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Flying Pig Magnet from City Royalty, available on Zazzle

Marriage Isn’t the Only Way to Secure Human (and Poly) Rights

With the exciting developments of last week around striking down part of DOMA, and lifting the ban on same sex marriage in California (read lots more in Poly in the News), there’s a lot of discussion about marriage as the vehicle for various rights and privileges.  Political pundits on both sides of the aisle are starting to realize that now that pigs have flown, the reality of that slippery slope argument is imminently upon us.  In other words now that one group of people have been granted access to marriage rights, what about all the others who still don’t have those rights?  Say, for instance, the many un- (or under-)insured children of polyamorous or polygamous relationships? It becomes more and more difficult to maintain (at least with a straight face) that children of one relationship style (heterosexual dyadic marriage) are more deserving of healthcare and other rights than are children of other relationship styles, now that the heterosexual-only barrier has been broken.

That said, it’s unlikely in the extreme that plural marriages will be granted equal marriage rights anytime soon. In legal red tape terms, granting marriage rights to same sex couples is exactly the same as granting them to heterosexual couples. Granting them to multiple spouses, however, is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish indeed. (Those who have been through a divorce are already rolling their eyes even as I type…)

To those who are engaging in hand-wringing and predictions of doom and despair, the best possible response may be, “Yes.  So?” Or to put it slightly more completely, “yes, many people in our `country don’t have equal rights even yet. So what is this society going to do about it? Making plural marriage legal (or decriminalizing it) is only one possible option to making sure that millions of children have adequate health care and other benefits.  We’re not set on that as the ONLY option. Would you like to talk about some others, such as separating individual human rights from the religious-based institution of marriage?”

No matter what happens in the future, the sad fact is that polyamory is discriminated against in many ways.  We are not (yet) protected by the anti-discrimination laws that cover same sex couples for instance, so the spectre of losing jobs (or failing to get them), getting discriminated against in housing matters (including retirement communities), and losing children in a custody dispute is very real indeed. Getting equal access to rights and privileges granted to married couples is certainly one way to gain some protections, but it’s not the only way.

Ken Haslam (retired MD, and curator of the Polyamory Collection at the Kinsey Library) reminded the Poly Leadership Network today of a paper written by Ann Tweedy, discussing the possibility of getting the protections afforded under the anti-discrimination laws I mentioned above, by asserting that polyamory should already be covered as a “sexual orientation.”  She makes some excellent and cogent arguments, and I highly recommend reading the abstract, and the whole paper if you can lay your hands on it.

In the meantime, you might want to brush up your responses to the “slippery slope” arguments, including but not limited to “oh, you mean polygamy? I didn’t know you were a Mormon!” You might want to check the handy table I posted recently, for this purpose. 🙂

Remember, no matter who or how many you love, Love is ALWAYS OK!

~♥ Dawn

PS: I’m running a SUMMER COACHING Special right now. I’d love to help you avoid the seemingly inevitable arguments and Agreements failures that come with the increasing complexity of polyamory and/or open relationships. Check out the special deals on my coaching (and Wedding Packages!) on my website. Buy now, and save over 30% off full price. 🙂  Not sure? Check out my testimonials page to see what others are saying, and/or contact me to set up a time for a free 30 minute exploratory session. Because Love is Always OK!

Poly People and Marriage: Results of the Loving More 2012 Survey

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image by Angi Becker Stevens

With all the excitement over the recent rulings on DOMA (declared unconstitutional in part) and California’s Prop 8 (thrown out), Loving More Nonprofit’s release of a summary of some of the results of their 2012 Survey is timely indeed.

