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When Someone You Love Is Polyamorous: Understanding Poly People and Relationships
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When Someone You Love Is Polyamorous: Understanding Poly People and Relationships

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  98 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Having a friend or family member come out to you as polyamorous can be confusing and stressful. Chances are, you have a lot of questions: Is this just a phase? Won’t they settle down someday? What’s going to happen to their kids? Do I have to invite all their partners over for Thanksgiving dinner? Why can’t they just keep it in the bedroom?

When Someone You Love Is Polyamor
Paperback, 48 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Thorntree Press
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4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  98 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Lucy Hodgman
Feb 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Pros: Approaches the topic from a research-based perspective. The author has a lot of academic experience with this topic. In a very brief book, she does an admirable job of covering a lot of the basics about polyamory. As a poly person, I see her definitions as generally accurate, and her representations of the benefits and challenges of polyamory as realistic.

Cons: I wanted it to be more progressive and dig a little deeper. While I understand the great difficulty in navigating the need to pres
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This small, easy to understand book would be an excellent starting point for folks just learning about polyamory. It's a very basic guide, written from and for an outside perspective. The simplicity and outside perspective make it more accessible to folks new to the concept of polyamory. The book emphasizes the importance of communication and honest, both as part of polyamory, and for interacting with loved ones who've come out as poly.
"If we use a traditional definition, a relationship that “works” is one where a couple gets legally married, has kids, and remains together in an emotionally intimate and sexually exclusive relationship until one of them dies. By this definition, polyamory does not work. Unfortunately, the high rates of divorce and infidelity in the United States show that most monogamous relationships do not work this way, either. When they don’t work, they are called “failed” relationships or “broken” families ...more
Calvin Read
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
40 page, no-nonsense polyam* primer for anyone who needs a quick reference guide. Scheff's sample size is small, but it's not nothing.

As with much of the material on polyamory, this caters to and draws on the experiences of predominantly white/upper-middle class/well-educated/child-rearing people. As much as I am glad that a quick, basic text like this exists, I will continue to buck against the assumption that the above traits are considered default, or that polyamory is theirs and was 'invente
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great overview on a controversial and foreign concept to many. Low enough abstraction to be useful but high enough to be useful to someone with no knowledge on the subject.

It refers to itself as a pamphlet and completely agree. It is small and concise enough to distribute to someone trying to understand.
Aren Martin
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an interesting read to say the least... quite a small book so it took no time to finish but there is a huge section on children... I don't have kids so I read a bit of it but skipped over most of the kid portion. Still a good read. It is packed with good information and I would suggest it definitely.
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This 38-page overview is one of the best Abebooks impulse buys I ever made. I had gone out to find and purchase The Ethical Slut and More Than Two, but who has time for 300-pagers like that? Sheff is a sociologist and her writing is academic but caring, thorough but to the point, and overall the most perfect primer on polyamory I've read.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great little primer on the basics - would be great to give to a loved one to give them a crash course on the lingo and common questions and objections.
Amanda Cox
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Informative, but very short
A solid intro resource. Very well done. Concise but good coverage and detail.
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I purchased this little book as a poly person looking to 'come out' to my family. (We're a polyfidelitous triad, for the record.) I was hoping to find a sort of Sparknotes to polyamory, something which would be able to help inform my family and take away some of the scary stigma/ taboo of the issue.

I found that this book gives a solid overview of polyamorous relationships and how they can work, however there were a few points that I found lacking. It felt as though there was too much focus on p
João Martins
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a short pamphlet on polyamory and the lives of polyamorists.

I loved the use of objective, matter-of-fact language! I find that people often feel more criticised by the language used in many poly resources, which spans the range from patronising, through demagoguery, to outright holier-than-thou sermons. That's wonderful for poly folks who need validation, but terrible as a means of coming to a mutual understanding among the (non-)monogamy spectrum.

I can see myself using this pamphlet as
Dedeker Winston
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has been needed for a long time. A short, easy primer that's perfect for anyone with a billion questions about polyamory -- parents, partners, relatives, co-workers, etc. Sheff answers the most common questions with ease and professionalism, making this another staple for the polyamorous bookshelf.
Rebecca N. McKinnon
I read this twice because it's so short and easily digestible. I'm glad something like this exists that I can gift my parents-in-law after the "coming out" talk. It has a scientific, matter-of-fact tone, which may work well for some who need definitions and facts to be reassured, or it may not work at all for some who need emotional reassurance. It just depends on the reader. Be mindful of that when gifting. On another note, if you ever get the chance to see this author speak at event, do it. Sh ...more
Hope Faith
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.
I would not have this otherwise.

I am a generally curious person but I am 100% monogamous. I knew about polygamy and that it wasn't for me. It still isn't but now I'm slightly more educated about the subject which I always appreciate.

I guess this is a pamphlet, it's a 40 page pamphlet, but in my head it's still a book.
To the point and informative, it's a solid pamphlet book.
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great, concise pamphlet for explaining to loved ones and family members about polyamory, especially if they process best by reading or if the communication is strained by emotional intensity.

Highly recommended, very clear, and well-written. Great resource for those thinking of coming out as poly to their loved ones.
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great (and affordable) primer to giving friends and family some context about what your poly relationship means / doesn't mean and the potential consequences.
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent descriptions and explanations given without dumbing it down or making it too complicated.
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Karen Toole
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Annie Hobbs
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Oct 27, 2017
Ben Barker
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Jan 05, 2017
Michael Maloney
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Jan 27, 2019
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