Do you have Valentine’s Day plans for tomorrow with your sweetheart? Or maybe with two, three or four sweethearts? The Bay Area has the largest polyamorist community in the country, and it’s growing. Polyamory encompasses a variety of consensual, non-monogomous relationships, from a couple who occasionally sees other people to a group of seven all living together in a group relationship. We talk with a panel of polyamorists about the how and why of their relationships.

Beyond Monogamy 13 February,2015forum

Polly Superstar Whittaker, author of the memoir "Polly: Sex Culture Revolutionary" and founder of the San Francisco sex positive communities Mission Control and Kinky Salon
William Winters, non-monogamous community organizer
Pepper Mint, member of a polyamorous relationship for 12 years
Marcia Baczynski, open relationship coach and author of an e-book on becoming non-monogamous, "Four Mistakes Couples Make When Opening UP and How to Avoid Them"

  • Mark SF

    Doesn’t it take a lot of time? How do you find the time?

    • pepomint

      Hi Mark – Pepper from the show here.

      Time ends up being a big deal. If you’ve only got two relationships, then it is totally doable without much life modification. But if you’re seeing a number of people, like I am, you have to adopt some strategies:

      1) Often being in social spaces or at home with multiple partners/lovers at once. This makes it so you can get more quality time with more people.

      2) Learning to have deep emotional connections on lower time commitments. It’s totally possible, but not really in the monogamous model.

      3) Just being better about time management in general. If you look at how people actually spend their time, there’s often a huge amount spent commuting, watching TV, or scanning facebook. Cutting out some of this low-quality time in favor of high-quality connection with people is part of doing this.

      • brokenheart123

        Thank you for the in depth response

        I’ve just come out of a very intense polyamorous relationship b/c of issues of time. The girl I was in a relationship with had several parallel relationships with men – all of which where primarily monogamous.

        Both for me and her other partners, there was a constant yearning to spend more time with her, yet for she had a busy life and was happy with the amount of time she dedicated to each relationship.

        Naturally the fact that this hurt her partners bothers her and makes her feel incredibly guilty. I’ve tried to be helpful, but I’m not entirely sure what advice to give her. Is she right to feel guilty? The way I see it is, if she doesnt want to spend more time with her partners, then that’s ofcourse her choice

        This disbalance between how much time you want to spend with someone and how much time they want must be a common issue – especially if you have a very busy life. How do you approach reconciling this? Or would you see this simply as an issue of incompatible life styles?

        • pepomint

          Hello, and thanks for asking this interesting question.

          That’s a difficult situation. On one hand, I think there is a good impulse towards dating people who match well in various ways, especially the amount of involvement or time commitment they desire. If the woman in your question had started by dating poly folks (who are usually good with low-time-commitment relationships) or monogamous folks who were looking for low-time-commitment relationships, this would be an easier situation now.

          But, as it turns out we never match our partners exactly (and often if we start matching, someone changes their desires), so a lot of successful relating is really how we deal with the parts of a relationship where we don’t match, and time commitment is one of these tricky subjects.

          In the relationship workshops I hold, I’m a huge fan of finding ways to compromise on these items. For the situation you’re describing, a compromise process might look like:

          1) Identify the thing that each party is looking for. For the men, is it really time? Or attention? Or higher life entanglement? For the woman, is it that she really wants less time? Or is it actually a sense of freedom, lots of time spent at hobbies, or something else? Often doing this will cause creative solutions to present themselves – for example, keeping the current in-person time commitment but texting a lot more.

          2) With these underlying concerns and possible creative solutions in mind, actually negotiate and compromise. It may be that the outcome is a little uncomfortable for everyone involved – maybe the woman gives a bit more attention to each guy, but each guy agrees to not press her for more for a while. But the outcome may be comfortable *enough* for everyone involved that the relationship can continue, especially when combined with other ameliorating concessions (like say more texting).

          Sorry to hear about your relationship ending – good luck out there.

    • pollysuperstar

      We don’t watch television πŸ˜‰

      • I know some polyamorists who watch television. Ah-hem, I mean I live with some…

      • MattCA12

        I’d have to give up KQED Forum, too…

    • dougom

      Doesn’t having kids take a lot of time? But people in relationships and who have children manage.

