This week we’re talking about how to be open, honest, and unafraid when talking to other people about your relationships, whether they are someone you are dating, a new acquaintance, or an old friend. -- a little something that we call being unapolygetic. Check out Dara Hoffman-Fox's worksheet for coming out here: http://darahoffmanfox.com/comingoutworksheet/
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Jase: On this episode of the multiamory podcast, we're talking about how to be open, honest and unafraid when talking to other people about your relationships. Whether they are someone you're dating, a new acquaintance or an old friend, a little something we like to call being unapologetic.
Dedeker: I guess I got to stop resisting that term finally.
Jase: No, it's here to stay.
Dedeker: Now, it's here to stay.
Emily: Now it's a thing that we have to use, we even have stickers that say unapologetic.
Dedeker: TM TM TM TM TM.
Emily: What does it mean to be unapologetic?
Jase: Well, before that, can we set the scene a little bit of where we are and what's happening right now?
Dedeker: What is happening right now?
Jase: Well, right now, we are about at the halfway point on our second national tour, it's just super exciting and right now we're in Dallas in a nice little--
Emily: Cosy little bungalow-
Jase: Yes, in little Airbnb and there's a thunderstorm going outside. If you hear any thunder in the background, don't be alarmed.
Dedeker: Thunder, fear the thunder.
Emily: That's song, do you know it? No?
Dedeker: I don't know what you are referencing.
Emily: Dammit, I forget their name. But it's a song and it's about thunder. Anyone who remember this?
Anyone who remembers, it's like a big top 40 right now I think.
Jase: Really? Okay.
Dedeker: Yes, just know that multiamory never stops working. Even on tour, in between shows, here we are recording yet another podcast because this is our life.
Jase: Yes, I feel like on this tour in several cities people have been like, "What stuff you gotten up to in our city today?" I am like, "Well-
Emily: Nothing, not a lot.
Jase: We sat in our Airbnb and planned another episode, recorded at the dorm, planned our talk for--
Dedeker: This trip is not for fun, it's a business.
Jase: Exactly, but here we are recording this fun episode which is one we've been meaning to record for a while. This is exciting to get to this.
Emily: Back to it, what does unapologetic mean?
Jase: All right, essentially being unapologetic as you know being unapologetic about the life that you live and what that means more specifically is living a life that is as coherent or as congruent as possible. What congruent means-- this is a favorite word of mine, it essentially means just that your actions line up with your words. Also in different-- Like in each communication you have with different people that those things also line up, it's just about everything being in congruence with each other.
Dedeker: It is like your inner life matches your outer-life as much as possible.
Jase: As much as possible, yes.
Emily: Also, it means not needing to feel like you have to lie or omit or even just conceal or dance around the truth of who you are and what you're doing in your relationships and in your life and I think taking ownership of it in a way.
Dedeker: That's a good way of putting it.
Emily: Yes, instead of just saying like, "Oh well, I do something and it's a little bit different than what you do or whatever," instead of really talking about it and owning it and being proud of who you are and what you're all about.
Dedeker: Right. I feel like a part of this very big philosophical topic, I feel like a part of it is also knowing how to take care of yourself and still feel okay even in the face of rejection from people even in the face of pushback from people. The more we describe it, the more I feel like this doesn't just apply to if you identify as polyamorous is going to apply to any kind of identity that you hold that maybe goes against the grain a little bit. But of course, on this episode, we're going to be focusing specifically on non-traditional relationships.
Jase: Right, whatever that is whether that polyamorous or just-- I feel like you're right though, this really applies to anything. Even if you are approaching all of your relationships as monogamous relationships that there's still the way that you do relationships and the value you have in how you conduct those relationships. That's all part of the same thing.
Emily: Anything that's not the societal social norm could still be scary to put out there to the masses.
Jase: Well, because the big myth is that there is a societal norm. We talk about it a lot and while yes, there are certain structures like sexual exclusivity and all relationships should be trying to lead toward marriage, sure, those are societal norms. But in terms of how you actually do that, what communication looks like in your relationships, what counts as exclusive or not, what's cheating or what's not, that's something that often we assume, "Oh, everyone must have the same idea about this," but when you actually start to talk about it you realize you don't.
Being unapologetic or in that case, unapologetically monogamous, that is really owning those things and having those real conversations about what that means for you and part of that like Dedeker was saying is knowing how to be true to those things even if it might not always be received the best way. Someone might say, "I disagree with that and I don't want to associate with the likes of you."
Dedeker: Be gone.
Jase: [laughs] We've all travel to Middle England?
Dedeker: But wait, Middle England?
Dedeker: Like Middle Age England? Like middle earth?
Jase: Or middle earth, either one.
Emily: They would do out there. Okay, why are we talking about this? So many people have said to me, "Well, why are you talking about something that's in the bedroom or that's whatever? Why are you making it my business?"
Dedeker: Well, again, if we're just going to focus on nontraditional relationships, we can talk about what the current status quo is right now. Non-monogamous relationships or nontraditional relationships are surprisingly pretty prevalent depending on what study you look at, some studies say that at least 20% of the population has experienced some kind of consensual/ethical non-monogamous relationship in their life time. There is other studies that say like right now, currently, probably about 5% of the population is in some kind of non-monogamous relationship. Those seem like maybe relatively small percentages but it's a big chunk of people.
Jase: Right. This is millions of people in the United States alone.
Dedeker: Yes, however, and again just to put that in perspective, if 20% of the population has experienced a non-monogamous relationship and 5% is currently in one. Right now, at least in America, only 6% of the population is vegan. I guess depending on where you live, it may feel like-
Emily: I am the 6%.
Dedeker: You are part of the 6%.
Depending on where you live, you may feel like, yes, 6% that feels rare or you maybe like, it feels like the freaking vegans everywhere.
Emily: Los Angeles.
Dedeker: Yes, exactly. However, even though it's a relatively probable thing, of course there's still a lot of blowback, a lot of stigma, a lot of consequences for people who are in nontraditional relationships and that manifests in all kinds of different ways. Whether it's like the stuff that we talked about with people having to handle custody battles for their children about their polyamorous identity being used against them in a court case, a lack of workplace protections like we were talking about with Jonathan Lane and of course, general negative perception.
