Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.



April 26, 2018

Another country heard from: Poly in Singapore


In buttoned-down, socially controlled Singapore, we've seen a few stirrings of a movement. This appeared in Cleo Singapore, a glossy women's mag ("Everything a twenty-something woman in Singapore wants or needs to know. ... celebrating everyone and everything that represents our motto, 'Our Life, Your Rules'.")


A Polyamorous Man In Singapore Tells Us About How He Sees Love

By Adora Wong

Ever wondered how some people can handle several intimate relationships at the same time? We got a polyamorous man in Singapore to tell us about how he sees love.

Most of us only date one person at any one time. Sure, we might have eyes for other people while in a relationship, but we refrain from acting on those feelings because, well, that’d be cheating.

Then there are those who have more than one partner. But here’s the thing: they’re not always cheaters. Sometimes, they’re polyamorous, and date more than one person at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

Polyamory is a kind of open relationship, and is the practice of being emotionally involved with more than one person at a time. This distinguishes it from another kind of open relationship, swinging, which allows sex outside the primary relationship, but not love.

Those in “poly relationships”, as they’re commonly known, tend to view their relationships in equal terms rather than assign labels like “primary” and “secondary”. Also, sex may be involved in a poly relationship, but that’s not always the case.

Even if you don’t know any polyamorists – or “ethical non-monogamists”, as they usually prefer to be known – you probably know a friend of a friend who is. Heck, if you use dating apps, you’ve probably come across quite a number of them.

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...Edward was in a monogamous relationship for nine years before it ended in divorce, and he now practices polyamory and dates several people at the same time. He has a “committed life partner” who also practices polyamory, and they’ve been together for three years.

Why did you start exploring polyamory?

Some time after my marriage ended, I started dating an ethical non-monogamist. She explained that every new romantic partner allowed her more possibilities of self-discovery. Plus, she felt that one person was not required to meet all her needs.

After some discussion, I agreed for our relationship to be non-monogamous. We lived together and shared finances for a year, and in that time, I had five other concurrent relationships.

It was during this period that I discovered that I was also a relationship anarchist. A relationship anarchist understands conventional social constructs of all relationships (platonic, sexual and romantic), but interacts with others according to their own mutual understanding of relationships. It’s a direct response to how society says that love and sex are what make a relationship “important”.

For many relationship anarchists, all kinds of relationships can become important when a mutual commitment is formed.

How do you tell new potential partners that you’re polyamorous?

I usually meet new people via dating apps or at a bar. I also meet them through work. If it seems like there’s a chance a new person and I may date, I will most likely have already revealed that I’m ethically non-monogamous.

For example, my OkCupid profile states that I’m seeing someone and that I’m a relationship anarchist. This helps to filter out my matches.

In any situation, if I exchange numbers with someone and it seems like we’re heading for a date, I’ll first discuss how I’m ethically non-monogamous. What’s more, if we’re already connected on social platforms such as Instagram, they’d have already seen photos of my life partner. I don’t try to hide information about her.

...I experience “compersion” a lot. It’s the feeling of joy when another is experiencing joy, particularly when seeing a partner take pleasure in another relationship. When my partners are having a good time, I feel happy for them.

How open are you with your life partner about your other relationships?

I discuss all relationships that are forming with her. I share with her about new friends I’ve made and if I’m attracted to someone new. I also discuss any stimulating conversations I’ve had, and let her know when there is someone I want to spend more time to get to know.

The same goes for my partners. They share a lot with me and we sometimes talk about the difficulties of the other relationships or interactions we have.

I’ve never seen relationships as barriers. Relationships should be freeing. Because when we’re in a relationship, it’s about sharing our own lives, not “owning” the other. ...

Is there a local polyamorous community?

There is a local ethical non-monogamist group and I’m a part of it. The community functions just like any other meet-up group of friends. We make time to come together and discuss relationship topics as we recognise how rare support and knowledge is.

There have been some monogamists that have attended our gatherings as they’re curious about ethical non-monogamy or about a topic we were discussing. These topics include jealousy, long-distance relationships and online dating. ...


The whole article (March 2018 print issue; online April 19). The magazine claims, "CLEO continues to be one of the strongest media brands in Singapore, reaching out to an audience of more than 300,000 through various 360-degree initiatives."

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April 25, 2018

"12 Questions People In Polyamorous Relationships Are Sick Of Hearing"


HuffPost, Yahoo News

Most articles about us in the mass media read like the outside looking in. We're starting to see more, though, with an inside looking out perspective. Here's one, up yesterday.

Along the way, it showcases some of our notable movers-&-shakers.


12 Questions People In Polyamorous Relationships Are Sick Of Hearing

No, it isn’t like cheating at all.

By Brittany Wong

People who practice polyamory understand the world’s curiosity: Loving more than one person at one time isn’t entirely conventional. Most people have a lot of questions about what it’s like.

Still, there are more tactful ways to learn about someone’s personal life, especially if you’re asking questions about what happens in the bedroom.

Below, polyamorous men and women share 12 questions they get asked all too often.


Michael, KamalaDevi, Roxanne
1. Isn’t that sort of like cheating?

“More than any other question, this one makes laugh because polyamory is actually the opposite of cheating. The only thing we have in common with cheaters is the capacity to love more than one person at a time, but by definition, polyamory is about informed consent with everyone involved. The fundamental premise of our lifestyle is honesty, communication and decidedly not sneaking around and lying to people you love!” ― KamalaDevi McClure, who’s been in an open marriage with her husband Michael for 16 years. McClure been with her girlfriend Roxanne for seven years.


Joe and Zaeli
2. How do you do it? I’m way too in love to do that.

“I’ve heard every version of this and despite my big heart, it always makes me want to punch someone in the face. The condescension and self-righteousness are almost more than I can break down, but consider this: Polyamory is not a compromise we make because we have lower standards; it’s a preference — some even consider it an orientation. Doing it right cultivates an intense depth of intimacy. Just like choosing to be exclusive, we’re just growing closer through different experiences. You may prefer cross-country skiing, but that doesn’t mean everyone who snowboards is settling.” ― Zaeli Kane, who runs the YouTube series The Commotion: A Divine (Romantic) Comedy with her partner Blake Wilson. She’s been with her husband Joe Spurr for 14 years and they have a daughter. Joe has a girlfriend named Ixi.