      • Auros Harman

        From what I’ve seen of my poly friends who have kids, having additional adults who are around on a regular basis can actually be really helpful. There are, as Pepper notes above, always scheduling challenges (how did anyone survive before Google Calendar?!) but it works.

        Certainly when folks have very young kids who need a lot of attention, you’re going to end up having some of your together time with one or more partners be fun and social and snuggly, but not *sexy*. But, that’s not so different from what happens to monogamous couples with young kids, right?

        • dougom

          My question was largely rhetorical (or Socratic); people unfamiliar with poly seem to me to ask questions that they don’t realize apply just as much to folks living a “normal” life. So the question of “how can you love more than one person?”, for example, can easily be pointed to children. If you have more than one child, does that diminish your love for the first one? Of course not. Human hearts, in the opinion of poly folks, are bigger than that. Love doesn’t divide, it multiplies, as one person wrote.

          But specifically with regard to time, yes, coordinating more people takes more effort. And my point was, when you have children, you experience the same difficulties and tradeoffs, yet people manage. But I completely agree; my life partner and I have often noted that it would be so wonderful to have other adults around the house to carry the load. There have been multiple times when we *have* had that–friends staying over during a difficult period, or while they were resolving a housing situation, or some such–and it has always been helpful rather than a problem.

          Poly folks face challenges, absolutely, but non-poly people seem to believe they are unique or unusual challenges, whereas in most cases they are not.

  • ccmoab

    I’d love to hear the panel talk about how they prepare themselves and work on their communication and self actualization, as in my experience in polyamory it is important to be operating at a pretty conscious level and be in touch with feelings and how to communicate responsibly

  • ccmoab

    Also interested in asking William to talk about how he creates safe space and models good communication at poly events he organizes

    • Jason James

      I’ve been to a couple of William’s events. The events began with a presentation that announced some workshops that were held during the evening. Mutual consent seemed to be a big theme. The event also had peer counselling available for people having a conflict or a bad night.

  • Think!

    Polyamorous, it is more like an “Ersatz Familie”, a “Replacement Family” of sorts in our narcissistic and arrogant “ME” area of individualism and the isolation we create for ourselves fueled through tech gadgets.

    The dream of the idealized happy large family where everyone loves and cares for and about everybody. We all want and need to be loved.

    The wish like in the kitchen scene at the end of the movie “Moonstruck”:

    “Alla Famiglia” To the Family…..

    It is the very structures and values that had built society and culture in the first place.
    However, as history teaches us over and over again, dismantling and undermining of such established structures and values in any society and culture will ultimately lead to the demise and collapse thereof, followed usually by upheaval and fighting.

    Of the latter contemporary world news gives us a good taste!

    • disqus_lI3fxXkYMr

      In some ways I think you are putting the cart before the horse. Has it occurred to you that the world is falling apart for reasons of energy/economic contraction, and that people are creating innovative living situations as a *response* to this situation?

  • ES Trader

    Sometimes in life, like “Sophie’s Choice”, we must choose one thing, whether it’s to country, to career or another person.

    We can’t be in all places simultaneously nor is it possible to truly COMMIT to more than person.

    In life the most successful careers and relationships are achieved with commitment, Steve Jobs was with Apple ultimately, not with Pixar or Next; professional athletes chooses one sport, though a few tried multiple sports without success. Remember Michael Jordan straying to baseball ? The sole exception, Bo Jackson, was successful in baseball and football but it pee-maturely ended his career which will eventually be the outcome of polyamorists.

    Admittedly, most men and likely some women, fantasize about multiple relationships, but it’s like having two hands, most tasks in life are better accomplished with both hands working in symphony.

    • Another Mike

      The majority of people at midlife have close relationships with parents, siblings, and children, as well as their spouse. Adding another spouse or two does not seem that onerous.

    • Think!

      Bravo! Insightful!

    • CoolDudeMonsterMan

      Does the concept of a Renaissance Wo/Man hold no meaning in your eyes? That is, one who seeks accomplishment in various arenas. Or, as Aristotle would say, moderation in all things. You’re insight seems well-placed in your life, but for others, monogamy may not reap the reward you’ve clearly received. To each his/her own, etc. I just find it self-righteous to state so boldly that it is impossible to commit to more than one person. It seems your definition of commitment is rather restrictive in itself, or rather, the parameters of your commitment are near-all encompassing. Also, your Sophie’s Choice analogy (strange) only works on the premise that we must choose. That sets the playing field to your advantage immediately. In a world without Holocaust, Sophie would not have to choose, and could commit to both of her children. That’s the world I’m aiming to create. How about you?

