PW 380: Advice from your secondary

42-lolcat-funny-images-of-cats-with-toy-roboA few things your secondary wants you to know

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1:00 Announcements and HostChat

Want better poly matches on OKCupid? Be sure to answer these poly-indicative questions!

4:30 Topic: Five things your poly secondary wants you to know

Blogger Ginger wrote up a short but sweet post on five things your secondary wants you to know: (paraphrased by Minx)

  • The time we spent together is limited, so please value it like we do
  • We sometimes need extra reassurance; this is normal
  • You still need to be reliable
  • It’s important that your primary partner be comfortable with us
  • The fact that we love and value you keeps us going

Listener GreedyPaul called in to ask what changed in terms of metamour relations between Minx’s last long-term poly relationship and this one? What did L do to welcome me into the relationship and/or how had I changed?

Amanda wrote in to share a story of metamour relations: while she’d always believed that it was the new partner’s job to reach out to her, she came to understand how scary that can be for a new partner, so she chose to step up and reach out, with wonderful results!

20:45 Feedback

E wrote in to thank us for covering Asperger’s and poly and how very valuable the clear and explicit communication required in poly is to those with Aspy’s.

23:30 Happy Poly Moment

Heath shared a professional happy poly moment about bringing up relationship structure inclusiveness for intake at his college counseling center in the Kansas City area. AND if you have examples of the language you use in your paperwork for assessing relationship orientation, email him at heath12@ku.edu Thanks!

26:00 Thanks!

Thanks to Steven, Kevin, Elizabeth, Ewen, Violet and Sturley for their generous donations this week!

Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 368: Metamour cock block

What do you do when your metamour cuts off communications?

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1:00 Host chat with Minx and LustyGuy

9:00 Topic: Metamour cock block

Listener R writes in asking for advice on a situation in which her once-friendly metamour J asked for personal time and space that lead to a six-month communication blockade. The silence adversely affected both R and her partner’s (J’s husband) relationship. Question: how do you reopen lines of communication with someone who won’t talk to you anymore? Minx and LustyGuy suggest:

  • You can’t force someone to communicate with you, so it’s pointless to keep asking.
  • Do your best to take care of yourself and tend your own garden: deal with your own jealousy and insecurities.
  • Do your best to nurture the health of your relationship with R.

18:00 Happy Poly Moment

  • GreedyPaul shares a moment of joy at Camp Perv
  • Timothy shares some fun, snuggly HPMs derived from starting up a regular movie night with his poly family! “THIS is how poly should work, THIS is what I’ve been hoping for. It was a simple moment, but it was memorable.”

21:50 Feedback

  • Our estimable solo poly guru, AggieSez, calls in to respond to episode 364 on being in love and vetoed and recommends that even if your time with your partner is so rare that it seems a shame to bring up tough relationship stuff, ovary/man up and do it!
  • Emma asks about an issue mentioned in episode 365 on meetups: how do you deal with people feeling stuck next to someone they might not be interested in talking to?
  • Isha calls in to ask about how to handle a long-distance poly relationship, and LustyGuy offers some great advice:
    • Never underestimate the power of a distraction. Do something fun!
    • Make dates—schedule phone calls like a date, complete with dinner, wine and dress up for it.
    • Keep a paper journal every day and exchange it with your partner at your next meeting.
  • Southern Poly Gathering is a poly camping weekend happening October 17-20 in Florida—join a great group of polys!

Thanks!

Thanks to Elizabeth and Yani for their donations this week!

