Categories
LGBTQ+ Polyamory

Why Polyamorous People Don’t Belong in LGBTQ+ Spaces

I recently came across several conversations and articles about polyamorous people being excluded from LGBTQ+ spaces. Feelings were had all around. But no conclusions were found.

This blog, as you can see from our content so far, is very LGBTQ+ friendly. And addresses some big LGBTQ+ topics. Marriage equality and employment discrimination being a couple of those. This is because I am the B in LGBTQ+. My metamour falls under the +. My boyfriend is another B. Even my daughter has come out as a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Not to mention the number of friends and extended family who identify with so many of the letters in it.

When one group rises, we all can

The LGBTQ+ community means a lot to me, and is one that I want to advocate for. Because it is a community that is marginalized and attacked a lot. In healthcare, in employment, in basic rights. I can’t help but want to be a voice to help them rise up.

Also, larger acceptance of LGBTQ+ people could lead to a larger acceptance of polyamorous people. There is a lot of overlap between the two, in my experience. Many polycules have at least one person who identifies with at least one of the LGBTQ+ letters.

So why all the hubbub?

When I came across the conversations I did, I was a little surprised. I assumed the polyamorous community was welcomed into those spaces. I realize that was pretty naïve. The struggles the LGBTQ+ community faces (and faced in the past) are vastly different from those in the polyamorous community. But still, my little rainbow bubble was popped.

So what exactly were they all saying? Here are some of the biggest points of contention.

Cis-heteronormativity

What about the cishet people in polyamorous relationships? They can be allies, certainly. Many are, I would imagine. But do they belong in the safe spaces created by and for LGBTQ+ people? My opinion is no. People under the umbrella of LGBTQ+ deserve to have a space that is only theirs. A space that is safe for them to rant or vent about the world of cis-heteronormativity. A space without the chance of a cishet person potentially getting butt hurt, or trying to explain it all away. No matter how big an ally a person is, they will never be able to understand the struggles of being LGBTQ+. Just like a white person will never be able to understand the struggles of a BIPOC.

Style vs Orientation

Polyamory is a relationship style, a choice. It has nothing to do with gender identity or sexual orientation. And because it is seen as a style or a choice, it is not seen as deserving to be included in those LGBTQ+ spaces. I could argue, if I was feeling particularly testy, that for some people, polyamory is not a choice. It is very much a core part of who they are as a person, just like their gender or sexuality. It cannot be changed.

Being a part of both

I am a part of both communities. Would I love to see the two come together? A little bit, yes. But I understand and appreciate them more for being separate. They need different things. They experience different things. And they give different things in terms of support and community and resources.

Do I think polyamory belongs under the LGBTQ+ umbrella? No. Not even a little bit. Because not every polyamorous person is queer. And not every polyamorous person views their relationship style as an intrinsic part of who they are.

But this blog will continue to support that community, in the best way I know how. By using a voice to talk about some of the big issues that affect that part of me as well as the polyamorous part of me. Because there is a lot of overlap. But my struggles as a polyamorous person are nothing compared to the struggles the LGBTQ+ community faces.

Sound off!

How do you feel about it all? Do you identify with one or both communities? Would you like to see them merge and accept each other more? Or do they deserve their own unique spaces?

Categories
Family Polyamory

Easy Holiday Planning So You Can Actually Enjoy Yours

I don’t know about you all, but Holidays are kind of a big deal for us. Gifts and Quality Time are my love languages, so naturally I get very into showering my family with both of those any chance I get. And the biggest opportunity is the end of year Holiday Season. So come November 1st, I am in full Holiday Planning Mode.

Our growing up traditions

In the before-times, when it was just Lovey and I and the girls, the planning and shopping was a simpler affair. Growing up, we always made Wish Lists, for our family members and of course for Santa. It was something I kept up into my adulthood, even if Santa stopped leaving goodies for me.

So naturally, it was something I wanted to bring to my own little family.

Lovey on the other hand had a more conservative Christmas past. His parents didn’t believe in the big commercialization and consumerism. They focused on the religious backing of the holiday. Which meant, for their family, church service, a meal, and 3 gifts each.

My poor little gift giving heart simply could not let that continue once we were together.

The perfect gift

A big part of the holiday planning, for us, is the gifting. The shopping, the wrapping, and the behind the scenes stuff that happens first. Like making those Wish Lists and collecting Wish Lists from our kids.

Once we had received them from both of our girls, Lovey and I would write out our budget and what items we would like to find, as well as who those items would be from. When they were younger, we would label gifts for the girls from their sister. We do the same for Munchkin now. But as they got older, Sass and Crumbs got into the spirit of picking out the perfect gifts for each other. So they get a budget and we take them shopping separately.

We also like to include extended family in all of this. (Did I mention gifts were my love language?) So that means we were shopping and planning for grandparents and aunts and uncles, too. And nowadays we add Boyfriend and Bats into the mix. That is a lot of people to keep track of!