      • Yes!!! This is exactly what I took too many words to try to describe in my wordy comment above. ^^^ It’s more than a bit hubristic and small-minded to simply INSIST that your beliefs about a very personal choice are the ONE AND ONLY real and true path, just because you are intellectually incapable of allowing for deep-seated differences in human sexuality. ES Trader tried so very hard to sound reasoned and logical in explaining his/her intolerance. But that’s what that type of intellectual inflexibility is–intolerance. And it’s boring.

  • Can you talk about what to do when a partner “cheats”? It seems like sometimes, even with a total assumption of openness, there can still be the need to hide by some partners. I am gay and in a poly relationship, but it has been difficult to center between one partner’s desire to be monogomous, and another partner’s need to be more “open” and expressive. How do you negotiate being an “ethical slut” always open to new relationships, the desire to find new intimate (not necessarily sexual) friends and more, and the need to also provide the security net of “monogamous”-like expectations, which a lot of research suggests isn’t even natural to our species?

    I am diagnosed with Asberger’s as well, and I know there are suggested links between logical Asberger’s thinking and polyamory as a purposeful intellectual transaction rejecting societal convention. Can you discuss this also?

  • trite

    Sounds Pollyannerish to me. What about getting old in the community–and how does the woman left with the child in the Peppermint relationship cope day-to-day and in years to come?

    • ES Trader

      She doesn’t and will eventually be confronted with it

    • Auros Harman

      What do you mean “left with the child”? I know multiple poly families whose kids are hitting college age, where the parents live together happily, and probably will into their golden years.

  • Another Mike

    Nice to hear from younger polyamorous people — the ones I know are all close to retirement age.

    • Kelsi

      Hopefully that means I’m not too small a minority πŸ™‚

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    Are nerds geeks etc more attracted to poly?

    • ES Trader

      We all likwly have multiple appetites, polyamorists are those than will not make the hard choice of choosing and eventually will have the same success as Ford’s Edsel.
      It’s not possible to be all things to all people,

      Walmart Supercenters are not the choice of the discernible, shopper for quality.

    • Kelsi

      I think any kind of person can be attracted to a lifestyle. It’s a little like asking if nerds are more attracted to vegetarianism than others. It’s just an individual preference regardless of other tastes

    • Auros Harman

      Almost certainly yes. You’re talking about people who are both social outsiders (and thus have relatively little status to lose by choosing “alternative” behaviors), and who are inclined to look at the rules of a system and question their justification and/or tinker with them. There is a TON of overlap between various alt-sexuality communities (not just poly but also kink, swing, etc), and nerd communities (sci-fi conventions, role-playing and board games, engineers and computer programmers, etc).

      Here’s an article about nerds and sex, from a few years back:

  • thisismyaccount

    Four Mistakes Couples Make When Opening UP and How to Avoid Them, Pepper Mint, Polly Superstar Whittaker, William Winters, non-monogamous community organizer. Oprah would love this.

  • mary

    It was hard enough to find one partner I could have a meaningful relationship with. As a heterosexual woman, I found a lot of men who called themselves “polyamorous” but really just wanted to have multiple f-buddies and have a harem of women. Do polyamorous people really truly love all their partners? Unfortunately these encounters left me with a negative outlook on polyamory.

    • ES Trader

      Stick with your guy if you believe there is mutual commitment.
      Speaking from experience, from my younger times, actions speak louder than words and true love cannot be simply declared verbally.

    • CSF

      Agreed with all that you’ve said. Trying to come to terms with turning from a monogamous to an open relationship, not by my choice but because my partner wanted to ‘see other people’ ultimately destroyed what had been a very happy romance. Yes, jealousy is real, particularly when there has been betrayal. And the dishonesty was very, very hurtful.

    • Jason James

      I believe it is possible to love more than one person. I think we do it in other contexts, when we love both our parents, love our best friends, and love all our children. In polyamory, people are loving more than one person romantically.