37:50 Poly music

Rolling out with a cool poly composition Can’t Help But Fly from Naima Penniman and A McNatt

Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 344: Consent is sexy

Embracing Yes Means Yes and the fact that consent is sexy

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1:00 Announcements and host chat

  • No holiday chat here, just good kerfuffles of the week with LustyGuy cohosting

3:15 Topic: Nice guys rape, too

As part of the Good Men Project, Alyssa Royse penned this piece trying to explain that nice guys can commit rape, unbeknownst to them. The backlash against her piece has been significant. Our key objections:

  • Saying that women give off “mixed signals” is not only wrong but irrelevant; it can come off as a rape apology
  • Agreed that “no means no” does not work
  • However, “yes means yes” does work 100% of the time

Backlash pieces:

21:45 Topic: Pink loves consent

A group of feminists in Baltimore coordinated a masterful spoof of Victoria’s Secret PINK site, which is typically targeted at teen and college-age women and bears thongs sporting motifs such as “Sure Thing” printed on skimpy thongs. PinkLovesConsent was such a pitch-perfect spoof of the site (now bearing panties sporting “Ask First” and “No Means No”) that even VS employees believed it to be real and congratulated the company on its embracing of women’s issues.

Sadly, Victoria’s Secret had nothing to do with it. But wouldn’t it be great if they had?

26:35 Happy Poly Moment

  • Irina shares a happy poly moment about a kick-ass metamour
  • Alicia shares a happy poly moment of being welcomed into a relationship

30:00 Feedback

  • Joreth writes in to correct evolutionary assumptions in episodes 333, 336 and 340 on the upsuck theory
  • Jenny makes a point about compulsions in response to episode 309 on sex addiction

34:00 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY (our new number!). And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

From two to three: advice on opening up from an HBB

There’s no one right way to do polyamory, but there are plenty of wrong ways – Miss Poly Manners

At OpenSF last month, a session on Negotiating Non-Monogamy gave me some food for thought on the perils of taking those first few steps into non-monogamy. The truth is that most couples who approach polyamory do so with the best of intentions. And yet, they often so diligently focus on the health of their own relationship that they can fail to consider the needs and health of the person that they intended to bring lovingly into their relationship. The result? Drama and pain for everyone involved!

A novel approach: the HBB speaks

Most books, articles and sessions on negotiating non-monogamy are geared toward the couple who is opening up a relationship. That makes sense; while there are many single polys, it’s often a monogamous couple that is seeking advice on opening up a relationship for the first time. And these books, articles and sessions are inevitably written and developed from the point of view of the couple. But here’s a twist, the secret no one will tell you: if you want advice on how to successfully open up a relationship, ask the people who would be interested in joining it. (Or run away screaming from it.) That is, ask the people you intend to date how you as a couple can put your best foot forward.

So that’s the novel approach here: how to negotiate non-monogamy successfully, from the point of view of the HBB (Hot Boobiesexual Babe) that you hope to bring into it! If you want to know how to get a quality new lover that will get along with your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/spouse and present minimal drama, read on.

This is not a post about general poly skills you need to negotiate your first poly relationship. Instead, this is a list of specific do’s and don’ts that couples often overlook when negotiating their first non-monogamous relationship. First, let’s start with the positive: the do’s.

Newly non-monogamous do’s

OK! You’ve done the scary part and told your partner you want to be non-monogamous, and that partner didn’t leave the room screaming. Great first step! So… now what? What often follows is a series of long talks and negotiations that are all aimed at one thing: protecting the existing relationship. Now, protecting the existing relationship isn’t a bad thing per se, but if it’s your primary concern, you’ll find you won’t have a very positive first poly experience. Most couples begin with this mindset:

“How do we move forward without damaging our current relationship and without my getting hurt?”

This may seem to be a logical question, but in the dating world, fear of change is self-defeating. Of course your relationship will change; you’re adding another full human being to it! Not being open to changes, including those within yourself, is the #1 killer of first-time poly relationships. The first person you date outside your relationship is a human being with needs, quirks, desires, sarcasm, giggles and a whole wealth of emotions, just like you do. And adding another person to a family always changes the dynamic. Going into defensive/protection mode isn’t beneficial for you, your current partner, or your new partner.

Rather, try asking yourselves this:

  • What value do we have to offer to someone else?
  • How can we/I make a new partner feel loved, comfortable and included like I do?
  • How can we enrich this person’s experience with us and with poly?

