Atlanta Poly Weekend 2016 by the Numbers

Atlanta Poly Weekend was held a few weeks ago. A great time was had by all. Many new faces, lots of returning friends.
I was grateful to be included not only as a staff member this year but additionally as a presenter. 2 gave solo classes, 1 joint class and was on a panel discussion.
I gave a class on the struggles that we can face in hierarchy set relationships and how to navigate around them as well as strategies for avoiding them all together. My second class was abut coming out. Who, why, what, and when.
Both classes were well attended and I had a very fun and open group of people that shared a lot of experiences.

The joint class I gave was with co creator Rose Hagalaz. She and I had an idea for a discussion about the generational gap in the greater non-monogamy movement and what the driving force behind it is. We came away with a great deal of input, knowledge and some reassuring of our own thoughts. But the biggest point that we made and others agreed with was that we should be working to unite the different relationship styles, discuss our commonalities and where we can work together. Not pushing each other away because we have different philosophies.

My panel discussion on the Poly in the Media with Co-panelists, Tikva Wolf and Joreth, was really big. It had a great turn out (about 20 folks) and we had a wonderful time discussing and chatting different media coverage. How to protect ones self in the media, and from the media. We all shared experiences and watched a few videos to compare how the media can spin your story.

My Coming out class was the best one yet.  I say that every time but really, it gets better each and every time I give it.  This particular time after the class I had a person come up and discuss with me the desire to come out to her children as she no longer wants to hide her true self from them.  This was a great moment in my teaching times… I inspired a person to take a leap and act on something I had taught. And thats all it takes for me, is if one person walks away with one thing that I said and it inspires them to do one thing in their life that helps them my class was a success.  I will soon be making a list of techniques for coming out to folks but in the mean time should anyone need help talking to a loved one,  there is a book out now called “When Someone you love is Polyamorous.”  Its a fairly basic info book to give to them or read with them so they can have a better understanding and develop questions.

My other class was “There is no Winning in Polyamory” I may tweak the title of this one as it evolves.  It was an early morning class and was only attended by a handful of folks.  We did get to discuss the topic in a free form manner and bounce ideas around about what hierarchy is, how it is sometimes done in an unethical manner and how to avoid that. We concluded that relationships are more positive and healthy when they are  prescriptive rather than descriptive.  Descriptive relationships take away the agency of the individuals and allow for social scripting and expectations to drive the relationships.  Prescriptive relationships give the individuals the power and information they need to build the relationship together, making it more fulfilling for them.  Just a thought.

Other happenings at APW 2016:  The hotel was new.  A last minuet sale by the previous property management group forced the directors to find a new venue with only 45 days remaining in their  prep time.  KUDOS to the Sheraton Atlanta Downtown for working with the directors and assisting with hosting their wonderful event on such short notice.  If you haven’t been this hotel is beautiful. Its all been recently renovated and it really is a nice hotel.
By the numbers APW 2016 looked like this:
Total Attendees- 226 (thats up in attendance from last year by 34 people I think. )
Presenters: 30, Staff: 15,Merchants: 7,Volunteers: 2,Sponsors: 2,Community Organizations: 10, Hotel Room Nights 101, Hospitality suites 2.

Atlanta Poly Weekend again supported Lost N Found Youth of Atlanta with a charity auction.   Relationship Equality Foundation, APW host organization,  Matched the first $1000.00 and a total donation of over $2400.00 was made to the organization.

Next years dates have been announced along with a brand new website design for Atlanta Poly Weekend June 2-4, 2017 Again will be hosted at the Sheraton Atlanta Downtown.  Current registration is $50.00 for adults.  Pricing will increase to $75.00 as the event gets closer. Make sure you get your tickets soon!  I hope to see you there in 2017!

You Me Her- Wrap Up Post

Ok so we had 10 episodes of this amazing show that brought to light Polyamory in one of its many forms.
Overall I give the show 4.5 out of 5 stars.  I think the show did what it had to in order to make the concept entertaining, but also it kept an element of realism to the show.

My biggest problem came in the final episode.   I am not sure if I have ever known anyone to actually chase someone to the airport.  It seemed to clash a bit with the way the show handled the realism of polyamory earlier in the season.   Most polyamorists, would have respected Izzy’s choice to go home and sort out life.  Maybe they would have called to say, they did have feelings for the person etc….  Reason being polyamory is all about personal autonomy and respecting others choices.  Freely accepting what is freely given.

