Tuesday, 17 January 2017

It's all about love

Many people who reject the notion of polyamory sometimes, even halfway into hearing the description, do so with the dismissive statement "It's all about sex", accompanied by a frown and disapproving look!!

Everybody's truth about polyamory is different, but the word in itself literally means "many love" and in the world I live in, love certainly is the main factor.

Now monogamy may certainly be mainstream, more socially acceptable and by many considered to be the "moral high ground". It seems to work for some people, but judging by the divorce and infidelity statistics it appears to not be an overly successful way to live, despite its popularity. 

However, to many of us it just doesn't make sense.

When we are born we are allowed, yes encouraged even, to love our parents equally. My children love 3 parents. When their step dad came along they were allowed to love him as well as their biological father without having to choose between them. If you have more than one child, you are allowed ( in fact expected) to love them all 100% and love them equally.

So why, when we love as adults, are we forced to choose one and only one person for the rest of our ENTIRE lives?
And if at any time we feel love or attraction towards someone else, we are forced to choose, often leaving a trail of wreckage, broken hearts and broken children behind.

Every other aspect of our lives would indicate that we 
are hard wired for multiple love and those of us living in   polyamory are simply acknowledging that fact in our relationships.

I am not trying to convert anyone away from monogamy.

You know I have said many times that I respect that everyone walks their own path, but as my path is constantly under fire I do feel the need to explain:


There are so many ways to "do" polyamory that it would take a whole book to define them and even then so much would be missed. There is a lot of terminology which I am still trying to wrap my own head around.  I have also discovered that as soon as you use a known term, people make an assumption that may not be completely accurate. 

All I feel qualified to do is to tell you about the poly that is my truth.

And if this is the only article you have read about polyamory bear in mind it will not qualify you to say "oh yes, I know about polyamory "!! (I had a counsellor once who dismissed it as "that threesome thing" because she read an article about it in a magazine once). 

For us it all started with a very simple statement made by my husband after I came to him with the life altering news that I was actually a lesbian, but did not want to leave him. 
Long before we had even heard of polyamory this beautiful man looked at me and said:

" We have enough love to include another person". 

It was such a pure statement which has indeed been the basis of the core value of our new relationship with one 

      "We have enough love to include other people" 

This simple statement was much more easily said than done, and the purpose behind writing this blog is to share the massive amount of new skills that we have had to learn to make it a viable reality. 

We are still learning new skills as each new scenario presents itself, but I'm going to tell you about where we are at right now. 

My house is made up of three people, my husband, myself and my son who is 24, partially verbal with autism. Both my boys are very loving, affectionate and loyal and I am lucky to have them. 

One thing that makes my marriage different is how much access other people have to my husband. 
You know that "thing" us  girls have where if we're friends with a married man we have to be so very careful about how his wife will perceive the friendship? 
Well, that simply is not a factor with us. Our friends can find a safe, cuddly, understanding male where they are free to have exactly the friendship or relationship they want and need. 
The same goes for me! Obviously being lesbian I have personal limits on my friendships with men but with women I am free to have the  relationship I choose. 

All the big questions get answered in this blog:
" Don't you get jealous"
" What if he/ she falls in love with someone else and leaves you "
" How can you call yourself a Christian " etc.. All of these are answered in separate articles but the one fact that underpins all the answers is

         IT'S ALL ABOUT LOVE!  

Our love is so strong that we simply would never make a choice that hurts the other.

Both of us have been asked by a woman to " get rid of" the other but the answer is always no. The answer comes from whichever one of us was asked  NOT the partner because we don't need to govern each other's friendships and relationships.
 If we choose to leave each other alone with someone else that is our choice but neither of us will ever throw the other one out! 

At the end of the day if you love someone you will always want to put what they need first,  even if it means we have to sacrifice something that we perhaps want or need. 
A funny thing happens when you make a habit of doing this- the other person is highly likely to reciprocate and try to help you get your needs met! 

I read a lot of opinions in poly forums where people are advised to be true to themselves. 
We believe that our love IS about helping the other person be true to themselves. 
It takes time and self-sacrifice, but because we have a true and mature love, polyamory is a life that is ALL ABOUT LOVE!

This is a very broad overview of the philosophy that is behind our poly life. 
Like I said, everybody's poly is slightly different so I am only sharing what works for us in our relationship that started as a friendship, between two 7 year olds, a very long time ago. 
Stay tuned for more articles on the "how to's " of the skills that we are learning in order to navigate the tricky waters of this life. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

How can you call yourself a Christian?

For those of you who missed episode 1 of my blog, I am a lesbian and I am happily married to a man but I call myself bisexual because people seem to find that easier to accept. We are a polyamorous couple and we are also Christians. 

 I will just take a moment here to specify that this article is not a debate on whether God exists or if organised religion is valid. If you read on hopefully it will be with the expectation that I will be talking about God as being very real to me but I totally respect that He may not be real to you. 

I was raised in a half Catholic half Anglican family and from a young age felt a call of God on my life to be an instrument of His love and peace. As an adult I changed denominations to the Assemblies of God (Pentecostal) and I went to Bible college and trained as a pastor. I then worked as a youth pastor for several years.

When I came out as lesbian two and a half years ago I think most people expected me to drop my faith. Then, when we came to the realisation that polyamory was indeed the way to keep our marriage intact, the question hung over me like a cloud:

 "So how do you still call yourself a Christian?"

For a long time  I didn't actually know how to answer this question. I had belonged to Churches which clearly preached that homosexuality was wrong and although deep down I never agreed (I think part of me must have always known I was gay) I had never challenged the status quo. 

After awhile I could no longer avoid the question so I went to God, whom I always feel speaks to me, and I went back to the book that I had studied so well, the Bible. 
The conclusions I have come to are controversial and I'm pretty sure that readers from my old life and in fact many others will emphatically disagree but here goes...

One of the biggest criticisms levied at the Bible is the fact that it contradicts itself often and quite dramatically. As a believer it is very hard to argue with this as it is actually true. Lately I feel God is showing me that those contradictions are there for a reason. This actually makes sense. If we are to believe that the Bible is the divine inspired word of God then how can anything be an accident? 

I believe in a God that is big enough to see that we are all very different from one another. Taking this into account there really can be no 'one right way' to Him.  Many paths are laid out, often contradicting each other, but all appearing to be the 'right way'. I believe that this is to account for these differences.

If the diversity in human nature is infinite, 
shouldn't the path to God contain infinite possibilities?  

Think about the logic in this for a minute. 
People do not fit into a neat box with regard to so many things and yet churches expect us to fit in a closed pre-defined box when it comes to our relationship with God. 
The longer I think on this the more crazy it sounds! 

Provided we live our life with integrity and are earnestly seeking God we will have a relationship with Him. He will meet us where we are. If God is love and we are seeking that love He will not withhold it from us lest he contradict the very nature of His being. 

The issue that divides us- SIN

The concept of 'sin' is interesting. I have discovered that sin is something that separates us from feeling God's love. If we are seeking to be in relationship with Him he will convict us personally if we do something that separates us from His love. I have always described this as my 'Holy Spirit conscience'. I do get rather annoyed that there are some things I don't seem to get away with that other people do, but by the same token there are things in my life that I know God sanctions that other people feel I shouldn't get away with. At the end of the day it is very individual. Sin is something that separates us from God and due to our diversity our 'lists' are all going to look very different. 

This is why I believe that sin should not be legislated into a global list. 

What ends up happening is that Churches create a list,  then the lists are used to exclude people ( from fellowship but also from the list holders' definition of salvation). The list becomes dangerous as people tell each other that God cannot possibly accept them due to their huge number of failings.
The list becomes a weapon of judgement in the hands of humans who are supposed to be an instrument of peace.
The contradictions in the Bible pale in comparison to the discrepancies in the lists believe you me!  It ends up being ridiculous.

Jesus himself scrapped the 10 commandments and told us " Love God, love each other " . 

It's a simple concept to follow. Churches  choose to complicate it with way too much doctrine. 

As I have been saying, we are each responsible for our own path. That means we are each responsible for our own walk with God, if we choose to have one. 

Being LGBT and polyamorous does not diminish my capability to love God and love others. In fact, I think it increases it. After all God is the perfect model of an all inclusive love! He loves us as if we were the only person in the world regardless of our sexual preference or relationship choices. This is exactly how we should love each other.

For those of you waiting for me to quote the Bible I don't plan on doing so. 
But I will give you something.
Firstly, Jesus did not speak on homosexuality and if you read the Gospels carefully he did tend to summarise the main points of the Bible quite well.  
Secondly, the Bible lays out three relationship styles, polyamory, monogamy and celibacy. The 'great men of God' from the Old Testament had multiple wives and this practice was never denounced, nor were they demoted from their status of godliness when Jesus and the apostles spoke of them. 

So my conclusion is this:

People who presume to speak on God's behalf should be avoided. 

God speaks to us directly. 

It is that simple.

And this is how I still call myself a Christian!

*Because there are so many LGBT and Poly people all over the world who have been rejected by Churches I have started a closed group for poly people who are Bible believing  ( including Jewish,  Messianic Jews and Christians ) 
If you want to be part of some uplifting discussions please join us by clicking the link below. All of us there have grasped the concept of non judgmental faith. If this is not for you please disregard. 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Blood is not thicker than water

My journey into alternative relationship styles would not be well rounded if I ignored the elephant in the room. That thing that shapes our very early perception of relationships and in most cases determines how we do life. FAMILY.

Family for me, overall, is not a positive word. The biggest hurts in my life have come from my blood relatives and blood relatives of the 2 people I have married. This is true of those closest to me too. I have witnessed so much pain being inflicted on people I love...It's heartbreaking.

So, what happens when our culture tells us"blood is thicker than water" and "if your family doesn't love you, who will"? It leaves many people feeling like there is no hope of being loved in this "magical special way"  that they've  heard about but never experienced.

This year my journey of self discovery led me to believe that everyone is free to walk their own path and are responsible for their own choices. As people come and go they may share our path for a time but ultimately the factors keeping them there should be entirely their own choices. We rejoice in time spent with someone as their path lines up with us but wish them well when their journey diverges. It's our responsibility to surround ourselves with people who will enrich our lives and reinforce our positive choices.

I simply could not apply this to love relationships and friendships and ignore family, the primary influence of all our relationships.

There is no choice in family.
You are born there.
You are stuck there no matter what they do to you.


If every other relationship in our life is a choice why shouldn't family be?

Granted we do have certain obligations, to children who are underage and adults who are disabled. But that's really where the obligation ends. As adults we should assess  all our relationships and ensure they are heathy and positive so that we can maintain an emotionally stable life. This is OUR responsibility. No one is going to do it for us. And just because someone is related does not mean that you have to include them in your life.

Let's take a step back for a moment. Imagine you have a friend with an emotionally abusive partner. They tell you story after story of how this person makes them feel  and it's pretty much all bad. Your advice? Easy!! " You should definitely leave- you deserve so much better ".
Now, a friend with an emotionally abusive parent. They tell you story after story of how this parent makes them feel  and it's pretty much all bad. Your advice? " Ohhh.. This is not good...but....it's your Dad" (or Mum)....and the sentence trails off accompanied but a sigh and a shrug.

Is anyone else seeing the inequity in this? Why on earth do you we "deserve the best" in our friendships and relationships and then have to settle for pain and hurt in our families.

We hear the word "love" a lot when people talk about families, but rarely the word "like".
Likability is so important in an ongoing adult relationship.
Why would you have someone in your life that you don't like?

I feel lucky that I like some of my family as people. And especially lucky that I like both of my adult children ( and I think they like me too!!). My son is non-verbal and autistic so I'm really just talking about my daughter now . But if she didn't like me I would not expect her to stay in a relationship with me out of obligation. Knowing that she choose to be in a relationship with me leaves me feeling way more special than thinking she is only there because she is a blood relative and she has obligations that she has to steel herself to keep.

A relative of mine recently told me she can no longer be in a relationship with me. Estrangement from family members (or family in-law) is not unfamiliar to me. In my life I've experienced it probably more than an average amount. However, this is the first time I have handled it well. This was my response ( it was a text conversation )
" I don't subscribe to the " family is everything " mindset. If I love you I love you, related or not. And I do love you xx But everyone has their own journey so if yours doesn't line up with mine I respect  that. Take care, and you know where to find me. "

I actually do respect her honesty and her decision and I am not angry, just a little sad, but not even hurt. She is taking care of herself and no-one is going to do that for her. I am not ruling out her path lining up with mine again at some time in the future. There are no closed or locked doors.

At the end of the day we are all responsible for our own path and who we choose to have in our lives is our responsibility. We need to make those choices carefully, based on our assessment of whether someone is good for us or bad for us.

Whether or not the good people in your lives are blood related or not should not make a difference.

I'll leave you with this, the original text of a very misinterpreted quote:

"The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.”

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Jealousy is not a measure of love

Something people say to me often when they hear about my relationship choice is " Oh I just couldn't do that. I love him (her) too much to share. I just get so jealous!! " 
In the early early days this used to stump me because it actually implies that my partners are loved less because I am not jealous which is highly inaccurate! But I hadn't yet formulated a response whereby to explain my position. It is so acceptable in our culture to measure love by jealousy that people question what might be "wrong " with a non jealous person. 

 Jealousy is actually rooted in fear, not love. 

If we believe we have found "the one" mate that will save us and meet all of our needs forever we will be fearful if they form another connection that could threaten this. 
This fear and insecurity manifests as jealousy. Our feelings, if based in an "ownership" type of love cause us to jealously guard our mate's every word, move and sometimes even thought in an effort to ensure we keep that "top spot" that we believe we are entitled to. 
And whilst we're priding ourselves on being "so in love that we're jealous" we are actually locking our partner in a state of being that resembles a cage or a prison. Not ideal. 

So what is the answer?
What is the alternative to jealousy? 

The answer is a word I'd never actually heard before poly but is certainly not owned by polyamory -compersion. 
Wiktionary.org defines compersion as such:
compersion ‎(noun)
  1. The feeling of joy one has experiencing another's joy, such as in witnessing a toddler's joy and feeling joy in response.
  2. The feeling of joy associated with seeing a loved one love another; contrasted with jealousy.

I remember being so happy when my oldest child found a friend who was just like her. The girls played with their beanie toys making up stories for hours. Prior to that she had been alone in this pastime as the other girls were prematurely moving on to an obsession with hair, makeup and fashion. Watching her go from being alone to finding a true and happy connection filled me with a joy so strong I can still remember it fifteen years later. 

I feel the same way anytime someone I love enjoys a meaningful connection with, or is loved by someone else. 
I don't for a minute think that I can meet all of my husbands needs all of the time. Even if I didn't have some health issues and a special needs child it would be very egotistical of me to believe that I could be the only thing he needs. I also know he has not had as much love as he deserves in his lifetime so far and so my wish for him is that he be surrounded by as many people who love him as possible. 
So when he gets to go out and do things that I don't have skills or energy for I am happy for him. And when he is surrounded by love and cuddles it brings me so much joy it's amazing. 

If  compersion doesn't come easily to you it is a skill than can be learnt. Some people are just naturally jealous by nature but like anything it doesn't have to rule your behaviour. 

By working on your fears, your insecurities and teaching yourself a new way to love (without wanting to own) it will become one easier for you to want see your loved ones receiving happiness from any source. 

When I first come out as bi/poly to people they ask me the same set of questions. Because this has happened so many times I can now joke about them as my FAQS!  And because I've answered them so many times this has now become a very fast exchange.

"How do you you share your husband!" Because he's not my property to share. He is a free person.
"What if he falls in love with someone else" That would be awesome I hope she falls in love with him too.
"But what if  he leaves you for her?" He won't. He doesn't need to he's able to be in love with more than one person at a time.
"But what if he leaves you anyway?" Then I would be happy for him if he was happy because ultimately I love him and want him to be happy.
"Really?" (the interrogator usually sounding incredulous by this point!) Yes really. If I love someone I want whatever makes them happy, even if it is not me.

(Please note if you are reading this and have been one of the people who have asked me these questions please don't feel bad I don't mind in the slightest!! The questions have forced me to articulate answers and now I am able to share this as a result)

So...the bottom line:

If you love someone with a pure love that is focused on their happiness rather than your own, it is very difficult to feel jealous as that would be begrudging them of their joy. 
Funnily enough, when you are the recipient of this kind of love the last thing from your mind is anything which knowingly hurts the one giving you that love. It's really a win/win.


Friday, 9 September 2016

It's so easy to lose yourself

This entry began on a plane as I was listening to a Missy Higgins album. The very first song from the album 'On a Clear Night' was called 'Where I Stood' and the line that jumped out at me was "coz I don't know who I am, who I am without you. All I know is that I should "

I have been there before. After 18 years in one relationship ( from aged 18 to 36) I woke up one day when it was over, looked in the mirror and realised that I had no idea who I was anymore. The clothes I wore, the way I did my hair, even the food I ate were all bi-products of me compromising so much of my natural evolution in a desperate attempt to stay compatible with the person I made vows to fresh out of childhood. The reality of that is had we not made those " to death do us part " vows we would have both outgrown that relationship in another 2 or years or so.

Again I thank him again for having the courage to set us both free because that was the event that led to me going in search of my true self.

My initial email to Jason whom I had been friends with since aged 7 but had no contact with for those 18 years went like this :
"Hi Jason do you remember me? And if you do remember me do you remember what I used to be like because the events of the last 18 have changed me so much I don't know who I am anymore"
Luckily he did remember me!! Not only that but he was in a similar boat to me so we set about helping each other find our " old selves" and have then gone on to support each other as we keep evolving in a manner that stays true to ourselves.

Living within ownership love we run the risk of compromising  so much of our natural evolution in a desperate attempt to stay compatible with the person we have vowed to stay connected to. I've basically repeated this sentence because I feel it is the key to my message in this entry.

So what is our "natural evolution" ?
Life Is full of choices, from little things like what we are going to eat and wear, what our hobbies and interests are , to major things like where we want to work and live.
Some of us change our mind a lot!! My "Facebook memories" remind me that this time last year I was joined at the hip to my sewing machine, the year before it was my guitar and this year I'm busy writing  online about polyamory and also progressive Christianity. If we are still alive we are growing and changing.

Natural evolution is unencumbered growth.
We tend to chain ourselves to a lot of "have to" and much of this is in an attempt to stay on the same page as the person with which we have joined ourself. We forget that the person we are with was attracted to us because of our uniqueness and we strive to either stay the same as we were or the same as they are. This can cause us to make seemingly "little" sacrifices which have the danger of adding up to a complete loss of self outside of that relationship.

Now of course we do have some responsibilities, especially when we have young children. I for one have an adult non verbal son with significant autism who lives with me full time so I am not just free to take off around Australia like I would love to. But within those responsibilities we still have choices and we owe it to ourselves to live a life in keeping with most authentic self we are at the time.

Assuming from this point on that this rings true for you I have the following advice:

For those of you who are single try to avoid trapping yourselves into relationships that stunt your ability to be your true self. This might sound obvious but it never ceases to amaze me when a friend decides that some guy is " the one" even though he cannot live with "xyz" about her and she rationalises to herself that it's all ok and she will just change for him.

For those of you in relationships already it is entirely possible to evolve your relationship, hence this blog being called "The Relationships Evolution".
All of these concepts are essential if you want to evolve your relationship to polyamory but also a much happier way to live in monogamy if that is what you choose.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

My love is not a prison

It is here we will begin to navigate tricky waters, where some of you will cringe and say " that's not for me, I just couldn't share". 
Hear me out though, as there will be information in here that could benefit a monogamous  relationship too.

Our cultural expectations after we find "the one" go something like this:
▪ You're mine and I am yours
▪ You are the only person I should ever need
▪ I will never again be attracted to anyone else and you'd better not be either!
▪ I will not share you

All of these sentiments whilst at the start sound nice and romantic after awhile can settle out to what I call "ownership love".  And rather than two people earnestly making an effort for a lifetime to meet each other's needs,  the relationship is at risk of morphing into something more like a set of restrictions and unfulfilled needs.
This is not really love. It's ownership. Our traditional marriage customs and marriage vows unfortunately reinforce the concept of ownership. Of course love exists alongside this but we do tend to inaccurately equate the two. Levels of jealousy are also often falsely heralded as a measure of love but I will devote an entire post to this soon.

So, if the opposite of being owned is being free what does this mean for relationships?
A very wise man called Kenneth Kailey taught me from his Native American culture that everyone is free to walk their own path and are responsible for their own choices. As people come and go they may share our path for a time but ultimately the factors keeping them there should be entirely their own choices.

I learn from this to enjoy my time with the people who are alongside me and love them in a way that leaves them feeling free. Knowing that they choose to be with me leaves me feeling way more special than feeling like they are only there because they took vows and made promises that they have to steel themselves to keep.

This is what I mean when I say I love you :
☆ I want you to have whatever makes you happy, even if that is not me,
☆ I love it when other people also love you because it means that they are seeing you like I do
☆ I don't want to control you
☆ I'm not jealous when you spent time with others and I'm especially happy if you are getting a need  fulfilled that is important to you
☆ I will accept any decisions you make about your life and your path
☆ You are free.
☆ My love is not a prison

Naturally as we give this type of love we will want to be receiving it too, in our love relationships, our  friendships and our families.  This type of " non ownership" love can be applied across all relationships. I will be devoting an entire post to family relationships soon.

So, what happens when love becomes about freedom and not obligation? 
The answer is a very powerful, very committed and very secure love.
And love will be multiplied!
The more we love in a healthy way and the more people we love the greater our capacity to love becomes. 

In my last post I spoke about fear. Non ownership love can eliminate fear, because fear of loss is rooted in the concept of possession.

The practice of non ownership love is essential to successful polyamory but it is not exclusive to poly either. Monogamous relationships would be greatly enhanced if we lifted our cages and let go of fear.
In fact I'll leave you with a little advice - if you are thinking about opening up your current relationship  to polyamory, start practicing this type of love well in advance before involving other people. It does take a bit of practice as it is a vastly different way of thinking to the social conventions we have been taught.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Fear not

As much as polyamory is about a life filled with  lots of people I have discovered that the most important person in this life needs to be yourself. I don't mean this in a selfish or narcissistic way, rather the need for a deep self awareness of the person you are bringing to these relationships.
I used to be full of fear, literally terrified that every time my first husband left the house that he might die in a car accident or something and not come home. I honestly believed I couldn't live without him. I mistook this for a very deep love. I did love him but this level borders more on obsession and it was very unhealthy. Looking back on it I'm pretty sure this fear strangled the life out of our relationship. Nothing kills love like being "clung to" and eventually he left me.
What happened next was that I discovered that not only could I live without him but that I could be happy again.
This was a valuable lesson for me and I will never again believe that I can't live without someone,  no matter how amazing they are.
We get set up by the societal expectation that one person will be everything to us and if we find "the one" we will never want for anything again. It's quite natural, if this was indeed true, that once we found this person we would be afraid of losing them.
The Star Wars character Yoda has several quotes about fear, the most famous being "fear leads to anger..anger leads to hate..hate leads to suffering"
This is so true. When we operate from a place of fear we suffer,  and so do the people we love as we project all our insecurities and jealousies onto them and expect them to fix us. The responsibility of proving they love us enough is dumped on them and they lose their freedom to express love the way that they naturally want to.
Before entering into polyamorous relationships we need to ask ourselves if we can live without them. This might seem counterintuitive but there will most certainly  be times when we are not the centre of attention and we need to be prepared for that. Jealousy and insecurity are bi-products of fear and they make life very uncomfortable, putting pressure on our partners and their partners.
Funnily enough when your partners are just free to love (without them feeling like they have holes to patch ) that love can be so very powerful.
I haven't spoken much about my faith yet, but I believe that God is the perfect example of love.
1 John 4:18 says " There is no fear in love,  but perfect love casts out fear"
Imagine a world like this!  I do believe it's possible!!!