Monogamy Isn’t For Everyone; Polyamory Isn’t Going to Ruin the World

Jasmine Peterson is somewhat annoyed that it took her 27 years to learn about polyamory.

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I am going to be candid. I, at the age of 27, only recently discovered myself to be polyamorous. I think I’ve been approaching this realization for a couple of years, but it suddenly leapt out to me with a clarity I’d not had before, just about a month ago. And what a relief it was to name that thing that was there all along.

Of course, the relief was short lived because the conversations that ensued, particularly those with my monogamous, long term partner, were difficult, and sometimes heated, volatile even. I don’t blame him for his initial reaction—his anger, sadness, bewilderment, uncertainty. I can see how it might be unsettling to discover that you’re in a relationship with a polyamorous woman six years into your relationship; likewise, it’s difficult to discover yourself to be polyamorous six years into a monogamous, committed relationship.

And you know—I’m kind of angry. I’m angry that we live in a culture that dictates monogamy as the only viable relational style; which repeatedly, demonstrably, and volubly dismisses all other relationship styles as illegitimate, wrong, and harmful. I hadn’t even a word with which to label my inclinations until a few years into my university career (which also happened to be a few years into my committed relationship), so how could I possibly know or name it for myself?

So I’m angry. I’m also happy that I’ve had this epiphany and realized why my relationships always went so awry, and why I found it impossible to remain in a relationship with just one other person. In fact, my current relationship is the only one that comes to mind in which I didn’t ‘step out’. I once, when I was much younger, dated two men at once (it wasn’t a polyamorous relationship, as only one of my partners knew of the other). Aside from having to be secretive with one of my partners, I really enjoyed dating two men at once and was content with this situation. It suited me. How did I not know sooner? (Again, not having had the language for it, being steeped in cultural discourse that suggests that anything outside of monogamy is egregiously wrong, it’s little wonder it took me so long to make this discovery about myself).

We are inevitably shaped by our culture, and through culture we are given the language to describe our world and construct our knowledge of it. Growing up there were discussions about homosexuality. I had a knowledge of and language for transgenderism. Bisexuality was discussed in sexual education classes. There is even an acronym that brings attention to the issues people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. And I certainly don’t want to undermine these minority groups or their experiences; they are still subjected to vitriol, violence, hatred, and human rights violations. We still live in a heteronormative culture that views the LGBT community as disparate. But even still, these were orientations and identities that were on my radar, I had a language for them, I could empathize with them, and advocate for their rights.

Polyamory, however, was not something I’d heard spoken of. The idea that a person can love only one intimate partner—that a person must relate to, be faithful to, and love only one person at a time—is ingrained into most of us from the time we’re toddlers. Monogamy is generally considered the only acceptable relationship style. Infidelity ends up being big news (especially when a political figurehead is involved—like talk of impeaching a president for his infidelity, while us Canadians are stuck with a Prime Minister who was the leader of the first ever federal government to be held in contempt of Parliament. Because sex outside of marriage is clearly far more contemptible than an undemocratic process), while the predominant sentiment is criticism of the philanderer, people don’t really seem to want to question culturally imposed monogamy. They hold dear sayings like: “If you love two people at the same time, choose the second one, because if you really loved the first, you wouldn’t have fallen for the second.” In fact, someone quoted this saying just the other day and I wanted to scream “NO, it doesn’t mean that at all. It doesn’t mean you didn’t love the first person. Maybe it means that you’re polyamorous. Maybe it means that you have the capacity to love more than just one human being at a time. Maybe it means that love is expansive. Maybe it means that monogamy isn’t for everyone.”

Like I said—I’m angry. But I also feel liberated to be able to finally identify myself as polyamorous, to finally understand and acknowledge that aspect of myself. I wish I’d had this knowledge before falling in love with a die-hard monogamist. Not that I wouldn’t have embarked on a relationship with him regardless, but I now have to quell that desire and sometimes it’s a struggle. The discourses of loving relationships available to me at the time we began dating were limited, which in turn limited my ability to be honest with myself or with him about my relational proclivities. So forgive me if I’m feeling resentful of a culture that allowed me, even encouraged me, to deny a part of who I am for 27 years of my life.

I don’t often divulge such intimate details about myself for all the internet to read, but I think it is important to set a discourse in motion that recognizes polyamory as a legitimate relational style, and that allows people to begin thinking differently about the variety of ways in which people can relate. I see these conversations happening already, but there needs to be more visibility; we need to get to a place where there is a common language for people to draw on so that monogamy isn’t considered the only viable option and people can explore their relational styles more honestly. Research has cited infidelity as a major reason for divorce among married couples, which makes me wonder if it is the monogamy that is imposed upon us that is part of the problem, which leads people to seek additional relationships in secrecy because of fear of judgment.

Not everyone is made for monogamy (and that’s not to say that there is anything wrong with those for whom monogamy works; it’s certainly one way to relate), so providing a culturally acknowledged language on which people can draw that includes styles in addition to monogamy has the potential to allow people to more honestly relate to others, rather than being forced into monogamy and ending up unfaithful. Of course, it is important not to conflate polyamory with infidelit—polyamory is a very open and honest means of relating in which all partners must be consenting, their feelings considered, and their desires and/or discomfort acknowledged. And I wish I’d had this discourse available to me sooner.

Just like the gender binary, the binary for romantic relationships (monogamy = good, anything else = bad) is harmful and inhibiting. Let’s open our minds and our hearts and recognize (healthy consenting) love for what it is, in all of its shapes and forms.

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About Jasmine Peterson

Jasmine Peterson is a feminist and an activist. She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Clinical Psychology. Her research has examined social constructionism, self-objectification, and, most recently, conceptions of health and their impact on males and females.

Comments

  1. My worry is that the only way a relationship of a poly person and a mono person can only end in splitting up. I waited to have sex until I got married at 26, and now I’m 35 and very much regret that decision. I don’t know if I’m poly, per se, but I’d like to at least explore the possibility. My wife, however, is not open to it at all. I feel like we’re in a situation where we can’t win. If we break up, we’re hurt. If we stay together, either she hurts because I wasn’t monogamous with her, or I hurt because I never got a chance to be with anyone else AND she still hurts because she knows I’m hurt by those regrets. There are very few people I can talk to about this because I get a lot of judgement and ridicule when what we both need is compassion and advice.

  2. Aaliyaana says:

    So I have debated this with myself for the last year and a half. I had a lover who initially after wanting to be exclusive, decided he couldn’t because of jealousy issues. He decided, didn’t ask. I still stayed along for another year and a half. He told me we couldn’t discuss who each other was sleeping with, which just led to a weird awkwardness, where I never knew what to say, and he acted like he didn’t care (even though he told me, he didn’t care what i did, but he cared about me) and he never wanted to use contraception, and he didn’t want kids so it was upto me to get the birth control and STD test every time I slept with him – it wasn’t a continuous relationship.
    Being in an active fetish life/group at the time I had a complete understanding of polygamy and polyamoury. Had multiple happy sexual partners, read The Ethical Slut 1&2, and still i battled with not being with the man I loved, alone.
    Fast forward another 6 months, I’m no longer active on the fet scene, sleep with multiple partners and i had to walk away from the man I love. Mainly because I grew up, and because despite the wondrous multi-jewelled beautiful aspects i could see in being polyamourus i wanted my happy ever after, and children with a good man….and whilst I have spent more years in relationships with women than men, have an 8yr old boy shared custody and still love this man, I still love women. This man was 5 years younger than me, had no job, lived at home with his parents and had no real life experience, but I loved regardless and in spite of this.
    I wish you all luck, and congratulate those who have found their place in this world, you must feel a great overwhelming sense of oneness with life and purpose.

  3. I appreciate differing views and lifestyles, and have a generally liberal view towards most things. With that said, you’re 27 – you don’t have an f’ing clue about life yet.

  4. courage the cowardly dog says:

    Let me give you a little seminar in anthropology. Like other species we are inherently programmed to propogate and continue the species. You will find no study ever done that concludes that the best family model is one based on polyamorary. Monogamy between one female mother and one male father biologically connected and committed to one another has proven through several milennia without exception to be the best model for raising children. Raising each succeding generation of children in a stable and responsible enviroment serves the interests of the species. Everything other model fails to serve propagation of the species as well. If you have no intent on having children and are successful in achieving that goal then I say do whatever the hell want, but once a child comes into the picture everything changes.

    • Hank Vandenburgh says:

      I’m pretty well through Saxon’s Sex at Dusk and I think it’s a good counterbalance to Ryan’s Sex at Dawn. One thing it demonstrates very vividly is that mothers’ parenting is instinctive, where fathers’ is partly conditioned by social norms at best. Men and women are genetically at odds, but monogamish is pretty much the best solution. I repeat Saxon in saying “monogamish” because plenty of people do break monogamy (or polygyny – pertains to much of the world) norms. (More societies allow for multiple wives than don’t.) This includes many women of course. The way Saxon puts it, women are expected to be “whores,” but if they’re “sluts,” other women at least get pissed. Not that many don’t get sluttish from time to time. But there’s no genetic teleology (in men anyway) encouraging monogamy for purposes of family continuance. Men make sets of their genes at about the rate of 2,400 per second, so their genetic tendency is to sow widely.

      I think that Saxon flies off the handle in later chapters where she emphasizes that many peoples who have anything like multiple partners have systems where the women can’t enjoy sex– it’s too wham-bam. I find this very hard (no pun) to believe. We do find many remnants of older group-sex practices (carnival sex in Europe, for example.) One of my grad school professors (Joe Lopreato) for example talked about tribal meetings where hallucinogens were used to grease bad convocations for sex. If the bands were somewhat proximal and partly related, I partly believe this, I guess. I’m suspicious of Saxon’s (and some of the anthropologists she cites) sort of “no real fun and games” approach to sex. The female sex organs are just too much designed for pleasure for that.

