Poly vs. Amory

Here’s the thing.

I’ve learned so fucking much in the past two years, and I’m going to share it with you without holding back. Not even a little bit.

This is “my truth,” as the new-agey, responsibility-avoiding people like to say. This is my fucking truth. (And, fyi, I’m going to say fuck a lot. For a non-ranting, more elaborate, profanity-free version of this article, please click here.)

My husband and I have been polyamorous for about seven years. Although, I suppose the first few were much more about being a nondescript form of an open marriage since we weren’t seeking multiple, committed, loving relationships, the theory behind our lifestyle is what I’ve said again and again:

Love Breeds Love

Desire Breeds Desire.

Any encounter we had outside our marriage during those first few years were very open and the intentions on both sides were very, very clear.

When we moved into practicing polyamory, that is, seeking out another committed, loving relationship, I learned that not everyone has the same definition of polyamory as we do. Well, as those people who are actually and successfully practicing a polyamory lifestyle do.

Most people who love to call themselves (and hide behind) “poly” are really fucking focused on quantity rather than quality. Hmmm…I CAN have more than one girlfriend/lover/SO…so I’m going to have three! Because, let’s see, I’ve never been able to make a relationship with one woman work long term, so I’m going to try with three! That’s the ticket! That’s the answer! That’s where I’ve been going wrong for the past 15 years!

Most people I’ve met in the Austin poly community are not practicing polyamory. They’re dating. They go from several short-term relationships to several short-term relationships, none lasting more than 3-6 months.

HELLO! NOT POLYAMORY.

That’s dating! And not dating very successfully because they keep ENDING.

Or, the other kind I’ve found are people who are players, predators, sex addicts, or people who have such “taboo kinks,” they have slipped past “kinks” into sexual perversions, like incest and animals. Seriously. No judgment here folks! I mean, how horrifying to be judged for preferring to fuck (or be fucked by) another species over humans, right? Or wanting to fuck your 15-yr-old sister or your long lost birth mother. That’s all just in the realm of sex positivity, right? No judgment. No blame. There’s nothing wrong with your behavior or desires. Natural urges and all that… /sarcasm

I’ll get more into this on my Blinders of Sex Positivity post in a few weeks. Another post. Another time.

Mostly, though, I’ve met players and boys masquerading as men, and some monsters masquerading as humans. The polyamorous community certainly attracts the predators. And how.

But of course it does! A group of open, honest, trusting women who like sex (and are open about that). It’s a fucking feeding frenzy for parasites, narcissists, psychopaths, and other such predators. How very naive of me to think that someone calling themselves polyamorous was really interested in multiple, open and honest, loving, committed relationships. How very fucking naive of me.

Psychopathic predators and abusers aside, as I’m really tired of talking about them and, as I keep being told, they’ll get theirs one day.

‘Cause that happens.

The community is very self-cleansing, I’m told. I just wonder how many other women’s lives will be shattered and how many others will be assaulted before they catch on to his game. Not much of a community who doesn’t protect their own good people.

Again, I digress. Imagine that.

Also in the Austin Poly Community are several truly polyamorous families. They are what’s known as the “core group.” One of them even call themselves the polypod, and I think that’s rather adorable. The polypod, from what I’ve seen (and I’ve only seen them from a distance), as well as the few other multi-relationship groups who I know a little better and I’d consider friends, are doing it well. And by well, I mean successfully.

They are open. Honest. Respectful. Loving. Supportive.

They commit and invest in their relationships.

They might have casual sex on the side from time to time, but it’s after their current relationships are firmly established and secure. Because, after all, it’s about MORE LOVE…not more sex. And the few times you need to fulfill that biological need with someone different, then be honest about that. Never lie to get laid. How disgusting.

The most successful polyamorous relationships I’ve seen focus much more on the “amorous” part of the word, less on the “poly” part. It’s about LOVE! It’s all about LOVE!

Relationships take effort. Investment. Time and energy to solidify.

So, if you claim to be poly, think about this…

If you want to be poly, think about this…

Take. One. Relationship. At. A. Time.

When your first relationship has a solid foundation (and I mean SOLID foundation), the kind that takes at least a year, if not more, to establish, then look for a second one.

This is not a race to see who can have the biggest harem. And, btw, if you’re building a harem. YOU’RE NOT POLY! You’re a misogynist and a predator who sees women as life support systems for their pussies.

Romantic relationships contain drama (how I’ve come to loathe that word). It’s built in. Everyone has their insecurities and their baggage. Everyone has their idiosyncracies. It takes time to build a solid foundation and learn how to communicate with each other. Build trust. Establish and maintain intimacy. Minimize and handle inevitable conflicts (HELLO AGAIN! ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP!). Ease through misunderstandings. Manage fears and insecurities on both side. Get to a level of comfort and security in yourselves and each other.

THEN — open up to dating others, and I’m not talking about casual sex unless that’s specifically what you’re looking for. If it is, be very fucking up front about that. Because polyamory means multiple, loving, committed relationships, or the pursuit thereof. Set clearly defined rules and don’t break them, or that will damage the trust you just spent a year building. Once you meet someone you think you can form a deeper relationship with, close off dating others. Focus on solidifying that second relationship while maintaining the first. FOR ANOTHER YEAR!

Insecurities will pop up. Jealousies (and yes, they don’t magically disappear when you label yourself polyamorous). Misunderstandings.

Give yourself time to learn about, develop, and nurture this other love. Commit yourself to making it work, for, again (and I repeat myself so much because so so so so many just don’t get it) HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS REQUIRE EFFORT, INVESTMENT, and RESPONSIBILITY!

After the second is solidified and the first is stronger than before, and you still have extra time/needs that aren’t being met, then look for a third. But always remember, finding another significant other isn’t about finding someone BETTER, it’s about increasing the love and the desire among your own little polypod. It’s about ensuring that everyone you love FEELS loved, not ignored or pushed to the side or replaced.

It’s about MORE LOVE.

Always, more love.

If you don’t have time/energy/capacity to manage, maintain, nurture, and grow one or two relationships, plus your job, plus your kids, plus time for yourself and your friends – WHY DO YOU WANT ANOTHER? It’s a recipe for disaster and heartache on many levels.

You don’t date someone for three months and say, “Okay, ‘primary’ – check. We’re ‘solid,’ so who’s next?”

