Tag Archives: research

PantheaCon2014 Cover

Join me at 2 upcoming conferences!

Happy almost-Valentine’s Day! I have good news for folks who will be in the SF Bay Area over the next two weekends:  There are two upcoming conferences at which I’ll be appearing, and at which I’d love to meet up with you! PantheaCon2014 Cover

First up is Pantheacon, an awesome gathering of thousands of people from all over the world. Filled with all sorts of Pagans and people interested in and/or practicing various forms of “alternative” spiritualities, this conference every year over the Presidents’ Day weekend offers a dazzling array of concerts, workshops, dealer’s room, rituals, classes, books, costumes, and much, much more. I’ll be co-teaching a class with Francesca Gentille (on the topic of creating your own best relationship model), at 2pm Sunday 2/16, in the Church of All Worlds hospitality suite on the 2nd floor of the Double Tree Hotel in San Jose.  If you’re of a mind to join us for a day or a weekend, check out the link here: http://pantheacon.com/wordpress/ I’d love to see you there!

Next up is the 3rd International Conference on the Future of Monogamy and Non-monogamy, to be held this year February 21-23 in Berkeley, California. With multiple tracks including Academic, Clinical, Art & Folklore, and Public Education, this conference has something to offer almost everyone interested in polyamory, open relationships, and other related topics.  Kathy Labriola (my co-presenter for the Jealousy teleseminars last fall) will also be there. I’m scheduled in the Public Education Track on Saturday, and I’d love to see you there! Click here to find out more and/or buy tickets: https://sites.google.com/site/ipachome/

Whether or not we get to see each other in person soon, I wish you all the best for this Valentine’s Day season of love.

And remember:  No matter who or how many you love, Love is always OK!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  I’m still running my “winter specials” — reduced prices on coaching packages.  I’d love to help you and your loves have relationships that are sizzling hot, and truly fulfilling!  Call me or email to set up a time for your free 30 minute consultation. 🙂

love_outside_the_box_white_on_dark_t_shirts-r734308d7aa2c48a6a7a731d0498738ca_8nfnu_216PPS:  Need something for your Valentine(s)?  You might want to check out my Zazzle Store: (zazzle.com/LoveOutsideTheBox*). I’ve got lots of items for sale, including things with my logo (some are customizable!), and also stuff with the poly “pi flag” design, or other nifty things. Or just shop Zazzle through my link, and find awesome stuff for everyone you love!

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[© 2014 Dawn M. Davidson]

Polyamorists Next Door — December 15th!

Elisabeth-SheffDr. Elisabeth Sheff, premier researcher on polyamory and other “alternative” relationship styles has a new book out. It’s called The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Families and Relationships.  Based on personal interviews over nearly a decade, her research sheds new light on polyamorous people in the United States. Right now it’s available as either an e-book or a hardcover book from publisher Rowman and Littlefield.  In order to attract interest from other publishers to do a paperback release, she’s asking that anyone who’s interested in purchasing this book please do so ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 15th, which will hopefully propel the book to the bestseller list on that day.

http://rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=unchlove-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=1442222956

Here’s what Dr. Sheff has to say:

If everyone who is interested buys a copy on December 15 then it has a good chance of being rated as the top seller in that category on that day.  Being a best seller is important because it can help get the book published in paperback, which is a lot less expensive to purchase and more likely to be in mainstream bookstores. Rowman and Littlefield only publish hardbacks and ebooks, and if the book is a “best seller” then it will be easier for me to get a different publisher interested in doing another run in paperback.

If your group or organization is interested in learning more about sexual and gender minorities in general or polyamorous families with children in specific, I am available to speak to groups large and small, and willing to travel to do so.  For more information contact me at drelisheff@gmail.com or see my website at http://elisabethsheff.com.

Please help me make this book more affordable to everyone by purchasing it on December 15.

Thanks! I wish you a lovely holiday season.

All the best, Elisabeth

“Eli” Sheff, PhD
Expert witness, educator, speaker, and consultant CEO, Sheff Consulting Group (SCG) http://elisabethsheff.com http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-polyamorists-next-door

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Sheff on several occasions, and I can say that she’s not only a fabulous and dedicated researcher, but also a kind and warm-hearted person. Helping her out in this way will also help get her important research into the hands of a wider audience, and (hopefully) pave the way for greater understanding and acceptance of polyamorous people everywhere.

Thanks, Eli, for your excellent research, and I hope that your book sells well on 12/15 and thereafter!

