner, Kory (who I've been legally married to for 12 years), cooked the amazing food (a vegetarian burrito bar!) for our reception....

Our ceremony took place in an amphitheater in a gorgeous park that has a lot of personal significance for us.... We created the ceremony from scratch, with the help of Offbeat Bride's tremendously helpful Ceremony 101 article....

...Sometime during the reception when we were drinking and dancing, my other partner, Kory, said excitedly to me, "We did it! We made a wedding!" He was really happy with how smoothly the catering went and felt very satisfied after the immense amounts of work he had put into it....


Read on, with lotsa pix (Aug. 20, 2014).

And here's a previous poly wedding featured at Offbeat Bride, with links to more.

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August 19, 2014

Times of India: "Polyamorous relationships are a reality. Are you game?" And, a seed in a remote village.


The world's largest-circulation English-language newspaper prints this today in its Bangalore edition:


Polyamorous relationships are a reality. Are you game?

By Parinatha Sampath & Dhwani Desai

In a world in which variety is the spice of life, more and more people are now opening up to the idea of being polyamorous, i.e., being in more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved....

Polyamorous is about being honest

"Being polyamorous doesn't mean that you are cheating on your partner," clarifies Santosh Srinivas, a city-based consultant. A polyamorous person is honest and open with his/her partner about their desire to be in a relationship with them and other people at the same time, and also seeks their approval.... Vasanth R, a consultant, who has been polyamourous for three years, also emphasizes on the need for honestly. "It is very important to be honest with your partner. Such relationships are only possible if all partners are absolutely open. Everyone involved should also like each other, or it will never work."

Free of complications

But does being in several relationships tend to get complicated? "Not at all. Issues only tend to crop up if one partner gets clingy. A lot of it has to do with maturity. Sure, there's jealousy, but one needs to weigh their options and see what is more important — jealousy or living a life based on certain principles. I'm sure betrayal does take place even in polyamorous relationships, but that is the case with any relationship. It shouldn't stop you from looking for new relationships. Everything must be talked about and reasoned out," says Vasanth.

It's not all about sex....

Monogamy is overrated

Priya Suresh, a homemaker, has been married for nine years and says that she would like to explore polyamory since she thinks that monogamy is unnatural.... Also, I feel that such relationships will change the way men think about women. Men tend to have the upper hand in relationships and when both partners are open to seeing others, the woman will not be taken for granted."


Read the whole article (Aug. 19, 2014).

Also, in The Times of India last month: a short description of the open-marriage option for those looking for alternatives to traditional marriage (July 7, 2014):


This one is probably one of the hardest relationship trends and is mostly misunderstood by couples. An open marriage or an open relationship is being together but having an understanding that if you wish to [step] out of the relationship, you are free to do that without being questioned or emotionally targeted by the other person.


And a while back, at least one edition ran an interview with the U.K's Meg Barker, poly researcher and author of the then-recently-published book Rewriting the Rules.

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In other poly news from India, remember the independent movie 3 on a Bed? Its starry-eyed fimmakers, Rajdeep Paul and Sarmistha Maiti, went on to write the story as a novella and publish it as part of a book by the same name.

"3 in a bed" polyamory movie poster from India

From Rajdeep Paul's Facebook page for the book and movie:


By destiny’s design a film was made and a book written by our hands by the name of “3 on a Bed,” but its reach went so far beyond our wildest dreams that it keeps cropping up surprises on us each passing day. From being embraced by the polyamorous community in Australia, to a website being made by admirers in free, to being termed as “post postmodern” by a bunch of sociologists in Hyderabad University....

.... but what happened today takes the cream. At around 5 pm, I get a call from a boy who says he has read the book and wants to talk to me. The boy heralds from a small village in Panshkura, Medinipur, West Bengal called Narayan Murailpur, where there is no electricity and mobile signal is so weak that the phone disconnected 8 times within a 10 minute conversation. AND this particular boy, Shankha Chakravorty, has read the book recommended by a theater worker from Panshkura, and he is completely overwhelmed by the story “3 on a Bed.” Not only he, but a few others in their village have read it despite their difficulty with English…. He has even narrated the story to his mother and sister and they have connected with it too!!!... In his words… “You could have made it titillating and raunchy if you wanted to… but what you have done instead is a beautifully touching love story… there is nothing dirty, nothing ugly (kono noshtami nei, kono nongrami nei)… how can one not connect with it….” His only request to me, “Please write something for us in Bengali…” What more can a creator want?


