Categories
Polyamory

How To Not Be A Unicorn Hunter

Every few months or so I come across a post that makes it abundantly clear who is new to polyamory and who has been in it for a while. Those posts usually start out with a cute and innocent (seeming) intro post.

“Hi, thanks so much for letting us join your group. We’re a fun friendly couple just looking for that special someone to complete us. We are into [various hobbies inserted here]. We are not looking for a one night stand, but a genuine connection with another woman, one we can both love. Feel free to PM us if your interested!”

Sometimes they include words like hierarchy and equal (“We don’t believe in hierarchy. Our third will be an equal in the relationship.”). They almost always include pictures of the fun couple, with the woman front and center.

The comments start out nice enough, a lot of welcomes and compliments. Then there is that one veteran who will offer a friendly piece of advice: to do a little more research before jumping into the polyam dating pool. An innocent “Why?” or “Oh, we’ve read a lot about polyamory already.” will set the spark that lights the dumpster fire to come.

If you’re a part of the community, you’ve seen it happen. Over and over. If you’re new to the community, you may not understand how an innocent post could turn so quickly. Allow me to explain.

How to spot a Unicorn Hunter

Almost every new couple opening their relationship thinks the easiest, safest course to take is by inviting another woman into their existing relationship. This is polyamory on EXPERT mode. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be in a triad relationship. But starting out with that goal is the hardest way to do so. Why, you may ask. A triad is not just a single relationship between three people, like many assume. A triad is 4 separate relationships. And each of those four requires a lot of care, communication, and work.

a visual of the four relationships in a triad

Now, back to that couple. They’ve talked it all to death and decided that adding another man to their relationship just isn’t possible. He’s straight, you see. And there will be no sword fighting in the bedroom. Not to mention it would be hard for him to know his girlfriend/wife is having sex with another man. So no men allowed. Which leaves… Women. Specifically, bisexual women who are into both partners equally. Easy peasy, right? Not so much.

Those women, the bisexual sex kittens who love the couple the exact same amount, are called Unicorns. Because they are near mythical creatures. They do exist in the polyam community. But they are rare. And they tend to guard their unicorn status closely. Because as soon as they pop up, they are bombarded with messages and invitations from couples looking “to add a third.”

But Lucie, you just said triads are great.

What’s the problem?

The problem is in the language and execution. First, these are people. Reducing what you are looking for to “a third” takes away from their autonomy and personhood. They become a thing to possess, to collect, instead of a partner in a loving relationship. It also puts them into a position of inferiority to the couple. The couple is the central relationship, and this new person is something to enhance that. Not to be taken seriously or allowed any say in what happens within that relationship.

So already, the woman is coming into a relationship at a distinct disadvantage. One she is unlikely to overcome.

Consider what happens when one part of the couple has a stronger connection to the woman than the other part. Will she be cast aside, to preserve the central relationship between the couple? You may scoff and say never! But it happens all.the.time. And what if the woman meets someone outside of the couple that she wants to pursue a relationship with. Will she be allowed to? Or must she only be with them? This is another thing that happens often.

So, how do you avoid it?

If you are new to polyamory, I suggest you start with these three things.

  1. Research. Ask the community for their favorite recommendations for newcomers to ENM. Do a quick google search. You will find many websites and blogs to point you in the right direction.
  2. Date separately. Seriously. You will have much better luck, and be happier for it. And maybe, if you are super lucky, that triad you wanted will happen all on its own.
  3. Listen to the advice you receive. And don’t get defensive when that advice is more blunt than you expected.

For more information, you can check out a great site dedicated to explaining Unicorns and Unicorn Hunters here. And don’t forget to check our own list of resources for all things polyam here.

Categories
Family Polyamory

How A Surprise Pregnancy Brought Us All Closer

In June of 2017 I met Boyfriend. In August I found out I was pregnant. The next nine months would prove the most important in our polyamorous journey.

Boyfriend and I connected online, through a dating app of all places. And it was a click that happened almost instantaneously for both of us. We spent the next month texting back and forth, marveling at the ease with which it was to talk and joke and laugh and tease. And then we had our first date. And the physical sparks flew, adding to that instant connection. We marveled at it all. At how crazy it was that we hadn’t known each other for longer, because it certainly felt like it. At the fact that we were so connected, on so many levels, so quickly. And at how those lovey-dovey feelings were starting to develop even then, so very very soon after meeting.

And then a huge curveball. A regular doctor’s appointment at my local Planned Parenthood to re-up my birth control. And instead of the super fun exam I got a piece of paper that said very plainly: PREGNANT.

