RELATIONSHIPS / COMMITMENT

“Happily Ever After” may be the most damaging concept in modern relationships.

A placesetting sits on an otherwise empty table. The card simply says “1”.
A placesetting sits on an otherwise empty table. The card simply says “1”.
Photo by Photos by Lanty on Unsplash

“The One”.

Your soulmate.

The one specific person with whom you are destined to be. The fairytale prince or princess will sweep you off your feet and carry you on to your “Happy Ever After”.

But I have to warn you that by believing in “The One” you are destined for disappointment at best, and heartbreak at worst.

The words “And they lived happily ever after” make one of the most potentially damaging phrases in modern relationships.

It’s pervasive, deeply ingrained in our psyche as children. How many stories end with those six words marking the close of the protagonist’s…


RELATIONSHIPS / CONFLICT

It took a few years, but I learned how to better avoid arguments.

A plain white, seemingly unimportant, coffee mug sits alone on a white table.
A plain white, seemingly unimportant, coffee mug sits alone on a white table.
Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

I was 21, and new to the world of dating. I’d experienced my first love, which had, in turn, led to my first heartbreak. Now I was living out the excitement of dating someone new.

And I was about to learn a lesson about relationships that I wouldn’t recognize until years later.

It was a couple of weeks into our new relationship. We were happily and excitedly ensconced in that wonderful initial passion of New Relationship Energy. Our time together consisted of nights out, great sex, and deep conversations long into the morning.

Then one day she asked me why…


RELATIONSHIPS / POLYAMORY

Opening up your life to ethical non-monogamy can be hard, and it’s easy to feel like you’re doing it “wrong.”

A couple walk away from the camera, beginning a journey across a bridge to a destination hidden by trees
A couple walk away from the camera, beginning a journey across a bridge to a destination hidden by trees
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

So, you’ve decided to open your life to ethical non-monogamy?

However you found out about the lifestyle — online browsing, media representation, relationship advice books, word of mouth — the next step is the hardest: working out what the hell you are doing.

Stepping into polyamory is stepping into the unknown. Or, at the very least, stepping into the only vaguely understood. …


RELATIONSHIPS / COMMITMENT

It’s easy to forget that “settling down” doesn’t have to be our goal

A young woman stands in the middle of a group in a bar. They are all dressed for a night out. She is clearly enjoying all their company equally.
A young woman stands in the middle of a group in a bar. They are all dressed for a night out. She is clearly enjoying all their company equally.
bbernard / Shutterstock

Those of us who are polyamorous often find ourselves defending our lifestyle.

Society has conditioned us to equate sexual openness with a lack of commitment. That people who want to date or sleep with multiple people are simply avoiding settling down into a “real” relationship. And so we go out of our way to demonstrate and explain that we can have multiple sexual and romantic partners and still have the same level of commitment and anyone in a monogamous relationship.

But I worry that we forget that it’s also perfectly acceptable to keep things casual.

Polyamory and ethical non-monogamy have…


POLITICS / CURRENT EVENTS

Let’s Talk About What Really Makes A “Bad Day”

Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock

Let’s just be clear about this. This was not “a really bad day for him”.

This was a hate crime, perpetrated by a mentally disturbed and radicalised white 21-year-old male.

What a “Bad Day” is

A “Bad Day” is getting to school and realising you forgot the coursework you spent all night finishing.

A “Bad Day” is simply not being able to do anything with your hair in the morning.

A “Bad Day” is having a pointless argument with a loved one and having to spend the day dwelling on how dumb you feel for the things you said.

What a “Bad Day” isn’t

A “Bad Day” isn’t developing an…


RELATIONSHIPS / JEALOUSY

We need to start recognising the true issues in our relationships that we’ve been conditioned to call “jealousy”

Two blue dice next to each other. Each have a face. One is looking away, as if flirting with someone. The other is look at the jealously
Two blue dice next to each other. Each have a face. One is looking away, as if flirting with someone. The other is look at the jealously
patronestaff / Shutterstock

I’m going to let you into a secret about relationships: Jealousy isn’t real.

No, really. It doesn’t exist. It’s not a real thing.

And believing in “jealousy” is preventing us from recognising and acknowledging the true issues that are damaging our relationships. But if jealousy isn’t real, then what is it?

I was preventing myself from recognising the root causes of these problems

Like most people, in my past relationships, I have experienced the emotions that I had been conditioned to call “jealousy”.

I’ll pick out a couple of examples.

One former partner wouldn’t allow me to be friends with…


RELATIONSHIPS / BREAKUPS

It just wasn’t in the way you’re thinking

A black and white image of two hands pulling apart, as if there were until just now holding each other but now drift apart.
A black and white image of two hands pulling apart, as if there were until just now holding each other but now drift apart.
KieferPix / Shutterstock

A little over a year ago, my partner and I came out to our family and friends as polyamorous.

A little over six months ago, we announced our decision to separate.

Did the former play a part in the latter? We’ve assured people that no, it didn’t. But that’s not entirely true. Polyamory did play a part in the end of our relationship. Only not in the way people may be assuming.

Polyamory wasn’t something we brought into our relationship to try and fix it when things went downhill.

My partner and I were together for fifteen years, and non-monogamous…


CURRENT EVENTS / ALLYSHIP

It’s Past Time To Be A Better Ally

Vincenzo Lullo / Shutterstock

She was walking home.

We’ve heard the same thing over and over again in the last few days. And weeks. Months. Years. Longer.

Once again the truth of the danger that women live in every day has been brought to society’s attention. Once again the women in our lives are forced to give an outpouring of their experiences — of harassment, of sexual assault, of living their lives in fear — in the hope that this time men will finally wake up and do something about themselves.

Because it’s not their job to educate us. We should recognise this problem…


Success in polyamory can come at different speeds, so prepare for envy, or risk getting hurt

A white man sits alone in a cafe. He faces the camera, but his attention is on a group behind him he wants to be a part of.
A white man sits alone in a cafe. He faces the camera, but his attention is on a group behind him he wants to be a part of.
fizkes / shutterstock.com

When I was first exploring non-monogamy with my partner, we had very different experiences. While she found plenty of interest, I was left with none.

We both used the same dating apps and websites. We went to in-person events together. We were both communicating in the same ways. As far as I could tell, I was doing everything right. Yet I found it impossible to get any interest online, and people I thought I hit it off with in person would agree to a drink then ghost me the next day.

And so this exciting journey we were meant to…


It’s easy to make mistakes in polyamory, and not everyone will have your needs in mind

Sergey Nivens / shutterstock.com

So you’ve decided that polyamory is for you. You’ve done the research, and you’re excited for this new world of freedom, emotional availability, sex, deeper connections, or whatever aspects you have decided you are looking for. Then you find the community, meet people, and find partners who share your aims and values. Life is good.

Except when the people you meet either don’t know what they’re doing or just don’t care.

Being ethically non-monogamous doesn’t make us immune to finding, or being, bad partners

It’s our own responsibility to protect ourselves. No one else’s.

And as wonderful as the polyamory…

Thomas H. Brand

Blogging about polyamory, ethical-non-monogamy, and modern relationships. He/Him

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