What I foresee happening in a relationship such as this is, that the 3 will continue to have problems as they do not have a strong communication style between the 3 of them.  They are operating on assumptions and experiences that apply to monogamous relationships .  not those of multiple person intimate relationships.   They seriously need to be honest and open about all the emotions they are having,  not just with each other, but also with everyone else.  (Including their therapist)  Lying to their therapist only undermines their own progress.

Now the good.    The show did take a lot of time showing interactions with the 3 of them that were natural, loving, kind and caring.  They really do seem like 3 people in love. They did show some very basic communication stuff in poly situations.   They addressed jealousy, envy, fear, acceptance, hesitation,   The show tackled and brought to light a lot of issues in the poly community. Couple privilege, unicorn hunting, acceptance and rejection by friends and family, social stigma and fears…. all things that almost all poly people deal with on a daily basis.

So Kudos to Creator: John Scott Shepherd Stars:  Greg Poehler, Rachel Blanchard, Priscilla Faia  and all the rest of the cast and crew for putting together a fairly accurate representation of ONE style of Polyamory. 

Season 2?

Atlanta Poly Weekend 2016 ( Preview)

Well, its that time of year again.  In just 2 weeks Atlanta Poly Weekend 2016 will be taking over its new hotel home.  Yep , if you hadn’t heard they are moving to a new venue this year.  The new home for #APW2016 is the Sheraton Downtown Atlanta ! APW is excited for this move as it indicates growth, change, and expansion.

Along with the new hotel,  lots of other new things are happening this year, the most presenters they have ever had, 30 as well as, the most new presenters they have ever had, 18!  That’s over 50% NEW FACES teaching classes.  But of course they brought back your favorites from previous years. Some of the presenters listed include, Tikva Wolf (Kimchi Cuddles) Dr. Eli Sheff, Joreth, Bettie Bullet, Amanda Anatra, Ricci Levy, and  myself.
Classes this year have been extended to 1 hour 30 minuets, so plan accordingly. They will have a 15 minuet break between classes that should help with restroom times and stretching the legs.

New events happening this year include a Pool Party (pack your swim suit) in place of a dance.  Organizers have said the dance has been poorly attended in years past so they wanted to try something new.  The Pool party will be on Friday Night from 7-10Pm.  Make sure you are there for all the fun! Also this year brings back the loved game of Match Game against Humanity.   This  is a mash-up of the traditional Match Game, and CAH, where the staff choose the Black cards out of a deck of CAH for the questions,  and the panelists answer with their own made up white card answers. It is a lot of fun.  Not one for the kiddos though.

Classes look really interesting this year, as usual.  APW really prides itself on not only the amount of classes they offer, but the quality as well.  With classes ranging on topic feom Asexuality, to Yoga, to communication and coming out,  you name it I think they have it covered.  With this year a night time Adult track of topics restricted to 18+ years old.  See the full line up and descriptions here .

In addition to all the new programming that APW has this year, never before have this many community organizations been represented at APW.  over 12 different organizations have come out already to support this wonderful event.  They include, Relationship Equality Foundation, Woodhull Freedom Foundation, NCSF, Atlanta Poly, AID Atlanta, Lost n Found Youth, Relate Con, and several more.  Its amazing to see this much support for the event that started so humbly 6 years ago in the basement of  a hotel.

With all this awesome going on, I ask you will I see you there?  If you have not already bought your tickets,  go now and get them HERE Badges are only $60.00 per adult. Meet some of the best presenters, activist and advocates in the Poly Community,  learn skills and expand your minds view on different topics, make new friends,  but most importantly, have a good time.
Ill see you June 3-5 2016 at Atlanta Poly Weekend!

You Me Her Ep 3 – No Penetration

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Picking up where we left off ….
Well atleast now we know how Izzy got their address.   She ran away from her date With Andy and “cyberstalked their address”  Very nice lead in to an increasingly awkward conversation.
A quick note about Andy,  It is possible I was to harsh on him.  After reading and learning more about Izzy’s character, as well as a commentator’s notes on their take away,  that situation could have all been just Izzy being to scared to commit to something at this time.  she is enjoying life and having fun.  Not ready to settle down. But she doesn’t know how to tell Andy that, and doesn’t want to hurt him, because he is a nice guy.

