Categories
Polyamory

History, Art, and Polyamorous Domestic Partnerships in a New England Town

The Powder House. Prospect Hill. City squares and art exhibits galore. Somerville, Massachusetts is far from a quaint New England town. Because they just added polyamorous domestic partnerships to their list of recognized relationships!

Massachusetts has always held a special place in my heart. It is the home of my childhood obsession (Salem witches, anyone?), my favorite boy band of all time (NKOTB!), and the place I lived for 3 glorious years of elementary and middle school. I made some of the best friends I’d ever had there. And for the first time that I can remember, it was the place I considered my home.

New England Seasons. Clockwise, from top left: fall road, spring tulips, winter bridge, summer lavender.

I loved everything about it. The leaves in the fall, the flowers in the spring, the green green summers, and the white white winters. It is a place I yearn to go back to as an adult. Just to make sure it really is what I remember.

Change is on its way!

So imagine my joy when, at the beginning of July 2020, I read the best article. A small city in Eastern MA, near my beloved Boston, had just decided to recognize polyamorous domestic partnerships. YAY! A small step, sure, but an important one. And I hope, the first of many.

Thanks to a local ordinance passed by the City Council, poly families of Somerville can now be out and recognized. They can visit loved ones in the hospital. Which, in this strange new Covid-19 world, is such a huge blessing. Health benefits can also – potentially – be expanded to multiple partners for those under City employ.

Somerville, MA City Hall

The far reaching impacts of this will be seen as surrounding communities and municipalities react. Larger law enforcement entities will need to adjust as well. And the insurance companies will also have to chime in. But for now, let us just bask in the glow of this small but significant step.

As a ruling that comes soon after SCOTUS’ ruling on LGBT employment protections, I can only hope that this sets off a chain reaction, and an avalanche of similar ordinances and laws that sweeps our country.

To the naysayers…

Before you all say “But Lucie, it’s only a city ordinance.” or “Lucie, it only recognizes polyamorous domestic partnerships of people living together.” I say: “Baby steps!” Is this a perfect, cover-all-the-different-poly-styles decision? No, of course not. But it is a step in the right direction. This can open the door to recognizing many relationship configurations and the families that those create.

The ability to openly love my family – ALL members of my family – is something I cannot wait for. And I am so excited for that day to come. But, in the meantime, I guess I’m going on vacation to Massachusetts! (Once it is safe, of course!)

UPDATE 8/2020:

More great news! On Monday, July 27, 2020, Cambridge followed suit! They are advancing a similar proposal to have a second reading at their next council meeting in September. Six members voted in favor of this next step. Only two members declined to vote at all, citing their lack of knowledge on polyamory.

So everyone, fingers crossed this moves forward and Cambridge, MA becomes the next city to recognize multi-partner relationships!

UPDATE 3/2021:

On Monday, March 8, 2021, Cambridge passed their city ordinance protecting & recognizing polyamorous and other multi-partner families! The ordinance looks a little different from nearby Somerville, who passed theirs last year. But the heart of the ordinance is that same: that those in multi-partner relationships be afforded the same recognition that monogamous relationships receive. And that they also see those same benefits and protections.

Cambridge’s ordinance had the help from the Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition, a newly formed coalition of academics and legal experts who seek to advance recognition and protection to multi-partner relationships and families. For more about their work, you can visit their website here.

Big thanks to Alan at Polyamory in the News, who is always on top of new things happening in our growing ENM world.

Sound off!

What do you think of the new change? What are you hoping to see next?

Categories
Polyamory

Why I’m Choosing Polyamory And Leaving Monogamy For Good

Before I get into choosing polyamory, I want to say that for many in the Polyamorous community, it is not a choice. It is simply who they are. Much like being gay or straight, tall or short, introverted or extroverted is who they are. There was no choice for them. They simply are polyamorous.

Polyamory Is A Choice For Me

I will say “I am polyamorous” but I do not think of it in the same context as “I am bisexual.” It is simply easier to say it that way when describing my preferred relationship style. It also implies more of the little behind the scenes details that go into practicing polyamory. I choose, everyday, to live my life and love my relationships in this context.

Alright, onto the meat of it: Why am I choosing polyamory?

The Short Answer?

It just makes sense. Why should I have to choose between person A and person B when they both have the potential to make my life happier?

The Long Answer is messier.

What Monogamy Has Shown Me

Monogamy was built, and is focused, on keeping ahold of your person. In my monogamous life, I remember there were all these things telling me how many temptations were out there just lying in wait to “steal” my person. And how I could change who I was and what I did in order to keep my man. Open any women’s magazine and you will see them. So many stories exist about how the man cheated because the woman didn’t do XYZ. Or because she “allowed” him to have female friends or go out on the town without her at his side.All of this breeds distrust and possessiveness. And how is that healthy in any relationship?

“One True Love”

Monogamy touts the idea of “one true love.” And that there is only one person in the whole world for you. One person to meet all of your needs 100% of the time. How exhausting! And if that one magical person turns out to be human and imperfect, and just not able to be all of the things you need them to be? Well then, monogamy says they weren’t your “one true love” to begin with. Back to the dating pool for you!

