PW 395: Unbalanced triads

How do you cope when your new partner is more into your husband?cat_load_balancer_2

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

5:30 Topic: Triads

A listener wrote in to ask how to deal with being in a triad with a good friend when the friend seems to be more into her husband than into her. How do you keep yourself from feeling left out and excluded when she’s just not as into you?

Deal with this issue as if it were jealousy. Drill down to the root cause and figure out what the deep fear is. Try completing this:

When she is more into him, it means that I am _______________, and I’m afraid that that means that I am ____________ and that eventually, __________ will happen.

13:00 Feedback

Quath shares coming out stories.

15:00 Follow up to Minx coming out

Minx gets the inevitable family backlash to her coming out and shares her thoughts on the process and reactions.

20:00 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 394: Minx comes out!

4-lolcats-of-the-apocalypseMinx came out to her family in Texas. How did THAT go?

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

6:15 Topic: Minx comes out to her family It turns out that other people’s interest in my dating life was greatly exaggerated. Quite anticlimactic! Funniest part was when my mom asked, “Why isn’t it too boys and one girl?”

15:00 Feedback

  • Christina writes in to ask if she can self-identify as polyamorous.
  • FiscalDom wrote in to criticize episode 387 Is Monogamy Natural?

23:00 Thank you! Thanks to John and welcome Erich to the PW Playmates! You make for a very happy Minx! Wrap upQuestions? 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 393: How to treat your metamour

lolcatnotrealmomHow do you deal with your metamour when things aren’t going well?

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

3:30 From the Front

SisyphusUp gives the report from the front from Boston Metro Area Poly (read by LustyGuy) 

6:00 Topic: How to Treat Your Metamour

A listener wrote in to ask how to treat your metamour in a series of very specific questions covering several areas of interpersonal communications. Fortunately, LustyGuy and I got answers!

  1. Amount of interaction with your metamour. The only people who can answer how much metamour interaction is appropriate are you, your hubbie and your metamour. Some people like more interaction; some prefer none; some like minimal. Each one of you should state your needs and wants, why those needs/wants are important to you, and then just talk it through. (I tell a story in the ebook about how I really fucked this up one time!) Seriously, if your metamour wants more interaction with you and you’re willing to give it, do it. If you want more interaction with him/her for your own health and happiness and she/he is willing to give it, do that.
  2. How to manage conflict. Conflict management is best done with the person with whom you are having the conflict. If your partner isn’t that person, it’s best to go directly to the source. Be brave, bring up the issue, state how you feel and ask for help negotiating a solution.
  3. Coping with increasing demands. I recommend weekly relationship check-ins (mentioned in the ebook) for y’all. Every week, meet with your sweetie and/or his lover and talk about how you feel about the relationship, bring up any new issues and catch up on old ones. The great thing about check-ins is that when things are fine, you get good positive reinforcement, and the check-in takes like 30 seconds. But it’s also there for when someone is starting to get a twinge of unhappiness, so you can deal with it before it becomes a big deal.
  4. The best way to foster respect is to give it. The more you appreciate and respect your partners, the easier it is for them to respect and appreciate you and your relationships. We are fond of giving verbal reinforcement on a daily basis. I often tell LustyGuy and L what I like and respect about their relationship, and they do the same for me. I know it sounds all hippie dippy, but I’ve had great success with telling a metamour what I like and respect about her and how I value her relationship with my partner.
  5. Embracing give and take. It’s very important to know what YOU need in order to be happy and healthy in the relationship, and you should tell your partner and your metamour that. What do you need to be happy and healthy? If you have that, great. If not, it’s time to sit down and talk with your partner(s) about how to get it. And remember, it’s always OK to say “no.”
  6. Dealing with a nasty metamour. I think this is covered in #1, 2 and 4, but it’s really important that you talk with your metamour about how you respect her and that you want the same type of respect. Remember that entering an existing couple can be terrifying, knowing that you can be dumped at the drop of a hat if your metamour suddenly decides you’re a threat. If there is nastiness, set up a time and a safe space to talk about how you want to interact and treat each other, and how you two can help support each other’s relationships.
  7. Responsibilities. Everyone is responsible for owning his/her own shit. You get to own your joys and your failings, and it’s everyone else’s job to own theirs. If there is conflict, everyone involved needs to own their part of it, listen to what the others have to say, and say what he/she can do differently next time. It’s no one’s job to moderate a conflict between any two others; the people in conflict are the ones who work that out and report back. Just as you shouldn’t be moderating conflicts between your partner and metamour, he shouldn’t be moderating conflicts between you and your metamour.

