Legal Status of Polygamy/Bigamy: US H-L

As noted last week, instead of trying to update this series myself, I’m linking each state to Jason Cherry’s much more thorough and cited reviews. Some changes for grammar/typos/etc. Updated 9/28/17

As usual, this is for general info purposes and is not intended a legal advice.

Hawaii:

Jason Cherry’s review

Okay, Hawaii is a damn good place to be polyamorous. It has no laws against fornication, adultery or cohabitation. There is also no specific law on the book against bigamy.

The law does specify that a marriage license will only be granted to a person who is not already married, so getting legally married to a second person would require lying when filling out a government form. I’m not sure what the technical offense would be, but my sources say it will earn you 30 days in jail. However, as long as you don’t apply for a marriage license under false pretenses and don’t get legally married to a second person, you can live together, have a religious wedding ceremony, have sex with whoever, and generally have your relationship in any configuration, living arrangement, or polyamorous snuggle any way you like.

Idaho:

Jason Cherry’s review

Bigamy is punishable by a fine of at least $2000 and/or jail time that may be up to 3 years. Adultery is also against the law, though fornication is not. Idaho used to recognize common law marriages, it now recognizes common law marriages formed before 1996 but will not recognize new ones. As far as I can find it does not have laws against cohabitation.

In Idaho you are okay to be polyam as long as you don’t get married. Throw marriage in the mix with polyam and you are in violation of the adultery statute (which like many such is almost never used) or the bigamy statute, which has flexible requirements for proving that a second marriage took place: “Upon a trial for bigamy, it is not necessary to prove either of the marriages by the register, certificate, or other record evidence thereof, but the same may be proved by such evidence as is admissible to prove a marriage in other cases” – whatever that means.

Illinois:

Jason Cherry’s review

Adultery and fornication are both illegal in Illinois, but only if they are ‘open and notorious’. Illinois does not have a specific law against cohabitation, but only because if you cohabit while married you are guilty of bigamy whether or not there was ever a second ceremony. Illinois considers bigamy to be a felony.

Given the rarity of fornication prosecutions, you are probably alright in Illinois if you live together and are not married to anyone. If you are married and are polyamorous but only live with your marriage partner you will probably be alright as long as everyone is happy with the arrangement – while they can prosecute for adultery whether or not the spouse was in agreement with the relationship it probably won’t be an issue unless you end up in divorce court. Being married with one polyam partner and living with a second polyam partner opens you up to bigamy charges. As said regarding other states, you can probably fly under the radar and be alright but if you come to official notice there may be problems.

Indiana:

Jason Cherry’s review

One of the simplest bigamy laws so far, Indiana sums it all up in two sentences. If you are married, and marry again you are guilty of bigamy. Unless your marriage was legally over due to death or divorce. Bigamy is a felony in Indiana. Indiana has no law against fornication or cohabitation, and does not recognize common law marriage. It does have laws against adultery but they only come into play if your spouse charges you with adultery.

Basically as long you don’t try to legally marry two people, and everyone is happy with the arrangement, you can do polyamory anyway you like in Indiana.

Iowa:

Jason Cherry’s review

Iowa classes bigamy as a ‘serious misdemeanor’ which comes into play if a person marries more than one person. Since Iowa recognizes common law marriage, this can get complicated. If you live together, imply and/or intend that you are married, and present yourselves as married (refer to each other as husband and wife [or husband and husband, etc] – the gold standard for ‘presenting yourselves as married’ is filing joint tax returns.) you can be in a common law marriage, which may end up with a bigamy charge if you are already married, under common law or otherwise, to someone else. Iowa has laws against adultery, but they are not currently enforced and will only be an issue in the case of a divorce. There are no laws against fornication.

So, as long as you do not present yourselves as married, and are not in danger of ending up in divorce court, you can live together, live separately, opening be in relations with and generally have lots of fun with your polyam partners. Just be very careful about not ending up in a common law marriage if you are already married.

(As a side note, the legalization of gay marriage in Iowa opens some problems regarding common law marriage, as some gay and lesbian couples may be legally married under common law without realizing it.)

