Monday, December 28, 2009

Guest post: Poly-Mono Judgment

A member of VP101 recently posted this to her blog, and I was impressed with its clarity and fairness.  I asked her if I could re-post it here:

An acquaintance of mine recently complained in her blog about the judging that goes on between monogamous and polyamorous folks, with mono people calling poly people sluts and poly people calling mono people selfish and unenlightened.

In general, I find refreshingly little of this among both the mono & poly people I hang out with IRL. Mostly when I see it, it’s online. (‘Course I also think my mono friends who judge me have just quietly dropped out of my life rather than confront me with their opinions. Which is too bad, because I would have liked a chance to discuss it with them—but it’s their choice.)

I think the whole thing probably stems from envy, fear of judgement or insecurity about people’s own choices. For example, it seems to me that the monogamous people who are most judgemental about poly people are those who either can’t find stable relationships for themselves or have been making themselves miserable trying to maintain long-term, committed monogamous relationships that aren’t making them happy, and have convinced themselves that being unhappy to preserve a relationship makes them more noble (oh, and do poly people ever do this too!). And a lot of poly people do face a hell of a lot of judgement from people in monogamous society (and frankly, that judgement often gets a lot uglier than what poly people lay on mono people), and they can get pretty insecure and defensive. Convincing yourself that you’re superior can be one way to help deal with that.

I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding, too, about what people are really saying. I’ve seen exchanges along these lines:

Mono Person: You, Poly Person, are selfish for wanting more than one partner.

Poly Person: What does selfishness have to do with it? I could just as easily say you are selfish for wanting to keep one partner all to yourself.

Mono Person: How dare you call me selfish?!

Now Poly Person didn’t actually call Mono Person selfish, but was trying to point out that the “selfish” label is subjective and can be applied in either case depending on how you look at it—or depending on the behaviour of the particular mono or poly person—and is therefore useless as a generic label. But Mono Person interpreted it as a judgement on them (perhaps because Poly Person, already in defensive mode, failed to phrase their reply as delicately or eloquently as they could or should have).

(Note that I had Mono Person start the exchange and Poly Person be the more reasonable one because I recently saw almost this exact exchange in a comment thread about a poly documentary, not because I think Mono Person would be less reasonable by default. The same discussion could easily go the other way.)

I can also say with complete honesty that I would have totally failed at polyamory ten or even five years ago because of a lot of unresolved insecurities, and that the work I’ve had to do on myself is what’s made me successful at it now. I can say the same for my husband, and I would venture similar predictions for certain other people I know who I think are poly but just haven’t reached a place in themselves or their lives where they can live that openly (as distinguished from my perfectly happy & secure and truly monogamous friends). So while I’m more secure, less selfish, and perhaps a tiny bit more enlightened than I used to be, and that’s part of what makes poly work for me, that doesn’t mean that I’m more of any of those things than someone else, who may be perfectly happy being monogamous. But if I say that working on my insecurities and selfishness has made me a better poly person, an insecure mono person could interpret that as saying they haven’t done equal work, when in fact, doing the same work would just make them better at being monogamous.

There’s also the issue of people who are mono or poly pretending or trying to be something they’re not, in which case a suggestion that they need to do some soul-searching may be in order. For example, someone who’s really poly, but who either doesn’t know that’s a real option or who says, “I would love to do that, but I’m too jealous/selfish/insecure/afraid/whatever,” can cause a lot of pain to themselves and other people in trying to have monogamous relationships and making themselves and their partner miserable. In those cases, I think it’s fair to point out (in a compassionate and friendly way) that they—and their partners—may be better off in the long run if they work on the issues that keep them from being poly rather than trying to deny their poly-ness. On the other hand, there are monogamous people who stay in poly relationships that don’t make them happy, because they’re afraid to lose a poly partner who they love, or they hope their partner will someday become mono, or they think philosophically they’d be somehow better if they were poly. They probably have some things to figure out, too. And to further confuse matters, there are emotionally monogamous swingers who try to be poly because they can’t admit they just want casual sex, and they also hurt themselves and other people—and maybe also deserve a kick in the pants to get them to ‘fess up to what they really want or need. But—in an online forum in particular—a response about the individual behaviour of any one of these people is likely to be interpreted as an overarching judgement on all people of that “type,” at least if the speaker/writer is a poor communicator (or prone to generalizations), or the listener/reader is inclined toward defensiveness and starting flame wars.

Anyway, I’ve seen pretty much equal amounts of selfishness, sluttiness and enlightenment among both mono and poly people. (Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with being a slut, mind you.)

And then there are the young ‘uns, who are convinced no matter what that their choices—whether they involve veganism or born-again Christianity or polyamory—are the only right ones, period. (Not that I’ve ever been like that, of course.) For them, all we can really do is model patience and tolerance and wait for them to grow up.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

VP101 is one year old! Come celebrate...

Let's have our cake & eat it, too! ;)

Come learn about polyamory, discuss experiences and the meaning of ethical, open, multiple relationships.

Celebrate our one year anniversary of Victoria Poly 101! Bring snacks to share if you like, a good story, a willing ear, and an open heart. ♥

Thursday, January 28, 2010
6:30pm - 9:30pm
Camas Bookstore
corner of Kings and Quadra
Victoria, BC

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Call for Intervenors in BC court case affecting polyamorous people

November 13, 2009

Court case: Upcoming BC Government's Court Reference on the Criminalization of Polygamy and Group Marriages

The BC government will shortly put a question to the Court to test the constitutionality of section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada which criminalizes people who practice polygamy or enter into any kind of "conjugal union" (i.e. a common-law marriage) with more than one person at the same time. Intervenors will have as little as 3 weeks to respond with court applications and affidavits.

It is important that polyamorists who are interested in being married to more than one person, or are living with more than one person, make the court aware of their interests and the legal arguments that the law is unconstitutional, because it infringes their Canadian Charter rights of association, religion (i.e. Wiccan or Pagan), equality, and the life, liberty and security of the person. It is not appropriate for a law which criminalizes loving, committed, consensual relationships to remain on the books, even if it not presently being enforced. The more polyamorous interveners there are, the more strongly the court will hear this position.


Who are we?

We are individual members of the Vancouver polyamory community and are active members or coordinators in Vanpoly (, who have joined together to coordinate an intervention by polyamorists so that the court can hear our stories and arguments. We have experience in organizing politically and legally. One of our members has offered to act as pro bono legal counsel and has successful experience in mounting constitutional challenges to Canada's criminal code. We are also liaising with other civil and legal rights groups who are also following the BC government closely in this matter.