There are several minuets of stumbling conversation obviously all people in this are very nervous.  Id like to point out something about the way the show framed the people involved.  Jack and Emma are shown during this time almost joined at the hip. Standing as one, a couple, yet a unit….  While Izzy is shown, alone, moving around a lot, much like a free spirit, single.
Emma mentions she hasn’t done anything like this since college… then say, “omg I just used that line”  To which Jack responds, ” You said that to me” .  Hmmmm
In noticing how nervous she sounds in her own head, Izzy asks, ” Is my voice as shaky out loud?”
Emma and Jack decide its time for a relaxation and offer some wine..  Izzy goes to the wine rack and grabs the first 2 bottles she sees…  Jack and Emma stop her.  ” No NO NO Not that wine, thats for show.” They have a few glasses of wine but the nerves and tension are still there.  So Izzy decides to break out the weed as a relaxation helper.  And boy did that work… too well if you ask me.

As they are smoking and getting high,  they begin to talk about their actions in regards to each other. Emma and Jack talking about there masturbation sessions at work.  Then realizing how they may sound creepy, Emma stops and asks if Izzy is freaked out. (Awww checking on the emotional reaction) Izzy, “I’m way to self conscious to be upset, I am flattered that anyone would jack off to me. ” Laughs all around….  Then the look of  terror strikes Emma as she is faced with the reality that feelings are growing as she sees something in the way Jack looked at Izzy. (and maybe something about her own feelings?)
“So, we are all in agreeance that this is just a Business deal right?” Emma
Jack and Izzy agree.  Then Jack and Emma’s exchange is well  ……….businessy.
Emma and Jack begin to discuss how, what and when things will happen with Izzy.  However, they never once ask Izzy what she wants.  Izzy even calls them out for it at one point saying ” Thanks for remembering I’m in the room AND A HUMAN BEING”
A few more exchanges between Jack and Emma, as Izzy is gathering her things.  You can tell her feelings are hurt.  SHe is obviously emotionally impacted .  Then Emma says,  “we all agree this agreement is non Penetrative right?” Izzy, “Sure, what ever you want. But,  I will need to drop some regulars, so I have to charge you all a premium.  ANd I will need the month up front paid in full. Also, they sessions will be Monday through Thursday as Weekends are for NON PAYING relationships Only.  Clear? ”  Emma, confused, “yea” Izzy takes her weed and leaves.  Jack and Emma look very confused as to what just happened. Maybe its the weed…. but it doesn’t seem to click.  * I wish I had the video clips to add in here because it really makes the point better than I can with text*

So, I want to stop here for a moment and call this scene for what it is and applaud the show writers for making this happen.   Have you ever heard the term “Couple Privilege”?  Well, if not couple privilege exists when a couple places their terms, conditions, and expectations on a third person and doesn’t consult that person as to what they want, need, expect.  This scene was a FANTASTIC example of how couples exercise privilege.  Jack and Emma are using Izzy to better their marriage. They are discussing what they want as a unit to achieve through the use of Izzy.  They don’t check with her to see what she wants, they never ask about her feelings. Its almost as if they are in it for themselves. And the fact that when she gets up makes a huge scene about the situation they don’t react….  They aren’t connection the emotional side yet.  This happens VERY FREQUENTLY in early poly relationships involving couples, especially those that have been married or partnered for long periods of time.    I am REALLY happy they chose to put this in. (granted being stoned may have had something to do with their lack of response. but that’s another issue) /end rant/

The following day Jack and Emma are at a coffee shop and Emma mentions she thinks they were too businessy with Izzy and that they should be more careful.  Jack rebuts, “it is a business thing and we should keep it that way. That’s what it is.”  Emma asks,  “Why, to make sure ‘feelings’ don’t develop or something? I saw your googly eyes at Izzy last night.”
Jack gets very defensive and starts explaining his eye state was because he was high not making googly eyes.  Emma doesn’t buy it and pushes the issue until Jack is clearly done.  Then she asks, So who goes first? A few things back and forth then Emma declares, ” I will go first”.  Jack, WHY do you get to go first?’  Emma, ” Ladies first thats why”.  Jack,  WAIT WHAt,  that means Ill never go first (well once out of 3 but…) there are 2 ladies. How is that fair!???”   And then just like that, Emma slips off her shoe and reaches her foot across under the table and begins to give Jack a foot job.  Jack is clearly uncomfortable with this and he doth protest a little.  ” What?  Is this how we are going to decide things? ”  Emma Smiles biting her lip, “yep.  So I get to go first?  ”  Jack,  “Why am I so short sided about this? Yes sure.  Stupid Penis!”