Kansas:

Jason Cherry’s review

Bigamy is a felony in Kansas, which comes into play when a person marries a second person. Period, no curlicues. Common law marriage is recognized in Kansas. You cannot end up in a common law marriage if you are already married, regardless of living together, intent, presenting yourself as married or anything else, so there is no chance of unintentionally ending up in a bigamous relationship because you live with two polyam partners or someone you are not married to. Kansas also has laws against adultery that only come into play in a divorce. There are no laws against cohabitation or fornication.

Generally, polyamory will not cause problems in Kansas as long as any legally married spouse is happy with the arrangements and you aren’t trying to get two legal marriages.

Kentucky:

Jason Cherry’s review

If you marry or claim to be married to a second person in Kentucky you are guilty of bigamy. Also, if you have married someone in another state and live with someone else in Kentucky you are guilty of bigamy whether you claim to be married to the second person or not. Kentucky does have laws against adultery, but no laws against fornication or cohabitation, and it does not recognize common law marriages.

Overall, if you are not married in Kentucky you can do pretty much anything you want, relationship-wise. If you are married as long as you don’t claim to be married to two people and your legally married spouse is happy with the situation you are good. The kink in the works: if you and your spouse married outside of Kentucky, you cannot live with another polyamorous partner without violating the anti-bigamy law.

Louisiana:

Jason Cherry’s review

The act of marrying a second spouse in Louisiana, or living with a second spouse you married elsewhere, both constitute bigamy and are illegal. Adultery is illegal but can only get you in trouble if your spouse objects. Fornication and cohabitation are perfectly legal.

So, don’t get married and you are good however, if you are married and your spouse is okay with polyamory and/or is also polyamorous, you are good however, if you to get legally married twice or you spouse does not agree with poly, or changes their mind at a later date, you may have problems.

Next up: US states M

 

Back to the Drawing Board: Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous

As some of you know, my next book was supposed to be Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous and I had planned to release it in November.

Unfortunately/fortunately (take your pick) in the last month or two my view of what safer sex is has changed pretty dramatically. Which means I have a book about safer sex due to publish next month that I don’t think accurately or completely covers safer sex.

Which means I no longer have a book coming out next month. After thinking about it a bit, here’s what I’m doing instead.

For now I’m going forward with the writing for Polyamory and Kink. I’ve already got a lot of the prep work done and the ideal schedule plotted out and such. While the schedule for Safer Sex just got thrown out the window.

While I’m working on Polyamory and Kink I’ll take some time to review what I have so far in Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous. I’ll be reviewing what needs to be changed, what needs to be added, and generally figuring out what I need to do encompass my new and expanded understanding of safer sex.

When I’m done writing Polyamory and Kink and have sent it out to the editors, I’ll get to work fixing Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous. With luck, Polyamory and Kink will be released on schedule in Fall of 2018, and the revised and expanded Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous will be out the year after that.

Why the big change?

The usual view of “safer sex” focuses exclusively on STIs. But “safety” is a much bigger concept than “not getting/managing illness.” A safer sex discussion to be complete should include things like latex allergies, low-strain sex positions (because throwing your back out is the opposite of “safe”), recognizing manipulation, healthy consent, contraception, and other things I’m just beginning to sort out.

When we reduce “safer sex” to “avoiding STIs” we both reinforce stigma against STIs (by acting like STIs are only thing relevant to sexual safety) and fail to address other important safety issues.

In the mean time, check out the Polyamory on Purpose Guides that have already been published.

Legal Status of Polygamy/Bigamy: United States A-G

I delayed dealing with this series of posts because I wasn’t sure how to approach them. One thing I’ve knows is I don’t have the spoons and/or resources to do a proper job of updating and fixing all the problems (like lack of citations) with how I approached this series.

Ultimately, while it is several years out of date, Jason Cherry’s review of Non-Monogamous Families and the Law is better than anything I can manage, which is why I stopped this series in the first place! So what I’m going to do is fix the typos and stuff and link each state to Jason’s relevant post. Updated 9/28/17.

With the Canadian courts due to rule on the country’s anti-polygamy law in less than two weeks, this seems to be a topical time to review the laws regarding polygamy and their impact on polyamory. I’ll be starting with the laws in the US, and will also look at laws in a few other countries (mostly the ones I get visitors from regularly.) If you would like your country included, feel free to let me know and I’ll see what I can find. (Sorry folks, this was the plan but it ended up being beyond me.)