      • Hank Vandenburgh says:

        By the way, as someone is somewhat poly by nature, I think the promiscuous use of the word “cheating” is akin to using “perversion” for gay-lovemaking.

    • Ew. Do us all a favour and crawl back under your rock.

      • Hank Vandenburgh says:

        I don’t know if that was intended for me, but it’s ignorant. Is it even mentioning the word “perversion” (which used to be used by professionals for gay lovemaking,) or is it the idea that the concept of cheating is problematized. And I don’t know who “us all” is. I’ve been coming here for a while, so maybe it’s me and some others; maybe it’s you and some others. Who knows?

        One of the hidden problems with the current take on sexual freedon is that it is required to take place under the banner of heteronormative-like coupling, or else be subjected to endless discussion with acknowledged partners. Either of these is a false and irritating condition for some of us. We look out for the interests of partners to be sure, but not all of our behavior is necessarily an open book to all of them. Nor should it be.

  5. Don Draper anyone? haha i always think Don Draper character in Mad Men is not a jerk, hes actually a good man with kind heart. Hes just polyamorious and cannot settle with just one woman.

  6. to me its just a label for something thats always existed…sounds to me like most people would call an “open” relationship…..labels are overrated….i agree with Jasmine that cheating is not even close to the same thing…..as long as all parties involved are aware and accept the relationship it is no one else’s business……how can you even compare the two terms…. the ignorance and shortsightedness that most ppl in general is the reason for any type of relationship other than monogamy to be dismissed and shamed…..i am glad you found who you are and are happy…..isn’t that what ultimately everyone wants? simply to be happy? i say that there are a lot of ppl out there that feel the way you do, but are to afraid to say it so they stay in a monag relationship and miserable…hmmmmm wonder why the divorce rate is so high????? More people need to open their minds to all kinds of people…..accept that we are all different for a reason….God does not make mistakes…..embrace who you are and be proud. In addition I myself am comfortable and prefer monogamy, but that is me…..I accept there are many other types of relationships that work for others…..and I admire them for being who they are and not conforming simply because public views it as wrong…..I admire them….they should be applauded ….

    • oh one more thing….it is absolutely possible to love more than one person at a time. if someone disagrees, in my opinion, they just haven’t had that true experience yet….regardless of lifestyle/relationship preference it is absolutely possible.

      • Maggie, you sound like anybody on one end of a spectrum talking to somebody on the opposite end. Like a gay man telling a straight man, “You just haven’t found the right man yet,” or a straight man telling a gay man he hasn’t found the right woman. Both are equally absurd.

        I’m polyamorous. For a long time I believed that everyone was naturally at least somewhat poly; we were just culturally repressed. There was hope! But I have met people for whom monogamy was not a choice. It was really truly the way they were. Introduction of a new love, in the name of enlightenment and healing, resulted in confusion, distress, and the dissolution of one relationship or the other (usually the pre-existing one) to settle back into comfortable monogamy.

        Trying to get me to be monogamous is a bad idea. Even when I only have one romantic partner, I’m still polyamorous. Anything else engenders resentment, and resentment is the assassin of intimacy.

        For me to try to get a monogamous person to be polyamorous, no matter how well-intentioned, is the same kind of hubris, and meets with the same destructive results.
        Please don’t feel that you have to invalidate someone else’s orientation in order to validate your own.

      • Or maybe you are more in love with the idea of being in love with two people

    • Thank you so much, Maggie! It is nice to get kind, supportive words. 🙂 It’s been an interesting journey from the time I discovered it and labeled it up to the point where I’m at now. Reactions have been mixed, and it hasn’t been the easiest of journeys, but I love who I am and I have found that most people are pretty accepting and non-judgmental.

      And you are right – anybody, regardless of their orientation or how they identify, can certainly love more than one person. My now ex (who is staunchly monogamous), encountered this very dilemma when he engaged in an illicit affair with his at the time boss. He ended up falling in love with her, but only revealed to me what had been going on afterward because he had gotten her pregnant… and even then, he had wanted to make reparations with me, but was confused because he’d developed strong feelings for her. It was rather ironic given the number of times he had told me it was impossible for a person to love more than one other individual romantically at a time.

      • Well, isn’t that the ironic twist! I think you can have a movie deal on this one.

        • My life felt very much like a soap opera for several months! I wrote a piece shortly after he revealed his infidelity to me, but GMP has yet to publish (or reject) it. 🙂

  7. Gordon Leslie says:

    Yes, my wife was quicker than me to accept it. She sais I am exactly the same guy, I am only aware of it now. The last time exclusivity was challenged for me was in grade school. Even then it made no sense to me that only one was allowed. Two girls expressed interest in me and my outlook was that I liked them both. That didin’t fly with either of the girls so my grade four solution was that you must have to deal with this sort of thing chronologicaly. Other wise everyone would be with first person they met. Right!? That one didin’t work out so well in hind sight. I have had a least four other friendships that would be similar to your Mexico and I just didn’t clue in. One of those actually tried to confront me about it but I was so cluless at the time I thought she was just having a bad day. ( She was the first person I told when I did figure it out. I half expected a “Took you long enough!” but she didin’t. Everyone of those 4 friendships are still very close and only a friendship. For now I have no extras but the one that made me realize is still on the fence. Who knows…. Its been a lot just comming to terms with all that. I was the poster child for monogamy. Its very ingrained in the rest of my life. My protest to that is simply that every other aspect of my life was argued and chosen by me for its pros and cons. Why didin’t I challenge this back in grade 4!!

  8. Gordon Leslie says:

    I realy identified with your anger. Learning something that big about yourself when your 27 is a surprise. I was 33 and not only in a long term relationship, we have been married for 7 years. I remember being beside myself for weeks with the question “How could I have missed this?” I agree, no examples and no vocabulary surounded in our culture as it is. I was wondering what made you realize? For me I fell in love with a longtime friend and eventualy reconized it as the same kind of long term building blocks I share with my wife.

    • I actually had moved away from home, started graduate school, and just spent a lot of time being really introspective and self-reflective this past year. I went to a live show one night by myself, and met a guy that I really hit it off with. We exchanged phone numbers, even though I made it clear that I was in a relationship and wasn’t looking for anything more than maybe having a friend in this place where I knew nobody, and had nobody. We talked, but it was clear he was interested in more than what I was willing to offer at the time so our communications dwindled. However, it made me think a lot. He was smart, funny, and attractive and I was really disappointed that we couldn’t pursue something more. But I also knew that I loved my then partner and didn’t want to leave him. So I spent a lot of time thinking about what this meant, and how I could feel this way. At first, I felt a little guilty, like I’d somehow done something wrong by developing feelings for another human being while in a relationship. And it wasn’t the first time I’d had feelings for someone that I wasn’t able to act upon. I’d spent a week in Mexico for my brother’s wedding and been re-acquainted with someone I hadn’t seen in years; we clearly had chemistry (everyone jokingly called us ‘the lovebirds’ all week), but I didn’t act upon it because I was committed to my relationship at the time.

      I had spent a lot of time reading about and advocating for all relational choices – including polyamory – so I was familiar with it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that that was exactly my inclinations. I thought way back even to when I first started dating, and it was just something that was always there. I always felt limited by being connected to just one person; like there was more to life than committing to just one man when I had connections with others. I can do monogamy, but I identify as polyamorous because I don’t think there is any one person on this planet who is simply the ‘right’ person for me.

      Interestingly, I thought that this would be limiting in my dating experiences, but instead I’ve found that most men are intrigued by this, and willing to explore polyamory. I hope things worked out well for you and your wife after your self-discovery! 🙂

  9. Jerry Rice says:

    I discovered that I am polyamourous. But this title is still not acceptable in a predominantly monogamous world. Just like weed legalization, I suppose i’ll have to wait!

    • You know, I was afraid, given that I’ve recently started dating, that it would be difficult and that men would really be dissuaded by my status as polyamorous. However, my experiences haven’t been so bad. I’ve had some interesting conversations, and a lot of men don’t consider me a viable dating option (because they’re monogamous), but there was even one individual who decided he was interested in trying polyamory. There are people out there who are open to the idea, or who are poly friendly. 🙂

  10. eatThe Rich says:

    Although it’s possible to love more than one person at the same time, for most poly people, it’s not about true love, it’s about intellect. It’s a game. It’s for white, educated, middle-class, heterosexual people who convince themselves it’s *necessary* to be in love with two or more people but in actual fact they’re in love with *one* person and want to fuck others without cheating. Which is fine but if it’s about sex, don’t lie to yourselves. And don’t claim it’s something it isn’t. Oh, and don’t evangelate. Its very unbecoming.

    • I can only assume that you do not identify as polyamorous. It is *not* all about the sex. It is about intimate connections (and those don’t always involve sex). That’s like saying that to have more than one close friend is greedy, and that really, you can’t have more than one really close friend, so all the others are just fillers. That’s not only a dismal view of life, but it is absolutely 100% inaccurate in explaining what polyamory is or means to me (or any of the other polyamorous persons I know).

      I have been in love with more than one person at a time. Love is expansive.

    • I disagree entirely. My reasons, not the least of which being I am a brown, educated, middle class, heteroflexible (I’m like a 2 on the Kinsey scale, and do have a female partner), person who actually is in love with all of her partners. Full on, can’t imagine not being with these people, in love. The sex part is, well, none of your business, but I’m pretty sure I define sex differently from you. This isn’t a game to me, it’s my life, and my life would be incomplete without my loves.