Fuck that. You’re not solid after three months. You’re barely starting. And if you run at the first sign of struggle, then, guess what, YOU’RE NOT POLY!

If you find yourself saying “I want to be able to do what I want when I want without responsibility or accountability,” then you’re not poly.

You’re selfish.

The last two years have been difficult, as you all have seen from reading this blog, especially the past few months. Do you really think my marriage could’ve survived (let alone thrived and gotten stronger) if it hadn’t been quite literally unshakable?

And for those of you looking for you 100%-genuinely-happy-all-the-time-easy-no-drama-or-responsibility-perfect love? Grow the fuck up. There is no such thing. When you are a perfect partner, you’ll find your fairy tale perfect love. And let me tell you, mister, you’ve got a long fucking way to go.

I guess the anger portion of the grieving has set in. It’s about fucking time.

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~ by omgrey on July 11, 2012.

58 Responses to “Poly vs. Amory”

  1. The core message of this post is fantastic. It’s real, and thoughtful, and well expressed. I say this by way of inviting you, if you ever feel inspired to do so, to write this post again in, say, six months or a year, when your lucid beliefs are still with you and your anger has cooled. I admit I have a selfish motivation for asking; I’d like to be able to share the non-fuming version of this with a somewhat recent ex who would benefit from the insight but who does not deserve, and wouldn’t be able to see past, the fuming.

    I hope you’ll consider this invitation in the spirit in which it is intended, and think about it a while down the road. Right now, you are mad as hell and rightfully so. I absolutely respect and honor your fury and wish you a deep and rapid catharsis (because being that angry, while often satisfying in the moment, is also painful and exhausting over time). In time, when that has run its course, your truth will remain. Its pure expression would be of great value to me, and I bet others would also benefit from having something so clear, succinct, and TRUE to share with partners, potential partners, and the occasional misguided ex.

    Bright Blessings on the healing process.

    • Absolutely. My husband suggest I work up a non-ranting version to submit to publications. And I’m going to, soon.

      Thank you for validating my anger, Tracy. If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, then you do understand why I’m so angry. Add the action that was validated last week from a PTSD/sexual abuse specialist, that I haven’t written about, and I’m spitting bullets.

      I’m such a loving individual, that I rarely get or express anger like this, but in this case and at this time, it is essential to heal further.

      The core group of the local poly community here were very supportive a few months back. A lot of beautiful support then. I’m hoping if my ex has wormed his way in, they see him for what he is sooner rather than later.

      The wider community overall, I’m not as impressed with. But I won’t be here much longer either. Thank goodness.

      It’s unfortunate I met the core group during a time of such significant pain from the loss and manipulation.

      So it goes.

      I think some exes are well-meaning, so kidding. Most of mine are, but that’s not to say there are those habitual daters, players, and predators who know exactly what they’re doing…and continue to do it anyway.

      Thank you for your comment.

      • I second the request for a non-ranting version. I thought you summarized exactly the struggle I have felt as I try to seek long-lasting poly relationships with good communication, love, and connection.

        This is a great description of the type of relationships I would like to foster and explore. I would love to share it with others, minus the ranting (which is completely respected).

      • Agreed.

        Get Lusty for Couples edited out the rants. I plan to do so, too. I’ll put that on my list to do this next week.

        I wrote that just a few weeks after I accepted that what happened to me was rape and highly abusive on every level, and how my former community dealt not only with my sexual assault, but with others as well. How they excused the rapists with euphemisms.

        How they ostracize and shame the survivors, so I was really, really angry.

        Thanks for respecting that.

        xo

    • I have finally gotten to the non-ranting version. Please visit the post “Successful Polyamory, or Poly vs. Amory” to read it.

      https://omgrey.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/successful-polyamory/

  2. I’ve been where you are…but honestly, it’s not the fault or the responsibility of the Austin poly group to weed out predators and keep people from being hurt in relationships. I’ve been hanging with the Austin poly group for something like 8 years now and I just don’t see what you say you’ve seen. I’m sorry you had a bad experience, but I have to speak up for my peeps. We’re pretty socially apt, pretty good at discouraging creeps (like the guy who showed up to one poly dinner and played with himself through his pocket while asking girls to talk about their first bisexual experiences because he was “researching” for a “screenplay” he was writing. yeah, we shuffled him off pretty quick, in a low-drama kind of way)….. anyway. I’m glad you’re processing your anger, because that is for sure a very big part of healing. But I’d suggest keeping the anger focused toward the person who hurt you, not a group of people who are yes human and yes fuck things up sometimes, but generally a pretty good group of people who are people I’m proud to call ‘friend’.

    Also, the great thing and the terrible and scary thing about poly is that there’s no one right way to do it. In its broadest definition, Polyamory is “ethical non monogamy” which, yes, includes just dating around, fucking at parties, swinging, and can go up to lifelong committments to form a forever poly household with kids, cats, and dogs. Just because a relationship ends does not mean it was a failure or that someone was doing it wrong. My sweetheart dated a girl who was finishing up her academic pursuits and intending to leave the state at the completion of her degree. We all went into it with the understanding that it was going to be a short, dating-for-fun kind of thing. things got effed up from there, but the original intent was for him to be one of several folks she was enjoying time with before she had to move on & go out into the ‘Real World’. The communication and negotiation of a time frame and expectations of the relationship is what made that poly, not any kind of “soul mates forever” kind of thing. it’s not for anyone outside the relationship to say “That’s not REAL poly”…just because it’s not the kind of relationship YOU want, that doesn’t make it less legitimate.

    Anyway. Take care of you and keep that anger focused on the person who hurt you, not the innocent bystanders who have never meant you ill. Been there, done that, it’s easy to lash out and condemn the whole poly concept for what went wrong with your poly relationship, but it’s not helpful and it doesn’t win friends.

    • Agreed. And my apologies that it came across as if I was taking my anger out on an entire group. I wasn’t.

      In fact the “core group,” who are *most* people who go to the dinners and Poly Big Fun, etc., were (and are) extremely supportive when the guy showed up a that poly dinner back in April. I haven’t been back to one since because I was retraumatized just having my abuser there. The *most* men I refer to have been met via OKC & such. Although one predatory-type guy I avoided because I, first, now recognize them much more and, second, that was confirmed by a few friendly warnings from members of the “core group.”