      I do agree that it can be really difficult to find a meaningful partnership and maintain it over time. The way it works for me is that I work to maintain meaningful partnerships even as other people come into each other’s lives.

  • ES Trader

    Multiple partners is not like choosing the shallow end vs the deep end !

    Once wet, it changes permanently a relationship, traitors, murderers, sexual predators and polyamorists are in the same boat.

    • Think!

      Right down my own league! You sound like a very interesting person would love to at least chat online a little with you. What you say?

    • Placebo

      what old testament chapter did you roll out from? Polyamorists are in the same boat as murderers and sexual predators? Are you one of those “if you let gay people marry, then people will marry their dogs?” people, too?

    • CoolDudeMonsterMan

      Lol at this comment! This has got to be a hoax… or I’m still living in Georgia (j/k, I love Georgia).

    • Whamadoodle

      Wh… whaaa… ??

    • Kelsi

      I agree this must be a hoax, I think it’s kinda funny

  • Scott

    Has a moment ever happened with a partner in which you absolutely fell in love with a partner questioned the poly lifestyle? And how to do you communicate those feelings amongst each other?

    • Jason James

      Yes, I’ve had to come to terms with a difference in relationship style with someone I’ve been in love with for 20 years and still love. It was made more difficult because at the time, we didn’t know how to talk about it, and I made some painful mistakes.

      We had to really be honest about what we wanted, even when we wanted different things.

      The current relationship is an ongoing connection together that is no longer romantic in the way that it was. It’s a bittersweet result, with a sense of loss, but there’s also an acceptance and understanding of who each of us really is.

      I think there are no guarantees of a happy result in a relationship, or in a change in an existing relationship. We make life choices as best we can, and share love the best we can.

  • ccmoab

    I think for a lot of the people writing here about their negative experiences, the events that the panelists put together really model great practices and tools for having positive experiences, the way they organize conversations, hold space, set the tone etc. It is worth checking out if you are interested in it, even if your past experiences may not have been optimal.

    • thisismyaccount

      Try speaking english sometime.

      • Kelsi

        For the record, thisismyaccount, your sentence is grammatically incorrect. The fragment, “try speaking english sometime.”, lacks a subject. Moreover, you are referring to the English language in your sentence and therefore, the word ” english” should be capitalized. I suggest you learn English yourself before criticizing others.

    • mary

      I agree, they definitely helped me see the lifestyle more positively.

  • KH

    The Fourth International Conference on the Future of Monogamy and Non-monogamy is being held this weekend, starting on Friday the 13th.

  • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

    KQED Forum, panelists, and callers are to be commended for their courage in broaching this important subject. Phillip’s ‘wounded warrior’ call from Oakland was touching. One thing seems certain to me: that the same ethical peace values of good will, integrity, communication, and cooperation that apply to society in general, apply to personal relationships in particular (in whatever form they come); and that the more complexity we entertain in personal relationships, the more important we try our best to honor all the principles of lasting peaceful and loving behavior.

  • CSF

    It’s hard not to be negative about polyamory or open relationships when one’s prior romance chose to pursue that direction without first consulting the other partner. I believe that’s called cheating, and a betrayal. Once trust is destroyed, it cannot be regained. That is my recent experience, and I wish that my now-ex had truly discussed his desires before acting upon them. He put me at risk both emotionally and physically by not being open and honest upfront, and sleeping behind my back. It will take me a long time, and I may never, trust again.

    • Kelsi

      I am sorry for your recent experience but I do not think I would call you previous partner a polyamorist as much as I would call him/her deceitful. Any relationship whether it be monogamous or not needs to be honest.

      • Auros Harman

        May I make a gentle suggestion? It sounds like you’re young, and new to some of this terminology. You may want to bear in mind that most people involved in consensually non-monogamous relationships draw a distinction between polyamory and polygamy. The etymology of the latter is “multiple marriages/mates”. Polyamory is a hybrid of Greek and Latin, meaning “multiple loves”.

        Polygamy has a long history as a social or religious feature of patriarchal societys, and almost always legitimizes polygyny (one man having multiple female partners), while stigmatizing polyandry (one woman having multiple male partners). (It generally doesn’t even consider the possibility of same-sex partnerships.) It persists today in some countries, and in cultish religious groups like the Fundamentalist Mormons.

