188 - What Hierarchy Means to Me

Some people think polyamory can only function with a primary-secondary hierarchy. Others think it's a recipe for disaster. On this episode, we want to dive into the nuances of hierarchy -- how it has affected our lives personally, when it's been beneficial, and when it's been painful. 

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Dedeker: The way that I envision my relationships now is, this term just came to me, it feels like a cosmic hierarchy.

Jase: If you're happy with the same old ways of dating.

Dedeker: If you enjoy sucking at communication.

Jase: You have no desire to improve your romantic life. Then, our podcast might not be for you.

Dedeker: If you want some out-of-the-box ideas to deepen your current relationships.

Emily: Broaden your sexual horizons.

Dedeker: Develop a better understanding of yourself.

Emily: Learn more about non-monogamy.

Jase: Then you've come to the right place. I'm Jase.

Emily: I'm Emily.

Dedeker: I'm Dedeker.

Jase: This is the Multiamory podcast.


Jase: On this episode of the Multiamory Podcast, we're talking about what hierarchy means to each of us.

Dedeker: Hierarchy, that's a big one. That's a word that gets tossed around all the time in polycircles.

Jase: Definitely.

Dedeker: Yes. Is it okay? Is it not okay? Is it healthy? Is it not healthy? Is it toxic? We've definitely talked about hierarchy before on the show. We've talked about different types of hierarchy, the whole prescriptive, descriptive thing, or building relationships that don't have any hierarchy. We wanted to revisit it and specifically, rather than trying to give our listeners just a rundown of the basics like what we think are best practices and we wanted to share a little bit more of our personal experience.

Because the thing is that, I think that what I see a lot when people are talking about hierarchy, or when hierarchy tends to turn toxic, for me, I find that it's the direct product of basically not examining your relationship. I think of it as unexamined hierarchy is possibly the most dangerous or can cause the most damage, I think.

Emily: Multi-hierarchy, that's just there because you expect, "Okay, that's the way that it's supposed to be or that's the way it's always been."

Dedeker: Right, or even when people do decide like, "We want this particular type of hierarchy." Deciding and then never checking back in on that, never examining, "Is this still working for us? Does this still make us happy? Are we still clear on why we're doing this?" Have those reasons change, stuff like that. To be honest, my whole thing right now is just examining everything: examining your sexuality, examining what your dating preferences are, examining your political views.

I'm really into picking up everything out of your life and I guess putting it under the magnifying glass to a certain extent. Even if that doesn't mean it changes, it may not change, but still putting it through the process of examining it and checking back in. That's what inspired me today. Emily, you're giving me a face earlier.

Emily: No, I was wondering about your political views, you examining that, and so I was like...

Dedeker: Well, I think it's really important. I think that my political views haven't changed. Well, I don't know. At certain parts, my political views have changed quite a bit over the last fiveish years or so. It's not quite this broad-stroke thing of like, "I switch from this political party to that political party," it's more nuanced. It's more of like the way I felt about this issue has changed over time. I don't know.

It's just that and also just examining how have my political feelings been formed, what influences them, what makes me change my mind about something, where am I building my opinion, what am I basing my opinion on, is it just on looking at headlines of Facebook, or whatever? Just that, it's all.

Emily: No, that's good. That's nice. I think since the three of us have been in any way polyamorous, hierarchy has been a big question, and a big decision, and has changed, and we've had all of these different experiences with it. We decided with this to divide the episode into three different parts where two of us are going to actually interview the other one about their experiences and their views on hierarchy, which I think is a really interesting way to go.

All three of us have different viewpoints when it comes to this. I think that it'll be fun to have some clarification and see three people who have been involved in these four years and what this means to them. Hopefully, it'll be a swath of what the demographic is or just what polyamorous people believe because not everyone is going to have the exact same viewpoint by any means like the three of us won't either.

Jase: Great. First up is Dedeker. [laughs]

Dedeker: It's me?

Emily: It's you.

Dedeker: I could be in the spotlight first?

Jase: Yes.

Emily: Surprise, surprise.

Jase: Have a seat here in the interview chair.

Dedeker: Okay, here I am in the interview chair. Are you going to put a flashlight in my face?

Jase: Yes, I was thinking, shine the lamp on you like police interrogation would be good, or make you sit inside of a fern, or something like that.

Dedeker: Inside of a fern, what do you mean?

Jase: Do you mean in between two ferns?

Dedeker: Well, that is literally between two ferns. That is not inside ferns.

Jase: One of the things you would do is set up to the person's chair so that the fern is-

Dedeker: In front of their eyes.

Jase: -in front and they're having to fight their way out of the ferns.

Dedeker: That is true.

Emily: That is what you meant it? It's just a fern, like a thing that is used for interrogation?

Jase: This was just a deeper cut than you guys are expecting.

Dedeker: Yes, it was. Since we're going that deep, since I'm the one in the interview chair first, can I have it be more like inside the Actors Studio where you both are twin James Lipton, multiple Liptons-

Emily: James Liptons.

Dedeker: -asking, "What is it that one thing-?"

Emily: What is your favorite word?

Dedeker: Yes. "What's your favorite sound?"

Jase: Perfect.

Emily: "If heaven exists, what will God say to you at the pearly gates?"

Dedeker: Okay, just do that, but just with question about hierarchy. Hit me, I'm ready.

Jase: Emily, take the first one.

Emily: What is your definition of hierarchy?

Dedeker: I do think you're actually going to come in.

Emily: No, that's not exactly-

Dedeker: No, that's good.

Emily: I can't' really find him. I never listen to Actors Studio in years, but this is my spin on him.

Jase: That's great.

Dedeker: What is my definition of hierarchy in general? I'm going to assume that we're going to just cut straight to the chase and we're talking about hierarchy as it relates to relationships?

Jase: Yes.

Emily: Yes.

Dedeker: My definition of hierarchy is a kind of pecking order, as it were, that people set up in their lives either intentionally and consciously, or very unintentionally and unconsciously. I think it's possible to do both. I think that pecking order most traditionally is handed down to us that first things first needs to be your romantic partner and maybe then your kids or some people, kids and romantic partner fit the same slot. Then next slot down from that is maybe family members, then next slot down from that is maybe close friends, and then less close friends, and then co-workers, and then a random schmuck on the street, I guess.

That's the social hierarchy in our own personal lives that we adhere to I suppose in order to keep things organized. I think when you start getting into the realm of non-monogamous relationships that then hierarchy starts to become, I guess, the same. It's a pecking order of like, "Who's the most important to you? Who do you have the most life entanglements with? Who do you feel the most in love with?" I always get that question about my partner. It's like, "Okay, but really who's your favorite?" Because people love knowing exactly what the social hierarchy is.

