From Down Under - Polyamory in New Zealand...
The media here in New Zealand occassionally report on polyamory - sometimes good; sometimes not-so-good; and on rare occassions, fairly awful.
Here are a few, we'd luv to share with you folks...
WHEN ONE LOVER IS NOT ENOUGH
In a society of monogamy and adultery, polyamorists have loving relationships with more than one person.
Dominion Post, 15 March 2008, EMILY WATT
Honeys, I'm home, calls Zachary as he walks through the door. Three kisses for his partner Mary, sitting curled on the couch - one, two, three. Moving to the other end of the couch, he deposits three kisses on Anna's lips, one, two, three - and then a fourth.
Back to Mary, another kiss to even it up - and then another. And so on. "Sometimes Zachary spends a good 10 minutes going from one to the other," laughs Mary.
Zachary and "his girls" are a menage a trois.
Zachary and Mary were married for about six years when they met Anna and invited her to move in. They have been together for a year. Both women are bisexual; the relationship is known as a triad.
"You really have to have your shit sorted to do this," says Zachary. "But if it works, the advantages are just incredible, and I'm not just talking about the sex. It's just this is an interesting household."
In a society where monogamy is the norm, but adultery all too common, polyamorists say they have got it right. "Many people are torn between deceptive adultery and unsatisfying monogamous relationships. This is the best of both worlds, I guess," said Carl Turney, a researcher on the subject.
A Durex survey found only 43 per cent of people were satisfied with their sex lives. Another survey found 16 per cent of Kiwis admitting having an extra-marital affair.
Mr Turney says overseas studies suggest the number of cheaters is much higher - as many as one in two men and one in three women cheat at some time during their marriage. The American-born medical analyst has researched the subject around the world, working with support groups in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
He says the poly lifestyle is more common and varied than you might think. Many are discreet about their lifestyles, living as singles or couples, and chances are you wouldn't know. None of the people spoken to by The Dominion Post fit any stereotype.
They are people who believe monogamy is often an impossible ask, that no one person can be everything for another. They say while the rest of us philander and cheat, they are being honest.
Polyamory is very different from swinging. Rather than casual sex with strangers, which they tend to see as impersonal and mechanical, it is based on love. It can take many permutations, the most common being a V or a Zig Zag, where one or both partners have another partner. Sometimes the group is committed and exclusive, other times it is more casual, allowing outside lovers.
Mr Turney advises Polyamory Wellington, a monthly support group where about a dozen people meet to discuss issues and support each other. He says the lifestyle is often run by women.
People take on the lifestyle for many reasons - one or both are bisexual, the couple have a libido mismatch, one has an insatiable appetite for variety, or one falls in love with someone else but still loves their partner.
Aside from the sexual adventure, polyamorists say there are many other advantages - more money, more support, and at least one partner is invigorated, happier, and has more to give back to the relationship.
"When I have had romantic involvements with other women, it has also made me appreciate my wife more," says Wellington IT consultant Hamish, aged in his 30s, who has an open relationship with his wife.
They say it is an ideal arena in which to raise kids. With the growth of step-families, many children have more than two parents, but in this case, they all love each other.
The scope for jealousy is huge. Everyone who spoke to The Dominion Post admitted jealousy or insecurities had to be worked through.
One described the first night his partner went out with another man. "I remember lying in bed, my stomach was tied in a knot. I physically couldn't sleep. But it diminished over time, it becomes less important as you go through the issues."
Mr Turney said polys see jealousy as a symptom that the relationship is under threat and more communication is needed, in pairs and in a group.
Of course, there is no guarantee that your partner will not fall in love with someone else and leave you. Relationships break up, just as they do for other people.
But polys are also aware of what they call NRE, new relationship energy.
Hamish says with any new relationship, "there's a natural release of serotonin and other chemicals, similar to cocaine". In other words, you're high on love.
"Once you understand that, it's just a case of being aware and not doing anything significant," Hamish says. "No changes in your world that involve mortgages, suitcases or airline tickets. A real relationship doesn't start until NRE wears off."
