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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This Space Intentionally Left Blank: Making Time for Yourself

I’m a very busy person. I work full-time, at times take classes part-time, run a few Meetup.com groups, and have plenty of friends to fill up any time in between those. Between all of this, I already have a fairly full calendar, and with polyamory – and therefore all my partners – in the mix, it’s easy to feel like I have absolutely no free time.

I am what I would consider a social introvert. I love being around people and socializing, but eventually I need to curl up at home, with a book and some cocoa for a day, with no social obligations. It’s extremely rare that I find someone that I can be around while recharging, so that means that time needs to be spent alone for the most part. I have been lucky enough that my husband and one other partner are both people I can recharge around, but even then I still need my time alone.

Last week, my calendar was absolutely packed. My long-distance partner was visiting. We visited a friend a few hours away for a couple days. I had a team event after work. Another night I ran a meetup. This past week was no different – Two date nights with my husband, and two other dates. One appointment. I’ve also had multiple opportunities to see how things go with a few new (potential?) partners in the past month alone. With all this, I felt that I was about to go insane.

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It’s Not What You Know, it’s Who You Know

There’s a lot to be said for getting into poly after doing as much research as possible. If you’re single, you want to figure out what you want so that you can tell each new partner where you stand. If you’re already in a relationship, you have talked, discussed, and communicated, and when you were done, you did it some more. Eventually, you’re finally ready to dive into poly… so now what?

Just because you’ve changed your relationship status from “monogamous” to “open” that doesn’t actually change anything immediately. You still have to go on dates, find someone you like, see what happens. Where do you start?

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