  11. Interesting point about choice. However, for me I don’t feel that I choose to be polyamorous. It’s just something that’s there, and it’s something that’s always been there. It’s an inclination, one that I can recognize in retrospect as far back as I can remember. I would be the first to argue that people aren’t incapable of monogamy (given that I am polyamorous, but in a monogamous relationship). And for me, that’s where choice comes in. Although it’s my inclination to be in a polyamorous relationship, I choose to remain in a monogamous one.

    Also, the part of the sentence you took from my comment is certainly not what makes me polyamorous. I was responding to the comment that monogamous people can be attracted to others, and talking about how for me, it’s really not about being attracted to other people (at least not in the physical sense).

  12. wellokaythen says:

    I ask this out of curiosity, not in any way to discount your experience or invalidate your self-definition or anything like that. I’m mostly just curious about where you see the boundaries between polyamory and other orientations.

    If you started in a monogamous relationship and came to realize you are polyamorous, but have not yet been in a polyamorous relationship, then how do you know you are polyamorous? (Again, I’m not challenging you at all, just wondering about what you see as the “evidence,” for lack of a better word.) I can imagine other people in a similar situation being in a monogamous relationship and being attracted to other people but not seeing that as having a polyamorous orientation. Is it the strong desire to have romantic relationships with someone in addition to your current partner that shows you that you’re polyamorous?

    I guess my question is, how do you know you are? Was there a particular thing that crystallized the whole realization?

    There are people who are in the category of “monogamous and still attracted to other people,” which would be a lot of monogamous people. How is being polyamorous different? Is it a question of degree, or is it a fundamental difference, in your view?

    • wellokaythen, that’s actually a reasonable question, and one I’ve gotten quite a lot. I did touch on it a little in the article, that I have been in a relationship with more than one person at a time. It was not polyamorous because only one of my partners knew of the other. Aside from the secrecy of it, I loved everything else about that experience. I hated, though, having to be secretive. So that was really the beginning of my inclinations, although I never really began to think about them. While that wasn’t pure polyamory (you know, lack of consent, lack of honesty and open communication), it was certainly an experience. But also, I think if you look within yourself long enough, you just know. Does a homosexual person have to have homosexual sex to realize they’re homosexual? In fact, does a heterosexual person need to have heterosexual sex to realize they’re heterosexual? Polyamory just fits for me. It was just a matter of putting a name to it.

      I think there is a continuum for just about everything, and orientations in particular. For me, it’s not even attraction, really that made me feel compelled to self-identify as polyamorous. It was after some serious, deep reflection (I’ve spent the past eight months doing a lot of self-exploration and self-reflection). I consider myself polyamorous because I have more than passing attractions for people, and I have more than transient lust for other people. What I have is the desire to connect with other people on that same intimate, romantic level. It doesn’t even necessarily mean sex. I desire the romantic companionship of more than one man, for the simple reason that different people have different things to offer, and can fulfill your life in different ways. And I love(d) my partner tremendously, more than I’ve loved any man in my life, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have room to love other people in different ways. So that is different from monogamy in that a monogamous person probably wouldn’t be carrying on multiple romantic relationships at once. Or desiring multiple romantic relationships at one time.

      • I’m in a polyamorous relationship, and I do agree that if the option was more openly talked about and discussed, there would be a lot fewer unhappy monogamous relationships and a lot more happy polyamorous ones!

        But I don’t really like your description of polyamory OR monogamy as an innate orientation rather than a lifestyle choice. You say that you consider yourself polyamorous because you “have more than passing attractions for people, and I have more than transient lust for other people”. That isn’t what makes you polyamorous – that just makes you human! What makes someone polyamorous is simply that they want to be in a relationship where those desires are open for exploration. We’re just not that different.

        No one is incapable of monogamy, it’s just that if it doesn’t have value to you, why make the effort?

        • This.

          I have had a variety of monogamous and polyamourous relationships. There are aspects of each I enjoy. What kind of relationship I enter depends on the dynamic between myself and my partner and what we’re comfortable with. We’ve also been known to change our minds back and forth within the relationship if we felt like an ‘open’ or ‘closed’ period would be best for us at the time.

          • I think that’s wonderful – the doing what feels right in the moment. I’m wondering, though, do you consider yourself polyamorous, in general? And if so, do you consider yourself polyamorous, even when you choose to be in a monogamous relationship? I’m merely curious, because I think how people self-identify is intriguing.

            • I don’t think I’m polyamorous in general so much as I’m just confused. I swing back and forth; I couldn’t choose a side definitively. So I guess you could say I don’t self-identify as far as this goes. I just roll with whatever satisfies my needs at the time.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Thanks for such a thoughtful answer. I think I see the difference now.

  13. I’m pretty shocked at all the comment backlash this article is getting. In no way does Jasmine want to force anyone to do anything, she just wants to do what she feels is right for her. If she can’t find anyone who wants to be polyamrous with her (this won’t happen, trust me), then maybe she will have to rethink how she wants to live her life. But if she finds guys willing to try this with her, how can we possibly object.

    Jasmine, I hope all these comments haven’t made you rethink at all. I’m not a polyamorous guy myself but I fully support someone who follows their heart even if it bucks tradition.

    • Thanks so much, Maxamillian. Those words, even though from a stranger, mean a great deal to me. I have been really struggling with what this means for me. Only slightly related to my self-discovery, my life sort of recently imploded in a big way. Sorting through it now, so words of support really help me to remember that I need to recognize my own needs in life. I certainly don’t want to push polyamory on anyone, because I understand that it isn’t for everyone. And I’ve done monogamy, so I respect that that works for many people. I’m just trying to traverse what it means for me, and sometimes the sentiment I receive has been pretty volatile. So it’s really nice to have people say something positive and supportive. 🙂

      • Np. I found your article really interesting, and if I was your friend and you expressed this to me I’d find it really interesting. There’s not a lot of people who are brave enough to truly follow what they feel and even post it in a public forum. Frankly, I find it impressive.

        Did you life “imploding” have anything to do with your realization? Or was it something unrelated?

  14. I feel like I may be polyamorous as well. I’m married and a father and would never want to end my marriage to pursue life as a single man for base sexual gratification. But that’s not what I feel when I think that I may be polyamorous. I don’t think it has much at all to do with simple sexual pleasure because I have plenty of simple sexual pleasure with my wife. I do, however, feel that I have desires to flirt, to be romantic with other women, to have sex with other women and engage in a loving relationship concurrently. I do not feel this cheapens or invalidates the love I have for my wife. This has been something that I have realized recently, in my early 30’s, as I evaluate the future and how I can find fulfillment in life. I truly believe I would be happiest if I were able to have romantic love with 2 or 3 women at the same time, care for my children in my home with my wife, and be able to enjoy the feeling of having another woman or two that I can express my love, my sexuality, my vulnerabilities.
    I make this confession here probably for the first time anywhere because I too do not believe this would be understood or accepted by my family and friends. I know my wife would be devastated, at least, I’m pretty sure she would be. I’m somewhat saddened by this though, because I don’t feel I can tell her and I know I will never be able to explore this lifestyle and still keep my family intact.

    • Jon,
      if your wife came to you and had a similar desire (to be with additional men) and it meant you could explore polyamory for you as well, would you be ok with the mutualness of the situation?

      • I honestly do feel that I could find my comfort level with that should she have the same feelings. As with anything like this within a marriage it takes honesty and consent so I believe we would have to set ground rules of course, but yes, I do think we could work out an arrangement and be comfortable with it.
        I would not be interested in having children with other women and would probably only be attracted to a woman who either already has children or does not want them. I would probably be more focused on older women, same age as my wife and me, 30’s or older as I don’t think I would be as comfortable with a younger woman. It’s all speculation and fantasy as I think about it now, but I guess I’m trying to understand how I feel about this myself anyway.

    • What if those other women also want kids? Could you handle 3 families?

    • Jon, I really appreciate you sharing your own self-discovery. I know exactly how daunting that can be (even with the anonymity of the internet). What you’ve expressed feeling is very similar to how I feel. Polyamory isn’t necessarily about sex. I can see myself having additional romantic relationships that are completely asexual in nature, or ones that are also sexual. But really, it’s the idea of the connections, intimately knowing others, having more than one romantic partner (because different people bring different things forth to a relationship).

      I would never presume to offer advice, but I will say that for me I knew I had to be honest with my partner. I also knew that he wouldn’t take it well (and he sure didn’t). We’re in a very messy place right now (entirely unrelated to my own self-discovery) but I think that what I discovered was that even though he was hurt, disgusted even, by what I was telling him we loved each other enough that we could traverse it together. It meant having open and honest dialogue. It meant explaining that even though I identify as polyamorous, I was still willing and able to maintain our monogamous commitment because I knew that that was what he needed out of the relationship (but keeping the conversation open so that if any point his feelings changed, we could explore that at that point). And the consequent dissolution (but potential reconciliation) of our relationship had nothing to do with my ‘coming out’ to him. Of course, I don’t know if that could work for you and your wife, but I do know it was a huge relief for me to finally name that thing that was there, to finally speak it.

      • I have to say, although I’m open minded about what orher people do, if my boyfriend told me he wanted to try an open relationship or polyamory, I would probably tell goodbye and god bless. If my husband told me, I’d want to have a serious discussion about divorce. I think for myself, I don’t have a great urge for sexual relationships with more than one man, but if my bf/husband was sleeping with other women, I wouldn’t want to sit at hine feeling like a chump. As a 45 year old woman, I don’t think finding a bunch of new relationships would be that easy. I’ve always thought that polyamory sounds great for attractive young women who will be able to bask in all the attention, but I wonder how they will feel when they get older and they no longer have value in the community. But I’m not in the community so I don’t know how it works.