Hamish says polys talk about "compersion", what they say is the opposite of jealousy, where a person gains happiness from their partner's happiness with someone else.
The idea that we can be so selfless, loving, sharing and forgiving might seem a little too optimistic, and indeed, Mr Turney says some come to the group and then decide it's just too hard.
But it seems those who are making it work, even if they've had setbacks, swear by it.
So is this the relationship of the future? The fact that none of those interviewed for this story wanted to be identified speaks volumes for how people think they will be perceived.
They say those they have told about their lifestyle were mostly supportive. But few had told everyone they knew.
Zachary says his local library refused to display the support group's leaflets in the library.
He likens it to the attitude toward homosexuals three decades ago.
Hamish thinks it will open up as the lifestyle becomes better known. "There's an opening in society for non-traditional relationships. It's honestly the logical next step."
To learn more about polyamory, go to www.polyamory.org.nz or phone 04 9702487 The polyamory group meets once a month, The next meeting is tomorrow.Some names have been changed.
WHEN ONE LOVER IS NOT ENOUGH (Continued)
Lindsay's 10-year-marriage ended after the pair tried polyamory and her husband left her for another woman. But she she says it put her "firmly on the poly path" and she would never again commit to just one man.
When Lindsay's husband first suggested opening their marriage, she thought "it sounded a bit strange".
A few years later, aged in her early 50s, she had another look. "I said: 'I'm not really sure that I'm happy about you going out with other people, but I'd quite like to'. He said that was fine. He had this desire to imagine me with someone else."
Her first attempt was too casual and she got bored. Soon though, she started seeing a married man. They went on dates and weekends away.
The experience was "mind blowing". "I said: 'it's great, I've got one person to talk about this with, and another to talk about that. This is just too good to be true'."
She felt it was unfair on her husband, so she said he could meet others too.
Before she knew it, he was getting serious with another woman. "I was in a bit of a sulk. I wasn't happy about it."
Two months later, he told her he was moving in with his girlfriend. She was devastated. "If you're poly, the last thing you expect is for someone to leave you . . . Why would they leave you, when they can have both?"
She went through months of "bloody hell".
Now, she's settled. "I don't have a partner and I couldn't care less either, but I don't think I could go and commit to one person ever again."
"It seems blatantly obvious that one person will never be everything for me. They can never do everything, or be everything, or fulfil everything."
Hamish and his wife have an open marriage. They both date other people, although he says it is easier for women than men. They have both had to work through jealousy but he says they gain happiness from each other being happy.
Hamish, aged in his 30s, first read about polyamorous relationships in a book when he was 10, but he never thought it was possible.
About eight years ago, his wife of eight years admitted to him, eyes brimming with guilt, that while he was at work, she had been visiting Internet sex chatrooms. "I said 'that's cool', I was fine by that."
The pair, who have a young son, came to an understanding. At first they were limited to Internet contact with others, but no one in the southern hemisphere. Over time, they have progressed, slowly, as his wife has grown more comfortable.
He says his wife was motivated by sex drive. "I'm less sexual than she is. I don't have her level of drive. For me, it's part of a bigger picture."
Her first involvement was hard. "Intellectually I was OK with it, but emotionally I was really tripping out."
He has read extensively on the subject, knows the pitfalls, and has worked through his jealousy.
"Now, I'll come home from work and they've been having sex. Her boyfriend is still there. We sit in the bedroom and have a chat."
The pair have always focused on being fair.
He says it is not a lifestyle for the faint hearted. "If I had to give advice to people getting involved with it, to quote my favourite book: Don't.
"That said, I think the rewards are huge. In our case, I think it's been excellent."
ZACHARY, MARY AND ANNA
Mary, Anna and Zachary live in a menage a trois. Mary and Anna are both bisexual and the three of them plan a commitment ceremony later this year.
When people first learn Zachary has two "wives", he can tell what most of them think.
"You can see their brain ticking over - they think it's a total sex fest 24/7".
Zachary, Mary and Anna have lived together for a year, and they say the benefits extend way beyond sex. "It feels weird when we don't have three of us," Anna says.