Tikva Wolf
3. Who’s your primary or favorite partner?

“Most polyamorous relationships aren’t made up of a hierarchy of ‘primary’ relationships and ‘secondary’ relationships. Many polyamorous folks, like myself, have deeply honest relationships with their loved ones that are based on what they actually want to share with each other, rather than following a script or a contract. For me, the most interesting part of polyamory isn’t the amount of partners I have or who’s the primary, but about how I approach partnership itself. Through polyamory, I am able to step outside the box of preconceived ideas about what relationships are ‘supposed to look like’ and relate more authentically with everyone around me.” ― Tikva Wolf, creator of the polyamory comic Kimchi Cuddles. Wolf has been with three partners for several years and has two children.


Michael, Yannick, Natalie
4. What happens if...?

“Questions that start like this are always a danger zone: ‘What would happen if your boyfriends started to hate each other?’ ‘What if someone wanted to move?’ ‘What if you want to go back to monogamy?’ ‘What if a unicorn burned down your house?’ Some people think that polyamory only leads to a disaster and want to force you to think of a horrible fail scenario. But in most cases, it’s not very realistic.

You also shouldn’t ask monogamous people: ‘What would happen if your partner cheated on you with your sister?’ Anything can happen, but it’s not a reason to stop loving your partners. If the disaster comes, we’ll work through it together.” ― Natalie Fink, who’s been with her boyfriend Yannick Gwarys for four years. She’s been with her other boyfriend Michael Flamm for two years.


Page and Justin
5. Don’t you get jealous of each other’s relationships?

“I did experience some extra jealousy when I was new to polyamory and adjusting to my partner dating other people, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Just like any other negative emotion (for example, fear or sadness), the goal isn’t to never feel jealousy; the goal is to deal with it well. Because of polyamory, I’ve gotten much better at coping with jealousy and realizing it’s not a big deal when it happens. And now that I’ve been polyamorous for a while, I actually experience far less jealousy than I did when I was monogamous.” ― Page Turner, creator of Poly.land, who’s been with her husband Justin for eight years. (Both have been dating other women for a few years.)


Dedeker with Alex and with Jase
6. Are you concerned about STIs?

“Yes, I am concerned about STIs to the same degree that any sexually active person should be concerned about STIs. Myself and each of my partners [get] tested regularly, and there are open channels of communication whenever a new sexual relationship begins. Studies have even [shown] that people in consensually non-monogamous relationships have fewer STIs and are less likely to spread STIs than someone who is cheating on their partner, for instance.

Not everyone does this, but I personally make the choice to use condoms for penetrative sex with all of my partners. I feel empowered by deciding to protect myself rather than choosing to have fully unprotected sex and then having to worry about whether or not my partners are using barriers with everyone else. Some people balk at this, but I would argue that using a condom doesn’t mean that your relationship with someone is less intimate or less serious. It’s just a piece of latex.” ― Dedeker Winston, creator of the blog and podcast Multiamory. Winston has been with her partner Jase for four and a half years and her partner Alex for two years.

7. How do you plan to settle down one day and have kids?

“There is a weird way these questions are asked to us. Instead of, ‘Do you plan to have kids or settle down?’ we are asked, ‘How do you plan to...’ as if we are different. People find our relationship so complicated, they need to know how having kids is even possible. Asking any couple if they are going to have kids can be a weird and personal question, but you just don’t ask someone ‘how’ they plan to. People assume we’re just running wild right now and while that’s partly true, we are also very dedicated to each other. There’s a lot of love between the three of us, and while having kids or settling down is not in our plan at this time, whatever we do, we will do together.” ― Jimmy, who’s been in a throuple with his partners ChachaVavoom (a pseudonym) for nine years and Summer for five years.

8. What does your family think?

“This is another one of those questions you just don’t walk up to a regular couple and ask. It’s so negative. ... Family will always have reservations and thoughts but at the end of the day, I think your family just wants what’s best for you. Our families are no different.” ― Summer, who’s been in a relationship with Jimmy and ChachaVavoom for five years.

9. Do you have orgies?

“The politically correct version is to inquire about our preferred label: Are we a V-triad or a throuple? This lingo only lightly disguises the real question, which is who sleeps with whom? It’s rude to put anyone on the spot about their sex life, so if we don’t bring it up or volunteer a specific term we want to identify with, just assume that isn’t something we want in your head when you think about us. ... There are plenty of normal getting-to-know-you questions you can ask before butting into our bedrooms!” ― Zaeli Kane

Josephine Kearns
10. Once you find the right person, you’ll settle down, right?

“This may be true for some people, but for lots of us, it’s not. A lot of polyamorous folks date multiple people at a time for decades (sometimes in fixed multi-person arrangements and sometimes more fluidly); others prefer to live alone long-term and keep all of their relationships more casual; many of us feel like the constraints of a monogamous relationship just couldn’t ever work with who they are. Assuming that someone is ‘going through a phase’ just because their relationship doesn’t match what society expects of them sends the message that their relationships aren’t real, or that they can’t be trusted to know what they actually want. Either way, it’s condescending and hurtful.” ― Josephine Kearns, the creator of the site Poly Chicago. Kearns has been single for the past year. Prior to that, she was in two concurrent long-term relationships.

11. What do you tell the kids?

“The truth? I know this is a radical concept, but we have an 11-year-old son and we have never lied to him. Not about the stork, the boogie man, or even Santa. Not all poly parents have the privilege of being this honest, but we raise our son with the same values of inclusion, transparency, love and freedom that we practice with all of our life partners.” ― KamalaDevi McClure

12. What if your partner falls in love with someone else?

“A lot of people assume that if one of my partners starts liking someone else, that must mean that they’ll start neglecting me. People often think that if a partner of mine is free to date whoever and however they like without any rules in place, they’ll choose to completely disregard my feelings. If my partner falls in love with someone else, of course we’ll talk about it. We’ll talk about how that might change time management or travel plans or date night scheduling. But outside of negotiating the logistics, a partner falling in love with someone else doesn’t automatically diminish their level of commitment toward me. Besides, monogamy doesn’t act as a safeguard against your partner becoming interested in someone else ― regardless of how many rules you may try to put in place to prevent it.” ― Dedeker Winston

RELATED COVERAGE:
10 Comics That Show What Polyamorous Love Is Really Like
Is An Open Relationship Right For You?
Dear Media: Polyamory Is Not All About Sex


Read the whole article (April 24, 2018). It's also reprinted on Yahoo News.

