Dating app: Someone has liked you! (Shows very attractive person half my age who lives at some distance, dressed revealingly.)
Inner voice: Must be a bot. Or a pro looking for clients, NTTAWWT. Couldn’t possibly be interested in me. Do not click “yes.”
Inner id monster: If you don’t click yes, there is zero chance you will ever get dem tiddies all up in your face!
Inner voice: If I click yes, the chance is at best .00001%. This person cannot possibly find me attractive, even if they are real. It’s a scam.
Inner id monster: BUT DEM TIDDIES!
…and that, dear reader, is what it is like to be a cis male. What changes over time is the relative volume of the voices.
Not everybody has (or wants) a mother in their life. Whether that’s because of alienation from family of origin or other reasons, holidays celebrating parents can sometimes be a challenge.
So why not celebrate the family you have chosen to make, the people nearest and dearest to you? Today can be a day to celebrate that confidant, that trusted figure who occupies the role in your life traditionally reserved for a mother. Or for anyone else who makes your life better just by being there.
Of course, once you take out the M and decide to celebrate those significant others, your brunch waiting list can get rather long. Fortunately, nothing says it all has to be caught up in one day. Celebrate whomever you wish, whenever you can!
Today is apparently Polyamory Day, although I’m unaware of any official proclamation to that effect. But this seems a curious way to celebrate.
Because isn’t having only *one* day sort of counter to the idea of polyamory? We should have as many polyamory days as are comfortable and to which we can do justice. For some, that would be one polyamory day; for others, many more. I hope you celebrate as few or as many as you consent to and enjoy!
…especially when it’s green with envy. (A tough color to accessorize.)
Jealousy happens in all kinds of relationships. People often seem to feel guilty about feeling it, and attach value judgements that they may not apply to other emotions. But jealousy happens. The question is, how do you respond to it?
When I feel jealousy, I take it as a sign to ask myself two questions:
The first is, “Am I feeling this way because the other partner is getting something I’m not?”
Sometimes, I realize the answer is no — that I actually am getting the same thing the other partner is getting. If we’re both getting it, and I’m getting enough of it, then it doesn’t matter how much they get. And if I’m not getting enough of it, then it’s time for a discussion with my partner.
The second question is the more important one. “Is the thing they are getting something I actually want?”
And when the answer is no, I don’t want that, jealousy often falls away right there, because the fact that they’re getting something I’m not getting is irrelevant if I don’t want it. They can have all they want! Being given the thing I don’t want in the name of fairness would be worse. (Especially if it’s liver and onions.)
But what I don’t do is tell myself I shouldn’t feel jealous. The feeling is natural; it’s what you do with it, and how objectively you look at the situation, that can make a difference in whether it lasts — and how it affects those around you.
Went on an all – polyamorist hike recently, courtesy of a local meetup group. It turns out that when polyamorists hike, the discussion is something like this:
Tight shoes, low hanging tree, ethical non-monogamy, consensual non-monogamy, watch out for that rock, tree, tree, where is the next blaze?, solo poly, nice hat, how to talk to your partner who is mono, look out for the poison ivy, poly while married, poly while dating, mud!, when’s the next hike?
I have several “comet” relationships, in which we see each other and spend time together when we are in the same city or occasionally go out of our way to make closeness happen, but the rest of the time it’s occasional correspondence and supportive but not deep involvement in each other’s lives. Comet relationships can certainly work, particularly if (as discussed repeatedly in this space) those involved have common expectations of what the relationships are about.
But you have to have a different set of expectations for those relationships than you do with partners. There’s a lot more volatility, in part because you aren’t in such regular contact, so you may not see things coming quite as far in advance. For example, in the last year, several of my comets have gotten engaged or married, or otherwise nested, and it’s not clear that their relationships with me will be able to continue in their current form. That’s wonderful for them.
But when a comet relationship comes to that kind of point, it’s a test: Do you try to grab on and resist the change, effectively pretending that the relationship was deeper than it was, or do you cheer them on their course, even if it means that your relationship with them changes or is at an end?