Their sunny Wellington house has a woman's touch – or women's touch. One of the girls, who snores, sleeps in one room, the other two share the other. But there's a fair bit of bed hopping.
They all agree there were plenty of teething problems.
"It's not smooth sailing by any means," Zachary said. "We had to do lots and lots of talking."
Now, their relationship seems very relaxed. They talk in unison and laugh a lot. They work hard at being egalitarian in their affections. If they hug one, they hug the other.
They plan a commitment ceremony soon and joke about finding a third wife, or second husband.
They rewards, they say, are immense.
"For me, because I'm bisexual, I'd always go from wanting a man to wanting a woman to wanting a man," Anna says. "This situation balances me out."
They say there is extra strength and support in their group. "Every woman needs a wife," Mary jokes.
Zachary adds: "The best thing for me is if Mary wants to go shopping, Anna can take her . . . That really is every man's dream."
The following article appeared in ""The Press", a daily newspaper in one of our southern cities, Christchurch. It was probably one of the worst articles ever to be published; not just because of it's puerile, sensationalism - but because of it's poor editing.
If the article seems to end rather abruptly, that is precisely how it appeared in-print. Whoever was sub-editing that day must've been asleep...
Love: a four-letter, four-partner word
The Press, 2 March 2008
Polyamory is a word that means many loves.
Put simply, it is about couples who enjoy intimacy with a third or more partners, including sex.
And it is thriving in Christchurch.
But those who take part say there is only one problem -- jealousy.
When she was young Sue thought she would probably have a fairly typical family life as an adult.
"I think most of us of my generation grew up with the idea of being like our parents and getting married and having a family," she said.
Despite this Sue, 42, and her male partner are part of Christchurch's polyamorist community -- a group larger than most would think.
Polyamory refers to people in multiple relationships -- often these exist within a seemingly "normal" family framework. In many cases a polyamorous family will have children.
Sue and her 48-year-old partner set up an internet chat forum for other Christchurch and New Zealand polyamorists in August last year, which has since grown to over 100 members.
Sue and her partner have five children under 12 and run a business in the city. The difference between them and other families is that they have a long-term relationship with another couple.
"There isn't a sexual focus," Sue said.
"This is about an extended family."
Despite the popularity of their New Zealand Polyamory Group, Sue did not want to identify herself or her partner.
"There are business issues. People could make a judgment on us and how we conduct our life that could be totally wrong," she said. "This is particularly when you deal with the older generation. It is a lack of understanding."
They are dating another couple at the moment but not having sex with them, although that would be a "natural progression".
Sue said their children accepted the other couple as "people in our lives who are friends and part of our family".
Her parents "don't really know about her relationships", but she hopes a time will come when they can live openly and be accepted.
Bisexual Joan and heterosexual Dick are a Christchurch couple who have been happily married for 15 years and have two school-age children.
However, when they met bisexual Harriet seven years ago they thought it quite natural they should form a trio.
"Christchurch is inherently conservative," said Harriet, who has become the couple's "magic boarder" and a guardian for their children.
"It will change. I truly think talk to me in 2013 and being in a stable and unusual relationship won't be a thing that bothers people. I hope."
Jealousy is an issue that polyamorists have to learn to deal with. Harriet, 36, said openness and an understanding of where everybody stood kept it at bay in their relationship.
"The most important part of this family unit is Joan's and Dick's marriage and the children's wellbeing and my wellbeing," she said.
Joan, who is in her thirties, began looking into having multiple partners in her early twenties after she and Dick married.
"Certainly I had had experiences. I headed in both directions but it wasn't something that was going to stop me being happily married," she said.
Dick and Joan began their relationship with Harriet by inviting her around to play the piano.
Midway through the evening Dick asked if Harriet would "like to kiss his wife".
Polygamy speech claims denied by Dyson
NZPA | Monday August 11, 2008 - 12:27pm
[Government Social] Welfare Minister Ruth Dyson's office says she never made a speech which has been reported in the first edition of a new on-line newspaper.
Ian Wishart's publication, TGIF Weekly, said the speech was delivered to Victoria University students on May 6 and in it Ms Dyson suggested Labour was developing policy that would recognise polygamy and polyamory -- arrangements where people have multiple wives or husbands.