Here are all my posts tagged India/South Asia (including this one; scroll down).

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August 17, 2014

Is this story awful for polys, or exactly our point?

Your Tango

Here's one that some people will see as confirming the worst stereotypes about the danger of open relationships ("This never ends well." "Totally playing with fire." "Reeks of 1970s narcissism."). And others, if they read the full text to the end, may see it as exactly what can turn out great about what we're doing.

It just appeared in the popular online women's magazine Your Tango, "Your Best Love Life."


Asking For An Open Marriage Made Me A Better Wife And Mom

monogamy or polyamory?
By Emelie Archer Pickett

The wild calls to us like a far-off wolf pack and most of us have forgotten how to answer.

We are scared of the dark forests, of our own depressions and ecstasies, of anyplace untamed and free … and yet we ache for freedom....

After a decade of being saddled by picket fences, a fine marriage, taut physique, moderate career success, and an enviable collection of high-end shoes, my body and heart yearned for real unleashing.

Then, four years ago, I heard my desires howling.

Not knowing how to be wild, I headed to amazon.com for ideas in book form, eventually landing on a topic light years away from my good-girl tendencies: open marriage. Intrigued and intimacy starved, I followed my curiosity into what would become one of the most surprising experiences in my life.

After devouring books about polyamory, open relating, and primordial urges, I sat my husband down to have the talk....

He, also being slightly unsatisfied, eventually agreed to opening our relationship....

For a little while, the theory of openness played out like the books said it would: I felt immense gratitude and newfound attraction for my husband for trusting me enough to set me free, even as he struggled to make any connections beyond ours. One morning after waking from an encounter, I was absolutely flooded with emotion; not toward the man in my bed, but toward my own husband.

It seemed to be working. I looked like I had light beams pouring from my body. I was purified by my own discomfort, by the permission I gave myself to explore, by the ruthless honesty of terribly uncomfortable conversations I could no longer avoid.

And then, one day a few months later, this new wild life began to unravel.

It started with a profile photo from an online dating site that I joined as a joke.

His face appeared in my inbox and a lightning bolt shivered down my spine. I immediately knew I was in trouble.

I said yes anyway....

---------------------------

...So, I leapt, extracting myself as gracefully as possible from a marriage I never intended to leave.

...My tiger man moved to Peru, following a lifelong dream to live and work in the Amazonian jungle. I moved into a small artistic apartment and started rebuilding a life of my own. My practice husband lost his job, moved in with his dad, and we worked through how to lovingly co-parent our son amidst chaos and upheaval [yes there's a kid in this –Ed.].

...My Tiger and I eventually married (three times, just for good measure), laying down roots in a new home together after his stint in Peru.

We are expecting a child together. Big brother (and his dad) are genuinely excited for us.

...Together we have built a golden life out of the ashes of what came before.

My open marriage gifted me with so much: I learned how to tell the truth, to stand up for my hunger, to be brave. Those few precious months were the doorway to my forbidden life: the life I couldn't have dared to believe in....


Read the whole story (Aug. 15, 2014).

The very first commenter writes,


Soooooo grateful for the telling of your story, Emelie... for now I realize that I am not alone in what occurred in my own marriage. I entered into my marriage deeply in love and fully intending that it would last 'forever'. Yet as the years went on and our personal growth and changes occurred, along with extremely different parenting styles not known before we had children... we both began to recognize that a change was occurring that we could not control. We still loved each other as close friends... but what was apparent is that we were not compatible as lovers and life intimate partners any longer... and trying to force it was making us both miserable, which was spilling out onto our sons. Yet we didn't believe in the usual love/hate, married/divorce models. We didn't hate each other. We were close committed friends. We also didn't want to cause the psychological schisms in our kids' lives the divorces we saw happening around us did to theirs. So we sought another way.

For a time we chose to open our relationship. And then, over time we each chose new intimate partners... and continued to live on the same property in separate houses, gifting our sons, their friends, and our community with a new way of love and family in the world. One that doesn't pretend that love does not change when we grow. Or pretend that now the one we once loved, we now hate and thus take them for all we can. Our sons now in their 20s have thanked us repeatedly for choosing this way. And many in our community have come forward to tell how us deeply touched and inspired they are by experiencing a 'new way' of living family into a community that flourishes from a ground of love.


The "game-changer relationship" is a tough issue that Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert address head on in their book More Than Two. As they stress, you cannot wish this risk away or successfully rule it away. I don't know if they invented the term "game changer," but I'm seeing it enter the poly vocabulary even before the book's official publication date.

