Multiamory Guidelines and Best Practices
Be sure to fill out the form at the bottom of the page in order to participate in the Patron-only Facebook group and the Patron-only Discourse Forum.
In order to create a supportive and welcoming space in a world that is often harsh and judgmental, we have created these guidelines for interaction and communication. We uphold the basic tenets of confidentiality, consent, communication, and care.
This is a space where people are welcome to share intimate and vulnerable details about their relationships, sex life, orientation, emotional and psychological makeup, and many other ins and outs of their personal lives. As such, it is imperative to maintain confidentiality and privacy.
The Multiamory Patron-Only group is specifically designed to be to invite-only and totally private in order to avoid “outing” anyone who may not already be out of the closet on their social media. Do not share posts, comments, or images that are posted within the confines of the group, unless the original poster has given you explicit permission to share them. This applies both online and offline. Be discerning in protecting the privacy of people who are not in the group as well, taking care to remove names, identifying photos, etc from posts or screenshots.
The primary function of this group is to provide a safe place to connect to community, to find understanding support, and to seek advice. We absolutely love it when people in our online community are also able to connect to each other offline, forging new connections and expanding their local support network. We’ve become friends with many of the Multiamory listeners that we’ve gotten to meet in person, and many of our listeners have found great joy in connecting to each other as well!
However, this group is not a place to look for a date, a hookup, or a new partner. There are more than enough dating sites and apps for that purpose. Please avoid posting personals ads or sending private messages or friend requests to other group members unless they have given you their consent to do so.
Remember that if someone gives their consent for you to add them as a friend or message them privately, that does not mean they are indicating interest in you as a romantic or sexual partner.
If someone does feel the need to say "no" to anything you've written in the group it is important to acknowledge them and to resist any urge to double down or defend yourself. It can take a lot of courage to say no, so it's important to respect that and then discontinue the behavior.
Person A: You seem like a really cool person and I was wondering if you might like to become Facebook friends and chat outside of this group.
Person B: I'm not really comfortable with that. / I like to keep this group separate from the rest of my life. / I'm not really interested.
Person A: Thank you for taking care of yourself. I completely understand. [And then doesn't ask again, respecting Person B's wishes]
When making a post or a comment, we strongly encourage everyone to meta-communicate. That is, to communicate about your communication. We have found the Triforce of Communication to be the most helpful for clarifying your purpose and what kind of response you may be seeking. To reiterate:
Triforce #1: Building intimacy or connection. This might include sharing a story, a joke, an image, an observation, or anything else for the purpose of connecting to others in the group.
Triforce #2: Seeking support or acknowledgement. This might include sharing the details of a relationship or situation in order to receive sympathy, understanding, praise, or validation.
Triforce #3: Solving a problem. This might include sharing the details of relationship or situation in order to receive suggestions or advice.
When making a post, you can either explicitly state what you’re looking for in Triforce terminology e.g. “I’m looking for Triforce #3.”
OR you can use plain language e.g. “I’m looking for advice.”
Person A: I’m gonna tell you the story of the crazy Google Calendar mishap I had with my partners last week
Person B: *explodes into LOLs and emojis*
Person A + B: *high fives*
Person A: I came out of the closet to my mother, and she reacted badly. I could really use some support right now.
Person B: I’m sorry to hear that you’re having a hard time. I had a similar experience when I came out to my mother, and I know it can really suck. You’ll make it through this one!
Person A: I feel listened to and validated. Thank you.
Person A + B: *high fives*
Person A: My partner is going out on a first date tonight, and I’m having a really rough time with it because I’ll be home alone. I could really use some advice and suggestions on how to get through this without going crazy.
Person B: The last time I was the one left home alone going crazy, I just went out for a run and listened to my favorite podcast. It really helped me get my mind off of it. Would something like that be helpful to you?
Person A: Actually, yes, I think I’ll try that. Thanks for the suggestion!
Person A + B: *high fives*
When It’s Unclear
It’s much better to ask than to assume!
Person A: Every time I start talking to someone online, they ghost on me as soon as I mention that I’m polyamorous. I feel like I’m never going to find someone who wants to go on a date. :(
Person B: That sounds like it’s frustrating. Which Triforce are you looking for?
Person A: I don’t really want advice right now. I just need to vent it out and get some support. Probably Triforce #2.
Person B: Got it! Yeah, I’ve had that happen to me a lot too. People online can be so quick to judge sometimes. Sorry to hear you’re feeling that way right now.
Person A: Thanks. I feel a little better after venting.
Person A + B: *high fives*
If you feel you have received enough listening/support/advice in a particular thread, feel free to simply post, “Thank you, everyone! I’m full.” This indicates that you are satisfied with the response and no further discussion is needed. If the original poster has indicated they are full, please create a separate thread for any continuing discussion.
A Note about Language
We do not have a list of forbidden phrases or words. Use your judgment, and avoid racist, sexist, classist, ageist, ableist language. In the same way that it’s unwise to use “Always” and “Never” statements when talking to a partner, avoid using similar blanket statements when talking about a particular group of people i.e. “All men are like that” or “Monogamous people never do that” etc.
This group functions on the fundamental belief that we are all on the same team, and we are all caring for each other. We come together and create this community with the best of intentions and wanting the best for each other. Take care of each other in moments of vulnerability and also in moments of conflict. Acknowledge and make space for the feelings of others, even if you are in disagreement.
There are many communities online that are based on discussion/argument/debate and on challenging each other, but this group is one where we all come together to meet each other as we are and offer the best support we can give.
One of the key parts of this is coming in with the assumption that everyone else is acting with the best of intentions, too.
If someone says something that is hurtful or offensive to you, assume good intentions. Start from a place of realizing they may be unaware that what they said is hurtful or offensive. Aim for understanding rather than punishment when you are responding.
If you are being called out on a mistake or for hurting someone else, assume good intentions. Start from a place of realizing that those calling you out may want to guide you and help you avoid making the same mistake in the future. (The same way you’d want a friend to let you know you have a chunk of spinach stuck in your front teeth.) Aim for understanding rather than defensiveness when you are responding.
Everybody's life experience is different, and our language and methods of communicating vary. Good intentions do not cancel out unintentional damage, but it's important to start from the expectation that everyone is here to help you and do their best to support you.
Simply starting from the mindset that everyone here has kind intentions has helped this group to have successful conversations and to be a safe haven in the rough-and-tumble wasteland of the internet. If we all come together with the intention of being kind and receiving kindness we can keep it that way and have something truly special in this corner of the web.