      And, yes, some relationships don’t work out. I’ve had those. Recently. I’ve been on dates with several men in the community, and most of those have been nice…just not compatible. Others, we went on a few dates & realized we were looking for different things. Others, we dated for a month or two & realized we didn’t fit. Those don’t work out. Even longer relationships “don’t work out,” months or years longer. And as long as both were honest, there could be hurt feelings and heartbreak and sadness, but not psychological manipulation and devastation.

      I’m so glad you haven’t experienced what I have, E!. I hope you never do. And if you come across the man in question, I hope you at least have the warning I didn’t. He is truly convincing. Frighteningly so.

      I’m so saddened that I found the poly group during the fallout of losing a significant relationship, but not because it just didn’t work out. I know people don’t know the ins and outs of it, but this is not a case of it not working out. I know I found a community here, one in which I would’ve, under normal circumstances, have been embraced. Unfortunately, most only saw the pain & heartbreak and didn’t know me before.

      This particular instance isn’t a case of it not working out. This is profound emotional & spiritual manipulation, sexual assault, and subsequent devalue/discard.

      Again, the people I’ve met in the core group have been so kind and supportive. There’s not much they can do, and I understand that. I pulled away from the group because of the trauma and recovery, knowing he was worming his way in.

      He may or may not be involved still. I don’t know, and I don’t want to know.

      To be very clear, as it’s difficult to explain an entire philosophy in a blog post or a comment, the relationship you described sounds perfectly polyamorous to me. It was open and honest and loving, albeit short lived. I never suggested every poly relationship has to be forever. It also sounds like you and your sweetie have a very solid, long term relationship.

      But let’s take your example. It was agreed upon to be short-term dating from the beginning. Now, imagine those words were said, but everything she did from that moment on was work to convince your sweetie that they were indeed soul mates. That she had never felt such depth or intensity before. That it was turning into something altogether deeper and more profound. She convinced him she didn’t give up on relationships, ever. And he felt the exact same way. He didn’t expect it or plan on it, but they fell deeply and transcendently in love. Then, just one days after several months of this ecstatic bliss, she had a personality shift. She punished him with angry sex for expressing his emotions. Every word out of her mouth and every action for the next several days was full of contempt and condescending, devaluing language & tones. Then, just a week after she had expressed deep love and soul-binding connection for him several times a day, after she said that she adored him, was crazy about him, was so attached to him. That she felt happier when he was around and how this was the relationship he had always been searching for…Just in one week, then told him he wasn’t good enough for her because he wasn’t 100% genuinely happy all the time, but she wanted to keep him around to fuck awhile longer while he looked for someone better. And, in his horror and grief and utter shock at the sudden, and drastic change, fucked him while he was utterly terrified if he didn’t he’d lose her and everything they had built while he wept his eyes out. And the entire time she didn’t offer a moment of sympathy or comfort, just got off and rolled over to sleep.

      That’s the difference.

      As for my anger, this is the first time I’ve let it out. I’m not trying to make friends anymore. I’m trying to survive the next month until I can leave Austin for good.

      I hope you never experience a pathological narcissist. For you will truly understand if you do. In the mean time, I’ll continue to look over my shoulder whenever I have to go out.

      I wish you and everyone in the Austin Poly Community health and happiness. Love, peace, and clear vision. Self-protection and ecstatic joy…that’s real.

      I hope when he does this again, she doesn’t have the struggle I’ve had. I hope at least she’s warned early.

      • Well, this part happened: “It was agreed upon to be short-term dating from the beginning. Now, imagine those words were said, but everything she did from that moment on was work to convince your sweetie that they were indeed soul mates. That she had never felt such depth or intensity before. That it was turning into something altogether deeper and more profound. She convinced him she didn’t give up on relationships, ever. And he felt the exact same way. He didn’t expect it or plan on it, but they fell deeply and transcendently in love.”

        But what happened after that was a lot of very subtle, manipulative undermining of his relationship with me, little criticisms of our home an the way I do things, say things, treat him, etc. Just little digs here and there against me, little ‘jokes’ about my age, lack of intellect, poor taste in food, music, literature, etc. Little digs about my ‘well known’ dislike for ‘pretty girls’, about whether I’d “let” him do this or “make” him do that…just little pushes and digs, and all sorts of “i’m a victim” and “i’m a damsel in distress” and “I can’t do this for myself” ad “I can’t afford this thing I need,” messages that had his White Knight complex up and running…. Sociopathic predators come in so many interesting shapes, sizes, genders, and colors, no? So, yeah, I’m feelin’ ya…but I have gotten past the point where I blame the Austin Poly community for allowing such a creature into its folds. But yes, I did for a while. And I understand and sympathize. I was not meaning to seem as though I was dismissing or minimizing your pain and upset. I’m sorry if that’s how it came across.

      • Thank you. I’m sorry for yours as well. And, again. I’m not blaming the Austin Poly Community. It’s no ones fault except the abuser. Except the psychopath who knows what s/he does and keeps doing it.

        And, yes, predators and psychopaths and narcissists do come in many shapes and sizes. And they are masters at using pity and the “poor me” card. Masters.

        I understand about tiny manipulating and digs. Gaslighting. So subtle and covert, you wonder if it’s really happening or if it’s you. It’s insidious.

        I’m so sorry you had to go through that. So sorry for us both. Hopefully we both are wiser, if nothing else.

        I’m certainly harder. Less trusting. Unlikely to ever let someone that close again.

        Peace to you and your sweetie(s). May your hearts be full of love and free from pain. May your beds be full of joy and ecstasy, the real kind.

        Peace. I wish we could’ve met. I would’ve loved to be a part of this community. The real community that I’ve seen and that I so regret I lost just as I found them.

        These days, I’m afraid self-protection comes before everything else. That, and survival.

        Namaste.

        Sent from my iPhone

  3. I am sorry you were hurt. I am happy to see you are recovering, that you are healing.

    There are people I’ve known for literally most of my life in the Austin Poly community. I have friends and loves who identify very much with that community. I don’t spend time at group functions anymore, nor do I attend dinners, go to parties, or read the mailing lists anymore.

