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Sneak preview of Book 1 now available!

I’ve been working really hard on this project. It’s taken me longer than expected, but I’m nearly ready to publish. The first two books in the Off the Escalator series are written, and in final production. The first book will be available for sale in January 2017, if not sooner.

Want a sneak preview?

  • Subscribe to the mailing list (see “subscribe” at right). After you confirm your e-mail subscription, you’ll receive a link to download the first 20 pages of book 1, for free!
  • OR: Like the Off the Escalator Facebook page. The first post under the pinned post there today includes the preview download link. Be sure to click the down arrow next to where you hit “like,” and then select “See first,” to make sure you don’t miss updates from this project in your newsfeed.

Please help me spread the word about this project! Send your friends to OffEscalator.com, and to the Facebook page.

Thanks, and enjoy!

Yes, I’m still working on this book. Preview of chapters done so far

Still making progress, even though I’ve been rather quiet about it. I’d hoped to be blogging more here, but it’s enough just to focus on finishing the editing process.

I’d originally hoped to publish this book by the end of 2015. The editing process is proving to be much more involved than I anticipated, and also life intervened. But I’m nearly done with this editing. Parts 1-5 are edited, I’m one chapter shy of editing Part 6, which will bring it to a total of 21 chapters edited so far. Part 7 will be 5-6 short-ish chapters, And then I need to write the front & back matter (introduction, epilogue, and resources). Then I’ll pack it up and it’ll be ready to go.

It’s been a long, long road for this book, but I’m very happy with how it’s turning out. My initial manuscript was a sprawling monster of about 120,000 words. Now the first 20 chapters (roughly 5/6 of the total final manuscript length, I’m guessing) is just shy of 47,000 words — and it’s much tighter, better organized, and easier to read. I estimate that when all is done, I’ll have the equivalent of about a 180-page print book.

What’s been finished so far? For a sneak preview, here’s the outline of the edited chapters…

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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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Ashley Madison and the problem of compulsory monogamy

Monogamy: Don't be shocked, but it's not the only game in town.
Monogamy: Don’t be shocked, but it’s not the only game in town.

If you ever doubted what a nuclear-grade hot button monogamy is in mainstream society, look no further than the fallout from the Ashley Madison hack. Last week, the cybercriminals who stole the user list of this website (which helps people in exclusive relationships arrange secret sexual hookups with other partners) made good on their threat to post all of that information online. This unleashed the worst in nearly everyone — paranoia, finger-pointing, moralizing, predation, despair, and even some possible suicides.

I’m pretty sure this deluge of the dark side of humanity wouldn’t have been so massive if monogamy was not viewed as a practically compulsory part of any committed intimate relationship.

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Asking big questions about marriage: Rei’s story

Big questions can be scary to navigate in any relationship. Facing them together can allow a strong friendship to emerge.
Big questions can be scary to navigate in any relationship. Facing them together can allow a strong friendship to emerge.

Here’s another story from a reader, about how they transitioned from a legal marriage to refocus on friendship — by asking some pretty big, scary questions.

Stepping back from the top of the Relationship Escalator without severing a strong connection of friendship is still unconventional; the Escalator is still supposed to be strictly a one-way trip, with no pausing or stepping back.

However, I’m glad it seems to be becoming more common for people to find ways to step back from this ride without blowing up their relationship. (I’ve done it, as have readers Colin and Jamie.)

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