We currently have an open call for authors and guest contributors! You can apply to be a writer for the site, or submit a post as a guest contributor.
But Who Comes First? The Difference Between Prescriptive And Descriptive Hierarchy

But Who Comes First? The Difference Between Prescriptive and Descriptive Hierarchy

The argument over hierarchy is one of the most contentious ones in the polyamorous community. Many people find it important to label their relationships Primary, Secondary, and sometimes even Tertiary. Others are militant in stating that terms like that are unfair to those labeled Secondary or Tertiary. Some have used terms that attempt to remove the hierarchy, such as nesting partner or anchor partner, sometimes in place of the term Primary. The argument has been made that a nesting (cohabiting) relationship or a marriage automatically enforces a hierarchy, and those in nesting relationships are unable to be non-hierarchical.

This argument is rehashed constantly, probably second only to the argument over unicorn hunters. Something I’ve realized, however, is that often those that argue will end up agreeing on everything except what the term “hierarchy” even means.

There is a solution to this argument, and it lies in the concept of prescriptive hierarchies versus descriptive hierarchies.

Continue Reading
The Difference Between “I Will” And “You Won’t”: Healthy Boundaries In Polyamory

The Difference Between “I Will” and “You Won’t”: Healthy Boundaries in Polyamory

When it comes to polyamory, there can be two extremes: One set of people demand relationship rules to, in theory, make sure relationships go exactly as they want. Other people reject the entire concept of rules, and try to ignore or rebel against them, solely because they’re rules. While there are plenty of people in the middle, the two extremes are certainly the loudest. A problem with both sides, is that they often lump rules and boundaries together. A lot of people feel like rules and boundaries are the same thing, but they most definitely are not.

Continue Reading
How Can You Love Them All?

How Can You Love Them All?

A lot of people don’t seem to get it.

It hurts that they don’t accept my family. Just because I chose to build my family this way, it doesn’t make us any less of a real family. There are many families like mine around, some are more obvious than others. You can’t always tell by looking at a family whether they have made the same choices that we have.

There’s four of us living together, I’m married to one of them. But we all love each other, nonetheless. Just because I’ve known my husband for many more years than I have the other two, doesn’t mean they’re less important to me in any way.

Continue Reading
To Unicorns, From An Ex-Unicorn

To Unicorns, From an Ex-Unicorn

Hello, fellow bisexual woman! You may be brand new to the idea of a relationship with multiple people, or you may have been polyamorous for years now. Either way, I’m guessing that you’re here because you are interested in dating a couple. Maybe one particular couple has approached you, or you might have your eye on a couple yourself. Or maybe you just like the idea of a triad in the first place. Congratulations, in any case! Triads can be happy, healthy, caring relationships. However, there are a lot of pitfalls to watch out for on your way to making a happy, healthy triad. You’ve heard of Unicorns, now you’ll find out what dangers to avoid in order to not become prey.

Continue Reading
Explaining Poly Breakups: Why Polyamory Isn’t (Always) To Blame

Explaining Poly Breakups: Why Polyamory Isn’t (Always) to Blame

People like to place blame. It’s one of the ways we try to understand the world and how bad things happen. Because of this, it’s extremely common for the wrong person, event, or thing to take the blame, especially when the real blame could fall on your own actions or the actions of someone you love.

When you have a relationship outside of the cultural norm, some people will blame the relationship, not the actual problem, when issues arise. If a monogamous couple divorces or breaks up, people assume there’s some sort of problem that causes this, such as different opinions on having children, or religion, fighting over many things, or even cheating. No one assumes that monogamy is the issue, even in the case of cheating.

Continue Reading
Assumptions Jenga

Assumptions Jenga

In the stereotypical narration laid out by our culture, there are a lot of assumptions. A heterosexual man will meet a heterosexual woman, they will date, fall in love, get married, have children, and you know their relationship is a success because one of them died instead of getting divorced. This is a life that many people want, and that’s great for them, but there are also many people that it just doesn’t seem right to. These are the dangers in assumptions.

On the one hand, if something is so broadly assumed, you will feel like a complete outcast if you don’t fit that assumption. Whether that means you’re gay, or don’t want children, or want a career in juggling, or really anything that doesn’t fit the mold, it’s something you either have to speak out about and risk bad reactions, or stay quiet on, and live a life you don’t want.

Those are all huge assumptions, though, and here I want to talk about the many, many smaller ones we make day to day. Sometimes these smaller ones will pass by unnoticed, but often times they lay the foundation for one of the bigger ones, and the longer the assumption stays in place, the harder it will fall.

Continue Reading
Rules Are Made For Those That Break Them

Rules Are Made for Those That Break Them

There is a school of thought in the polyamory community that you shouldn’t have rules, only personal boundaries, which you make agreements around. This may seem like a subtle distinction, or maybe even just wordplay, but it’s an important difference.

In poly, making a distinction between rules and boundaries is important, because it’s no longer about two people. Two people in a relationship with only each other can make rules with each other all day long as long as they both agree to them. In poly, when you create a rule between two people instead of stating your personal boundaries, the rule also affects any future third party but they didn’t have any say in it.*

Rules are declarations, whether agreed to or not, that you will enforce someone else’s behavior otherwise they will face consequences. Boundaries are clear definitions that you state about what you are comfortable with, and you act on your boundaries, instead of demanding that someone follow your rules. When it comes down to it, you are deciding whether you’re controlling someone else’s autonomy, rather than your own.

Continue Reading