I think any of us who have either dabbled or fully identify as someone who thrives in non-monogamous relationship, everyone has a story of the negative reactions that they've gotten from someone whether it's a friend or a family member or a potential partner or things like that.
I forget if we've mentioned this on the podcast before, no, but there was a study at the University of Michigan where they found that the negative perception of polyamorous relationships doesn't just affect how much a random person maybe thinks that they're less moral or less romantic or less stable but it also bleeds into other more arbitrary categories as in people perceive that a person who is non-monogamous is less likely to floss their teeth, we talked about the teeth flossing or that they're less reliable in walking their dog or less likely to get their taxes done on time.
Emily: Just simply because they're non- monogamous.
Dedeker: Yes, because I think the attachment is like, oh, this person has a normative values or this person isn't running their life correctly or this person is maybe just an unethical person and so that must mean that they're less responsible or "a bad person" in other areas of life as well.
Emily: It's that they're less likely to do these things than a person who is monogamus?
Dedeker: Than a person who is monogamous, exactly, that people perceive that someone who is in a monogamous relationship was just like more morally upright and reliable and responsible.
Emily: Yes, and the same thing holds true for people who are single versus married. The people find married people to be far more like trustworthy and kind even and understanding of others than those who are single.
Dedeker: I guess this is just perception, this is not pretty much every study of either polyamorous versus monogamous people or single people versus married people find that people have a pretty similar life satisfaction and relationship satisfaction level. It's just that the perception is very different.
Emily: Yes. There's a lot of like general fear and misunderstanding that comes along with nontraditional relationships. Most of it is just because of a lack of education and awareness and then a lack of a personal contact point for someone who's in a nontraditional relationship.
I'd say, yes, before I became non-monogamous, I really had no idea that it was a thing. I definitely thought about it and I was like, "I don't know, do we all have to be monogamous people?" But I didn't have a word for it and I still think as much as it's like steeped into our lives, there's still a lot of people who have no idea what it is.
Emily: Then therefore when they do come across it, there's a lot of fear involved with that.
Jase: Sure, well, any time something's new and unknown, it is scarier and that's unfortunate and causes a lot of problems in the world but it is true. For example, as more of the positive side of that is there was a Gallup poll that was done a little while ago that basically showed that if you personally know someone who's gay that will affect your views about gay issues like gay marriage or other gay rights in a positive way. Just simply knowing somebody. They don't even have to be a friend really but just even an acquaintance. Just knowing someone because it makes it human. It makes it--
Dedeker: It puts a face to this like amorphous concept.
Jase: There have been similar studies actually about trans issues as well that even knowing someone who knows someone personally will make you more likely to--
Emily: See other side.
Jase: To vote more favorably on trans issues. Essentially just that. Like that higher visibility for same sex relationships leads to lower disapproval and higher acceptance. That for polyamorous people I believe that this would be the same thing. There haven't been the same studies done but it seems like a pretty obvious correlation there that this would be a similar type of thing. That just simply being aware and not knowing about it rather than people hiding behind pseudonyms or being dodgy about it or accepting the idea that this is something you should only talk about in the bedroom.
That's like why are you talking about this thing because it's the bedroom issue. I just want to be like cool. You're wearing your wedding ring right now. I didn't want to know that you're having sex. How absurd is that?
Dedeker: Why you got to tell us this personal problems? Display it to the world.
Emily: I think that is also like people misconstrue that it is just a bedroom thing. That it's just a sex thing as opposed to it being a way of life and about relationships and about like emotional connections with other humans not just one.
Dedeker: If we're looking at the big picture, ultimately I think why it's important to talk about this. I think why it's important to be unapologetic. Is that phenomenon is that higher visibility does lead to more acceptance and less disapproval for everyone. Of course, this could be on the macro level of being unapologetic like to the entire world or like on a podcast, for instance, or it could be just on the micro level of being open and out and unapologetic with yourself and with the people closest to you.
Because we're not here to necessarily tell you like you have to go start a podcast of your own and start talking to everybody about your life and your relationships. Like you're going to have to figure out the right level for you that's the safest and the best for your life.
Emily: One of the ways of doing that is to look internally. I think that's the first pillar of what we're going to talk about today. When you do first become polyamorous, it is really important to look unworried and really become aware of your own internal biases surrounding non monogamy and relationships in general. Something that I had and I'm sure that all of us had was internalized poly guilt just immediately. That looks like just feeling guilty about the fact that we are told sort of "You're having your cake and eating it too."
That's not okay in a way instead of being like well I should be okay with one person. I should be okay with what the societal norm tells us is what we need to be doing at all times. I think that that just takes a lot of years of deprogramming in a way to really get comfortable with it.
Dedeker: I think for me the biggest thing was learning to deprogram, I guess how sex negative I was. You know about all of the messages that I received both in my childhood like in my formative years about what I should or shouldn't want sexually as a woman, for instance. Then on top of it in my adult years as well dating people and as I was trying to find my identity, find what it is that I want in relationships also budding up against dating partners telling me that I shouldn't want to have multiple partners or I shouldn't want a particular type of sex or a particular frequency of sex or sex with particular person.
Jase: Did you ever get like that you shouldn't want sex at all?
Emily: Yes, hell fucking yes.
Jase: Like even from partners. Just the idea that you would like be the one to initiate sex would be something negative about you?
Emily: I had a partner tell me, "You've slept with three people." Like that's a ton. That's really promiscuous. Which was fucked up.
Dedeker: That is fucked up. I don't know. No, I think with any partners I've had in the past, like it's okay for me to want sex if it's with them all the time. The only time I've ever been accused of like wanting too much sex has been if it's like I want sex with someone else as well. Actually that's not true. I've definitely been accused of being greedy for wanting certain things sexually like more than one orgasm or something like that.
Dedeker: I know, right. And I'm like, "It's not like it's hard like--" [laughs]
Emily: For some people it is even for--
Dedeker: I know for some people it is.
Emily: Now I hear you, wow.