    I have observed some of what you mention in your post. I have had friends assaulted, and seen no one willing to stand up to a known rapist because, drama. You can’t make drama, oh no. Everyone knows about “bad boundaries guy”, or “yeah, he’s creepy” guy, yet they are still there. I’ve seen other examples, too. There is something in the community social dynamic that gives a lot of room to move to bad people, and punishes those who speak out. I have a very hard time not speaking out about it, and since I have never had the permission of the women involved – who understandably do not want to go through the shitfest that would follow an open accusation – I have seen the only options as being an accomplice, or leaving.

    I left. I try to issue warnings within the bounds of the privacy of victims when I can. It sucks to avoid parties, to not see friends I don’t see often enough as it is, to know there are predators in the room and feel completely powerless to do anything to kick them out.

    I am very sorry it happened to you.

    -Casey

    • Thank you, Casey. Thank you so much for the validation and compassion.

      How horrifying to know there are even more. The one in my experience is relatively new to the community, so they have another to contend with now. Yay!

      I understand the difficulty around speaking up. It’s something that’s not discussed in sex positive communities. Because, of course, that’s not being “positive” and creating “drama,” so certainly not.

      Of course, silence is the abusers greatest weapon. So, ostracize me if they will, but if one other woman is spared from 5 months of agony & questioning reality & suffering the fun symptoms of PTSD from an assault that was mostly psychological and spiritual, but also borderline assault, so you don’t get the community or legal support of legal rape. Just all the same psychological and emotional damage.

      As far as I’m concerned, borderline assault, even when the guy is smart enough to stay just on this side of the law, is close enough to be wary of. I mean, seriously, if there is even a question of whether it was assault or rape or abuse or general assholery & callousness…I think that’s close enough for my tastes.

      For the record, I never called the two incidents “rape.” I never even called them “sexual assault” before a PTSD/Sexual Assault therapist and two different rape counselors told me they were, indeed, rape. That there was nothing borderline about it.

      So, up for debate, and I don’t particularly care the label someone calls the actual events, it’s boils down to the same thing: he’s dangerous.

      Again, thank you. I’m so sorry for your friends and their experience. If they want to talk to someone who understands, I’m happy to talk with them.

      As for me, I’ll be educating and talking in the poly community and circuit nationwide. Writing a book, too.

      I’ll educate men and women learn how to be self-protective and recognize predators early. Teaching how to recognize abuse and what is/isn’t acceptable, respectful behavior. What is sexual assault as opposed to the beauty of enthusiastic consent.

      Fuck yeah.

  4. I’ve been hanging out, not with (for reasons that should become clear many people choose to remain peripheral), but near the Austin Poly community for about seven years. Sadly, I have to say that you’re more right than wrong.

    I find it horrific that the above poster conflates “being hurt in relationships” with “predators.” These are very different things. The above poster is right, though, that ethical non-monogamy (polyamory) covers a lot of ground; there is no One True Way of poly. That said, I do prefer to do poly the way you describe it.

    This is a subject that has been in vigorous discussion across the pansexual blogosphere in recent months; this recent Pervocracy blog entry is extremely germane: http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/2012/06/missing-stair.html

    I’ll just speak my piece here and get out; there are known serial hard-boundary-violators and yes, even rapists, in the poly Austin group, but the group refuses to deal with them because of social connections. Many predators have excellent social skills, and it is only the ones with poor social skills who get ousted. Otherwise wonderful people will refuse to deal with bad behavior from people they have social connections with, making excuses like, “oh he has bad boundaries and is working on it.” Or, “he’s in therapy for his serial abuse.” Or, “it’s his word against hers,” when the same person has multiple complaints. Or of course the classic standby, “she’s just being dramatic.”

    A number of women have gone public with specific allegations; they were shunned and gaslighted by the community. Other women, seeing that result, choose to quietly leave when this happens and only tell a few intimates about what has happened. This allows everybody else to go on pretending that this isn’t happening.

    It sucks, but I think it’s good for people to be warned in general, because the social dynamic makes specific warnings impossible – except through close chains of friends.

    Thanks to this dynamic, the only thing I could possibly offer as advice to any newcomer is to always check up on new interests. Ask close friends. Use your social connections to vet people, and listen to what you hear.

    • Agreed, Will. Ask around. About people as well as definitions.

      I avoided a second predator because I did that.

      And I believe that ethical nonmonogamy includes polyamory, swinging, casual relationships, casual encounters, sex at parties, etc. but I do believe there is a difference between the terms as a *focus* of a particular lifestyle.

      I see that polyamory is a catch-all, trendy term that has become synonymous with ethical nonmonogamy, and that deeply saddens me.

      How disturbing to think people protect predators who purposely hurt others because of social connections, but I’ve seen it happen.

      Most predators (especially the psycho/sociopaths) do fine on their own, though. Most people don’t see through their mask unless they are the target. Once discarded, the survivor generally keeps quiet out of shame or just devastation, especially when you see how others just don’t want to hear or believe it.

      Thank you for your comment and validation. Thank you for not blaming me for speaking out.

      I will not stay quiet any longer.
      Never again.

    • Thanks for that link. I had read that story a few days ago in my research. I’m going to post about it and the Yes Means Yes article next week. Thank you so much.

  5. There was a time when I would have stuck up for my friends a bit more than I’m doing now, but I think I’m going to go ahead and bow out. Maybe you’re just talking about a different Austin Poly Group. Or maybe the group really is populated by such people. There’s plenty of icky, skeevy people who show up to a poly dinner or two and eventually they get the hint that they’re not welcome and move along. Perhaps somewhere during their association, they pick up a victim and drama ensues that I have no knowledge of…but whatever. That hasn’t been my experience. That is not to say that your experience is invalid. I just haven’t seen or experienced such.

    The group I’m familiar with is not a monolithic entity. People come and go. There are no formal elected or paid positions within the group. there are no ‘guardians of public morality’ assigned by the group, and if someone were to self-title themselves in this way, I think they’d be mocked mercilessly.

    Anyhoo….I’m sorry people have had bad experiences that they blame on the austin poly group, but I still don’t think it’s the group’s problem or responsibility to make sure everyone has a safe, loving, happy relationship as a result of their interactions with the austin poly group members.