      • I’m glad you point out the distinction that polyamory is not always about sex. Because I feel something is lacking in my life, an intimate relationship with a female who is not my wife. This is not a sexual drive, it is a desire for me to have intimacy, discussion, sharing and seeking advice from a woman with whom I trust and in a way, love. Other than my mother, the wives of my friends and my female relatives, I have no woman in my life who I can call a friend. I don’t feel comfortable talking about my relationship or sexuality with my male friends because often that wall of machismo kind of shuts me down, walls me off from true honesty, and the end result is unsatisfactory. It’s not the kind of intimacy I’m looking for. And I have a very healthy, open and honest relationship with my wife and we are very intimate, I have my needs met overwhelmingly most of the time. But there are those times when I want something else, someone else’s input, feedback, opinions, advice. I struggle with this and even in reading my post as I go back, I see how someone could consider my feelings as being selfish or greedy. I have a great marriage and wife who loves me and shares openly, why should I want more? I don’t know why, I just know that I feel like I do.

        • That sounds very similar to how I envision polyamory. I can’t say that I would never want to have a sexual relationship with another man, but I yearn for that additional connection. I think that a lot of people consider polyamory selfish, but I don’t view it thus. I’ve even been called ‘greedy’ for my desire to have more than one partner. But I think there is something wonderful about finding intimacy with another (or multiple other) human beings. And given that relationships are often a lot of hard work, a lot of compromise, I feel as though polyamory is anything but selfish!

          I can understand how it could be hard to talk to your male friends about these things. Interestingly, I often wish I had more male friends who I could speak to about such things, so I could get a male perspective (particularly when I’d told my partner and he reacted so poorly). I try to be empathetic and to understand, but sometimes I just wish I had a guy to give me insight! 🙂

          • I think in some ways we can be more open to the opposite sex specifically when discussing sex or our sexual orientation. I would be much less likely to feel judged and misunderstood by a woman. Don’t know why, just kind of a gut feeling.
            I’m sure I would have the ear of a male friend or two and that they would not actually judge me. But I fear that kind of emotional vulnerability being exposed to a man. And more specifically with sex, the only people who have sex with straight men are women, so I think a woman would have more insight to offer based on her own experience having intimate relationships with straight men. I don’t need a male perspective about this because I’m not dealing with trying to navigate a sensitive emotional issue with a man, I am trying to with a woman.
            I very much enjoyed the conversation here and I will look out for more material from you in the future.

  15. Everyone seems to forget that polyamory always existed… For men. That is, for generations, probably for millenia, married men were allowed to sleep around with other women if they had the opportunity, and even in times when it was frowned on, everyone pretty much looked the other way. Men commonly had mistresses or visited prostitutes. Women were the ones forced to be monogamous, at risk of severe sanctions, even death. The point of marriage was for a man to economically support a woman and children. As long as he did that, he could have other women on the side. Women did not have that luxury. Her job was to be a baby machine, dutifully producing children fathered by her husband.

    What’s changed now is that women can support themselves and we have birth control options so we don’t need a man to support us while we pump out 10-12 children, like our great grandmothers did. So it’s not surprising that some women now feel that they should have the same opportunities for relationships with a variety of partners as men always have had in the past.

    • Your description of “polyamory” that’s always existed for men just sounds like cheating – not polyamory. “Sleeping around” is not the defining characteristic of polyamory, whether it’s a man or a woman doing it. It’s about having more than one intimate relationship at a time, which often includes sex, but going to a prostitute or getting laid on the side behind a partner’s back doesn’t count.

      • Granted, that’s true, although from what i understand, there is a continuum from swinging (casual relationships) to open marriages to true polyamory (committed relationships) with some polyamoroys couples also engaging in casual encounters sometimes, and swingers developing long term relationships sometimes. In the past, men might have long term mistresses, “kept women” or even favorite prostitutes they saw regularly.

        • Yes, and women might have cheated too. What’s the point? The people engaged in ethical non-monogamy now are focused on the open communication and mutual expectations of how this will work for them.

          • All I’m saying us that women are just doing what men have always done – having multiple sexual relationships.

            • But the way you’re saying it sure sounds like men have been cheating forever, so now women are too, and you seem to be calling *that* polyamory, which is not remotely what it means to people engaged in ethical non-monogamy, as Julie says.

              • Yes, the imputation against males as having the monopoly on polyamory doesn’t really jive with me. PEOPLE have been unfaithful across time and place. Not just men. It may have been more acceptable and open for males, but it doesn’t mean it was males who were the only ones who had multiple relations.

                Also, I don’t really like the implication that women are becoming more comfortable identifying as polyamorous because men have always been cheaters (paraphrasing, and probably poorly). That’s not it. There have been cultures in which women have traditionally taken on multiple husbands, if we really want to explore cultural and historical contexts. I think it would be more accurate to say that many people are discovering that polyamory describes their inclinations – males and females – in spite of the monogamous hegemony we’re subjected to.

                • This was not well-articulated. Polyamory and infidelity are not equivalent.

                  • But, Jasmine, you had explained that you even had a “polyamorous” relationship, but not all members knew it existed, by your statement above, you were just a cheater, and I can start to get nasty and argue that you have just created this reason to get get rid of your shame and guilt for your past actions, and your current thoughts. But, those aren’t my true thoughts on this subject. I agree with Sarah here, men have been doing this for a very long time, and some women too, but now women are able to talk about it more freely, which liberates men as well, they can be more open about their desires. Now, women can follow through and really start defining themselves and their passions, whereas men were always able to. (Also, those cultures where women had multiple husbands, weren’t because women wanted to have sex with multiple men, or be proud of the “herum” of men they have collected.)

                    I was just telling my boyfriend the other day, “If a person feels like having sex or having another relationship with someone, it is better to open the lines of communication before acting on those feelings.” Then he said, “Well, that would take the fun out of it.” And I replied, “Aha! See, that’s when the other person just wants to cheat, and be a cheater. If they are just doing it for the thrill of secrecy, then they aren’t in a real relationship with the other person.” I could see the light turn on in his brain 🙂

    • As i understand it, polyamory existed in the matriarchy societies too, way before the history of the patriarchy. There continue to be polyamorous societies and again my understanding is that it is sanctioned for a man to take more than one wife when he can provide the energy and resources to do so and that there are strong customs and practices that regulate the relationships in order to keep blood lines strong. Of course, there are always those who are flimsy in their approach and many suffer. Being a polyamorous person is much more than a sexual practice, as i am sure that you are aware. It is about being responsible to another, others, mind, body and soul as we are to ourselves and if we don’t have the energy for that, it’s not a good idea, people get hurt – it becomes very self serving and ego centred, as does any relationship when we forget that the other is sacred and deserves our utmost love and respect. For me, as someone who has tasted and enjoyed those intimate relationships with others and grew a lot, i come back to where i am, at what point..i would always hit a wall, where the other just didn’t want to have to go through another before touching me. i was much less connected to my feeling then, more selfish, it was my agenda….i feel that the western mind will take time to really understand this non possessive way of living and there is also for me the question of womb and seed and parenting and responsibility…….do i let more than one man seed, me? Are we ok with that. Will we be there, unselfishly for baby, will we hold the container to ensure safety and growth? i don’t step away from the possibility and know that it does happen – for me, it will have to be very unselfish, very kind and noble and seeing.

  16. That is absolutely how it feels for me – that this is just inherently part of who I am. Interestingly, I’ve been in a monogamous relationship as I’ve discovered this about myself, so even though I’ve not had the opportunity to explore polyamory since coming to this realization, it’s still how I identify (which perhaps illustrates the complexity of orientations and self-identifying). 🙂

    The really interesting thing about this situation is that I came out to the internet world before telling any of my family. And even still, those who’ve not read this piece, are probably still in the dark about my identifying as polyamorous. So the only feedback I’ve received, really, has been from strangers, a few friends, and from my long-term partner. With strangers, it’s been a mix. There are those who recognize that polyamory isn’t some excuse to be as promiscuous as possible, but there are also those who suggest that there is no way this is inherent, but rather something one chooses to be. It’s been interesting to see the reactions, some of them negative, but mostly I feel the response has been positive. Probably the most negative response I received was from my partner (which is really ironic, given what followed… something I’m in the process of writing about… So stay tuned for that). 🙂

  17. Thank you for posting this! It seems like, for many, polyamory *is* a relationship orientation that is ingrained – as much as sexual orientation. Have you experienced much push-back from people who feel its more of a lifestyle choice?

  18. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    I was probably born “poly,” also. I’m currently in a relationship with a strongly monogamous woman, so I don’t practice it. I think I can properly be seen as “biogamous,” actually. Occasionally, I’ll fall in love with another woman, but it often won’t lead to sex. It has in the past, however. One very nice affair lasted for six years. I’m not comfortable with more than one extra lover (I’ve tried this,) and don’t care for some of poly-culture. Too much talk about the other relationships is irritating. Too much talk about feelings of jealousy, etc. is a downer too. Polies who posture about their “ethics” in a superior way are pretty irritating. For me, “cheating” actually works better, sad to say.