Jase: So, yes. It comes at us not just in our upbringing but also like you were saying in our relationships, for sure. I think that even for people who decide to be non-monogamous those stigmas of like that non-monogamous people are less responsible or they're less likely to be contributing members of society.
Dedeker: Or just they're selfish.
Emily: Exactly. Like that one I've heard so many times.
Jase: I've definitely gotten that the selfish one or at least be questioned about that by new partners that I've dated since being polyamorous who themselves were like, "Well, I'm interested to try it. I'm not sure. I'm interested in you though." That is one that comes up, it's like, "Don't you feel like you're being selfish sometimes?"
Emily: You're like, "No."
Jase: Well, as my answer in that case was just sort of like, "Well, what selfish about it exactly?" It seems like if anything like to say I get this person and no one else can have them seems like the selfish thing. If you're thinking about it as an analogy to like a cake or a toy or something that I'm the only one who can play with this toy versus anyone else can play with this toy as well if the toy wants to.
Dedeker: I think the main takeaway here is I think just the fact that no matter how confident you feel in your identity and in your choices you're still constantly steeped in a lot of messages from all around you of people and TV and media and everything trying to tell you like what you want is not correct. Again regardless of how confident you are it takes energy to just be able to live with that and deal with that on a daily basis.
Emily: Then there's also our fear of rejection which I think is huge. It's not just like being rejected by our friends and family because we are polyamorous or we're deciding to do this thing that's very different from what other people are doing but it's also that rejection when meeting new people when trying to go out there and date and just saying to them like, "Hey, this is who I am," and having that possibility that they're not going to want to be with you because of it.
Dedeker: That's such a huge one. I know I struggled with that for years, like so many years that I spent dating and knowing that like non-monogamy is something that I want but I'm so scared of the idea that I would go on a first date and this person would reject me because I said that. So I try to find all these like shady ways of like talking around it or like really postponing how long I'd wait before I brought it up because the most important thing is I need this person to like me first, they need to like me first.
They need to like me first and that I can pitch them on this. It took me years until I realized no, if this person is going to like me, that's a part of me too that they have to like. If they don't like that part then they just don't like me and I have to get over the fear of someone not liking me.
Jase: That relates to our next point here which is to find ways to empower yourself through those difficult times of being polyamorous. Basically, how do you connect to your sense of self worth and your self esteem to the point where you can handle those types of rejections and to have conviction about what you're doing so that you can with confidence say exactly what Dedeker was saying, "Well, if someone doesn't want to be with me because of this that is part of me."
That just means they don't want to be with me. That that's okay. I would rather have them know that sooner than later or to try to manipulate them into liking me later by getting them attached to me first or something like that.
Dedeker: Attached to what's ultimately an incorrect version of me. Which I think people don't realize.
Jase: Well, because I think it's tied to a lack of self worth. If you feel like, "Well, no one could really like all of me so I've got to find this way to lure them in first before they have to deal with the shitty side of me which is being polyamorous."
Dedeker: God knows I've struggled with that. Just with that bare belief of like if someone really knew all of me they wouldn't love me, they won't like me, they wouldn't want to date me. I know for me this goes beyond just like pitching it to new partners for the first time. When I'm talking to someone on a dating app and talking about my life this extends beyond to at least in my life. Maybe like I'm on a first date with someone and they know you know to make sure they know ahead of time what it is, like I answer questions on the first day and they're still interested.
Emily: They've Googled you.
Dedeker: They've Googled me.
They're still into it. Then when it gets down to brass tacks for instance like they send me a message a week later like, "What are you up to?" I happened to be heading to the movies with Jase, for instance, that in that mode of being like do I say, "I'm about to head to movie with Jase," or do I just say, "I'm about to head to a movie." I still sometimes have that deep instinct of let's not risk it because I'm having bad experiences in the past. Let's just say, "We're heading to a movie," and just try to soften it like cushion them a little bit.
Jase: We've talked about before it's like sugar coating.
Dedeker: The sugar coating a little bit. Obviously, it's like they know about me having other partners, they know about Jase and Alex and whatever. There's still that instinct to be like, "Do I need to cushion them from this?" I find for myself I have to just really psych myself up when I'm writing that text message. Just be like no. I'm just going to tell him actually what's happening. Again if this person cannot handle me going to the movies with Jase I would rather have--
Emily: They can't handle me at all.
Dedeker: They can't handle me at all. I'd rather deal with that little bit of pain now than much much later.
Jase: I had a relationship a while, I guess it was a couple years ago now. She was new to polyamory and was saying, "Okay, I'm interested, let's try this see how it goes." The relationship ended up not working out. A mutual friend of ours later and she and I were talking about it. Her take on it was you should have treated her with more kid gloves. You should have sugar coated this more and protected her from it more.
What I responded to her I was like, "I actually think I should have done the opposite," because I think the mistake I made in that case was trying to shield her from it too much at first so that she didn't get an accurate impression of what a relationship with me would actually look like. Then as time moved on--
Dedeker: Do you have a little bit of specifics about that?
Jase: Well, specifically in this instance, it was the fact that I would also go on dates with new people. That I didn't do that at first because it's like, "Well, I want her to feel comfortable first before I actually would go on a date with anyone new or expressed interest in anyone else that's new." That's when I really struggled with of being more upfront about that earlier in a relationship if it's someone who's new to polyamory. Even if it's someone who's not because I have that internalized poly guilt about, "If I'm attracted to someone else or if I admit that that must mean I don't like the person I'm dating."
That was an example there is that then as that did come up she had a hard time with the idea of like, "Why are you going on a date with someone new." Do you know what I mean? That, or in my case also just the amount of time that I realistically had to spend with her and to go out with her and to do stuff together that I think early in the relationship and I understand this like it's you're excited about a new relationship.