The report, published on Friday, said the speech was evidence of a hidden agenda of social engineering.
A spokesman for Ms Dyson told NZPA the speech was posted on a government website in error.
He said the speech was written for Ms Dyson but she rejected it.
"She never said it," the spokesman said.
"They (the comments) were in the speech that was posted but she never gave that speech.
"It just unfortunately crept through the system and went out as a speech she delivered, but it wasn't."
Ian Wishart is a right-wing, conspiracy-theorist, "christian", with his website "TGIF Weekly" and monthly magazine, "Investigate".
Henry's death ends a feathered threesome
By KAY BLUNDELL - The Dominion Post, 4 March 2009
A quirky love triangle that has entertained bird fanciers has come to a sad end.
The feathered threesome of Henry the swan, his partner of 24 years, Thomas the goose, and his female mate, swan Henrietta, has been shattered by the death of 30-year-old Henry at Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve last week.
Kapiti Bird Tours operator Mik Peryer named the trio, which captivated bird lovers.
Henry spent 24 years with Thomas before Henrietta flew into the estuary about six years ago and captivated Henry, resulting in a prolific late-life breeding season.
Henry had never mated before, Mr Peryer said, but, enamoured with his younger mate, made up for lost time and fathered 68 cygnets in six years.
Rather than suffering from rejection, Thomas welcomed the chance to play uncle, made an occasional play for Henrietta, and the three became inseparable, much to the delight of visitors to the estuary.
Fears were held for Henry a couple of months ago when he failed to mate during the usual season and Mr Peryer and residents became concerned when he went missing last week.
He was found dead in a creek last Wednesday, hidden by a willow branch and with his head tucked under his wing. Thomas and Henrietta were nearby and seemed to be aware of his death.
`They looked lost without him," Mr Peryer said. "I think old age caught up with him he was worn out. It is the end of an era, the breaking up of such a special eternal triangle.
"It is such a sad day with the passing of such a well-known bird. He was famous on the Kapiti Coast, around New Zealand and worldwide."
Fellow bird lover Eileen Thomas had watched over the trio's families for six years and said she would miss Henry's honking welcome every time she arrived at the estuary.
"Thomas and Henrietta look so sad now I do not know what they are going to do."
The remaining pair swam around together looking bereft, with Henrietta letting out a low, mournful cry every now and then and Thomas gently consoling her. "I just hope she doesn't fly off to find another mate, leaving Tom on his own."
Residents plan to place a black commemorative boulder at the lagoon to mark the passing of the quirky menage a trois.
A civic union made in heaven
By ALAN CLARKE - Nelson Mail, 07 April 2009
I lay no claim to expertise in marriage, yet it's been the only state I've known since pretty much my first stirrings of adulthood.
Ten days after my 20th birthday, sporting a mochaccino-brown, flared, double-breasted polyester suit, a cheddar-yellow tie and a cheesy grin, I marched into a church to wed the rosy-cheeked bride I'd been "going out" with for the previous four years.
Thirty-three years, two children and four grandchildren later, and here we still are ... and whether that sounds like the plot for a romance, a comedy or a horror story will depend on individual experience of the yin-yang, Mars-Venus, ongoing shakedown that underscores the "conventional" relationship.
I'm not for a moment claiming any moral superiority in having stuck with a partnership that has, so far, lasted the distance. Clearly, there is nothing that can be less healthy or more debilitating than to be mired in a negative, destructive, go-nowhere relationship. Inevitably we grow, and perhaps evolving a relationship that is able to accommodate such change is more about luck than intention.
Those who have tried again, and again, and again, for the perfect marriage often seem to learn something fresh each time about themselves and others, and become better and more understanding partners with each trip down the aisle.
And I recognise and embrace the right of others to choose less conventional life-models. A woman I got to know quite well, though not in the Biblical sense, eight years ago - long before Big Love hit our screens - was an in-your-face flag-bearer for the multi-partner joy known as polyamory.