What are the steps in the process?

First, and as soon as possible, we need to identify potential intervenors and get their stories. When the government asks the court about the legality of this legislation, we want to be ready to finalize the sworn statements of intervenors and apply to the court within the 3 week period. If our application to the court is accepted, we will then prepare legal arguments in support of the above position that it is not appropriate for a law which criminalizes loving, committed, consentual relationships to remain on the books. It is expected that this process will need to go very quickly.

Qualifications of an Intervenor

We are in immediate need of identifying as many potential intervenors as possible so that polyamory can be properly represented.

If you are a Canadian Resident:

1) currently living with multiple partners in a conjugal (marital or marital-like) relationships, or

2) have engaged in polyamorous relationships either in the past or currently AND have a desire to live with multiple partners in a conjugal (marital or marital-like) relationships in the future

then we ask you to email us.

While we are interested in hearing from ALL people who fit the above criteria, we are especially interested in having at least one female in a MFF (male-female-female) grouping.

What would it mean to be an intervenor?

1. You would need to give legal counsel some facts as to your polyamorous lifestyle which would be written up in a statement, which you will be asked to swear on oath is true. This statement would be filed in court. Your name and your address along with the statements in your affidavit would then be public. However, you would NOT need to name your partners.

2. You may find that your name and other information in your affidavit is in the news. You would NOT need to speak to media or answer their questions as you could refuse to respond to any media enquiries.

3. You would NOT need to incur court costs. You would need to pay for the affidavit to be sworn if you are in a city other than Vancouver. (If this is a concern, please advise and we will look for donations toward the cost.)

Who do I contact for more information or to offer to be an intervenor?

Please email Melly at

Thank you for your attention to this.

Monday, November 2, 2009

November Poly 101: Poly in the Media

Victoria Poly 101
Thursday, November 26, 2009

6:30pm - 9:30pm
Camas Bookstore

Recently Poly made the news for 9 minutes on Global TV. What did you think of how this news blurb represented poly? What would you add, change or like to see next time? Poly is slowly becoming present in media. Come and watch the news clip and discuss your thoughts.

** I will not be facilitating this event due to being out of town that week with my sweeties. :) Two members of the group will be taking over with what is looking like a really great discussion topic! **


Monday, October 19, 2009

Love Affairs: mini-documentary on polyamory

Check out this short piece that aired last night on Global TV about polyamory, featuring the creators of the poly web series Family...

Love Affairs

Shared via AddThis

Friday, October 9, 2009

Next Poly 101 discussion

Sex and Poly:  the good, the bad & the negotiations...

Thursday, October 22, 2009
7:30pm - 9:30pm
Camas Bookstore
corner of Kings and Quadra streets
Victoria, BC

It's the topic we've all been waiting for! What role does sex play in poly relationships? How do we navigate and negotiate sexual relationships? What about safer sex practices? Tips? Tricks? Tall tales & threesomes?

Come share your thoughts on sex and polyamory!

** Please note our later startup time of 7:30 pm!**

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October Poly 101 updates

We had a great discussion last month on happy poly moments -- many thanks to those of you who attended (some of you for the first time!) and hey, we missed you! -- to those of you who couldn't make it.

At the September's discussion...

We talked about adding a second monthly get-together, on a different night from our regular "4th Thursday @ Camas" so that people who had other commitments could attend. It was agreed that this second night should be a bit more of a social event (though still with a Poly 101 theme -- perhaps starting out with introductions and a poly-ice breaker) and will probably take place earlier in the month, on a Friday. Several group members volunteered to take turns hosting at their homes, so this will likely be a "floating" event -- stay tuned here on the group for details each month!

THIS month (October) we are thinking of having our social event later in the month, 'cause, well... it's Halloween!! There will be costumes and dancing!

The next Poly 101 discussion at Camas is, I *think* scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 22nd, but I have not yet received confirmation from Camas on that date.

Oh, and the word is just in from the Kelowna Poly 101 group that they had a meeting this last week and two new members attended -- way to go, Kelowna!

Happy October!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Meet your moderator

Ok folks, I've been remiss in posting last month's workshop notes (the workshop I missed because I was away at a Polycamp near Olympia, WA) so I figured that while I organize myself to get those up on the blog, I'd distract you with a bit of a bio about me: your moderator/facilitator for Victoria Poly 101. (Hey, they say write about what you know... )

I've been consciously polyamorous for about five years. I have all kinds of relationships that are important to me and many people who I love, some of whom I consider close enough to be "family". I have a partner who lives very far away, in another country, who I see in person rarely but with whom I talk every day online. I have another partner who lives in a city not-too-far away, who is married and whose wife is very special to me as a friend. I try to spend as much time as possible with both of them. I also have teenage kids, who I love a lot, and a husband who I live apart from but who is still a part of my family. I have a fantastic poly community and friends -- in fact, I am REALLY lucky!

I didn't start out with the intention of being a poly facilitator or activist or anything of the kind. You could, I guess, call me an explorer and someone who loves the the ways in which we are different from each other as much as the ways in which we're the same. I found out about polyamory online and I joined a few communities and started attending poly meets all over North America (it's a fun way to travel and meet friends). I went to Texas, Washinton (State), and Vermont, as well as Vancouver and Kelowna, British Columbia to meet new poly friends and learn what they had to say about how they live and love.

When I moved to Victoria two years ago, I was a part of the Vancouver Island Poly group and had been enjoying participating in their community, and I also felt there was an opportunity for me to provide some information on poly to the community at large, to encourage people to learn about what polyamory means and what it doesn't mean, and to find out more about the local community I was living in. This is how Victoria Poly 101 started... it sort of makes my head spin to think how easily and amazingly the group has taken off, and what a supportive poly-friendly community we're growing into.

This summer, I was asked to lead several discussions in Victoria, Kelowna and at the Olympia, WA camp, and all of them showed me that there is a growing poly presence that is eager, open and inclusive as well as diverse in the kind of people it represents. It's exciting to see Real Live Poly People honestly working at having good relationships, good communication, and creating an abundance of love and goodwill in the process. It's also educational to share struggles, challenges and stories with those who have been polyamorous for a long time.

In the end, I guess I'm just thrilled to be here, learning and loving along with the rest of you. Thank you very much for listening, and for asking all the good questions you keep asking.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

next poly 101, Sept. 24th: Poly Pride!

