Marriage and monogamy are not what they used to be, and today many couples are opting to start families before getting married, or deciding not to get married at all. At the same time, gay couples in states that recognize same-sex marriage are getting married in droves. Some people prefer non-monogamy and have relationships that include swinging and polyamory. The landscape of American marriage and relationships is changing, and a variety of family systems are developing and becoming more common.
The Polyamorists Next Door introduces polyamorous families, in which people are free to pursue emotional, romantic, and sexual relationships with multiple people at the same time. They do it openly and with support from their partners, sometimes forming multi-partner relationships or other arrangements that allow for emotional and sexual freedom within the family system.
In colorful and moving details, this audiobook explores how polyamorous relationships come to be, how they grow and change, how they manage the ins and outs of daily family life, and how they cope with the challenges they face both within their families and from society. Using polyamorists own words, Dr. Elisabeth Sheff examines polyamorous households and reveals their advantages, disadvantages, and the daily lives of those living in them.
While polyamorous families are increasingly common, fairly little is known about them outside of their own social circles or of the occasional media sensationalism. This book provides information that will be useful for professionals with polyamorous clients, educators who wish to understand or teach polyamory, and especially people who wish to better understand polyamory themselves or explain it to their potential partners, adult children, or in-laws.
©2014 Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. (P)2015 Redwood Audiobooks
"The Polyamorists Next Door is an amazingly comprehensive book.... Poly or mono, you'll find successful ways to navigate relationships interspersed in this fascinating read. I particularly loved Elisabeth Sheff's personal story for its unabashed frankness." (Allena Gabosch, Executive Director of the Center and Foundation for Sex Positive Culture)
"This book is a rich resource packed with fascinating portraits of people living, loving, and learning in nontraditional relationships. It gives us a window into worlds previously hidden and unknown which is invaluable to both scholars and the general public. (Tristan Taormino, author of Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships)
As a psychology student interested in alternative relationship studies, I found this book to be very interesting. I've also tried poly with really bad results and this book showed me a few reasons why that could be.
All in all, I found it to be very interesting. It is great for understanding the different ways poly can shape a family and does provide some tips on how to manage problems but not a lot.
I really liked that this book uses real-life stories, interviews and case-studies to talk about polyamory. Pretty much every other book on poly is more theoretical, and spends a long time explaining what poly is for the uninitiated reader. This ones does that too, but it felt less tedious to listen to for someone who is actually poly, since they spent less time on that.
The closest I can compare it to is More Than Two by Franklin Veaux. While that one arguably has more actual tips for poly relationships, it also did what I felt was a fair amount of brow-beating about things that could theoretically go awry in a poly relationship...I preferred this book approaching that topic via examples, instead of hypothetical scenarios. Overall this is a more interesting book, even though it might slightly less useful.
Sorry, but to put it bluntly, this is the worst audiobook narration I've ever heard. I honestly thought it might be a computer generated voice for about the first hour, it's that robotic. Basically there are two modes of performance here: Over-annunciated robot voice, and then absolutely god-awful 'character' voices for the various people interviewed. Just like, cartoonishly bad. I physically cringed every time she does a new voice; impossibly, they actually worse as the book goes on. I really and truly do not understand how anyone ever hired this voice performer to narrate anything. Many times throughout the book, I contemplated turning it off and returning it, I don't know how I made it all the way through. Had the subject matter been less interesting to me, I definitely would have.
I've completed this audible book and have ordered the hard copy for our lending library. Elisabeth discusses her contemporary research on modern polyamory relationships, she reports on the experiences of persons within these new relationships, including those with a long term family unit structure, but of a non-monogamous style. There is a growing library of how polyamory works, but few have taken the time to do skilled and ethically based research into this not so new type of relationship, dare I say family structure, that is coming our of the shadows. Please give it a read. Share with others.
Anne R Harris, LCPC
Executive Director of the Montana Family Center
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