        Many polyamorists do not appreciate being tagged with that label. And it just doesn’t make a lot of sense, in any case; the polyamorist community descends from Haight-Ashbury communes. It’s very strongly feminist / egalitarian, and anti-patriarchal / anti-heteronormative.

        I’m sure you’re not using “polygamist” here *intending* to be offensive, especially since you self-identify as poly in another comment! But there definitely are some people who will get annoyed if you mix up the terms. So, consider this information offered as part of your welcome into the tribe… πŸ™‚

        • Kelsi

          Thank you Auros Harman, I very much appreciate your comment. I actually meant to put polyamorist but my phone auto-correlated the word to polygamist. I absolutely did not intended to offend anybody and I will correct it right away. That all being said, you’re right, I am very new to the terminology and I wasn’t sure what the exact difference was. Thank you for clarifying it for me. It is a big help since I’m just beginning to learn all these new things about a community I didn’t even know existed – especially one I feel really fits me! And I love your welcome! Thank you! πŸ™‚

  • ccmoab

    I totally agree with 1PeterDuMont, kudos to all, Phillip and the producers of KQED’s Forum who, like the Washington Post, and other media outlets are beginning to recognize the there is a huge wave of cultural shift redefining family and love and intimacy in the 21st century!

  • herbanreleaf

    These are the most articulate spokespeople for polyamory I have ever heard. It’s interesting to read the other comments. It seems that some people are not content with choosing not to be polyamorous themselves, but they have to go around insulting or diminishing other people’s choices. This makes me think that these commenters are somehow threatened by the notion that polyamory exists and that these panelists have managed to create their ideal relationships and make them work, whereas the negative commenters have apparently failed in actualizing their own ideals.

    • CSF

      My own ideal was to be in a committed monogamous relationship. And I had been, until my now-ex chose to betray and cheat behind my back with other partners. So yes, I do have very strong negative feelings about the whole polyamory meme that seems to be the current trend. I don’t think this lifestyle should have had been forced upon me without my agreement, but it was.

      • herbanreleaf

        I’m sorry to hear that you had that experience. But, to me that sounds like you were cheated on. Polyamory is an ethical and consensual arrangement. Obviously your feelings have been hurt and (at least from your perspective) your partner was not ethical. So, basically you had a monogamous relationship and your partner cheated on you. He might have called that polyamory, but nobody else does. Your in apples and oranges territory. You had a bad experience with an apple, so now you are condemning oranges?

        • CSF

          David, I appreciate your response. It was definitely cheating, but was presented to me as him wanting to be ‘polyamorous’ and I truly wish he’d worked harder to truly present the notion in an open, honest way up front. Perhaps things may have turned out better.

          So, yes, this experience has tainted my entire thinking about the polyamory community. And I’m not sure that my feelings towards this particular lifestyle will change any time soon.

          • herbanreleaf

            Well, I’m certainly not trying to change your mind. I think polyamory is only appropriate for a small percentage of people. My only intent is to help you see that you might be misdirecting your hurt feelings. It seems it is your unethical ex that hurt you, not polyamory. Hopefully you will pick a better partner in the future and have a nice fulfilling monogamous relationship with someone who is honest and ethical. Don’t give up on love because you got burnt once (or more than once).

          • Catherine Michael Minor

            My last partner did the same thing- already had a new romantic interest lined up and then asked for poly from me (we were mono). I had already been asking to open the relationship up for some years, but was told no. I’ve had some very successful long term poly relationships in the past. What I determined was that the selfishness of my partner was a completely disrespectful and immature way to try to cover up cheating, and I was no longer interested in being with someone so narcissistic. It was a very irresponsible way to request poly, and it really showed me that she really had nothing to offer me in a healthy poly. I won’t start a relationship as monogamous again, ever. I’d rather stay ethically non-monogamous and consider monogamy again only if someone has proven, over much time, their ability to live radically honest with full transparency.

        • CSF

          David, I appreciate your response. Yes, cheating it was, but was presented initially as ‘polyamory’. Therefore I do have a negative connection with the lifestyle, and probably will for the foreseeable future.

          • George O

            Your response doesn’t make much sense, CSF. Your ex mis-defined polyamory. That’s an easily verifiable fact. Look up the definition. Or listen to the first 30 seconds of the show. Cheating is not part of polyamory.

