I started exploring polyamory back before the word “polyamory” started circulating. I’ve never been monogamous, and I’ve never had a monogamous relationship. When I started exploring romantic relationships myself, it was hard to find other people who felt the same way I did about love and romance. It was hard even to find the language to describe the things I wanted. “Open relationship” was about the closest I could come, but it didn’t really do much to talk about how I wanted my life to look.
I didn’t really have a community of people whose experience I could call on. That left my partners and me feeling like we were on our own, making up things as we went along. We made a lot of mistakes. I did things that hurt people I loved, and I was hurt myself.
In 1998 I started writing about some of my experiences. The word “polyamory” had appeared on my radar, and I was just beginning to learn that I wasn’t alone: there really were other people who felt that multiple relationships were possible. So I began working on a collection of Web pages about polyamory. I wanted to write the things I wished I had known years before. I was writing, in effect, for the version of me ten years earlier, alienated and confused and trying to figure this stuff out on my own.
The pages grew, and grew, and grew. Pretty soon, more people were reading them than I would ever have imagined.
In 2006 I started thinking about writing a book on polyamory. Most of the books I’d seen up to that point were pretty good, but they didn’t really answer a lot of the questions I would have had back before I knew that other people like me existed. I saw a lot of memoir, and a lot of big-picture overviews; I wanted to write something more pragmatic.
I wrote an outline and sample chapters, drafted a proposal, and sent out query letters to publishers and agents. I got a lot of rejection slips and a handful of letters telling me to redo the book proposal into a personal memoir, but that wasn’t really the book I wanted to write. Discouraged, I let go of the project and concentrated on writing essays on the Web instead.
In 2012 I met and started a relationship with Eve. This relationship has been a game changer for me, and I feel like I’ve already learned a great deal from my time with her.
She also happens to be an editor.
She had also planned to write a book on polyamory, about her own experiences and ideas. The things she talked about had a different focus than the book I’d planned to write; she brought insights to the table about relationship ethics, power dynamics, structures, and self-identity that were powerful and compelling, and need to be shared. The metaphor she uses for a relationship–that relationships are grown like a garden rather than built from a blueprint–caused me to rethink some of the core concepts I had planned to write about. The more we talked about this, the more it seemed that a creative collaboration between us, on a book that combined our ideas and experiences, would be a wonderful thing.
A lot has changed in the world of polyamory since I started writing about it. The concept of polyamory is not as foreign as it used to be. Most major cities in the US and Canada have poly groups. Polyamory is talked about in the media.
The idea for this book has changed, too. The needs of people who are venturing down the path of multiple relationships are different now than they were back when I first did it.
The new book reflects that change. It incorporates experiences from my life and Eve’s, and it talks about our own journeys, but it also looks ahead, to a new generation growing up in a world where “polyamory” is not an alien concept.
The things we want to say have outgrown a Web site. Our goal is to create a practical resource for making multiple loving relationships work. We’d like to invite you along with us as we work toward this goal.