    • Jasmine says:

      Interesting perspective. I find talking to important in any type of relationship, polyamorous or otherwise. Even talking about feelings. Of course, you don’t want to beat the topic to death, but just as long as all partners are being heard and having their needs met, I think the amount of talking isn’t necessarily important. I’m curious to know in what way cheating works better for you? I’ve done the cheating thing and for me it never worked – for me or my partner. I always ended up feeling awful, and it always got back to my partner. Even if I had the assurance that my partner would never find out, cheating just isn’t an option for me. I like the openness of a poly relationship. I don’t need to necessarily tell the intimate details of each of my relationships to all of my partners, but just to have the conversations so they know who I’m dating seems integral to me (this is theoretically speaking, as I am still in a relationship with a strongly oriented monogamist).

      • Henry Vandenburgh says:

        I had the advantage of living and working in two separate cities. “Cheating” in a weird way seems to preserve “boundaries” between the primary relationship and the other one. Strangely, when I was an open poly, the relationship was always sabotaged by someone other than me. In one, the partner of the woman I was involved with pulled out– taking her with him. In two others, my sense was that my secondary relationship wanted me to dump my primary.

        I probably could be an open poly, but I think I don’t trust others along these lines.

        • That’s an interesting perspective. I suppose it is informed by complications in your previous poly relationships? I couldn’t endure the secrecy of cheating; I’ve done it, and always felt horrible and guilty. In my relationship with my current partner, I always feel compelled to be truthful and honest, and knowing that infidelity is a deal-breaker for him, I just couldn’t do it.

  19. I’m 26 and I too wish I knew about Polyamory before it snuck up on me.
    Like other’s have said, I can kinda understand the guys knee-jerk reaction. I myself had similar feelings but I suppressed them and decided to think/research more into it as opposed to flying off the hook.
    It is somewhat of a shock to the system to find out someone you thought you were exclusive to is seeing others. That being said, I never asked about it but that’s because I didn’t *know* it existed.

    • Jasmine says:

      I certainly understand my partner’s reaction, and your own. We entered our relationship more than six years ago based on an understanding that we would be monogamous. I’m not seeing anyone else, and won’t as long as he’s uncomfortable with it. But even the acknowledgement that this is part of who I am has been difficult for him. We’re still traversing what this means for us.

      People who identify as polyamorous are going to practice that in different ways, but for me it is about openness and honesty. I would never have additional partners without first discussing it with my current partner, so it would never be a shock for him. I can certainly understand how that might be disconcerting.

  20. wellokaythen says:

    I support responsible polyamory as just as valid a choice as responsible monogamy. (I say responsible, because sneaking around cheating on one’s partner isn’t really polyamory; it’s cheating.)

    Just out of curiosity, and because this is where discussion seems to break down, do you think it’s possible for someone to mis-identify as polyamorous? Are there people who try it as an experiment and it fails because they’re not really sufficiently made for it?

    A related question: how does one know that being polyamorous is the issue in one’s failed relationships and not something else? (I’m not saying you’re wrong. Just wondering if maybe some people are blaming the wrong thing sometimes.)

    I ask because maybe the polyamorous relationships that fail do so because the people in them are not really poly after all?

    • Jasmine says:

      I think these are all excellent questions and great points. I, too, support responsible relating whatever the relational style. This is why I place so much emphasis on consent, because consent requires openness, honesty, and clear communication. This is a requisite for any relationship, whether it be monogamous, polyamorous, or nonromantic.

      I would say that it is possible to misidentify as pokyamorous, but I would also contend that it probably doesn’t happen very often. Polyamory is a peripheral relational style, and so I think it takes a great deal of self-reflection and conscious consideration to even identify as poly. I think it’s far more likely to misidentify as monogamous, given that the hegemonic discourse for relationship is heterosexual and monogamous. It gives people less opportunity to recognize their inclinations as potentially indicative of Polyamory. However, I’m sure there are people who come to identify as poly, try it out, only to discover it doesn’t work for them after all. I think this happens with monogamy, too, but that due to a lack of available discourse, it is chalked up to personal failing rather than a lack of congruency between their relational style and their relationship.

      I was hesitant to identify my underlying polyamorous inclinations as a factor in previous failed relationships, because there were multiple reasons they didn’t work out. And I think some may use polyamory as an excuse for being unfaithful. This is a disservice to polyamory and monogamy. I made the connection only because I can clearly see moments where I was romantically entangled with more than one man at a time. And it isn’t why my relationships failed, but it was certainly a factor for me. I have to be clear, though, that my tendency toward infidelity is not at all why I assert that polyamory was, at least in part, a factor in my lack of relationship success. In fact, my tendency to be unfaithful was something else entirely – not at all related to poly desires. People tend to equate Polyamory with the desire to have sex with a lot of people, and while I love sex, I prefer it to be with someone with whom I’m intimately involved.

      I think there are a number of reasons poly relationships fail. Just as with monogamous relationships, it can be difficult, complicated, and messy sometimes. And perhaps one or both partners are less enthusiastic about polyamory than the other. Or perhaps they did think themselves poly, tried it out, and discovered that it wasn’t for them, after all. And, you know, sometimes people just change. So perhaps they were truly polyamorous, but grew into a monogamous identity. I tend to believe we are fluid, constantly changing and evolving as individuals, so it doesn’t surprise me when people develop new self-identities over time.

      The key, I would assert, is self-reflection. I spent a lot of time thinking about myself and who I am before really concluding that this is part of who I am. One has to be really aware of themselves, I think, and I didn’t jump into this self-definition lightly. I’m sure there are those who do, but I tend to believe that to identify as a member of any peripheral group tends to require a great deal of the kind of reflection required that leads to pretty accurate conclusions.

  21. “What Does Polyamory Look LIke?”is an attempt to help educate people about their options! I wrote it in response to a request from my church (Unitarian Universalist) for a curriculum to help our congregations welcome people in diverse family forms, and am also using it to help introduce counselors and health care workers to polyamory.

    It emphasizes that all honest, loving forms of relationships, including monogamy, are wonderful for people who choose them. But if we don’t know there are options, how can we freely choose monogamy! It works for lots of people. But just as lots of my gay friends got married because that was the only option they knew existed, only to later get divorced and start living a life congruent with who they genuinely were – so poly people often don’t realize it until they’ve made vows to monogamy, thinking there is no other choice. The goal of the book is to help educate people, including young people, to the fact that we DO have choices! I hope it is one more contribution to the growing awareness of polyamory as a viable relationship option!

  22. You might want to check out amazon’s look-inside feature on “What Does Polyamory Look LIke?” – and if you decide to read it, I’d love feedback! I wrote it in response to a request from my church (Unitarian Universalist) for the core of a curriculum to help our congregations welcome people in diverse family forms, and am also using it to help introduce counselors and health care workers to polyamory.

    It emphasizes that all honest, loving forms of relationships, including monogamy, are wonderful for people who choose them. But if we don’t know there are options, how can we freely choose monogamy! It works for lots of people. But just as lots of my gay friends got married because that was the only option they knew existed, only to later get divorced and start living a life congruent with who they genuinely were – so poly people often don’t realize it until they’ve made vows to monogamy, thinking there is no other choice. The goal of the book is to help educate people, including young people, to the fact that we DO have choices! I hope it is one more contribution to the growing awareness of polyamory as a viable relationship option!

    • Thanks. Once this semester is over, I’ll try and give that a read! I think it’s really important people to know they have choices, rather than getting into a relationship and realizing it doesn’t work for them.

  23. You might want to check out amazon’s look-inside feature on “What Does Polyamory Look LIke?” – and if you decide to read it, I’d love feedback! I wrote it in response to a request from my church (Unitarian Universalist) for the core of a curriculum to help our congregations welcome people in diverse family forms, and am also using it to help introduce counselors and health care workers to polyamory.

    It emphasizes that all honest, loving forms of relationships, including monogamy, are wonderful for people who choose them. But if we don’t know there are options, how can we freely choose monogamy! It works for lots of people. But just as lots of my gay friends got married because that was the only option they knew existed, only to later get divorced and start living a life congruent with who they genuinely were – so poly people often don’t realize it until they’ve made vows to monogamy, thinking there is no other choice. The goal of the book is to help educate people, including young people, to the fact that we DO have choices! I hope it is one more contribution to the growing awareness of polyamory as a viable relationship option!

    Mim Chapman, PhD

  24. “So forgive me if I’m feeling resentful of a culture that allowed me, even encouraged me, to deny a part of who I am for 27 years of my life.”

    Don’t compare yourself with homosexuals. No one is born monogamous, its a choice, its a sacrifice most of us make to in order to achieve something greater.

    You may blame society and feel sorry for your poor unprogressive bf, but to me it sounds more like you want to friendzone him to hop back on the c**k carousel, without losing safety of having a poor sucker back at home to use as emotional tampon….

    Why dont you give us an update a few years down the road, im curious if it’ll be like a college-lesbian phase or if you truly commit to the lifestyle.

    cheers

    • Jasmine says:

      I’m not comparing myself to any group. I’m suggesting that heteronormativity is similar to the culturally prescribed monogamy to which we’re expected to adhere.

      I’m not blaming anyone for anything. I’m merely elucidating that the dominant discourse is limited and limiting.

      Your comment belies the cultural misconceptions about polyamory. Polyamory isn’t about sex, but about relating. Sometimes intimate relationships develop into sexual ones, but this isn’t always the case and being polyamorous does not equate with a desire for more sex. I love and respect my partner, and I respect that he OS not comfortable with nonmonogamy.

      It is rhetoric like that which you’ve employed here that inspired me to write this. Hopefully in the future these conversations won’t be necessary.

  25. mr derp says:

    Nice Sophistry, blame it on the evil Harper!

