Monday, May 6, 2013

The Poly Scene in Halifax

at wrote about polyamory in Halifax.
It started when Amy was chatting with a friend who had become poly with her own boyfriend. At first, Amy said, she thought it was an awful idea. "I'm a pretty jealous person," she says. But that night after a few drinks, Amy came home to Robert. "You know, Drunk Amy," she jokes. "I was like, we should try being polyamorous!"

Polyamory is the state of having romantic relationships with more than one other person at the same time.
Or, better, it is the state of having romantic, erotic, or sexual relationships involving three or more people at the same time with the consent of all involved. It could be one person out of the three seeing the other two, with the other two seeing only that one person.
Polyamorous people are quick to distinguish themselves from swingers or couples in open relationships--- situations where usually, members of a monogamous couple have casual sex with other people.

Some people might classify swingers and people in open relationships as polyamorous, but not all polyamorous people swing or are in open relationships.

First they made out with different people at parties. Then they started dating other people, but they'd check in nearly constantly with each other, requesting permission to send the next text message, go on the next date or have the next hookup.

Eventually that got tedious---and they got more comfortable with the dating-other-people thing anyway. So now they only have two rules: "Don't have sex with someone for the first time before hanging out with me and telling me about them, and don't sleep over without letting me know."

The hard part about being poly, Amy says, isn't her boyfriend---it's the way her friends react.
Such is the case with many relationships this blog covers. So many of the problems are causes by the misunderstanding or prejudice of others.
Amy says the shift in their relationship has allowed them to be more honest and have more fun with each other. When the two were monogamous, she remembers, they didn't even talk about other people who they found attractive. Now she feels like Robert is an even closer friend. After his first date with someone else, she remembers, "I was super excited." When he came home that night to tell her about his evening, "it was like, girl talk!"

Sounds like she might experience compersion.
In Canada, polyamory is legal, although marrying multiple people is not. John Ince was a lawyer representing the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association during the hearings over the landmark constitutional case related to polygamous religious abuse in Bountiful, BC. "Basically, they"---polyamorous people---"can do whatever they want, as long as they don't call it marriage," he says, of the case results. "There is no problem with two people cohabiting with a third person with whom they're not married. That's legal in Canada."

But property and family laws are up for interpretation when it comes to polyamorous claims. Rollie Thompson is a professor of law at Dalhousie. He has two major recommendations for polyamorous people who are committing to more than one other person. The first: don't get married. "Our laws ascribe all kinds of rights and obligations to people who are married. People who are not married, there are no such presumptions, as a consequence there's more freedom to how you arrange things," he says.
So, the discriminatory banning of the polygamous freedom to marry discourages poly people from marrying at all, and that is one way.
While polyamory may be all about sharing love, it comes with some rough misconceptions. Out of all the polyamorous Haligonians talked to for this story, only one was willing to share their full name. The rest---even those who are out to friends and some family members---fear anti-poly attitudes in the workplace or from the general public, or their partners do.

Their fears aren't unfounded. A Tennessee judge declared polyamorous mother April Divilbliss an unfit parent in 1999, after an MTV reality show featured her long-term relationship with two male partners. And in 2010, a St. Louis woman was fired from her job at a local non-profit after they found she was blogging about her polyamorous sex life.

Such bigotry is ridiculous, and one reason I blog. It's a long article, compared to what you typically find in major news outlets these days. You can read it all here.
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