Jase: Well, I'm going to ask a little sub-question. Why do you think that is? Why do you think everyone wants to know that?

Dedeker: Wants to know?

Emily: When you say, "everyone," what do you mean by that? Who are these everyone?

Dedeker: You Liptons, you.


Everyone. Okay, sorry. The everyone's that I was referring to, I guess should've been more specific, is usually people where the concept of polyamory is relatively new to them. We're in a conversation where they're trying to figure out and try to understand what my life is. That's when I usually get that question of like, "No, really, who's your favorite?" Literally, one time, one person asked me like, "If you had to let one of your partners die, which one would be?"

Jase: Like in The Good Son and even holding them both off a cliff and you've got to choose which one to let go off?

Dedeker: Physically. I was like, "Jeez." I threw the question back at him. I was like, "If you had to let both of your parents- one of your parents die, which one do you pick?"

Emily: My father, absolutely.

Dedeker: Jeez, okay. Gosh. Well, this person who was asking me this--

Emily: That's easy, come on.

Dedeker: Oh my goodness, Emily. Okay.

Emily: Sorry.

Dedeker: I'm going to bring it back around to what we're talking about. I answered Emily's question. What was your question, your sub-question again?

Jase: Just why do you think people ask that?

Dedeker: Why do people ask that? I think we're very much- well, obviously, we live in this monogamy as default culture where it's like, "There's got to be one person. There's definitely one person who's the most important. There's one person that you love the most." This assumption that everyone should be on the hunt for that one person. I think also even in a lot of the examples that we see in film and TV, even of love triangles, for instance, it always works out that like, "No, she's got to pick one, or he's got to pick one." One person is going to win out as the real one who she was meant to be in love with all along. That's why I think that is.

Jase: That's interesting. I wonder because that love triangle setup is a pretty typical one, but it always has that resolution of like, "Which one's the real one now?" The secret was they knew it all along. Yes, that's interesting. What kind of hierarchy then do you currently practice? I can't do the James Lipton voice, so that will just be among you.

Dedeker: It's okay. That's all right. What kind of hierarchy do I currently practice? I think that's an interesting question because it implies and I think a little bit truthfully that there is no way to have zero hierarchy in your life whatsoever. That's maybe a controversial statement, but I think even people who identify as relationship anarchist, and I know myself, I definitely try as hard as I possibly can to apply relationship anarchy principles to my life.

Even relationship anarchist, as we try to explain all the time, it's not about every single relationship equal, there is fluctuation. The way that I envision my relationships now is, this term just came to me, it feels like a cosmic hierarchy. What I mean by that is it feels like there's these different spheres of influence, like different orbits, if you will. Where it's like for instance--

Emily: I think you're getting real transcendental there or something.

Interviewee: You know me.

Emily: Exactly. Exactly, I do

Dedeker: Well, I feel like in the orbit that feels closest to me are my two partners, Jason and Alex. Then a little bit out from that is like a relatively newer partner that I started seeing maybe six months ago or so. Then that also includes really, really close friends.

My thing is that as someone also who's trying to be more relationship anarchist, I'm also trying to examine and trying to bring more of my close friends closer into that fold instead of defaulting to like my two romantic partners being the most important people or the most people that I talk to the most or stuff like that. Long story short is I try as hard as possible to stay away from a strict primary-secondary hierarchy specifically, but I am aware of the fact that there's a spectrum in my life that is spread between my partners, friends, and family members of people that I feel more intimate with versus people that I don't.

Emily: What's been a painful experience you've had with hierarchy?

Jase: It's very good, yes.

Dedeker: The sprinkling into Shaun Connolly a little bit-

Jase: Just a touch.

Dedeker: -to the James Lipton that are kind of that hybrid.

Emily: I'm bringing him back, I don't know, it's been a while.

Jase: That's true. That was I think maybe the first voice that was ever done.

Dedeker: Yes, that was OG.

Jase: Was that, your hatch [unintelligible 00:12:40] will chooses me, whatever it was.

Dedeker: Yes, something like that. Okay, a painful experience I've had with hierarchy, definitely, several, I would say. I would say most people that have read my book know that a lot of the lessons that I learned around hierarchy were very painful. I think ironically, I feel a lot of people that I hear about, who share their personal stories, their painful stories that has to do with hierarchy is when they were a secondary partner and they felt like they couldn't get access, or couldn't get the amount of intimacy that they wanted with this other partner because that partner had a primary.

I actually feel my experience with hierarchy was the opposite in that I adhered to hierarchy and became someone's primary partner thinking that it was going to solve all the problems in that relationship, thinking that once I got the title of primary, then I would no longer feel insecure, and that everything would be great, and I would just feel super, super validated and securely attached in that relationship, and then, it didn't. I don't know. Again, without going into too much detail because you can read about it in my book. That was--

Emily: We've to buy it?

Dedeker: Exactly. That was the most painful thing for me. It's like I fought my way to the top to become primary partner and like, "Now, yes, I'm number one, I'm the queen of the hill as it were." Now instead of feeling more secure, now I have to make sure I maintain my title and no one can threaten it. Now I'm extra stress making sure that no one's honing me on my primary title. That was what it was for me. It's that it went essentially from one type of insecurity to another type of insecurity, it didn’t actually solve the problems for me.

Emily: Can I say that I find it really impressive that you are choosing to talk about your struggles within that thing in general, because from my end of it, which I was involved in this to a degree, I saw it all from your and my partner's standpoint of him wanting to keep you primary and therefore get your other partners out of the situation. I'm sure that you also had things involved in your own insecurities and your own challenges regarding that. I just want to applaud you at being able to look at yourself, and how you entered into the promise of hierarchy, and what it would give you, and figuring out that that actually wasn't necessarily what you ultimately needed.

Dedeker: Well, sharks, thanks for the compliment. I do my best to examine myself. I don't know. It taught me such an important lesson that I now try to convey to my coaching clients. Especially my coaching clients were very specific about like, "I really want to find a primary partner," or "I want this relationship to be primary that I really--" Instead of telling people like, "No, you can't have any hierarchy, that's toxic, that's bad." I just tell people like, "Instead of chasing after the label of primary, do some reflection on what it is you're actually looking for.

Is it I want this particular partner to spend more time with me. Is it I want to bring this person home to my parents? Is it I want to feel mutual love and affection and care from this person? Once you figure out what it is you actually need, go after that. Don't go after, 'I need you to call me primary.'" I think that was the biggest lesson for me from that whole experience.

Jase: The next question we have is, can you think of any moments where a hierarchy served you well, whether it was a positive thing in your life?