With partners, there would be fewer surprises and a lot more communication and processing. With comets, it works best if you hold on loosely and accept that, as with the planetary bodies they’re named for, they may blaze brightly in your sky for a while and then continue on their journey. Wherever they are in their orbit, wherever they go next, you will always have that brilliant image.
…on FetLife asked, simply, whether I was down to take some BBC.
Thanks for asking! I’m not much for Dr. Who, but Monty Python or Top Gear anytime, and I might be able to be talked into Great British Bake Off.
Treating all of one’s partners equitably and with respect is not good poly if it means that everyone gets equal amounts of not enough.
So do I.
But it’s important to remember when reading personals:
“I like to do X” ≠ “I like to do X with you,” or “I like to do X every time.”
It’s a preference, not an open invitation, and certainly not a grant of entitlement.
“But I do X really really well!”
That’s nice. Go back three paragraphs.
I’m sorry, but if Scandinavian women are playing beach volleyball, they could be wearing parkas for all I care.
People who fuss that they should be wearing bikinis: What is it about the phrase Scandinavian women playing beach volleyball that you don’t understand? Let your brain play with that for even a nanosecond, and what they are wearing becomes irrelevant.
But let’s say you don’t have that active an imagination, and moreover that you believe that when a woman wears a bikini, she is giving you permission to sexualize her. (That’s not even close to true, of course, but let’s suppose.)
Even then, if she is being forced to wear a bikini by some rules-making body, the bikini is not an indication of her consent.
Which is to say, fantasize all you want. That’s good; that’s healthy. But let’s not pretend that other people have an obligation to indulge or in any way feed those fantasies. And an international sports organization certainly doesn’t have an obligation of that sort — nor should it have the power.
“But if it’s supposed to be beach volleyball, shouldn’t they be dressed for the beach?”
They are playing the game on sand. That’s what makes it beach volleyball. You could be wearing a corduroy suit and moon boots, and if there’s a net and sand, it’s beach volleyball.
TL, DR: It’s the Olympic Games, not Baywatch.
Moms who cook get to lick their beaters.
Moms who top get to beat their lickers.
(Okay, that’s as close as I’ve got to a Mothers’ Day announcement.)
Except this: Mother’s Day is traditionally written with the apostrophe before the S, because it’s the day when you honor mother. But some people have more than one, so I’m putting the apostrophe after.
Now that Valentine’s Day is over, we are all free to love in the time and manner of our choosing.
Plus, hey, discount chocolate!
Fellow Mind Gremlins! Now, during the peak plaguing season, you may be wondering how to improve your professional skills. There is much doubt to sow, unease to rouse, and people to be kept needlessly awake. Follow these tips and you’re sure to succeed. Learn from your forebears!
1. 3 AM is party time.
- At 10:30 in the morning, your person is getting ready for meetings or studying for their next class. It’s going to be hard to get their attention. 3 to 4:30, you have their undivided brain. Your person is asleep, relaxed, suggestible, and easy to tip over into despair. This is Gremlin Disco Time. Get them half awake and have at it! (Double points if you get them to wake their partner up for solace.)
2. Always carry a hammer.
- The bigger your person‘s achievement, the thinner the glass it’s made out of. One good tap and suddenly the big publisher buying their manuscript that day is gone and they’re dwelling for an hour on how they once chipped a Hello Kitty mug their mother gave them.
3. Use success as a fulcrum.
- When things are bad, your person is on guard and fighting to get better. But when things are good, their guard is down. Then it’s easy to tip them into a tailspin. And the higher they are, the farther they will fall. (Gremlins live for that little puff of dust when the coyote hits the desert floor!)
4. Use their natural cycles against them.
- People – especially women people – have chemistry that varies on a fairly predictable basis for much of their lives. Watch for the right week. If they are already feeling like their face is puffy and their ankles are fat, you’re halfway to getting them to believe that nothing about their life is any good anyway.