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Another country heard from: Poly in Hong Kong


Yes I know Hong Kong isn't a country, but it deserves to be. This appeared in the South China Morning Post, 115 years old and no longer a free press. Apparently this was a safe topic.


Inside Hong Kong’s secretive free-love scene: don’t call it swinging – this is polyamory, where sex is just one option

Lea and Judy are part of a small community that enjoys giving and receiving love with multiple partners. Despite polyamory not being all about sex, no one sees it crossing cultural barriers in Hong Kong any time soon.

Polyamory Hong Kong Facebook logo
...Hong Kong has a small but passionate scene that plays out in the “Polyamory Hong Kong” Facebook group, of which Lea, 46, is the administrator.

“It is about relationships that allow the other person, their partner, to experience everything that outside relationships have to offer,” she says. “Sometimes those are things not available within the primary relationship.”

There are certainly sexual connotations to polyamory, but there is also an emotional side to the lifestyle choice, says Lea, a senior corporate leader in the global apparel industry.

The Facebook group, which was set up in 2013 by another administrator, has just 45 followers. Many have already left Hong Kong and there are now fewer than 10 active members in the city. “It is a very Western lifestyle and contrary to Asian culture, so it wouldn’t be a local thing,” Lea says.

Lea insists that polyamory is no more unusual than any other lifestyle choice.

“Maybe someone craves touch and holding hands, kissing or just talking with someone who is experiencing the same day-to-day challenges in the work environment. Their primary partner may not be able to offer those things, but they want to allow that person to be fulfilled and experience everything they need and want intimately,” she says.

“They also want to stay together as life partners, and embrace everything they cherish and love about the primary relationship.”

Lea and her partner have been together for almost 15 years and have children. “We are best friends and life partners,” she says, adding that they are both involved in long-term relationships other than their own. Sometimes Lea and her partner experience awkward moments when they run into people they know while out on a date with another person, she says.

Lea says part of the attraction of her alternative lifestyle is that she has the chance to experience more intellectual conversation, romantic dinners out and exciting, intimate connections.

She also experiences the giddiness and excitement of being with someone new – the fun side of intimacy – and cites the thrill of having someone delightedly grabbing her hand.

Lea says she does not expect to see the polyamorous lifestyle crossing cultural barriers in Hong Kong any time soon. It will always appeal more to liberal-minded Western residents, she believes, because it does not conform to the conservative local culture.

Non-monogamous lifestyles are not exactly unheard of in Hong Kong, however. Concubinage – in which married men with the financial means provided for “minor wives”, preferably if the women could provide him with sons – was only banned by the British colonial government in 1971. Nevertheless, the practice could not necessarily be described as polyamory. The British banned concubinage because women other than the first wife did not enjoy legal rights and could be banished by their man if, for example, they failed to give birth to boys or talked too much.

Kowloon-based Judy, 37, a member of Lea’s group, says she has always been partial to polyamory. Judy, who works as a researcher in both Hong Kong and the Austrian capital, Vienna, has lived the lifestyle since 2008.

“I’ve always been like that in my mind. Basically I was just being true to myself,” she says of her decision. Judy adds that she had discussed the ideals of polyamory with a pen pal when she was younger, but at the time had not regarded it as a realistic choice.

...She describes those polyamorous people that she feels closely connected to, and sometimes has erotic encounters with, as “family”.

Whether her “family” consists of two men or two women makes no difference to Judy, and no distinction exists between friendships, relationships and love affairs.

...She denies that being polyamorous is any more complicated than being in a conventional relationship.

“If you do a normal relationship, don’t you communicate about your needs with your partner? And don’t you have to work on creating that basis for intimacy and build trust every day in a normal relationship?”

Judy believes the conventional “relationship escalator” is becoming a thing of the past. Today, unlike during her parents’ time, regular dating no longer automatically ends in marriage and children. “Doing normal” is complicated, she says.

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Dedeker Winston is a US relationship coach who wrote The Smart Girl’s Guide to Polyamory and hosts a podcast called “Multiamory”. She says that only 17 per cent of world cultures are strictly monogamous.

...Still, she says, monogamy has become a universal norm because it is part of a cultural narrative around relationships and love that has been largely promoted by films, TV programmes, books and other cultural mediums.

The influence of Christianity has undeniably been a key force in upholding the image of heterosexual monogamous marriage as the ideal personal relationship type in the West, Winston says. She adds that centuries of missionary work have imposed the concept on many non-Western, non-Christian cultures around the world.

...“I don’t know very much about the Hong Kong scene, but from what I’ve heard from friends who are more active in it, the fear of a backlash and stigmatisation drives many people to remain closeted about their relationships,” she says.


The whole article (April 8, 2018).

A brief version of the story appeared in The Inquirer in the Philippines: Hong Kong’s small polyamory community finds solace, support in social media (April 13).

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April 24, 2018

Another country heard from: Poly in New Zealand


Okay, we've heard from New Zealand before (and before and before and before), but not for a while. More recently,

● A TV news broadcast last week, on Three Now: Polyamory: How does dating multiple partners work? With video. (April 18, 2018)


To watch, click here (5½ minutes)

 
By Newshub staff

...At least 1000 people in New Zealand are in polyamorous relationships where the relationship could have three or more people involved.

There needs to be communication though; secretly sleeping with someone on the sly isn't polyamory - that's just straight up cheating.

Jeremy Corbett from Three's The Project took off his 'prude shoes' to talk to some polyamorous people about how it works.

"Most of polyamory is scheduling," said Adrian Renor, who is part of a triad relationship.

"It's a lot of self-reflection and work," added Gabbi Macclure who is also part of the relationship.

The pair are in a relationship with each other and there is a third person in the relationship too, Bernie. ...

Arelle Hugg currently has three partners in different cities and she says communication is a large part of keeping the relationships going.

"If they're starting to see another girl if they go on a date with another girl or even if they meet someone and they're attracted to them they let me know," she said.

Jealousy can be part of it like in a monogamous pairing, but Ms Hugg says it hasn't reared its head in her relationships. "I've done a lot of research and I do hear that jealousy comes up and I've had jealousy in the past, but I honestly haven't felt jealousy in a long time." ...