    • CSF

      Being collateral damage for someone else’s folly is not a pleasant thing.

      • Kelsi

        I agree with CSF it is not pleasant. And that experience was not fair to you. But the relationships described here are not the same as your experience. In these polygamous relationships, all parties consent. You were in a monogamous relationship with a deceitful person. HE was wrong. That doesn’t mean that consensual polyamory as a whole is wrong.

        • CSF

          Consensual is the operative word here. Thanks, Kelsi.

  • Kelsi

    I really enjoyed this piece. I’ve been a polyamorist for years but I only learned the word today. I didn’t know it was okay or excepted to the extent it seems to be and I’m really happy to no longer feel like I’m one of very few.

    Most people I know would look down on me for my relationships. But most of my friends who have monogamous relationships often have unrealistic expectations of their partners, and when their relationships end it is usually in a very aggressive and hurtful way. I however, am friends with all of my “exes” and I’ve never had a painful breakup. And that’s not to say that I haven’t seen wonderful monotonous relationships, because I have and they’re definitely out there. But this all is why I have always felt, despite others scorn, that good relationships depend on the individuals, and the mental health and care of those individuals – not the number of people involved.

    I am only 19 years old but I would really like to thank the panel for covering this topic and opening my eyes. I will absolutely be looking into the books suggested during the talk. My only question is, are there are better ways to find other people who are comfortable being in this kind of relationship? It can often be scary for me liking someone and having to let them know that I prefer open relationships. Not everyone is accepting.

    • pepomint

      Hi Kelsi – Pepper from the show here. I’m glad you liked the show!

      I actually started dating as poly from a very young age, but it was a mess because I was dating monogamous people – none of that early stuff worked out. One of the most crucial things in doing this is finding people who want the same thing and both getting support from them and finding dating partners among them.

      If you are in the Bay Area, check out this calendar of local poly events, which are really the best way to meet people. In particular, take note of the under-40 events:


      • Kelsi

        Thank you very much pepper, I really appreciated the show and thank you for the response. I’m excited to check out these events!

  • There seems to be a certain type of disbelieving and sceptical, even condescending response to polyamory, or, rather, ANY type of relationship/lifestyle that is not exactly like one’s own, especially if that lifestyle conflicts with organized religious dogma. You get the comment that it’s SIMPLY NOT POSSIBLE for those involved in, say, polyamory, homosexuality, celibacy, & etc., to REALLY, truly, have as loving and valued/respected a relationship as the monogamous, heterosexual societal “norm”.

    I’ve always found this narrow way of thinking–the insistence upon heteronormality as the only “real” and truly legitimate kind of sexuality/lifestyle–to be so very self-centered, and more than a bit egotistic. Just because *you* cannot possibly picture *yourself* in a different type of relationship does not mean that others cannot find the ultimate happiness in that lifestyle, nor does it negate its legitimacy. I am heterosexual and happiest when monogamous. My Mum and Dad just celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary, and are still madly and deeply in love with each other, and are also monogamous. But I have no difficulty at all in taking the tiny intellectual leap to imagine that other people can and do find true love and happiness with a member of their same sex, or with several members of any sex. Or no sex at all.

    Why is this so hard? I’m reminded of grade school playgrounds when I hear full-grown adults tittering that gay sex is “yucky”, or that people are merely kidding themselves that three or more people can be happy in a polyamorous relationship, or that celibates “need to get laid”. Just put the freaking shoe on the other foot already! And remember that those of us humans who find true happiness with homosexuality or polyamory, or whatever floats those boats, think that the “normal” monogamous hetero lifestyle is *just* as weird and alien and incomprehensible. Intolerance is tedious, boring, small-minded, and entirely unimaginative–though I’m guilty of being intolerant of ‘intolerants’!!

    • Joyful Girl

      Wow, well said. Thank you for being so open minded and for speaking up (usually I only see poly people defending the lifestyle; it carries a different weight coming from an ally). I wish there were more people like you who could take that leap. The world would be a kinder place for decent people who live outside heternormality.