Polygamy/Bigamy Laws in the United States:

The only extant federal laws against polygamy dates from the late 1800s and applies only to US territories that are directly administered by the federal government. (Here’s looking at you Puerto Rico!) While I haven’t found the full text of the laws, the general idea of the first made it a felony to marry a second person while still married to your first spouse. The second closed a loop hole in the first saying that a person who was married could not legally co-habit with a member of the opposite sex other than their spouse.

Laws specific to the individual territories may add to these restrictions, but under federal law a polyamorous relationship isn’t a problem as long you don’t live with anyone other than you legal spouse, or simply don’t get married.

Every state in the US has laws against bigamy, some class it as a misdemeanor others as a felony. One website trying to get people worked up against bigamy claims with much outrage that in every state bigamy is punished less harshly that driving under the influence. Personally, I want to know what is wrong with a person who thinks having an extra marriage deserves worse punishment than endangering innocents by driving a vehicle which likely weighs over a ton while in unsound state of mind.

Many states have laws against adultery and fornication. These are generally misdemeanors and very rarely enforced, so generally not something to worry about. However if you draw legal attention and they can’t get with you anything else, they may throw these at you. Fornication laws are probably unconstitutional based on a 1965 decision of the Supreme Court regarding personal privacy, but they have never been challenged as such. Probably because it is easier to pay a small fine and ignore it than fight a years long legal battle over said fine.

In general, states don’t go looking for people who violate laws regarding cohabiting, so keep your head down and you are probably alright.

Alabama:

Jason Cherry’s Review

Alabama outlaws getting married a second time while still married to your first spouse. It is also illegal to go to another state to marry someone else while married to someone in Alabama. Alabama also has laws against co-habitation.

In general, Alabama laws say you cannot live with someone you are not married to and cannot be married to more than one person. There may also be laws against adultery and fornication.

In Alabama if you wish to be polyamorous you are best off living on your own and not getting married. Than you only need to worry about the fornication law which is almost never enforced.

Alaska:

Jason Cherry’s review

In Alaska, it is a misdemeanor to marry someone who is already married, marry someone when you are already married, or participate in a marriage involving more than two people. Cohabiting is also illegal. As is adultery and fornication.

Pretty much the same as Alabama, except that bigamy is a misdemeanor instead of a felony.

Arizona:

Jason Cherry’s review

Bigamy (marrying a second person) is a felony in Arizona. Of note, only the person wedded to multiple people is in violation of the law, not the second person they marry. Arizona does not have laws against cohabiting. Adultery and fornication are illegal, but cohabiting is not.

Not a bad state to be polyamorous, actually. You can legally live together and not be up for anything worse than a slap on the wrist for violating a practically never-used law.

Arkansas

Jason Cherry’s review

California:

Jason Cherry’s review

California has no laws against fornication, adultery or cohabitation. So you can live together with your polyamorous snuggle, or you can get married and live with just your legal spouse, and in either case it is all good. Unless you have the money to pay a $10,000 fine and/or spend up to a year in prison, don’t marry more than one person.

Colorado:

Jason Cherry’s review

In Colorado, it counts as bigamy whether you marry a second person or cohabit with a second person while married. Colorado is notable for having a tradition of not enforcing this law unless you draw attention to yourself or violate more serious laws (such as in the Warren Jeffs case which involved forced child marriage and rape).

Connecticut:

Jason Cherry’s review

Bigamy is a felony in Connecticut and it applies both to legally marrying more than one person and to presenting yourself as married to a second person when already married to a first. So a polyamorous woman in a triad with two men who calls both of them her husband, even if she is only legally married to one, is in violation of this law.

Connecticut also has a law against adultery that can only be brought up by the offended spouse. So if everyone is happy, the state doesn’t care. If your legal spouse changes their mind, you may by charged with adultery.

There are no laws against co-habitting, or fornication, so as long as you aren’t married, or are married to only one person and everyone is happy, you are good to be polyamorous in Connecticut.

Delaware:

Jason Cherry’s review

Pretty much a repeat of Connecticut.

District of Columbia:

Jason Cherry’s review

Technically not a state, but relevant here. Marrying a second person, or marrying someone who is already married earns a prison sentence of a minimum of 2 years. Fornication is not a crime in D.C., but adultery may be, and it may be possible to end up in a common law marriage (if you live together long enough you are considered married) my sources are unclear on that one.