Alternative site to watch the segment.


● A long newspaper feature in NZ last September: Polyamory and the complicated lives of those with multiple lovers (Sept. 17, 2017)


By Lawrence Smith / STUFF

When polyamorous people tell you their way of life is not for the faint-hearted, they're not flipping kidding.

"Yes, we're all a bit nuts," *Samantha, 35, says of her own complicated but contented domestic life with a girlfriend who also has a boyfriend.

"We have some basic tenets that we live by. Don't be a dick is one of them. This means that if any of us chooses to engage in physical activity with a person outside the group, or decides to pursue a relationship outside the current structure, we do so with the greatest possible respect for everyone else and their feelings."

In New Zealand there are anywhere from 1000 active polyamorists to, well, who really knows? Attempts to define polyamory (literally "many loves", or consensual non-monogamy) as a social movement are laughed off by some polyamorists, but there is no question that the lifestyle is gaining prominence as people learn the name for their feelings.

Regular meet-ups take place in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin, and will re-start in Christchurch once a new co-ordinator is found. Poly hookups happen on Tinder and OkCupid while Kiwiburn, our version of the Burning Man festival, is known for being a poly hangout.

"The Kiwiburn festival is known as a popular gathering spot for those with polyamorous interests." (Andy Flint / Stuff)

Aucklander Bee River set up a closed Facebook page for Kiwi polyamorists three years ago that has 500 members and 250 people on the waiting list. She knows of another "secret" Facebook page for those who don't want to risk being identified.

"It's about cultivating meaningful connection, rather than being primarily sexual," she says of the lifestyle she discovered with relief four years ago after struggling to make monogamy work for her. "There are as many ways of being polyamorous as there are polyamorous people."

Consider Samantha's situation. From the Waikato, her circle includes her gender-fluid girlfriend *Ana, who also loves a muscular, bearded straight man named *Caleb, and his girlfriend *Sue.

Ana, a soil scientist, and Samantha, a teacher, live together with their two children. Two nights a week Caleb stays over. Samantha remains in the main house while the other two use the sleep-out.

The next day, Caleb returns to the home he shares with Sue, who used to live with Ana and Caleb in a love triad, but can no longer abide Ana's company. They had a stand-up argument at a cafe and haven't spoken since.

Now Sue insists on a strict schedule for Caleb's visits to Ana, and permission has to be sought for extra date nights. Meanwhile, although Samantha considers Caleb to be a good person, she can not bear to be physically near him, which is the way she feels about all adult males. ...

A cornerstone of polyamorous relationships, unsurprisingly, is communication. With so many people to consider, this lifestyle is not about lots of sex so much as lots of scheduling. It is important that each member of a relationship group is clear about expectations and gets as much time with their lovers as they want. And if someone else comes along, all parties need to know about it as soon as feelings have developed. ...

"If I meet someone I think is attractive, I can appreciate that openly and even share it without the guilt and negativity one might experience in a monogamous relationship," explains Samantha, who was once married to a man.

"People in monogamous relationships tend to feel entitled to their partner's time, body and feelings. Just because you're boinking someone, you don't own them."

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About 18 months ago Wellingtonian *Kim, 31, had a crisis. She loved her husband of eight years, she didn't want to leave him, but she was no longer fulfilled in their marriage. They were having "parent sex" and she was bored. She also felt guilty: they had two delightful children, a dog, and a house with an actual white picket fence. They were living the suburban dream, so what was her problem?

"When I started reading about polyamory I wondered if it might be the solution, so I brought it up with my husband. It wasn't something we jumped into, we talked about it for six months."

Nervously, they attended their first poly meet-up and were "blown away" when they were faced with a room full of perfectly ordinary people. Thus far the dating has been fairly ordinary too, for Kim at least.

"I have gone on so many dates and had so many duds, it's just ridiculous," she says. "It sucks, of course it does. But that's the good thing about poly, I can come home and we can laugh about it together."

Her husband has met "two fabulous ladies" and one has become his girlfriend. He spends five nights a week at home with Kim and the kids and two nights with his girlfriend. After kissing a string of damp cold frogs, Kim has just started seeing a poly man who is also married. ...

She says she is open to whatever the future may hold. "The thing with poly is there are no straight answers for anything. If [my husband] met someone he wanted to see more seriously than his girlfriend, what's to say we couldn't get a bigger house and all live together?

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

*Mia, 34, worked as a counsellor before deciding to stay home with children. She lives with her husband *Joe, their two children and her partner *Karl on Auckland's North Shore. Both men are heterosexual and relations between all parties are harmonious and happy, like a tiny commune.

"They hang out and catch up for beers as mates sometimes," says Mia of the two men in her life. "In terms of time, I spend my time where I want to spend my time but I tend to try to be fair to their needs."

She describes a number of distinct relationships within their partnership, each with its own dynamic. There's her and Joe; her and Karl; Karl and Joe; and her, Karl and Joe. "We hang out at home together, sometimes we'll go out for dinner. The supermarket shopping is left up to Joe, Karl tends to help with the housework and we all look after the kids."

Each partner fulfills different needs for Mia, a feature of polyamory that is often cited as an advantage.

"Joe is very introverted but has the heart and soul of a philosopher. He is intelligent and the conversations we have are out of this world. He is my chosen life partner, the one I love so deeply that life without him just would not be the same.

"Karl is a musician and very extroverted. He and I go out and explore festivals and have very similar taste in comedy and music. He is a soul mate."

WHAT WILL YOUR MOTHER THINK?

Unfortunately, you can't live in your polyamorous love bubble. There are people outside the relationship who must be told, and they don't always like it. ...

QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS AND QUANDARIES

Things polyamorists get tired of hearing: When are you going to settle down? Oh, you just haven't met the right person yet. This is a phase. I don't know how you do it – I struggle to keep one partner happy! What do you tell the children?

That last one is especially problematic. Polyamorists say their young children don't notice or care that there is anything unusual about their family makeup, which is arguably healthier than a blended family attempting to rebuild itself after an acrimonious divorce. But outsiders do care about the morality of polyamory and its perceived impact.

"People are pretty judgy," Samantha acknowledges. "I think I manage okay because I'm not a very peopley person. For a whole bunch of reasons, I don't really fit in with the mums at the school gate, so I don't really have the challenge of talking to them…

"No-one has ever been rude about my life to my face but I can't speak for what goes on once I've left, of course. When I do talk about it, people tend to be incredulous."...