She lived a very cosy life on a lifestyle block with her lawful husband, her other "husband", the children, the goat, the two bitzer dogs, a scrappy cat and various other livestock. The children were well balanced and seemed particularly happy with life. After all, if one adult said no to a bit of extra pocketmoney, there were always two others to hit up.
Each of the adults had their own bedroom, she divided her time reasonably evenly between all three, and all lived quite harmoniously. There was an extra income to help pay the mortgage, never a shortage of baby-sitters, and the lifestyle seemed to suit their temperaments perfectly well.
When pressed about their sleeping arrangements, they were adamant that it was not the non-stop threeway orgy that one might suspect; far from it. Their relationship had its boundaries like any other.
The first rule of polyamory, apparently, is full disclosure among all involved. Its proponents claim moral superiority over "swinging", which is predicated on casual encounters and often involves cheating and sneaking around.
They were adamant that it took real emotional maturity to handle some of the jealously and possessiveness issues that can arise and that underpin many "normal" relationships.
A few years back polyamory was quite trendy among a Nelson subset. Followers moved into three or four neighbouring houses in one inner-city street, a group with regular meetings and a website was established, and they even had a stall with brochures set up at one of the community open days at Founders Heritage Park.
A national magazine did a feature on the group and all was swinging along beautifully, until first one member, then another, started drifting off overseas and now, so far as I can gather, it has totally disbanded.
Anyway, I digress. My point was simply that there are a range of different types of relationships, and all of them have their own structures and integrity and validity. Unless we are perfect, none of us is really qualified to judge. However, I am still struck by the notion that, for most of us, the natural state is to either be looking for a partnership that is right for us, or already in one - even if growing numbers of people have become fed up with compromising and catering for the needs of others, or are otherwise perfectly happy on their own.
Nor do I buy into the old soppy theory of a marriage being two halves joining to form a perfect whole - far from it. My ideal is to see two (or maybe more!) perfectly formed individuals joining in a partnership that really is greater than the sum of its parts.
There is strength in unity, in partners combining their strengths and talents in order to tackle a common purpose. My Christian friends would say that's the way God planned it. Hence the pressing, compelling need for Nelson city and Tasman district to get over their petty differences and pointless anxieties, embrace their shared heritage and future and join together in a formal civic union.
I believe there would be cost savings in the millions of dollars, efficiencies in terms of planning and staffing, and a new vigour and potency that would come from provincial leadership with a single vision and clearly articulated sense of self and purpose.
It was interesting to read among the detail of the royal commission report into the greater Auckland local authority scene an acknowledgement that while community boards with designated power would be needed for the likes of Waiheke and Great Barrier islands, the best part of a third of the country's population could be best served by a single, over-arching group of 23 councillors plus a mayor.
Faced with such logic, it is staggering that some of those purported to be answering a calling to serve us in our best interests can continue to reject the principles espoused by the commission. Surely, whether in Auckland, Wellington or the top of the south, the main driver should be what is in the best interests of the district involved, not self-interest or parochialism or fear. Compared with what's involved in reshaping Auckland, a top of the south amalgamation should be a breeze.
I urge Local Government Minister Rodney Hide to turn his gaze towards Nelson and Tasman. However, I hope even more that it does not take a shotgun wedding to produce the sort of restructuring that is so clearly needed to advance our region's interests.
It is time for the good folk of Tasman district in particular to get over their fear of rape and pillage and at least be open to participating in an objective investigation of the pros and cons of a full-scale merger between equals with Nelson - and if Marlborough wanted to swing in for a Top of the South three-way merger, even better. With the right attitude and contract, it might just prove a match made in polyamory heaven.
Even some fairly conservative companies are using images that suggest polyamory. This image is the cover from a "Placemakers" brochure on kitchen improvements. ("Placemakers" is a nationwide chain of hardware, building materials, and kitchen/bathroom renovations.)
thanks for posting. I think overall those articles, especially read together paint a fair picture. There isn't anything in there that puts my feathers up :)
We do have a conservative minority (usually religious bigots), but they are mostly ignored. Especially after their leader, of the "Christian Heritage Party", was convicted of sexually molesting a child in 2005...
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