Dedeker: Yes, and I think it relates back to that same experience. It's so silly. The day I finally earned that title of primary, it was like my coronation day. The moment that particular partner finally told me that that's how he felt about me and he used that label, basically for that day, it felt awesome. I felt I was so great and it's just going to be all wonderful from here on now, and, again, I don't have to feel insecure, I don't have to feel worried about anything.

Then basically after that day, it didn't really feel secure or safe anymore. In other relationships that I've been in the past that were more casual non-monogamy or more open relationship where other partners were more casual, sure, hierarchy served me in the sense of like, "It's nice to be the partner that gets shared on Facebook, on social media, or that get to meet the parents." If you're in a context where it's like, "I'm going to have one important emotional relationship and then everyone else is going to be casual--" Yes, it definitely served me in those situations. That's definitely a very clear power dynamic, and when you're on top of the power dynamic, then it feels really good.

Emily: Interesting. Jase. Yes.

Jase: Well, can you think of any- what am I trying to say? Any particular types of relationships where you think hierarchy is necessary or is the best choice to make?

Dedeker: Yes, that's really interesting question, the necessary part. Again, I don't want to sound like a broken record, but I always come back around to like, "Is there any way that you can get what you want in your relationships without needing to put into these categories of like, "This one is primary and this one is secondary?" I feel like around this particular topic, a lot of people bring up like, "Well, what if you have kids with someone?"

Truly, that would be a primary. Again, I'd like to ask people to examine that too, because it's not necessarily. I think it is definitely important that if you're going to choose to have kids with someone, it's with someone that you feel like you can trust, who's going to be a good parent, and who's going to be committed, and who's going to entangle their lives with yours in this way and be there all 18 years regardless of what happens between the relationship between you too.

Jase: Let's be honest, usually more than 18 years.

Dedeker: [laughs] Exactly.

Emily: age to go.

Jase: Eighteen years is the minimum.

Interviewee: Right. I don't know. With that particular situation, I'm like, "If the only way you can assure that your partner is going to stick around and take care of the kids is if you label each other as primary. I feel like that's a little bit of a red flag, if that's the only way that you feel like you can trust your partner." Maybe that's a little bit inflammatory to say. I just feel like-- I don't know.

I don't want to rumble on this too long because the two of you are going to get asked the same question and I want the two of you to add to it, but that's my kind of thing. I think that definitely being clear about your priorities and being clear about your commitments, whether that's raising a child, or owning a business together, or owning property together, or something like that, being clear on how that falls into your life and what expectations and obligations are there is important. It doesn't need strictly codified in every single situation, within monogamy, at least, I'm not sure. I don't know.

Emily: Interesting.

Jase: All right. Thank you. Yes.

Emily: I think that a lot of people will see the three of us and expect or think certain things, and specifically with the two of you. You live together for a lot of the year, you go on trips together, do a lot of things together, and present as a couple that is maybe potentially hierarchical, even though I know that you've just said that you try to employ a non-hierarchical or more relationship anarchist viewpoints. What is that? How do you just justify the way in which it may look from the outside and how that works into your viewpoints of hierarchy and what it is or isn't to you?

Dedeker: I definitely have a lot of-- There's a lot of things to unpack here, but my first question is going to be a question back at you, which is from the outside. How can you tell someone's not in a hierarchy?

Emily: Well, I think that that's a very difficult thing to see. I do think that when people are in specific types of situations with friends, or with people that they may sleep with, or may have a relationship with, or someone that they are very already established with, I think that there is an interesting dynamic that can or cannot play out between those established parties and those who are not.

I guess I have seen moments where the established parties may seem way more into each other, or way more willing to be touchy-feely, or speak to one another over those who maybe they have a relationship, but it's not a relationship that is one of many years, or one of a lot of depth even. I guess from that standpoint, to me, if I would view those two things in tandem and happening at the same time, my brain would say those two people are more important, for a lack of a better phrase.

That they care more deeply, or just maybe just have more time, and more history than the other people. I don't know. I guess that's the only way that one could potentially view that. Obviously, if you have multiple really established partners, I have never met Alex, for example, so I've never been in a situation where the three of you are together and I haven't seen how that happens.

Dedeker: Right. I think what I was going to open with is the fact that I've gotten this question, both from you, Emily, and from other people, people ask me like, "Is Jase your primary?" The thing is, the question comes in waves. I only ever get it if I've spent at least a month of my time with Jase, and then I start getting that question. Nobody asked me that question when I was living in Istanbul for four months. Nobody asked me that question when I'm living with Alex.

That says to me that I think from the outside, we associate the person that you seem to be spending the most time with must be your primary partner. I think it's a little bit tricky. In my situation, since I move around a ton. When I'm in town, I spend time with Jase, and I'm not spending a ton of time dating other people necessarily. Then when I'm not around Jase, either I'm by myself, or I'm with Alex, or I'm having my own adventures. When I'm with Alex, I'm spending most of my time with Alex and not spending a bunch of time dating other people.

I think that the interesting thing is that in order from the outside to look like you don't have a hierarchy, if time spent together is the only indicator, then it starts to get into a thing of like I need to start logging hours and telling people like, "No, no, no, don't worry. I just spent three months with Jase, but I'm about to spend three months with Alex. Don't worry, it's all going to work out equal", and then it starts getting into a balance sheet.

Emily: Really like that's not anyone else's business, but yours and all viewers. Yes.

Dedeker: Yes. That's the thing, is for me is that I check in, specifically when I'm spending time with Jase, I try to check in with other partners, and then kind of vice versa to still do radars and still make sure that everyone's feeling okay, and everyone's getting what it is that they need. I think that, honestly, for me and Jase, specifically, I've-- Jase, you'll have your own opportunity to talk about this.

I feel like because the fact that our relationship didn't start out as monogamous at first, and very primary, and then opened up, and then tried to transition into less hierarchy, because it didn't start out that way, I think that's given us more flexibility for that to shift and change back and forth a lot where there was parts of the year where we're spending our time together and traveling together, and then parts of the year where we're not, and there's space for both of those things to happen within the shape of that.

I guess that's addressing it from how it looks from the outside. Then from the inside, in my own experience-- Again, I'm sorry. I'll let Jase-- I can't speak for Jase's experiences, but from my own experiences, I don't feel like I'm trapped by a weird hierarchy because I felt very free with both of my partners that if I want to go take a trip with Alex or live with Alex for several months, there isn't a cap on that, and vice versa, the same thing. It's like if I want to spend three months with Jase, there isn't a weird arbitrary cap on that from Alex.

With both my partners, there's talk about the future, there's talk about life entanglements, but there hasn't been a very relationship escalatory sense of like, "We're definitely on this trajectory towards marriage, and kids, and retirement, and no one else can get in the way of that." At least that's been my experience, unless Jase's holding up some secret plans that I don't know about, or Alex is holding secret plans I don't know about. As far as I know, that isn't the case.

