💡 To quickly find more specific information, try the Site Search & Index page. Other groups, writers, podcasters, and thinkers are invited to Network. Feel free to join the discussion at Daily Strength. I also recommend Rachel Hope's Polyamory Today project on Medium. It's is entirely independent of this one, but she has lots of good stuff going on there too!
Making sense of polyamory and making polyamory make sense
I was motivated to create this website out of a heartfelt sense of injustice being perpetrated against some of the most loving and vulnerable people on the planet. Little did I know what I was in for. It all began in 2016 when I joined a couple of popular dating websites, and found myself in conversations with people who were calling themselves polyamorous.
Poly what? I asked myself. I'd never heard the term before, so I decided to do some digging. The process involved cross referencing articles from a variety of online sources with two of the most widely consulted printed texts, The Ethical Slut, and More Than Two. Since then I've explored much more material, but the aforementioned seemed more than sufficient at the time.
Returning to the dating sites, I decided to ask some of the guys who were openly polyamorous if they would share some of their experiences and offer a few pointers. One of the things about the Internet is that people who are posting anonymously often share things online that they wouldn't say in the open, and guys will tell other guys things that they would never say to a woman.
So I suppose I shouldn't have been so shocked when the majority of them admitted to me that they were simply using polyamory as an excuse to cheat, and it had proven to be an effective strategy. When I called them out on it, their defense was that nobody else but them has the right to judge what is or isn't polyamorous ( for them ).
Needless to say, I wasn't impressed and wanted to do something to help keep these wolves in sheep's clothing from preying on the polyamory community. Anticipating that it would be easy to find allies in the poly community, I set out to find them. Instead I ran up against authoritarian gatekeepers who discouraged any discussion about how to tell the fakes from the real thing.
Ironically, these gatekeepers justified their behavior by claiming they were preventing others from becoming dictatorial gatekeepers. What they didn't seem to comprehend is that jamming the gates wide open is as much gatekeeping as using some discretion, and by suppressing any discussion about it, what they are doing is actually more authoritarian.
Contributing to the problem in a less direct manner is a growing number of people within the polyamory community who identify with an individualized version of polyamory that is conceptually disconnected from the original, but is believed by them to be as valid as the original or any other version of polyamory. I've decided to call this overall situation Polyanarchy
As an aside, the day after I coined the term polyanarchy, I ran across an interesting article called The Short Instructional Manifesto For Relationship Anarchy authored by the Swedish writer Andie Nordgren. Her concepts reflect many of the same attitudes in the poly community, except that compared to the polyanarchists, they seem like a rather likeable bunch ( excerpt below ).
Relationship anarchy questions the idea that love is a limited resource that can only be real if restricted to a couple. You have capacity to love more than one person, and one relationship and the love felt for that person does not diminish love felt for another. Don't rank and compare people and relationships - cherish the individual and your connection to them. One person in your life does not need to be named primary for the relationship to be real. Each relationship is independent, and a relationship between autonomous individuals.
Not only can the relationship anarchists have a dialog about what their movement is about, they're not hiding behind a label that pretends it's something that it's not. Maybe the polyamory community could learn a thing or two from them? In the meantime, I've attempted to address the issues above along with a host others in as fair-minded a manner as possible.
The solution for polyanrachy isn't necessarily to eliminate it, but to define it in a positive manner that differentiates it from polyamory, and then avoid using the labels interchangeably. That way the polyanarchists can have it their way without negatively affecting the well being of others who believe that staying true to the original concepts and principles of polyamory are better for them.
In that spirit I invite other writers and thinkers in the poly community to participate. Submissions will be screened for appropriateness, but no author is required to agree with everything else here. All constructive comments, criticism, suggestions, and articles are welcomed. If you'd like to see yours published, feel free to get in touch via my Contact Page.
Approved authors and commentators will be given a byline for their contributions that can be linked to a bio page here, or directly to their website. Another link will also be added to our resources page and our search engine. Together we can be a positive influence in the poly community.
In the next section we'll learn what sets polyamory apart from other types of relationships. After all, if polyamory is to attain any legal standing, then judges and those in polyamorous relationships need to come to a consensus that is fair and workable. Both are possible, but only if we all still believe that truth is a virtue, and not simply what suits our personal biases.