  6. Y’all, if any of you or anyone you know has been a victim of rape/sexual assault, of any type, please call 3-1-1 and ask for the Austin Police Department’s Sex Crimes Unit.
    I did this in 2007, and the detectives and counselors I met (all women) were very professional and took me very seriously.

    I met the perp not through another local community with lots of overlap to the poly community.
    it was difficult, but I couldn’t live with it on my conscience if I hadn’t.

    • Thank you so much, K. Good for you.

      I think that’s a great first step!

      I’m amazed at how the comments have mostly been around community support or the lack thereof, sexual assault, and rape, since the post was about the importance of truly investing in one relationship at a time, building trust, intimacy, and solidity before seeking a second or third, etc.

      But, it’s great conversation and we need to speak up! I’ll be writing more about this in the coming weeks, focusing on this larger issue of silence and turning a blind eye.

      Thanks again.

      • Oh I didn’t stop there. Can we chat more offline?

      • Absolutely. I emailed you.

        And that goes for anyone who wants to chat with me about this topic or any other one. Email me. You can find my email on the About O. M. Grey page on the right sidebar.

  7. >>I still don’t think it’s the group’s problem or responsibility to make sure everyone has a safe, loving, happy relationship as a result of their interactions with the austin poly group members.

    No one can guarantee safe, loving, happy relationships.

    But we are talking about sexual assault and predation here. Felony crime against women. That doesn’t just stop unless people speak up and take action. Knowledge is power.

    A woman coming forward with her experience of a community member committing a felony against her…. That’s not drama. That’s a courageous, empowered woman with the cahones to protect herself and other women in her community. And the integrity to do it even though not everyone will agree with her or approve of what she’s done, because then maybe one woman can be spared the horror of sexual assault.

    • YES!!!!

      Bravo!!! Well said!!!

      Especially when women are ostracized for coming forward. I’ve read several accounts of this happening across the country in BDSM groups. And the community closes ranks around the abuser/rapist, pushing the shattered party aside under while crying “drama!”

      So, yes. Quite brave. Not only are these targets dealing with being assaulted, betrayed, and discarded by a trusted lover, and the months of recovery & PTSD afterwards, they come to discover that their community just can’t be bothered to either support them or to warn others.

      Big difference between a community being responsible for happy relationships and warning their members about known predators and rapists.

      Big difference.

    • Great quote:

      “Strong women stand up for themselves. Stronger women stand up for others.”

      Let’s strive to be stronger women.

  8. […] In my local Poly community, there have been people who have been “straightened out” by community education and pressure, evolving from inappropriate, boundary-crossing creeps to valuable members of the community. Those who have STIs and do not disclose their positive status are quickly ostracized. […]

  9. […] “They’ll get theirs one day.” […]

  10. I share your frustration, on at least one count. I know these two people. Let’s call them Q and J. They met through a polyamory social group. Q tells me that J date-raped Q. I am inclined to believe Q. But, Q does not want to make this allegation public, and Q does not want me to share this information. Meanwhile, J is still an active member of the community. I don’t like this, to say the least. But what can I do? Ask other leaders of the community to cast J out? How would I justify that? Even if I could, I have the sinking suspicion that many of J’s friends wouldn’t believe me, or would defend J.

    The thing that bothers me particularly about J is the sense I get that J is completely clueless about any wrongdoing on J’s part. There are others in the community who have… problems, let’s say. But, I think they’re working on it. After all, who am I to judge? I’ve had my share of problems myself. I can think of at least one person in the community that probably still thinks that *I’m* a predator, why haven’t *I* been cast out. (To be clear, I didn’t touch her, I was halfway across a crowded room. But certainly I grossly misjudged how she would react to what I *did* do.) Now, that incident, many years ago, was greatly influenced by some serious behavioral problems I had back then – problems which, I think most people who know me would agree, I have taken great strides to overcome in recent years. Does that negate the feelings that this woman had and the impact my actions had on her? No, it surely doesn’t. But, for better or for worse, I am still an accepted member of the community, for which I am grateful. My point is, I’m in no position to judge others who recognize that they have done something wrong and are taking action to improve themselves and protect others.

    • You didn’t share what you *did* do, but if it was across the room, it couldn’t have been much worse than creepy. Being creepy and inappropriate once doesn’t a predator make.

      Predators are either feeding off emotional or sexual intimacy for their own selfish benefit, lying and manipulating into a position of control. Too short a space to get into the ins and outs here.

      If Q was raped, which if she said she was, probably was, and J is either in too much denial or too unaware to realize what he does/did is rape, it doesn’t make it any less rape. It doesn’t make him any less dangerous.

      I think I know who J might be. He joked about raping me, if it’s the same guy.

      As for him not knowing he did anything wrong, of course he doesn’t. My attacker, I’m sure, thinks he did nothing wrong. He, in his own narcissistic mind, can do no wrong.

      And I’m with you, we all have issues. *All of us,* especially the ones who spout about how low-drama they are or how normal and balanced they are, and, yes, if we’re actively working on our issues, what more can anyone ask?

      But you say you “think” they’re working on them. And, doesn’t sound like J is even aware of his issues, which I find quite hard to believe about any semi-intelligent adult, but denial is a powerful thing, I’m told.

      Still doesn’t excuse rape.

      And as far as working on it, I said early after the split with the person in question (A) to my other BF (G) at the time that he had acted badly (this is before I recognized the assault for what it was), but if he were to just apologize and commit to working on his issues, I’d take him back with open arms and heart. And G said, “So, if a rapist is ‘working on his issues,’ it’s okay? What about a child molester? How many others will they violate while they’re working? Some people are just dangerous.”

      Maybe he saw it as rape before I did.

      Still, he has a point, and that’s my point, too. How many other lives will be destroyed by A before people see him for who he is? By J? By other predators?

      How many other women will lose half a year trying to figure out what happened and rebuild their reality after a deeply psychological and sexual violation? How many months of suicidal ideation and PTSD because he’s “working” on it.

      But, in the case of A and J, they’re not working on it. They’re either in denial or they are quite aware and just don’t fucking care. That’s the case for A, I know. That’s “just the way [he] loves” and although “women have a tendency to get hurt,” it’s not his responsibility.

      Bullshit.