Emily: Yes. That makes a lot of sense. I think I've heard people question that, and myself included, but it really does come down to that the two of you have established, or the three of you, not necessarily Jase and Alex, but you with each of them have established the fact that you're not keeping the other person from doing anything that they want or don't want to do. I think that there is sometimes with hierarchy, there can be that idea that like, "Well, I do have, say, over your life in a way, because I am bonded to you in this primary sense." The difference between that and what you're saying, I think, is huge. I get a better understanding of, I think, where you're coming from perhaps.

Dedeker: Yes. I think, for me, when we had Aggie Sez on the show, and she talked about the sneakyarchy thing, that definitely really inspired me to be constantly examining that, like, "Do I fall into some sneakyarchy stuff?" Especially for me, it's like, if I'm suddenly feeling insecure, or I'm feeling threatened by someone, or I'm feeling upset with something that a partner's done with another partner, for me, it's examining like, "Okay, is this just my own bullshit? Did they actually do something wrong, or do I have these hidden expectations that I'm entitled to my partner's time or something, or entitled to?" It's uncomfortable to examine that, but really, really important for me, I found. I didn't cover absolutely everything because I think, Jase, you should also speak to your experience.

Jase: Thank you so much for joining us on the show today, Dedeker.


Dedeker: My favorite word is a Japanese word.

Jase: Right. Yes, we didn't ask all these.

Emily: What is it? What is your favorite word?

Dedeker: Fushigi. It means mysterious. Fushigi, mysterious or unknown. I like it a lot. Anyway.

Emily: What is your favorite curse word?


Jase: We already did that on a different episode.

Dedeker: We already did that, exactly. We already went through this.

Emily: What? I forget. You remember that?

Dedeker: Yes, a long ago.

Jase: Yes, where we did a similar thing. Joining us next on the program, we're interviewing Emily Matlack on her views and experiences with hierarchy. Thank you for joining us, Emily.

Emily: Thank you. Thank you for having me today.

Dedeker: The studio audience be like, "Yay, woo."

Jase: Yes.

Emily: It's okay. Thank you. Just quiet down, everyone.

Jase: Let's start us off. Can you give us a definition of hierarchy?

Emily: Yes. Dedeker gave a good one. It seemed a little negative, the one that you gave, and so I'd like to maybe just say that hierarchy is the decision that priority will be placed on certain things.

I think that hierarchy can be career-related, or a track-related, or something, not just a person. I think hierarchy is the decision of the individual to place emphasis or time on certain things over others, to get priority to certain things over others. That can be negative or positive, but it is the decision of the individual at the end of the day.

Jase: Interesting.

Dedeker: What kind of hierarchy, or not hierarchy, or whatever, do you currently practice in your life right now?

Emily: I think for all intents and purposes, I am monogamous at this point in my life. That may not stay that way forever, but at this point, my nesting partner and I who I've been with for almost four years made the decision this year to take a step back from dating other people and refocus on each other. Clearly, he is a priority of mine, but I also spend a huge amount of time with the two of you in this podcast and all other podcasts.

Dedeker: You're now legally binding a contract with us.

Emily: Exactly.


Therefore, you two are a big priority of mine. I think my friends are a big priority and my work is a big priority, trying to fit in shows, trying to fit in-- I'm going to Shanghai later in the year and that will become a huge priority in my life. I'm very busy and so I tried to keep all of those things almost equal. Obviously, I live with the person and I'm not dating anyone else, but I try to make a lot of times for my friends as well and for other relationships in my life including with the two of you. I have one a week that I spend with Josh really and we up a whole day together and then the rest of the week is me running from one thing to the next-


-and that's it. When I look at, then I'm like, "Well, yes, I guess he's the priority," but I try to call my mom every other day and she's a big priority. It's interesting. I think it's hierarchy can be that, but I'd like to think that I've done a little bit of relationship anarchy in terms of me really making the choice to have the things that I want in my life to be prioritized and not just focus only on my romantic relationship as the only thing that matters.

Jase: That's a great example of taking more of the abstract concept of hierarchy and applying it and combining some relationship anarchy stuff like you're saying. That's really interesting.

Emily: That being said, I still think that I could do better at it. I still think I could call you guys more on non-business-related things, and I think that I could call my friends at home more often than once a month, for example.

Dedeker: Yes, I feel like we all could be I could do better at it.

Emily: Yes, sure.

Jase: Now to take things to a sensitive place, can you give us an example of a painful experience that you have had with hierarchy in the past?

Emily: Really things came to a head I think around the time of the book, the book chronicle who's the lives of Dedeker, Jase, and Emily in the life and times.

Dedeker: The Chronicles of multiamory. Even us at the times that I was writing about in the book?

Emily: Indeed, yes, which was around the time that this podcast was in its conception and coming to fruition. I think that those times, in general, were really life-changing and pivotal just because I know that all of us were forced to examine what hierarchy meant to us, see how was deeply affecting Dedeker with her relationship with Brad.

Then I felt it was deeply affecting me because I was choosing to spend a lot of time with Josh because it felt like an escape from the things that were occurring in my relationship with both of you and Brad. I think that all was challenging, but then also we all had difficult things and maybe made mistakes and all of that stuff regarding that. I know that I used him as an escape in a sense because I felt I was losing Jase in a lot of ways as well.

Jase: Can you think of an example, specifically, where hierarchy was involved in something painful or negative about that rather than just the whole situation being shitty?

Emily: Yes. I think I felt the hierarchy that I felt I potentially had with you, Jase, was shifting away from me to Dedeker and that my hierarchy was no longer established in the way that I had thought it was. Therefore, I was finding a person who I thought would please me first, to be honest.

Dedeker: Well, I think that's so interesting. I think a lot of these things are easier to talk about now that it's been so many years after that.

Emily: Four years, yes.

Dedeker: Because what I saw on both sides of the situation is I feel-- Correct me if I'm wrong, Emily, you have experience with this, is that in Emily's situation, it was that sensitive like, "I'm not getting what is that I need in this particular relationship and so I'm trying to find it elsewhere."

It's kind of that sense of the thing that hierarchy had been providing, something wasn't there, which was very much connected to needs as supposed to available, or something like that, versus on my side of the situation with my partner, Brad, it felt more of hierarchy being used as a weapon and a tool of control. Almost there are these two very different conversations about hierarchy and relationship formats in general that are just happening in parallel and also absolutely loving each other.

Emily: Yes, absolutely, which I think it was a pivotal moment in a lot of ways, in all of our lives, and this led us to where we are now, which is very interesting.