So many events, so little time

Of course gifts is only one aspect of the holiday planning. There are also parties, dinners, kids’ events to take into account. Even if you are not personally hosting or throwing any of these, you still need to know when they are and if you’ve RSVP’d, right? And, if you’re a person of faith, there are also potentially church services and activities to boot!

For us, thankfully, parties are not usually on the calendar. There were the occasional work Christmas parties, but since we both left the work world where those are thrown, we have not had to worry about them. We do get to worry about remembering kids events, though! Every grade in elementary school seems to have its own holiday show planned so we were often going to school on two separate occasions. But again, there was no planning on our part. We simply showed up when and where we were told.

Dinners on the other hand! I used to overlook these in my holiday planning as our circles were smaller and less complicated than they are now.

I enjoy cooking and planning a big meal to share with those I love. However, I also have separate circles for all of my humans. Two, to be specific. One we are openly poly with, and one we are not. Planning and scheduling these sometimes can get a little hairy. But we always seem to make it work.

So by now, you’re probably wondering how on earth I manage to track all of this. And how you can too.

A better holiday planning system

For the longest time, all of my planning was just done in a spare notebook. A different page for all the different things I need to keep track of. This proved tricky more than once when I would need to keep certain things secret from certain people, or when I received Wish Lists. I needed a better system. So I started using a notes app on my phone. But that only worked really well for gift tracking. And none of the other stuff. That all stayed in the stray notebook that kept wandering off.

I finally figured out I needed something I could add loose pages to, something with pockets for all of those gift receipts and scraps of notes, something with categories and a touch more organization so I wouldn’t forget important details. And a calendar to put all the dates and parties and activities on.

Photo of the pages available in the 2020 holiday planning workbook.

So here it is! My printable workbook to organize all your holiday planning. In its 15 pages, you’ll find wish lists and gift trackers for partners, metamours, kids, and everyone else. You’ll also find budget sheets, a menu for those holiday dinners you’ll host, and a shopping list. And, of course, a blank 30 day calendar (with stickers!) to help you plan out all the events, shopping, cooking, and celebrating. Print, (hole)punch, pop it in a binder, and you are all set to plan the holiday season. And actually enjoy the holidays too!

I know the holiday season can get stressful. I hope this workbook can help alleviate some of that stress for you. It has certainly helped me.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Categories
Family Polyamory

We’re Dating Again and the Kids are Alright

“Girls, your dad and I are dating again.”

“Yay!”

“And we are also going to be dating other people.”

“Ummm…”

That’s about how it went when we told our girls (Sass and Crumbs) that we were going to be Polyamorous.

Questions popped up of course. Some just logistics (Will we get to meet them? Where will we be if you’re both on dates?) Some plain old curiosity. And some – the big ones – were all about reassurance. Do you still love each other? Will you still stay together?

Pretty sure the divorce played more into those questions than our new dating arrangements.

All we could do was show them that this was going to be a positive experience for all of us. We were open and honest about everything. No surprises. Everything was right there on the table before anything happened.

We kept our normal routines. And made new ones when (finally) we were all under the same roof once more. We talked about dating, about new people we were talking to. We answered more questions. Kids seem to always have an endless supply of them, no matter the topic.

Dating Again

The biggest test was when I started going on actual dates. Lovey had dated a few times already. He was living in another city (we were long distance for a little bit there) so it wasn’t as in their face. Not to mention, they were (and still are) Momma’s Girls. And now there was, potentially, a new man coming into their lives taking up more of my time and attention. And was Dad really okay with this? Yes, of course he was. We had talked about it for so long by then that it was no longer a question for us. But, understandably, it was for them.

Even with all of the talking Lovey and I had done, it was still a little weird to start. I had maintained for a while that I wasn’t really interested in dating anyone. Which slowly evolved to not interested in dating men, to maybe just the right man. Enter Boyfriend. Lovey met him after our first date. And they hit it off, as I knew they would. (And let me tell you, nothing will point out your “type” faster than polyamory!)

Boyfriend & Bats

The girls insisted on meeting him right away. So, with Lovey’s blessing, Boyfriend came to pick me up for our first date, and we all walked around the block to the sitter’s. They were mostly quiet, as is their nature around new people. They asked a few questions, made a few comments. But mostly just observed. Boyfriend, to his credit, let them lead.

Lovey had had a few dates with different women over all this time. And then he met Bats. And they fit right into our life as if they had always been. They stepped in with Munchkin, helping to wrangle or cuddle depending on the mood. They reached out to Sass and Crumbs, offering friendship and a safe space.

The Kids are Alright

The girls’, for the most part, have simply accepted it all with grace and minimal complaining. Any mention of dates or any displays of affection has been met with the obligatory eye rolls and resounding sighs of “ugh, grown ups dating.” And for that, we are so grateful.