  26. Jake Heingringer says:

    Jasmine, I just want to sound a note of support for you and your partner and to let you know that a monogamous/poly pairing CAN work. I’m monogamous, my wife is not, and we’re doing just fine, thank. In fact, our relationship is better than ever because we opened up.

    It did come as a shock to me to learn that my wife wanted to become intimate with another man (only a few months ago, after 10+ years of marriage). But I am committed to her happiness as well as my own, and I’ve worked hard to overcome my social conditioning, partly with the help of a specialized therapist. Part of working through this for me has been learning that though I might fantasize about it, I really don’t want to have multiple partners. And yet, I’m okay with my wife having more than me. In fact, more than okay. What’s in it for me? Here’s what:

    -Greater intimacy, honesty, and openness with my wife;

    -Deeper feelings of compassion, love, and joy;

    -A renewed sense of adventure and excitement in my marriage;

    -A new special person in my life, someone who seems almost like family.

    Key to realizing these benefits has been clear and honest communication about what we both want (she wants him AND me, not him OR me), don’t want (she wants another love partner and I don’t), and a constant re-affirmation of the importance of our marriage to each other. We are now more loving, more compassionate, more forgiving, and generally more attentive to each other than at any other time in our marriage.

    I agree with you completely on the oppressiveness of a close-minded society. While we are open with each other, we don’t feel we can be open about our lifestyle with most of our friends or family without inviting the kind of negativity you’ve been seeing here. Which is a shame since the truly great benefit of an open marriage is that it is, well, open. How much more dignified and life-affirming this is than one of us having an affair behind the other’s back!

    All of this to say that I wish you and your loved one(s) every possible success and happiness in living the life you choose.

    • Jasmine says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words. It sounds like you and your wife have a wonderful supportive and loving relationship. It is really nice to hear some positive feedback from someone for whom an open relationship has worked so well.

  27. I really love this Jasmine. I relate to it on so many levels. I too came to the conclusion (at 27 years old) that I am poly, and also realized this after being 6 years into a monogamous relationship with my husband. What a sense of relief to figure out what had been gnawing at my spirit for so long! This is a fairly new thing to us and we are working with eachother to try and make it work for both of us. It’s been quite a journey and I hope it works out for the best for all. Either way, at least now I can acknowledge this truth about myself and honor it. 🙂

    • Jasmine says:

      Wow, thank you for sharing! Hearing from someone with such a similar experience is helpful. This has been a recent development in my life, and I’m still processing what this means for me. It really helps to legitimize my experiences to hear from someone who’s gone through something so similar! 🙂

    • BrklynBombshell says:

      Thank you so much for sharing…36 years old and had to exit an eight-year monogamous marriage for several reasons, including the poly realization. We’ve remained friends (communication is key), but now I’m slowly “coming out” as it were to close friends and relatives. My anger comes from feeling that a more supportive social environment in general would have made it easier to identify this earlier in life, but I’m not one to brood or harbor regrets, so I’m grateful for the realization regardless of when it happened… Can’t help feeling like I have a lot of catching up to do in terms of the identity politics involved, but thanks either way for sharing your experiences publicly. Extremely helpful.

      • Jasmine says:

        Yes, I was still quite angry when I wrote this piece, for exactly the same reason – monogamy is thrust down our throats, and we’re told from early on that monogamy is the ‘right’ way… the only right way. I’ve moved past the initial anger (it’s still there, of course, but has lessened), and toward wanting to do something. Writing this piece, although I was nervous about putting so much of myself out there, was part of that. It is my hope that in the future, everyone will know the word polyamory, and people won’t have to go decades trying to fulfill a role that doesn’t work for them. I’m glad to know that sharing my experience has been helpful to others! Best of luck working out the identity politics, and in your future relationships!

  28. Just no. Have any kind of relationship you want, Jasmine. I don’t care. Have a relationship with a man, a woman, and a tree all at the same time, it’s all the same to me.

    But the “born this way” excuse is pure, unadulterated B.S. Or, maybe I should say “pure adulterated B.S.” You see, when I discovered my ex-wife was having an affair, she told me that she wanted both of us because she was “born polyamorous.” Uh-uh. Not buying it. It’s a lifestyle choice, and if that’s what you had wanted, you should have said so. To blame your failed relationships on being “born polyamorous” is a cop-out, a disservice to your ex-partners, and just plain wrong.

    • Jasmine says:

      Let me clarify here for you. Firstly, it isn’t a choice that I have these inclinations. It is something that is inherently part of who I am. It is a choice about how I relate to other people, and whether I do or do not have polyamorous relationships, but otherwise it is something that is part of my very being.

      That being said, I’ve not at all justified or excused being unfaithful in my previous relationships with my polyamorous inclinations, and I’ve not blamed my failed relationships on my orientation as poly. I am suggesting that if I had made this self-discovery sooner, it might have led to more open and honest communication, and that perhaps I’d have been able to traverse those relationships more adeptly. It has nothing to do with polyamory, and everything to do with self-awareness. If one isn’t sure of who they are, then they cannot be honest with other people.

      Clearly you’ve been hurt by your past experiences with a loved one claiming to be polyamorous. I can certainly understand that. But, while that may have been your wife’s position, I firmly believe that polyamory is about openness and honesty. It is NOT polyamory if all adults involved are not consenting and enthusiastic about the situation. While I may identify as polyamorous, my partner does not. Therefore, for me to engage in additional relationships would be disingenuous; that wouldn’t be polyamory but infidelity. People often conflate the two, but they are not at all the same thing.

  29. For those of you engaging with antz, you do know his main goal is just revenge on women, above all else, right?

    http://www.the-spearhead.com/2012/02/29/raising-conservative-daughters/#comment-134058

    Here is what men want:
    We want women to drag their lazy, entitled, pampered tushes off the couch and into the workplace. We want then to pay 50% of taxes, and expect no more than 50% of benefits. We want them to sweat, bleed, and die just as often as men do.

    We want women to take care of themselves, because men are tired of protecting and providing for ungrateful vermin. The age of women parasites is over. Men know their game, and refuse to pay for their privilege.

    Cut them loose, and let the skanks swim for themselves. Or sink. Who cares?

    Cool guy!

    • Julie Gillis says:

      What’s so funny about that comment is that other than the “vermin” hyperbole and dreck, I don’t really think most feminists are against working, fighting, learning, educating, struggling, just like everyone else. Sounds like he wants women in war, which women who join the army ask for. Women want to be police, firefighters, and emts too. I often see that women aren’t supposed to get any help getting into those jobs? Or something? So do you or do you not want women in those jobs?

      Women aren’t parasites. Like…there are a lot of parasites in this here world. The mega rich maybe? CEO’s that make 23 million and complain that NYT reporters make 44K? But thats like a 1-5% deal. Lots of women working, taking care of kids, etc. Lots of men too.

      Anthony’s issues about 50% seem to come from custody issues and property rights. Each divorce is different. They all suck I presume. I’m willing to consider the possibility that all family judges are part of a conspiracy, but I just don’t think people are that organized. I do figure that there are some stereotypes that mothers are better than fathers at caregiving, or have more options to stay home, but again, that gets back to some of the things feminism was fighting against to begin with.

      What seems to happen in divorce is anger. Heaps of it. Loss. Heaps of it. Justifying using property or kids as weapons against the person who hurt you. That’s wrong no matter the gender doing it.

      • Copyleft says:

        Correct. Angry tone aside, what Anthony is proposing is ACTUAL equality, with all the downsides and drawbacks that come from being treated as truly equal. We don’t have that today–and the changes needed to fix it aren’t all in one direction.

  30. An"Entitled"Man says:

    @jasmine

    “Cheating is not related to polyamory, really. Polyamory is not equivalent to being unfaithful.” I disagree only in the instance of being involved against the wishes of a committed monogamous partner. Otherwise, more power to you!
    Everything you have said is reasonable and fair. I really hope you all the best and apologize if I came off as attacking you as a person, that was not my intent, I just get my back up about infidelity and more generally betrayal. I am a loyal person and expect that of others, sometimes seeing disloyalty where it doesn’t exist.

    • If one person isn’t okay with it, if it goes against their wishes, then it’s not polyamory.

      I understand where you’re coming from. And perhaps my admission in the article of having been unfaithful in past relationships created an opening for you to see disloyalty where it doesn’t exist. I am deeply committed to my partner. I want him to feel not only comfortable but safe within our relationship, and that includes maintaining monogamy.

      I may have reacted defensively (I tend to do that, sometimes). I didn’t feel at all attacked by your commentary; it just wasn’t my intention to put my relationship under the microscope. And I might have been particularly defensive because it’s been under a microscope a lot lately (apparently living in separate provinces makes people think our relationship is in critical condition).

      • An"Entitled"Man says:

        I think this is the most civility I have seen on the internet in months! It MUST be Feb 29.

        Don’t let other people get you down, you clearly know yourself better than most. It is tough living in different provinces, but I personally know several couples seperated for a while for school just like that, who went on to get married and (so far) live happily ever after, so it can be done.

        • I, too, am appreciating the civility of this dialogue. Thanks for your input in the conversation. And thank you for the words of encouragement. I’m not keen on the marriage idea, but I am definitely looking forward to seeing my partner again in a few months. 🙂

  31. Bravo! I agree with you 100%! I just turned 28 in October, around the same time I first learned of Polyamory… which was also my revelation as to why so many of my relationships failed the way they did. I dont know what this means yet. But I felt a sigh of relief coming to have a name for what I had felt so many times. Still, right now, I’m happily in a monogomous relationship.