'POLYAMORY SAVED MY MARRIAGE'

*Ken has been polyamorous for the past three years, since *Jane, his wife of 20 years, came out as bisexual and told him she wanted to date other women. He says his adult children are aware of their parents' lifestyle and are okay with it.

"We answer their questions, as a result they are better informed than most," says the semi-retired Wellingtonian, who is in his early 50s. "The young these days have more open minds. The eldest was very pleased we stuck together instead of splitting up.

"It was a messy time in our marriage, we both had affairs, it all came out," he says. "I just about had a nervous breakdown. I was afraid of losing Jane to another woman. I believed incorrectly that she had become a lesbian and what could I possibly do about that?

"We both loved each other and wanted to remain together. So we just clung on and worked through it together."

Ken's girlfriend is married to a man who also sees other people. Ken meets her once a week and every couple of months they go away for the weekend. His wife, meanwhile, is struggling to find a woman who wants to date a married woman.

"In poly the stars have to line up," Ken says. "Being poly is rare. Being a practicing bisexual person is also sort of rare. Jane enjoys swinging, so she gets her girl fix doing that."

HEARTS STILL GET BROKEN

For all its elastic inclusiveness, its ability to stretch to meet the needs of multiple people with diverse backgrounds and expectations, polyamory can't protect you from a broken heart.

"Sometimes two people being in love is not enough," notes Bee River, 35, who lives with the man she calls her "anchor partner" and their 11-month-old baby. Six months ago another lover walked out on her, which was a shattering experience.

"Breakups still hurt, even though there are other people in the relationship," she says. "There's still an ending, they have gone, there's stuff that still needs to be acknowledged."

River's partner also has an older male partner, who has taken on the role of "fairy wise father" to the baby, and can be called on for support. His involvement in her life is an example of how polyamory works at its best, says River.

"The care we have for each other, it's rare and incredibly beautiful. It's so heartening, the incredible amount of support."



● And earlier, on Shorthand Social ("stories that are meant to be shared"): Polyamory: The Art of Loving More, also with video (Oct. 25, 2016):


The polyamory community have been without a voice for too long – these are their stories

By Rhianna Osborne

...In order to understand the intricacies of polyamorous relationships, this piece focuses on a range of people both from the polyamory community, as well as those with an outsider's perspective, to gain a more in-depth understanding of what life is like being in a polyamorous relationship. ...

Allistair Smith, 27: "I became introduced to the idea of dating multiple people through some of my friends posting things up on Facebook; two of them are in a polyamorous relationship that I know from high school and one of them was just a friend who is really interested in different kinds of relationships. So if it wasn't for the internet or social media, I probably wouldn’t have found out about it." James recently came out of quite an intense monogamous relationship and once that was over he decided he would only be interested in open relationships from then on. “I became involved with it before the word polyamory came about so I was reading up about it and I found myself experimenting more with this different kind of relationship." ...

There is a website called NZ Poly Dating that is helping New Zealanders become part of a community, and to try and make the practice of polyamory more normalised:



...Mandy and Michael Taylor have practiced polyamory for over three years now; they are married and have three kids between them. They said it all started with both of them becoming interested in swinging. "We weren't really thinking too much about polyamory in those early stages, but the whole swinging thing lasted about a month before we ended up in a polyamorous situation. We went to a party and met another couple and it happened without us really realising it." ...

Michael and Mandy were in a quad relationship with the other couple for six months until they moved house and found that it made sense financially to try out a living arrangement with them. “Overall, it worked out well but the fundamental problem with that situation and why it didn’t continue was the fact that the connection that Michael and the other women had was quite strong, but the connection that I had with the other man was not very strong at all.” The Taylors found that they really enjoyed the community feel of the arrangement and said it really worked well with having kids in the house, “it’s one thing to have two adults and kids in a house, but it’s a totally different scenario when you have another adult there or another two adults. It changed the whole dynamic of the household and it had a nice vibe to it. It was like having friends that live with you and it works.”

Since their initial encounter with polyamory, they have become much more open about it and comfortable with it, and are now each dating multiple people. ...

... They initially struggled because they had no connection at all with the polyamory community in Auckland and had no idea it even existed; "We didn't really know where to look for reading material and that kind of thing, but there isn’t a huge amount of information about it in New Zealand." They eventually came across the Polyamory NZ group on Facebook, which provided support and information from like-minded individuals that made them feel comforted and accepted. The group has over 300 members [now 750] and provides a safe haven for all kinds of people to join and to discuss and engage in polyamorous activities.

The administrator of the group, Harrison Fraser, 26, said he feels very passionate about the polyamory community. “For me, I’ve known about polyamory longer than I’ve practiced it; I’ve known about it for at least five or six years through dating books and things like that.” ... At present Harrison has two partners, but also other casual partners that he sees every now and then. ... “Sophie I would identify as my primary and that’s because we have been together for so long and our connection stems so far from the past, and we have been through a lot, but the definition of ‘primary’ is different for everyone,” Harrison said.

...Although it is small and largely unheard of at present, the polyamory community is growing and they are determined to have a voice.


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April 23, 2018

Aaand, more happy triad goodness in tabloids


Nope, they can't get enough. The latest from Barcroft TV, as treated in the UK's Sun:


Jamie, Joey, Crystal, and son at home in Cecil, Arkansas


Polyamorous couple talk love, jealousy and the challenges of living in three-way relationship

Joey and Crystal Triplett had been married for 12 years when she fell for another woman

By Guy Birchall

A POLYAMOUROUS couple have revealed what life is like living as a family — with their girlfriend.

When part-time police officer Joey Triplett’s wife Crystal told him that she had fallen for a younger woman, he gave his blessing to their relationship.

But that move set in motion a chain of events that led to the three of them living together in a polyamorous “triad”.

Joey, 37, and Crystal, 35, met in 2001 and married in 2004, with their son Jamison arriving five years later.

“She was over here at our house with us every weekend, and as we got to know each other more, we just developed a romantic liking for each other."

Joey added: “When Crystal finally came to me and told me that she had feelings for Jamie, I kind of already knew.

"A lot of people think that Crystal and I had a rocky relationship and that’s why we brought someone else into the relationship but that’s not the case at all.

