Monday, September 28, 2009

Letter from CURSED

Dear Polyanna,

You referenced

He said:
The thing that defines a polyamorous relationship is that everyone involved knows about, and agrees to, everyone else's involvement.

I have two girlfriends. Girlfriend A (April) doesn't necessarily know about Girlfriend B (Betsy).

I once had a conversation with April. My take-away from the conversation was that she didn't care what I did when she wasn't around, as long as it didn't affect our relationship. Tho frankly, nothing was that precise.

I think of poly as "anything not monogamy" but if i take the poly 101 at face value... it kinda makes me feel guilty.

Consumed Utterly about the RamificationS of my Ethical Decisions


Okay, pull the bus over. You're not riding safely.

First of all, let me thank you for writing in. That's exactly what you should be doing. I'm glad you're doing research and trying to put some meaning to the word poly, because as of right now what you're doing isn't poly at all. It's simply cheating. Cheating is lying, whether it's by creating falsehoods or omission of facts. And yes, one can be poly and still cheat.

Franklin Veaux is right in the definition of poly mentioned in your letter. Complete consent is absolutely imperative FOR ALL INVOLVED. If the girls don't know about each other, or one doesn't know about the other, then you're lying. And dishonesty, especially with those you're romantically involved with, is the antithesis of polyamory. I'm tempted to insist that you tell the girls about each other, but really I don't think you should be responsible for anyone's heart until you get your shit worked out.

Stop seeing these girls for a while. Do some research starting with the links at the bottom of my blog. Franklin Veaux's site is an excellent place to start. Because one very important thing you are totally wrong about is "think(ing) of poly as anything not monogamy." Honey, nothing could be farther from the truth. There are plenty of dishonest, ill defined types of relationships that aren't monogamy and aren't poly either.

Poly is all about full disclosure. And I mean direct full disclosure, not some half assed conversation that you may have had with April wherein neither of you were direct about anything. I'm assuming you're both adults here; start acting like it.

Do some research. Feel free to write me with more questions if some come up. Figure out what it is that you want, and what the most community minded, empathic, full disclosure way is to get your needs met. And remember; if you're going to be asking someones to meet your needs you must be ready and willing to meet their needs right back.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Letter from Spouseazoid

Dear Polyanna,

I've been married for about a year now. I love my wife dearly. She is a fantastic partner. We both have other lovers, some more regular than others. But recently she slept with her ex. And I got bothered. It's further complicated that we both used to date her together. It wasn't a true triad as he and I weren't involved intimately. She has two or three other lovers and I never feel this way about them. I know she is out with them and that likely they will have sex. And yet, I can't get over how bothered I am that she slept with an ex. What should I do?


Dear SZ -

Ah, yes. I know this one. You think you're solid, you think you have poly all figured out, and then, wham! You have a visceral reaction that you didn't expect and don't understand. We've all been there, SZ, and we all will be there again. Don't worry, it's a sign that you're doing things well.

Lets start with this; what exactly bothers you about the fact that she slept with her ex? When you think about her doing that, what part of the event brings out the strongest emotional reaction in you? In The Ethical Slut, Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy point out that jealousy doesn't have to be a negative reaction. Jealousy is the path that leads us to our subconscious worries. So try letting your jealousy lead you to understand what it is that you fear.

After you have a good round with yourself about what it is that's really bothering you, it might be time for you and your wife to revamp your guidelines a bit. Remember, DIY relationships aren't static. We all need a good revamping once in a while. I would recommend against the veto rule. Veto should be reserved for situations in which you feel like your partner is in danger or being dangerous. But maybe you need to state that you feel especially vulnerable in this instance and you guys can work out a few little extra expressions of primaryness to be implemented for the moment. Maybe she can call you at a certain time and talk for a few minutes when she's out with him. Maybe she can save a word used during sex for you only.

Chances are that after a month or so of her seeing him again and implementing these new guidelines, you won't need them anymore. What we imagine our lovers are doing with their other lovers is always, always more intimidating than what they are really doing. As long as you both are honest with each other and yourselves, you'll feel better soon.