Son of a Bucket! That was certainly unexpected.

So, how was this going to work? How much do I tell my new person? A person I had not called my boyfriend yet. Our relationship was 3 months in, barely. And yes, the connection was there and amazing and there were feelings starting to stir, but… a baby? That can change a lot, everything.

Not to mention the effect it would have on my relationship with Lovey. A new baby was not something we were planning on anytime soon. We had just started this polyamory journey after some very Dark Years. We were still honeymooning, it felt like. And boom. A new little life was starting, threatening to upend everything we were working toward rebuilding.

But let me tell you… Munchkin has been the biggest blessing on this journey with Lovey & Boyfriend.

Familiar & unfamiliar territory

Lovey and I had been down this road before. So we quickly fell into the roles we knew: pregnant mom & expectant dad, happily anticipating the new arrival and counting down the weeks and milestones. This time we even had Sass and Crumbs to get excited with us. And boy did they!

Boyfriend and I… Well, as I said, we hadn’t even labeled anything yet. But I needed to be honest and let him know. Those crazy pregnancy hormones would show up eventually. So I pulled up my big girl panties, and broke the news that I was pregnant. And he took it in stride. He was on board to fill whatever roll I needed or wanted him to fill. And those changed often throughout the next 8 months. I’m pretty sure I fell completely in love with him at that point.

In a matter of months, we went from a family of 4 to a family of 6. Because by the time Munchkin made his debut, Boyfriend was a part of my family. He was fully in. There was no backing out. And Lovey was on board with it all too.

There were certainly some hiccups. Being Boyfriend’s schedule made it hard enough for us to see each other on the regular. So finding extra time to spend with all of us was tricky. But it didn’t stop anything. We had the uncomfortable discussions over text when we couldn’t all be together in person. And we shared pictures and updates everyday. It was exhausting, but it was so worth it. He got to be a part of it all. And I got to share that amazing 9 month journey with 2 men I truly loved.

One lucky little duck

Munchkin is lucky. He came into this world with so many adults loving him. So many adults waiting for him. He wasn’t the last piece in our puzzle, but he was an important one.

Then several short months later, Bats found us. And there was this whole new person who fell in love with Munchkin. They quickly became another staple in his life.

He will grow up, surrounded by a large family full of love. Two big sisters ready to move heaven and earth for him, and take on anyone who dares be mean. Four adults who fill the roles of parents and caretakers, that will watch over him for the rest of our days. And all of the extended family from this core group. That is one lucky little duck.

Categories
Family Polyamory

Are Metamours the Best Kept Secret in Polyamory?

I have wanted a metamour relationship for longer than I knew the word existed. Before Lovey and I embarked on this polyamory journey, I had quietly wished for a family style that would give me a relationship that was deeper than sisterhood. A relationship that was part friendship, part sister, part partner. I have friends, best friends I’ve known for ages who know me better than I know myself sometimes. I have a sister.  But we aren’t as close as I wish we were. Distance, age, personalities, all played a part in keeping our relationship more distant than I’d like. And I have partners. Two men I love more than almost anything else in this world. And who love me the same.

Thankfully, the type of relationship, of connection, I’ve been wanting exists in polyamory. And I have been lucky enough to find it.

Something unique

I’m talking, of course, about metamours. Those people who have no connection to us except for the fact that they are dating our partner. In my life, that person is Bats. And did we luck out with them. Let me preface this by pointing out that not all metamour relationships are great. Not all metamours want to be friends or have any kind of relationship with their partner’s other partners. It all depends on the person. And that’s okay. But when they do, when the relationships form on their own, it can be pretty amazing.

To an outsider, it might seem very odd to form such a close bond with a person who is dating your partner. Odder still to want it. There are even some in the polyamorous community who prefer that separation between them and their partner’s partners. Sometimes this is referred as a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell relationship style.

But for many, the metamour relationship is something they look forward to building.

In the real world

I am very quiet and introverted, and don’t make friends easily. I learned, growing up as a military brat, that nothing is permanent. And friendships didn’t typically last long past the next move.  So, if someone made it into my inner circle, they were there for life.

So imagine my wariness when Lovey met Bats, and they kept coming around. I liked them instantly. They were fun and geeky in much the same ways I was. And, probably most importantly, they brought out a side of Lovey I hadn’t seen in a long time.

This, in my view, is one of the best parts of polyamory. You get to watch your person, your partner, come alive again with someone new. Without the threat or insecurity, without the worry that they will leave. You can just enjoy who they are with this new person.