Think of it this way: if you as a couple discovered you were pregnant, would you sit down to have a lot of talks about how you are going to protect yourself from the damage the new child will do to your current relationship dynamic? Would you plan how you’re going to keep the new child from threatening you and your lifestyle? Would you make a list of rules to prevent the child from crying when you’re having a dinner party and kick the child out if she does? Would you insist on having veto power and kicking the kid out if he doesn’t stick to his appointed nap time?

Well, you could, but it would be a bit cruel. If you’re that worried about maintaining your relationship exactly as it is, you’re probably not ready for a kid. And ditto with polyamory: if you’re more worried about protecting what you have than welcoming change, you’re not ready for a non-monogamous relationship.

Rather, when a couple contemplates a child, they tend to think less of the limits the child will place on their lives and the stresses it will place on their relationship and more about what they have to offer the child and how much joy they will take in watching the child develop and change them as partners and parents. They look forward to discovering a new dynamic with the child: will she bring the family together at her ball games? Will he need a ride to his dance recitals? How much fun will it be to chaperone her first sleepover? Who will support him when he’s down and needs a shoulder to cry on?

OK, to some extent, it’s a ridiculous analogy to compare a fully-grown adult to a child. But in another way, it’s not. A new romantic relationship can change your relationship just as much as a new child will, and making rules to limit an adult’s love and interactions can be just as cruel as making a list to limit a child’s. In fact, it can be even more so, since the adult is fully self-aware and often capable of clearly stating and negotiating needs and wants, unlike a child.

So sure, be realistic about the relationship change, and make sure you have date nights and some alone time. But it’s far more beneficial to begin opening up your relationship by anticipating the joys of the new relationship dynamic than by fearing the change it will bring. And when you approach polyamory in this manner, you’ll enjoy the added benefit of treating your new partner(s) with respect and love rather than as a disposable test case for your own foibles.

Newly non-monogamous don’ts

This list is far easier to make, since time and time again, new poly couples break hearts in their quest to keep their own relationship primary and protected. Advice from those who have fled unhealthy couples, don’t:

  • Allow veto power. Insist on communication rather than veto power. Veto power too often is a substitute for communication. It’s not wrong per se, but it’s quite often a cop-out and used to wield power instead of communication. Be mindful that you should only be expected to control your own actions, not those of your partner. Wielding veto power often shifts the balance of power in a relationship and causes far more tension and drama than those relationships that don’t offer this easy out. “Because I don’t like her” isn’t good enough; insist on thorough communication, and trust your partner to make choices that benefit everyone involved.
  • Say there’s no hierarchy if there is. One of the things I love about Tristan Taormino’s book Opening Up is this relationship structure she named, Partnered Non-Monogamy. This is the structure in which has as its base a couple, and the couple is primary with no other primaries allowed. The parties may have additional lovers, together or separately, but there is no desire or option for any relationship that would equal or rival that of the original couple. This relationship model is often desirable for the couple but can be less so for the partners entering the relationship, so it’s a good idea to be clear if this is the desired relationship structure. If this is your structure of choice, be sure not to mislead new partners by saying “we don’t believe in hierarchies” or “you’re not secondary.” Those phrases may be more politically correct, but they aren’t true in partnered non-monogamy. Respect your new partner by being honest with him/her. And for goodness’ sake, don’t make this rule for one partner but then change it for another! That doesn’t sit well with kids (ask anyone who was the oldest!), and it’s equally unkind to do to adults.
  • Ignore metamour communication. Roughly 50% of the emails I receive asking for advice are from a person in a couple asking how to deal with an issue that arose with a metamour. More often than not, what has happened is the relationship developed between partner A and the new lover, while partner B watched from afar and heard tidbits. Now, oh noes! There is an issue with the new lover and partner B, who have barely spoken before. What to do? Partner B doesn’t have to be best friends with the new lover, but it’s always a good idea to open up the lines of communication. Personally, I like to meet the new lover and then set up a coffee or lunch once a month just to chat. We rarely talk about relationship issues; the idea is to have a line of communication open so that if an issue arises, there is an already-established channel of communication and some trust in the trust bank. This makes dealing with relationship issues a breeze when they do arise. This is somewhat akin to a corporation setting up a blog and blogging on a weekly basis: communication, familiarity and credibility are established, so when a crisis arises (the CEO goes on a sexting binge with Newt Gingrich), there is a channel for communication already open to deal with the tough questions.
  • Have the point of the vee moderate. In cases in which partner B has an issue with the new lover of partner A, and metamour relations have been ignored, it often happens that partner A (the point of the vee) ends up moderating between partner B and the new lover. Anyone who has ever had someone else speak on his behalf in an emotionally charged situation will understand why this is a terrible practice. It puts the full burden of communication among all parties on one person (the point of the vee) while absolving the others of any responsibility to communicate clearly with each other. It’s a stressful situation for the point of the vee and disempowering for the other partners. In interpersonal relationships, every involved party should have a voice. Her own voice. It is simply bad communication practice to disallow a partner from participating in discussions that concern her. Even in hierarchical situations such as partnered non-monogamy, every partner deserves the respect of having a voice in the communications. No two people should ever make a decision in the absence of the third, no matter the hierarchy.