"We didn't even know there was a word for this, polyamory wasn’t a thing that we had ever heard about or talked of.

“I knew she was bisexual when we got together, and I gave them my blessing completely when it came to forming the relationship.

...Within months, she had moved into the family’s home in Cecil, Arkansas, as Crystal’s girlfriend.

But it wasn’t long before feelings started to develop between Joey and Jamie.

Now the family all live together along with Joey and Crystal's son Jamison in Cecil, Arkansas

Joey said: "We spent so much time together, two attractive people hanging out, it was kind of inevitable.

...Four years on, the car-obsessed trio live and love together in what they call a “polyamorous and polyfidelis [sic] closed triad”, meaning they are all faithful to one another, and they say they have no plans to add anyone else to their relationship.

Jamison, eight, says 'It's pretty cool having two mums'.

The threesome raise son Jamison as a family unit, and stress that all three parents have an equal say in the parenting process, with Jamie insisting she would “do anything in the world” for him. ...


Read on (April 23, 2018). There's a nice 8-minute video of them at the start of the page. The story is  also in The Irish Sun, the Daily Star, and the Daily Mail.

It's only the latest. Nine more videos of polyamorous families from Barcroft Media, most of them posted within the last year.

Wanna get on the happy-poly tabloid train? Here's the Barcroft Media link, and obviously you don't have to be a Brit. I bet they pay well. Just be reeeal careful — and first step back and take a hard look at yourselves, dispassionately from the outside, as strangers would. If there's anything off about you, the camera never blinks and the tabs could exploit it to the hilt. Especially in the US; my impression is they're nastier here than in the UK.

And of course, you're gonna be totally out.

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April 18, 2018

Vogue UK: "Love All: The Art Of Polyamory"


In the British edition of Vogue, April 2018 issue (both print and online), comes a long, 2,500-word rumination that's getting some international notice. A few excerpts:


Love All: The Art Of Polyamory

As polyamory enters the mainstream, could a relationship revolution be under way? Rowan Pelling investigates the art of loving – and sleeping with – more than one person.

By Rowan Pelling

One bright spring day last year I was idly browsing Facebook when my friend Dr Kate Devlin (a lecturer in artificial intelligence at Goldsmiths) updated her status from “single” to “in an open relationship”. Since I’m 49 and live in uptight, windswept Cambridge [UK], rather than a sex-positive community in San Diego, this was a social-media first for me. It seemed clear the polyamory movement in Britain had finally achieved critical mass. There had been plenty of portents. ...

...For me, the significant thing about my friend Kate Devlin’s post was that it marked the moment when I first witnessed a bunch of well-heeled professionals all nod and say, “Good for you!”, rather than falling silent or expressing surprise. I sent her a message offering congratulations and suggesting polyamory would make a great article for my magazine The Amorist, which explores passion and sexuality. She replied, “I’m already halfway through.” The finished piece caused a bit of a stir, and a version was reprinted in The Times. ["I have other men. He has other women. We’re both happy."]  ...She concluded, “I am content though. Happy, definitely, in a way that I couldn’t be if I were with just one person. I am fascinated by people and delight in learning more about each one… I know polyamory is not for everyone. There are degrees of it that are not for me. I’m tentatively feeling my way blindly because the familiar social structures aren’t in place, but it’s OK. It’s OK. I remind myself that it’s OK. For every pang of insecurity I have an equal and opposite panic about being trapped. Then my heart lifts as I remember: I’m not."

...The modern polyamorist has a host of experts and guidelines to turn to, should they want to be guided. Consensual non-monogamy, 21st-century style, is about parallel loving relationships, rather than swingers’ parties and dogging. The Ethical Slut has been supplemented by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert’s More Than Two, which lays out ways to maintain good etiquette with all partners. Meanwhile, those with more anthropological leanings might prefer Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha’s Sex at Dawn, which makes a convincing case that the human ape – our inner bonobo – is not, at its core, a monogamous creature, and that women are just as likely to relish multiple partners as men. There are also numerous websites giving advice, although it basically comes down to ruthless honesty, impeccable empathy, good communication between all parties, respect for preset boundaries and not making any of your lovers feel peripheral. Everyone cautions against men (it is usually men, I’m afraid) who declare themselves “polyamorous” when what they really mean is commitment-phobic. ...

Proper polyamory involves a lot of fiercely honest negotiations and tenderness for all concerned. ... One difference between new-style polyamory and old-style couples who have “an arrangement” is that the possibility of side arrangements is often discussed from the beginning of a relationship. Emily Witt’s recent book Future Sex has a riveting chapter tracking polyamory among young tech entrepreneurs in California’s Silicon Valley, where the practice is common. In Britain, I’ve observed a similar phenomenon among Shoreditch techies. When you’re at the forefront of virtual reality and know sex robots are in development, you’re hardly going to find consensual non-monogamy outlandish. Stephanie Alys of Mystery Vibe, a London-based startup specialising in teledildonics (app-controlled sex toys) confirms this. ...

A couple of years ago I met the neuroscientist and sex therapist Dr Nan Wise at her office at Rutgers University in New Jersey, who turned out to be something of a spokeswoman for the poly movement in America. [That must have been at least 10 years ago. –Ed.]  Wise pointed out that you have to be the sort of person who embraces emotional complexity – who’s hungry to give a lot of love, as well as to receive it – to deal with the complexities that consensual non-monogamy throws up.

...It often seems to me that polyamory is a better solution for those couples who have navigated and exhausted every aspect of conventional fidelity, rather than a Tinder-reared generation who are unnerved by the discipline required for exclusivity. If you have managed to love one person well across decades, and perhaps children, too, you’re far more likely to be generous and understanding in your love for another. By then you will know from long experience that the heart’s capacity is not finite, and its terrain is not bounded by rules.


Read the whole article (online April 14, 2018). It's not in the American edition.

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April 17, 2018

More on Mary Crumpton and her now world-famous triad


Last week Mary Crumpton, her triad partners Tim and John, and their extended romantic network in northern England received amazingly positive worldwide publicity in tabloid media, after Mary gave an interview to her local newspaper to "help people understand polyamory better."

She spoke to the Manchester Evening News two months ago. The paper didn't use the interview at the time, but then they finally printed it on April 10th after she announced that she's standing for Manchester city council as the Green Party candidate for her ward. And then, the story grew wings.