It Takes a Village…

What’s more, there is no village. Unless you build your own. This is especially true in American culture. We like to say “It takes a village to raise a child.” So where is it? And why do we look down on those that have that village in place? Why is it more acceptable to hire nannies and daycares than build a small village to help bring up our tiny humans?

I have had three children. And not once did a village show up to help me raise them. I have family and close friends. But we are spread out and not in each other’s day to day life as much. Not to mention, some of them have their own kids and partners and lives to juggle. But wouldn’t it be nice to have that small group of people in your daily life, always there, ready to help and support you when you just need to pee in peace?

So, Why Am I Choosing Polyamory?

Polyamory has shown me that, for people to love and accept me, I don’t have to be anyone I’m not. Nor do I have to do anything other than what I am already doing.

Obviously, people are not for trapping or keeping. They are individuals; fully autonomous, and capable of deciding who they wish to share their life with. For example, my partners are not mine. They choose to be with me. And I them. And that choice is freeing. Temptations are there for everyone, all of the time. And, of course, they look different for everyone. It is up to each individual how they are handled. Despite my best efforts, I cannot create a temptation free space for my partners. No matter how hard I try. So I must trust my partners and our relationships.

“My partners are not mine. They choose to be with me. And I them. And that choice is freeing.”

Soulmates. Love triangles. Cheating. Divorce rate.

In practice, monogamy doesn’t exactly work the way everyone seems to think it does. It places too much pressure to be everything, and meet every need, for your partner. So what happens if they don’t or can’t meet every one of your needs? Do you settle? Move on? What if you never find your “one”? Do you give up? Resign yourself to being single for the rest of your life? Absolutely none of those options sound appealing to me.

Lastly, let’s go back to that village. There are a lot of cultures that have multi-generational families living under one roof. Helping to raise children and supporting each other. “Mom tribes” are sought out for those same reasons nowadays. Likewise, community groups are sought out for various hobbies and lifestyles and shared experiences. We are social animals! Polyamory – kitchen table poly maybe especially – allows for all of that; with the extra bonus of loving relationships. Plus, you get metamours to help support and love you. And who understand deeply the feelings you have for your shared partner. Even when you occasionally want to wring their necks. There is nothing in the monogamous world quite like a close metamour bond.

One More Thing…

I keep saying that I am choosing polyamory, implying that it happens a lot. The reason is: it does! I choose everyday to be polyamorous in my relationships. Just like I choose everyday to love my family, be a good mom, have a good day doing whatever it is that needs doing.

I am intentional in those things. And I am owning those choices.

Your Turn!

Why are you polyamorous? Did you choose it, or is it a part of who you are?

If you are monogamous, what are your thoughts on this? Share this with your partner and let me know what they think too.

Categories
General Info Polyamory

Glossary

Welcome to our Polyamorous Dictionary! Here you will find some words unique to the world of Ethical Non-Monogamy, the umbrella Polyamory falls under. This glossary is by no means exhaustive. And it will be updated as often as needed. These definitions are how I understand and use the terms, based on my many years in the Polyamorous Community. If you come across a word that isn’t here, and you feel it should be included, please send me a message here.

Ethical Non-Monogamy

A large umbrella of relationship styles that includes (but is not limited to) swinging, open relationships, monogam-ish, and polyamory.

Polyamory

Many loves. A relationship style that falls under the umbrella of Ethical Non-Monogamy, where one has many romantic, loving, & consensual relationships.

Metamour

My partner’s partner.

Nesting Partner

The partner I am living with.

Pet-amour

Your metamour’s pets. While it is not a widely used phrase in the poly world, I find it absolutely adorable and worth mentioning. Because who doesn’t love more animals to cuddle?

Polycule

A way to describe a group of polyamorous relationship that includes partners and metamours. This can manifest in many shapes from a simple V or T, all the way to a complex full page map with many lines and circles and intersections!

Compersion

Polyamorous folx sometimes refer to it as the opposite of jealousy. It is a feeling of happiness and joy in your partner’s relationship with another. For example, instead of being jealous that my partner is having a night out with their other partner, I am happy that they get to have some alone time together to focus on their relationship.

Kitchen Table Poly

A style of polyamory where all partners & metamours hang out together often and build close friendships with each other.

Folx

Alternate spelling of folks, meant to be more inclusive and non-gendered.

Domestic Partnerships

Legally (but not always) relationships between two people who live together but are not married. It typically allows the couple to share the same or similar benefits as married couples. Polyamorous Domestic Partnerships would open the definition to include more than 2 people in the relationship.

Cishet

Cis refers to cisgender, identifying with the gender they were assigned at birth. Het refers to heteroromantic, being romantically attracted to people of the opposite sex/gender.

Cis-heteronormativity

the belief that heterosexuality, predicated on the gender binary, is the default, preferred, or normal mode of sexual orientation. (for more, check this link.)

Have a Suggestion?

Think we should add a word to our polyamorous dictionary? Fill out our suggestions form to let us know!