A case study

Here’s common example of this dynamic that the couple might not even realize is disrespectful: partner A is dating a new lover, and the desire has come up for an overnight. Partner A says, “I’ll check with partner B,” and partners A and B have a long, intimate conversation about the merits and drawbacks of an overnight visit. The new lover is excluded from all communication and waits patiently outside the relationship, much like a child waiting to see if he gets a raise in his allowance or not. In this case, partners A and B undoubtedly didn’t intend disrespect, but that brand of communication is setting up a power dynamic in which the new lover is essentially powerless to speak or negotiate on his own behalf. And it’s a shame, because that particular situation is an excellent opportunity to forge a new and powerful dynamic by having all three involved parties meet, express their needs, listen to concerns and create a mutually-beneficial solution. In fact, it’s difficult communications such as this that forge intimacy and trust and make for stronger relationships all around. Don’t waste this valuable opportunity!

PW 327: Help! I’m rich, and I have a big penis!

What to do when your metamours get jealous of your wealth and well-hung dick

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Introduction

Under-18 warning and redirection to Scarleteen

1:00 News and host chat

  • Minx and LustyGuy share the importance of owning your own poly shit.
  • Minx tells about a recent instance when the usually supportive LustyGuy asked for support himself, and Minx fell short. Instead of drama ensuing, Minx took the next opportunity to look at her shit and apologize for being an insensitive jerk.
  • Wanna go to Burning Man? We are raffling off a ticket in July as a fundraiser to send Minx to CatalystCon! For every $10 donation here, you’ll get one raffle entry. On July 30, we’ll draw and announce the winner of the ticket to Burning Man 2012! Void where prohibited.

10:00 Topic: Help! I’m rich with a big penis!

Cyotee calls in to ask for help: he’s rich with a big dick. What to do? Well, specifically, what to do when his metamours get jealous of his marathon lovemaking sessions and lavish trips with their sweeties? Minx and LustyGuy give advice:

  • Keep in mind that anyone can have great vacation sex. The new, outside lover is often in a perpetual state of NRE or “vacation sex.”
  • Don’t play the comparison game between you and your metamour, and don’t let your partners do it, either. Instead, find the joy in the moment and in each partner.
  • Show that you support the existing relationship. If you don’t know, ask your metamour how to keep their relationship happy and healthy.
  • Treat the relationship like a birthday party for an 8-year-old: bring a present for the birthday girl’s younger brother. Instead of buying your lover a $500 diamond necklace, buy a $250 necklace and a really nice bottle of scotch for your metamour. Let some of your love and attention for your lover spill over onto the metamour as well.
  • Or when you take your lover on a vacation, invite the metamour along. Or give him tickets to an event he’ll enjoy.