Thursday, September 24, 2009
6:30pm - 9:30pm
Camas Bookstore    
corner of Kings and Quadra Streets    
Victoria, BC

Why are you proud to be polyamorous? Now that the weather's getting cooler, we need to warm up, so come and share moments you are proud of, whether it's time with a partner, the support of friends or family, or simply a personal goal you've met related to poly. We should be proud of who we are and the choices we make, and this is an opportunity to share it with our community!

HPM = Happy Poly Moment

Monday, August 10, 2009

August Victoria Poly 101 discussion

Working with exercises from Easton's "The Ethical Slut"

Guest facilitators will lead the group through some of the exercises in the new "Ethical Slut". The meeting will be potluck, as usual. Be prepared to break into smaller groups for the discussion.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

6:30pm - 9:30pm

Camas Bookstore

corner of Kings and Quadra Streets

Victoria, BC

July Victoria Poly 101 discussion: Poly Dating

We had a VERY lively discussion last month about the topic of poly dating.  We started out talking about how to meet compatible people (focusing not just on poly but also on other common likes and activities and interests).  We also discussed the importance of having a Real Life community as opposed to only an online one.  The question of when to bring up the topic of poly during a date (or at what point in the dating process) brought consensus with the idea that you should try to find out if the person is at least poly compatible as soon as possible (and definitely before sex)!  It was interesting to note that the group was divided on whether it was more important to date ONLY poly people or that everyone was simply up-front, honest and comfortable with their relationship preferences. 

The topic of couples looking for poly "unicorns" or "hot-bi-babes" to date together as a couple was touched on, as was dating for the purposes of creating a polyfidelitous relationship.  As an exercise, I asked each member of the group to list one dating "rule" or an important dating guideline or condition (since not everyone likes the idea of rules!) that they use.  It was a great list!  Here it is:

- consent
- sexual safety
- just being open to connections forming rather "dating" consciously or purposefully
- honesty/trust
- no "klingons"!  (eg. clingy people, not Trekkies :P)
- polyfidelity
- communication
- self-knowledge
- disclosure (general)
- nothing that would harm the kids
- disclosure about dating others & mutual decision-making
- emotional honesty
- common interests
- courage
- hotness!
- poly-only (or poly-interested)
- self-honesty
- new person needs to be ok with current partners and get along with them
- similar ideologies
- check out partner's families and how they treat them; new people need to fit into the culture that we've already developed
- curious about sex
- ok with other genders
- want partners' partners to know about me
- feminist
- friendship first
- accept lifestyle
- no shallow people
- won't lie about poly
- knowing when to be flexible with rules
- no predetermined restrictions or veto
- won't be a "secondary"
- won't date a couple
- no rules
- won't date anyone who will hurt current partners
- want to be best friends with who I date
- they must get along with my friends and family

Finally, we discussed (at the end of the meeting!) the definition of "dating" and how the word is used differently by people.  Does dating mean sex? romance? a relationship?  going out to do stuff? When is "coffee" a date?  We had quite a long debate about whether or not ambiguity about friendly coffee dates and a sexual/romantic interest date was a good or bad thing.  Some people like ambiguity, some like clarity!  In the end, we concluded that poly people, while still romantic, also like to talk a lot about feelings and intentions and it's probably a good idea, when in doubt, to ask. 


Here's the handout I provided with a brief list of poly dating resources:

Online poly dating sites:

The Big Ones (you'll meet local people but also people all over North America or even the World on these sites) (worldwide:  excellent discussion forums)
Okcupid (worldwide but easily customizable for local matches; some discussion forums to talk about poly; good matching quizzes if you like that sort of thing)
Plentyoffish (not really poly but there is a poly presence; plenty of locals)

Local poly dating

polypairing (Victoria google group)

Other sites that have large poly presence but are not necessarily dating sites but where you can likely meet polyfriendly people (watch out when approaching people here for dates, as some of these are information forums and are best used to make friends and ask questions):

tribe (various national and local poly groups)
fetlife (bdsm oriented but there are several poly forums, some of them local)
polyamory community on livejournal
local yahoo groups and livejournal communities (search for place name)
facebook groups
GLBT groups
burning man groups and communities

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Poly facilitation discussion at NW Polycamp (WA)

I will be facilitating a discussion for people interested in organizing poly events and publicity at the Northwest Polycamp on August 28th.

Facilitating Poly Events
10:30 am to noon, Friday August 28
In the Environment Learning Center

Information on the camp can be found at the website:

Monday, July 6, 2009

July Victoria Poly 101 discussion: Poly Dating

Dating as a polyamorous person in a world oriented towards couples and monogamy can be challenging and daunting. How do you know when to broach the subject? Where do you find like-minded people? What if you fall for a monogamous partner?

Join us for a discussion about poly dating (and remember to bring snacks to share and a cushion to sit on if you wish).

Thursday, July 30, 2009
6:30pm - 9:30pm
Camas Bookstore
corner of Kings and Quadra Streets
Victoria, BC

Thursday, July 2, 2009

First Kelowna Poly 101 discussion a poly-riffic success!

We had a great time meeting new faces in Kelowna on June 23rd -- over 15 people attended the meeting to connect, enjoy coffee in lovely outdoor surroundings at Brackenwoods B&B, discuss poly issues and challenges and plan for more local events!

Some of the topics we covered (and we did a LOT in two hours of talking) were:

- starting a men's poly group
- coming out to family
- communicating with groups from other alternative lifestyles
- planning and time management and poly
- poly legal issues
- the pros and cons of being poly
- building community
- discussing poly lifestyle and choices with children

A facebook group was set up and future events were planned (suggestions for dinners, poly movies and workshops were offered).

I really enjoyed the enthusiasm and diversity of this group's energy. I have a feeling poly is alive and well, and this group is going to attract more interesting people as time goes on. It was great having the opportunity to meet and learn from you all, and I hope to be back in Kelowna soon for another visit!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Poly 101 comes to Kelowna!

I've been asked by friends if I'd help host a Poly 101 get together in Kelowna, BC!  If you live in the area and are interested, please come out and meet us!

This meeting will be a friendly informal get-together to discuss the idea of polyamorous relationships and share basic information and plan for future meets. Come meet others who are curious about or are living in poly relationships and explore some of the challenges and joys of loving more than one person openly and ethically.

Tuesday, June 23rd. 7 pm
St. Nicholas Avenue: 10886 Bottom Woodlake Road
Lake Country, BC

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dealing with jealousy; getting to compersion: discussion notes from Poly 101

The last Poly 101 discussion had a record number of people in attendance.  To make sure everyone who wanted to had a chance to speak, we broke into four smaller groups after a general discussion about jealousy and compersion.  The following are notes from three of the groups.  It was a VERY productive session!