We were open from the get go with them. There were no dumb or off limits questions. They could meet our partners when they were ready. If they were uncomfortable, they said so. We listened. To concerns, to questions, to whatever they were thinking and feeling about it all.

And now… It is their normal. Munchkin has never known any different. We are a polyamorous family. And that’s just the way we like it.

Did you have to “come out” to your kids? How did they handle it? How did you? Share below! And don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out on new posts!

Categories
Family Polyamory

Practicing Polyamory Our Way: A Conversation with Lovey

In an effort to better introduce you all to my world, I thought it would be fun to interview my people about polyamory. Because we all came into this a little differently. And we certainly all approach it differently. I also thought it would be great for you guys to hear their voices in this. So here is the first in this mini series! I hope you enjoy it!

What drew you to polyamory?

The idea of being able to embrace all the different aspects of who I wanted to be.

What was the biggest deterrent?

I didn’t know how I was going to handle jealousy and the sharing and lack of ownership… all of that.

What did you struggle with?

I’d say my biggest struggle was with compersion. When you and Boyfriend first started dating I had to figure out how to just be happy and not worry about if I was going to lose something or whatever.

How often does jealousy come up?

After the first couple months, it really hasn’t been an issue for me.

Is he not the cutest? At this point you may be thinking, yeah right. Jealousy isn’t an issue? But I can honestly attest to the fact that it really isn’t. Even prior to our foray into polyamory. He is unique to other guys in that way. Part of why I love him so!

How do you handle or work through those jealous feelings?

I tried my best not to overthink things, and the more you went out and came back the more that everything was okay, it just helped reassure and quiet all of those voices. Meeting Boyfriend and having that meeting go good super helped.

What makes each of your partners special?

My main partner, my person, we have history, we understand each other, we’re comfortable together. I don’t know, there’s just so much to that answer. Bats is new. It’s exciting. They are very attentive. It’s a very different relationship. And we, our friendship has really grown and like the things we talk about. And I really enjoy both the conversation with both of my partners. The conversations are like similar but they”re still different. And it’s nice.

What is the most rewarding thing about polyamory?

The most rewarding thing has been being able to go out on dates and not have like any sexual pressure. I don’t feel like I have to go out and I’m not chasing women or chasing sex or like attention or acceptance. Being able to date without a lot of that pressure, it’s been nice. Being able to explore different things, go out, do tennis or hiking or playing pool or whatever. It is having that time when my person isn’t up to it, you know that’s nice. We don’t have to worry about jealousy. The conversation has been beautiful because… Its definitely been a strange experience learning how to live openly and honestly. But its been pretty rewarding.

What is the most common question/reaction you get about practicing polyamory?

A lot of it has to do with the dynamics. Like how the sex works, and jealousy, and how we figure that stuff out, do that stuff without everybody fighting or getting possessive. It’s hard for them to wrap their head around or something.

Yes! Everyone always assumes there are crazy orgies happening all the time! Which is actually very far being true, in most polyamorous relationships. Another popular assumption is that we are all greedy and yet also possessed with this ridiculous amount of jealousy. So much so that it has become a running joke for those practicing polyamory.

How did you and Bats meet?

I met them on one of the poly groups and she did an intro post and I said hi. I did an intro post, they said hi. I asked her if I could private message, she said yes, so we talked back and forth. I asked her if we could get together and she kind of brushed me off, said she wasn’t ready to meet yet and wanted to get to know me, and then just nothing ever happened with it. And then a month or two months after that we actually matched on a dating site and I asked so when do I get to take you out? And she said oh, I didn’t know you were interested. Oh really? Cause I asked you out like 2 months ago.

And that’s how we started talking.

What is one thing that has surprised you about polyamory?

How okay this feels. It was weird at first talking about dating somebody else or talking about hey that chick looks cute. Or I talk to somebody and they seem interested. It’s weird. Yeah, it’s just very against the norm. We were very mono. We were brainwashed into thinking monogamy was the only way.

How do you wish TV/the media/movies would better represent polyamorous people and polyamorous relationships?

I kind of wish there was more… less toxic monogamy traits. And it’d be nice to see more poly in the media, different groups, differing… different combinations. You know, it doesn’t always have to be a guy and two girls. Or whatever. There’s definitely a lot of different ways to poly. So I’d like to see more of that. But really I’ll settle for less toxic monogamy.

Are you open about practicing polyamory? And how did that go?

To everybody except my parents.

When we went poly I was actually in the middle of a job change. So when I started my new job I just started as poly. They asked and I was like yeah we’re open. And that’s kind of been my story ever since to everybody. To new friends. To old friends.

What has polyamory taught you about love?