You're going to want to spend a lot of time with them. I think that also I gave a little bit of a false impression of how much time I had available for her. Then again this was as time went by especially with me traveling part of the year too that then that became real and she was hurt by that and felt-
Jase: -yes, felt neglected or felt like this wasn't the relationship that she thought she had signed up for essentially. In talking with her friend later who was like, "You should have protected her from this more essentially." I said, No, I actually think I should have done the opposite because I think I gave her the wrong impression about what this relationship would be like. And because that is who I am and that's not going to change. If she had known that more upfront she could have been more able to make that choice or deal with it or whatever. She could have made a more informed choice." When I said that the mutual friend was like, "Wow, that makes a lot of sense. I think you're right." Sorry. That was a sad memory to think about.
Emily: It's all right.
Dedeker: It's okay. You learned. You learned.
Jase: I hope so. I hope other people can learn so they don't have to do the same thing. I guess this was related to our next one here which is to figure out for yourself how to talk about non-monogamy when it's not going well or when it's brand new for you and you're still like, "I don't know if I'm going to be happy with this but it's something I really want to try."
Emily: Because it's very normal for people to just be like, "Well, all your relationship problems are happening because you're non-monogamous."
Dedeker: Right, or if you're brand new. I definitely got this like when the first time I talked to someone about opening up our relationship for the first time. I think it was again it was like opened up the relationship and had barely even done anything to experience it. I had people being like, "It's not going to last," right away. It's a hard position because it's very different from where I am now where I have all this body of evidence of things working out for me. Back then I didn't. I was like I really didn't know if it was going to last or not. How do you be like unapologetic for yourself in those instances?
Jase: Well, Emily has talked about this a little bit about having conviction when you start out.
Emily: Yes, that's my mother's favorite phrase. [chuckles]
Jase: How to do that even if you're not sure yet.
Emily: I think it's a just understanding and letting people know like this is something that's making me happy because my best friend she was getting married around the time that Jase and I were coming out as polyamorous. She was just aghast and so upset. I've talked about this in previous episodes, really really angry and very much showing me like, "This is not who I thought you were. That I know that this is not what you want. I know you. I know that this is wrong for you." In spite of all of that I had to really just say, "This is something I'm trying. It does make me really happy. I am going to continue to do it. For that to be okay."
We did not contact each other for as much for a number of years until finally after many many years she was like, "Okay, I'm learning to just deal with it because I have to because this is clearly a part of you now."
Dedeker: I think that if you're in a situation or maybe you're trying this for the first time and you're not happy with it. It's just unknown or scary or uncomfortable that I think coming back to at least taking ownership and not being unapologetic for your choices can be in a important thing. Expressing to people like, "This is something that I've chosen to try right now. This is something I've chosen to explore right now to see if it's right for me. Maybe it'll be right for me, maybe it won't be, but I have chosen to try this. I will deal with whatever happens."
I think that's the thing. And we've talked about this especially if you're a woman in a relationship with a man a lot of people are going to assume-
Emily: You were coerced.
Dedeker: Yes, you were coerced into this. You're just trying to do this to make this person happy. I think it is really important to even if you don't know how it's going to turn out you don't know if this is right for you that you do emphasize, "I did choose to try this."
Emily: Yes, no one is making me do any of that. I have my own agency of this.
Dedeker: I think ultimately if you are happy if it's brand new to you or if you've been doing this for many many years and it is something that is fulfilling to you even during the moments that it's challenging you don't have to let people ghast you into thinking that you're not happy. No one can say to you if you truly are happy and fulfilled no one can say to you, "No, no, no, you're not being fulfilled. I know you're not."
Emily: They can try.
Dedeker: They can try to say that but you are the person who knows.
Jase: I think also coming back to just the idea that this is something that aligns with my beliefs. Again that taking ownership of your choices and your decision to conduct relationships this way and to say that this is something that feels right to me or it aligns with my beliefs or something that I think could make me really happy and could be the right relationship format for me. Maybe I'm new to it. Maybe it's difficult right now because it is difficult to transition to it. At least for most people.
Emily: At the beginning for sure.
Jase: When you're talking to these people to remember that for yourself for one that you're doing this because you believe in it not just because it's going to fix all your problems right away because if you expected to do that you're going to be disappointed.
Then the other thing I want to mention is just to keep in mind for yourself the idea that if we would only do monogamy, if we were always happy doing it, no one would do monogamy. There's no magic bullet relationship solution that will make you always be happy and never have disappointment and never have anything go wrong and never have a miscommunication. That's absurd. I think people understand that about monogamy. That at least I find as a useful touchstone for remembering like, "Yes, okay, we're always working to be better at relationships but just because this is hard right now doesn't mean that the whole way of doing it is necessarily wrong."
Dedeker: I just wanted to make one last point before we move on while we're here still talking about looking inward and in your internal life. I think it's honestly even after multiple multiple years of doing this, rejection still sucks. I've gotten a little bit better at fielding it but it still sucks especially if there's someone that like you're really interested in and you're hoping that they'll be okay with the whole nontraditional thing and ultimately they're not are not, it still hurts.
I think that's why it's important to even before you get rejected, know how to take care of yourself during those times, know how to reconnect to loving yourself, know how to reconnect to reminding yourself that like you are loved especially if you do have multiple partners, like you are loved regardless of whether or not this particular Yahoo rejects you or not. You do still have love and that's actually that's a great advantage of being in a multi-partner relationship is that if someone rejects you, that's not the end of the story, that's not your last chance for being loved.
Dedeker: You're in this context and I think just always being mindful of that. If it takes you needing to give yourself a bunch of positive self-love mantras every day as silly as that may feel but if it's effective, then do that. I guess just to make sure that at the end of the day, you can still be true to yourself and love yourself rather than compromise what you want for the favor, for the sake of making sure someone doesn't reject you.
Emily: Yes, that's great.
Jase: Before we move on, let's take a moment to talk about how you can support this show and help it keep going.
Dedeker: Yes, definitely the number one way that you can support the show is you can become one of our Patreon supporters. Our Patreon supporters are so great.
Emily: Oh man, yes.
Dedeker: First of all, obviously without the financial support from Patreon, we literally would not be on tour right now. It's enabled us to do that which is great but it's beyond just the financial support, it's the fact that there's been this whole community that has sprung up on Patreon that I think just blew us all away that we were not expecting that.