So what DO polyamorous people want?  Are we happy? What do we think about marriage?  These are some of the questions addressed in the Loving More 2012 survey (endorsed by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, aka NCSF) of over 4,000 self-identified polyamorous people. A summary report from these findings was recently released, and you can read it by clicking this link:

http://www.lovemore.com/polyamory-articles/2012-lovingmore-polyamory-survey/

I found the survey interesting, if somewhat flawed (the limitations of the survey are openly discussed in this summary article.) Some of the findings are no surprise whatsoever (e.g., there are MANY more bisexual people in the Loving More population than in the general population, as represented by the General Social Survey.)

Also of interest is the fact that

consensually non-monogamous individuals were significantly more likely to have practiced safer sex with all partners, to have undergone STI testing, and to have had conversations about safer sex practices than were sexually unfaithful individuals in ostensibly monogamous relationships.”

The authors suggest — and I agree — that this is

“in keeping with general polyamorous ideologies of rigorous honesty in sexual relationships.”

I think it also matches up with the “poly mantra” of Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. 🙂

One of my favorite personal statistics from this survey is that

“the LM population was slightly, but significantly, happier than the general population.”

Cool. 🙂

On the whole, it’s an interesting survey, and worth a look, especially for those of us who are academically minded… or just plain curious. 😉

Here’s hoping that you, too are happy in your relationships, no matter who, or how many you love!

~♥ Dawn

PS: Did you know I’m already licensed to perform marriages in CA (and most other states)? I love co-creating custom rituals for weddings, handfastings, and other Life Milestone ceremonies for people of any and all genders, involved in any and all healthy and supportive relationship structures. Check out my LoveOTB Ministerial Services Page for more information! No matter who or how many you love, Love is ALWAYS OK!

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Positive STI Test? Don’t Panic! (Yet)

gamblingsign.phpShould you freak out if you get a positive [STI] test?  Probably not, depending on the number of “false positives.”  Here’s the mathematical reasoning, based on a disease with a 1% rate in the population, where the test finds the diseases 100% of the time, but has a 5% “false positive” rate.

http://www.businessinsider.com/controversial-math-problems-markov-chain-cantor-coin-flip-2013-5#-27

The “moral” of the story? Don’t freak out (yet); instead, get a second opinion.

Of course, the exact numbers will depend on how accurate the test is, and exactly what the false positive rates are. But mathematically speaking, a positive test is not something to freak out about, at least not until there are TWO positive tests in a row.  Preferably by different testing methods.

Picture of condoms in a rainbow of colors

This, by the way, is why you really shouldn’t “out” someone publicly who’s just told you privately that they got a positive test, and are awaiting re-testing (while taking appropriate precautions not to unnecessarily expose others in the meantime, just in case).  Because the HIGH probability is that the re-test will be negative. Making a big deal about whether they’ve told absolutely everyone yet is just going to cause drama that is likely completely unnecessary.  Giving them a little empathy about how challenging it must be to get this result and how hard it is to wait, on the other hand, would probably be really welcome. 🙂

May you always love boldly, safely, and well!

~♥ Dawn

Want some help negotiating safer sex (or any other kind of) Agreements? I’m always happy to schedule a free 30 minute session (or 60 minutes for half price). Read what other people are saying about my work here. Or read more about making Agreements in my KISSable Agreements workbook entries. 🙂  Still got questions?  Feel free to contact me on my Love Outside the Box webpage.

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

 

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Stigma Over Open Relationships Changing, Says Study

A new psychological study by Kevin Zimmerman from Iowa State University suggests that “the stigma over open relationships could be changing, and in the future, this lifestyle might even become the norm.”

Clients in Sexually Open Relationships: Considerations for Therapists

The author seems to have a good grasp of the territory of open, polyamorous, and otherwise non-monogamous relationships. As quoted in the Huffington Post Blog about the article:

Zimmerman raises the question of whether we could be socialized to believe that to be devoted to a second person is to love the first less, even though this standard does not apply when discussing adoring more than one child, for example.

Zimmerman explains that open relationships are different from infidelity or cheating because partners agree on the sexual boundaries of the relationship, and there is no deception about sex. Successful open relationships typically involve those who privilege authenticity over conformity in their relationships. ‘Open’ relationships can be characterised by more honesty and better observation of boundaries.