      I’m speaking out. And, please tell Q I’m available if she wasn’t to share her story to a sympathetic ear. I’d never reveal identities, as you can see. If I haven’t publicly revealed the identity of my own rapist, never would I jeopardize the safety of a victim.

      Still, I think I know who J is. Email me of you’d like to share notes.

      Sexual assault is not okay. Remember, 96% of assaults are done by 8% of the men…because they keep doing it over and over and over.

      Peace.

  11. OMG! You have had a rough time… based on this one post. No, not everyone who calls themself poly is your kind of poly. (I am going to exclude the animals and perverts you talk about.) I think I know who the “core group” group is (I don’t live in Austin) and they are wonderful people. They were my wife and my’s first example and I’m thankful for they’re input in my life.

    However, they took a LONG time to get to where they are now. They had their one-night-stands too. They had their 3 month relationships. My point is, you have to date to get past the new relationship energy to see if the person is actually a long term fit for you. Before you were married, did you have 3 month relationship after 3 month relationship? I did. (Well, mine were actually 9 month after 9 month relationships.) Why is a poly person not allowed to have a 3 month relationships to find the 3 year one? I’m sure it’s quite frustrating that in 7 years, you and your husband haven’t found that person(s) to add to your life.

    My girlfriend (who is married) is NOT poly and freely admits it. I accept her definition of monogamy but she doesn’t accept my definition of poly. Both my girlfriends don’t want to get along with each other so I get shit trying to love them both. They also accuse me of not being honest nor open with my communication, but I see things so differently from the V point of view. Both have been in my life for almost the same amount of time, but one insists the other weaseled her way into my life… because she only sees one point of view!

    One girlfriend would say that our group is not self-cleansing because it allow my other girlfriend in! My wife had a year long relationship with a guy that I thought was VERY dirty and a bad influence. What I say to that is, IT’S NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE GROUP TO CLEANSE. You are responsible for yourself. The person who is dirty to you is clean to someone else. To me, expecting the group to cleanse for you is like expecting the world to be fair.

    I get your “responsibility and accountability” quote thrown in my face ALL THE FUCKING TIME but yet, I’m trying so HARD! When you get the chance, listen to PolyWeekly’s “Rules” and “Rules redux” podcast. I’m sure it won’t change your mind (it didn’t change my girlfriend’s mind) but it might give you a different perspective to rant about.

    Good luck with your life. I hope you find the supportive loving respectful relationship you deserve. (Now I’m going to be really mean…) Maybe you have… My girlfriends say I got the relationship I deserve. And, because I love them, I go back for more.

    PS. The world is not fair.

    • Yes, there are those who are “dirty” to one and “clean” to others, but then there are those who assault over and over again, “dirty” to everyone. There are psychopathic narcissists who purposely manipulate and destroy lives.

      Any community who knows that there are people who destroy life after life and/or have committed sexual assault among their ranks and don’t at the very least warn newcomers about them are not the community I want to be a part of. They’ve become complicit.

      I have no problem with people who surf on NRE or have ONS, as long as they’re honest about it and aren’t leaving a string of broken hearts behind them. I just don’t consider that “poly.” I consider that casual dating.

      And, no, not really. My relationships lasted 1.5-3 years before my husband. I *did* have 2 shorter ones, lasting 3 months to 5 months. And, of course, I also had ONS and more casual relationships, too, but those were either agreed upon initially to be just that or it wasn’t my choice for them to be that, meaning, the guy lied to get me into bed or mislead me, etc.

      But then, I take relationships and responsibility and commitment seriously. It’s not a game for me.

      Now compare that to 40+ relationships in 15 years plus another 40+ ONS. That’s not a person who commits and invests in relationships. Yes, it takes time to find the person that works long term, but there is a limit. And those narcissists looking for the perfect fairy tale love, it’s dehumanizing to the rest.

      It sounds like you do have the relationships you deserve. Still, you stick around and work things out, and that’s commendable. That’s commitment. And, to me, Love(s) + Commitment + Honesty = Polyamory

      I’m getting really tired of people putting words in my mouth. I never said people shouldn’t date to see if they work or not, as stated in the post. I have nothing against casual sex or casual dating, just call it what it is. Or, or least, define your terms up front.

      Again. I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH DIFFERENT RELATIONSHIP STYLES, whatever those might be, but when it contains habitual abuse and sexual assault, then I have a big fucking problem. And a community full of open, loving people should as well. Hell, a community of habitual daters and swingers should be concerned about predators and rapists.

      This is what I’m taking about. And if the community doesn’t step up when they KNOW about someone’s patterns and history, then they are complicit and the next destroyed life is partially on their heads.

      The world is not fair? Thanks for the condescending news flash.

    • Also, please let me be very clear.

      I am not, nor have I ever, blamed the community for what happened to me. I wasn’t part of the community then, and neither was he. I found them after this happened. They couldn’t have protected me if they had wanted to.

      And, when he came into the community at one of the dinners (early April), many community members knew what happened (just the cruelty, manipulation, discard, and STD, not the assault) and they rallied around me and, in essence, froze him out. He only had a few people to talk to that night, including the couple who brought him there, both of whom knew what he had done.

      Since then, he may or may not be a part of the community. They may or may not have embraced him. I have no idea what he’s doing or who he’s seeing, and I don’t want to know. I’m still coping with the PTSD from the multi-level rape.

      But, *IF* they have. *IF* they know who he is and other unsuspecting, loving women are falling prey to his false charm and are in danger of being psychologically, spiritually, and sexually raped, and they don’t at least offer a warning, they are complicit if that woman is devastated.

      Other commenters say this has happened before. I believe them, for I read about it again and again across the country in Poly and BDSM communities.

      So, I DO NOT blame the community for my assault or his abuse, but I will blame them, in a small part, for the next victim.

      The only one who is really to blame is the psychopathic narcissist and/or the attacker/rapist.

      • Has anyone considered whether the poly life might expose you to more risks in terms of these predatory types and whether or not you have a higher than normal likelihood of involving yourself with a mentally unstable person? Does anyone who makes this lifestyle choice with children worry about these types around their kids? Are there set rules for poly parents that are generally accepted practices?

