Trust, the antidote to jealousy

Jealousy: It happens, and it can be managed.
Jealousy: It happens, and it can be managed.

Karen, a reader of this blog, wanted to know what people who responded to my survey had to say about jealousy and trust in unconventional relationships. (You can suggest a topic, too.)

Jealousy is a painfully intense, complex emotional reaction that can cripple relationships — and it happens in traditional relationships, as well as unconventional ones. Because intimate relationships are often where we are most vulnerable, yet we never really know what will happen in any relationship.

“It’s a super vulnerable feeling sometimes to trust the present and not worry about the future.”
— Colleen: queer, partnered and open to options 

On the traditional Relationship Escalator, jealousy is generally assumed to be absolutely intolerable and insurmountable. In particular, people typically claim that monogamy is needed to prevent jealousy. Not that this always works, of course. (more…)

“Asexual relationships give me the freedom to be myself” — Marie’s story

One of the best surprises of my survey on unconventional relationships were the many thoughtful responses I received from people who are asexual — that is, they experience little or no sexual attraction. Sex typically plays little or no role in the deep bonds of love and commitment that asexual people form in relationships. I treasured these responses because they made me think very, very hard about the nature of intimacy, connection, and relationships.

Asexuality is a rich and varied part of the full spectrum of human sexual expression. Nearly 9% of my survey respondents indicated that they fall somewhere on the asexuality (“ace”) spectrum, or the aromantic (“aro”) spectrum. (Aromatic people don’t generally experience the intense emotional fluctuations that most people associate with  “falling in love,” although they can experience deep love and intimacy.)

Being asexual is an orientation, like being straight or gay. So why, then, do I say that intimate relationships where sex is absent (or unimportant to bonding) represent a step off the traditional Relationship Escalator — while same-sex marriage does not?

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Themes off the Escalator: What do you want to hear about?

Just a taste of what I'm dealing with. Here's a very small part of my library of quotes curated from my survey on unconventional relationships. (Click to enlarge)
Just a taste of what I’m dealing with. Here’s a very small part of my library of quotes curated from my survey on unconventional relationships. (Click to enlarge)

Over 1500 people responded to my survey on unconventional relationships. They had a lot to say, and I’m sure you don’t want to wait for my book to start hearing some of it!  As I finish editing and publishing the first book from this project, I’d like to start publishing on this blog a few times a week, quotes that are especially interesting and meaningful.

I’d like your help. What topics would you like to hear about? Please help me select some key voices and topics from my extensive library of quotes.

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Philly.com shows polyamory is about people, not just couples/families

A realistic look at poly networks from Philly.com this week.
A realistic look at poly networks from Philly.com this week.

In recent years, mainstream media coverage of polyamory (a popular approach to consensual nonmonogamy) has been increasing. But usually, it focuses on the forms of polyamory that resemble conventional monogamy in significant ways:

  • Family-style polyamory, where more than two adults with overlapping intimate relationships also live with (or at least very near) each other and function as a family unit.
  • Couple+ polyamory, where an established (and usually formerly monogamous) couple “opens up” to allow other relationships, but their primary relationship is assumed to be the top priority — and other partners and relationships are presumed to defer to this.

But then yesterday, Philly.com (the website of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News),  published this column by Dr. Timaree Schmit: Living a trusting, multi-partner relationship in the City of Brotherly Love.

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Project progress: 3 rules that are helping to shape my book

Just a taste of what I'm dealing with. Here's a very small part of my library of quotes curated from my survey on unconventional relationships. (Click to enlarge)
Just a taste of what I’m dealing with. Here’s a very small part of my library of quotes curated from my survey on unconventional relationships. (Click to enlarge)

I’ve been busy, busy, busy revising my original manuscript for the first book in the Off the Escalator series — slimming it down from a gargantuan 105,000 words to around 60-70,000 words. For awhile I was really struggling with how to do this, especially how to better manage integrating quotes curated from over 1000 surveys.

But I think I’ve got a handle on those problems, and I’m making tons of progress.

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Monogamy: What does it mean to you?

Might you and your partner disagree on monogamy? Inconceivable!
Might you and your partner disagree on monogamy? Inconceivable!

Monogamy is perhaps the most visible hallmark of the Relationship Escalator (intimate relationships that follow social norms). But what is monogamy, really?

The definition of monogamy really comes down to what the people involved in a monogamous relationship want it to mean.

Under current social norms, monogamy refers to some substantial level of exclusivity between two — and only two — partners, in terms of physical and emotional intimacy.

…But when you really talk to monogamous individuals and couples about this (as I often do), it turns out that what is and is not allowed under that agreement varies quite widely.

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