Basically don’t get married and don’t live together and you can practice polyamory all you want. If you want to get married to someone, or live together, make sure you get legal advice regarding adultery and/or common law marriages in D.C.

Florida:

Jason Cherry’s review

Laws make bigamy a felony and cohabiting, adultery and fornication are illegal (wonder when they’re going to start enforcing that last on Spring Break?) Not generally a good place to be polyamorous.

Georgia:

Jason Cherry’s review

Cohabiting with a second person, whether you are married to them or not, falls under the bigamy law in Georgia, which has a minimum sentence of 1 year imprisonment. Adultery and fornication are also illegal, and considered misdemeanors.

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Polyamory and Money Stuff: How Being Polyam Affects Money

Last week, I spent some time riffing on polyamory and finance and I ended with the idea that both polyamory and money stuff require us to set priorities, and which priorities we set affects the decisions we make. For polyamory, I mentioned three choices we make:

  • to prioritize our need or desire for multiple relationships over society’s push for monogamy
  • to prioritize the individual or the group in our relationships
  • to prioritize entwinement or autonomy

Today we’re going to take a look at the first of those choices.

How choosing to be in polyamorous relationships impacts our money stuff.

Really, this is the simplest of the three. Being polyamorous in and of itself doesn’t impact your finances or the decisions you need to make about finances. Some approaches to polyamory can have big impacts on how you handle money. Some approaches won’t.

The main impact that being in any polyamorous relationship has on finances is you can’t entirely trust conventional money advice. All the “usual” advice on budgeting and handling money, etc, etc is written with monogamous people in mind. It’s actually pretty rare to find money advice written for single people instead of couples.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use conventional money advice–most of the time you can! But you do need to read it with a bit of side-eye, always asking “how well does this advice apply, given my polyamory.” It may apply perfectly well as is. It may need some adjustments but still be useable for you. It may be utterly useless because of inherent assumptions about the ability to get joint bank accounts for everyone involved.

The further away you move from advice on basic household budgeting, the more likely you are to run into assumptions about you being monogamous that can trip you up.

That’s it for this week.

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Explaining Polyamory: The Wrap Up

Not much to fix here. Added a few links and fixed some typos/grammar. Updated 9/28/17

So far, we’ve covered an introduction to the Culture Gap, preparations, discussion, and possible reactions. Hopefully, hitting the high points of stuff you should know before explaining your relationship choose to friends or family.

The good news is, the more people you tell the easier it gets. But the first time can still be terrifying.

Whatever your approach, and whoever you open up to, make sure you take care of yourself. Whether it is your polyam partners, folks in the local polyam munch, a good friend or someone else, have support you can lean on when you start opening up to people. You’ll be putting yourself through an emotional roller coaster, and having a shoulder to cry on, friend to come over with chocolate ice cream, or folks to celebrate good news with, having other people you can trust can help a lot.

On that note, you will probably do best opening up to close friends before family. It is a sad truth that friends are often more accepting and supportive than family – possibly because family feel your choices reflect on them, while friends know that your choices are your choices, and aren’t about them.

Explaining Polyamory Blog Posts:

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Riffing on Polyamory and Finance

Don’t have anything specific I want to talk about today, or the spoons to put together a nice orderly post about this or that idea.

So I’m just going to take some time to riff on polyamory, finance, and shit and see what we get. Not quite going to be stream of conscious, but something close to that.

“Finance” isn’t a word most people use to talk about personal money matters. My upbringing is showing there, upper-middle class family with a rich grandpa who gave out stock certificates for Christmas. After over 10 years of struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over my family’s heads, that upbringing has combined with life experience to give me a not-unique-but-certainly-not-common view of money, life, and keeping the bills paid.

But “finance” really just means “money matters”. Whether those money matters are keeping a personal budget, managing the bills for a large polycule, or getting into esoteric things like stocks and bonds and hedge funds it’s all finance.

Similarly, polyamory is really just a way of describing our relationships Whether you are single and polyam, part of a closed triad, building a constellation of relationships stretching across a dozen states and three countries, it’s all polyamory.

What they both have in common, I think, is priorities.

In polyamory, we have chosen to prioritize our need or desire for multiple relationships over societies push for monogamy. We choose whether to prioritize the individual or the group in our relationships. We choose whether to prioritize entwinement or autonomy.

With finance, you are choosing to prioritize risk or safety. To prioritize now or the future. To prioritize short term goals or long term goals.