Poly has taught me that love doesn’t have to have, doesn’t have to live in a cage. I mean, boundaries… personal boundaries are healthy for love, for your love, for all of that stuff. But love doesn’t have to die, or completely dissolve, or change just because the relationship with someone changes. And it doesn’t disappear after you’ve loved one person. It’s taught me that I don’t have to be possessive. That if the love is really there I don’t have to fight for it, I don’t have to beg for it, I… it’s there you know. So it’s given me a deeper understanding of what true love really is.

What do you think is important in keeping a polyamorous relationship healthy?

Lots and lots of over communication. And enthusiastic consent on things. You gotta pay attention and learn your partner. Pay attention to your partner. You gotta do more. You gotta step up your game. Like this is not easy, it’s not all about the sex, it just doesn’t come natural. You really gotta work at it. You know, you gotta step up your game and be more of an active player in the relationship.

What do you think about our dynamic?

I kinda like our dynamic. It’s a little more go with the flow. You don’t like change which is really weird because we’re kind of letting our relationship evolve as we go, and I know we both want kitchen table and we’d like to add someone to the group but I don’t know. we’re kind of letting that evolve as we go. I like our dynamic. It works for me. And anytime we come across hiccups we talk about it and figure out ways around. The compromise has been really good. I like it.

How do you keep from over venting/sharing about 1 partner to another?

I don’t really vent about you to really anybody except for S. S is my vent to person. So like whenever we’re… I don’t know… mad at each other or I’m frustrated I go to my vent to person. I don’t complain about you to Bats. If we’re having issues or we’re upset I might tell them but I try to keep the specifics out of it. Me and Bats don’t really talk about my and your relationship. Our conversations tend to be about our relationship and stuff. When there’s things that are going on then they might hear the cliff’s notes version but that’s about as far as I really go.

Were the kids a part of the decision to start dating? How did they affect that?

They were totally a factor in the decision and stuff. First thoughts were you know well how does this affect them. How can it negatively affect them. What kind of message does this send to them about relationships and stuff. Part of the reason we decided to go poly was because we wanted a healthy relationship. Certainly one that was much healthier than we had when we were monogamous and married and all of that. So you know we wanted to… I wanted the chance to show them what a healthy relationship could be, a happy relationship could be. And poly it gave us that chance.

Don’t miss out on the rest of this mini-series! Stay in touch by subscribing below!

Categories
Polyamory

How is the Covid-19 Pandemic Impacting Polyamorous Relationships?

The Covid-19 pandemic has its quarantine fingers in every pie, it seems. Social distancing and mask wearing are a part of most of our daily lives now. For monogamous folx, household units haven’t had to change their interactions with each other much. For polyamorous folx on the other hand…

Suddenly a whole new layer of safety protocols need to be considered. A community that already has (mostly) mastered communication about tricky topics, Covid-19 has provided new areas for us to explore and tackle.

Specific Covid-19 Things to Ask

  • Who do we isolate with?
  • Can we see other partners, if we aren’t isolating with them?
  • How often can we see them?
  • What if you are living alone?
  • What if you have kids?
  • What if they have kids?
  • What if someone tests positive?

Lovey and I had the easy part of already living together with our children. But our partners? Bats lives alone but doesn’t drive. So Lovey, of course, committed himself to help them out getting to and from work and appointments and what not. Being in the restaurant biz, they were essential and continued to work through it all. And since Bats was isolating and distancing from everyone else in their life (as much as possible), we all collectively decided the risk of hanging out and including them in our own isolation bubble was low.

Boyfriend is in the caretaker biz, so also essential. However the risk posed was a little higher. He has his own kids and roommates to take into consideration too. More people means more exposure. So we refrained from seeing each other in person for the first month, during the worst of the outbreak (to date). It sucked. (Boy, did it suck.) But it passed and we were all safer for it.

Now, post-first surge and initial quarantine, we are trying to return to some sort of new normal. Which means limited activities and lots of mask wearing, hand washing, and sanitizing. But it also means showing grace when we just need to get out and do something fun, like a trip to a museum for a special exhibit. Or to see the new baby animals at the zoo. Or to have a night out and go on a date.

Dating

I know many others out there are thinking about dating again. Whether that means dates out with current partners or new dates with new people. And what about group meetings? We can only decide for ourselves, knowing our own risks.

For us: we see each other and our partners whenever possible. We social distance when out on dates. We are not meeting new people for dates. We wear our masks and wash our hands. We are not starting new relationships. We talk and meet people online but no new in person stuff. Because we want to be safe. And stop the spread of this virus so life can look closer to what it once was, sooner rather than later.

We hope you guys are doing the same. For the latest guidelines, I encourage you to check out the CDC’s website. And for closer to home recommendations, please look to your local Health Department.

Tell me how you are dealing with dating during Covid-19? Are you pursuing new relationships? How are you maintaining your existing relationships, and caring for your partners? How are you caring for yourself?