Jack walks into work and the Dean is in his chair.  They talk for a few, Dean tells Jack about the vetting process for the job, there may be a drug test, and the Alumni Board will meet with him for a few hours on monday. In the mean time they will be reviewing his record at the school.  Jack is now worried, “We have drug testing?  I didnt know.” Dean, ” I think so cant remember the last time”  Jack, “WHat about will they really check my browser history?  That seems un, un, unAmerican,  or un something”  Dean, “They check everything, but you use incognito mode right?”  Jack “Whats Incognito mode?”

Emma and BFF are shopping for Emma some date clothes. They joke about “lezing her up” (personally I dont like this term or exchange . It comes off insensitive to the lesbian community as if looking a certain way makes one more lesbian.and more desirable.) They find an outfit that they think will be good.

Emma and Jack are back at home, Emma is getting ready for her date with Izzy. Jack has to go to a neighborhood party . Emma is supposed to be going with him but says “You’ll be fine, Ill only be an hour late.”
Izzy at her house getting ready for the date, conversing with her room mate RM “So they get some freaky marriage sex therapy what are you getting out of it?” Izzy, somewhat enthusiastically ” 16 sessions paid up front. SHould I wear these ?” holding up a pair of hideous (imo) pants .  RM without even looking “Nope”

Izzy and Emma meet at a restaurant. There seems to be a wait. Both mention how nervous they are and how neither of them would be able to eat. Izzy has an idea. SHe runs across the street to a store.  Next we see them walking side by side sharing a bottle. As Izzy passesit she says “Hot Damn, thats what it is called”.  Emma takes a swig, “Oh god I just exfoliated my mouth”. A few more steps and they stop stare at each other and kiss Emma pushing Izzy gently into the wall behind her in an embracing long kiss.  It is passionate, more than a fling or a passing kiss in the night …  there are fireworks in this kiss.  They break,  EMma says, “Come on I know a place”  Izzy, “A hotel?”  Emma “Better”

Meanwhile, Jack is stuck in suburban hell party with all his neighbors playing stupid games he doesn’t even want to play Frustrated with his neighbor who cant guess Marilyn Monroe, he throws in the towel…  His neighbor ask, “What is it with you tonight, You have been checking your watch like every two seconds”…. “It’s Emma, she is out with a colleague and should have been here by now.”   UH OH somebody broke their word and Jack is now freaking out with a million things in his head about what could be happening (how do I know, cause I’ve been there done that got the scars, and the t-shirt to cover them up with.  Also this show how culturally we are conditioned to NOT be truthful about our ethical nonmonogamous relationships with our friends and neighbors.  )  A toast is called congratulating one of Jack’s neighbors (the nosey one from last week’s episode) as ta new Alumni Board member of the local private school that…. you guessed it, Jack is going to be interviewed for DEAN!  She come over to the punch bowl and asks Jack “So how much ass kissing can you do in 3 days?”  More wine ma’dam? …..

Izzy and Emma are meanwhile making out whispering sweet nothings to each other and getting pretty hot and heavy on a roof top over looking a part of town.  I have to say, I’ve never done rooftop sex,  but it is on my list.   As they are gently kissing exploring , striping down their clothes, its apparent that this is going to be more than snuggles and comfort.  Then one of the sweetest things I have ever heard was said.  Izzy” That freckle on your cheek is one of my favorite things about you. ”  Emma,  “I hated it. As a kid I would try to scratch it off.”  Izzy,  “Thats stupid, dont scratch it off.”  Emma “Ok, I won’t”  These words were with such a tenderness and kindness, that you could tell there were genuine feelings behind them.  I’m a little teary eyed now thinking about it. It was really sweet.  Then this… “Opps, I think we just broke the no penetration rule”.   UM…… Ok so now we are late, and broke the rule…..

