PW Playmate asks: how to you run a growing poly meetup without conflict and drama in the community?

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Under-18 warning and redirection to Scarleteen

1:00 News and host chat

7:00 Interview: Avoiding meetup drama with Allena Gabosch

A PW Playmate (woo hoo!) writes in to ask:

I’ve been pretty involved in my local poly community for a couple of years. It’s about doubled in size since we started doing more outreach, and with that has come much more drama and conflict within the community. We’re not quite sure how to handle it without alienating people.

Allena Gabosch, Director of the Center for Sex Positive Culture, gives advice:

  • Be open to everyone
  • Leaders, remember to come from service and put your ego aside
  • Give naysayers responsibilities for improving the group
  • Acknowledge and address naysayer issues publicly

If you’re in or near Seattle, come to SEAF, June 16-24, 2012!

33:00 Movie Review

Joreth gives a review of the 1993 film Café au lait.

38:00 Wrapup

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email 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 Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!


Commenting area

  1. Zulieka May 31, 2012 at 11:28 am · ·

    Anything different with cause drama and chaos, It is just the way of the human kind. One thing every one needs to remember it that it’s your life, not anyone else. Your life your way. It may cause a commotion but in the end it is only your life, Other do not live it nor do they need to participate in it. They have no voice if you don’t allow them to. Weather what any one thinks, it is honestly none of their business on what you do or how you do it. If outreaching to others remember that it is their life as well, none we say can change their minds. It is nice to know that there are others who are willing to stand for being themselves and not let the people who think differently stop them from being themselves. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, no one else will do it for you, in fact if the norms had their way we would all be the same, believe in the same god, live life the same ways and be hating it. But different be your self. no one else may understand but in the end the only person who can make you happy is yourself. One day it won’t matter, but until then we have to fight in order to be ourselves.

  2. Does this happen a lot in poly meetings? Drama?

    • Cunning Minx June 18, 2012 at 11:29 pm · ·

      When a group grows to a certain size and popularity, yes, splintering is natural. It doesn’t have to include drama, but many people are uncomfortable with starting an offshoot group that caters more precisely to their social preferences.

  3. I posted this on my poly meetup for discussion. Over all they liked it, but one poster had a good suggestion for further discussion “… the biggest source of drama in poly (and kink) organizations: relationship drama spreading into organization/community drama.”

    • Cunning Minx June 18, 2012 at 11:28 pm · ·

      Oooh, good point. It takes a very mature couple to keep their relationship drama from entering the group. I was always quite proud that when Graydancer and I broke up, heartbreaking and drama-laden as that was, we were able to give a scheduled presentation together a few weeks later, and no one knew that we were no longer together. We confided to a few friends, made arrangements before attending the same parties/events, and dealt with it privately.

      But I think that it’s more common in the community for the organizer to have a social preference (leaning more toward poly versus swinging; towards or away from kink; including alcohol or not; sci-fi geeks or mainstream conversation, etc) and not working terribly hard to make sure everyone without that preference feels welcome and included.

    • I have an interesting drama situation, and I have no idea to fix it.
      I am writing this in a neutral way.

      Normally I am an poly activist (under cover). LOL
      I got a relationship with a secondary that I met in a poly group.
      But there is another guy in that group that has no grasp of polyamory but very charming. For him honesty and openness is not important as long as you win. This is the only person I would vote against if my partner would ask me if she could date him. This because he promotes not telling everything to your partners. He also promotes being selfish. And that is exactly what she did. Start a relationship but not tell me.

      So far so good, the relationship broke and even though I find this very so sad that it should have happened like this, I accept that it did happen. It is over. I did not have any problems with all partners she had because these people did not promote lying to her.

      But here is the hard part. They started a poly group, and are now influencing starting poly people. And it is the only poly group all around me in probably a 100+ km radius. The problem is that if I go to that group, then they get the power to tell other people that I am just jealous since he got the girl and I am there to obstruct them in their happiness. And since he is charming, he get the followers and can set them up against me. But by not going he can keep on telling starters that it is perfectly OK that you do not need to tell every partner that you just got 2 or 3 new relationships. This in turn makes people associate polyamory with negative experiences making it harder for me to tell people that I am poly.

      At this point I have chosen to be passive because since an open negative discussion would be bad for polyamory. But I have this inner passion to promote polyamory, and make this area more poly friendly so I could be really open towards the people I work with and see.

      I could start a second group, but at this moment it is not a good thing to expose myself to the world, especially since my primary wants it hidden from her family. If I were single, then I guarantee you that the world would know. LOL But I love and respect my primary.

      I do still have a network of poly people where I get a lot of experience from, but it is a closed system and no new people comes in. And this is a shame.

      • Cunning Minx July 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm · ·


        Oh, that’s tricky. I suspect that before long, another poly group will form when people realize that more drama in their own relationships is coming from lack of transparency. Or, ya know, when they read ANY OTHER BOOK on poly that counters this guy’s philosophy. I think it would be perfectly OK to start another group with a different theme–maybe a poly dinner group, poly movie group, book club, etc. If you fear your girlfriend’s family finding out, you can always organize under a screen name. There is always a risk of discovery, however.

        This might be one of those cases where you just get to be the best YOU you can be and let the other guy suffer the consequences of his actions.

  4. Minx,

    Been listening for a few months now, glad podcasts like this are out there. Love the range of guests and topics you have. Couldn’t help pointing out that something you mentioned in passing in talking about your recent blogpost on Facebook and privacy. You seemed to indicate that job discrimination because you’re gay is illegal. Unfortunately, in the U.S. that’s only true in 21 states – less than half! Believe it or not, despite all the discussion and progress around marriage equality, we still lack basic job protections in most of the country. And while transgender and gender nonconforming people are having increasing luck complaining under the laws against sex discrimination, even fewer states explicitly ban discrimination based on gender identity. And of course as you correctly noted, those of us who are poly can still face discrimination in any state. We have a ways to go.

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