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Polyfidelity 101

An introduction to the Poly lifestyle

“Polyfidelity 101 – An Introduction” is a series of 10 one-page articles about alternative lifestyles.  It has something of a bias towards the high-commitment and low-promiscuity form of ethical non-monogamy known as polyfidelity.  But similar lifestyles will be covered, with links to resources.

Each Topic in the series will be introduced during its own month of 2015, in the Polyfi  Newsletter.  So it's a good idea to subscribe to this group.  Some time after each Newsletter, the latest article will be added to the Polyfidelity Australia website.

The areas we'll cover are:  Essential things to consider while reading this series.  Some important concepts common to most types of intimate relationships.  Relationship resources – especially for Australians.  An overview of the most popular alternative lifestyles.  Some history and perspective points on modern lifestyles.  Polyamory and polyfidelity, the differences and similarities.  The pros and cons of ethical non-monogamy.  The PolyOz organisation and the Polyfidelity Australia website, as resources for you.  The next steps the authors will take, and where to for you the reader.

This Series is only humorously titled to resemble a formal course.  It won't get you any credits anywhere, it doesn't have any tests or quizzes, and hopefully you'll enjoy it a lot more than school.  On the other hand:  The principle author is Carl Turney, who has two formal teaching qualifications and nearly two decades of lecturing in the private, TAFE, and university sectors – on completely different subjects.  He has also been “polyfidelitous” since well before that word was even coined, and has (co)founded five different poly-oriented educational and social support groups in three different countries.

Hope you're looking forward to next month's instalment!

Thank you for reading this series, and for your patience in waiting a whole month for each new instalment of it.  More importantly, thanks for taking an interest in polyfidelity itself.  We're a very small part of the population, but (after trying nearly all of the “alternative lifestyles”) I think it's the very best -- for myself at least, and possibly for you too.

 

It's very important to understand the purpose of these articles (and most of the other things you can find on the PolyFi website).  They are general information or own experiences, for your personal growth.  They are definitely not therapeutic.  If you feel (especially if it's ongoing) that you need help or guidance, or that your emotions are intensely painful, then please:  Contact a supportive and formally-qualified professional (described below).  Don't feel the least embarrassed.  It doesn't indicate any shortcomings on your part. Alternative lifestyles can be extremely painful, as well as extremely rewarding.

I'm Carl.  I have qualifications in healthcare and teaching, and have been studying and living the lifestyles of polyamory and polyfidelity since 1977.  But I'm not trained, qualified, or licensed in psychology, relationship counselling, or anything like them.  For such help, be sure you're using someone competent:  Are they currently licensed by a government agency?  Are they a current full member of a professional association that has strict criteria and a code of conduct?  Do they hold a post-graduate degree (e.g. Grad Dip, Masters, PhD) from a mainstream university?  Are they willing to “catch up” on polyamory/polyfidelity, and not assume it's necessarily a harmful or dysfunctional lifestyle?  If not, I suggest you just keep looking.

By the way:  If you are such a professional, why not contact us about a professional listing on the PolyFi website?  It would make it easier for all concerned.

When it comes to “relationships”, the ethically non-monogamous lifestyles usually are very similar to monogamous ones in most ways; for example...
 
·        The intimate partners are consenting adults.
·        A strong (if not over-riding) factor is the romantic or erotic love for one another; at least initially.
·        The partners are sexually active with each other; at least initially.
·        There is an expectation or desire that the relationship will be ongoing, if not life-long.
·        They will cohabit (share house).
·        Possibly pool incomes, or expenses.
·        Or at least spend a lot of time at each other's homes.
·        There may be a formal celebration or a public
·        declaration of their love and future commitment to each other.
·        They are likely to create (or adopt/merge) children together.
·        They will either discuss a set of rules or boundaries to the relationship, or make assumptions about them.
And many more aspects.

It's hard enough for monogamous couples to be “successful” in the long term, and they have so much more in the way of support...

  • Love songs;

  • movies;

  • greeting cards;

  • TV shows;

  • romance novels;

  • friends, neighbours, & relatives;

  • churches;

  • family law;

  • professional relationship services;

  • and more are all geared toward monogamy.  (Or at least, pretending to be monogamous.)

Our ethically non-monogamous relationships are not just more complicated and demanding (but luckily, more rewarding).  They also lack the intended and unintended support of the dominant culture.  (i.e.  All those things mentioned above.) So, we have to spend a bit of extra time and effort searching and finding help.  The good news is you're already well along the way: You're on the Internet, and you've found the PolyFi website. Over the past 38 years, I've found a lot of help in polyamory from these sources:

Before we continue:  An addendum to Topic 4.  I was unaware of the podcasts offered by PolyWeekly.  Apparently there are hundreds of them, and they are excellent.  Look for the great article on this topic, in today's newsletter, by PolyFido. 
Thanks for the feedback.  Please keep it coming.
How to give an overview of the lifestyles, when some of them don't have a name coined for them yet -- at least not a name that's widely agreed upon or easily recognised? 
There's a lot of truth in the old saying, that “a picture tells a thousand words”.  Instead of lots of words this month, I'll present you with two great pictures.  Actually, one comic strip, and one chart.
“The Diversity of Love Relationship Concepts”, by the wonderful Kirstin Rohwer in Germany, is simply great.  It shows and names 10 different lifestyles, including monogamy.  Here it is:

 

Please click on the image for a larger version
 
She also has a lot of great things to say.  Find her on www.pinterest.com/pin/568368415445788806/