No Rulebook

“There isn’t a rulebook for what we’re going through, is there?”

That’s a quote, which I have probably slightly misremembered, from a show that very few people have heard of. It was on NBC, I believe, about four years ago. It was called “Swingtown” and was about a couple just exploring opening their marriage, set to the backdrop of the “anything-goes” 70’s.

I loved the show. It came out about the time Jason and I were exploring the idea of re-opening our own marriage.

And that quote has stuck with me quite a bit. I drag it out when we come up against something new. A conversation we didn’t expect to have. A scheduling conflict, or a partner conflict. When we want to come out to people but we are scared of their reaction.

And it’s so, so true. There is no Emily Post, writing books on how to juggle partners and children and personal needs. We do have our own champion, of a sort, but even the great Dan Savage puts down polyamory as something people chose rather than something people are. Even in a city as large as ours, there is exactly one poly-friendly therapist that we can think of. In fact, my husband and I reflected today that you have better odds finding a poly-friendly tattoo artist than therapist. So who do you go to when you are trying to sort out the tangle of your life? Many of us are out to only a chosen few folks. Coming out is hard when the life we live is so very misunderstood.

So, I guess, we keep doing what we’ve been doing. We build our own communities, often from the ground up. We start with a foundation of trust and communication. We seek out others who are open, and people who are willing to be our allies, and we put the first bricks into place. We build communities and families of friends, lovers, spouses, playmates, and partners, and we strengthen those bonds with the love and passion and care we feel for one another. We protect the children in our care from the bullies and predators and the well-meaning folks who would decry these chosen families as unwholesome and unhealthy. We shelter the people who are hurting and help them heal, and we teach the next group of curious folks that this is a safe, welcoming community.

I want to talk more at length on the subject of our community and our families. So very many of us are not out to our relatives or neighbors and are going through the process of building new families of partners and friends. I think this is valuable territory here, and something we can all learn more about. I want to do so much. I would love to see this blog become a safe forum for people who are building their own communities and learning what it means to love outside the box, outside the normal for our society.

PS: I would love to hear comments from people, about what has worked for them and what has not. Coming out stories, relationship structures, dealing with kids and religion and everything. Bring it on.


4 responses to “No Rulebook

  • Ceilia

    On my way to becoming the Poly-friendly (Kink-friendly, GLBTQ friendly, rainbow family friendly, etc) Marriage and Family Therapist — welcoming to others ‘coloring outside the lines.’

  • lyttlebyrd

    It happens a lot. Many mainstream therapists will blame the multiple relationships for the patients problems. Finding a non-judging professional is hard. Here in Portland, we have exactly one therapist who is known to be poly-friendly, at least to my knowledge. I would be happy to be wrong on this count. General practitioners who are poly-friendly are also very rare. Both situations makes it very very difficult for folks to get the medical care they need.

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