The Sun's version. Posted Crumpton, "Relieved they did a reasonably good piece even if there are some misquotes and inaccuracies. Could have been much worse."

"Mrs Crumpet," the tabloid Sun called her. To me that invokes cozy, homey English traditionalness, playing off how ordinary she makes their poly life sound.

Now, a week later, the UK's Daily Mail returns to this proven well of clicks with a long followup to its first article. However, much of the followup is a word-for-word reissue of the story the Mail published last week.


Woman with a husband, live-in fiancee and two boyfriends has been inundated with rude offers from men wanting to become number five after she revealed her polyamorous lifestyle

By Mark Duell for MailOnline

...The therapist, who is standing in her local elections as a Green Party councillor, has spoken publicly to allow others to learn more about those in multiple relationships.

...Since speaking out Mrs Crumpton has been left in tears by hundreds of supportive messages from people praising her for talking openly about her unusual lifestyle.

But she added that she has also faced a plethora of abusive messages, with some people sending her private messages saying: 'You should kill yourself'.

Mrs Crumpton admitted there have also been 'a few guys sending me pictures of their penis, saying 'Do you want me to be number five?'

But she said the abuse 'doesn't matter', and had been outweighed by the positive comments - with some people approaching her in the street to give her a high five.

Mrs Crumpton is standing as a Green Party councillor in the local elections next month, and admitted the exposure from the interview could help her attract votes.

But she told how the interview actually was carried out two months ago, before she had decided to stand for the council which is 'almost 100 per cent Labour'.

She has sided with the Green Party, which passed a motion at its autumn 2017 conference, officially recognising the validity of polyamorous relationships.

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

...She pointed out her concerns over being in a polyamorous relationship when she has to write a will or be asked for a single next of kin in hospital.

Mrs Crumpton added: 'It's not yet a protected characteristic, but somebody, your employer, could sack you if they found you were in multiple relationships.'

She said she used to be a teacher in a Catholic school, and could have been sacked if she was in a polyamorous relationship while there.

And she now wants a change in the law 'so that nobody will fear being discriminated against for their polyamorous lifestyle'.

She is also pushing for improvements in social housing and an increase in policing levels on the street, as she stands for the elections on May 3.

Asked how many people practice polyamory in Britain, she said: 'It's a lot more than you would think. There are polyamorous social groups all across the country.'

Mrs Crumpton said there are 'hundreds of people at conventions', and 'a lot of people go to a Facebook group but only if it's really locked down'.

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

'I don't have children, and have no desire to have children. I see no problem with bringing children into a polyamorous set-up though, because I have seen co-parenting work really well for other polyamorous groups. It is not something we plan though.

'Mostly people have been great. They had lots of questions about it, and some family members needed reassurance that we were all happy and no-one was getting hurt. I find that I have a huge capacity for romantic love.

'I just naturally fall in love with more than one person at a time. So to settle down with just one person for the rest of my life just doesn't feel natural to me.

'People sometimes ask me if it means that I love my husband, or any of my partners less. And I say no. Perhaps it is a bit like how we love our children - when a parent has a second or third child, it doesn't mean that they love their first child any the less.

'I think that romantic love is unlimited too. Time is limited of course. But I do not believe that love is. It certainly isn't for me.

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

'We all go out together. For example all going out for drinks for my birthday or to social gatherings and events organised by friends or trips to the cinema or whatever. Tim, John and I go down to London to see my family the three of us. And my sister's children refer to us as 'Auntie Mary, Uncle Tim and Uncle John'.

'People have the idea that polyamory is all about sex which isn't the case. I don't do one night-stands. I generally wait a month or so at least before becoming sexual with anyone I start dating. I suppose in that sense I am old-fashioned.

'My relationships themselves vary in how sexual they are - one of them being more platonic with not much more than cuddling and kissing.

'I suppose that, for me, is another good thing about polyamory - each relationship can find its own level in terms of sex and with other things too. And there is no pressure on one relationship to tick all the boxes, so to speak.'

...A Manchester Green Party spokesman said: 'We are humbled and proud of our council candidate for Chorlton, Mary Crumpton, for openly discussing a topic that many people would fear due to potential controversy. ...


Read the whole article (April 13, 2018).


Embracing the name. (Facebook)
Mary posts on Facebook, "It amuses me that the Mail headline focussed on my throw away comments about getting rude offers. Rather than focussing on all the messages I have had from people thanking me for speaking out about polyamorous relationships."

As for commenters' accusations that she's just seeking publicity for her city council candidacy, she posted: "[I] did the interview in February long before I agreed to stand for the Greens. The M.E.N. [Manchester Evening News] just took a while to publish. Did it to help increase the visibility of polyamory. In the hopes that others in similar situations will feel less like they have to hide it. And also in the hopes that people in polyamorous relationships might one day get the same rights as people in monogamous relationships."

● She just did a BBC TV interview (viewable only in the UK) "in which I explain, amongst other things, why I spoke to the media about our private life". (Her part starts at 51:18.  Victoria Derbyshire show, BBC2, April 16, 2018.)

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April 15, 2018

The definition of "polyamory," and more media getting it right


My last post, about the Independent article "Straight men need to stop using polyamory as an excuse to manipulate women into casual dating" and others like it, stirred up a swarm of reactions on Facebook and Reddit pro and con.

Some people told colorful tales of sleazebags who had no interest in honest loving relationships using "poly" bafflegab on women. One told of visiting a bar where a pickup-artist class exercise was in progress, with an obvious row of nervous males approaching, one by one when it was their turn, each incoming unaccompanied woman and trying to impress her with hip-sounding polyamory buzztalk. Other readers described offenders against the word who were more clueness than scuzzy.

And there some outraged butt-hurts, who defended their right to use the word however they want regardless of what other people think it means, and if women are going to be so anti-male about it they're nasty SJWs, so there.

As the photo caption at the top of the article said: "If men have no interest in a serious relationship, and are looking to casually date multiple people, that is absolutely fair and their choice, but that is not polyamory." Which is multiple loving relationships (poly-amory, right?), which means (per the word's inventor, the Oxford English Dictionary, and all the informal online dictionaries the author found) "close emotional relationships" and "with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned."

So it's valuable to have more media coverage like the following, which appeared a few days ago in Canada's very mainstream CBC News, Newfoundland edition:


Melanie Lynch and Alex Wilkie are a polyamorous couple.