While many people, especially in more conservative parts of our culture, believe that non-monogamous relationships (especially polygamy) are always bad, and inherently anti-feminist, Zimmerman challenges this ideas, saying

‘open’ relationships are sometimes seen as raising the status of women, releasing them to be with whom they want, bestowing greater power over their own bodies.

Additionally, Zimmerman correctly points out that monogamy is actually far less dominant that we’ve been led to believe:

Of the 185 human societies investigated in one study, only 29 restricted their members to monogamy… .

What do you think?  Are open relationships becoming less stigmatized? Is that true of only some types of open relationships?  Are there “good” or “bad” kinds of open relationships?

No matter what, change is on the horizon, and our society seems to be becoming more and more open to the possibility of “open.” 🙂

May you always love boldly, safely and well,

~♥ Dawn

PS: Want to set up a time to talk with me about open relationships, polyamory, monogamy, and/or how to design your own best relationships? I’m happy to do a free 30 minute, or a 1/2 price 60 minute phone session with you. Get clear on what your relationship structure is, and underlying assumptions about rules and boundaries, and your relationship/s will be easier and happier! Or call me (510-686-3386) to set up a time for a free intro session!

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

 

What Is Couple Privilege?

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Fellow poly blogger Franklin, aka Tacit (deservedly well-known for his site More Than Two), recently published a very interesting article in his Live Journal about “couple privilege.” Rather than try to reinvent the wheel here, I’ll let you read his own words about what that means:

Polyamory: So What Is Couple Privilege, Anyway?

 

I also wrote a bit about this concept last year, in an entry called “Primary Privilege and the Illusion of Security,” in case you’re interested in reading more.
It might be worth noting, as I am publishing this on April 15, tax day, that one of the privileges accorded to married couples in the US is that of filling taxes as Married, which can often result in tax savings over two individuals filing separately. This privilege is not available to non-married couples, nor is a comparable tax rate available to singles (or groups of more than 2, for that matter!). This is only the the most obvious tip of the iceberg around the vast numbers of privileges afforded to couples, in particular (but not limited to, in most cases) married, heterosexual couples.

As always, I welcome your thoughts. Some questions you might find interesting: How does couple privilege show up in your relationship/s? Do you think it’s good to “protect the couple”? Bad to perpetuate privilege? Neither, or both? Feel free to contact me (or comment below) with any feedback or comments.

With very best wishes,

~♥ Dawn

PS: Want to discuss all of this privately? I’m happy to do a free 30 minute, or a 1/2 price 60 minute phone session with you. Get clear on what your relationship structure is, and underlying assumptions about rules and boundaries, and your relationship/s will be easier and happier! Or call me (510-686-3386) to set up a time for a free intro session!

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Poly Media Successes!

LMonOurAmerica

Chuy, Robyn, and John on “Our America”

Reports are coming in from all over that the poly segment of Our America that aired last night is a smashing success.  Alan M. of Poly In The News calls it “incredible,” and in one email to the Poly Leadership Network, said it would be “great publicity material for explaining the poly movement like forever.” :^D  You can see available video segments, and get a link to the re-broadcast schedule on Alan’s blog:

For those who missed the Oprah Winfrey Network’s incredibly good, hour-long poly documentary on “Our America” last night, you can watch the available video segments from it here:
http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/2013/03/our-america-poly-documentary-incredible.html

Yes it was that good.

The show will be rebroadcast next Tuesday night and maybe again later. Schedule:
http://www.oprah.com/own/tv-schedule/index.html?q=Our+America+with+Lisa+Ling+%28Season+2C%29&page=1#browse_top

 

There’s also a great segment on the Loving More organization itself:

 

(Deleted Scenes: National Organization for Polyamory Awareness)

And another about a poly family raising an 11-year-old child:

(Deleted Scenes: Polyamorous Family Raising 11 Year-Old Girl)

Wow!