Because Love is always OK!

~♥ Dawn

love_outside_the_box_white_on_dark_t_shirts-r734308d7aa2c48a6a7a731d0498738ca_8nfnu_216PS: Want to declare that you Love Outside the Box? Hop on over to my Love Outside the Box Zazzle store by end of day tomorrow (12/6), and get 50% off all T-shirts, and 20% off everything else!  Use code 48HOURSDEALS at checkout to get your discount. Great for Holiday gifts, too!

 

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[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

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Our Cheatin’ Hearts

According to the National Opinion Research Center, women in the US are catching up to their male counterparts.  Not in making money, leading companies or accumulating wealth, alas.  No, we’re catching up in the percentage of women who have “extramarital affairs.” In the last two decades, the per­centage of wives having affairs rose almost 40 percent to 14.7 percent in 2010, while the number of men admitting to extramarital affairs held constant at 21 percent.

But is this a good thing, or a bad thing?  Fellow PLN member Franklin Veaux thinks that there’s a good side to all of this (as quoted from email):

“In all seriousness, without being flip, I think it [statistical increase in women vs. men engaging in infidelity] IS progress. It shows that we’re moving away from a woman-as-possession model of marriage toward a woman-as-self-motivated-agent model. The cheating thing isn’t good, per se, but the reasons behind it are.” — Franklin Veaux

I’d have to agree with that. It seems that the double standard around who gets to sleep around may be starting to abate. Women are, more and more, making their own choices around with whom to have sex. But is there more to this than meets the eye?  I think so.

Tale a look at some more “infidelity” statistics, as quoted in http://www.statisticbrain.com/infidelity-statistics/ :

Marriage Infidelity Statistics Data
Percent of marriages where one or both spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional 41 %
Percent of men who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had 57 %
Percentage of women who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had 54 %
Percent of married men who have strayed at least once during their married lives 22 %
Percent of married women who have strayed at least once during their married lives 14 %
Percentage of men and women who admit to having an affair with a co-worker 36 %
Percentage of men and women who admit to infidelity on business trips 35%
Percentage of men and women who admit to infidelity with a brother-in-law or sister-in-law 17 %
Average length of an affair 2 years
Percentage of marriages that last after an affair has been admitted to or discovered 31 %
Percentage of men who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught 74 %
Percentage of women who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught 68 %
Percent of children who are the product of infidelity 3 %

800px-Divorce_for_men_onlyI notice several things.  For one thing, that 41% figure contains both people who have actually had sex with someone other than their spouse, AND those who had emotional affairs. Compared with the usual US standard of counting “infidelity” as “sex outside of marriage,” though, this significantly inflates the numbers. Also, from this table, we can’t tell the percentage of men vs. women who engage in either form of infidelity. I bet those numbers would be interesting, too.

For another, there is no room in this chart for polyamory, open relationships, or ethical non-monogamy. If presented with this poll myself, I might answer “yes” to questions about historical infidelity going back to the time before my marriage.  I might also answer “yes” to either emotional or sexual “infidelity” depending on how that term is defined.  It’s certainly true that I’ve had sex AND emotional intimacy with more than just my husband.  *I* don’t call it cheating… but those writing this survey might.

It’s also interesting to me that the average affair lasts about 2 years… just long enough for the “Disney chemicals” to wear off, and the infatuation to fade. Hmmm….

However, on the whole, I’m forced to conclude that the data isn’t particularly firm here, and doesn’t actually say much.  It is, as the saying goes (attributed to Mark Twain), “Lies, damn lies, and statistics,” raising as many questions in my mind about the research, as about the results.

On the good news side, given that it does seem to indicate an increase in people (of any gender) willing to talk about their “infidelity,” this probably bodes well for transparency and honesty in relationships, which in turn probably bodes well for fulfillment within the ones that last — or even the ones that don’t. If people are happier by pursuing outside relationships, and that happiness leads to them choosing new partners, then that would be reflected in the oft-quoted 50% divorce rate — but that might also indicate that people feel more free to pursue what actually makes them happy and fulfilled in relationship, even if that means having sex with someone other than their spouse, or even divorce.

What do you think about all this?  How would you answer a poll of this sort?  Do you think women’s “gains” in equality here are a good thing, a bad thing, or something else altogether?