      • Anytime one is in the dating pool, regardless of lifestyle, one opens themselves up to risk of sexual and emotional predators. In fact, just being alive in this society exposes oneself to such predators. So, to answer your questions, define “normal” first. I think that predators gravitate to where they can offend, and poly communities are one of those places, as are BDSM communities. As are church groups. As are schools. As are youth groups. As are pretty much anywhere people gather together in a culture that habitually excuses sexual violence, apologizes for predators, and targets/blames victims and survivors.

        In my experience, there are no “set rules” in the poly community whatsoever. Even those of “honesty and openness” are a sham, really.

  12. […] Poly vs. Amory (omgrey.wordpress.com) Share this:MoreLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Filed under Polyamory, Romance and tagged dating, family, interview, Jealousy, Non-monogamy, polyamory | Leave a comment […]

  13. […] Poly vs. Amory (omgrey.wordpress.com) […]

  14. […] admitting to myself and to the world what my ex did to me, I’ve been overwhelmed with the vast amount of survivors who have reached out to me in support and solidarity, both online and off. I’ve been astounded at the […]

  15. […] Poly vs. Amory […]

  16. […] how to have the conversation about sexual assault and policing predators in our communities, as I’ve been talking about on this blog. She said my input could be really powerful, and she encouraged me to join if I felt safe in doing […]

  17. […] behavior shows no compassion or personal responsibility. This is not the behavior of someone who is invested in a loving relationship. This is the behavior of an abuser, a callous, selfish person who is most using you, at best, and […]

  18. […] sexual freedom and a hedonistic free-for-all, no matter who is hurt as long as you get off. As I’ve briefly mentioned, I’ve either experienced directly or heard stories about people who fuck animals, justify […]

  19. […] Don’t want to deal with “drama“? Just want to get laid? Hire a sex-worker and conduct a business transaction instead of sexually exploiting another person, especially if you lie and mislead them and say anything necessary to get laid. How disgusting. […]

  20. […] Original Blog Post […]

    • i think many men (since i am heterosexual, that’s who i deal with on this issue) just want to cheat on their wives with permission, to alleve their conscience. The “community” seems to think it’s ok to treat their wife as their primary partner and the other girlfriends as secondary — and these girlfriends fuckin’ fall for it! They sit there and look hurt as they acknowledge that he has every right to put his wife first, and they accept their positions as “secondaries.” Disgusting. He tried it on me, came on to me like a ton of bricks, then said he couldnt go on a date with me for 3 wks — and referred to “we” contstnatly — and i never agreed to be any part of his group of paramours. How insulting to me. The only definition of polyamory i find acceptable is for all the lovers to be given the same priority — thus you wouldnt marry one .over when you already know you are going to be polyamorous.

      • Back before the fantasy was shattered by rape and abandonment, I wrote a post called “Primarily Secondary” in January 2012 about that very subject.

        I think you’re correct on many points. In my experience, also a heterosexual woman, so I’m dealing with heterosexual or bisexual men, I’ve seen similar things. I haven’t dated another married man, though. Not for long, anyway. Just one or two dates.

        More and more people who identify as poly and are truly poly, in my opinion, are getting away from hierarchical terms like primary and secondary. Love is love is love.

        The priorities come when life partners must deal with children, property, and the like, but once past a certain point in a relationship, commitment to the relationship is definitely called for. I’ve seen laziness and just plain shallowness covered up by “poly” ideals.

        Nothing wrong with casual relationships. Nothing wrong with hook-ups. Nothing wrong with surfing on NRE (New Relationship Energy) and ending the relationship when that fades…AS LONG AS THESE WO/MEN ARE HONEST ABOUT THEIR INTENTIONS.

        This takes a deep sense of self-awareness and honesty, not to mention integrity, that I think most people just don’t have. Especially men. Especially single men over 30-35. In my experience.

        As my psychiatrist once said, they’re single for a reason.

        He was right.

        Even if we did away with marriage as an institution, it is the ability to have a loving, committed relationship that is lacking in so many people, men and women, alike. Everyone wants easy.

        Like you said, they want the thrill of an affair without the responsibility of a real relationship, all while using words and actions that convince their partner they are invested in a real relationship. The moment NRE gets shaky and reality peeks through, they’re done.

        It’s cruel and unfair to the partner who was genuinely involved and invested.

  21. sorry for the typo. meant to write: if you already know you are going to be polyamourous, no business getting married, because the law recognizes that partner as having privileges over the other lovers, who should be equally loved, valued and prioritized. I do understand if the decision to be poly happens after one is already married, but in that case i would consider drawing up legal contracts which afford the other lovers simillar rights to those that the spouse has — property division, etc.

    • Legal contracts for serious relationships are a great idea. Or, if not legally binding, at lease agreements on intention and dissolution.

      Something to make people more accountable.

      There are far too many people hurting others out of carelessness, selfishness, and vacillating emotions. In so many cases, this is a pattern of (often) a commitmentphobe or someone else who is just not self-aware and/or honest with themselves about what they want, need, and can reasonably handle. At worst, it is the work of someone with limited or completely without a conscience, and their “lover” was just a game, entertainment for a time until they were bored.

      Either way, it causes considerable and often irreparable damage.

  22. Wonderful quote, by the way: “Its time for women to stop being politely angry.” Here’s the thing: we have to be non-politely angry en masse, because on our own boy will we be punished for expressing anger. We will endure unbelievable abuse of all kinds. Men learned eons ago to stick together bec there is safety in nos. Women have to start fighting this like the war that it is — unionize, organize, against our male abuse, and not do it politely — which is all any therapist will tell you to do, is be polite. i feel fuckin great after i yell at some guy on the street for making an event out of spitting on the sidewalk. i confront him, he threatens me, and he walks away. And i feel fuckin great, but would feel even better if i had one or two or an army of women behind me when i confront him for marking his territory, with his spit. Animals should be in cages — let’s put ’em there.

    • Being polite certainly has it’s place. Often times, as soon as overt aggression is shown, the other person shuts down and hears nothing but the aggression.

      There is a way to be assertive and stand up for oneself without attacking. I’ve been doing much more of this since the rape on every level of my being. No one even comes close to hurting me anymore. If someone tries to exercise their male-privelege, I call them on it sternly. Unmovingly. They don’t like that much. I’m supposed to be a good little girl and do what I’m told. Fuck that. And fuck them.

      Just like I was supposed to be quiet and take my rape-as-punishment in stride, doing whatever necessary to get back into his good graces. Fuck that, and fuck him. I’ll never be silent again.

