Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shy and Confused in Washington

Dear PolyAnna,

I just heard about the idea of polyamory from a friend at work. What does polyamory mean? I like my coworker, but does this mean that she sleeps with people without any kind of moral system? Should I be nervous about her being around my husband and my friends? I'd like to ask my coworker about this, but I wouldn't really know where to start. Please help me out.

Shy and Confused
in Washington

Dear SC -

This is a position that people are finding themselves in more and more these days. We've all heard of polyamory, but what does that mean exactly? I'd like to tell you there's a clear and concise answer to that question, but unfortunately, there's not. Poly can mean a lot of things to different people. The best thing to do in your situation is to ask your coworker out to a cup of coffee and casually ask her about it. Chances are she'll be happy to share her particular philosophy with you. And once you get past that initial shyness, you'll probably really enjoy the conversation.

It seems unlikely that you need to be worried about her interactions with your husband and friends, because two base tenants of poly are honest communication and consent. So unless this coworker of yours is one of those assholes who says they're poly but doesn't have any respect for the boundaries of others, you're probably safe. So if she is actually poly and not misusing the word, she would never do anything without the consent of everyone involved.

Poly is a highly misused word these days, but here are some basics; polyamory generally refers to the concept of being able to have romantic feelings and/or physical relationships with more than one person. It doesn't mean being indescrimiate about the lovers one chooses. On top of that, truly poly people are honest with themselves and everyone involved about thier relationships. Open communication is a big deal. And consideration of everyone's opinions and feelings is integral too.

There are a lot of jerks out there stomping around and using people and cheating and calling it poly. Please don't let these people trick you. Those people aren't poly, they're just assholes.


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