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August 15, 2014

Dan Savage apologizes to polyfolks

Dan Savage once had a rocky time with polys, starting with an ignorant little snark. Later it got better. Now he publishes a reader's letter and admits that yeah, he was an asshole back then.


Letter of the Day: Happy Anniversary

As a long time reader of yours, I've been gleefully awaiting this day for three years. You see, I am the unicorn part of a poly triad, and today marks the three year anniversary for myself, my husband, and my wife — we aren't legally married, of course, but our commitment ceremony was beautiful nonetheless....

So, Dan, it's with a certain degree of smugness that I ask: will you wish us a happy three year anniversary?

—Totally Reached It, Ability Doubter


••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

You're doubtless referencing this asshole remark of mine [and here he quotes me! –Ed.]:

Savage, a long-partnered gay man who coined the word "monogamish" for his somewhat open relationship, used to snark at polys. He famously remarked that he'd been to poly multi-marriage ceremonies but never to a poly third-anniversary party. That prompted many long-term polyfamilies to speak up as counterexamples, jumping up and down to try to catch his attention.

You're not the first poly triad to let me know that they've made it to their leather anniversary, TRIAD, but I'm thrilled to hear from you nonetheless. Congrats and best wishes to you, your wife, and your husband.... But... technically speaking... my snark still stands, TRIAD: I have been to a few poly weddings but I've never been to a poly third-anniversary party. Still. I know they happen — yours is happening — but somehow I never seem to rate an invitation. Was it something I said?


Read the whole piece (Aug. 14, 2014).

A commenter comments, "I've never been to anyone's third anniversary party. Who the hell has third anniversary parties?"

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August 12, 2014

More Than Two, latest news & reviews


More than Two poly book cat picture
The shameless cat-picture sales tactic. Send them yours (see Aug. 13)

Three weeks before the official release date, here's more of the buzz that Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert's book More Than Two is stirring up.

● First off, they just announced their planned West Coast fall book tour, with 18 events scheduled so far. The book's Facebook page.

● Long review of the book by Aggie on her Solopoly blog. Excerpts:


Much-needed focus on the ethics of polyamory

By aggiesez

...If you read most books on polyamory, they tend to concern structure and feelings more than ethics.

That’s a problem.... Ethics guide you on how and why you wish to behave, rather than merely acting on impulse or reflex. Ethics nudge you to consider what kind of person/partner you really are, or would like to be. Because ultimately, your most important relationship is your relationship with yourself.

Most people, even poly people, don’t think very deeply or often about relationship ethics, since doing so inevitably gets uncomfortable. That’s why it’s common for people to “wing it” with polyamory (just try stuff and see what happens), or conversely, to start from a heavily rules/rank-based approach....

In my experience, getting a grip on your own values and ethics is the most effective path to nurturing happy, stable, mutually fulfilling intimate relationships. If you want to explore poly/open relationships, I think the best way to achieve this is to grab a copy of the new primer More Than Two (You can preorder it now on Amazon.com).

...I received my review copy of More Than Two a few months ago and was immediately impressed. First of all, unlike most books about poly/open relationships, it’s not at all couple-centric. It explores poly/open relationships as something that people do, rather than something couples may indulge in. That alone makes this book fairly unique and very refreshing. (Although I think the title does make the book sound a bit couple-centric, which is a problem.)

...Chapter 3, “Ethical Polyamory,” is where the real meat of this book kicks in. Everything from here forward is premised on the authors’ two key ethical axioms:

“The people in a relationship are more important than the relationship.”
“Don’t treat people as things.”

This neat one-two punch knocks out most of the biggest mistakes and worst behavior I’ve witnessed (and occasionally perpetrated) in poly/open relationships. Problems born of trying to prevent change, or at least too much change. Of presumptions of status, or assumptions rooted in deep-seated insecurity. Of failures of compassion and empathy. Of ignorance and lack of skill or practice. Of blatant disrespect and inconsideration. Of power, control, weakness and cowardice. And of abuse.

…Personally, I would have worded “Don’t treat people as things” differently, since I think it’s likely to be misunderstood at first glance by readers who aren’t already in the “poly bubble.” The phrase “treating people as things” might on first glance be easily misinterpreted as referring to sexual fetishes, sex work or strictly casual relationships (none of which are inherently ethically problematic, BTW).... Instead, I probably would have said: “Do treat other people as if they matter as much as you or your primary/existing partners” — as in, everyone’s feelings, needs, goals, lives, and experience counts. As in, we’re all human beings, worthy of full consideration and respect.

