By Kendra Holliday | September 18, 2013 at 10:18 am
Two weeks left to contribute to this polyamory guide crowdfunding campaign!
A word from my friend, Franklin, about his book project:
My partner Eve and I are aiming our book at complete newcomers to polyamory; our goal is to provide a practical, useful, in-the-trenches set of tools for making multiple romantic relationships work.
A lot of poly books are either personal memoirs (like Jenny Block’s excellent book “Open“) or surveys of how different people do polyamory (like Tristan Taormino’s “Opening Up“), but what we haven’t seen anywhere is the book that says “okay, so you want to do this poly thing; now what? What problems might you encounter? What solutions work? What solutions seem good in theory but don’t work? How can you define the difference? What tools can you use to put together stable, functional plural relationships? What makes up the ‘ethical’ part of ‘ethical non-monogamy’? What are strategies that help when things run off the rails?”
Honestly, I prefer personal memoirs because I’m a human interest junkie. I haven’t read Jenny Block’s book, but I have read a few others, such as Sadie Smythe, Chester Brown (a very, ahem, different sort of non-monogamy), and Cheryl Cohen Greene. But WOW there are so many people out there who are new to polyamory and are eager to explore it – they need guidance.
I’ve been polyamorous my entire life, in the sense that monogamy has never made much sense to me. I can remember hearing a fairy tale when I was very young, about a princess forced to choose between two handsome princes. I recall thinking “well, princesses live in castles, everyone knows that. And castles are big enough for both princes. So why does she have to choose?”
I started the practice of non-monogamy from the moment I started becoming aware that boys and girls are different; I took two girls to my high school prom, and lost my virginity in a threesome.
Along the way, I’ve made just about every mistake it’s possible to make in polyamorous relationships, struggled with feeling like I was the only person in the world who felt this way about love and romance, and been forced to confront a great deal of social convention that ran counter to what I wanted my life to look like. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’ve had about 15 years of monogamous relationships, a 13-year (so far) marriage that has been poly for about half its duration (the latter half), and a number of other poly relationships.
My approach to poly has changed radically over the years: from that early experience at 16, to first hearing the word “polyamory” in 1998, to my husband’s and my first swingers’ party in 2006, to our current multiple long-term, committed relationships. And being poly has radically changed me. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of hard lessons. I’m writing this book to share those experiences with anyone who is struggling to maintain ethical multiple relationships with integrity, compassion and courage, in the hopes they may help you on your way.
Franklin and I have debated on various polyamorous approaches. I have a primary partner structure. It works for us.
However, Franklin points out, “I actually started out from a couple-centric, primary/secondary approach, in part because back then there weren’t any poly communities, and my wife at the time was only reluctantly non-monogamous. It took quite a while for me to see the damage these arrangements could do to my other partners, and how essentially what the focus on primacy did was shift the risk involved in being open to multiple romantic relationships off of my wife and I and onto anyone who became romantically entangled with either or both of us.”
Hmm. Interesting… I have a feeling I will learn a lot reading this guide book. I can’t wait for it to come out.