Our metamour relationship

Our friendship was slow to start. But then in November, we discovered a common challenge to build on. It was NaNoWriMo, a month long writing challenge that I had been participating in on and off for years. And so had Bats. By the end of it, we were friends. And now, a year and change later, we are closer than I could have hoped for.

We have weathered a pandemic, and made it through a harrowing election season together. We have celebrated birthdays and holidays together. And most recently, we have shared in the grief of losing a beloved pet.

Bats supports my relationship with Lovey in a way I haven’t experienced before. They celebrate anniversaries with us, and have even “babysat” so Lovey and I could have a date night. Outside my relationship, they support me in new adventures, and cheer me on whenever I reach a goal or accomplishment. the best

A definite perk

Metamour relationships are amazing. A great one can positively impact your relationship with your partner, and even bring you closer together.

They are not magical. It takes work, like any other relationship. But that work is easier somehow because they are in your corner, cheering you on.

Tell me about your metamours! How have they impacted your life? Or your relationship with your shared partner?

Categories
Family Polyamory

Meal Planning & Polyamory. The Perk No One Talks About

There are a million posts and articles out there about the benefits of polyamory, including some by yours truly. They talk about things like freedom, and autonomy, and support. But there are some perks that don’t get as much airtime. And one of those is meal planning help.

If you, like me, have a fairly large family living under one roof, you know that any help around meal time can be a godsend. I don’t know about you, but my days are pretty busy. Munchkin takes up the majority of my time during the days. And in the evenings I’m off to the office for work. I also have this blog and other writing projects I juggle in between. So cooking dinner for my family is not high on the list of things I enjoy doing every single night. Shocking, I know.

As for the others in the house, well Lovey’s work keeps him out of the house all day at least 5 days a week. Sometimes more, depending on the season. Sass & Crumbs are still learning their way around the kitchen, and have the palates of a toddler most days. Not to mention the school work and friend time they fit into their days.  So dinner & meal planning inevitably falls to mom.

Some months, I can get my ducks in a row long enough to work out a meal plan. But then those ducks decide to run amuck, and Poof! There’s goes the meal plan. And the kids end up eating more ramen than they probably should. And it doesn’t seem to matter which meal planning technique I try. I’ve done the calendar, the list, the weekly, the bi-weekly, etc. You name it, I’ve tried it.  It always falls apart sometime before the plan ends.

But! The last couple of months, Bats has been staying with us. They teamed up with me to help make dinners and do some meal planning. And let me tell you, it has been a game changer!

How we do it

At the end of the month, we make a list of about 21 meals for the next month. Some new recipes we’ve been itching to try out. Some classics that everybody loves, like spaghetti and tacos. And some easy ones for those crazy days where everyone seems to have a million things going at once. We found that 21 gives us just enough to not feel overwhelmed with the prospect of having to cook every day, while also giving us flexibility to order out once in a while. And it leaves days open to get through the leftovers that fill the fridge, because there are always leftovers!

Once the list is done, Bats & I pull the recipes together from their various sources and make out a big grocery list of everything we will need. Things that won’t keep for the whole month, like salad and rolls, are left off to be picked up on an as needed basis. Everything else gets picked up in one big shopping trip. Bulk stores like Costco are great for this! After the shopping list is made, the recipes & meals list go on the fridge together for easy reference.

Sticking to just a simple list instead of a calendar spread gives us more flexibility too. We can pick and choose what we feel like that day. It also lets us adjust how much time we have available to do the chopping and prepping and cooking, without having to rearrange a whole slew of other meals. And, since we do our shopping for the meals all at once, we don’t have to worry about not having the right ingredients at the right time. Except maybe for those salads or rolls we want.

Big Events & Meal Planning Ruts

Big meal events will probably be easier too. Not that there have been many so far. The beginning of the year thankfully doesn’t have a whole lot of those. But we got to practice with the Super Bowl this month, planning out snacks and drinks to enjoy during the game. Everything could be divvied up depending on who was home when.

Another great part of this is the variety! I don’t know about you, but our family gets into food ruts. We recycle the same old recipes over and over, despite the good intentions of wanting to try new things. But now, there is a whole other human in the mix! And they have different tastes. It also helps that Bats enjoys some of the things Lovey enjoys that I do not. Poor Lovey hasn’t had regular seafood meals in ages because the smell is just… a big no for me. But Bats loves all of that. So when I’m out, they cook up the seafood dishes just for the two of them.