We spent a lot of time elaborating on a vocabulary to describe the elements surrounding jealousy. This is an outline of that vocabulary and some of the discussion items around combating jealousy. I've added some of my own ideas to complete the notes.


Jealousy and Envy
While jealousy is anxiety over an anticipated loss of something, envy is anxiety over the desire to have something that someone else has. (So we may feel jealous about our partner's relationship with another, and envy about that other's relationship with our partner.)

Trust and Acceptance
Trust with a partner can make a significant impact on whether either party feels jealous. If you feel that you can trust a partner, the risk or feeling of anticipated loss is much less. Trust means that you feel that you can honour each other's agreements, that you will be honest with each other, etc.
Part of the problem with trust is that we feel we can trust someone if they act exactly in accordance with the rules or boundaries that we are comfortable with, or at least have agreed to. A higher ground than trust is acceptance. If we can accept someone for who they are, then we are more resilient (and less inclined to be jealous) at times when he or she cannot be trusted as much. This requires knowing someone very well. For example, accepting a compulsive liar means understanding when they can be trusted and when they can't, and being okay with this. Accepting someone as they are is also an important component of love.

Reassurance, Disclosure and Check-Ins
Offering reassurance to a partner helps to combat jealousy by lessening the threat of a situation that they have no control over. Reassurance includes reminding a partner how you feel about them; or planning a date on the day after a date with someone else.
Disclosure is more proactive than reassurance. Volunteering information helps to remove some of the mystery and anxiety that can develop if a partner begins to make their own assumptions about what may or may not be happening outside of their control.
Check-Ins are periodic communications between partners to confirm feelings, share information, and proactively double-check that assumptions and prior arrangements are still working for both parties. Checking in regularly can help greatly with trust and overcoming jealousy. You can't check in too much.

Other Tools to Combat Jealousy
1) Partners meeting each other. This can result in the lessening of anxiety, removal of assumptions and also genuinely liking the other person, which makes it much easier to wish them and your partner well.
2) Discussing feelings together. By processing feelings as a team, you can become aware of each other's priorities, anxieties, discuss new boundaries, and offer reassurance before feelings get unnecessarily out of hand. This also helps build trust and acceptance.

Processing Alone or Together
Some people prefer to process their feelings alone, for several hours or sometimes days, before discussing them with a partner. They want to keep the processing part private and avoid premature conclusions or the risk of sharing unfinished or uncertain thoughts. Once finished, they want to share their conclusions, needs and wants. Others feel more comfortable sharing their processing, with the advantage that feelings can be dealt with more quickly. This requires a greater amount of trust and a willingness to make mistakes.

Ownership of Jealousy
Jealousy is a feeling that is owned by the one that experiences it. If you are jealous, you cannot blame another for that feeling. You can discuss that person's behaviour, but the feeling remains your own. Just like anger, jealousy can be destructive and it helps to be able to do the inner work so it can be dealt with -- not externalize it or project it.  Clarify that jealousy can and should be discussed and shared. Ownership of the emotion doesn't mean keeping it to yourself, but accepting responsibility for it.

Compromise and Negotiation
Compromise is when both parties give something up. This is not always ideal, since it means a loss to both, but in many cases it's not necessary for both to give something up. For example, if I like cheese and you like bananas, mixing them together is a tasteless compromise. But if we have cheese today and banana tomorrow, I have what I want today and you have what you want tomorrow.
One advantage of negotiation in love, when compared to negotiation in most other scenarios, is that, because you love someone, you are willing to encourage them to start the negotiation by expressing ALL of their needs and wants. You actually are interested in trying to meet as many of them as possible.

Another group discussed the following ideas:

Not keeping score

Looking for complementary benefits of other relationships

Understanding your own needs and needs of others and that don't always
mesh, and having realistic expectations of needs being met

Communication - OPEN - accepting feelings, clear communication about

Not obsessing about future but still processing  / not denying worries


Finally, the group I was in had these points to add to the general wisdom of the evening:

A memorable quote from my group in relation to encouraging compersion to blossom:  one must "feed a culture of compersion".   

This can be done in several ways, but mostly by communicating and reflecting compersion back to your partner on a regular basis by telling them when you feel happy for them or asking for reassurance that they do feel happy for you.  Cultivating friendships with partners of partners (metamours) also helps feed compersion.  Demystifying sex can also be helpful (because we communicate sexually as well as verbally!).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Upcoming poly workshop: Polyamory and Social Activism

A Series of Community Celebrations
@ 26 Linden Avenue; West Coast Salish

Saturday August 8th
(come early for the workshops! we won't start over)

2pm-4pm -- Polyamory and Social Activism
4pm-4:20pm -- Snack 'n' Slack
4:20pm-6pm -- tba
6pm -------- POTLUCK -------- 6pm
6pm-7:30pm -- tba
7:30pm -- !!EARLY LIVE SHOW!! -- 7:30pm

Revolutionary Rap & Hip Hop (fr London, ON)

The Peoples Poets
Revolutionary Hip Hop (fr Edmonton, AB)

The Outspoken Wordsmiths
Beatbox Harmonix & Subversive Spoken Word (fr Victoria, BC)

& more tba

"Community in Action" is a series of free 'all-day' festivals, comprised of free workshops, lectures/discussions, arts'n'crafts activities and more!
All events will be free and open to all ages
donations encouraged and rewarded
Free food and good music too!

The Linden House has been home to local activists since 2002. From day one, it's original tenants intended for the space to be used in a communal manner, and it has, for six years and counting. From hosting free workshops and live shows, to housing travelers and couch surfers, serving as a kitchen for Food Not Bombs and participating in other food security initiatives, the Linden House has rooted itself in the local community.

To celebrate the Linden Houses continual community involvement we are hosting monthly events centered around sharing space, food, music, skills and ideas.

-------------------- 2pm-4pm ----------------------
Polyamory and Social Activism
facilitated by Kiki Christie

Intimate relationships are the foundation of family, community and of society as a whole. When we deconstruct pre-programmed ideas of how we relate to each other on an intimate level, eventually we change the way we feel and act towards everyone we relate to.
Polyamory -- the practice of openly and honestly loving more than one person -- poses challenges for personal growth and communication that can also create an ideal background for challenging traditional relationship structures and set the stage for sex positive culture and social change

As polyamory becomes increasingly public and politicized, we are in need of a new relationship model that is distinct from monogamy that still demonstrates the values of love, commitment and security. Through practicing polyamory while being conscious of how we speak about and act towards everyone we relate to, it is possible to bring polyamory into the public world in a way that both celebrates the unique aspects of poly while demonstrating skills that are of value to everyone.