Dedeker: Good to see you see on this podcast.


Emily and Jase: Yes.

Dedeker: We've already or listening to it.

Emily: Yes, exactly.

Dedeker: Well, let me ask, what were the moments that hierarchy served you well? I think also outside of that particular situation that it could be since then and before then as well.

Emily: Well, honestly, there was a moment in time where I felt the four of us in some way we're hierarchically equals. I know that maybe that's a pipe dream or just me being silly, but there was a point in which Brad was like, "Let's have the place in LA and a place in New York and the four of us will be able to travel there and do things there and be able to just live as a group and be happy." There was a point in which I really was like, "That's going to happen, and it's going to feel great, and all four of us are really going to be able to benefit from that." I know that that's not necessarily hierarchy taking over, but I think it was a sense of like the four of us against the world, and again, like this was for the briefest of moments.


It did happen and it did feel a real possibility in that moment and maybe that's polyfidelitous quads or triads feel like that they have the sense of a unit that occurs, that they will be fine with and that nothing is going to change that. Maybe in that moment, I felt that way. It was short lived, but here we are.

Dedeker: No, I feel that because I think I remember feeling the same way also that for this brief period of time and it felt really balanced and really well-functioning. I think the irony being that I think a lot of the conversations that came out of that experience, like I said, there were things that had to happen in order for all of us to examine a lot of our beliefs and thoughts about relationships.

Emily: Totally.

Dedeker: After us going through that examination process, I feel something like that is much more likely to happen again. If that happen again, some kind of quad or something like that happen again that felt really balanced and good, now there be much more of a chance of success having sort it out through beliefs and assumptions and expectations around not just hierarchy, but polyamory and a partnership in sex and stuff like that. I think that was the thing back then is that there was a taste of it, but all of us had a lot of unanswered questions, a lot of unexamined stuff to go through that, unfortunately.

Emily: Well, we may have thought we knew all the answers, but in reality, we didn't know shit. At least, that's how I feel. I feel like, "Oh my God. I know so much more now than I did back then. I could have made much better decisions." but that's okay.

Dedeker: I have a theory, I think Jase and I have chatted about this a little bit, a theory that everyone hits that point when they're exploring polyamory that it's like once you get past the initial rocky period and you're in your first six months to a year when it's actually starting to flow and starting to work, I think everyone hits that point of thinking like, "I know everything and I figure it all out."

Emily: It's like a teenage like high school things.

Dedeker: Exactly, exactly. Everyone thinks at some point that they know everything and then it all comes crashing down again and then they're like, "Oh, actually, I didn't know anything", and they build themselves back up again. That's my theory.

Emily: They become consciously competent eventually, but it takes a while.

Jase: You have to become consciously incompetent first.

Emily: Exactly.

Dedeker: Honestly, I think we still balance the incompetence with the competence. I don't think we're ever going to 100% get rid of it.

Emily: I doubt it.

Jase: Emily, I'm going to ask you now the same question that you're asking Dedeker. You were talking about taking more of this relationship anarchy inspired. Look at your different priorities between your friends and your family and your partner, Josh and yet, if anyone wants to look at you from the outside, they go, "Well, Emily's with Josh and she's not dating anyone else. Obviously, this is extremely hierarchical, and she's always going to choose him over me. She's always going to side with him over me. She's always going to prioritize her time or any important events with him."

How do you try to still employ a sense of not defaulting to that hierarchy when you are in something that from the outside similarly looks very much like the typical hierarchical this person is the only person who's actually important in my life?

Emily: I'm not going to pretend like if I had a big trip or if I had a big thing with my family members or concert or something that probably the first person that I would ask would be Josh, that is the relationship that I'm currently in. I'd say for certain things and my time, my every day time, and my weekly, monthly, the time that I give, that I think potentially is more along the side of relationship anarchy in terms of the actual blocks of time.

In terms of other things like big trips or family or whatever, yes, absolutely, Josh would be the person that I would ask. I don't pretend to hide that I don't think, and in the relationship that I'm currently in, I don't think that I have to apologize for that. I don't think that I have to feel bad about that. I think that just is what we are doing and that's the place that I am fine with being in. In contrast, I also go on elaborate trips with the two of you and don't do that with him. I also get to have my time.

Dedeker: You don't go on tour with your boyfriend?

Emily: No, I haven't yet and he hasn't wanted to come so from that standpoint there are things that I do with him and things that I do with you guys and the two don't necessarily meet, but there's a time and the place for the decisions that we make and the types of relationships that we have.

Dedeker: It reminds me of actually something else that Aggie said on the Solo Polyamory episode that of course, there's always going to be the debate of is hierarchy good, is hierarchy bad, what kinds are good, what kinds of bad, but she said, "But really, it comes down to just having a basis of ethics and consent." I think that is the thing is that in your situation, or in many people's situation a lot of people that I know, feel very strongly about, "No, this is my primary partner. I know, I have a very clear hierarchy." I think that's okay, everyone else who engages in your life has to know about that and has to be able to give an informed consent to how they get involved with you.

Emily: Absolutely.

Dedeker: I think that's where the sneaky hierarchy conversation comes in. Is like, if you haven't disclosed to a new partner or someone like what your obligations are, what is your "allowed or not allowed to do" that that's a recipe for disaster. Thank you so much, Miss Matlack.

Dedeker: You didn't ask me the do you think that particular relationships or hierarchy could be a good thing?

Jase: Do you have a good answer for it?

Emily: Yes, I was going to say children relationships that I know that some parents I never experienced this, but when I was a child my mother put me above and ahead of everything else, and I never had a father growing up so maybe that relationship if they had been functional would have been more hierarchical. I think when you have a kid they, in essence, maybe should be first and so that hierarchy to me is established and the thing to do and that is okay.

Dedeker: I think it's interesting because I've met people who identify as solo polyamorous for instance, like they're not partner, they're not looking to be partner, but they have kids, and they're like, yes, these kids are my primary partners.

Emily: Exactly.

Dedeker: I think it's the same thing that, let's say, even if you chose to co-parent with someone that you're not involved with romantically or sexually, let's say you choose to co-parent with your best friend and you still have a romantic partner that again, it brings up those questions of who takes priority? It's, well, the kids take priority and then you sort it out after that, I suppose.

Emily: Exactly, but that wasn't said before, that's the relationship that I think does take precedent.

Dedeker: Romantic relationship.

Jase: I've been thinking of the question more in terms of like, what types of romantic relationships, but that's a good point to look at that a little more closely.

Emily: I didn't only talk about romantic relationships.

Dedeker: That''s true.

Jase: Well done.