Breakfast and lunches are still all over the place. But at least dinners have been made easier. We have regular, yummy meals that mostly everyone enjoys. And when a particular recipe is a big hit, it gets marked to have it again. Eventually we’ll get through all the recipes we’ve added to our cookbooks. Maybe. If we stay off of Pinterest.

Let me know how you guys handle the dinner dilemma every night. Are you a big meal planner? Or a wing it every night kind of family? And don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest for some of our favorite meals!

Categories
General Info Polyamory

Jealousy, Sex, Communication, & Compersion: The Truth About Polyamorous Relationships

Hello class, and welcome to Introduction to Polyamory! We are going to answer some of the top questions about polyamorous relationships. Please hold all questions until the end. Do you have your notebook and pen handy? Great!  Here we go!

What is Polyamory?

Polyamory is literally “many loves” when broken down into its root words (poly) and (amor). It is on type of relationship under the large umbrella that is Ethical Non-Monogamy. Many others include, but are not limited to: Swinging, Open Relationships, Monogam-ish.

Back to “many loves”. It is the belief that a person can have multiple loving relationships with the full consent and willingness of their partners. And without compromising any part of those relationships. Polyamorous relationships can look like any monogamous relationship.

Aren’t polyamorous relationships all sexy times and naked games?

No! Some relationships are not sexual at all. And some are purely sexual. Just as some monogamous relationships are.

This is a common misconception about polyamorous relationships. But many people in these relationships will attest to the fact that this lifestyle is about the loving connections we can make with other humans. Those looking for purely sexual encounters are often pointed toward Swinging communities.

What about all that jealousy? And what exactly is Compersion?

Jealousy is actually less of an issue in polyamorous relationships. Because everything is out in the open and talked about incessantly, jealousy has very little ground to gain any kind of foothold. That is not to say it is not a problem at all, or that it can’t pop up. It’s simply saying that jealousy is less likely to become a big problem than in monogamous relationships.

In fact, polyamorous folx like to share their experiences with what they refer to as jealousy’s opposite: Compersion.

It is that feeling of joy for your partner’s happiness. Monogamous folx could compare it to that feeling of happiness when a friend gets married. Or when a family member receives good health news.

Compersion is sharing in your partner’s happiness, specifically in regards to their relationship with their other partner. It is being able to enjoy their giddiness at text messages and dates, in sleepovers and phone calls. Being happy with them, as well as for them.

But isn’t that all just cheating?

No. Why? Because everyone involved is aware of and consents to it before anything happens. Communication is such a huge key factor for those in polyamorous relationships.

And, despite what some may think, cheating is not just for monogamous folx. Cheating can and does happen in polyamorous relationships. Any act that breaks trust and boundaries in a relationship can be considered cheating. For some, watching pornography is cheating. For others, it is only sexual relationships outside of the core one. Only the people in the relationship can define what cheating means to them.

The 3 C’s of healthy polyamorous relationships: Communication, Communication, Communication

It’s a little like the running joke for real estate: Location, Location, Location!

You might think communication is a no-brainer when it comes to relationships. You may be one of those people who are already good at expressing your wants and needs and feelings to your partner. But the majority of people aren’t. It is something we learn the hard way, usually through multiple failed relationships.

In polyamorous relationships, communication skills are a must. Everything is talked to death it seems. People in polyamorous relationships learn to be open and honest about everything going on their lives with each of their partners. They learn that keeping secrets or hidden feelings are unhealthy and lead to major problems all around. So talking about boundaries, feelings, and all of the stuff you were taught to just bottle up inside, becomes normal and freeing.

And that includes the uncomfortable topics like safe sex practices and STI status and screenings. If you are going to have grown up relationships, you need to be able to have grown up conversations about all the things those relationships could entail.  

Communication skills with others are paramount in polyamorous relationships. But you must also be able to communicate with yourself. How can you explain to your partner that you are feeling left out or insecure if you are not able to figure out those feelings for yourself. Communication starts internally. You must learn to recognize thoughts and feelings for what they are, where they stem from, and then share that with your partner(s).

Is Polyamory right for me?

Only you can answer that. Polyamory is hard. It’s not for everyone. And it is not a way to fix or help an existing troubled relationship. There is no one size fits all approach to it. If you are interested in exploring polyamory, or any form of ethical non-monogamy, start with some reading. You can check out our resources list here for my favorite books, podcasts, and websites.

Alright, that concludes your Introduction to Polyamory! I hope you learned something. Please leave any questions you may have in the comments below. Or shoot us a message here.

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