Three ways this relationship bill of rights will save your poly relationship

funny-cat-pictures-lolcats-classic-lolcatThe top three takeaways from the Relationship Bill of Rights

In episode 430 of Polyamory Weekly, Koe Creation and I talk about the simple brilliance that is Franklin Veaux’s and Eve Rickert’s Relationship Bill of Rights. This document began as a Secondary’s Bill of Rights to avoid secondary mistreatment, but Franklin and Eve quickly realized that these rights should apply to every relationship, whether monogamous, non-monogamous, polyamorous or anything in between.

And I’m so glad they did; it was sorely needed!

It’s a bit embarrassing to have to acknowledge that many folks, when trying polyamory, often throw common decency out the window. In trying so hard to define these newfangled relationships and their boundaries, we often throw agency, respect and inclusion away in order to attempt to gain control over unfamiliar situations. And we often end up shooting ourselves in the foot or treating others badly in the process.

I recommend that everyone read and print out a copy of this Relationship Bill of Rights. Tape it to your bathroom mirror. Live it!

As you know, I’ve been on a campaign to end avoidable relationship drama. The Kicking Poly Drama in Its Ass course is still the most popular one I teach; so much so that I’m working to expand it into an online course that anyone can take. The challenge of drama is that when things get rough, we often can have a tendency to clamp down and forget our principles–and that fear-based response is what leads to heartache, heartbreak and drama.

OK, enough on why we need to internalize the RBoR. Here are the three key takeaways to ponder:

  • Agency In the Relationship Bill of Rights, 90% of the content is acknowledging that every person in a relationship has agency. Regardless of position, every person has the right to decide what level of intimacy she wants and needs, to voice how he feels about the things that happen to him,  to set her own limits and boundaries and to be included in decisions that affect him. This is true for husbands, wives, lovers, paramours, fuck buddies, friends with benefits, submissives, dominants, tops, bottoms and everything in between. As LustyGuy often says, “the point of any relationship is to make the people in it better versions of themselves.” Each person has the responsibility to voice what he wants and needs free of coercion, and each person deserves full information to make informed decisions about her own actions. Depriving another person of  his or her agency isn’t cool–including when that person is you.
  • Respect for organic change Are you the same person you were when you first met your current partner(s)? Probably not. You’ve grown and developed over time, and so have your relationships. They might deepen, intensify, fade away or become untenable. Whatever happens, it’s important to acknowledge that people and relationships change over time. We all change, and we all make mistakes. Hopefully, we learn from those mistakes. While it’s important to communicate needs and boundaries, it’s equally important to recognize that it’s no one’s job to control anyone else. You will change. Your partners will change. Your relationships will change. The Relationship Bill of Rights does a good job of promoting communication rather than control.
  • seek-patience-main_fullBalance Every relationship is a balancing act of trying to accommodate everyone’s needs while respecting everyone’s voice. All partners, from brand-new ones down to a spouse of 30 years, have the right to have a say in decisions that affect them. Everyone deserves to have plans respected, to choose whom they want to date and when and to expect a balance in what they get from a relationship in relation to what they put in to it. It’s not far or balanced in any relationship to frequently have plans canceled or to be told when and whom you can date. Likewise, it’s not fair to expect one person to bear the brunt of initiating, forgiving or planning. Things happen, and that’s OK. But a pattern of one partner frequently bearing the brunt of initiations, cancellations or forgiveness does not make for a healthy relationship. In fact, the worst thing a poly couple can do is to end a new relationship in order to “focus on their marriage.” Making unilateral decisions isn’t healthy for any relationship, and it doesn’t play well in polyamory, either. Ditto for coercion and lying to “protect” someone.

The Relationship Bill of Rights is something that we have needed in print for a long time, and I’m incredibly thankful to Franklin and Eve for publishing it. What are your takeaways from it? Was there anything you disagreed with?

PW 430: Don’t try polyamory before listening to this

Minx and Koe Creation review the absolutely essential Relationship Bill of Rightsbillofrights Download the mp3 directly

1:00 Announcements

3:25 Poly in the news

5:35 Topic: What you need to know about poly relationships before trying one

Koe Creation and Minx highlight one of the most important pieces for you to read, review and integrate before trying a poly relationship. No, it’s not about jealousy. No, it’s not about dating. No, it’s not about safer sex. This is a topic that very few people discuss before trying polyamory and is usually the cause of the demise of the first poly relationship. What is it? The rights that every person has in every relationship, regardless of the structure: Franklin Veaux’s and Eve Rickert’s Relationship Bill of Rights.

37:30 Thank you!

Thanks to Shelby for the donation!

38:30 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!

PW 427: Poly geezers with Ken Haslam

kenhaslamWhat you need to know about poly in your 60s, 70s and beyond from poly geezer Ken Haslam

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1:00 Poly in the news

3:45 Interview: Ken Haslam on poly geezers

Ken Haslam, founder of the Poly Geezers email list and of the Kenneth R. Haslam Polyamory collection at the Kinsey Institute, talks about how polyamory works after the age of 60.