Making polyamory and finance work together is, in the end, about knowing your* priorities and making sure your priorities for polyamory and your priorities for finance are supporting each other, not in conflict with each other.

I think I’m going to be exploring this idea of polyamory and finance priorities and how they work (or don’t work) together over the next few weeks. For now, I need to go make breakfast. Catch you later!

*this ‘your’ is both singular or plural, because both your individual priorities and the priorities of the people you are in relationships with are important here.

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AMaP Seeking Volunteers, Presenter’s List, and other random stuff

Hey folks,

Not doing too well today, so just gonna kinda babble a bit about where AMaP is at.

We’re still looking for volunteers to help with the con. Our initial volunteers post is still available on the AMaP site, and we’ve realized a few more things we can use help with since then as well.

Presenter applications closed in July and acceptance letters went out. We now have our full list of presenters and are working on getting a schedule set up. As a small, first year con we’re going to have a single track of events running Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday. As an online con where people don’t need to worry about travel, we’ll have events and activities running through Sunday afternoon.

Tickets will be going on sale in the next two weeks. Unlike more in-person cons we will not be offering day passes, but because we don’t need to pay hotel fees, we’ll be able to keep tickets much more affordable than most cons. Early-bird pricing is $20 per person for the whole weekend.

Explaining Polyamory: Negative Reactions

Mostly grammar and typo fixes here, but I also updated info on how things turned out for me when I got some of these reactions and removed some of emphasis on being polite to people who are being assholes. While I still believe that being polite to people you love who are reacting badly can sometimes keep bad from from becoming “burnt to the ground and sown with salt,” it’s ultimately up to you and we certainly don’t owe politeness to people who are treating us badly. 8/23/17

It would be great if we could be sure of getting acceptance and support from friends and family. The reality is, pure ’nilla monogamous relationships often don’t get the support of family and friends, so it isn’t surprising that non-traditional relationship styles can cause less-than-stellar-reactions from the people we care about.

Thankfully, people who love us are more likely to go for a neutral reaction, and at least try and understand. But negative reactions are way more common than any of us likes. I hope you never need to deal with any of these, but here are a few of the bad reactions you might run into – and a few suggestions that may help you get through it.

I don’t know what to think about this, please don’t tell anyone else, I’m afraid of how X will react (runs and tells the whole family about your horrid choice and how awful it is)

Dishonest, manipulative, and mean, this is worse than someone who rejects. This is someone who rejects, lies to you about it, and then sabotages your chance to discuss your life with who you want, when you want, plus spreading gossip behind your back.

On the surface, this looks like one of the neutral reactions. They may really just need time to deal with their own reaction before dealing with other people’s reactions. You just can’t know if this is an honest, neutral reaction or a dishonest, bad reaction until the gossip gets back to you, possibly months later.

Ultimately, the people who care will ask you about it directly about gossip they hear or will listen to your side with an open mind when you approach them yourself. The people who believe the gossip without at least listening to your perspective are people who probably wouldn’t have accepted your lifestyle anyway. Which sucks beyond belief. IMO, the best you can do in this situation is treat it like an honest request for time, possibly make it clear that you want to be the one to tell others in your own time, but you will wait while this person has time to think for a few weeks (or however long).

I don’t want to hear this.

As negative reactions go, this one… isn’t the worst. This person is utterly refusing to listen and rejecting your relationships. But they aren’t being dishonest about it, aren’t rejecting you, aren’t going into a moral rant. They are basically saying ’I recognize this is your decision, but I don’t like it and I don’t want to know about it.’ It’s their right to feel this way. Let it go, and don’t bring it up again. Don’t try and introduce your OSOs, and just let it be. If you don’t want to go to family or holiday parties where all your partners aren’t welcome, decline any invitations, and explain why when you are asked. How much of a relationship you maintain with them is up to you. In the past, I’ve tried to include people like this in my life as much as possible. We usually end up drifting apart over time.

Long lecture about immorality/shameful behavior/sin/disappointed in you/etc etc

This person is either a parent or someone who thinks they have a right to act like your parent. You can listen to the end or cut them off, which ever suits you best, and tell them that you are sorry they feel this way, but you will live your life the way you choose. It is up to them if they wish to be a part of your life in spite of their beliefs, and you hope they will eventually understand and accept.

