Polyamory and Quakers

I’m sort of amused and intrigued. Last year I was asked to speak about my relationships to the Young Quakers, BBM is very involved with them and knows me hence the invitation. So I went and talked to them and had a rather good time, seriously, I left feeling like I was some sort of celebrity.

Well now I’ve been asked to write an article about my experience for their magazine, so here goes nothing! A rough draft of the article so far:

Talking Ethical Polyamory

When I was invited to speak to the Young Quakers about ethical polyamory I didn’t know what to expect. In fact I wasn’t sure I was the right person to come and talk at all, asking “But don’t you want an expert?”

I meant someone who had written a book (there are a few books) a website (there are a lot of websites) or at least was used to public speaking about this sort of thing. In a university town the fact that I don’t have a Sociology or Ethics degree seemed to make me a poor candidate for talking about polyamory.

The fact that I’m celebrating my fourteenth, eighth and fifth anniversaries this year with my two girlfriends and one boyfriend might however, give some indication about why I was approached. Professional polyamorist I am not, but this is how I live and the Young Quakers were, apparently, curious.
Had they asked me a few months earlier I would have said that I hadn’t read up on the theory in years. As it was a friend of mine had gone from a ten year monogamous relationship to a polyamorous one and asked my advice. Whilst it’s not unusual for friends and acquaintances to ask my advice his was the first instance I’d had of it not being about a new relationship. Since I’ve been in multi-partnered relationships since I was twenty and have only ever begun relationships as polyamorous I thought a bit of reading up might be in order. It was!

Polyamory is practically mainstream compared to me, fifteen years ago, looking at obscure websites and forums based in San Francisco. No wonder the Quakers asked me, why get a professional when Polyamory is a lived reality next door?
Unsurprisingly the talk itself started out about the practicalities and then moved on to the ethics of the situation. By the end of the meeting I was giving general relationship advice. I suppose being ten years older than most of the audience gives me some perspective but then, as one of them put it, I’ve had more lasting relationships in that time than most people. Quakers, I’ve discovered, really agree with the underlying principles of polyamory – being true to yourself, honest in your life and communicative with your partners and friends. I’ve heard that works as well in monogamous relationships as it does in polyamorous ones.

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