      Agreed that women need to work together, especially in the cases of rape and sexual assault, but all throughout the issues around the war on women. There is nothing okay with being played. With being manipulated into love and/or sex. There is nothing okay about being discarded like garbage. For either sex.

      Women are as guilty of this as many men, although I think when men are the aggressor/perpetrator, it is normalized by culture and tends to be laughed off or dismissed as the wo/man being fooling for falling for it.

      Just more of the victim-blaming culture in which we live.

  23. […] This post was written nearly two years ago. Please consider reading some of my more recent work on polyamory, sex, and […]

  24. […] As requested, the revised, non-rant, moderate profanity version of Poly vs. Amory. […]

  25. Thank you for posting this. I just ended a barely over a year long “poly” relationship. In that time, he has added 2 metamours and several ongoing casuals. Thank you for helping me realize it’s not just me.

    • It most certainly isn’t. Most “poly” men I’ve met are severely narcissistic and more interested in building a harem than investing in any one relationship, let more than one. Most “poly” women I’ve met aren’t much different. They mostly want just-for-fun-easy.

      There are those few and far between who are truly about loving more.

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so sorry you’ve had this experience.

      May you find peace.

  26. Brilliant! I was involved with a Psychopath for almost three years. In one instance he surprised me with black man for a threesome. I asked him why he wanted to do this and he said because he loved me so much he wanted to see me experience pleasure. My ex was all about The Love! A month and a half into our relationship he was eager to introduce me to “The Lifestyle.” A friend asked me, “Why does he want to have group sex with you? You just met.” I relayed the question to the psychopath and asked him if he was board of me. He said, “How can I be board of you? We just met.” It’s quite fascinating how whilst in a relationship with a P you find yourself believing what they say. I carried on with him for almost three years until I just couldn’t take it anymore. There were too many things that didn’t make sense. He kept cheating and flirting with women telling me the they meant nothing to him, that I was his main woman. I uses that was supposed to make me feel honored and special. He said that the other woman were part of “his world” and that it was due to his great capacity for Love. Every time I accepted this line of thinking I was damaging my self esteem and self worth. I think he needed an adrenaline boost, so he started to disappear. He knew that his absence would make me panic. He enjoyed watching me when I felt unsettled. If ever I questioned him he would turn the tables on me and say that I was controlling, jealous and possessive. When he would disappear, I wondered what he was up to and where he was going, so I employed my best deceptive skills and discovered that he was posting ads on crags list and hooking up with strangers (men and women). He was sending messages of LOVE to all the women he told me meant nothing. He had a secret 4 year relationship with a man, who was very angry because he was being ignored. I also discovered that he frequented animal porn sites etc. I had to leave. So, I kicked him out of my life. Even though part of me hated him and was so angry, I was very surprised how my love for him lingered. These feelings sent me on a quest to learn why. That’s when I discovered the ways of a psychopath. They are all the same. So now, I watch from the sidelines. It’s absolutely fascinating! He has a new gf. One month into their relationship, she is his swinging partier on Lifestylelounge. On Facebook, she showers him with praise. She tells him how handsome he is and how he never takes a bad photo. She tries to impress him with snappy banter and comments on virtually all of is posts. Meanwhile, he is still flirting with members of his harem or fan club. Essentially, I am watching what I used to do and wondering if she is experiencing all of the feelings I used to have. Is she fiercely competitive wanting to win out and be the one he ultimate chooses? When will she wake up and learn that he will never chose her. What he is doing to her he did with me and his previous relationships and wives. What will it take for her to realize that he is using her to obtain sex with other women. She is his cover so that he doesn’t come off as the predator that he is. She is being pimped out, so that he can give and receive more love and live life to it’s fullest! That’s what he tells his women away. I am watching a runaway train! Part of me wants to warn her of the immenant crash, but I know she is in a trance, blind to what is really happening. The crash will certainly wake her up.

    • I’m so sorry you went through that. Cut that psychopath out of your life completely. You don’t need to see what he’s doing, and you don’t need to painfully watch others go through the same.

      The love bombing phase is intoxicating, indeed. You’re right, they’re in a trance. There’s nothing you can say that will make them see his true face.

      I’m so glad you got away.

      May you find peace.

  27. Right now, you’re getting a standing ovation from me

    Thanks for shining the light on what’s really happening

    • I’m pleased you found my words validating. I hope they help others avoid similar traps and enable more to see past the façade.

  28. “If you find yourself saying “I want to be able to do what I want when I want without responsibility or accountability,” then you’re not poly.”

    Thank you so much for writing this post.

    I was just blindsided by a ‘partner’ who sprung on me that he’d been sleeping with another woman behind my back, demanded I be ok with it, claiming he had just discovered to be poly and he needed to be ‘honest with himself about who he is’, then said verbatim the sentence you mentioned above.

    He has a string of relationships where he used the woman for some time then discarded her without a second thought when the new shiny toy came along (after trying to keep both). (And yes, I really should have opened my eyes earlier, but somehow it was always other people’s fault…)

    I have a feeling he’s going to be trying to use polyamory as an excuse to keep leeching off as many people as possible without responsibility. At first I bought into his accusations of being just a close-minded oppressor who can’t accept the infinity of his love for people. But after reading a little about polyamory, and talking to a dear friend who is in a happy poly relationship, I have realized what he’s doing is not polyamory at all.

    So truly, thank you for writing this post. It’s really helped me understand the reality of the situation.

    • FUCK THAT! You can’t cheat on someone and then demand to be poly! You can’t demand to be poly even before you cheat, as that kinda goes against the entire “ethical” part of ethical non monogamy. What an asshole!

      He sounds like he’s addicted to NRE and oxytocin highs, if not just a repugnant predator. You’d do well to get far, far, far, far away from that jerk. Go into complete NO CONTACT and put your life back together.

      I’m glad you found the post helpful. The reality of the situation is this guy is a selfish asshole. You deserve so much better. May you find peace.

  29. The Austin Poly community now has a Consent Discussion group that’s trying to find a better way to address this and similar problems. This post and its follow ups are being used as a jump-off point for finding solutions, so we are all grateful for your courage and focus in writing and hosting it. Thank you for all you have done.

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