Unfortunately, there really isn’t anything else you can do in this circumstance unless you are ready to just cut them off and never talk with them again. These people aren’t going to listen to anything you have to say, feel they have some authority over you and are likely to continue to pull this crap. Personally, I’ll politely listen through the first lecture, explain that it is my life and they have no say in it, and that I want to continue our relationship but will not allow them to dictate my life. After that, if I see them at a family gathering or whatever and they start another lecture, I will walk away without saying anything.

Angry/yelling/denouncing/etc etc – Angry reactions can take a lot of forms, but all basically tell you the same thing. For whatever reason, this person is hurt by and rejecting your choice and is turning that hurt into anger. Their anger will usually be directed at you or possibly the person they believe ’lured you into it’. Get up and leave. As much as it may hurt, do not stay to be abused this way. Tell them you love them, you are sorry that your choice has hurt them, and when they calm down, you can try talking again. Then leave.

Once they calm down, they may take any other imaginable reaction, including coming to you and saying ’I’m sorry, I love you and support you, and I’m going to try and understand.’ A different one of the negative reactions is more likely than a positive reaction, but positive reactions after calming down and thinking can happen. You’ll just need to deal with whatever other reaction they have as it comes.

Shut down/ice

This person will not go into a rage, lecture, or really say anything at all. They just shut you or your choice out. In the ’better’ form of this, they will still welcome you in their life but will turn icy and shut out any attempt at discussing your lifestyle. They are, then, basically trying to pretend that you never told them anything. It is up to you whether you let them pretend, or choose not to be a part of your life.

The more extreme version of this is when they choose to shut you out. They may or may not say anything immediately, but after this conversation, they will not speak with you again, not return your phone calls, and ignore you at family gatherings where you bump into each other.

There is a third form this can take, which is also very hurtful and can be confusing until you figure out what is going on. The person is friendly and polite, gives a neutral reaction to your explanation, and you part on good terms. They will invite you to holiday and other events the rest of the family is invited to because it is expected. They will be socially polite and say how much they’ve missed you since they last saw you. But if you try to call them, they will not answer, if you invite them somewhere, they will decline, basically they will put on a mask of good feeling at any event they feel they must, for politeness sake, include you in, but otherwise shut you out. If this is someone you were never very close to, this probably won’t make any difference in your interactions – if you only saw them on holidays and weddings and funerals, you may not even notice any difference. If you were very close to them, getting together regularly, talking on the phone, whatever, this can be extremely hurtful.

Unfortunately, I have not found any productive or useful responses to these reactions. The best you can do is cut them out of their life if it gets too hurtful to deal with.

Disown you

This is the reaction many polyam folk and people in other alternative lifestyles live in terror of. Thankfully, it actually is fairly rare. Most people who love us will at least try to either bring us to our senses or understand why we have made the choice to be polyamorous. This person tries to do neither. They will simply tell you that you are no longer their relative/friend, and they never want to see you again.

All you can do is walk away and grieve. In time, they may change their mind, especially if other family members still welcome you in their lives. But right now, that is little comfort.

“Beat the devil out of ’im”/Abusive ’intervention’

Okay, I had a serious debate with myself about including this one, but it IS a possible reaction to someone learning about polyamory, and unlike the other possible reactions, it is DANGEROUS. Reality is that it is (thank god) rare. But it does happen. And even something that only happens one time in a million is one time too many if you are that one. If you think anyone you know could react like this, make sure they have no power or authority over you. Get out of their house if you live with them, get a job or other income if you depend on them financially, get help from friends or other family, get the hell out. Do NOT talk with these people about polyamory. If you absolutely must tell them for some reason, send a letter when you are someplace where they cannot influence you. If you cannot get out and away from these people, make sure that some one you trusts knows about your fears and will be prepared to help if things go wrong and they find out about your lifestyle from another source. Thankfully, most of us will never need to deal with this kind of horror, but if you know someone who is like this, protect yourself.

Wrapping Up

I wish none of you would ever need to deal with any negative reactions. Unfortunately, chances are that if you choose to live openly as a polyamorous person, you will run into at least one, and likely several negative reactions from people you care about. I wish there was more advice or help that I could offer. Keep your head up, and hold onto the positive reactions you get. Good luck.

This post is part of the

Explaining Polyamory Blog Series.