28:50 Feedback on 423

  • Raven writes in response to episode 423 to ask how to feel special when being an introvert with chronic depression?
  • George writes in response to 423 about her disability and her need to stop punishing herself for being “wussy sometimes” due to it
  • D calls in about 423 on the real loss of being someone’s “one and only”

39:05 Happy Poly Moment

Ariane shares a happy poly moment about her metamour, when marrying Ariane’s partner, insisted that Ariane spend the night with her partner

40:15 Thank you!

Thanks to Alan of the Poly in the News blog for his donation!

41:00 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!

What I learned from 10 years of poly podcasting

What y’all have taught me about polyamory, community and myself

minx speaking ccon west 2013

Minx at CatalystCon West 2013

It’s hard to believe that Polyamory Weekly has been going strong for 10 years! When I started, it was to try out this new technology called RSS and to test this new content delivery system. But what topic should I cover for that test? In 2005, I’d been polyamorous for all of two years, and my partner, metamour and I had hit every relationship land mine in the book. As a result, the first year or two of our poly adventure was fraught with drama, tears and intense relationship discussions. So why not podcast about the drama we’d experienced and the lessons we’d learned? And so Poly Weekly was born. Over the years, both my own relationships and my awareness of poly’s place in society matured. When I first started the podcast, the only media mentions were thrilling tales of swing clubs being infiltrated and busted by undercover cops and juicy exposés of the crazy sexual libertines who might be living next door to you. Nowadays, coverage of polyamory in the media typically takes the form of a personal essay describing the lifestyle with a representative configuration, almost more like a how-to article, presented more as a life coaching piece than sensational journalism.

What I’ve learned from 10 years of poly podcasting

So for our anniversary episode, I thought it would be fun to both find out what others wish they’d known before diving into polyamory as well as what I’ve learned from engaging with podcast listeners and seminar attendees over the last 10 years. Listeners called in with a variety of lessons learned, from the hilarious “always buy twin sheets for the king bed so the person in the middle can get out in the middle of the night” to the heartbreaking “I wish I’d known that treating everyone equally is impossible and unfair before it destroyed our relationship.” As far as what I’ve learned from being your podcast host for the last 10 years:

  • Many voices are more powerful than one While my experiences are common and relatable, not everyone is like me, so the more voices we share describing both poly joy and poly issues, the better.
  • Respect and tolerance win the game While it’s not uncommon to run across intolerance and politics in poly forums and discussion groups, that is not representative of the community. When you treat others with respect and a tolerant mind, you get respect and tolerance in return. In 10 years of podcasting and blogging, I have never once received hate mail. Never!
  • Joy should be celebrated Despite the fact that much online coverage relates to relationships in the midst of implosion, happy poly moments flourish and should receive as much attention as the relationships in need of advice.
  • There is a lot I don’t know My fans have made me aware of a plethora of trends, communities and phenomena ranging from slash fic to transgenderism to asexuality. I hope to learn exponentially more over the next 10 years.
  • There is a lot I DO know Like many people, I suffer from the self-worth syndrome of “if I know it, it must not be that valuable or difficult.” Developing podcast and seminar content over the last 10 years has taught me that there is a lot that I do know that is worth sharing. For example, the key to happy relationships lies in four key skills: the ability to know yourself and explain your reactions to others, emotional intelligence, the ability to own your own shit and the ability to ask for what you want.

So, after 10 years, I have to thank all the listeners who kept it real. You have taught me far more than I ever taught you.

PW 426: What YOU wish you’d known about poly

For our special 10-year anniversary, what you wish you’d known–and what I’ve learned from youLol-Cat-picture-Party-On

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1:00 Topic: What do YOU wish you’d known about polyamory?

To celebrate 10 years of Poly Weekly, what do YOU wish you’d known about polyamory?

  • David shares that if you sleep three to a king bed, put twin sheets on it so the middle person can get out in the middle of the night! J Also that your fears are usually worse than reality, so just talk about them.
  • Amber Love shares that PW inspired her to get off her butt and write more and publish her first book!
  • CageyCate shares that you fall in love with real people, not theories or convenient ideals
  • Eve Rickert learned that every experience is new and never to make assumptions and a lot about boundaries and consent
  • Franklin Veaux learned that OK to be poly and you don’t need to conform to every rule as a concession for this terrible lifestyle
  • SpiderGirl learned that you don’t have to do poly and kink and everything all at once
  • Poly is real—congratulations!
  • Thanks for 30 years of monogamy
  • Jackie wishes she’d known that poly doesn’t’ mean everyone needs equal time and shares a happy poly moment
  • Guillaume learned that trying to convert people to polyamory is not the way to go and that he’s better off going to the poly community instead of converting from the general population