This community came together and it's a community that we regularly interact with, they were able to hear from people what kind of content they want, what kind of things they're struggling within their life, what kind of advice they want, what kind of guest they want in the podcast that it's enabled us to just open up this channel of communication with our audience that we didn't have before. Then on top of that on tour you've gotten to meet so many Patreon supporters in person and that's just a freaking blast.
Emily: Put it a face it, it's your name, yes.
Dedeker: Yes, faces to names and then--
Jase: Sometimes people we have been interacting with for years now--
Dedeker: It's true. It never...
Jase: Yes, which is amazing.
Dedeker: It's also like our Patreon supporters, they coordinate Meetups, in person Meetups on their own, stuff that we don't even organize. The people just want to meet other multiamory fans to talk about things. If you go to patreon.com/multiamory, you can become a part of that. You can pledge as little as a dollar a month if you want. At a five dollar a month level, you can become part of our private patreon only Facebook group, that's where a lot of these discussions get started, that's where a lot of these in person event Meetups get started is in the Facebook group. At seven dollars a month, you get access to all of that plus the episodes get released a day early and they are ad free.
Emily: You won't listen to us talk about this constantly because you're already a Patreon.
Dedeker: You're already there. Nine dollars a month, you get access to all of that plus you become a member in our monthly video discussion group where we get to see each other all face to face and talk about these things a little bit more in-depth. Then $15 a month, you're just our best friend.
Emily: Yes you are.
Dedeker: Again, if you want to become part of that, go to patreon.com/multiamory.
Emily: If you cannot pledge yet financially or for any other reason, if you could go to iTunes or Stitcher and write us a review, it helps us come up higher in search results when somebody searches for polyamory or sexuality or anything in terms of podcast, then we come up higher in search results which is really really imperative for us to get more listeners and we would really appreciate it. We love hearing what you like about the show or even what you don't like although honestly, most people have been very kind.
Dedeker: There's something I want to point out about the reviews, something that's a little bit difficult on this show is the fact that not a lot of people are comfortable sharing it on their social media especially, some people are but especially if they're closeted, if they don't feel safe to talk about being interested in non-monogamous relationships then people don't tend to share it on their social media. We lose out on some of that word of mouth marketing as it were but if you leave us a review, first of all, you can use whatever username you want.
Emily: That's true.
Dedeker: It doesn't have to be attached to your name.
Emily: It can be anonymous.
Dedeker: It can be anonymous completely, you can just leave a rating and not even have any user name attached at all and that does help us. That is a safe way where if you can't be super out to everyone who's in your social network but you still want to be able to help us out, that's a great way to do it.
Emily: Yes. We thank you so much for that.
Jase: Also, if there are things that you want to let us know that you wish we would cover or anything like that, you can also contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We do read all of the e-mails that come in and honestly, it has shaped our podcast over the years. There have been several things that people have pointed out of like, "Hey, you're doing this thing that maybe is marginalizing to my community," or, "Oh, I realized that you've been using these sorts of pronouns and not these others," or whatever. We do listen to those things and try to incorporate those into the show. We really appreciate all of you helping us grow in that way as well.
Jase: Another fun thing that you can do to support this show is to check out some of our match which we have available at multiamory.com/store. I think my favorite thing about this is we have a number of things from little lounge pants to tank tops to shirts or phone cases, things like that but some of them like the clothing ones especially, you can get with just the multiamory logo without any text on it, it doesn't say multiamory, it doesn't say anything like that which is maybe not the best marketing for us. However, our reason for doing that is because like Dedeker was saying, not everyone is out about this or was Emily saying that? Wait, who said that?
Dedeker: We were all saying.
Jase: We all said it. That you might not be totally out as being polyamorous and by wearing that logo, if someone asks you, you could just be like, "I just thought it was a cool design, whatever," you could be like, "Oh, it's an artist that I like." You can explain it however you want. Or if someone comes up to you and they're like, "Is that the multiamory podcast logo?" Then you've made a new lifelong friend.
I have heard reports that this actually has worked in real life specifically someone wearing their multiamory tank top at the gym and someone else being like, "Hey, you too? Oh my gosh." That is like the bat signal I think is what that Dedeker has been calling it. It is our little multiamory bat signal. You can find other multiamory listeners out in the wild.
Emily: They exist. Finally, adamaeve.com is our sponsor for this week, our really brilliant awesome longest sponsor. If you go to adameve.com and buy pretty much anything, you can get 50% off of it and then also a free gift which I believe still is the sex swing.
Jase: I believe so, yes.
Emily: Which is awesome. Go grab a sex swing or three and then also you get free shipping by using our promo code multi, M-U-L-T-I@checkout. Also, this is a reusable code, you can use it as many times as you want. Use it all over the place, grab anything for your sexual needs with anyone and use it a ton of times and then, yes, it gives us a little kick back as well, we just very appreciate it.
Jase: It's especially grate for like presents sort of bigger price items because that 50% of sales. It is amazing.
Emily: That's a big deal totally. Yes.
Jase: All right. We're ready to get back into it?
Dedeker: Yes, let's go back into it.
Emily: Let's do it.
Dedeker: What's next? We've talked about looking within yourself and helping yourself out to be unapologetic, what's the next step of that?
Jase: The next step of that is your close inner circle relationships is what we're calling it. This could be your current partners, could be your friends, your family and that some of them may feel like they need some special treatment or some adjustment time to get used to you coming out or to accept that idea. We do want to have a little caveat here that family dynamics are a very complex thing and there can be a whole episode about this, in fact there was a whole episode about this although maybe we'll redo one about that at some point.
We're only going to touch briefly on the real intricacies of family but this, but some of these things I feel like apply to all of those, any kind of close relationship that you have. The first one we want to talk about is it goes along with the idea of having that poly guilt where you feel guilty about the fact that you're getting to do this or that you want to do this. That's within your existing relationships, this feeling of, "I want to do this and any time I do it, I need to prepare myself to do damage control after I've gone on a date with someone else," meaning damage control in my existing relationship assuming that you're in a relationship that you've opened up.
Emily: Meaning that you come home and you have to make the other person feel a certain way or do damage control with them.