Jack lying in bed, awake,hours after the party,  snuggling the dog hears the door knob, pretends to be asleep even starts to fake snore.  Emma comes in noticings him faking it and calls him on it.  He starts to initiate sex, but Emma says, ” Oh baby I can’t. If I cum one more time, I think Ill shrivel up”
Jack is WIDE AWAKE now and you can see the hurt and the pain in his face.    “What? WHat do you mean?  how many orgasams?  I thought we agreed?”  ALl the fears he had earlier were coming true….   Emma ” I took her to the roof. ”  Jack “What roof? OUR ROOF?!  How could you that’s our spot we… ” He rolls over and is obviously mad, hurt, envious and jealousy.  Emma trying hard to console him says, ” Are you going to sleep like this?  ANgry?”  Jack responds “Yes angry” She then says, “MAybe a little jealousy is good for both of us?”  Jack says, almost like a kid who didnt get to play with his toy, ” When its my turn Im going to cum like a million times.” Emma laughs “a million huh? Oh really ? WHere?” Jack, ” On every rooftop in the city.” He cant hold back the laughter and they rool together and hug.

Izzy at home, alone, in her bed, staring at a picture of Emma that she took on her phone, smiles softly.  Then, reaches into her waistband and starts to masturbate to the photograph, and the memory.  Her room mate barges in without knocking to ask something then stops ” What are you doing?!”  Izzy “uh… Sleeping”  RM  “Like HELL” Walks over sees the phone and takes it from Izzy…. “Oh my”…….

Roll credits.

So a couple things I want to point out that this episode highlighted.

1 Couple Privilege (Already discussed)
1a Unicorn Hunting.   Ok…  So, part of what is happening is that Izzy has been unicorned.  She is the Perfect fit for this couple and the perfect HBB (Hot bi babe) that can fill the void in this married couple.  Unicorn hunting is highly frowned upon in many poly communities because it promotes couple privilege and objectifies the third person in the relationship.
2 The conversation about Izzy’s wants, needs, and expectations still was not had on camera.  Emma’s remorse was not fully detailed to Izzy.  I hope a bigger conversation about this is coming.
3 Emma and Jack at the end having laughter is good,  but they need to have the conversation about where that jealousy is coming from. Jealousy can be a good thing, if managed properly, discussed and dealt with accordingly.  But it can also be destructive and unpredictable.  I have the feeling that they will have this conversation,  WHat, why, and how to prevent it in the future….
Personally I think the jealousy isnt jealousy at all but rather Envy….  He isnt mad that Emma got something,  He feels that he was left out and didnt get something.  He went to the party, did all the things he said he would, but didnt have the fun and exciting time that Emma had.   That is Eny
4 Emma and Izzy are in heavy NRE.  and they are making very common mistakes of NRE.   Check out my write up on NRE .
5 Emma, fessed up and told the truth about what happened.  Im here to tell you that is never easy.  But it is a requirement in relationships.  Especially in polyamorous ones where you agree to things, and then break that agreement.  Honesty is one of the cornerstones of healthy relationships.  Honesty is where trust is built.

Again I think the show is doing a really good job of telling the story in a very realistic way. Given the characters.
Is this the ONE AND True way to Polyamory?  No because such a way doesn’t exist…
Is this ONE way to polyamory?  Yes, and it is a common way for married people .  (Minus the escort part I think that is less common.)
Keep watching Tuesdays at 9pm. See you there!
Check out the behind the scenes Script to Screen video and background ideas here!

If you are looking for more information on Polyamory, Nonmonogamy or looking to find a community near you, Please send me a message.  I’d be happy to answer any questions.

 

You Me Her. Ep 2 Can you be cool? Recap and review.

I’m doing the best I can at the recap, some things may be out of order but I think I got it mostly right.

Well,  Now, Emma has told Jack that she met Izzy…  Emma knows Jack met Izzy, Izzy met Jack as Fred… And now we meet Andy the guy that Izzy has been dating off and on..   Are you confused yet?  Yea Poly-cules get big fast if you aren’t careful (not that there is anything wrong with that) and people can get confused .  So let’s slow all this down and take it slow.