Dedeker: Y'all, I think this episode's coming on September at this point, but the month of August is our birthday, which the whole month of August just the entire month is Multiamory month where we turned four and to celebrate our fourth birthday, we are doing a very special thing. Basically, for any iTunes review, written review not star rating, any written iTunes review that we receive anytime between the dates of August 1, 2018 until the end of September, for every single written review, we are going to donate $5 to the Ali Forney Center in New York, Ali Forney, I said that right? Yes. To the Ali Forney Center in New York.

Ali Forney Center is a homeless center, they provide shelter, they provide resources for specifically teens who are LGBTQ, who are struggling with being on the streets, being kicked out from their family of origin not having a place to go. Again, for every single written review that we receive, we will donate $5 to their efforts, definitely go check them out. The best thing is that it doesn't even take any of your money. It just takes two minutes of your time to go to Multiamory on iTunes, leave us a review, we'll count them up at the end of September and then donate money.

Again, it will not only help us out by letting other people know to listen to the show, but it will also help to provide more resources and support for LGBTQ teams who maybe don't have the kind of family support that they need.

Jase: Another thing that we would love is for you to join our community on Patreon. At patreon.com/multiamory, you can contribute a certain amount of money every month to this show. What that does, in addition to helping to support this show, to help it keep going, to help get this message out there, it also allows you to be part of our really amazing supportive community on both Facebook and Discourse, you can be in both, or just one or the other. As well as at higher levels we have a video discussion group, we have ad free episodes that come out a day early, lots of other incentives and things, but it allows you to be part of this incredible community of people who can support each other when things are good, when things are bad. We have some really cool discussions about each of the episodes where people can share some of their personal stories or add their own insights to it and it's just amazing the amount of activity that goes on in those groups. We would love for you to be part of that and you can do that at patreon.com/multiamory.

Dedeker: I have a very special exciting announcement to make. Myself and author and educator Jessica Graham, who we had on the episode or on the podcast a few months ago about her new book about sex and mindfulness. She and I are going to be doing a workshop in LA on September 15. I think by the time this episode comes out, there'll still be some time to sign up.

Jase: That's just like a few days from when this comes out.

Emily: Yes.

Dedeker: Specifically, we're doing a workshop called Beyond Sex Positive. It's a sex and relationship workshop for women and non-binary gender fluid people who are comfortable in women centered spaces. We're going to be taking people through a bunch of different exercises for discovering specifically their desires around sex and relationships, reclaiming freedom and authenticity in your sexuality and as well as deepening your capacity for intimacy. We're going to be exploring pleasure, consent, embodiment, relationships, your relationship history and also self love through a variety of exercises, some writing and as well as some meditation and spiritual practice.

Again, if you're in LA, if you're interested in this workshop, if you're available to come hang out with us on September 15, then send an email to me to dedeker@multiamory.com to get more information about how to sign up for that.

Emily: Finally, Audible is our sponsor for this week. I am currently reading the book The Cuckoo's Calling which is a Robert Galbraith novel which is actually JK Rowling. That's just JK Rowling's Alias, but it's narrated by this guy Robert Glenister. It's amazing. My mother read all of these novels. There's a fourth one coming out I think in September and these novels are great. They're really fun, like murder mysteries style, very different than JK Rowling's Harry Potter stuff. Also, really well-written and very just centered around awesome characters.

So, I highly recommend them if you go to audibletrial.com/multiamory, then you will get a free 30-day trial of Audible and also a free audiobook download. You can keep that download even if you don't continue with the Audible after the trial, you can keep that book. Probably you're going to want to continue with Audible because it's so great, my mom continued and loves it. There we go, and has read all of these books. Again audibletrial.com/multiamory and you will be able to help us out as well and get your free 30-day trial.

Jase:  We wanted to let you all know about an exciting event that's coming up in November that's actually being done by our very first podcast network people. If you guys remember Dan and Don from the Erotic Awakenings podcast, that was our very first podcast network years ago, they're doing there Beyond The Love event coming up in November.

Emily:  Yes, this awesome event is happening in Columbus, Ohio, November 9th through the 11th. It's actually the sixth year that they've done this event so they're veterans by now. They've been doing it for a really long time, which is awesome. Come to Columbus Ohio for the special event, November 9th through the 11th.

Dedeker:  Yes, so it's going to be three days of classes, workshops, social spaces, board games as every polyamorous person knows and loves. As well as just getting to meet and mingle and hang out with other people who are like-minded and who are also interested in non-traditional relationships.

Jase:  How many people?

Dedeker:  I'm glad that you asked. They get about 300 as a turnout, it's a good chunk like, that's a very well-attended event. Yes, exactly and they specifically wanted us to mention that they have a flirt track set up. If you are specifically interested in meeting someone else maybe more for partnership or relationship connection or something like that. Just to clarify, this is something that we've seen at a couple of conferences that I actually thought was really cool and I like it. They set up something that's kind of like a bulletin board essentially and if you're interested and if you're open to people meeting you, particularly more of a partner seeking kind of way, you can fill out a little envelope with your name on it. It's kind of like Valentine's Day in school where you make your little mailbox and people can leave you notes.

It could be flirty notes or like that they're interested in you or could just be nice notes about like, "Hey, I just thought you looked really nice today or whatever." I know some conferences let you even color code your envelope so you can clarify like what kind of connections are looking for. Anyway, that's something that's going to be available there too.

Jase:  Yes, we also want to warn you that this event tends to sell out about a month in advance which is coming up pretty soon here. If you do want to register for that and get your tickets, you can go to beyondthelove.org, beyondthelove.org. There's also a bunch more information about it there if you want to read up on any of these things.

Emily:  Wow, Jason, it is time.

Dedeker:  Yes, the interview chair is all warmed up for you.

Jase:  All right. Yes, cool. Okay, this is a comfy chair, it's so warm. Thanks,

Dedeker:  Thank you for joining us. Mr. Lindgren. [laughs] I’ll start us out.

Emily:  Go for it.

Dedeker:  Mr. Lindgren. What is your definition of hierarchy?

Jase:  Gosh, the two of you have given such great answers already. I think it’s interesting and I think that part of the problem with the word hierarchy and the way that it's often used is the fact that it does apply to a broad range of things. Emily put it in terms of it's kind of your priorities of certain things over other things, and yes, absolutely on a hierarchy of things, like I like pizza more than I like pasta. You could say there's a hierarchy and if given the choice, I'm going to pick pizza over pasta, over spaghetti specifically, let me clarify.

Anyway, I feel like it gets it gets a little bit tricky when we start looking at it, so probably like that. For the purposes of how I'm thinking about it, I prefer to think of it more hierarchy in terms of something that's like a system in place that things are kind of locked into. That to me is different from just priority because those could change, you know, our taste buds are supposed to change every seven years. Maybe red sauce spaghetti would beat out pizza at some point.