Jase: Yes, exactly like the idea that after going on a date with someone else, you either have to-- You might not live with them but you might not live with your current partner but--
Emily: I was just thinking about what you and I used to be.
Jase: Yes, absolutely. Is coming home-- See I did it too. Coming back to your partner and having to either downplay that the date went well like, "I don't know, they were okay"-- they were okay but they didn't do this thing as well as you," or trying to do a lot of that, or just having this sheepish attitude about it like, "Oh, it went well," and then like, "Oh, I love you so much, let's let's go do a fun thing, "or feeling like I need to fix something, because I've damaged it by going on this other date.
Emily: There's nothing wrong with reconnecting with your partner after you go on a date, that's really lovely. But there's a difference between doing that and then damage control or sugarcoating it again.
Dedeker: But it makes so much sense, again, because of the messages that we receive. I've had partners, relatively recent partners, who will go on a date, and feel really hesitant to tell me about that date, not because I've ever had a bad reaction, because I'm like, "Come on, I wrote a book on this." But, I think just because of social conditioning, of just making this assumption that talking to a partner about a first date is not going to be a good conversation, or talking to a partner about your attraction to someone else is not going to be a good conversation.
There's actually more tension generated because my partner came into that conversation, I guess, somehow assuming I was going to have a bad reaction, rather than if he'd just come to me just with the bare facts, and we just talked about it.
Jase: Yes. This is a big one. We've talked about this before on the show but I do feel like it's worth bringing up. It is something called the Pygmalion Effect, it's what it's called in psychology. Essentially, it's --
Dedeker: Henry Higgins. The Henry Higgins effect? The 'enry 'iggins effect? Is that horrible?
Jase: That is horrible, yes. The Pygmalion effect describes this effect that, if you expect someone to either behave badly, or positively, like this study was done with school children. If a teacher expects certain students to do well this year and other ones to do bad, those students are actually more likely to fulfill those prophecies.
Dedeker: Because of the way the teacher subconsciously treats them, or speaks to them?
Jase: Yes, there's not a clear explanation of why this happens, but it does happen. However, something really interesting about it, is that if the student, in this case, or if the person having the expectations put on them, is aware that those expectations have been placed on them, it negates the effect. It actually cancels that out, because they're aware and can take steps to act against it, to prove them wrong. But if they're not aware, we, to a certain extent must be going along with people's assumptions of us, or in those subtle body language, or the wording choices we have.
Emily: It's like a self-fulfilling prophecy, but through someone else's lens. Interesting.
Jase: This was found on the positive side, too, that of you expect more positive things from these students that they would also perform better. These were assigned at random, this wasn't they expected them to perform positively because they had done well, it was totally random. This has been shown in other cases, as well, with things like job interviews, or little tests that they'll do in psychological studies. I think this really comes into play in your relationships, because if I come in expecting you to be upset about the fact that I had a good date, the way I approach it, and way I talk about it is going to make you feel, even if you didn't before like, "Maybe there is something--"
Dedeker: Like, "I'm picking up on some kind of vibe."
Emily: Yes. Absolutely.
Jase: I think that can result in something we see a lot, of someone being like, "I'm happy for you, but I feel like you're leaving something out, or you're being dodgy, or whatever," which, again, I think is part of our conditioning, to think that if someone's seeing someone else, there must be something sketchy going on, or it must be threatening, somehow.
Dedeker: Interesting. Related to this is this idea that, let's say you have existing partners, you start dating someone new and maybe that new person is totally okay with your existing partners. Maybe this new person even already identifies as polyamorous, or whatever. It's a really common phenomenon, that this new partner will be okay with your existing partners, but then once you date someone new after them, then they're not--
Emily: They're not the new shiny thing anymore.
Dedeker: Yes, they're really not okay. It's very, very common. I've experienced it personally, being the person who's dating someone new, and the new person. That's really, really common. I think that's why it's especially important, especially if you're dating someone who's relatively new to nontraditional relationships, that, like Jase was saying, to not be apologetic about the way that you expect to live your life, and to live your relationships.
And while, maybe that doesn't mean that the week after you start dating them, you immediately try to date someone else, to artificially set up some expectation, but to at least have some very real conversations about the fact that this is going to happen eventually, maybe not next week, or maybe not even next year.
I don't know, that I am probably going to date someone else, if that's true for you. Maybe that's not true for you. But if that is true for you, that you anticipate that you're going to want to continue to be free to explore, and go on first dates, or explore new connections, or maybe go to a play party, and play with new people or whatever it is, to at least be as real and honest about that as possible, even if you're not acting about it right at this particular moment.
Jase: Yes. I think, for me, that's especially come up with sexual things, like your example of a play party. That's something I carry a lot of guilt about, the idea that-- For me, I have a lot of internalized guilt about being told, as a man the fact that you must want sex all the time because you're a man is what makes you bad, and what makes you a bad person. To me, I've really internalized that it's shameful for me to never admit anything about casual sex, or that I would want that, or that I would do it. That's a good example that for some people, might also be true. Whether you're male or female, we all get that sex negative programming.
Dedeker: Right. Years ago, I made a-- What I learned, now, was a big mistake, in the way that I talked about how I ran my life, that I talked to a partner about how I don't seek out a ton of casual sex, I tend to just go for building relationships. And the thing is, that's true about me, I don't tend to seek out a ton of casual sex. But it doesn't mean that I never have casual sex.
Emily: Yes, and then you did.
Dedeker: That was the big problem is that then, a couple years later, when I did have some casual sex, it was a huge fucking problem, because this person perceived-- I built this expectation that, "That means my partner's never going to go hook up with someone, and that's okay with me and anything else is not."
Emily: It's so interesting because you're never quite aware of what is going to potentially set someone off.
Dedeker: Sometimes it's really surprising.
Emily: Yes, totally and it's like, "Really, you give a shit about that?"
Dedeker: I think I also made the assumption of, in my personal history, the times that partners have been the most upset is when a relationship gets more serious. I thought for sure, like "Well, no one's going to get upset about casual sex, because most people are like, 'Oh, as long as it's casual, it's fine.'" But then it was totally flipped in this situation. Now I've learned that I always have that conversation with people. That like, "No, I don't tend to have a lot of casual sex, but sometimes I do."