Ok so this week Jack and Emma both are fantasizing about Izzy while they are at work.  at one point Emma puts her phone on vibrate and sits on it while she self dials from her desk phone.  Pretty steamy. Only to be interrupted by an intern/delivery person (I’m guessing) and completely embarrases herself while awkwardly trying to conversate with them.
Meanwhile Jack , in his office at the school is realling in his chair fantasizing about Izzy climbing across his desk asking for a ” private session”  and undoing her top.   That’s when the Dean walks in,  and needs to have a “talk ” with Jack.  AWKWARD!  (I would associate these fantasies with NRE New Relationship energy, that extremely fun and fast time at the beginning of a relationship.  It is exciting and dangerous at the same time. See my post on NRE for more).
Later that day Emma and Jack discuss the need to see their therapist about Emma’s past lesbian activities because, ” It would be good to talk about it.  Get it all out in the open “GREAT ADVICE!  Because this could actually change the expectations for both of them as to the way the relationship with IZZY may develop if anything is going to go forward.  Having clear open communication is good.

Later Emma and her BFF are at Yoga. After Yoga they go for coffee/tea BFF starts asking questions . EMMA says “I feel like I am dangling my marriage out a 10 story window.”  Jack calls, has scheduled a therapy session in 30 mins see ya there…. Therapy they start talking about her past experiences…. However, the therapy session breaks down into a fight about her past and how she hasn’t told Jack about it before…. Jealousy and envy have reared their heads and Jack is alive with fear of what may happen if Emma falls in love with Izzy like she did the other lady (ladies we later learn).
MEANWHILE…..
Izzy has been ignoring the calls of Andy for quite sometime, (7 calls to be exact) she is feverishly cleaning her house after a night of binge drinking over self doubt and not wanting to be a sex worker any longer.  (I do not recommend this as a healthy response to a stressful situation.) Finally we see her and Andy meeting at a bar.  Andy says ” I think it’s about time you take me on a proper date Dinner, movie wine and dine me”.  Izzy, still in her outfit from cleaning the house says, ” Am I gonna get some? After all that you should put out”.  Andy,  “Girls like you like that right?”  WOAH!  #Andyisadouche Sex Worker Shaming.  I was literally disgusted by that comment from Andy,  he obviously doesn’t respect IZZY or understand that her personal life and her work life can be separate. Its a job and that doesn’t reflect on her as a person. ( It’s kind of like asking an artist to paint you a  picture, because “that’s what artists do”).   “When?” Izzy asked.  Andy … ” Right now. No time better than the present and you can’t blow me off this way”  WOW REALLY??!!! #andyisadouche .  Izzy explained she wanted to go change and clean up stating that she was       “foul”. They both agree to meet back at the bar in an hour.
Back to Emma and Jack…
Now at home discussing with much calmer heads the therapy session and their feelings about the whole thing.  It’s obvious that jealousy and envy are still in play, but they are able to manage it through some good dialogue and conversation.  Talking about experiences and sharing information without too many details.
Izzy and Andy …  Back at the bar Andy decides that now is the time to proclaim his everlasting love and  desire to commit. And laying down the law, Its now or never, He wants Izzy to be his everything, one and only.  I don’t think Izzy was too impressed by Andy, neither was I honestly.  #Andyisadouche
Jack and Emma….
Talking about stuff more and sharing their fantasies from earlier in the day.  Jack says, ” Are you thinking what I am thinking?” *Ding Dong* Doorbell …. Open the door and Izzy- “HI!” ….Roll Credits
A few things to highlight from this episode that I thought were good examples of responsible nonmongamy behaviors.

BUT first,  How did Izzy know where they lived?  Well,  a couple of escorts I have talked to say they learn as much about each client that they can so 1 they can relate to them, and 2 so if something goes south they know where to send the cops.  Background checks are even done in some cases.  So its possible that Izzy did this. It is also possible that they aren’t that shy and have all that info listed on social media. Anyway, it’s a question to ask, and maybe the show will explain it next week.

This episode shows the people working on a situation with a common goal.  It doesn’t appear that anyone has a need to be right, first, or most important.
It shows a healthy respect for the relationship they have with each other. Even though emotionally passionate, people discussing, being open, transparent and sharing emotions.  Not just going through the motions.  Jack was noticeably, physically, uncomfortable in the therapy session, and ya know what, it is hard to sit and listen to someone you love talk about loving another person in a similar way. But they respect and love each other enough to listen to each other…. but not that damn elevator music. 😀
Additionally,showing that it is ok to seek a mental health provider to be a go between, mediator, to help sort stuff out.  Addressing a bit of mental health stigma. While also addressing that a lot of problems in relationships are people problems.  And sometimes adding a person to the relationship, while it can be fun, can bring up things from the past that were never discussed changing one’s perception of their partner. This can be reality crushing to those involved (watch Jack’s reaction to Emma coming out with her “Lesbian adventures”).
They called out the Date for sex exchange system in our culture.  Showing that no one really owes anyone anything for having dinner and a date.  Especially not a lifelong commitment.