5. Winter is the hap-happiest time of the year.
- Gremlins do their best work in the dark. That back half of the year, between the equinoxes? Extra dark, extra opportunities for mayhem. And if your person has eaten half a box of holiday peppermint bark? See number 4.
6. Nothing’s right until everything’s wrong.
- Sure, you could get them to obsess about whether they misspelled their client’s name in the day’s last email. But why waste a perfectly good gaslighting opportunity on little stuff? Go for their looks, their competence, their self-worth, their parents’ health, whether The Ellen Show is going to be renewed for another season. Never settle for the airline-bottle -sized despair when a Costco pallet is available.
7. Never acknowledge the truth.
- Sure, some gremlins will get assigned to people who are smart, attractive, all kinds of competent. In fact, the more skilled a gremlin you are, the more likely it is you’ll get someone like that. If they took a moment to look at themselves objectively, they would realize that you are making all this bad stuff up. So don’t give them that opportunity. After all, if you can get them to deny everything that’s good about themselves, you can take the rest of the night off – your work is done! So lie, lie, lie — and watch them believe you.
Now go forth, fellow gremlins, and lead humanity to unsubstantiated despair!
When your Domme’s outside your bubble
And you’re the serving type
A foot massage and scrub’ll
Translate poorly over Skype.
The shoulder rubs, the leather care
The perfect cup of tea
Can’t be conveyed. They’re just not there
When connected virtually
When your Domme’s outside your bubble
Can’t be in the same room…
When you give Her any trouble
Your butt gets whipped on Zoom.
It doesn’t hurt as much, for sure
You don’t get quite as red
But there isn’t any aftercare
Or snuggling in her bed.
When your Domme’s outside your bubble
Although you may not touch
That’s reason to redouble
Your fealty, and as such
Make sure She knows your devotion
Stays strong and true and large,
For when your Domme’s outside your bubble
You know She’s still in charge.
Almost four years ago, I sat with relationship education rockstar Kitty Chambliss to record an episode of her Loving Without Boundaries podcast. That interview, described here, covered my polyamorous journey to that point, along with some lessons learned.
Recently, it occurred to me that combined, Kitty and I now have 50 years(!) of experience in ethically non-monogamous relationships. We have both noticed that more and more people are trying such relationships for the first time — and that a common question is whether they can endure for the long term.
So we thought we’d put those decades of experience to use showing that long-term poly is real and achievable, while sharing some tips on how to make it easier. The result is here, and I hope you have as much fun listening to it as we clearly did making it! (And yes, please do post your questions — in the comments below, or in Kitty’s Facebook group, or by e-mail at PSV (at) f-m.fm (yes, that’s a real address.)
Sure, we’re older, but you’re all welcome on our lawn!
You may have noticed that this blog is not being updated with the usual frequency. Five weeks into isolation, I have discovered that it is difficult to be creative, especially when writing about relationships that are particularly challenging to maintain during a period of enforced separation.
I expect that this will pass before too long, and that you will again be subject to a regular stream of more or less pithy content from this source.
Please stay safe and be well.
The theory behind COVID bubbles, especially for polyamorous folk, looks a lot like pre-pandemic fluid bonding circles. They require candor and communication, and are only as strong as the weakest link. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/17/health/cheating-on-an-isolation-bubble.html
When you mean to write “in polyamory mentoring, I bring experience on a variety of fronts,” but what comes out is “experience on a variety of friends,” and you realize it would work either way.
I regularly serve (as today) as medical guardian for partners undergoing procedures (when one has partners of a certain age, one winds up going to a lot of colonoscopies, for example.) Usually, there is an assumption, often expressed, that I am their husband. (“We’ll call your husband when you’re in the recovery room.”) Preop seems a poor time to get into a disquisition to the contrary, and we didn’t bring the Basic Polyamory Flannel Board, so everyone nods and rolls along.
On Christmas morning, there might be one big present under the tree. Or there might be several presents of various sizes.
And that’s one way of explaining monogamy and polyamory.
(Or maybe monogamy is Christmas and polyamory is Chanukah, but that still needs a little thinking through.)