 

(Originally posted June 2012)

Cuil Press: Creating Inclusive Fiction (and restarting the blog)

Hey folks, thanks for your patience the last few weeks. Another project of mine, Cuil Press, launched a crowdfunding campaign Tuesday, and I’ve spent most of the past few weeks nailed to my keyboard prepping for the campaign.


Cuil Press is a new publishing company offering diverse and inclusive sci-fi/fantasy and romance novels with a focus on #ownvoices books. For readers, we offer inclusive fiction that avoids the clichés and repetitive storylines of so much genre fiction. For authors, we offer a supportive and enthusiastic team who will get it to market without asking you to make it appeal to mainstream readers. This crowdfunding campaign is to cover our first year’s expenses so we can hit the ground running.


If that sounds like something you’d be interested in supporting, check us out!

Now that I’m down with all the prep work, I have time to start posting here again. So edited posts will resume Thursday. Next Sunday I’ll be sharing updates from AMaP and after that will resuming the Polyamory Finances blog series.

Explaining Polyamory: Positive Reactions

I updated the suggested resources here. And let me say it’s amazing and wonderful how many more resources for explaining and exploring polyamory there are in the just the five years since I wrote this post. Not much edits otherwise. Neither human nature nor culture have changed enough in the past five years to make much difference here. Updated Aug 2, 2017.

This is the fourth post in the Explaining Polyamory blog series. If you missed the earlier posts, start here.

However you handle the conversation, you will get one of the same basic set of reactions from loved ones you open up to about your lifestyle. They range from amazingly supportive to complete rejection. Most of the time, you’ll get something in the middle. Here a few of the positive (or at least neutral) reactions you might run into. Next week I’ll tackle the negative reactions you hopefully won’t need to deal with.

I need time to think about this: this is a relatively common reaction from parents and other close family members who feel (rightly or wrongly) that your life and theirs will have a major impact on each other. This reaction generally means that they can’t accept your relationship choices right away – maybe they have religious or moral reservations, maybe they’re on the other side of the culture gap and are trying to understand, maybe they just don’t know enough about polyamory to know how to react. Give them their time to think and ask if it might be okay to talk some more in a week or two.

You may also get this reaction from people who want to ignore the whole thing. If they can pretend to themselves that you aren’t polyam, then they can act as if nothing has changed, they don’t need to have a difficult and possibly painful conversation, don’t need to face the reaction of the rest of the family, etc. If someone who has asked for time to think just shuts down and refuses to talk further about it, even months later, then this is what they are doing.

Unfortunately I’ve never found a good way to deal with this approach. One option is to let them ignore it and just keep them out of the parts of your life that involve polyam. This may mean that they become a much smaller part of your life, which can hurt, but it is often better than losing them from your life entirely.

I don’t know what to think, I need more information: not a bad response overall, though unfortunately one of the less common ones. Humans do tend to rush to snap judgments. Get them a copy of When Someone You Love is Polyamorous. Direct them to a good intro-to-polyam blog, invite them to join a (not secret!) polyam forum or FB group. And of course, answer their questions as best you can.

Are you sure you want to do this? Your father and I tried and it really didn’t work, it nearly ruined our marriage/I used to do that/Really? me to!: Yes, non-monogamy has existed prior to this generation. In fact, chances are that if you tell all your friends and family about your relationship choices you will find at least one person who has ‘been there, done that’. Maybe it worked for them, maybe it didn’t. But you can be reasonably sure that they aren’t going to denounce your choice out of moral indignation. In fact, you can probably learn a lot from their experience if they are willing to talk about it.

Okay, it’s your life after all: acceptance without support. Best you can do here is thank them for recognizing that it is your choice and ask if they would like to meet any of your SOs. This person is not going to be wildly enthusiastic and might not think polyamory can work in the long run. But they aren’t going to try and tell you how to live your life. There is a strong chance that if they see you are happy they will become supportive in time.

OMG! Like that show/book/movie/thing I saw the other day! That’s so neat! This reaction is a lot more common than it was when I first wrote this post, thanks to the increase in polyam relationships in the media. In my experience you mostly get this reaction from friends or acquaintances. Family tends to take our life choices seriously. Relax, have a laugh, share some good stories and find out what media thing they are talking about – it might be worth watching yourself!

This post is part of the Explaining Polyamory blog series

(originally published May 2012)