    Best of luck to you and yours!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience! It’s good to know that I’m not the only recently self-discovered polyamorist maintaining a monogamous relationship. The revelation just brought so much clarity to me, as well, about my past relationships and about myself in general. I don’t know if this has been your experience at all, but some people have questioned whether I can legitimately identify as polyamorous even though I’m maintaining a monogamous relationship. Clearly I can, because I do, but I think that the question itself speaks to our rigid adherence to a world of binaries.

      Good luck with exploring whatever this revelation means for you and your relationship(s). 🙂

      • I think we have nothing to be ashamed of. My relationship is with an older woman, which in and of itself is viewed as abnormal. But I’ve been open and honest about my thoughts and feelings. She trusts me, and I wont betray that trust, I respect her and care for her too much.

        I’m a flirtatious person. It comes involuntarily. In the past, I can see that I cared for more than one woman at a time, though I never came close to physically cheating, I was accused of having an emotional affair. No, it wasn’t that I wanted to have sex with more than one woman, it was the different experiences we were able to enjoy together, the similarities we shared, that my partner disliked. It was like being faulted for enjoying two completely different types of cake… I like my cake, and I like to eat it too!

        My current girlfriend and I enjoy nearly everything together, which is a far cry from my past relationships. So, I’m very happy right now. But had I realized this earlier in life, who knows how much better off my relationships would have faired. But, hindsight is 20/20, and the future is unclear.

        Hopefully future generations can have these revelations early on, so that they can accept and express what they enjoy. And hopefully their views will be met with a more accepting society. I dont think that is far fetched.

        • I’ve always figured if you have cake and don’t eat it, it’s wasteful. =)

          For me it isn’t about sex, either. It’s like friendships – I interact with each of my close friends in different ways, and I love them all for different reasons. My relationships with each of them are fulfilling in different ways. My current partner is staunchly monogamous, and I love and respect him, so I remain committed to our (monogamous) relationship. If I had discovered this about myself earlier in my life, perhaps he and I would never have dated, so I cannot entirely bemoan my belated self-discovery.

          It is my hope that we’re raising future generations of accepting beings. I’ve had conversations with my daughter about this since I had my epiphany, and her reception and response was delightfully blase.

  32. While polyamory may not “ruin the world”, the idea of accepting it as a norm in the same way we accept monogomy to be normal, is disgusting and detrimental to the values and foundations of our families, and what our society is made of. What kind of world would we live in if everyone had multiple “partners”? How does marriage work into this scenario? What happens to families and children? It doesn’t work and there is nothing “normal” about it, which is probably why it took you 27 years to put a word to it. I really do however feel for your partner. What a position for him to have to be in, whether consent is a part of this or not. If the two of you have been in a monogomous relationship for 6 years, he will obviously have great difficulty walking away, regardless of how uncomfortable this makes him feel. I don’t care to hear your reply, nor will I get it as I’ve used an old email address. All I have to say is, the idea of this disgusts me.

    • I fully anticipated getting such negative commentary as your own. ‘Normalcy’ is a fluid concept. Monogamy is not any more ‘normal’ than polyamory; it is, however, normalized. There are plenty of poly families with children – healthy, happy, loved children.

      It took 27 years not because it’s not normal, but because it’s peripheral. The thing is, if polyamory disgusts you, you don’t have to be polyamorous. But that doesn’t mean that others cannot live happily and contentedly in polyamorous relationships. I think it’s sad (and telling) that you felt the need to use an old email address so as to denigrate my orientation as something less than normal, and ‘disgusting’, and not engage in civilized conversation, or even attempt to perhaps empathize or understand the world from a different perspective than your own.

      Whether you read this or not, I feel compelled to reply and to dispel the myths you’ve promoted here. My relational style is not going to do anything to the values you or anyone else possesses, nor am I destroying the foundation of families. It’s similar to the argument that homosexuality is destroying family values. How can people loving one another – respectfully and with consent – harm the relationships or values of someone else? My love life isn’t going to harm your love life, or your personal values. Marriage doesn’t have to work into the scenario, but it can (and does, for many poly couples). Just because polyamory isn’t right for you personally doesn’t mean it isn’t right. Just like even though I happen to be heterosexual, it doesn’t mean that anything other than that is wrong or bad. In fact, love is love and I think whenever someone finds love that is a good thing.

    • “What kind of world would we live in if everyone had multiple “partners”? How does marriage work into this scenario? What happens to families and children?”

      We would have a community where relationships were 100% voluntary, marriage per se was optional or nonexistent, and childcare was a shared communal responsibility… which is already ‘normal’ in many cultures and has worked just fine throughout human history.

      Polyamory wasn’t invented last week, you know.

      • Well said, Copyleft!

      • An"Entitled"Man says:

        “childcare was a shared communal responsibility” I think this needs more explanation, such as what is the community with responsibility? I already feel as a currently childless person that people with kids presume that I will take undue responsibility and cost for their choice and thats not ok with me.

        • Copyleft says:

          And you’re right to feel that way… we don’t live in a polyamorous-dominated society, after all. In our system, children are simply the property (sometimes all too literally) of their parents and no one else. Some even begrudge public education as being too “socialist.” Me, I see it as the best chance some poor kids have to escape the rigid confines of their parents’ backward beliefs and enforced ignorance.

          But that’s another subject, of course.

        • Agreed, communal responsibility for kids may have worked in Polynesia but it’s not going to work in a modern industrial society.

          Read “Brave New World” for an interesting version of a non-monogamous society with artificial wombs and children raised by the state….

    • wellokaythen says:

      Reply to Anonymous:

      One of the many problems with this message is that even if you’re right, this is a very depressing, very hopeless view of civilized society. The only thing between us and total barbarism is too many people becoming polyamorous? Really? Then we really are hanging by a thread. If what you’re saying is true, that monogamy is the way that humans are just supposed to be and have been for thousands of years, then I don’t understand why polyamory could possibly be a threat. Wow. Powerful stuff, if it can bring down civilization just by talking about it on a blog. I’m not sure what’s so great about civilization if it’s so fragile that a particular family dynamic can destroy it completely.

      If so, then what you’re saying is that polyamory could seduce so many people that society grinds to a halt and everything collapses because people have too many partners.

      Seems to me that if polyamory really was totally unnatural and unsustainable then there’s nothing to worry about in the first place. If it’s so contrary to the way that things are supposed to be, then you can just expect it to fizzle out.

      But, if it’s so alluring that it poses a threat to the entire social organism, how do you explain its allure?

  33. I’m right there with you Jasmine: Conditioned by society. Married. Epiphany. Angry. Working it out.
    You’re article reminded me of a long-forgotten situation from college. I had a roommate with two boyfriends, both aware of the other, both shared the same first name. I might have never known about the situation if not for the instructions given for taking phone messages (this was before the days of popular cell phone use), my roommates and I were advised to note whether it was “Tom 1” or “Tom 2”. I remember thinking “how crazy is this girl?”. I had absolutely zero context for which to put this into. Looking back, it seems like just one more sign I missed along the road to my eventual epiphany. Thanks for your piece today and good luck to you both.

    • I’m as good as married, and my partner is staunchly against polyamory. It’s been interesting trying to negotiate what this means for us.

      I wish you and your husband the best as well. Some days I wish I’d not had my revelatory moment, but it was also a huge relief to finally acknowledge that part of who I am.

      • An"Entitled"Man says:

        This is the kind of situation in which any “negotiation” results in someone winning solely at the other’s expense. Sounds like you are headed to a breakup or else some serious hard feelings that aren’t going away on someone’s part.

        • Relationships, no matter what the nature, are all about negotiations, compromise, reciprocity. This is true for friendships and romantic relationships, monogamous and polyamorous relationships, and every other relationship in between. If done openly, honestly, and with integrity the negotiations and compromises we make within a relationship don’t involve ‘winning’ or ‘losing’. It’s not a zero sum game.

          I didn’t write this piece for a diagnosis of my relationship – like any relationship we have our ups and downs but we have tremendous love and respect for one another. I wrote this piece so that perhaps a dialogue – a constructive one – can be opened up about relationship styles, and the nuances of love and life. We don’t have to live in a world of binaries, defined by the normalized and eschewing anything on the periphery. I am inviting critical thought of the dominant culture.

          • An"Entitled"Man says:

            I think you are confusing “compromise” with “sacrifice”. Its a common error. Compromise, is for give and take situations, where we both win a little and give up a little. Sacrifice is for situations where one side of an issue persuades, or bullies or otherwise gets one person to sacrifice their position to make the other happy.

            Explain how a monogamist can ever compromise with a polygamist in a relationship. By nature of being polygamist you can’t be happy forever in monogamy, and he can’t be okay with you sharing the love so to speak. I predict breakup soon or he will lie and say he is okay with your desires out of a wish to keep you around, and steadily grow bitter with sublimating his needs and security for yours. Again, that is a sacrifice, which is one-sided. What are you giving up?

            • I am aware of the definition of compromise and that of sacrifice. But, you’ve taken an essentialist position. Just because I identify as polyamorous (not polygamous, which is the umbrella term for marriage to more than one partner; were I married to more than one man it would be called polyandry) does not mean that to be in a happy, monogamous relationship I am sacrificing anything. This has always been there for me; the only thing that has changed is that I’ve articulated it and acknowledged it verbally. It doesn’t make me any less happy in my loving, committed relationship.

              Again, my intent here is not to get a diagnosis, or even a prognosis, for my relationship. We’ve got that covered ourselves through open and honest discussion.

              • An"Entitled"Man says:

                If you are polyamorous, but can exist in a LTR without cheating, then you and I are in complete agreement and I retract any perceived criticism with my apologies.
                I merely was concerned at the idea that he would “come around” so to speak, especially as that is not likely to happen.