31:20 Feedback on “they”

A big thank you to everyone who wrote in and asked why I didn’t want to use “they” to refer to a single person. LustyGuy and I chat about changing grammatical rules, but Minx still refuses to use “they” to refer to a single person until it’s recommended by an accepted style guide. Of course, the exception would be when a specific person requests the use of “they,” in which case Minx gladly submits.

43:00 Happy Poly Moment H shares a happy poly dating moment.

44:15 More feedback

  • Gina writes in to appreciate episode 390 How to Date a Girl
  • Another listener writes in to suggest swing clubs if the woman in 390 isn’t necessarily interested in a romantic relationship with a woman but instead simply on sexual exploration

Thank you!

Thanks to Annalisa, Alan, Benjamin, Alan, Doug and James for their generous donations this week! You make for a very happy Minx!

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 390: How to date a girl

catdateHow does a gal in a heterosexual relationship safely explore her bi side and date girls?

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

6:00 Topic: How to date a girl

Listener A wrote in to ask how to safely explore her bisexual side without freaking out herself or her partner.

  • What do you to when your first experience with a member of the same sex doesn’t work out?
  • How do you deal with feeling crushed when the girl you were dating expresses interest in your male partner rather than you?
  • How do you explore scary same sex dating while still feeling emotionally safe?

17:15 Happy Poly Moment

  • Joreth shares a happy poly moment about gaining metamours as lifetime friends, even after a breakup with the original partner
  • A monogamous listener writes in to say that he values Poly Weekly for showing him the opportunities and explorations that are possible, even if they are not being currently pursued

23:45 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 389: Intro to kink with MOLLENA!

Mollena WilliamsHow do you safely explore kink on the scene and find partners to play with? Mollena Williams, co-author of Playing Well With Others, tells all!

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

11:15 Topic: How do you safely explore the kink community?

Listener Miz B wrote in to ask how to safely explore the kink community: exploring interest, finding a dominant partner, and telling the current partner about the kink activities.

Enter the fabulous Mollena, co-author of Playing Well with Others, a book that explains the anatomy of the kink community and gives advice on what to expect for fun and safety.

46:00 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 387: Is monogamy natural?

labkittenspolygene

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

2:00 Topic: Is monogamy natural?

Before we dive into this, what do you hope to accomplish or prove by answering this question? Do you want it to be true or untrue that human beings are naturally monogamous? Why does it matter to you, and how will it affect your behavior?

All the books I recommend are in the Poly Weekly Amazon Store under Polyamory Must Reads or For Sex Scholars.

21:00 Happy Poly Moment

Diana shared a Happy Poly Moment about getting not just tolerance but active support within a relationship with differing approaches to polyamory.

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 385: Everyone is doing poly wrong (the podcast!)

LustyGuy and Cunning Minx at Conflation in Wild West garb

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

4:15 Topic: Everyone is doing poly wrong and needs to die in a fire

lolcat_doing_it_wrong

I’ve been speaking at more conference than usual this quarter, and with getting out more comes more musing.

In particular, I’ve noticed that we poly folks can be quick to police and judge others who have different definitions from ours. My blog post on why we should stop the poly policing and promote curiosity and tolerance is here; I talk through all the major points and make a plea for stopping our tendency to be the poly police and instead focus on curiosity, understanding and tolerance of others who might practice polyamory differently from us. (Yes, even when we think they’re doing it 100% wrong!)

22:00 Feedback

Q wrote in about polyamory and Buddhism and how they relate. Your thoughts?

25:30 Happy Poly Moment

A wrote in to share a Happy Poly Valentine’s Day moment!

27:00 Thank you!

Thanks to Poly Weekly supporters Melissa, Davie and Nigel for their donations this week! Also, we welcome Madalyn to the Poly Weekly playmates!

28:30 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!

Everyone is doing poly wrong and needs to die in a fire

Why we all need to do a self-check for tolerance and acceptance

There is a phenomenon I’ve noticed in many of the poly communities I’ve visited, and it’s time I brought it into the light so we can all take a good, hard look at how we’re treating each other.

cat_weidLet’s start from the basic premise: those of us participating in online forums, posting opinions on blogs or Facebook and attending conferences with poly tracks are all either practicing or interested in practicing polyamory. Or non-monogamy. Or swinging. Or open marriage. Some of us are into BDSM; some of us are into science fiction; some of us are pagan. Some of us have unusual fetishes. Some of us are disabled. Some of us are white; some are African American; some are mixed race. Some of us are wildly creative and spend our lives making beautiful art, music or film and living in humble abodes. Some of us have well-paying, 9-to-5 jobs and enjoy a traditional-looking, middle- or upper-class lifestyle.