This workshop will examine how the practice of polyamory can open our minds and hearts to creating new social paradigms of acceptance and self-knowlege, in particular how to balance intentional community with self-awareness and individual responsibility.

Kiki Christie is a polyamorous workshop facilitator and founder of Victoria Poly 101, a poly discussion group that focuses on issues around poly education and practice. She is also a sex positive writer and networker.

Monday, May 11, 2009

May, 2009 Poly 101 discussion: Dealing with jealousy, finding our way to compersion...

The next Victoria Poly 101 discussion will take place at Camas Bookstore, 6:30 p.m. (corner of Kings and Quadra Streets) on May 28th. I've managed to book a more or less permanent date for discussions, so keep the fourth Thursday of the month in mind! (There may be an occasional change to this, depending on other groups' needs, but I'll try and give you lots of notice.)

Format for the meeting will also be a bit different. Because of the huge popularity and numbers of people coming out for Poly 101 (yay!) we're going to try having a large, group discussion (keeping on the designated topic) for the first hour (6:30-7:30 p.m.), then we will break into a few smaller groups to discuss poly issues for another hour and a half. At 9 p.m. we'll re-convene as a group and find out where the discussion has wandered to, and share the nuggets of our knowledge we've discovered in the process! (We'll also have the chance to share food during the smaller group discussion time, so bring something to share if you feel like you want to.)

The topic for May 28th will be about dealing with jealousy and finding compersion (that special joy we have in knowing our partners are loved and loving others as well as ourselves). I'm looking forward to seeing you all there, and newcomers are welcome provided you come in a spirit of honest open desire to learn about polyamory and respect the safe space we've created at Camas.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Monogamous in a Polyamorous Relationship: a guest blog from one of our group members

I'm extremely pleased to post this personal account of real-life poly experience from a member of our group and his partners. Names are witheld to protect privacy.


Monogamous in a Polyamorous Relationship

First off let me state that I do not assume to have any great insight or words of wisdom based on years of experience in polyamory. I only want to relay my experience from my perspective as a monogamous person in a polyamorous relationship.

I was in a monogamous relationship and married for 16 years but as a result of my own poor decisions was separated with no option for reconciliation. That is not the issue here but sets the stage. I had reached a point in my life where I felt I could never offer myself to anyone in more than a physical sense. I thought I would be ok with that as a lot of traditionally married men feel they could screw anyone, anywhere, anytime without any thought because it is just sex and that they are being restrained.

Using a popular dating sight I engaged in two casual and very different sexual experiences. One was purely curiosity with a couple that were looking to play and the other was with a woman who was in an open relationship looking for casual sex. Both were good experiences as I was fortunate in finding nice people. Both were also not what I expected in the area of sexual fulfilment. It was not that the people were not adventurous by any means. The energy simply was not was empty, under-whelming and more like a moderately entertaining hobby. I was a huge disappointment to myself because I felt I was not the bed hopping man whore everyone thought I would and should be. I use “man whore” in the most respectful of ways, I am in fact jealous of anyone that can play casually and get enough excitement to be fulfilled. I was, however, still determined to search for a casual sex partner because that’s what I thought single guys should want. I mean we’re talking casual sex here!

I was repeatedly drawn to one woman who talked of much more than an open relationship or casual encounter although obviously a potentially very sexual relationship. I stumbled my way into a meeting with her and bang!..there it was…immediate connection. I opened up and spoke to her about things I never told my closest of friends. She felt it too. She was very clear on her love style, her happy and devoted family life and her approach to relationships. I had never heard of polyamorous relationships before. I understood swinging and open relationships, but not one involving multiple loves. I am not going to drag out the blur of emotions and times spent together that lead to me falling in love with her, getting to know and also love her husband, becoming a friend to her son and parents or how my new circle of friends had full awareness of our relationship. I want to relay the internal struggle that was waged inside me and could only be overcome through honesty and communication.

She has a husband and two other prominent intimate friends. She also had what I thought to be other potential sexual partners she was communicating with. I need to be absolutely clear that I am fundamentally a monogamous person in a polyamorous relationship. I only want to share intimacy with her because it is full of overwhelming energy generated by deep connection. I need that to become truly excited…sigh…such a disappointment. Now I also need to be clear that I fully understand compersion and feel it 100% towards her husband. Her family and marriage is paramount to me. I would reshape my love for her in an instant if I threatened either. I would still love her and she would continue to be my best and most trusted friend, but I would not permit myself to be an intimate sexual partner and reduce the time I spend with her to alleviate the problem if I was indeed the source. I could spend a great deal of time explaining the respect and awe I have in both the depth of her husband’s love for her and in the strength I felt in their connection. Without either I would not have been able to follow this incredible path.

I, at first, had to overcome my fear of her other intimate friends. Although our relationship is much deeper in the sense of being life long partners, they are still intimate parts of her life and very important. Of course there are the usual sexual concerns of inadequacy, penis size and sexual vigour that I got hung up on. I still ask for her to censor the details about those aspects of her other relationships although it differs in intensity depending on the partner. She finds it hard to relate to this because it is no big deal to her. Again we differ here a lot! With a few possible exceptions, I am not the kind of person who gets excited at the prospect or image of someone having sex with my partner. My level of compersion is not anywhere near that developed LOL! In order for me to be more comfortable and certainly less threatened I had to meet them to know that there was a true friendship and caring towards her. I cannot stand the idea of her being used and by meeting both of them I was able to confirm that these were indeed good friendships. I always feel sheepish after these first meetings because I know she brings good people into her life. Some people may say her other relationships are not my business but as a life long committed partner, it is my business and also a requirement for my own healthy involvement in this relationship. I am a protective person..not possessive. I would do what I could to protect her entire family and certainly would not appreciate someone just wanting to get laid.

These meetings were very casual and involved differing levels of comfort. One partner I am completely at ease with and have gone dancing and just hung out with casually. The other I am somewhat less comfortable with only because I am jealous of his casual nature towards sexual play and experiencing that aspect of new people. I don’t want that and find it threatening in the sense that it may leave my partner wanting or feel like she is missing out because of my issue with casual play. I fully understand the possibility of new relationships in her life but expect them to be meaningful and bring something of value to her life. Of course her idea of value and mine don’t have to align! Casual sex with other men would honestly hurt me a lot because I illogically cannot accept that it could be just a fun activity. I know this is based on my own casual experiences, which were disappointing, but regardless that’s how I feel. If I could change it, believe me, I would!!

