A few years back, my partner Eve Rickert and I wrote a book. You may, if you’re reading this blog, have heard of it. It’s about polyamory, and it’s called More Than Two.
In the book, we said, “We’re not experts on polyamory. We believe there are no experts. Polyamory is still too new for that.” The book did rather well, and as a result, a lot of people turn to us as those poly experts of expert polydom who can tell you how it’s done.1
Pigeon, meet hole.
We’re not poly experts because, err, there are no poly experts. As Eve likes to say, we’re artists: More Than Two resonates with people not because we’re the gurus on the mountaintop handing down the poly wisdom, but because we’re writers who can talk about our own experiences in ways that some folks connect with.
Did you know that we write about more than just polyamory? It’s true!
Last year, Eve and I started working on a new book, Love More, Be Awesome. It’s a followup to More Than Two, intended for a wider audience than just poly folks. This afternoon, we torched everything. All our notes, our diagrams, everything about the book, all went into the fire. (Well, except for the bits that exist as bits; those bits just got deleted.)
Primum non nocere. It’s a Latin phrase that means “first, do no harm.” It’s not part of the Hippocratic Oath, but it is a central tenet of bioethics in most of the world.
It also, I think, makes a pretty good tenet for relationship ethics as well.
A few weeks ago, I received an email from Dan Savage’s personal assistant, asking if I was interested in helping craft a response to a person who’d written in to Mr. Savage with a poly problem.
Nearly all relationship advice of any sort, for any kind of relationship, can be dismissed with just one sentence: “But that would be awkward!”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard those words. Suffice it to say that if I had a dime for every time, I’d be quite a lot wealthier than I am right now.
“Talk about STI testing before we have sex? But that would be awkward!” “Meet my partner’s other partner? But that would be awkward!” “Talk to my partner about how I’m feeling? But that would be awkward!” “Experiment and try new things in bed? But that would be awkward!” “Talk openly about sexual boundaries? But that would be awkward!” “Talk about my sexual fantasies? But that would be awkward!” “Ask before kissing someone? But that would be awkward!” (That last one, in fact, deserves a blog post of its own.)
Eve and I are back in the woods again, in the same cabin where we wrote More Than Two, working on a new book.
The new book is not about polyamory. It’s called Love More, Be Awesome, and it’s our take on a kind of user’s guide for being a human being: tips and ideas for being awesome and living a life of compassion and kindness.
Part of the reason More Than Two turned out like it did is this place. It’s incredibly remote; we’re miles from the nearest convenience store and a half-hour drive to the closest town. All around us, as far as the eye can see, is temperate rainforest.
Someone recently asked the question, “What is the difference between a person who finds love easily and a person who finds it difficult to make loving connections?”
This is a question I think I can offer some insight on (at least for people who share most of my privileges), because in my own life I have gone from a person who found love impossible to a person who finds opportunities for love and connection all around me. During that transition, I learned that many of the things I assumed about folks who find love easily—that they’re rich, that they’re handsome, that they’re famous—aren’t true.
My new book The Game Changer: A Memoir of Disruptive Love is about to come out! It officially publishes September 23. I’m be doing a 10-city book tour on the West Coast of the United States. If you’re along my route, I hope you’ll be able to make it out!
Then, after the book tour for The Game Changer, my partner Eve Rickert and I are going on a second book tour, this time through Europe for More Than Two. Oh, and along the way, we’ll be speaking at some conventions as well. here’s where to catch up with us!
Last year, my partner Eve and I wrote a book. It’s quite a massive book, weighing in north of 150,000 words. In it you will find our thoughts, ideas and experiences with polyamory–a rather complex subject, as you might imagine. It took an incredible amount of effort to write. I’m very proud of what we created (and if you haven’t checked it out already, I recommend it. But of course, I might be biased.)
We’ve received a lot of feedback about the book. Not just on Amazon, though 80 five-star reviews is kind of nice, but from people who’ve told us things like “your book changed my life” and “your book saved my relationship.”
Which is awesome. I think we’ve accomplished something amazing.
I have oft observed a very strange thing in romantic relationships, and that is good things our partners say to us tend to bounce off as though our self-conception were made of Teflon, whereas bad things have amazing power to stick. If our partner tells us “I think you’re beautiful; I am totally attracted to you,” it is easy to say “well, he doesn’t really mean it,” and not to internalize it. But a partner saying “I don’t think you look good in that dress” sticks tenaciously, and can haunt us for weeks.
Why is that?
There might be a lot of reasons, but I think one of them is the little white lie.
Many years ago, my game-changing partner (whom I call Amber in The Game Changer) talked to a therapist about why she felt lonely and isolated. Her therapist told her there was nothing wrong with her: she felt alienated from others because she was a giraffe surrounded by alligators.
No matter how well-intentioned alligators are, they can not understand or relate to giraffes. Giraffes and alligators have very different needs and live very different lives. An alligator might sincerely reach out to a giraffe—by offering it a bit of meat torn from the carcass of some unlucky water buffalo, say—but that isn’t likely to help the giraffe much.
Amber was my giraffe. She was the first person I knew who really got me in a way my other partners never had. It turns out, I have a bit of giraffe in me, too.