Remember also that we in the East Bay Poly Potluck community will be hosting TWO viewing parties in the next week.  I think the Berkeley viewing is full up, but there is still room at the one in Antioch, which is this coming Sunday, March 10th.  Doors open at 2pm.

In the process of getting ready for the show, the Loving More folks (who were profiled on the Our America segment) have also been working extremely hard at an upgrade to the Loving More website. They rolled it out last night, and it looks awesome!

LMBanner

One of the things ON that new Loving More site is a link to a new article by yours truly. 🙂  It’s called Five Reasons Agreements Fail, and it’s a combo of the two entries I made here last month in my KISSable Agreements Workbook series.

If you’re interested in another preview from the book, you can also download the section on Getting to Win-Win-Win, which I gave out at the recent International Academic Polyamory conference in Berkeley. The pdf is free, though to get it you’ll need to give me a valid email address. By the way, that will also sign you up for my list, where you’ll get periodic tools and tips, and notification when my workbook actually appears in print (soon, now!) If you don’t want to stay on my list after you get the pdf, you can always unsubscribe, of course (though I hope you’ll stay.)

Hooray for fabulous progress in the understanding of polyamory in our culture!  Hooray for personal and business success for Loving More, and all the other poly families and groups who appeared on this show! And hooray for getting the word out about tips and tools for successful polyamorous relationships — both my own (via this blog and Loving More), those of others on the Loving More site and at other locations all over the ‘net, and the world.  Bit by bit, we really are creating that reality in which I want to live, where whoever you love, whatever forms that might take, or however many people you might love …

love_is_ok_rainbow_heart_tshirt

Love is always OK.

~♥ Dawn


∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Qpid.me drawing of two stick figures sharing a heart outline

Sharing the Love (More) Safely

Qpid.me drawing of two stick figures sharing a heart outline

I was recently introduced to a new resource for managing safer sex and testing results.  It’s called Qpid.me, and it claims to be “A free, simple way to share your verified STD results” by registering with them, and having your results sent directly from your doctor to their private database.

Here’s what they say on their website:

To make informed sexual health decisions, you must not only be informed about your own health, but also about your partner’s health as well. We enable you to privately share your STD [Sexually Transmitted Disease, aka Sexually Transmitted Infection or STI] status however you choose. We believe that sharing is a good thing and that it can lead to better sexual health decisions, more (safe) sex and fewer STDs.

The service is limited, and doesn’t include a couple of important STIs (e.g., HSV, aka Herpes), and so far doesn’t seem to include a way to make any statement (or have your doctor make a statement) about those STIs, either.  Here’s the list of what they DO cover (from their FAQ):

  • » HIV: PCR/RNA, antibody and viral load (for HIV positive users)
  • » Gonorrhea: genital/urine, rectal and oral
  • » Chlamydia: genital/urine, rectal and oral
  • » Syphilis
  • » Hepatitis C antibody
  • » HPV vaccine
  • » Hepatitis A vaccine

I myself have some concerns over this whole idea, around the idea of the results being useable to potentially stigmatize someone/s in the community who turns up “positive” for something.  On the other hand, stigmatizing is certainly being done NOW, without benefit of this service to speed up the process, so I’m not sure how much actual increased risk there is.