Open communication between me and her and her husband has made this relationship work. We fully expect it to continue working and develop into a lifelong partnership that is amazing and full of growth, love and excitement. Will there be challenges? You had better believe it! My own nature of monogamy interacting in a polyamorous relationship generates a lingering fear of being replaced, becoming less than I am now, unexciting and will lead to her searching for another…me. For the longest time I asked myself a question constantly; “Am I strong enough to be in this relationship?’ The answer was always yes. I still make a point of asking myself this every day just to keep grounded, but I find myself forgetting lately which is a very good sign.

If someone who is monogamous asked me for advice about becoming involved in a polyamorous relationship my advice would be simple. If you feel you could love the person a little – Don’t even consider it. Explain it to them and walk away before they fall in love with you. A polyamorous lover will have a hard time understanding why you feel threatened or inadequate or that you feel you are losing them whenever they mention even the most innocent of friends and certainly a potential lover or playmate. You will most likely be in a constant state of fear or unintentionally try to suppress the person you love. You will definitely feel a level of jealousy that will twist your stomach and make you feel physically ill and trapped. You will get hurt and inevitably hurt them as well. And trust me, a truly polyamorous person loves in a way that is extremely deep. They will get hurt bad. Above all, never feel like the polyamorous person has any less to lose than you. You have to be prepared to feel a little on the outside or even a lot on the outside. You also can feel very special and a little misunderstood or hard to figure out, which I actually like.

If you want me to say “go for it” you had better love that person with all your heart, genuinely care about the other people in their life and understand that you will constantly be challenged, constantly need to be completely open, constantly need to live in your emotions and theirs. You will still feel fear and jealousy. But if you love them enough to accept the differences between monogamous and polyamorous approaches to loving than you will be rewarded with possibly the most open and deep relationship you can imagine. I certainly have. I am happy and full of wonder at what the future holds. I am growing all the time, being challenged and sharing in something that is immense.

I always expect to be in this polyamorous relationship but never expect to be polyamorous. I always expect my partner will love her oddball monogamous boyfriend and never expect her to expect me to be anything other than monogamous. I am truly blessed.



Fears of loss in a Mono/Poly Relationship

I recently posted a long article on my experience so far in engaging in a polyamorous relationship although I am monogamous. I promise this one will not be so long!!
I included the following statement which I spoke to my partner/girlfriend about after;

"Above all, never feel like the polyamorous person has any less to lose than you."

Yes, I will definitely feel a certain loss when she adds a new lover or sex partner..oddly enough, primarily if they are male, and I do apply different "labels" to different types of relations because it helps me mentally organize. (but that is another post!) I always tell myself she will find someone so I am better prepared whether it happens or not. Again this is a tool I use regardless if it is viewed as healthy or not.

I understand the ability to love and desire another person similarly without a reduction for others. I wouldn't be able to look at her husband without guilt if I did not. I entered this relationship with a complete knowledge of who was involved and in what way. I am the "new guy" in my mind. It is the unknown of another "new guy" that will be my that I will face head on and with understanding but certainly not without difficulty. I know my weaknesses which will enable me to draw on her, her husband and my own internal strength to overcome them and grow. At least that is what I foresee happening.

Back to my point
I will first deal with loss in the relationship if/when she finds someone else.I will feel loss, most definitely at least for a while until I am again secure in her genuine love and continued desire for me. Will an aspect of our dynamic change? I could lie to myself and say I know it won't but that is not the path to a sustainment of this amazing relationship. Initially - for sure. Permanently..perhaps. She will feel it, see it. I am an open book and she knows when I withdrawal my energy while I process. Does that mean the intimacy of out relationship will end? Absolutely not, not unless I can't handle it. She will love and desire me the same, just like she does for her husband. She will probably love us both more...a concept I struggle with as well. We will grow and she will be happy which is paramount to me.

What if I find someone else? I am intimately monogamous. Not by choice, moral or social requirement. I am monogamous because it is my nature. I require a very specific connection to truly desire someone. My physical passion is directly proportionate to my level of connection and intimate love. I only feel that intimate love for one person at a time, which has been proven throughout my life. I don't want to intimately love more than one person although I would welcome a change in my nature if it meant my life would be easier in a polyamorous relationship. Yes, I would love to be polyamorous or even just have a much more casual approach to sex so I could be more at ease, better blend with the amazing people around, me and just have fun. Who knows..maybe in the future but that is not my reality for now...sadness.

If I form another intimate connection tomorrow it will be at the expense of the one I have right now. In giving intimacy I am all or nothing. Simple and plain. I would no longer be this amazing persons lover or even playmate. I would not be able to share that energy with another unless I take it away from her. She would continue to be my most trusted friend but I would deny her my passion and intimate love. Would this be a malicious act towards her? Absolutely not! Just as her taking on a new partner would not be a malicious act towards me. It would simply be accepting and acting on our fundamental natures. Denial of one's nature is a terrible road to travel as I have been there. Pain is always the result.

So who would lose more is a question of definites. I might experience a decrease of her intimate attention and perceive she loves me less..she would lose all of my intimate attention and although my love would still be immense it would be re-shaped..that is definite.

I said I would keep this short...I tried.



Sharing Success and Happiness

There is often a lot of struggle discussed in poly related forums. Struggle is natural and often necessary in achieving things that are worthwhile. Through sharing on a forum I got caught up in some of the non-positive aspects of polyamory and allowed a lot of painful energy to enter my life. As a result I began feeling increased fear, doubt, and frustration in not understanding how my girlfriend Redpepper shares love and intimacy. (I am monogamous/ she is polyamorous). I wanted to share with the brave and interesting people on this forum but not at the detriment of the amazing love I have with Redpepper.

To re-assure, and hopefully reinforce, that this is in fact natural (although not my nature LOL!), wonderful and worth working towards for those who want it, I have decided to share a quick but wonderful achievement in our lives.

Last night, Redpepper, her husband, her Lover and me along with several other friends got together. We chatted and laughed at a pub before heading to the bar for some well needed but poorly musically funded dancing. At the pub I chuckled in watching Redpepper move around the table chatting with everyone, lovers and friends alike. This didn’t appear to be work or a balancing act. It looked like her doing what comes naturally to her, socializing and sharing with her friends.

At the bar we all danced together at times, in different small groups at times, and as couples at times. There was no jealousy or “greediness” for her attention. There was fun interacting amongst friends who care for each other.