Emily: And that needs to be okay.
Dedeker: That needs to be okay.
Emily: Totally. All right, we've talked about our internal work, we've talked about the work that we're doing with our close family, and friends, and partners, and now, we want to talk about how we go to the rest of the world.
Dedeker: We're zooming out each level.
Emily: The first section of this is talking to the people that you want to date, or that you may meet, and that you're like, "Oh, I'm interested in this person."
Dedeker: Someone who's not a partner.
Emily: Exactly. When you're flirting, it's really important to let people know that you're polyamorous, or even before you start flirting with them. It's just like, bring it up casually. Don't worry that you're just going to scare someone away, when polyamory is talked about, immediately.
Jase: Yes, I think that people are afraid to bring it up for a number of reasons, and I think part of it's just that rejection thing, where they'll do they're like, "Well, I'll go on a couple days with them first, and then I'll bring it up, so they'll like me." We talked about that.
Emily: We had a partner that did that.
Jase: It sets up your whole relationship based on dishonesty.
Emily: Totally, it's a lie.
Jase: And you might say, "Well, I never said I was monogamous." No, come on. Don't be a dick. We know that everyone assumes that, if you don't say otherwise. You are lying. Don't try to tell me that you're not.
Emily: Yes, absolutely.
Dedeker: But I think it's also important to-- And again, it can be tricky because sometimes you can start flirting with someone, or you don't even realize that you are until you're in the middle of it. But, I think just the important thing to bear in mind is-
Emily: Before the first date, definitely bring it up.
Dedeker: Definitely before the first date, bring it up, bring up the fact that you're in a nontraditional relationship, or that you have nontraditional values, or that you want a particular format of relationship is what you're looking for in dating or in dating this person. Don't use it as a way to start flirting with someone, because I think that's more likely going to get people scared and running away from you, if you're using your polyamorous identity as the pickup line to start talking with someone. That's probably not going to go well, unless they happen to also be polyamorous, and they're like, "That's great, me too, let's talk."
Jase: Yes, I suppose that's true.
Emily: Also, if you do get rejected, what should you do?
Jase: Basically, I think that the key here is to reframe it for yourself, so that, if you mentioned that you're polyamorous, and someone very clearly is like, "I'm not, that's not something I'm interested in," or for whatever reason, is rather than thinking of it as a rejection of you, because it's not. Maybe they were flirting with you before that, maybe they were interested in you, but if that's something they're not into, then that's good that they know that about themselves, and that they're making decisions for themselves about what types of relationships they want.
In the same way that you're doing saying, "I want to have polyamorous relationships," they might have a belief that, "I only want to have monogamous relationships," or, "I'm looking for someone that's going to lead toward marriage and kids." Maybe that is their choice. I think turning it around to be like, "Cool, thank you for knowing what you want, and for taking care of yourself, and for standing up for what it is that you want to have in your life, because neither of us would be happy if you didn't."
Dedeker: If this person has questions for you, maybe part of their decision making process is asking you a bunch of questions of like, "How does that work? How do you do it? How would I fit into that? What if this happens? What if that happens?" Which we've all dealt with before. It's okay to have that conversation, but if someone says to you like, "I don't think this is something that I'm interested in," you don't have to try to convince them. Sitting there and trying to argue with them is probably not going to get you a date either.
Jase: Definitely not. Or if it does, it's not going to be a date that leads to a good relationship.
Dedeker: I think that's good, of framing it, even if it's just internally, of framing as like, "This person is taking care of themselves, and that's a good thing."
Jase: I did want to point out, too, that just because maybe you are having good flirty vibes, you bring this up, and you feel them withdraw a little bit, or get a little weird about it, if you're not pushing them, and you're not trying to convince them, you may find that later at that event, they'll warm back up, because they needed some time to just process that and let it sink in. Or maybe they've had a bad experience with someone using it as a predatory pickup liny thing.
When you don't do that, they might come around later to be like, "Huh, you seem very different from other people I've met who have done this, or the bad impressions I've gotten, can we talk more about it?" I found that happens a lot actually, when you don't try to convince anyone.
Dedeker: Yes, definitely. I think another important part of this, particularly when you're looking for someone to date, is again, just to be consistent. Start the process of being open and honest and unapologetic with them, as early as you can in the process. Again, sometimes maybe you meet someone at a party, and you just have a great conversation and then it's not until the end of the night that you realize like, "Oh, we are totally vibing. This person's interested."
It doesn't mean all this lost, because you haven't brought up yet, but bring it up as soon as you can. The more that you draw it out, the more difficult that conversation's going to be. Trust me, I have had clients who have dragged out this conversation for like, six months. By the time you've postponed it for six months, it doesn't go well. Just so you know.
Emily: Also I live with someone.
Dedeker: Oh, that too. Especially if you're living with someone, or if you have existing relationships. The longer you put off that conversation, the worse it's going to be for you.
Jase: Yes, definitely. This is also something I found, just to go back to bring it up early is if I even remotely start to think, "Oh, this person might be flirting with me, or I might want to flirt with them," I will try to find a way to bring up polyamory in the conversation. It helps that I'm out, so all my friends know so it's an easy thing to just bring up.
Dedeker: It's also a little bit easier having a podcast, and like a book. I feel like everybody knows.
Jase: But if you have a podcast you listen to. I think we have enough episodes that pretty much anything in any conversation, you could be like, "Oh, that reminds me of this thing I heard on the Multiamory podcast."
Dedeker: You know what, also, you don't even have to be clever about it. You can be straight up with this person, like, "You know what, I find you attractive, I'm interested in you or I would love to go on a date with you. Because of that, it's really important for me that you know X, Y and Z about me, or that you know that I'm interested in non-monogamy, or that I identify as polyamorous." You can even couch it within something that is positive, that is expressing to this person, "Hey, I find you really attractive and interesting and I want to get to know you more."
Emily: Honesty is a must, and all of that is really great honesty.
Dedeker: Yes, it doesn't have to even be clever about like, trying to find some way to weasel it into the conversation. You can just be straight up.