BerkeleyFreeClinic.logo

I’m also concerned about things like financial accessibility, and that requiring a certain kind of testing might become a way to effectively marginalize some less-privileged parts of the community. Of course, there are some free or low-cost resources available, at least in most urban areas in the US (e.g., Berkeley Free Clinic), but in the current economic and social climate, this certainly is not a guarantee for everyone in all areas… and even if you live somewhere that’s covered by such services, accessing them can be more than a little bit of a hassle. (Not to mention the issues inherent with contributing to the unsustainable medical-industrial-complex in the US. (Thanks to Charlie Glickman in Twitter for that link))

One of the other things I’m concerned about is the common misconception that clear test results mean there is no risk of getting an STI. It doesn’t.  It’s incredibly important to remember that testing gives you a snapshot at a particular point in time, and that any sexual contact with others means that the snapshot may no longer be 100% accurate (see more about the “window period”).  Depending on how active you and/or your partner/s are, the accuracy could range anywhere from “still good” to “completely false.” Clear tests are never a substitute for good safer sex practices (e.g., consistent and correct condom use, and being mindful about cross-contamination), honest conversations with your prospective partner/s, and possibly having a Safer Sex Agreement (whether that’s something that’s “only” an Agreement with yourself, or whether that includes 1 or more partners as well.)  Remember also that any Agreements you make are best made in advance of clothes coming off, and when everyone’s awake and sober!

Picture of condoms in a rainbow of colors

In any case, I thought this might be of interest to some folks here, as one part of a comprehensive Safer Sex Agreement or plan.

(And now my brain is suddenly full of  images of eggs and juice and the phrase “[brand name cereal] is part of a complete breakfast”! *chuckle*)

May you always love boldly, safely, and well!

~♥ Dawn

Want some help negotiating safer sex (or any other kind of) Agreements? I’m always happy to schedule a free 30 minute session (or 60 minutes for half price). And if you act before the end of February, you can still get my Valentine’s Day coaching discounts.

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Self-love As a Path to Loving More

The Self-Love Tree poster, by Christine Arylo

From Christine Arylo’s Madly in Love with ME

Happy Self-Love Day!

My friend Christine Arylo, author of Madly in Love with ME: The Daring Adventure of Becoming Your Own Best Friend, has declared Feb. 13 to be the International Day of Self-Love. You can read more about it, and download her free Self-Love Kit here.

In her self-love kit, she challenges each of us to choose a branch of the self-love tree, and focus on that for the next year.  They’re all good categories, so it’s hard to choose!

  • Self Acceptance
  • Self Care
  • Self Compassion & Forgiveness
  • Self Empowerment
  • Self Esteem
  • Self Expression
  • Self Honor & Self Respect
  • Self Pleasure
  • Self Trust
  • Self Worth
  • Self-Awareness & Self Honesty

For me personally, I’m constantly in need of extra work on Self-Compassion and Self-Forgiveness (I’m going to commit to forgiving myself for needing to work on forgiving myself more! *chuckle*.)  And she’s spot on when she lists “self-worth” as the root of the whole tree.

In terms of the title of this post, however, I’m going to go out on a limb (ha ha!) and say that for the purposes of loving yourself as part of loving more (whether that’s through polyamory or any other “outside the box” path), that Self-Awareness and Self-Honesty are key. If you don’t know yourself, and understand your own needs, it’s hard for you to truly understand the needs of another.  And of course honesty is a crucial cornerstone of any polyamorous relationship… and honesty with others begins with honesty with yourself.

Being honest here, I’m behind in posting this message, and so many of you will not see it till tomorrow. That’s ok. (See how I forgave myself there? ;)) You can still check out her book on Amazon, download the free kit, and get a lot of good out of working on loving yourself, whether that’s today, tomorrow, or at any point during the year. And tomorrow, you can share it all with those you love…  whether that’s one other, many others …  or just you. After all, don’t you deserve to give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift, too? 😉

With much LOVE to all,

~♥ Dawn

PS:  It’s still not too late to take advantage of my Valentine’s coaching specials! I’m happy to help you in whatever way you need, in your path to loving more, whether that’s through guided visualizations to support your self-love, or by helping you craft personalized Agreements with others.  Let me know how I can help YOU create your own best life and loves!

PPS: See you at the  Academic Poly Conference in Berkeley, CA, this weekend (February 15-17)? I’ll be there!

