lovemagician's picture

The Heart of Polyamory: Primarily Secondary

By Millie Jackson

Although contentious, commonly used terms in polyamory are “primary”, “secondary” and “tertiary” which represent different levels of relationships. The controversy stems from how the terms are used and if they imply status for lovers or simply reflect the degree to which a lover is involved with the day-to-day life of a partner. Many people object to the hierarchical implications but begrudgingly use the terms because of a lack of good alternatives.

“Primaries” typically live together, share expenses, may raise children together and, whether married or not, are usually overtly acknowledged by friends, family, co-workers and the like as being a couple. “Secondaries” tend to be romantically and sexually involved without sharing as much of the practicalities of day-to-day living associated with a “primary” relationship and may not be publically acknowledged as lovers. “Tertiaries” have even less if any involvement in day-to-day living, often live out-of-town and/or have other circumstances that cause contact to be infrequent, sometimes with visits limited to a few times a year or less.

Annabelle River's picture

Re-Defining Marriage, or Love for The Daily Show

I realize that I'm a couple days late by blogging standards, but I still want to join Anita Wagner, Alan, and Loving More in cheering for the polyamorous threesome on The Daily Show last Monday:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
No Gay Out
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

The poly folks come in at 3:10, but the whole clip is a good analysis of the marriage debates.

As the comments on Poly in the News agree (including one from George and Joy Reagan, the couple featured),  The Daily Show did an impressive job of showing the poly interviewees as articulate, well-adjusted, sexy people, and getting its laughs at the expense of professional-comedian Jason Jones and his mock-sensationalism instead.

ChantelleAustin's picture

Some People Suck!

Be warned, I'm on my soapbox and I'm venting!

lovemagician's picture

The Heart of Polyamory: The Elephant in the Living Room

By Millie Jackson

I continue to be very close with an ex girlfriend. We were partnered in what was my last monogamous relationship.  After four years together, we attended a workshop on polyamory at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.  This gave us a context and the vocabulary to begin seriously discussing the prospect of opening our relationship.  Although we agreed that polyamory aligned with our philosophical and spiritual beliefs, we didn’t know how to access the poly life-style.  Our relationship ultimately ended after almost eight years together before we had the opportunity to explore polyamory.

There were ups and downs throughout the break-up.  Since we were financially enmeshed and shared a lease on a house that was our home and our businesses, this process dragged out for an excruciating six months.  This emotionally challenging period eventually led to us taking much needed time apart without any contact.  This was difficult given that we had been not only lovers but best friends, roommates, business associates, and travel companions.  We did everything together--we shared expenses, shared meals, and shared a level of intimacy we had never known before.

Mercedes Allen's picture

Risky Thinking: The Implications of Sex and Gender Minority Advocacy

(My apologies for self-quoting so much here, but this article brings together some threads made before, and therefore need to be linked)

We're experiencing an interesting moment, even if it sometimes brings heavier negative $#!t than we've ever expected.  As a transsexual during the societal coming-out of transsexuality, it's kind of one of those rare glimpses within the split second of the rite of passage from obscurity to awareness.  Of course, it's longer than a split second relative to our own lives -- gays and lesbians made this transition in the early 1970s and are still not completely past the repercussive effect -- but it's still a moment on the cusp of a revolution, where we can look forward at those who trod the path toward acceptance, and then back at those who hide in the shadows, wishing to follow.

At this moment, several different subcommunities are self-defining to the point of excluding others, sometimes vilifying and refusing to associate with them, all in the name of determining their own identity.  We've seen it before, I detailed a lot of how the transsexual vs. transgender rifts forming mimic the self-defining-to-exclusion that occurred in other minority groups in "Rocky Horror and the Holy Grail" and won't reopen that here.  But one thing I've kept hearing is about how trans is the "last great unprotected minority" and that kind of thinking boggles my mind.  Because in stepping back and looking at this from a perspective of sex and gender minorities, it seems to me that we are only just starting to come out.  And if we can't learn from those previous mistakes, we risk repeating the mistakes of the past in a tragic way.