We all have opinions, some of them quite strong. And those opinions are not all the same.

But every one of us has something in common: an interest in polyamory. And because of that, we’re weird. We are not 100% mainstream. Even those of us who have traditional jobs, traditional homes and traditional hairstyles are alternative by virtue of the fact that we are interested in, are enjoying or are openly practicing some type of ethical non-monogamy.

So why are so many of us so vehement in our desire to demean, judge and exclude others?

You’re not really poly

It’s alarmingly common during any given poly discussion group or meeting for someone to come out with a definition of polyamory that condemns, criticizes or excludes some other type of practicing polyamorist. We hear, “you’re not really poly if you don’t all live together” or “you’re not really poly if you practice don’t ask/don’t tell” or “you’re not really poly if your husband isn’t also dating as many people as you are.”

To be fair, I understand why we do this. Since polyamory is an alternative relationship structure, most of us have worked very hard at defining what polyamory is for us. We try poly once and make a mess of it. We try again, and it works better, so we decide that what we did the first time was wrong. We try again, and it works better for us, so we decide that we need to advise everyone coming after us that the way we are doing it now is the right way to do polyamory, and every other way is wrong.

But please, I beg of you, let’s stop judging others so harshly, even after we’ve discovered a brand of polyamory that works for us. Before critiquing others based on your personal definitions of what poly is or isn’t, first perform a quick self-check: would you like it if someone told you you weren’t really poly? Would you want someone telling you that your marriage wasn’t real? Would you like for someone else to define what love or commitment means for you? So let’s not impose our definitions and experiences on others.

Everyone gets to choose her own label

Having the right to self-identify is empowering to the individual. It is neither appropriate nor helpful to try to take that right away from others. We let people choose their own labels for their gender identity and for their kink identity. We don’t argue if a man who has never had sex with another man chooses to identify himself as bisexual. We don’t argue if a person who appears female asks us to use the gendered pronoun “he” for address. We offer people the freedom of gender and relationship identity; let’s please extend that same courtesy to relationship orientation as well. whhha

As individuals, it is our job to find the right relationship structure that works for us. I often say that there are as many types of polyamory (and monogamy) as there are people involved in those relationships. Everyone practices monogamy a bit differently; no two relationships look exactly the same when you delve under the surface.

The same is true for polyamory, for non-monogamy, swinging and open relationships. While there are some commonalities to those definitions, every person or group defines his own polyamory in a slightly different way. We each find a brand of non-monogamy that works for us, and we customize it to our specific situation.

So let’s please stop spending our time looking at other people’s relationships and telling them that they aren’t “really” polyamorous. Let’s give people the courtesy of self-exploration and let’s empower each individual to self-label however she sees fit.

In the BDSM world, there is a philosophy that folks are encouraged to embrace. Since BDSM involves exposure to a plethora of fetishes and kinks that we may only not share but may actively dislike, folks are encouraged to be accepting. Even when exposed to a kink that incites disgust, we are encouraged to embrace the notion of “your kink isn’t my kink, but your kink is OK.” Let’s please do that with polyamory as well. Let’s stop spending our time judging others and telling them they are doing poly wrong and simply agree to say:

Your polyamory is not my polyamory, but your polyamory is OK.

Two powerful tools

When someone is kind enough to share with you his poly situation, it is our job to listen, to ask questions and to offer support if asked for it. Labels are the beginning of a discussion and an invitation to ask more questions, not the be-all and end-all. So when someone says, “I’m polyamorous,” my favorite tool to whip out is:

Tool #1: “Cool! So what does that mean to you?”

I believe it’s not anyone’s job (including mine!) to judge and tell someone she is doing poly wrong. Criticism like that only serves to puff up the speaker with a sense of power and to disempower the person sharing his story. If you truly believe that someone you’re speaking with is doing something horribly wrong, a good way to offer an option without judging is, “My experience has been… ” and share your story. See? No judgment necessary.

Tool #2: “My experience has been… “

One caveat, since I know someone will ask: yes, I do have a personal belief about a “wrong” way to do polyamory based on the dictionary definition involving the “full knowledge and consent of all parties involved.” So if, for example, a person self-identifies as poly and has an additional partner that his wife is unaware of, I personally am more inclined to label that “cheating” rather than polyamory due to the fact that his wife doesn’t have knowledge and therefore can’t consent. However, my response is not “you’re not really poly” but rather, “In my experience, poly tends to work best when everyone involved is honest, open and consenting. Have you tried talking with your wife about that?” to open up a conversation rather than impose a judgment.