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

 

2 Lists of 5 Ways to Fail in Polyamory

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“There’s no One Right Way to be Polyamorous, but there are plenty of Wrong ways!”
Miss Poly Manners

Polyamorous people are often known to proclaim that one of the advantages of being poly is that there is no “One Right Way” to do it.  This allows us the freedom to create our own “designer relationships,” that fit the needs and wants of the individual partners, rather than trying to shoehorn ourselves into a set of “standard” or “societal” expectations that don’t. This is great in theory, but sometimes falls down in practice.* And it turns out Miss Poly Manners is right about all the ways that there are to be wrong.

Deborah Anapol (author of Polyamory in the 21st Century: Love and Intimacy with Multiple Partners, in a recent article in Psychology Today, lists “Five Ways Polyamory Can Fail”:

Pitfall #1  Using the same words to mean different things
Pitfall #2  Taking on more relationships than you actually have time and energy for
Pitfall #3  Agreeing to polyamory and then having a “secret” affair
Pitfall #4  Making promises you can’t keep
Pitfall #5  Trying to transition quickly and smoothly from being discovered engaging in a secret affair to creating an open relationship

You’ll want to read the rest of the article for more detailed information, since (as usual) she has some good observations.  The first thing I noticed, though, is that Anapol’s list overlaps with my own 5 Reasons Agreements Fail (from my “KISSable Agreements” workbook series) in a couple of areas.  Here’s my list:

Five Reasons Agreements Fail (from “KISSable Agreements,” by Dawn Davidson)

1) Simply Forgetting
2) Missed Contingency
3) Differing Interpretations of the Agreement
4) Agreement Was Not Additive
5) Agreement Simply Can’t Work

You can see that in her Pitfall #1 and my Reason #3, we both talk about making sure that when you’re using the same words, you’re actually talking about the same thing!  I also cover some of this ground in Tip #2a, in the sub-section “Avoid Ambiguous Terms.”

Anapol also suggests in Pitfall #4 that “making promises you can’t keep” is a surefire way to have Polyamory fail.  I agree, and I think it doesn’t apply just to polyamory, but to any Agreements (whether it’s in a polyamorous context or not.) As you can see above, Reason #5 that Agreements can fail is the “Agreement Simply Can’t Work,” (aka “I just shouldn’t have agreed to that”.) It covers situations where you thought you could agree to something and found out later that it’s beyond your capacity to do so, or where some other Agreement got in the way (maybe one to another person that you forgot about in the moment, or that you weren’t completely clear about at the time.)  Whether or not you intended to keep the Agreement, though, the fact is that you can’t … and that means you made a promise you couldn’t keep (i.e., fell into Pitfall #1.)

The 5 Reasons posts aren’t up yet (sorry for the delay!), but all of the Agreements Workbook Entries I’ve already posted are here: http://blog.loveoutsidethebox.com/?tag=workbook. I’ll have the first of the 5 Reasons posts (on the topic of Caveats and Assumptions) up tomorrow (Sat 2/2). :^)

In the meantime, I’m very curious to know… what reasons have YOU experienced that caused your poly relationships or Agreements to fail? What did you do to recover when those happened?  As always, feel free to comment below, contact me via my webpage, or on my Facebook Page, Love Outside The Box.

relationships.demotivator

May all your poly (or other) relationships succeed more often than they fail!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  Did you know I’m running a Valentine’s Day special on my coaching packages? If you’d like to talk more about how your Agreements are working (or aren’t!), I’d be happy to set up a time to meet in person (in the SF Bay Area), by phone, or via some other remote means (e.g., Skype).

 

[*That brings up a favorite joke of mine: Q: What’s the difference between theory and practice? A:  In theory, there isn’t one, but in practice, there is!]

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

[See the Table of Contents for the Agreements Workbook Series]

[Return to the first text entry in the Agreements Workbook series]

What About the Children? Cover of Loving More Magazine #37

Poly Parenting Resources

There’s been some discussion on various poly lists recently about polyamorous children’s books, and therefore some discussion of poly parenting.  I thought I’d put up a quick post about a few resources, for those who are interested.