      • Kelsi

        I don’t think the world would be a kinder place simply because poly people choose to attack others instead of defend their own beliefs. Though I agree with most of what moderniste said, I think that aggression only begats aggression, not understanding. Joyful Girl, How often has someone called you narrow minded and you turned around like, “Oh you know what? You’re so right, I agree with you!”. More then likely, you’d get upset and defensive, and close yourself off to what the other person is saying. If you want a kinder world with people who understand you, perhaps you should attempt to understand them first and see where they’re coming from.

        “You’ll attract more flies with honey than with vinegar” πŸ™‚

        • Joyful Girl

          I agree with all that! I just meant that the ability to genuinely empathize with people who are different is rare, and compassion leads to kindness. Poly people need to respect monogamy just as much as the other way around, to practice the acceptance we want to receive. In my experience people seldom take the time to try understanding polyamory before dismisssing it, often morally condemning it. So I’m grateful to read support and understanding from a happy monogamist.

          • Kelsi

            Oh! Then I totally agree! I’m sorry I didn’t understand your earlier comment πŸ™‚

          • Joyful Girl

            That’s OK! It’s always nice to find courteous people to dialogue with online. Thank you for replying. πŸ™‚

  • Terra Villa

    Thank you, i appreciate the visibility of the the poly community. I am in a monogamous relationship that feels validated by the visibility of working polyamorous relationships.
    Thank you forum.

    • pepomint

      Glad to hear you enjoyed the show!

      Something that didn’t come out during the show is that we’re all supportive of monogamous relationships too. Monogamy is great if you’re right for it! We just are looking for something else. We like all healthy relationships, whatever their configuration.

  • dougom

    In addition to the books recommended by the panel, I would also recommend “The Ethical Slut”, but Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy, and Cunning Minx’s “Eight Things I Wish I’d Know About Polyamory”.

  • Maximilian Shattler

    I have a very successful working relationship with two bisexual males. I had an existing relationship with my husband for years and we both met our boyfriend and fell in love with him, there was no way we couldn’t have him in our lives in every way we could. The three of us love each other very much and do everything together and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I used to be skeptical about polyamory as I had seen it fail with my friends. It just takes the right people with the right additudes! And an incredible amount of trust.

  • disqus_lI3fxXkYMr

    I live in a poly triad with an m/f couple that have been married – and poly – for around 40 years. We’ve been in relationship for over 10 years now, and we all have other lovers too. So it definitely CAN work. But formerly I was in a poly marriage and it failed miserably, because we didn’t have clear understandings or agreements and were pretty co-dependent. So it really requires people who are well-matched and emotionally stable. All the pieces have to fit.

  • julia

    Loving this discussion! Wanted to share my article about polyamory in the Bay Area, from this month’s issue of SF Magazine.

  • dougom

    Tried to post this the other day, but it never showed up; dunno why. Among the excellent books the panel recommended, I would like to add The Ethical [word that means “person with loose morals” and rhymes with “cut”] by Dossie Easton. Sorry I can’t put in the full title, but apparently that word causes the blue-nosed comments auto-bot to censor. Sheesh. I dislike the title, but it’s a really excellent book, and I was surprised the host didn’t mention the book or Dossie herself, as she is a Bay Area practitioner.

    • Auros Harman

      I think Dossie’s book has fallen somewhat out of favor with the community, regarded as kind of a “first draft” of ideas that have been better expressed in later texts.

      I know personally there’s a passage in that book, where she’s talking about how jealousy is the responsibility of the person feeling it, that really rubbed me the wrong way, because she’s talking about a much more fully-independent, solo-poly, relationship-anarchy structure than I’m comfortable with.

      More recent books tend to describe a whole spectrum of possible ways to build relationships and deal with problems like jealousy, envy, being distracted from one relationship by the intensity of NRE in a new one, etc. Any time you try to write about relationships, there’s a giant caveat: “Be pragmatic, find what works for you, and don’t be too hung up on it if that’s different from what you see described here, because there are too many variables and combinations to give an exhaustive list.”

      • dougom

        Some good points. I think it’s always better to get a wide range of views, and I personally find Dossie’s book to be a good companion to Tristan Taormino’s and Cunning Minx’s books. I haven’t read Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert’s “More than Two” yet, but I’m guessing based on what I’ve heard and Franklin and Eve’s descriptions that they’ve relayed on various podcasts, that it’s more of a second or third draft.

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