                FTR I don’t see any problem with Polyamory, its just not something I myself would practice or accept in a partner. Not for moral reasons, but for personal and practical ones. Best wishes to you.

                • Polyamory is about consent, so the key is that if I were to engage in additional relationships, my partner would by necessity have to be okay with that – even enthusiastic about it. But he’s not, so that means that is completely off the table. If things were to change in the future – and I’m not saying they would, or that I would anticipate that they would – then it would be a new conversation that we would open up.

                  Cheating is not related to polyamory, really. Polyamory is not equivalent to being unfaithful. I’ve been in a committed monogamous relationship for more than six years, and happily so, so my self-discovery really doesn’t change much, for me.

                  I appreciate that it isn’t for everyone. Monogamy is preferable for many reasons to a lot of individuals. And I get it. I understand why my partner desires a monogamous relationship. Any relationship – monogamous or otherwise – is going to require effort and energy, and may not always work out long term. All we can do is try. 🙂

  34. it sounds like you enjoy keeping multiple partners. Which is fine.

    You should be aware of why people tend to avoid those relationships, though. As a veteran of a number of poly relationships, I can tell you that they can turn sour really quick.

    Let’s be honest. Most people do the poly thing so they can get laid more. Its why my girlfriends did it, and why I got into a relationship like that. But usually, someone involved wants something else and just goes along to make everyone else happy. Those relationships tend to blow up.

    If it works for you, cool. But you need to make damn sure that it works for your parner(s) too if you plan on keeping them. The polyamory article by Angi somewhere else here? Her marriage is probably going to end because of this. I say that because her situation mirrors another relationship I was in, in which my girlfriend ignored her boyfriend’s desires and the whole thing just fell apart.

    You can have a poly relationship that works if you can show the maturity and understanding required, as well as fairness. Thing is, most people just can’t do that.

    • For me, it’s not at all about sex. If I want to have a lot of sex, I can do that on my own. And the key to polyamory is definitely consent. My partner is monogamous, and so I am respectful of that. And that is what is important, in any relationship; respect is huge.

      Poly relationships are susceptible to all of the issues of monogamous relationships, really. A monogamous relationship in which one is not attentive, respectful, committed, or fully present will be as unsuccessful as a poly relationship with such issues.

    • Maturity, understanding and fairness – the tenets of ANY good relationship!

  35. Anthony Zarat says:

    “I don’t blame him for his initial reaction ..”

    I really want to support you, but this sentence reveals that you are as closed minded as the “society” who you claim does not accept you for who you are. You should not blame him for whatever reaction he has, of whatever duration — up to and including telling you that he loathes and reviles you just before he walks out the door.

    Getting past your own prejudices, there is certainly nothing wrong with choosing whatever lifestyle you want. It is a personal, harmless choice that you make. I support your right to live however you want, with full acceptance and the same legal rights as everyone else.

    And now, I have a question for you.

    Do you support my right to (i) find three other men, (ii) to employ technology such that each of us contribute 25% to the genetic make-up of a child, and (iii) using artificial womb gestation, form a family where four fathers equally share responsibility for a single child? We would all be in monogamous relationships with other partners (women, most likely), and our parental relationship would be based on trust, friendship, and the common love for our offspring.

    In other words, how do you feel about completely separating the affectionate relationship between adults from the care relationship between adults and children?

    • I’m not sure where your assertion that I’m closed-minded stems from. I understand his initial reaction (and given that I wrote this shortly after arriving at this self-discovery, it was still just an initial reaction. We’re still having conversations about what this means for me and for us, and I still acknowledge wherever he’s coming from at any given moment. That being said, sometimes when his fears or sadness are manifested in angry exchanges, I don’t accept that because I do require him to respect me. So there is give and take.

      I’m not sure where you’re going with your hypothetical scenario. I will say this – while I appreciate what medical technology has done for people who want to conceive but struggle, I am not fond of the ever-increasing medicalization of pregnancy and the female body. I’m not going to judge people who utilize such technology, but it isn’t for me. I don’t know how this at all relates to polyamory, though.

      • Anthony Zarat says:

        There is no “female body” in this equation:

        Artificial womb = a machine generates a child (instead of a woman).

        That is just the technology. Once the technology exists (a few years, not decades) for 4 men to be full biological parents of a child, what do you think are the moral implications of this scenario? Do you see anything wrong with four men each contributing 1/4 of the genetic material for a child, and each contributing 1/4 of the financial and parental responsibility for that child? There is no woman involved in any part of any of this in any way. It is a question about what men should be morally permitted to do with their time, their body, and their commitment.

        About your partner, let me spell it out. He did not agree to be involved with a polyamorous person. If he wants out, you have nothing to say about it. No judgment, no anything.

        • Who said he wants out? That’s jumping to conclusions! Of course if he wanted out that would be his choice (re: the whole issue about consent). Consent is an integral aspect to any relationship, polyamorous or otherwise.

          I am refraining from answering your question further because it doesn’t pertain to this issue of polyamory, as far as I can see. If you want to raise a child with four other men, all the power to you. I don’t judge.

          • Anthony Zarat says:

            Poly-amorous people are a minority of the overall population.

            The odds that the any given man is poly-amorous are very small. Your relationship began as a monogamous relationship. It is unlikely that your SO would (by chance) be a member of a small community. There is a higher likelihood that he will go against his nature by agreeing to something that is hurtful to him.

            Of course, you have a right to pursue your own happiness, and you have a right to change at any time, and you have a right to pursue a different kind of happiness after you change. However you must be certain that you do not use coercion to compel a monogamous person to live a listestyle that is damaging to him.

            • I think I’ve been very clear that consent is important to any and all relationships. Also, discovering that I’m polyamorous doesn’t mean that I’m currently engaging in polyamorous relationships. I would never coerce anyone into any kind of relationship that they were uncomfortable with. I have been exceedingly concerned with how this impacts him. Polyamory, by its nature, is about consenting adults engaging in consensual relationships. Any relationship should involve compassion, fairness, understanding, and concern for the other(s) involved.

        • Julie Gillis says:

          So, no egg, each man has genetic connection to the baby. Cool. All good. Do you think this is somehow going to stop weird and traumatic custody issues? Seems like it would only exacerbate them. what if one of the four leaves and wants 1/4 custody in a state 500 miles away?

          • Anthony Zarat says:

            It will not prevent custody issues. It will prevent asymmetric compassion from making custody issues a foregone conclusion. This, in turn, will make custody issues very rare, because all participants will know that they have no advantage from conflict, and all participants will know that they have better odds of a good outcome with negotiation.

            Asymmetric compassion refers to the fact that women (on average) have more sympathy for female suffering, and men (on average) have more sympathy for female suffering. Consequently, any legal or institutional conflict that involves a man versus a woman cannot have a fair outcome (on average).

            • Julie Gillis says:

              Ah, I see. That’s interesting. Have you done any questioning of gay male couples who surrogate or adopt and any subsequent custody issues? Because I do recall hearing about one terrible case in NC I think…it was lesbians and the birth mother totally took the child from other mother and it was a pretty ugly deal. No genetics, no laws about adoption, but the suffering was acute.

              I’m assuming, given how ugly an separation can get that while your asymmetric compassion might be alleviated, your scenario could still cause ample pain and suffering, not the least of which would be from the child if he or she (or would you select for a male:)?) had to be in four different places during the year.

              • Anthony Zarat says:

                “… birth mother …”

                Here is the explanation. One partner was a woman, and the other partner was “not-so-much-a-woman”. Society does not see both partners in a single-gender female relationship equally. There is often the “real woman”, who deserves sympathy and privilege, and the “man in a woman’s skin”, who does not.

                This is terribly wrong and cruel to the marginalized partner, but American jurisprudence has little to do with right and wrong. It has to do with POWER. Sadly, the power differential is really between femininity and masculinity.

                I believe that the same prejudice exists in schools, where “butch” girls are disproportionately victims of forced Ritalin/amphetamine usage. I cannot prove this, because there are no data on administration of paediatric psychotropics by “appearance” within a gender. I only know of one case like this, a student of mine. Incidentally this student remains the most capable and insightful that I have ever had. I still regret that she ignored my advice to remain in hypothesis driven research, and is wasting her talent among a sea of mediocre Environmental pseudo-scientists.

                • Julie Gillis says:

                  The birth mother is the mother that gave actual birth. The genetic mother may be the mother whose eggs were used in the birth mother or the birth mother may have used her own eggs. I’m not necessarily in agreement with the terms, just aware that this is a weird new area. If the genetic mother is not the birth mother…it isn’t that the person is a man in the skin of a woman, it’s that the courts are siding with the parent who either bore the child or is genetically related.
                  My point is that the issues of custody are not always related to gender, but can be exacerbated by old laws when we have new data, new rules new ways of being.

                  Also, I’m still unclear how schools are forcing the students to take meds. Are the schools prescribing, because that seems illegal in terms of how drugs are dispensed, or are they forcing parents to choose to medicate in order to stay in school? I’ve not run across anything like this in Austin Texas as of yet.

  36. Interesting article. I only wish men were allowed to write about polyamory too.

  37. wet_suit_one says:

    There is much to be said about freeing one’s mind from the tyranny of the normative.

    I’m reminded of the words of the Chapter Librarian on the topic:

    “Knowledge is power. Hide it well.”

    Those who rule societies know this and act accordingly. It isn’t just the U.S. government that has secrets it hides. That said, one should beware of which paths one chooses to tread. Some paths lead to the dark side and the power of the dark side can be strong indeed. One must be cautious.

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