As always, feel free to comment below, in my LoveOTB Facebook Page, or by contacting me via my web page.  And if you’e looking to talk to someone about creating your own creative and flexible relationship design, I’d love to hear from you.  For a limited time only, I’m running a summer coaching special, so drop me a note to take advantage of the free introductory session, and the extra hour if you buy a package. I’d love to help you avoid common pitfalls, navigate jealousy, and create your own best relationship!

May you always remember that no matter who, or how many you love, Love is ALWAYS OK!

~♥ Dawn

 

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© 2013, Dawn Davidson

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.

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[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

 

Polyamory Therapy & Counseling: Resources, and Survey

polyamoryiswrong

Polyamorous people who have sought therapy (whether couples, family/group, or even individual) often experience challenges in locating a therapist that understands and supports polyamory as a valid relationship option.  As we discussed a couple of weeks back at the International Academic Polymory Conference 2013, there are numerous prejudices around polyamorous people and relationships, including such common misconceptions as “poly people can’t commit,” “polyamory is just another word for cheating,” or “polyamory is bad for the children.”

Fortunately for those seeking poly-friendly and poly-knowledgeable therapists, there are now some good resources available.  In particular, Joe Decker’s Poly Friendly Professionals site has been in operation for over a decade, and has a pretty good selection of therapists across the US, and some internationally as well.  The NCSF Kink-Aware Professionals (KAP) directory is another good resource, especially for folks that are both poly and kinky (but even for poly folks who are not kinky.) Of course, the more metropolitan the area, the better the selection, but even smaller or more rural areas are starting to feature folks who have some knowledge of polyamory. (And of course I also offer phone, Skype or Google Hangout coaching anywhere in the world, or in-person in the SF Bay Area. I’m happy to set up an introductory session if you’re interested.)

There’s also a good written resource for individuals and poly groupings to take to their therapist, to help to educate them on the topic. Normally one could find it on the NCSF site, but they’ve recently reorganized, and the link seems to be temporarily broken.  But I found a pdf of the document, called “What Psychology Professionals Should Know About Polyamory,” at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Also, for those who’d like to contribute to the body of knowledge about what therapists and counselors should know about polyamory (and thereby help future people who are seeking these resources), there’s a recently announced survey from researchers Mitchell and Barger at Edgewood College:

Subject: Polyamory Survey: What Therapists Need To Know
Date: 2/27/2013 8:00:37 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: polyamorystudy2013@gmail.com

We are graduate students at Edgewood College in the Marriage and Family Therapy program.  In an effort to support mental health practitioners in offering culturally competent care, we are conducting a survey to gather information about the experiences and attitudes of polyamorous people, age 18 and over, about therapists and therapy.  Would you be willing to post the enclosed link:

https://edgewood.us2.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_80O1cks9tv7xjLf and welcome message for our survey and welcome message on your Listserv, Blog, News Letter, or Website or email list?

Polyamory Survey: What Do Therapists Need to Know?  If you are 18 or older and polyamorous, please take our survey: https://edgewood.us2.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_80O1cks9tv7xjLf and help us answer that question.  You will be asked questions about your personal and family history, experience you may have had in therapy, views of therapy, and the qualities you see as valuable in a therapist.   This information can assist therapists and educators as we work to create and enhance culturally competent models for therapy.  A reason we ask for informational on personal and familial history is because without this information, damaging myths, biases, and stereotypes can arise about polyamorous people and why polyamorous people seek therapy.  We are interested in presenting a realistic view of polyamorous people and supporting polyamorous people who seek therapy in getting the best quality care.  Thank you!  https://edgewood.us2.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_80O1cks9tv7xjLf

If you have any questions or would like to contact us, we can be reached at: polyamorystudy2013@gmail.com

Thank you,

Atala Mitchell and Madeline Barger, MFT Clinical Interns

Also:

This project has been reviewed and endorsed by a community advisory board of the Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities, a community-based research support organization which includes members of alternative sexualities communities. This project has scientific merit, follows ethical guidelines for research, and avoids community harm in its design and methods. For more information, please contact https://carasresearch.org.

Please note that there have been some issues reported on p. 3 & 4 of the survey. They were supposedly addressed, but last I heard, there were still problems, so just be aware.

Thanks to those of you who choose to participate in the survey, and good luck to all who seek counseling/therapy.  And always remember:

love_is_ok_rainbow_heart_tshirt

No matter who and how many you love, no matter their gender, their body shape or size, their race or the color of their skin, their political affiliation, their talents and abilities, their spiritual or religious leanings, their education…

Love is ALWAYS OK.