14:00 What I have learned from YOU

  • While my experiences are common, not everyone is like me, and I need to be more thoughtful about language and inclusion
  • With respect to community, the intolerance and politics you see in the poly forums is not the only way–when you treat others with respect, you get respect in return. Never once have I received hate mail. Never!
  • Happy poly moments abide, despite the fact we read the opposite online all the time
  • There is a lot I don’t know
  • There is a lot I DO know
    • knowing yourself, emotional intelligence of owning shit and asking for what you want
    • 90% can be solved with “did you tell/ask him/her that?” be honest about your feelings
    • typically it’s a concern about someone else acting a certain way, when all you need to do is ask yourself what you want and need and then ask that person for that

22:00 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 424: My suggestion backfired! Now what?

lolcat_no_waiWhat to do when your well-intended relationship suggestion backfires

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1:00 Host chat and announcements

1:45 Poly in the News

4:00 Topic: My well-intended suggestion backfired. Now what?

A listener calls in to share what happened when he suggested Google Calendar as a solution to a relationship challenge. His partner, however, didn’t take the suggestion so well. So what does one do when a well-intended suggestion backfires or isn’t received in the spirit in which it was intended?

  • Focus less on finding better tools and more on improving communication.
  • Try listening rather than fixing.
  • Ask what she needs to be happy and healthy in the relationship.
  • Tell her what you need to be happy and healthy in the relationship.
  • Negotiate together—whoever turns down one suggestion has to offer the next one.
  • Slowly and sensitively explore her past baggage and yours.
  • Write your own user manual and encourage your partner to write hers.
  • Erin writes in response to episodes 420 on disabilities and identity to share a lifetime of dealing with disabilities while struggling with a poly/queer identity.
  • Doug writes in to share his preference for describing his son, who is on the autism spectrum.

12:05 Feedback on 420: Poly and identity

  • Erin writes in response to episodes 420 on disabilities and identity to share a lifetime of dealing with disabilities while struggling with a poly/queer identity.
  • Doug writes in to share his preference for describing his son, who is on the autism spectrum.

18:10 Happy Poly Moment

S writes in to share how episode 360 on crowdsourcing jealousy helped spawn a happy poly moment!

22:30 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!

PW 423: How to feel special

How to feel special when there is more than one partner involved?awesomedog

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1:00 Host chat and announcements

9:50 Poly in the News

16:00 Topic: How to feel special

A listener writes in to ask how one goes about feeling special when one is not the one and only love. Cohosts Koe Creation and Minx offer their insights.

  • How does a second child feel special?
  • Know who you are as an independent and whole person
  • Know what you need and ask for it; ask your new partners what they need to feel special
  • Small kindnesses show care

30:45 Feedback

Marcie writes in in response to episode 420 on disabilities to say that not everyone prefers person-first language.

32:30 Happy Poly Moment

D calls in to share a slow road to polyamory.

38:00 Thank you!

Cagey and Doug both donated $69 each, which we invested in Portland strippers. J

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 422: Cooper Beckett’s Life on the Swingset

SwingsetbookCooper of the Life on the Swingset podcast shares a tidbit from his new memoir

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1:00 Host chat and announcements

5:15 Poly in the News

12:00 Interview: Cooper Beckett

Cooper Beckett, founder and host of Life on the Swingset podcast, has just come out with a memoir of his journey into progressive swinging entitled My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging and Polyamory. Join him for a special short essay reading from his new book! (There is even an audio version coming soon!) 

43:00 Feedback

46:15 Happy Poly Moment

D shares a sensitive, compassionate and patient road to polyamory.

53:45 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 421: Poly didn’t work, but I still want it!

360_degrees_suckHow to recover from an epic poly fail

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1:00 Host chat and announcements

1:45 Poly in the News

4:45 Topic: Poly didn’t work, but I still want it!

Diva and the Don called in to talk about moving from being swingers to poly that just didn’t work out due to issues with faithfulness (on his part) and micromanaging (on her part). They ask how to move forward with polyamory and get past this lack of trust and drama. LustyGuy and Minx agree:

  • Fix your relationship first. Work out your trust issues on your own. Work on your own happiness first.
  • Own your own shit and let him own his.
  • Be the expert on yourself and let Don be the expert on himself.
  • Address your history of cheating and don’t try polyamory until you both have 100% trust in this area.

25:45 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 420: Self-identity with poly and disabilities

Hannah Pittman offers insights on self-identity on poly and disabilities fixedlolcat


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1:00 Host chat and announcements

5:00 Poly in the News

7:00 Topic: A new voice on poly and disabilities

New poly and disabilities activist Hannah Pittman shares her thoughts on the convergence and mutual benefits of being a person with disabilities and of being polyamorous. We can learn from self-identity and support models for both.

30:00 Happy Poly Moment R shares a beautiful happy poly moment of meeting and opening up to another couple and being involved with their wedding planning

32:30 Thank you! Thanks to Erin for the donation and to David for joining the Friends With Benefits level of the Poly Weekly Playmates!

33:30 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!

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