Emily:  What? Never going to happen?

Jase:  Yes, I know, but it could, I'll be open to anything. I think those things can change. Whereas when I think hierarchy, I think more like hierarchy in terms of something that's much more locked in place. Almost like a class system that's very heavily enforced in a culture or like we often talk about with a prescriptive hierarchy, meaning it's a hierarchy in your relationships that you've decided upon with the agreement that this can't change or with the assumption often. Often that's not even explicitly stated, but the assumption that this can't change and so we're going to put things in place to keep it from changing. That's kind of more what I think when I think of hierarchy and that's maybe different from just priority.

Emily: Okay, what kind of hierarchy do you currently practice?

Jase:  For me I have definitely over the past few years since doing this podcast and talking about these things more and examining these things, have found relationship anarchy to be something that really resonates with me. Part of my hesitancy at first, I think was some of the misunderstanding that a lot of people have with relationship anarchy is the idea that it means everyone has to be equal. For me, and we'll probably get more into this later, but I like to sort of use the analogy of our friends or maybe even-- Let's stick with friends instead of family members because we choose our friends. Of using the analogy of that and that with my friends, I definitely have some friends who given the choice, I'm going to choose them over other friends

If it were like I've got a vacation, I'm going to go spend that visiting my best friend in Washington, or I'm going to spend that like doing a cool trip with Eric in LA. I have some friends who I prioritize over other ones, but if I'm developing a new friendship or meeting someone new and want to go do something cool with someone say that I just met, neither of those friends would say, "Hey, you can't do that," or like, "This is threatening to me so I'm going to stop you from doing that." To me that's the kind of lack of hierarchy that I like to practice in my romantic relationships as well. Essentially saying that in the same way that it's not like a friends going to tell you who you can or can't be friends with besides them. Maybe some friends do this and I'd say stop being friends with them. That's kind of my way of looking at hierarchy in my romantic relationships.

Emily:  I see that, that's great.

Dedeker:  What has been a particularly painful experience that you've had with hierarchy?

Jase: Gosh, it's so easy to go to the times we've all been all talking about the book times.

Dedeker:  You got other times? This is so formative then

Jase:  I know that was so formative then. Gosh, I'd say there's a couple things that come to mind. One, is specifically in that instance of being in a situation where I was a secondary partner to Dedeker. That's how that had been from the beginning and like everyone would say, I knew what I was getting into and I understood that. However, there weren't really specific rules or restrictions on what that meant. Then over time as Brad started dealing with issues in his own life, he started to try and exert power over or place rules or restrictions on my relationship with Dedeker. That was awful, that affected me a lot and I think that when people try to make the justification of, "As long as you know what you're getting into from the start, it's fine." I don't think it is because of two things.

One, is that often it's not like here's the very clear list of rules, but also that person entering into it doesn't know the other partner, their metamour who would be the one enforcing these rules on them or potentially the one to try to exert the power of this hierarchy. They don't really know that person, they don't have even the opportunity to develop that level of trust with that person and I don't think they necessarily should.

It's one thing to hear second-hand, these are the rules, but don't worry about it because we're fine and we have a good relationship versus when something comes up and that could be something entirely unrelated to you, that's then all of a sudden these things are going to be used against you. That was was really shitty.

Then also on the other side of that was like Emily pointed out because I felt like something was being taken from me. I became so focused on the unfairness of that and how shitty that situation was, that I was not prioritizing my other relationship with Emily enough and that we had that label of hierarchy or that label of primary that as soon as that primary wasn't being fulfilled because there was also a certain expectation there that led it to feel like, "Oh, this is all fallen apart." Like Emily said, was like, "I'm going to get out of this situation."

On both sides of that, having that primary label may have ultimately hurt my relationship with Emily, but then also fighting for rights as a secondary partner with Dedeker also led me to ignore my relationship with Emily at times when I really shouldn't have been. Lots of pain around that for me.

Emily: Were there moments where hierarchy served you well?

Jase: No.

Dedeker: Not at all?

Emily: None?

Jase: I guess I could say it served me well right from the beginning just because it felt more comfortable. Emily and I were in a monogamous relationship first that we opened up. We might not have felt like we could make that transition if there wasn't a hierarchy to talk about and to reassure each other like, don't worry, you're always going to be first. In that way, maybe it made polyamory even feel accessible and allowed us to continue that relationship instead of just having to break up or something at that time. I could see in that way that it served me well, maybe it's a stepping stone to something else.

Dedeker: Do you think that there are any particular relationships where hierarchy could be a good thing or a necessary thing?

Jase: To take it back to my initial definition of hierarchy, I would say no in the sense that something is locked in and with the assumption that this is eternal and can't ever change. That said, Emily's example of parents with kids is absolutely of course, like this child is dependent upon you, you better fucking commit to that kid. That's not really a choice you get to make, that's not something you can just change your mind on later. Other than that though, that could also be viewed as more like I'm going to prioritize this kid rather than needing to label it specifically as a hierarchy. If you want to, that's fine.

Dedeker: If I can play the devil's advocate, this is going to make me sound and be like, "Some kids are really bad." Sorry that's not I'm going for, is more of to be fair even that parent-child relationship that still changes over time. Sometimes there is a tension there in once a child actually is an adult and independent and able to take care of themselves that there is that tension in that relationship changing for a number of parents of like, "Oh my goodness, this person doesn't actually need me anymore, what do I do?"

That there can be tension in parents trying to hang on to that power dynamic, either from a good place or from a less good place of this is what our roles have always been and, I can't stand to have that change and some people are more okay with it, more it's, "Finally, you're out of the house and now I get to do what I want for a change."

Jase: I definitely heard that one less often.

Dedeker: It's like even though you prioritize kids, that is still a relationship that has to change that priority and that sense of hierarchy there has to change at some point.

Jase: That's a great example. I'll take it back to like no, I don't really think there's a sense if we're using my previous definition of hierarchy which is obviously different than the definitions that either of you gave, mine's a little more narrow. I would say in that sense, no, there's not. In more of the broader sense like Emily brought up which I would describe more as priority, but we're talking about the same thing, then I would say children or just anyone that you make commitments to should be prioritized.

Keeping commitments is important, whether that's a business commitment or a commitment to own property together or to have kids together or toward those kids or whatever it is. Even to pets or animals or taking care of podcast, it could be all sorts of things. I would still think that priority makes more sense because it's able to change hopefully in a healthy way with communication, but it's more able to change then the way I think of a hierarchy.