May you always love boldly, safely, and well,

~♥ Dawn

PS: If you like the T-shirt above, you can get one like it over at Zazzle. Tell the world that your love is ok!

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

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

 

Agreements: Good Faith Efforts

Two stylized hands clasping, forming a heart. Copyright-free symbol designed by Ravi Poovaiah, Professor, IDC, IIT Bombay.This entry in my Agreements Workbook Series (aka “KISSable Agreements) series, is the second of three discussing some Caveats and Assumptions in making Agreements. Read more below about Good Faith Efforts and why they’re so important in making mutual Agreements.

And remember, I’ll be giving a short presentation on the topic of Agreements at the upcoming Academic Poly Conference in Berkeley, CA, this weekend (February 15-17). My presentation is currently scheduled for mid-afternoon on Saturday in the parallel non-academic track. (You can still register here!)

Questions or comments?  As always, feel free to comment below, contact me here, or on my FB Page, Love Outside The Box!

~♥ Dawn

LoveOTB_DkPurp_72px_ClipPS:  It’s not too late to take advantage of my Valentine’s coaching specials! Want to know more? You can find out what other people have to say about my work here. 🙂

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Caveats and Assumptions (Part 2 of 3)

Good Faith Efforts Are Necessary

Back in Tip #2 (Clear Standards and Consequences), we talked about respect, and a little about negotiating in “good faith.”  What does that mean?  It means that for Agreements to work, all parties must be respecting themselves and each other, and being honest with themselves and each other (and by extension, the world.)  Yes, “stuff happens,” and Agreements aren’t always able to be kept. However, if one or more parties enter into the Agreement in “bad faith,” i.e., never intending that it be kept, or knowingly choosing a path that will hurt the other/s, then the Agreement was untenable from the first. No amount of writing and re-writing Agreements will ever produce one that will work for everyone.

“In contract law, the implied covenant of good faith is a general presumption that the parties to a contract will deal with each other honestly, fairly, and in good faith, so as to not destroy the right of the other party or parties to receive the benefits of the contract.

Wikipedia article on “Good Faith (law),” Feb. 11, 2013 (emphasis added)

HandShakeManAndWoman

Conversely, it’s generally important to assume good faith, in absence of evidence to the contrary. Suspicion breeds mistrust, and that generally leads to a downward spiral. This is because mistrust is usually met with defensiveness, which most people interpret (rightly or wrongly) as slightly hostile, which leads to more defensiveness and hostility, ad nauseum. Starting from a place of neutrality, or if possible, assuming good faith, will lead to the most positive benefits to be gained from the situation.

How can you tell if someone is negotiating in good faith?  One way that serves me well, is neatly encapsulated here by my friend (and curator of the Polyamory Archive Collection at the Kinsey Institute):

 “Listen Carefully to What People Do”  —Ken Haslam

In other words, in single dealings, it can be hard to tell, but in multiple encounters, a pattern of behavior will probably emerge.  Ultimately the most important thing, in my opinion, is that all parties are honest with themselves and each other. With that in place, the rest can be dealt with over time.

[Up next in the Agreements Workbook series: The 3rd of 3 entries on Caveats and Assumptions.]

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[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Note that these entries are all rough drafts, and thus are probably missing things like references. If you know the perfect reference to add, feel free to suggest it! I always like to add to my resource collection.

 

[Next Entry: Culture Clash and Other Caveats to Agreements (3 of 3 on Caveats and Assumptions)]

[Related Entry: Is It Over? (Agreements Appendix C) ]

[Previous Entry: When Agreements Fail: Competency (1 of 3 on Caveats and Assumptions)]

[Return to the Table of Contents for the Agreements Workbook Series]

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

 

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Click here to get personalized help with your own Agreements!

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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.  🙂

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Polyamorous or Non-monogamous? Online Survey!

Are you polyamorous, in an open relationship, or otherwise ethically non-monogamous (or open to being so)?  Are you interested in helping researchers understand you and your relationships better? If so, read on for information about a new study being undertaken by researchers at 4 different universities (Nicole M. Atkins, B.S. (Portland State University); Bjarne M. Holmes, Ph.D. (Champlain College); Justin J. Lehmiller, Ph.D. (Harvard University); Jennifer J. Harman, Ph.D. (Colorado State University). (Contact information is on the welcome page.))

An excerpt from their welcome and introduction page:

This survey is the beginning of an ongoing research effort to gain information about the community of individuals who engage in consensual, nonexclusive intimate relationships, or who are philosophically open to doing so, regardless of their current relationship configuration. We undertake this effort in order to better understand this community, its beliefs, practices, and desires, as well as its position within the larger mosaic of humanity.