Annabelle River's picture

Beyond the Green-Eyed Monster

Last weekend I went to a panel question-and-answer session geared toward newbies in the kink Scene.  And the only question to specifically address non-monogamy was, "How do you deal with jealousy?"  Which is the same first question I've gotten from most of my monogamous friends, and the same question that dominates a healthy percentage of polyamory discussion groups.  It's an obvious question and an extremely legitimate one.  But I don't understand how jealousy merits such be-all-end-all importance.

I don't pretend to be somehow immune to jealousy; of course I've been jealous of lover's other lovers before, and it's a miserable feeling.  But then I have two options, which are: (1) Deal with it; or (2) Tell my husband and boyfriend that I want to be monogamous, in which case I would have to break up with at least one of them.  And in the last three and a half years, there has never been a split-second that I honestly thought Option #2 could be less heartbreaking or melodramatic for me than dealing with jealousy.

lovemagician's picture

The Heart of Polyamory: Show Me the Love

By Millie Jackson

I am a literalist when it comes to polyamory—a self-proclaimed poly-purist.  Since the word contains “amory” from the Latin “amor” meaning love, love is literally a defining characteristic of polyamory.  A common definition for polyamory is the concept of being open to having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time with knowledge and consent of all partners involved.  There are other styles of non-monogamy and various ways to engage in open relationships that are not polyamorous.

Though we often contrast and compare polyamory to monogamy, the truest comparison would be between polyamory and mono-amory—the arguably rare state of loving only one partner throughout a lifetime. Another challenge with comparing polyamory to monogamy is that a relationship can be truly monogamous but devoid of love.

Polyamory is a love-style more so than a life-style. One of my pet peeves as an activist for polyamory is when the word is used to describe emotionally disengaged encounters. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own approach to relationships and to how and why they have sex, but calling it polyamory doesn’t make sense if it is not amorous. Obviously, we aren’t going to immediately be in love with everyone we date. It doesn’t usually work that way for monogamists or polyamorists, but polyamory is about having the intention to cultivate an emotional relationship. I would love to see clearer distinctions made among different forms of non-monogamy so myths and misunderstandings are not perpetuated.

lustwithwings's picture

To the straight mind

It is bizarre to me that a mode of action as obvious as doing what one feels (biologically, psychologically, logically) is, for the majority of persons, unt

Annabelle River's picture

A Poly Perspective on Celebrity Scandal

I was at my boring desk job today, and my co-workers were talking about the Tiger Woods scandal in my earshot.  They know a lot more than I do about the Tiger Woods scandal, because I haven't read a single article past the headline - because I really don't care.  I don't play or watch golf, and most athlete/Hollywood celebrity scandals are tediously interchangeable, and Tiger Woods and I just don't have much influence over each other's lives.  I don't feel a need to start caring about him now; if you're reading this outside of the U.S. and don't know what I'm talking about, Google him.

But one of my co-worker's more incredulous comments made me cringe with silent frustration: "And he's married to a supermodel!! And he cheated on her anyway!"

Okay, so here's the thing about sex with more than one person: Sometimes it really has nothing whatsoever to do with the original partner.  I'll admit, of course, sometimes it does.  Sometimes people first fall out of love with their "primary" significant other for any number of examples of incompatibility, and they stick around a doomed relationship either because they're too afraid to be alone until they find the next partner, or because they're too afraid to hurt the other person's feelings (which invariably backfires), or because of habit.  Then they lie to their partners or spite them, which is where the real betrayal happens.  I take it (from osmosis) that Tiger Woods lied to a lot of women, which makes him a liar.  The women who trusted him have every right to feel outrage toward a liar, and I wouldn't begrudge any self-righteous co-worker banter over that.

letseatcake's picture

What About The Children?? Polyamorous Parenting

I’m not sure about you other poly parents (wait, do those even exist?), but one thing I hear over and over again is, “I guess being open is cool, but I feel sorry for the kids.”  In f

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