....If you do get this book (and you should!), here's the approach I recommend:

New to poly/open relationships, or just curious? Start with chapters 1 and 2, “Starting the journey” and “The many forms of love.”

Got some significant poly/open experience? Start with chapter 3, “Ethical polyamory.”

Essential reading for everyone: Most of part 2, “Poly Toolkit” — beginning with chapter 4, “Tending your self.” Everyone can definitely benefit from chapters 4-7, which covers basic principles and issues in communication and negotiation, all grounded in ethics.

From there, skip straight to chapter 13, “Empowered relationships” — probably the most compelling chapter in the book, since it describes a flexible model of polyamory rooted in individuals who are secure in themselves and compassionate with others. (I really, really wish that model was as widely known as rules-based hierarchies.)

The last two essential-for-everyone chapters are 22 (“Relationship transitions”) and 23 (on metamour relationships) — two areas that the standard social relationship escalator model actively discourages people from developing constructive attitudes and useful skills. We’ve all absorbed social conditioning; we can all use these reminders.

As for the rest of the book, proceed with whichever chapters seem most interesting or relevant to you and your relationships (as my honey did with the hierarchy chapter)....


Read her whole article (Aug. 11, 2014).

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● From Noel Figart's review at her long-running Polyamorous Misanthrope site:


I hope that my faithful Facebook followers have gathered from my incredibly subtle comments that I approve of the book....

The authors take the time to explain the whys and wherefores of polyamory very well. They’re grounded in the real and the proveable. They explain the principles behind their thoughts. Then they do a great thing. At the end of each chapter are several questions to ask yourself and think about. I love this part the best. Sure, sure, you can read the book and get a great deal out of it without these questions, but if you really want to examine yourself, your relationships and truly understand what you’re about and what you want in relationships, this is an amazing guide to do so....

Polyamory tends to value honesty, and I’m pleased to say that like any really great polyamory book, the authors don’t spare themselves. They talk about their screwups, what they learned from them and discuss their struggles as well as their triumphs.

...More Than Two is on my re-read and annotate the heck out of list. I already have about twenty-odd notes and thoughts about the text that I’m still in the process of analyzing. Friends, this one makes you think....


The whole review (Aug. 5).

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● Louisa Leontiades on her site Multiple Match, which is mirrored on Huffington Post U.K.:

Romantic Friendship in the Modern Era ~ More Than Two #1

How Passive Communication Kills A Relationship ~ More Than Two #2


...For non-Brits out there, asking if anyone wants the last biscuit means that the person asking wants it but isn’t, according to the terms of social etiquette, allowed to say it. Even more confusing, the ‘someone’ who took the last biscuit would be considered rude by taking it because the asker has the implicit prior claim (since he asked).

If you ever find yourself in a last-biscuit conundrum and want nothing more than to not be invited back, you can commit the cardinal sin in asking the asker if their question implied that they wanted the last biscuit.

Understand this: overtly stating your wants and needs in my version of middle class Britain is considered selfish, uncouth and downright rude....

Communication strategies take central stage in More Than Two, Franklin & Eve’s new book on practical polyamory, and rightly so. Whilst communication strategies are the subject of whole books, More Than Two explores some aspects which are the downfall of many relationships. Passive communication is one of them.

It’s 7 years now since our first quad relationship crumbled due to many factors, one of which being that I — a quintessentially British woman socialized in middle class etiquette — was unable to state my needs. I had a high tolerance for unacceptable behaviour. I was trained in it. So I inadvertently allowed the three members of my quad to cross my boundaries again and again; I didn’t assert myself, I couldn’t express my feelings and I allowed my grievances to grow and repressed them until they built up to such a fever pitch that no resolution was possible....

I was a passive communicator. Conversely my sisterwife was a direct communicator and yes, I considered her selfish, uncouth and rude at the time, just as I had been taught.

...Direct [communication] starts from the premise that if your partner wants something, she will ask for it. You need to resist the impulse to infer a judgment, desire or need that’s not explicitly stated. You need to assume that if your partner does not bring up an issue, she has no issue and is not just being polite. Conversely if she brings up an issue she’s not doing it to be confrontational or impolite, but to discuss it. [More Than Two]

The most distinct advantage of direct communication is that it forces you to practise your ‘no’:

When you are accustomed to using passive communication or unable to set boundaries or when you feel you don’t have the ability to say no to something, then it’s very hard for your partners to have confidence in your yes.