25:30 Happy Poly Moment

Charles and Sarah share the story of being married for 16 years with 4 kids and opening their marriage. They starting dating a couple, uncovered emotional baggage and took a break to deal with their own baggage and insecurities.

A few comments: Remember that your first relationship is with yourself. Also, while it’s nice to want to get back together with the couple you started dating, keep in mind that personal growth and appropriate relationships should be the goal, not one relationship in particular.

32:10 Feedback

Tony is a new listener who wrote in about a 90s song that is poly-ish: Three Is Family.

35:45 Thanks

Thanks to Eynstein, Wayne and Chris for the donations this week. Woo hoo!

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 206-202-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 320: I hate my metamour!

Listener M writes in with a dilemma: what do you do when you love your girlfriend but hate your metamour?

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Introduction

Under-18 warning and redirection to Scarleteen

1:00 News and host chat

  • Welcome to our cohost, LustyGuy. Can you tell which Scotch he is sipping?

1:50 Topic: I hate my metamour!

M writes in to say that he finds his girlfriend’s new partner so repulsive that he hates the guy, which is not helped by the fact that the girlfriend revealed that the partner is trapped in a sexless marriage and believes that M and girlfriend are moving too quickly.

  • A drama queen? Much of the negative information on the partner (“Scary Clown”) came to M secondhand from the girlfriend. Always question why your girlfriend chooses to reveal unflattering information about a metamour secondhand. Is there a need for drama on her part? Relationship management skills are needed here.
  • Open lines of communication there is no line of communication open between Scary Clown and M. Of course he feels uncomfortable.
  • Responsibilities of the point The person at the point of the vee (here, the girlfriend) has additional responsibilities in terms of nurturing healthy relationships and conveying only the most relevant and supportive information to partners. However, this person should NEVER agree to act as mediator between the other two parties.
  • Setting boundaries the people at the edges of the vee need to set boundaries and be careful to express what they need rather than a simple “I don’t like so-and-so.” For that matter, the person at the point of the vee also needs to set boundaries such as “No saying that M and I aren’t good as a couple. That’s not supportive, and I won’t tolerate it.”

19:45 Feedback

Wayne writes in about an NPR piece on breasts. Audio and transcripts are here.

24:00 Wrapup

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 206-202-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 317: Rules redux

Franklin Veaux and Minx discuss listener feedback, advice and anecdotes around creating rules and boundaries to apply to polyamorous relatiomships

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Introduction

Under-18 warning and redirection to Scarleteen

1:00 News and host chat

CatalystCon is September 14-16 in Long Beach. Respond to the call for speakers.

2:40 Topic: Rules Redux

Franklin Veaux and Minx respond to listener feedback about the rules episode.

  • Sean wrote in with the rules his partner imposed on him after an incident
  • J wrote in to clarify the difference between rules that promote discussion versus rules that are designed to bind behavior
  • Isaac asked about D/s rules
  • Jonathan asked for rules when he began dating and got these: “We will trust you if you are trustworthy. We will believe you if you are honest. We will listen if you speak openly. We will communicate if you listen. You’ll have to write any other rules you need yourself because when all is said and done you are the only one that is going to limit your actions. Oh by the way we’ll have a surprise ready here; bring your date home if you want.”
  • Vir shared a quote on boundaries

36:00 Wrapup

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 206-202-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 302: When metamours attack

How to deal with a stonewalling and uncommunicative metamour

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Introduction

Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.com

1:00 Announcements

2:45 Topic: When metamours attack

Joreth, Puck and Minx address a tough situation: J starts dating a guy who is in a relationship with an older man, a respected tantric guru. Upon meeting J, the guru declares that she and the guy cannot have sex. A bit later, J and the guy have sex. She asks the guy if the guru was OK with it and then assumes it’s OK to have sex with the guy. She attempts to contact the guru but doesn’t hear back.