Enjoy!

Facebook group discussing the creation of children’s books that touch on polyamory, run by Michael Fleming:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/388265544599196/

Jessica Burde is in the process of publishing an e-book called Guide to Pregnancy and Polyamory, which will be the first of her “Poly on Purpose Guides”:
http://polyamoryonpurpose.com/the-poly-on-purpose-guides/

Some resources about polyamory and parenting recently gathered and posted by the esteemed Alan M of Poly In the News:
http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/2013/01/is-polyamory-bad-for-children.html

There are also a number of poly parenting lists here and there.  One is run by the folks at Loving More (who will be sponsoring Poly Living in early February, remember!):
LovingMorePolyparent@yahoogroups.com

[ADDED in 2014, for Custody Battles and the like: – Poly-Parenting Nightmares: Links & Advice]

Not specifically poly, but aimed at any “sex-positive parent”:
Airial Clark, the Sex-Positive Parent, has two tweenage sons and her master’s in Human Sexuality from SF State, and she is committed that we parents have the information and support that we need for this task.  She’s giving away her Quick Start Guide to Sex-Positive Parenting (normally $15) for a limited time when you sign up for her mailing list:
http://thesexpositiveparent.com/free-ebook-get-the-quick-start-guide-free-when-you-join-the-sex-positive-parent/

Back on the topic of books of interest to the life of a polyamorous child, a couple of books that we enjoyed as our daughter was growing up are:
Love Is a Family by Roma Downey

(note, NOT the more well known “Love MAKES a Family,” which is also good)
This one is aimed at single parents with children, but covers a lot of ground familiar to any children with “weird” families.

and
Six-Dinner Sid by Inga Moore.

Sid the cat gets his needs met with six different families.  Is Sid a poly cat?? 🙂

And a bonus comment I posted in one of the threads on poly children’s books, about the idea of introducing a new partner to the kids… or to other new partners, for that matter:

I completely agree with the idea of gradually introducing a new partner to kids.  In fact, that’s what I’d recommend to adults, too! Attempting to suddenly add new partners to the mix to create the poly “Brady Bunch” [with or without kids!] has brought more heartache in my personal life, and more drama to those I’ve coached, than just about any other single practice. I find that gradually nurturing relationships, and moving *organically* into closer connection works much better.  This goes double with kids.  “This is your new Mommy” is unlikely to work well.  However, “hey, ‘Auntie’ Susie [who has been in the kid’s life for a year or more] is going to come live with us. That means she’ll get to be around for you when Mommy’s off at her new job. Isn’t that cool?” is likely to work much better.

There have been a few stellar examples of partnership in my poly-parenting life.  One was a woman (probably not coincidentally on the path to becoming a therapist at the time!) who actually only stayed a sexual partner of my husband for about 6 months.  However, she realized going in that she was forming a bond with our kid (then only about 2 or 3, IIRC), and therefore she stayed deliberately connected to her over time, showing up for birthday parties and household events regularly for years afterward. It was incredibly insightful, and a real gift in my daughter’s life, to get to see that these friendships and relationships did not HAVE to end even if the relationships between the adults changed in some way (that wasn’t really all that understandable or relevant to our daughter anyway, beyond the fact that she’d get less time with her friend.) This sort of interaction is only possible, of course, in a cooperative “split,” and is incredibly uncommon (IME) in the all-or-nothing “divorce” world.

May you always love boldly, safely, and well… and may your children grow up happy and well-adjusted, too!

~♥ Dawn

(parent of a 28-year old step-daughter, and almost-16-year old daughter)

PS: Want to talk about poly and parenting issues, or pick my brain for more resources?  Contact me to set up an initial 60-minute consultation for 50% off my usual hourly rate.  🙂