For these young romantics, 3 (or more) is the perfect company

Group offers support for people in or seeking polyamorous and non-monogamous relationships

CBC News

With big smiles and youthful faces, Melanie Lynch and Alex Wilkie look like an average happy couple on social media, head over heels in love.

While the smiles are real and the love is genuine, this couple does not have your average relationship.

They are polyamorous — meaning that while they live together, they also date other people.

"No one is cheating here," Lynch said. "Everyone is on the same page, there's good communication constantly. Partners are always talking."


The couple is part of a support group, started on Facebook, to help guide people who are either in a polyamorous or non-monogamous relationship, or who are interested in the lifestyle.

It's a mystery to the common person, Wilkie said, and something that draws a lot of curiosity.

"I think that's why we have a support group in the first place," said Lynch. "There's a big stigma against what we are doing."

Lynch and Wilkie entered into the relationship with the goal of being polyamorous. ...

..."You have to talk about a lot of hypothetical situations that you normally wouldn't have to think about," Wilkie said. "Like, if you're going on a date with somebody, is it OK if you went back to your apartment after?"

"We also have an excellent calendar together," Lynch laughed. "We're good at scheduling."

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

Jeff Anstey, another member of the support group, said his relationship works a little bit differently.

His partner is monogamous, but Anstey has dated other people throughout the course of the eight-year relationship.

"When we met, we were both pretty young," he said, noting they began a monogamous relationship by default. "That's kind of the way our culture is. People are taught from a young age those types of expectations, I guess, and it's kind of implicit."

But after three years together, they began talking about feelings they were having. At first they discussed a typical open relationship — seeking other sexual partners without a strong emotional connection.

Throughout their conversations, Anstey realized polyamory — something with more of an emotional connection — was more along the lines of what he was searching for.

He said his partner understands and respects his feelings, but doesn't feel the same way.

Even though his partner does not date other people, Anstey said that doesn't make him any less committed.

"Most people associate commitment with an exclusive sort of connection," he said.

"I'm very committed to my partner. We've been together for a long time … But that doesn't make feelings go away. That doesn't make, you know, other parts of who I am disappear." ...

...Lynch and Wilkie consider themselves "nesting partners," meaning they live together and intend to stay together but have other relationships, too.

"My other partner, I would refer to him as a satellite partner," Lynch said. "Someone who kind of comes in and out of my life in a different sense than Alex does."

Then there are situations where all partners are considered equals — these relationships commonly happen in groups of threes called triads.

..."Most people when you talk to them are genuinely curious," Wilkie said. "And they have a lot of questions, which is nice."


Read the whole article (April 10).


● Here's the CBC radio version: "On The Go" with Ted Blades, When One Partner's Not Enough"Ted talks with three members of NL's polyamory and non-monogamous community" (18:12).

Writes Jef Anstey, one of the people interviewed, "This is the radio interview which the article was quoting from! It goes much more into depth; the article just snagged a few snippets."


● Elsewhere, appearing in the weekly Minneapolis City Pages:



Meet the Minnesotans finding love through polyamory

By Erica Rivera

Andy is in a relationship. Make that several.

Over the past three years, the 31-year-old divorced mother with a ballerina’s physique, septum piercing, and “R-E-A-D M-O-R-E” inked on her knuckles has had three male partners — and subsequent heartbreaks.

She also dates a young married couple and occasionally sleeps with another married couple. Once, both married couples and Andy went camping together, children in tow.

...MN Poly, a St. Paul-based meetup group, boasts more than 1,200 members.

...No two non-monogamous arrangements are exactly alike. People seek additional partners not just for sex but for affection, companionship, love, co-parenting, and socializing. These configurations require ongoing negotiations about appropriate partners, parameters of sex and dating, STD protection, and birth control.

Even the language non-monogamists use is carefully curated. Non-monogamy is an umbrella term; beneath it are myriad variations on the theme. Polyamory involves loving more than one person, with all the inherent emotional involvement and time investment. Sometimes polyamorous practitioners identify one partner as “primary,” creating a hierarchy to prioritize their many relationships.

[Other] non-monogamy subtypes [include]open marriage, [which] allows one or both spouses to have sex with other people, often in a friends-with-benefits-style arrangement. Cuckolding is a fetish, one in which a husband takes pleasure in his wife sleeping with other men; voyeurism is often involved. Swinging is a limited-time opportunity for couples to have sex with other people; post-coital contact is discouraged. (Among non-monogamists, there’s a joke that goes: “Swingers have sex; polyamorous people have conversations.”) As for polygamy? It’s the black sheep of the non-monogamy family, weighted with religious, consent, and power structure issues.

...“I keep dating these people that have never really heard of, or tried, or read any poly literature,” Andy laments. “I have to coach, educate, counsel, and date them.”

In Andy’s experience, men will often present as single when in fact they’re still coupled, however tenuously. She says some men are willing to try non-monogamy for the first time but can’t hack the honesty required for the arrangement to work.

While there have been several failures on the boyfriend front, Andy is happily dating a married couple, the wife a fashionable bookworm, the husband a beer enthusiast. She sees the couple weekly and speaks to them daily.

“I fall in love with them more when I see them together because I watch how much they love each other and well they run their lives together,” Andy says. “They counsel me. They’re the emotional, strong, foundational support in my life.”

...Karen* and Jim* are a couple who share a suburban home with Karen’s bisexual partner Rob*, where all three parent four teenagers together. Karen and Jim didn’t plan on having a non-monogamous marriage per se, though Karen often joked that it would be nice to have a wife around to help with the child-rearing and housework.

Fate introduced the couple to Rob....

...“It’s not a fear of commitment. It’s commitment, plus one,” [Karen] says. “Jim and I spent 20 years together monogamously and this is not a plug to fill a problem. This is something that the parts are greater than the whole and it would be sad to not take advantage of this opportunity for everybody’s life to be fuller, richer, better.”

Sex is a part of, but not the epicenter, of their arrangement. “It’s not as racy a story as all that. It’s about driving kids to practice or who’s going to be home any given night of the week,” Karen says. “We don’t have specific designated anything. It’s catch-as-catch-can, but we try to make sure that there’s a balance and that nobody’s getting nothing.” ...


The whole, very long article (February 28, 2017).

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