Share stories, not judgments

story-lolcatI’m a big believer that sharing stories makes us all stronger. Sharing experiences of love, hope and failure in both the poly and monogamous world help all of us to understand what we are going through better and to feel, if nothing else, that we are not alone in our struggles to understand ourselves and the lifestyles we have chosen. So I believe in the power of sharing stories and asking questions rather than offering judgments.

I’ve read a few assertions from intelligent poly folk of late that claim that anyone who defines poly or poly family as [fill in the blank] is wrong and needs to “die in a fire” because that doesn’t match the writer’s or speaker’s own experience.

I don’t know about you, but I dislike it when someone who isn’t in my shoes and who hasn’t lived my life tries to tell me what my poly experience should be. It brings to mind right-wing extremists who claim that they have the right to define what marriage is for everyone else. Or what “family” or “family values” are for everyone else.

If we don’t want others to define marriage or family for us, let’s not do that to each other. The person who gets to define your brand of polyamory is YOU. No one else. And the ONLY person for whom you get to define polyamory is you. Share your definition with your loves, your partners and anyone who asks for it, but please don’t impose it on others or judge others who have chosen to do poly a different way from you. Offer to listen; offer support; offer discussion,;offer your own anecdotes. But please do not offer judgments or critiques. We have the aforementioned right-wing extremists for that.

If you don’t like it when others judge your lifestyle, maybe you should stop judging theirs.

What is right for you?

If you are lucky enough to have found a brand of non-monogamy, polyamory, swinging or open relationships that works for you, GREAT! Many of us take months or years to figure out what we need in order to be happy and healthy in our relationships. And please do share that with others when asked: many of us are looking for models, ideas and roadmaps that might work for us.

So please, share rather than critique. Listen rather than judge. And communicate your definition as an option rather than imposing it as a rule.

And as a final word, absolutely no person or concept should “die in a fire” or “burn in hell.” Let’s just say “My experience has been… “

PW 383: Poly for Valentine’s Day

valentines day lolcatHow do you celebrate Valentine’s Day as a “secondary”?

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

13:45 Topic: Poly for Valentine’s Day

A from New Orleans wrote in to ask about how to celebrate this sexy and very couples-oriented holiday when you are in a poly relationship. Who gets the chocolate and flowers and who gets the shaft? How does a “secondary” celebrate this sexy holiday without feeling crappy!

Check out the solo poly blog

Check out these previous Poly for the Holidays segments; the same rules apply to sexy holidays as to family holidays:

Also, keep these basic guidelines in place:

  • Ask you partners for what they want: what makes a great Valentine’s Day for you? OK? Bare minimum?
  • Say what you want.
  • Coordinate with your partners to make sure everyone gets pretty close to what he/she wants.

21:30 Feedback

  • J wrote in that Episode 379 Owning your own shit was a good refresher course
  • Doug wrote in to say that episode 380 reminded him that all relationships—including with friends and exes, require nurturing and attention

24:20 Happy Poly Moment

J wrote in to share a great HPM of a partner offering to host a metamour in order to give J time alone!

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 381: Poly-rope-a-palooza with Lee Harrington

LeeHarringtonbyDarrelVictorLynn11-150x150How exactly do polyamory and rope play intersect?

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1:00 Announcements and HostChat

  • Kinkfest UK will be in Birmingham July 26-27 with workshops, demos, discussions, performances and more! IndieGoGo campaign here
  • Want to help out a friend of Poly Weekly who is collecting survey responses on computer mediated communication? If you’re 18 or older and have 30 minutes, you can help out by taking this survey. Thanks!

4:45 Interview: Lee Harrington on the intersection of poly and rope

s-020-Cover2What do polyamory and rope play have in common? Whether you’re kinky or not, Lee Harrington brings some excellent insights as to how rope play can influence sensuality and communication and help us to be our authentic selves.

Lee’s Links:

32:15 Minx at Winter Wickedness

Minx will be teaching two sessions at Winter Wickedness February 7-8 in Columbus, Ohio! Classes will include Kicking Poly Drama on Its Ass and Eight Things I Wish I’d Known about Poly (Before I Tried and Fucked It Up). Both are new classes and hopefully will fit into the kink venue!

37:00 Happy Poly Moment

Angel shares a fabulous poly moment. Angel’s metamour organized a skate night with the extended poly family for a wonderful evening of Family of Choice fun!

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!

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