Saturday's sessions - There were three streams of sessions and these are the ones I attended.
1st session: Wandering Hearts - This session was presented by Dawn Davidson and Gary Jacobson who have maintained a long distance polyamorous relationship for 29 years. (Holy smokes!) Poly people communicate like all married couples should. They have to because Poly communication pitfalls have spikes. It is easy to forget to communicate and communication styles can be part of the problem. Some resources suggested to help learn how to communicate more effectively were:
*Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion, Rosenberg, Marshall,
*The Enchantment of Opposites: How to Create Great Relationships, Taylor, Patricia Huntington
*The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Committment to Your Mate, Chapman, Gary
Four things impact long distance relationships more than local relationships:
1. Communication and communication styles
2. Resources - financial, time and personal energy levels
3. other relationships - honesty & respect
An excellent tip was to put your long distance lover in your emergency contacts on your cell phone so that in the event of something happening to you, they will be contacted. Something that is often not done and the long distance lover is not informed by surviving local family and friends until months or years later if at all.
Suggested resource was "The Complete Idiots Guide to Long Distance Relationships" by Seetha Nanarayan.
2nd session - Emotional Edge Play with Anita Wagner and her wonderful handouts. This was a discussion of how poly relationship dynamics and Kink relationship dynamics can work in collaboration effectively. Many of the same issues of jealousy and negotiations are at play in both relationship forms. A very interesting discussion with reference to an article in Loving More Magazine this month entitled "Navigating Polyamorous BDSM Relationships by Kathy Labriola. Kathy says that people in kink relationships are able to sustain poly relationships more often because BDSM clearly defines relationships and communication is essential. Discussion points of interest were that an ended relationship is often seen as failure when it should be seen as graduation. There is a difference between "Me Poly" where individual needs are paramount and "We poly" where the group's needs are the priority. Anita said that 75% of people in the US kink scene (public) identify as polyamorous. Jealousy tweaks are different and there is a need for "symbolic specialness" in poly relationships where we have a certain words or activities etc that we only do with that partner.
3rd session - Canadian Charter Rights Case - Zoe Duff and Carol Chaunteuse (representatives of the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association. This was a historic background and current legal activities around section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada also known as the polygamy law. A snappy power point slide show and excellent talk by the two presenters was well received. This blog will be monitoring the case as it progresses. For details and background see www.polyadvocacy.ca
Update: Presentation uploaded for your perusal
4th session - Negotiations and Boundaries - Angela Smith. A very interesting presentation including role play and discussion around the processes involved in communicating changes and needs in any relationship but specifically a broader polyamorous configuration. There were some very dramatic moments in the discussion some of which were real interactions on real issues. Well done and thought provoking.
Evening plenary address - Christopher Ryan (author of Sex at Dawn)
Interesting talk with regards to his research on social, anthropological and economical origins of human relationship forms. His conclusions are that human love is not necessarily sexually exclusive and that while one can choose to practice monogamy that doesn't mean the attractiveness of others is not still there. Excellent graphics in his presentation including a video clip from South Park where the kids blame global warming for a man's desire to have sex with more than one woman.
Excellent day. More tomorrow.