Ok now for why I think #Andyisadouche .
Andy personifies the stereotypical misogynistic male hero saving the woman from the horrible life of sex work. Asking her to chose to “be serious” and choose to be with him is just… EW. If he is ashamed to be dating a sex worker that is HIS problem. He should look into making better partner selections if that isn’t something he wants. But he shouldn’t be asking her to choose him over her work. Sex work is just that , WORK. Izzy can leave her work at the job just like anyone else. To assume that a sex worker is always “on the job” is ridiculous, unrealistic, and shaming to the industry.

From a polyamorist’s perspective, This episode was fun and realistic.  Again, I was confronted with things that had (and still have) happen in my life as an ethical non monogamist / Polyamorist .
I commend this show’s creators to accurately depict a couple falling into a polyamorous relationship. Clumsily like so many do. They haven’t read any books, they haven’t searched any websites or gone to meetups.  They are learning the hard way.  Like so many of us have. It isn’t always pretty, and fun. It is scary, hard, emotional, and challenges us to be our best self .  So far I think this show has shown that.  I look forward to more and the direction the show is going.

Well that’s it for me this week. Follow me on twitter @jackelxing follow the tags #Youmeher #wouldyoumeher! See ya next week!

New workshop for Mental Health Professionals

This should be an amazing time!  Wont’ you join us?

ALTERNATIVE RELATIONSHIP EDUCATION WORKSHOP EVENT

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Creative Commons, Michael Ruiz

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Please join us for a one-day workshop designed to educate therapists, counselors, and others who seek to learn about diverse relationship structures and techniques to serve clients with varied lovestyles.

This event is designed to educate mental health professionals in the areas of sexual, gender and relational diversity – specifically alternative relationship structures and contracts that may also interact with considerations of relational attraction, sexual identity and gender expression.  The sponsoring organization, the Relationship Equality Foundation, has observed that despite efforts to maintain generally non-judgemental attitudes, most mental health professionals know so little about this area that their responses to clients who “come out” to them in session can range from off-putting surprise to a disapproval that has significantly reduced the likelihood that community members will seek mental health services in the future.  In short – reactions of therapists have anecdotally even done damage to clients, and certainly have created barriers to future treatment.  We hope to prevent these experiences by educating mental health professionals about the diversity of relationship constructions that may walk into their office, and to offer practical advice for treating these clients.  The event will be divided into morning and afternoon sections – the morning dealing with theory and ethics, and the afternoon presenting practical considerations for therapeutic interactions.  Presenters have been (or are being) selected from local professionals with experience in treating these populations, many with involvement and national exposure in the development of ethical non-monogamy and mental health standards in this area.

This workshop will have six classes and provide six CEs to those who attend both the morning and the afternoon sessions. The morning session focuses on information and ethics, and will provide two Theory CEs and one Ethics CE of practicing with alternative relationship clients. The afternoon session will cover the practical application of ethical practice with clients in alternative relationships and provides two Ethics CEs and one Practical Application CE. There will be a lunch break in the middle of the day with a catered lunch for all registered FULL DAY participants.

Location:

Phillip Rush Center
ANNEX Event Room
1530 Dekalb Ave
Atlanta GA
http://www.rushcenteratl.org/parking-information/
Look For Signage EVENT PARKING

Dates:

March 12th 2016
9 AM – 5 PM

Cost:

6 CE  FULL DAY Registration $125.00
3 CE Half Day Registration $75.00
General Public (NON CEs) $100.00
Students (with Valid Student ID) $50.00
Registration will open Jan 2nd
LIMITED SEATING AVAILABLE
Only 65 registrations available

Speakers include:

Elisabeth Sheff, PhD, CASA, CSE
Rachel Anne Kieran, Psy D.
Anna Baxter, LAPC
Angelique L. Burke, MS, EdS, LPC
Faughn Adams, Ph.D.

FULL SCHEDULE HERE

Sponsors

Charis Books
The Health Initiative 
Atlanta Poly

CE’s Approved
Psychology, Social Work
Certified Counselor