We are very proud in what we have. That doesn’t make it easy, but makes it unbelievably fulfilling and completely worth every moment of anxiety, fear and insecurity. There is a shared love amongst us for one person and each other.

The key to our success, I believe, is that each person cares so much for the other person and thier well-being. Redpepper seemed more relaxed than I have ever seen her in this dynamic last night. There is no pulling to monopolize or even balance her attention amongst her Lovers. There is just enjoyment in her presence and appreciation for the happiness she gives all of us. Seeing her Lovers together as friends and enjoying time together gives her a radiance I can't describe!

We all have to work to make this possible…Redpepper more than any of us...but with genuine caring you stop noticing the “work” aspect and it just becomes our nature to look after each other.

Thank you Redpepper…you amaze and bless me with your love..despite the fact you scare me….I had to say it!


Saturday, May 2, 2009

how we talk about poly

We had a great discussion on April 30th about different forms polyamory can take and how we talk about this to others. In examining different kinds of structures poly relationships can take, the group ended up exploring the idea of whether or not structure itself was less important than the idea of being clear about needs and intentions while being flexible with the forms relationships take naturally.

It was a VERY stimulating evening! I was especially amazed and amused that one new member arrived at the meeting not because she'd read about it online or heard from a friend, but because she was looking for the person who'd locked their bike to hers, and after hearing we were talking about poly, sat down and joined in the discussion -- a perfect working example of remaining open and flexible!

Some of the topics we touched upon (some of them in great depth) were:

- structure versus "no structure"

- polyamory and polyfidelity

- relationships between polyamorous people and monogamous people

- deconstructing fears in order to provide reassurance when needed (a great tip!)

- freedom found in not needing one person to fulfill every role for us (or in us not needing to fulfill this in others)

- a discussion of whether there was value in perdetermining a poly structure versus allowing that structure to develop organically and naturally

- how to let go, be flexible and deconstruct our previous assumptions about relationships; being a "warrior of the heart"

- not turning a blind eye to the negative aspects or pitfalls of complex poly relationship structures

Finally, I want to share a favourite quote of mine from the evening:

"I choose definitions to fit my relationships rather than making relationships fit definitions."

Friday, May 1, 2009

come to camp!

Polycamp Too
"Shake your Paradigm"
July 10 to 13, 2009
Living Forest Oceanside Campgrounds and RV Park
6 Maki Road, Nanaimo, BC

Campsites we've reserved are G1 to G11 (see map at
and are on a ring road with a picnic shelter in the centre, lots of green space and a firepit for campfires. Good proximity to washroom and assorted facilities in the campgrounds. Beach front. Picnic shelter has several BBQ's, electricity, running water, a kitchen prep and sink area and several picnic tables. The campgrounds has WiFi. The campgrounds itself is 5 minutes from a shopping mall with a grocery store and a few restaurants. There are locations and supplies onsite for volleyball, basketball, foosball, horseshoes and a climber park for kids. Hiking and swimming are popular activities every year.

Costs -
CAMPSITE: $90.72 per campsite for the weekend tax included (max of 4 adults & 4 kids and one car per site)
NEW THIS YEAR - Polycamp Too registration fee in addition to campsite fee and to be paid on arrival by those attending but not staying at the campgrounds.
$20 per adult, $10 per youth 13 and over, kids 12 & under free.
$5 discount for Sponsor Members in good standing.
FOOD - Campers are responsible for their own food. We most often cook and eat together during the weekend in a casual potluck format.
TRANSPORTATION- Carpooling and pick up of walkons to the Horseshoe Bay/Departure Bay Ferry to be arranged with Camp Director (
ALSO NEW THIS YEAR - You MUST register and prepay. There will be a registration form available at and shortly. Email it and pay by PAYPAL or print it off and pay by cheque/money order. Details will be on the registration form.

WORKSHOP Session/Activity Proposals sought that address some aspect of the theme. Looking for 1 to 2 hours sessions/activities for adults only, teens only, and intergenerational groups. Facilitator honorarium is $10 per hour discounted from Polycamp Registration Fee as noted above.

Theme for weekend: Shake your Paradigm
Friday - Open Hearts (focus on new perspectives on intimacy)(1 x 2hr session)
Saturday - Open Ears (focus on communicating in new ways)(3 x 2 hr sesssions)
Sunday - Open Minds (focus on thinking new thoughts)(3 x 2hr sessions)
Monday - Open Roads (focus on new adventures) (closing discussion - 1 hr)

Contact Camp Director with any questions, suggestions or workshop ideas.

Monday, April 13, 2009

weekend poly workshop: polyamory and diversity

This weekend I helped present a workshop at the University for the Queer Youth Conference (sponsored by AIDS Victoria). One of the Victoria Poly 101 members who is also on the UVic Pride team asked for my input, and together she and I assembled a really comprehensive hour and a half of information, demonstration and discussion on the ins and outs of poly within the context of society at large.

Several other members of Victoria Poly 101 agreed to attend as panelist speakers, and the mix of diverse poly backgrounds was illuminating and entertaining to listen to. I think we managed to cover a LOT of angles in a short time!

Key points discussed were:

- the importance of communication and negotiation

- boundaries

- jealousy and self-knowledge

- differing kinds of intimacy and how they can ALL fit into poly

- how one can be poly and still incorporate traditional spirituality or ethics

- raising children in a poly family

- poly in a political and societal context

As a demonstration, I brought a small collection of relevant books, a big pile of stuffed parrots ;P and a chart I had made illustrating the network of connections in my own life, including my lovers, my children, my biological family, my "heart" family of choice, my metamours and even my pets! I was even able to add one of the panel members to my chart when she informed me that HER partner was dating a partner of MY partner... the possibilities for connection (and the need for openness) are truly limitless!

The attendees of the workshop ranged from high school age to adult, with varying knowledge and experience levels of polyamory. Questions asked and issues raised by the audience were insightful and articulate. Overall, it was a pleasure to attend and present at this conference and I look forward to seeing many of the same people again at future diversity events!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

a short poly booklist

Essentials/ones I've read and recommend personally:

Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits : Secrets of Sustainable Intimate Relationships, Deborah M. Anapol

The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities, Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt

Polyamory: Roadmaps for the Clueless & Hopeful, Anthony Ravenscroft

The Polyamory Handbook: A User's Guide, Peter J. Benson

Ones I'd like to read/have had recommended to me:

Spiritual Polyamory, Mystic Life

The Sex and Love Handbook: Polyamory! Bisexuality! Swingers! Spirituality! (& even) Monogamy! A Practical Optimistic Relationship Guide, Kris A. Heinlein and Rozz M. Heinlein
The Lesbian Polyamory Reader: Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy, and Casual Sex
, Marcia Munson

Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, Tristan Taormino

Others you might want to consider:

Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage, Jenny Block

The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People, David P. Barash

The Threesome Handbook: A Practical Guide to SLEEPING WITH THREE, Vicki Vantoch

Better have this handy, in case someone asks...

Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein

notes from 24/03/09 poly 101: boundaries and negotiations

We had a fantastic poly discussion at our March meet, with almost twice the number of participants from the first meeting, in a wonderful space at Camas. I for one was delighted to meet so many diverse yet articulate and thoughtful people and to hear what all of you had to say about some very sensitive and tricky boundary issues. I also really enjoyed hearing about everyone's varied poly backgrounds and experiences. I can't wait for the next meet, which I'll announce for next month as soon as I figure out a date that works. I'm going to try to rebook at Camas for the time being since the space (and the yummy potluck) was so conducive to safe, relaxed conversation. I'm also considering ordering a poly uniform, possibly consisting of polyestery polypants and "Got Compersion?" t-shirts. Go, us!

I'm including some very brief notes from our discussion, mostly because although I meant to take actual notes I found I was enjoying listening raptly to what everyone said, so couldn't be bothered to write it down. Please feel free to post and add bits of what you remember to this.
We discussed what boundaries are: Are they rules? guidelines? flexible or dealbreakers? It was agreed that poly people like shades of grey.

How do we communicate boundaries? By setting aside specific time, picking good times to talk, continual communication and checking in and by being self-aware and flexible (because needs and opinions can change over time).

What boundaries work for you? Tailoring to each relationship, knowing our own needs and stating them clearly, working with a spectrum of responses to an issue, and the importance of firm boundaries so that everyone knows where they stand. Honesty and trust was also discussed. I really liked what one person said about beginning with being centered in their own heart and speaking from that perspective. Living truthfully is tough but rewarding and can make things easier, even in a seemingly complex web of relationships.

Specific boundaries talked about included: being "out" -- different people have different degrees of comfort with this, TMI boundaries, either among partners or with other friends and family members with regard to poly and intimacy

Thank you all for a great discussion and please feel free to send suggestions to me for future topics. Ones I'm considering for next month are:

- What different types of poly relationships are there?
- How do we deal with jealousy, envy and get to compersion?
- Poly dating challenges

Dan's Yes to No Checklist for negotiating in poly relationships

This is a terrific discussion tool developed by a friend of mine and his wife. He was kind enough to share it with me so I could bring it to my discussion on Negotiations and Boundaries. Thanks, Dan!

A couple of years back, I developed this little communications tool to use in relationship negotiations.

The idea of the spectrum is that it gives a 1 to 10 rating of the intensity between "no" and "yes". It can be useful because not only will it help you gauge your own intensity, it can make it easier to express your position when you’re talking about an emotionally charged subject. So, here’s the scale:

1. "No, and I never want to talk about this again."
2. "No, but you could ask again in the future."
3. "No, but I can see a possible path towards yes, so let’s discuss it."
4. "No for today, but my mind is open. Let’s take our time and discuss it."
5. "No for today, but I am close to yes. Let’s talk about some remaining issues or obstacles."
6. "Yes, but I’m not comfortable with it."
7. "Yes, but with severe limitations that may not be what you want."
8. "Yes, within broad limits that you seem to be comfortable with."
9. "Yes, you have my blessing with no limits."
10. "Yes, and I’m actively encouraging you. Why are we still talking instead of acting?"

When you are afraid to ask your partner something, it’s typically because you think their answer will be #1. Maybe it will be. Personally, I think it’s worth asking and knowing rather than just assuming. If the answer is #3 or above, you can actually start talking about it.

It’s important to remember is that not all things require #10 to do. If I wanted to blow some money on a new camera, my partner might be at #6, but I would feel OK doing it anyway. However, if I wanted to get hand-fasted to another woman, I would need a #10 from my partner to feel OK doing it. Ultimately we decided that most actions and relationships in the poly realm require a #7 or #8 as the minimum to act.

It’s also important to understand that not everything will move up the scale into the "yes" range, and that’s OK. This is not a tool to persuade someone towards yes. It’s a tool to better communicate your position on a particular subject.

notes from the first poly 101, 24/02/09

Last night I held a Poly 101 evening at a local bistro, in the hopes of encouraging the new and curious to come out and ask the questions they might be having about polyamory. I've been to similar sessions over the last few years and found them extremely helpful in sorting out some of my own feelings about practicing and identifying as poly, and one of the things I love about attending them regularly is the wealth of fresh perspective on "old" poly issues that new people bring to the table.

I was incredibly pleased to see over half a dozen new and eager faces last night; the discussion, which was a fairly loosely structured "what challenges have you encountered or do you expect to encounter in polyamory as a relationship style?" generated some awesome ideas for future, more focused discussion.

Some of the tantalizing topics touched upon were:

- the challenge of loving non-poly people
- different kinds of poly relationships
- does poly really "work"?
- what about commitment? are poly people into commitment? how does one define commitment in a culture where exclusivity is the accepted norm for a committed relationship?
- semantics (is an "open relationship" the same thing as polyamory?)
- how do poly partners reach agreements, and what about boundaries?
- jealousy, envy and compersion- secrecy, communication within relationships, and being "out" to the world at large -- varying levels of openess

I also provided a links list of online and local resources:

Poly Links

"Polyamory? What, like two girlfriends?", Franklin Veaux's extremely practical and thorough poly information and advice website. A must read:

"The Polyamorous Misanthrope", a terrific advice column/blog by an experienced poly practitioner:

"VanIsle Poly Yahoo list", where you can sign up to get news of all the latest events:

"Sex Positive Alternatives" (SPA), a Victoria-based Cyber Community Centre promoting events on Vancouver Island for consenting adults (19 yrs +) who practice alternative loving choices such as swinging, polyamory and Dominance/submission,masochism/sadism or variations there of and those who identify as heterosexual, bi-sexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, or transsexual:

"Jealousy and the Abyss", a really wonderful essay on how to look at jealousy as a tool for growth and self exploration rather than as something to be avoided:

"Polyamory, STDs and Safer Sex":

"Polymatchmaker", more than just a matchmaking site, there are informative forums and links to all kinds of poly information worldwide:

"Sexual Integration and Free Association", Kiki's blog: