Discover Non-Monogamy With “The Polyamory Workbook”

Nonmonogamy has existed for so long as the idea of affection. But the time period “polyamory” has solely not too long ago entered the zeitgeist — from polyamorous educators going viral on TikTok to HGTV broadcasting a throuple on their journey to buy a house collectively. Nevertheless, few books focus on — not to mention information folks by way of — the expertise. For this reason Sara Youngblood Gregory’s new e-book, “The Polyamory Workbook” ($17), revealed Nov. 15, could not have arrived at a extra good time.

Youngblood Gregory is a lesbian author who has made a profession of filling the gaps in our collective lack of intercourse schooling. As a queer particular person, they had been drawn to “relationship anarchy” at a younger age. Though you don’t want to establish as queer to take part in polyamory, the follow of polyamory is inherently queer: It pushes again in opposition to what we had been taught about how love works. As a substitute of looking for “the one,” polyamory asks what may occur for those who believed love is not a scarce useful resource however one thing that may be shared freely. And as a queer author, I’m endlessly fascinated by the numerous methods our group can love. Not within the “love is love” cliché that you just may see pasted onto Goal t-shirts throughout Satisfaction month, however in how we fashioned a brand new mindset after centuries of residing and loving outdoors the traces.

“I hope after studying, folks will know themselves higher. Understanding your self — your wishes, your targets, your values, your triggers and tendencies — is de facto highly effective.”

However typically, residing outdoors of the traces may be complicated and scary with out steerage. That is why Youngblood Gregory’s e-book gives a glossary for normal phrases throughout the group in addition to prompts that show you how to follow setting boundaries, speaking wants, and constructing safe, wholesome relationships. It is also full of knowledgeable recommendation and private experiences from educators like Sam, the founding father of the academic platform Shrimp Teeth, and Crystal Byrd Farmer of Black and Poly, on the subject of navigating communication kinds, consent, and accountability. “The Polyamory Workbook” learn extra to me like a self-help e-book with out the gimmicks and with the entire tangible (actually interactive) recommendation it’s good to reframe the way you view love in your life (romantic and platonic).

“I knew from the start that I wished a e-book filled with voices, so one of many first issues I did was attain out to some fantastic educators and thinkers within the non-monogamous group,” Youngblood Gregory tells “I additionally invited in my very own family members to hitch me for a dialog so people may see how a community of lovers — typically referred to as a ‘polycule’ — displays on their very own experiences.” In the end, Youngblood Gregory says it was important for them to supply a number of views on non-monogamy, not simply their very own. “As a result of in actual life, you’ll continuously should reconcile your expectations with these round you.”

I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Youngblood Gregory at, so once I had the chance to speak with them about writing the workbook, I used to be wanting to ask about how anybody — no matter their chosen relationship fashion — can take the primary steps to embrace loving freely. Under is what transpired between us. How did this workbook come to be? Was it all the time going to be a workbook or did it morph into one after you began writing it?

Sara Youngblood Gregory: “The Polyamory Workbook” was a kind of initiatives that knocked on my door at simply the suitable time. I might been writing about relationships, polyamory, intercourse, and identification for some time in my capability as a journalist and essayist, however had by no means actually thought of doing any kind of long-form challenge on these subjects. In the meantime, I might been in contact with an exquisite editor at Ulysses Press, Kierra Sondereker, and some months later she reached out to gauge my curiosity in doing a workbook on non-monogamy. So, the challenge was all the time meant to be an interactive, guided workbook folks may do by themselves or with family members. The idea of a workbook is de facto appealed to me — relationships are interactive, constructive, and require dialog. I really like that “The Polyamory Workbook” gives the identical.

PS: You write that there is not one definition of polyamory, however for those who needed to outline it, what does it imply to you?

SYG: Merely put, polyamory is an umbrella time period used to explain non-monogamous relationships. There are a ton of various kinds of non-monogamy on the market — together with relationship anarchy, open relationships, “Do not Ask, Do not Inform,” swinging, hierarchical dynamics, kitchen desk polyamory, group relationship — and I contact on all of these within the e-book and outline them.

However greater than something, I actually dug into a mixture of relationship anarchy and kitchen desk polyamory, which I imagine is most conducive to completely happy, communicative non-monogamy. The organizing ideas for my e-book had been freedom and management. Freedom doesn’t imply a free-for-all; it means lifelike expectations, wholesome boundaries, and turning away from what I think about the pitfalls of all relationships (not simply non-monogamous ones): rule-setting, controlling habits, and a scarcity of significant accountability.

PS: Is there ever actually an “splendid” time to enter into polyamory so as to decrease the danger of wounding your self and others?

SYG: The best time appears to be like completely different for everybody and each relationship. Some folks come into non-monogamy as a single particular person trying to date a number of folks. Others fall for somebody who’s already polyam and is launched by way of proximity and circumstance. There are additionally monogamous {couples} who wish to discover relationship outdoors of their relationship. These are all nice alternatives to enter into polyamory.

However like with any new expertise or large change, it helps to put the groundwork beforehand. This could appear to be studying, educating your self on frequent relationship dynamics, and seeing a polyam therapist or couple’s counselor to open channels of communication and have a protected, skilled impartial get together to help the transition. And naturally, people must take protected intercourse extraordinarily significantly.

For those who’re single and getting into polyamory, it helps to know what your core values are. Do you wish to work together along with your lover’s lovers? Are you trying to quiet down and cohabitate with one particular person, or probably extra? What about funds? How do you deal with battle? What’s your plan to navigate the laborious emotions that can come up? Do you’ve gotten a stable assist system? These are all nice inquiries to ask your self earlier than leaping in — but in addition a few of your solutions will most likely change as you expertise new issues and meet new folks. That is nice, too.

For {couples}, it may be tougher since you’ve existed in a sure rhythm, and now that rhythm is altering. Asking your self the identical questions helps to articulate your completely different wishes and targets for non-monogamy, nevertheless it’s additionally a good suggestion to take issues gradual. Once you open up a monogamous relationship, your duty is not simply to one another. You each share a duty to whoever you deliver into the connection — whether or not you are solo relationship or relationship as a pair — to deal with them nicely and be forthcoming about your newness to this type of relationship.

All that stated, prepping for polyamory and really doing it are two various things. It takes time, endurance, and quite a lot of adjusting and rewiring earlier than you get your toes underneath you. And that is OK!

PS: Actually, quite a lot of this workbook focuses on doing the work your self and never anticipating others (companions, and many others.) to “repair” you. This feels so reverse of what we have been raised to imagine — that your companion will full you. I might love to listen to your ideas on how these two truths can exist directly: love may be unconditional (or infinite, as you write) however love can even have boundaries.

SYG: That is completely it — making the swap to a polyamorous mindset means now we have to confront the messages about love and relationships many individuals have been taught from a younger age. For instance, the concepts that different folks will “full” you or “repair” you, that loyalty requires unique intercourse, that love can solely be given to at least one particular person, and on and on. These aren’t simply concepts that harm polyamorous folks, however in addition they harm monogamous folks. Love is not a scarce useful resource. All of us want a number of buddies, household figures, and family members with which we are able to share completely different passions, pursuits, and many others. There’s an entire tapestry of social connections folks must really feel a way of group. For many individuals, having a number of romantic connections is an illustration that there is sufficient like to go round and their lovers are a giant a part of how they form their group.

However after all, love wants wholesome boundaries. Not guidelines or management, however boundaries for certain. Boundaries round love talk your non-negotiable values, set expectations, and let you really feel protected in a relationship. A fantastic instance? “I’m completely happy to deal with you on dates and spend cash on this relationship, however I can’t merge funds.”

PS: Whereas I agree that we stay in a predominantly sex-negative tradition, we’re additionally seeing extra folks think about and embrace moral non-monogamy (or a minimum of, acknowledge it). Whereas polyamory turns into extra normalized, what do you would like extra folks would know that is nonetheless typically misconstrued?

SYG: Polyamory is an extended haul. It takes quite a lot of inside work, negotiation, and reflection to get to a spot of ease and luxury — however that is how it’s in any relationship. I discover quite a lot of consolation and solidarity in realizing that I am not alone in determining the right way to present up for my family members, maintain myself, and construct loving, wholesome relationships. Everyone seems to be in that very same boat, throughout all relationship kinds.

PS: What’s step one somebody ought to take in the event that they’re contemplating polyamory? (Moreover shopping for this workbook, after all!)

SYG: Examine what attracts you to polyamory and what motivates your potential exploration. It is a determination you need to make for your self and you need to need it for your self — not as a result of it appears enjoyable or fashionable, not as a result of your companion is pushing you to strive it out, and never as a result of everybody else round you is doing it. The curiosity and curiosity needs to be coming from you, and realizing firmly what attracts you to non-monogamy will show you how to make one of the best selections for your self.

PS: What’s a very powerful factor you hope readers will take away from finishing your workbook?

SYG: I hope after studying this, folks will know themselves higher. Understanding your self — your wishes, your targets, your values, your triggers, and tendencies — is de facto highly effective.

Picture Sources: Images by KLR Artistic Group, Courtesy of Ulysses Press and Photograph Illustration: Keila Gonzalez

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