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...
friends, neighbours, & relatives;
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:
But First, be careful:
The following sources will vary in quality by quite a lot. Maybe it worked for them, but that doesn't mean it will work for you. There may be quicker and more effective ways of doing things than they offer. They may have an ulterior motive (making a living, or finding lovers).
So always think critically...
- Are they formally qualified and/or licensed?
- Do they have extensive experiences and successes in the lifestyle?
- What is their most likely motivation?
- Is this going to cost me a lot, or subject me to some other kind of risks?
- Poly-oriented websites offer articles and other background reading, to inform and educate you.
- They may also have FAQs, where the most common and most important “beginners” issues are usually addressed.
- They may have live “chat rooms”, where you can converse directly with others who've worked through what you're going through.
- They may list professionals who are sympathetic to (or even practising) the lifestyle that you are in.
- They may have links to lots of other good poly-oriented websites.
- They may have an activity calendar, advertising face-to-face events that are happening.
- In addition to this nation-wide PolyFi website, there is the great PolyVic website, with a focus on Melbourne and surrounds.
www.lovemore.com from the USA is probably the biggest, oldest, and most full-featured website for poly people.
Please contact us and let us know about any other Aussie websites you have found, so we can check them out and link to them.
Books and Magazines:
- “Group Marriage” by Larry & Joan Constantine (out of print).
- “The New Intimacy” by Ronald Mazur (out of print).
- “Polyamory The New Love Without Limits” by Deborah Anapol.
- “Three in Love” by Foster, Foster, and Hadady.
- “Alternative Lifestyles” by Herb Seal (out of print).
- “Loving More - The Polyfidelity Primer” by Ryam Nearing (out of print).
- “The Ethical Slut” by Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt.
Other poly websites, including international ones, will list many more up-to-date books on the subject.
Also use the good books that help monogamous couples, because the fundamentals are so very similar to ours...
- “Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus” by John Gray.
- “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.
- “The Art of Loving” by Erich Fromm.
- Plus ones recommended by relationship counsellors (below).
“Loving More” is a series of professional glossy magazines from the USA that have been published for well over two decades. They are an excellent source of information. It's from the LoveMore website people, mentioned above.
This PolyFi website has at least one professional already listed. As we're an Aussie-wide website, we're looking forward to other Australian professionals contacting us, and joining our list. If you know of anyone who is very good, please let us know about them, or them know about us.
The PolyVic website has a larger list of relationship professionals. They have all been referred by PolyVic members. Some of them may be formally qualified/licensed, but some may not. Remember to ask.
Relationships Australia, the Society of Australian Sexologists, the Australian Counselling Association, and other professional organisations can refer you to well-qualified professionals. (Ensure they only present people who are sympathetic to ethical non-monogamy, and not just assume that it is the major problem.)
Before the Internet became so dominant, face-to-face meetings were the main way of learning and helping people in alternative lifestyles. They still offer so much more than just words on a screen (or page of paper) ever can. Good friendships can develop at socials. You can overhear others going through what you're going through, and you can even offer your own wisdom on difficulties overcome.
They are also a wonderful place to “just be yourself”, and not worry about what you say. They will laugh and cry with you, as people who share a very similar set of values with you.
Of course, there are also the swinger's clubs... where sexual activity is the core of their purpose, and emotional involvement & love are considered taboo complications to just having fun. Many consider good-quality poly-oriented social and educational support groups to be noticeably different from swinger's groups.
Having “platonic” friends who are poly can be so very helpful... Someone who knows us and our partner(s) well. Someone who isn't a lover (or trying to become a lover). Someone who shares our values and aspirations. Someone who is able to listen, as well as comment and question, on the joys and sorrows of our relationships. It's a lot harder without them.
Don't be afraid to get help. There's nothing “wrong” at all with getting a little outside support... especially for relationships as misunderstood, under-appreciated, and demanding as ethically non-monogamous ones. It's a lot better to get some “fine tuning” at the start of problems, then to expect a “miracle” near the end of a dying relationship.
I hope this instalment has been (or some day will be) of good value to you. Until next month's article, best wishes.