A bit later, she and the guy mess around in the place the guy and the guru share. The guru comes home and bans all communication between her and the guy. She makes more attempts to get the three of them together, but the guru does not accept her invitation.

Where did communication fail and what can we do to prevent this happening in the future? We recommend:

  • Own the communication with both your partner and your metamour. NEVER rely on your partner to communicate with your metamour on your behalf. That’s your job.
  • Trust but verify.
  • Know your own boundaries and negotiate with all parties involved. You have a right to know what the boundaries are, why they are there and when/if they will change.

22:00 Feedback – Episode 299, Poly Professional Woman

  • Gary points out that the poly professional man can have challenges dating the busy professional poly woman!
  • Vir suggests taking a high-level view of the work load, distinguishing work-for-pay (including school and homework) and maintaining-the-home. He suggests tallying the hours spent on all aspects and rebalancing the load when the situation shifts. For example, look at:
    • Travel time to and from work/school
    • Working outside the home (job/classes)
    • Paid work at home (professional work/homework)
    • Non-paid work maintaining the home (cooking, cleaning, shopping)

28:00 Thanks

Thanks to Samuel for his donation this week!

Wrapup


Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 206-202-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 301: The metamour approach

How to approach someone for a threesome or one-on-one date

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Introduction

Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.com

1:00 Announcements

7:45 Topic: The metamour approach

  • Elizabeth asks how to approach the invite for a threesome with a good friend without ruining the friendship. Minx’s advice: treat it the same way you would approaching a mono friend you have romantic feelings for but don’t want to ruin the friendship. Flirt, state your desires, graciously accept a “no.”
  • Proff asks if he’s weird for wanting to meet his partner’s OK Cupid date on their first meeting. Minx’s take: How would you feel if you’d been flirting with a girl and, when you went to pick her up, her whole family came out to size you up? A bit off-putting for the poor guy! It’s best to trust your partner to date someone as ethically as she dated you. Keep in touch and meet him after a few dates.

17:05 Feedback – Episode 297, Poly for the holidays

  • P wrote in to tell how her kid surmised the relationship, asked about it, and they pleasantly confirmed
  • Lily from Boston requests more solid advice on dealing with kids for the holidays – who has good advice for her? (None of our cohosts have kids!)
  • Chauncey says thanks!

21:25 Thanks

Thanks to Scott, Kelly, Carlita, Scott and new Poly Weekly Playmate Paul!

Wrapup


Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 206-202-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 297: Poly for the holidays

Advice on the ins and outs of being poly around friends and relatives during the holidays

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Introduction

Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.com

1:30 Topic: Poly for the holidays

Sometimes it’s tough to be poly over the holidays. Which relatives are you out to? Can you introduce your lover to your auntie May? How do you schedule family time? Listeners wrote in via Facebook and Twitter to ask the toughest holiday-related poly issues, and cohosts Joreth and Puck help Minx to sort them out:

  • How to introduce non-spouses
  • How to prevent your poly-aware daughter from letting closeted poly relationships slip in front of the “in-laws”
  • Is being closeted OK to certain relatives?
  • How do you handle feeling secondary and isolated?
  • How do you manage economic disparities?
  • How do you deal with missing some and disappointing others?

37:30 Book reviews

Kurt shares book reviews of popular romance stories with contemporary, realistic settings: Jet Lag Blues and Kindle ebook Songbird.

43:00 Wrap-up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com and attach an audio comment or call the listener comment line at 206-202-POLY. Friend us on Twitter or Facebook or leave a comment here. Check out PolyWeekly podcasts at polyweekly.libsyn.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review! Want Poly Weekly for your very own? Get the Best of Poly Weekly collection from PodDisc.com Our intro and outro music is courtesy of Pacemaker Jane, “Good Suspicions.”

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