With knowledge comes the ability to better serve this community, to better represent its interests in the public discourse, and to foster understanding, acceptance and nondiscrimination in the broader sphere. […]

Note that this is a fairly lengthy survey as these things go, and they want it done in one sitting, so be sure not to start it until you have enough time. The authors say:

Expect this survey to take around 35 to 60 minutes to complete. Please be sure to take it in one sitting while you are undisturbed and can privately answer the questions. We deeply appreciate your participation in this educational endeavor, thank you.

Take the survey here.

(Thanks to Tristan Taomino (author of Opening Up) for the heads-up on Twitter!)

May you always love boldly, safely, and well!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  Still looking for a poly-themed holiday gift? You can get t-shirts and other stuff with my logo (and other poly stuff) at Zazzle. Today only (12/12/12), use code MAGICALSALES at checkout for 50% off ornaments, and 30% off mugs, to name a couple!

 

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

[© 2012 Dawn M. Davidson]

Definitions of poly/open relationships for therapists (and others)

There’s a (relatively) new article out about doing therapy with clients who are in various forms of open relationships, by Kevin J. Zimmerman, published in the Journal of Feminist Family Therapy. (NB: It’s written for an academic therapist audience, so non-therapists may not find it easy reading. Also, the link is to the publisher, where you can buy the article should you choose. I’m sorry, but I’m not at liberty to distribute a free link to the full article on this blog.)

I’ve barely begun it myself, but one thing that struck me is the excellent definition of terms at the outset of the article. Please note that these terms and definitions are the author’s for the purpose of the article– they’re not mine, nor are they meant to be considered to be “the only right way” to define these terms — but I found these descriptions of various subsets of the larger community to be succinct and quite useful, and thought I’d share.  I find them particularly interesting, given the ongoing discussions within the community/communities about the definitions of these words.  Enjoy!

[From p. 273 of the article: Kevin J. Zimmerman (2012): Clients in Sexually Open Relationships: Considerations for Therapists, Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 24:3, 272-289]

“Open relationship is an umbrella term that encompasses any relationship structure that is not monogamous. It is useful at the start to define some common relationship patterns that nonmonogamous clients may bring up in therapy. Partnered nonmonogamy refers to a committed couple that allows for extradyadic sex. Swinging is nonmonogamy in a social context, also referred to as “the lifestyle.” Polyamory allows for partners to have more than one relationship that is sexual, loving, and emotional. Solo Polyamory defines nonmonogamous individuals who do not want a primary partner. Polyfidelity refers to three or more people who have made a commitment to be in a primary relationship together. A monogamous/nonmonogamous partnership is one in which one person is monogamous and the other is not. 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. In this respect, successful open relationships typically involve individuals who privilege authenticity over conformity in their relationships.”

What do you think about the author’s definitions and statements here? I’m largely in agreement with him, though I have some small quibbles (e.g., I think “solo polyamory” could easily apply to people who do not have a primary partner, as well as those who don’t want one.)  I was particularly happy with his clear distinction between Polyamory/Open Relationships and Cheating, and with his definition of Polyamory:

Polyamory allows for partners to have more than one relationship that is sexual, loving, and emotional.

Seems like it hits the high points, though I think the concept of “honest” is important enough to include in the definition, if one is quoting it without the rest of the paragraph for context.  Here’s my own previously posted definition as one comparison point:

Polyamory is the belief in and/or practice of multiple loving relationships, with the full knowledge and consent of those involved.

So what does “polyamory” mean to you? Do you agree that “Open relationship is an umbrella term that encompasses any relationship structure that is not monogamous”? Or does “open” have a slightly different meaning to you, as it does to me? (See my blog article I’m Poly AND Open for more details.) Do you have any other comments or observations about how being open/poly/etc works for you, or what sort of things YOU think a therapist should know in working with you? How does the therapist’s understanding of these terms influence your comfort in the session/s?  Are these terms you’d find useful in discussing your own relationships/s with others?

As always, I’m happy talk about this stuff either here, or on my FB Page, Love Outside The Box. And if you’d like to go into greater depth about your own situation, I’m also happy to set up a private session with you (either a half-hour for free, or longer sessions on a sliding scale.)

May you always love boldly, safely, and well!

~♥ Dawn

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

[© 2012 Dawn M. Davidson]