Monday, February 13, 2012

Polyamorists and Valentine's Day

Those of us who speak up for relationship rights find some opportunities this time of year as the media looks for different angles on relationships, romance, and sex.

At, Arin Greenwood interviewed Tamara Pincus for “Valentine's Day For Non-Monogamists.”

Pincus lives in Northern Virginia with her two children, her husband and one of her husband's girlfriends. Her husband also has one other girlfriend and Pincus has two boyfriends.

So Pincus is polyamorous. She has a radio show where it is a topic.
HuffPost DC: What does it mean to be in a polyamorous relationship?

Pincus: We are open and honest about having multiple relationships with multiple people. My poly family consists of me and my husband. We've been married for nine years. One of my husband's girlfriends lives with us, so she also helps out with childcare and house work, and that kind of stuff. And we also have outside relationships on top of that.

That is a common form of polyamory.

In reference to Valentine’s Day…
HuffPost DC: So you wouldn't all go out for dinner together?

Pincus: No. We don't have the kind of relationships where we're all romantic with each other. It's not like that. So it wouldn't really make sense for us. It might make sense for other groups. I know some triads [relationships involving three people] who would probably end up doing something like that. We did, actually, on New Years. We invited all our partners over with their kids. We all hung out, and let the kids run around. That was fun. But Valentine's Day is not really a big holiday for me. I can't say for the poly community as a whole.

Good answer. The poly community is a diverse community. guest columnist, Criminal Justice major Troy Santa, wrote “Don’t fit love into a heart-shaped box.”
Personally, I’ll be trying to figure out how to show my time and affection to three partners, all whilst not stepping on the toes of my metamour (a partner of my partner).

At this point, I imagine there’s some confusion, so let me clarify: Yes I’m dating three women — and they all know about each other. Yes one of them is dating someone else and has been for quite some time. No, this isn’t polygamy, which has a religious context, and no, none of this sounds odd or bothers any of us.

I don’t think polygamy necessarily carries a religious context. I would apply the term to married polyamory, when all involved are considered spouses.
As a society, we love many people in many different ways: our parents, siblings, children and best friends. In the those different relationships, most people could agree there is no limit to how many you can love. Why then is it considered unnatural, unethical, reprehensible or even pathological to have more than one lover at a time?

Good question.
Shocked at my polyamorous status, most people’s initial question is: “How’s that work?” I say this: We are adults in a consensual and loving set of relationships. We all agree honesty, communication and mutual respect are the steadfast rules.

Without those things, things are not going to work, for any relationship.

Emanuella Grinberg at looked at how people spend Valentine’s Day. Family psychotherapist Fran Walfish has a quote with which I strongly agree…
"The affirmation and declaration of love is not in a gift or in one day. It's a 365-day year experience of feeling like your partner has an interest and desire to know your wants and comfort level."

It is good to have annual reminders, such as Valentine’s Day and anniversaries, but day-to-day love is a must.

The article addresses what it calls “nontraditional relationships.”
Not every relationship fits into one of those categories, but that doesn't mean nontraditional lovers don't want to celebrate their relationships just like the rest. Take, for example, polyamorous "families," which consist of multiple romantic partners, from as few as three to north of 20 in some instances.

Why the quotation marks?
Joreth, her three male partners and their additional "metamors" are going out for dinner at a nice steakhouse in Tampa, Florida. All told, there will be six of them around the table.

"I don't personally observe Valentine's Day, but my partners' other partners do," she said. "The holiday's not important, but making my loved ones feel that I care about them is important."

Well said.

Some people want to be married, some don't. Some need monogamy, some need polyamory or some other form of nonmonogamy. They can all love, and all adults, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, should be free to share love with any consenting adults.
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