Let's talk about being unapologetic when talking just to everyone else in the world, essentially. This could be a coworker, a stranger, your Uber driver, the random stranger who you somehow get into a conversation in line at the grocery store about. Again, obviously not every conversation needs to be about this, but sometimes this comes up.
Emily: It definitely does for me a lot. But, I want to stress that, we as a community are not more enlightened than anyone else. We don't understand relationships in a way that other people do, just simply because we're doing them in this fashion. A lot of people do think, and put it out there, that they're somehow better than someone else, just simply because they're polyamorous, and they live their lives in this way. Perhaps we know how well it works for us, but that doesn't mean that we're doing anything better than anyone else. That's a real turn-off, if you say, like, "Well, I'm more enlightened because I do this." Someone's going to be like, "Wow, you're a dick."
Dedeker: Yes, regardless of what their opinion is. It's probably just not going to come off very well, if that's the stance that you take.
Emily: Absolutely. Also, there's this fear out there of the polyamorous possibility. I think, just because-- Again, when Jase and I came out, I thought about this, in regards to my best friend, because I think that a part of her was like, "I get this idea of maybe being attracted to more than one person, or being potentially in love with more than one person, but still feeling like I have to choose." If you know that polyamory is out there, and that there's this possibility of more than just one option, that's a potentially fearful place to get into.
Dedeker: It is exciting for some people, but it's very fearful for other people.
Emily: Yes, and to be understanding of that, and know, like, "Okay, they're not just shitting all over what I'm doing, but there is potential fear involved here."
Dedeker: Right. Just being mindful of that. People are going to be much more likely to interpret, "Oh, this person is trying to convert me, or proselytize, or tell me that this is what I should be doing, or they're trying to threaten my relationship." That, just for some reason, people are just much more likely to go to that place. Just bear that in mind ahead of time when heading into these conversations.
Jase: I think going along with the idea of not trying to convince people right away, or not feeling the need to convince people is this idea that, if, in order for someone to agree with you, or at the very least stop arguing with you, they have to admit that they're wrong. In this case, possibly, that means admitting that what they've been doing their entire life is wrong. That's not going to happen. That's not going to happen. It's definitely not going to happen when they're being confronted with you about this. That's not the way to-- I want to say it's not the way to win these arguments, or these conversations, but don't go in with that goal, at all. That's not the point of this.
Emily: You're not here to convert anyone.
Jase: Exactly. People, if this resonates with them, they will come to it on their own. They're not going to come to it because you've out logic them in this conversation. Then, the other part of that is just pick your battles. If someone is being somewhat aggressive with you, or very against this, even if it's just come up in conversation, and you're not trying to convince them, you just feel like you're defending yourself. That to understand you don't have to fight every single fight. That sometimes you can just say, "I see that this is upsetting to you. This is something that's right for me. I hope you can respect that, and let's not talk about this now."
Emily: Be the bigger person.
Dedeker: It just takes so much emotional labor as it is, to have these conversations, a lot of the time. I've definitely found, in my own life, obviously, my work is having these conversations. That means in my personal life, I really try to pick and choose who am I going to actually have a conversation about this with? Who am I going to get into the nitty gritty of this with? It's not everybody, it's actually a lot fewer people than I think it was five or 10 years ago. But, I'd like to think I've gotten a lot better at just being able to say like, "Yes, this is what I do and this is my life. If you want to know more about it, you can listen to the podcast."
But I don't want to talk about it right now.
Emily: No, exactly, I so appreciate, at work, if somebody is struggling with a relationship thing, how many other people go up to them, and they're like, "You should talk to Emily about that. She knows all about this." I was like, [nervous laugh], but it's nice. When you get to a point where you are so out, that people are like they have knowledge and they think about relationships in a different way that might be interesting.
Dedeker: I think it's nicer for us because the fact that we're in this position, but I think-
Emily: Yes, we're very privileged in that way.
Dedeker: -for other people, though, you don't always want to be the guru that everyone sends their friends to.
Emily: No, you can pick and choose, and say like, "Actually, I'm not really interested in talking to you about that."
Jase: Luckily for all of you, you have this podcast to refer people to.
Emily: Exactly. Just send them to us.
Dedeker: True, just send them to us. We'll take care of this.
Jase: So, on this subject of coming out to people, and we do want to reiterate, this might not be the right choice for everyone right now, depending on whether that's safe for you to come out to people, aside from the ones that you're actively in relationships right now, but definitely be honest with those people. In terms of everyone else, it can be difficult, and you had some tips about that.
Dedeker: Yes, I think again we could do an entire episode just on the coming out conversation, or figuring out who to come out to, but in the interest of time, I recommend people go to the therapist Dara Hoffman Fox's website. We had them on the show a long time ago, we're going to have them back on the show pretty soon, I included their worksheet that they created for coming out in my book, as well, but they made this amazing, amazing step-by-step formulaic process of figuring out who is the best person in your life to come out to, and it's very mathematical, actually.
It's assigning numerical values to the importance of this particular relationship, versus how much time you want to invest in having this coming out conversation, versus how safe you feel with this person, versus how you would feel if this relationship evaporated, or if there was a huge negative consequence if you came out to this person. It's great, I recommend it to a lot of people, because I think that even if you can find one person in your life to come out to, who's not a partner. Like a best friend, or a sibling, or a parent, if that feels safe, even just one person, it's a really good opportunity for you to practice being unapologetic.
I'm telling you, even just one person can help make that pressure of constantly having to be closed, or having to hide, it can relieve a lot of that pressure, too, even if you have just one person. I highly recommend it you can google "Dara Hoffman Fox coming out worksheet," or we're going to include a link to it in the show notes.
Dedeker: Yay, unapolygetic, the stupid term you came up with but now I do kind of love it.
Emily: Now it's like a thing, hopefully you all out there can do it, in some way in your life. Even if it's a small way, even if it's just coming out to one person.
Dedeker: Even if it's not just your relationships. If it's your gender identity, or the hobby that you really love, or your guilty pleasure, find the ways that you can be unapolygetic to the world.