And the most distinct consequence of not being able to say no means that the relationship and your life becomes coercive. Non-consensual....

Techniques to Develop Assertive Communication

More Than Two covers a variety of skills and exercises you can use to learn assertive communication.

– Using declarative statements rather than leading questions: ‘I would like to go out tonight’ rather than ‘Would you like to go out tonight?’

– Using plain language in the active voice rather than the passive voice: ‘I need you to take out the garbage’ rather than ‘Taking care of this problem with the garbage was supposed to be your responsibility’

– ...Leave room for your partner to choose how to meet your needs: ‘I need to feel supported by you, rather than ‘I need you to do things with me you will never do with anyone else.’

– And be ok if the answer to your request is ‘no.’ (If you’re not okay with hearing a no, then you are demanding not asking)....

– Talk about the reasons why you want or need the things you want or need. It’s scary because it leaves us vulnerable and open to questioning (this is where compassion comes in).

– Be curious; set aside pre-judgments (and the intense feelings connected with them) and ask questions. Not barely veiled accusations; genuine requests for information.

– Talk about things that bother you whilst they are still small. Express what you want early and often....



Okay, so far all of these (and previous) rave reviews come from within the poly community. It will be interesting to see, once the book is out in the big wide world, what mainstream-media reviewers with no prior interest in the subject may say.

-----------------------------


● Wes Fenza wrote a rebuttal to the book's strong admonishments that rules (as opposed to stated boundaries) are inherently ineffective:


No rule can prevent someone who is determined from doing harm. However... there is good psychological research to suggest that the act of committing to follow a rule will actually make a person more motivated to follow it.


Wes, incidentally, identifies as a Relationship Anarchist, which in principle is the totally anti-rules stance.

Franklin was moved to post a response, and Wes did a followup essay.

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● Lastly, Badass McProblemsolver is back (or won't go away).

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August 10, 2014

"MMF," a play about poly breakup, opens in New York tonight


Theater buffs: a new play titled MMF opens this evening at New York's Kraine Theater, for the first of five performances through August 23rd. Does some poly theater person in NYC wanna go review it?

From Playbill:


David L. Kimple's MMF, New Play About a Polyamorous Relationship, Will Premiere in NYC

By Michael Gioia

David L. Kimple's MMF, a new play that explores a polyamorous relationship, will premiere at the 18th Annual NY International Fringe Festival Aug. 10-23 at Venue #10: The Kraine Theater.

Directed by Kimple, MMF stars Courtney Alana Ward, Michael Mizwicki and Andrew Rincón.

Poly triad in David Kimple's play MMF
Mike Mizwicki, Courtney Alana Ward, and Andrew
Rincón in David L. Kimple's 
MMF at FringeNYC.
Performances will be offered Aug. 10 at 6:45 PM, Aug. 12 at 3:45 PM, Aug. 17 at 4 PM, Aug. 22 at 8 PM and Aug. 23 at 3:30 PM.

Here is how it is billed: “When Dean, Jane and Michael's polyamorous relationship comes to an end, the trio is forced to deal with the consequences of love in a nontraditional relationship. MMF explores the realities of love, need, want and people who don't know the difference."

MMF, which has received readings from Gold Lame' Inc. (at The Barrow Group) and ArtEffects Theatre Company — as well as workshops directed by Giselle Ty in Cambridge, MA, and NYC — will be presented by Goldfish Memory Productions....

The Kraine Theater is located at 85 E. 4th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues). For tickets, visit FringeNYC.org. For more information, visit GoldfishMemoryProductions.com.


The article (July 25, 2014).

A brief recommendation at TheaterMania:


7 Shows You Should See at the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival

...2. MMF

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when you have to do it with more than one person. David L. Kimple's MMF (as in male-male-female) imagines the dissolution of Dean, Michael, and Jane's polyamorous relationship. With same-sex unions becoming positively unremarkable, throuples (committed relationships of three individuals) are just now peeking out of the closet, ready to scandalize your small-minded aunt in new and exciting ways. Go see this show so you have something interesting to talk about over Thanksgiving dinner this year.


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While we're on fiction: The new novel Polyamorous Love Song by Jacob Wren is not about polyamory, in case you were wondering. (A newspaper review.)

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On a different note: if Polyamory in the News goes down with a message from Google Blogger that this site is unavailable, write me right away at alan7388 (at) gmail.com. It's happened twice now, and I can bring it back up just by logging in to the Google Blogger editor and looking at it there. Anyone know what's going on? (And yes I have backups.)

—Alan

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