January 23, 2011
Since it came up yesterday, I thought I’d post our current rules for the world to see. Oh, and some of our rules are actually requests. Not ‘you have to X’, but ‘I’d appreciate it if you’d X’. As you’ll see:
* Casual sex is permissible. Use a condom, have the sex talk, and do whatever else you think prudent to keep things as safe as humanely possible.
* If you plan on entering into a long term relationship with someone, you have to introduce them to the SO, preferably before things get sexual.
* If you plan on entering into a long term relationship, you and the new partner must get tested for everything before sex happens. (Unless the relationship started with casual sex. See above. In that case, you should both get tested ASAP.)
* Always use a condom, even with a long term SO. If the relationship becomes primary or otherwise Very Important, this can be negotiated.
* Respect my space. If either of us brings a partner home, be respectful of the SO and their personal space (this is less of an issue now that we have separate bedrooms and I don’t have to be worried about being kicked out of my own room.)
* If you have a problem, TALK ABOUT IT.
I think that’s basically it… getting tested is the big one, and being careful if you want to have casual sex (neither of us is casual sex people, but we left it open just in case). Any rules you agree or disagree with, or would add? Please share!
January 22, 2011
The third chapter is about self-examination and determining what kind of poly is right for you. You have to look really deep down inside yourself to figure it out, and answer some sometimes complex or confusing questions for yourself, and she gives you plenty of tools and the questions to ask to get you there. One thing she said did not resonate, however, and that was as discussed earlier on this blog: she mentions that it is basically the kiss of death to try to make a relationship work between a poly person and a monogamous person. As I have said and commenters have proven, that is just not true… but it does take a very special kind of mono person to get there.
For Michael and I, the questions came as the basis for poly for us, rather than to try to align ourselves once we had already slipped into a poly lifestyle. The rules were laid out before our first encounter, gone over many times and polished to remove the snags and conflicts. We wanted things to go well, and we had an idea of how hard it COULD be before we jumped in. For others who jump into poly without planning ahead, the transition can be that much more rocky.
January 12, 2011
One of my commenters runs a blog that deals a lot with being monogamous in a polyamorous relationship. So how does that work? Sometimes, all you want is one person – your partner – which is fine. Assuming that both partners feel that way, you have a monogamous relationship. Sometimes one or both partners feel differently, and you get either cheating or poly. But what happens when one partner is honest about wanting or needing other relationships (basically requesting poly) and the other is very adamant that they don’t want or need any outside relationships?
A few things can happen, actually. The couple can become poly, perhaps unhappily in the part of one partner, who may feel coerced. They may stay mono and have bad feelings on the other partner’s part, they may break up over the strain… or they may come up with an interesting compromise. You be poly. I’m not.
So does that work? For some people, it can and does. After all, being monogamous isn’t necessarily about needing your partner all to yourself (we share with family, friends, and co-workers every day!) but about wanting to give your undivided love and attention to your partner. As long as you are getting enough love and attention back, do you have the be the only person getting those things? For some people, the answer is ‘no’. And those are the monos who love a poly person.
The problem with this arrangement is mostly with other people. Monogamous people pity the mono person dating a poly. After all, they’re being cheated on and they don’t care! Even many poly people don’t “get it”, which can leave that monogamous person feeling pretty alone. I’m glad Sage at Polyamorous People is writing for them. Check her out in my blogroll.
January 11, 2011
I’m still reading Love in Abundance by Kathy Labriola, and in chapter 2 she describes some different kinds of poly relationships, but something she doesn’t quite make clear, at least to me, is how fluid these relationships might be. I think knowing that is important for newbies, who might see a poly configuration they like, try it on, and feel that they are stuck with it forever.
For example, one configuration she mentions is the primary/secondary model, to which my husband and I subscribe. She puts the limitations of being a secondary a bit more rigidly than we would (describing them as basically having no say in anything, wereas we do/would try to include the input and feelings of our other partners into decisions).
Michael and I do diverge from the cookie cutter primary/secondary model in our attitudes, however. While all relationships must start off as secondary and are likely to remain that way, we are open to the idea of a partner eventually becoming a co-primary. This would be a long eventually, but it is not out of the question, and our primary/secondary model is thus not rigidly set.
I felt like her descriptions of primary/secondary relationships focused too much on casual relationships and casual sex, but perhaps that is a fixation of mine since I am not a huge fan of casual sex, myself. Still, she has done a great job so far of defining some of the most common models, even if she didn’t really say how much the lines between them can blur.
January 5, 2011
A few months ago, I was asked to review a new book called Love in Abundance by Kathy Labriola. It’s a counselor’s take on polyamory, and I was excited to read it. Unfortunately, life steamrolled right over me around the time I planned to read it, and it has been sitting on my kitchen counter glaring at me for way too long.
Since I have been sort of default in my duties, there, I decided that instead of one quick review, I’ll do a small series of reviews based on my thoughts AS I read the book. And the first one I have regarding this book is that Kathy has done her homework. I was both amazed and pleased to see that right there in the introduction she mentions an orientation of poly that does not get a lot of attention: that person or couple who identifies as polyamorous, but who is not currently dating more than one person. As she so appropriately mentions, the trust and freedom implicit in the poly status can be just as satisfying for that kind of person as another relationship. In other words, I may not have met the right person for a second relationship YET, but I’m perfectly happy because when I know I meet them, I can pursue them as I please.
A standing ovation, please, for what is starting out a super-promising book from the very, very beginning.
I also encourage anyone out there reading to buy their own copy and read along with me. Let’s have our very own little book club, and we can discuss as we read. If you’re interested, join in with a comment or two. Otherwise, stay tuned. I have officially moved this book to the TOP of my reading list starting today.