Emily: Just finally the question that I pose to Dedeker as well, if you haven't really dated a ton in the way in which your relationship with Dedeker has formed and lasted for so long, and you travel a lot with her and go all over the world with her and stuff and then also come back to LA and she comes with you and stuff and so all of those things, how does that play into the model in which you've set up for yourself in your relationship with her.

Jase: It's something that has come up and it's something I've realized, I was taking for granted for quite a while that other people had a similar mental definition of what hierarchy meant to what I did. If I talk about not having a hierarchy, what people here is not having priorities essentially--

Dedeker: Not having important relationships?

Jase: Yes, or not having any relationships that are significantly more important to me than others or significantly more closely entwined than others. I realize that's been a mistake on my part to not understand that that might mean a different thing and to be more clear about that, because I have had people who I have dated because I've dated quite a bit over the past few years. Some have lasted longer than others and some have been more serious than others, but I have had a few times where that's come up where someone's been like, you say you're not hierarchical and yet I see how important Dedeker is to you and how you travel with her, and given your choice you're going to want to spend a lot of time with her.

One of my go-to tools is to use the analogy of friends. Like I was mentioning earlier with like there are some friends who given the choice, I'm going to spend a lot more time with than someone else. I don't think that's just a product of how long you've been with that person. For example, I have a friend who I was really really good friends with in middle school and we're still friends today on Facebook, but I probably haven't seen him in several years. I would say actually to date of anyone who I'm still in touch with, he might be my oldest friend, yet he's definitely not the one who I'm closest with or who I would go out of my way to go spend time with or stay at his place or invite him to stay with me or plan a trip with him or any of these other things which I'll do with other friends of mine who obviously still I have friends who I've known for quite a while now, but it's not just a product of time.

First, there's that. The same thing is true with my relationships that in this case like yes, I've been with Dedeker longer than any other relationships just because that's how that's worked out. I think Dedeker's amazing. I really enjoy my time with her, like, hell yes. I'm going to prioritize spending time with her when I can.

Dedeker: However, can I actually share a little bit of my experience?

Jase: Sure.

Dedeker: I bring this up because I actually think it's really sweet. If we're ever in LA together, you prioritize your relationship with Eric a lot, like a lot a lot a lot. The two of you go on dates all the time, road dates, you have a date to watch Better Call Saul or to play board games. Often, to my experience, even though it's like we may be staying in the same place, but you're going on dates with Eric more often than you're going on dates outside the house with me. I don't bring it up as a bad thing. I actually love it, but that's the other thing is that, I think the only person who notices that from the outside is Eric maybe.

Jase: What everyone else sees romantic relationship and so they put on these certain blinders of, "Well, if you're prioritizing that, that's a different thing than him just spending time with his friend. I think there's that a little bit.

I did want to say, though, to take it back to more of the relationship, anarchy sort of thing and also, the lack of hierarchy, is just that at the same time, I wouldn't accept Eric to put limits on who I'm allowed to spend time with, and I wouldn't expect that from Dedeker either. That to me wouldn't be an acceptable thing for her to say. That said, at the same time, they're both people who I listen to and I trust. I am going to listen to them if they're saying, "Hey, I feel this other relationship that you have, whether it's a friend or a partner or whatever, seems I'm noticing you being unhappy a lot because of that relationship. Again, not telling you what to do. I'm noticing this thing."

I think that's worthwhile to realize. I think when people hear no hierarchy, they think, "What if my partner starts dating this abusive person, and I can't tell them to stop?" I think that, it's based on this assumption that if someone doesn't have authority in a hierarchical, established way, that they're just going to ignore you.

Emily: Buck wild and not make good decisions for themselves.

Dedeker: I also don't even feel, either myself or Eric have had any conversation like that with you very often. Maybe Eric has, I don't know.

Jase: I feel Eric and I have had some conversations like that.

Dedeker: About friends or other partners or stuff like that?

Jase: Yes, about people that I've been dating. Especially if I'm in an NRE, where if there's really good sexual chemistry, and I'm just blinded by that. There have been times where he's been like, "Hey, this person sucks to be around. Just do what you're going to do, but I feel like there's something here that maybe you're not seeing right now because of your attraction to them." That's not to say I heard it and was like, "Yes, immediately going to do that because of some sort of hierarchy."

I did take that into consideration. I do think ultimately, in that instance, he was correct, that there was some stuff I was just ignoring. Maybe I was aware of, but just choosing to ignore because I was very physically attracted to this person. That's my answer, is just that I think it is worth being clear with people that I do have priority people in my lives, and that's Eric, and that's you, Emily and that's this podcast, and that's Dedeker and it's obviously my family and it's my brother.

I have these people where it's like, "This person needs $1,000, gosh, okay, I'll try to get that together to help this person." Whereas I'm not going to do that for other friends or other relationships or for some of my random cousins and stuff, even family.

Dedeker: Random cousins?

Jase: I have a lot of cousins, sorry.

Emily: Those Midwesterners procreating all over the place.

Jase: Exactly. Anyway, just to, again, to use analogies is the way I find useful to think about it to be like, "There's priority people in my life, and Dedeker is one of them." Just because I also happen to have sex and be romantic with her, doesn't make that one somehow different from the others in terms of what authority I give her over my life or what I expect to have over her.

Emily: Well, maybe this helped you all out there, because I know this is a thing that people think about a lot and that they ask about and that they want to know more about.

Dedeker: Actually I really appreciate all of us getting to share our slightly different takes on it, because I think that is valuable to people. A lot of people, definitely in my experience, really just want an answer. It's like, "Tell me, is it good that? Tell me, should I do it or shouldn't I do it? How do I do it? How do I do I not do it? Of course, we can all have opinions on that on what's going to maybe work out better for you or not. I think it is also valuable to talk about the fact that first of all, we've all messed this up numerous times.

We all have landed in different places and we're also all learning and shifting and changing and figuring as we go along. Hopefully, if you're listening to this, this offered some insight for you, wherever you are.

Jase: We would also love to hear from you.What have your experiences been with hierarchy? Has that changed over time? Have you had any of these life changing, paradigm shifting experiences like it seems we've had? We would love you to be involved in that conversation. The best way to do that is to share your thoughts with other listeners on this episode's discussion thread, which we have in our private Facebook and our Discourse forums that are available to our patrons.

You can get access to these groups and join our exclusive community by going to patreon.com/multiamory. In addition, you can share with us publicly on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and join the conversation there. You can email us at info@multiamory.com. Leave us a voicemail at 678 M-U-L-T-l 05. Or you can leave us a voice message on Facebook. Multiamory is created and produced by Emily Matlock, Dedeker Winston and me, Jase Lindgren.

Our episodes are edited by Mauricio, our social media wizard is Will Mcmillan. Our theme song is Forms I know I Did by Josh and Anand from the Fractal Cave EP.