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Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  3,269 ratings  ·  457 reviews
Polyamorous psychotherapist Jessica Fern extends attachment theory into the realm of consensual nonmonogamy. Using her nested model of attachment and trauma, she expands our understanding of how emotional experiences can influence our relationships. Then, she sets out six specific strategies to help you move toward secure attachments in your multiple relationships. Polysec ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 23rd 2020 by Thorntree Press
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Eve Rickert There is not, but there's a workbook in progress that will hopefully be out by fall.…moreThere is not, but there's a workbook in progress that will hopefully be out by fall.(less)

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 ·  3,269 ratings  ·  457 reviews

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Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The non-monormative attachment book I have desired for so many years! As someone who is monogamous (and begrudgingly attracted to men), works with poly clients, and has a few close friendships, I felt like I could trust this book’s wisdom without any heteronormative, monogamy-centric brainwashing. Jessica Fern draws upon her experience as someone who is polyamorous, as well as through her therapy experience with polyamorous clients, to deliver a book I honestly think we could all benefit from re ...more
Jessica Woodbury
There are more than a few books out there about how nonmonogamy works. We haven't moved very far past them, most books are about what it is, how it works, the basics. But for regular relationships, those kinds of books don't really exist. For monogamous relationships, though, you have a seemingly infinite number of self-help books about how to make your relationships better. But these books are pretty useless for consensually nonmonogamous people. What is normal for monogamous relationships, the ...more
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
Paired with the help of a good, polyamory-competent therapist, I can imagine no better resource than this book for helping insecurely-attached people figure out how to do non-monogamy in a way that is happy and healthy, rather than constantly triggering and retraumatizing.

Anyone who liked this book should also consider reading Clementine Morrigan's zine "Love Without Emergency" and taking their online class on trauma-informed polyamory. Those resources focus more on calming the nervous system wh
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Don't care if you're single, poly, monogamous, or something entirely other, this is a stellar book to read for anyone involved with any human on any level ever. & yes, I'm including friendship in this. And family. And your relationship with your own self. ...more
Beverly Diehl
There are books about polyamory, and books about attachment, and books about trauma, but as far as I know, this is the first to put them all together in one cohesive theory/work.

Possibly because it's the middle of the pandemic, and my reading brain isn't as sharp, but the beginning chapters of the book were a little dry and hard for me to get into. However, the middle and ending were both more readable, and helpful.

One concept the author touched on that I'd never seen before, is our childhood
This is the first book I’ve ever read about nonmonogamy so I need to remind myself that it isn’t going to cover everything I want to know! It felt like it only addressed experiences of privilege and oppression in relationships on a surface level, but I can understand that being beyond the scope of the book. Overall though, this rocked. My favorite part was the explanation of the different forms of attachment and how that can show up in relationships. There are a lot of great reflection questions ...more
Mar 09, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, polyamory
I see almost nothing but glowing reviews for this and I get it, it's an interesting subject and a useful read for people wanting to understand attachment theory and how it relates to polyamorous relationships. Unfortunately, I found it extremely repetitive and, at times, wilfully obscure in terms of its prose. I'm afraid I couldn't help but skim the last few chapters. All in all, it felt like a good start to a discussion that should be had but it ultimately left a lot to be desired. ...more
Giordano Margaglio
Jan 11, 2022 rated it it was amazing
A mind-opening book and an extremely valuable resource to be better individuals in relationships.

The author first describes the different types of attachment styles, not as enclosed boxes but rather as a nuanced spectrum everybody can reflect into. Then she explores how these styles affect and interweave with relationships - monogamous and non-monogamous - resulting in an enriching manual on how to be better at loving ourselves and loving others. I believe this goes much beyond romantic relation
Bek MoonyReadsByStarlight
Aug 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Nuanced, but accessible! Includes explanation, as well as questions for reflection and useful tips and ways to use the information practically.
Danny D. Leybzon
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. An absolute treasure of a book. Since finishing, I've bought copies of Polysecure for half a dozen of my friends already and I'm sure I'll be buying many more. I've found attachment theory a useful framework to think about relationship styles for a long time but have been extremely disappointed by most of the literature on the topic. Most authors talk about attachment theory in very mononormative (often implicitly heteronormative) ways and see attachment styles as fixed, immutable attr ...more
Chai Elizabeth
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm not non-monogamous, but I highly recommend this book to anyone as the content can apply to relationships of any kind. Very insightful and explains attachment theory really well. ...more
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book for anyone

This is a great book for understanding adult attachment theory. The author is not stuck in the monogamy paradigm and is more thorough in describing the theories relating to attachment. This book is not heavy on detailing all of the research around attachment. Instead, it is more focused on the application of the theories in ways that enhance your understanding of self and how the self responds and reacts to relationships based on attachment styles. I would recommend it to a
Gabrijela Kovac
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
Being a great fan of Bowlby`s work on Attachment, I appreciate the author`s reflections and further expansion on existing literature. Built upon well-established modes of Attachment Theory, this book serves as an essential piece of work on polyamory - a topic so disregarded and misinterpreted within scholastic circles. ...more
Sep 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
I wish I'd read this at high school. I wish all my friends had read this at high school. It would have saved us a lot of pain — the pain we dealt to others, the pain others dealt to us, and the pain we dealt to ourselves.

My earliest memories of monogamy are 1) my dad reacting with either silence or rage at my mum's stream of consciousness talk during dinner time (nobody asked how anyone else's day was); 2) Disney animated flicks about heterosexual completion; and 3) that scene in Minority Report
Matt Parsons
Dec 02, 2020 rated it liked it
The first third of this book covers attachment styles. The second third describes polyamory. The final third contains useful advice for people currently practicing polyamory.

The first two thirds are well written, so if you're unfamiliar with either poly or attachment, they're worth the read. The final third is the main point of the book, and it's good, if a bit short.

The book advice tends to prioritize relationships over individuals. I don’t like this philosophically, but I’ll grant that many pe
Faith Simon
Jan 13, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A MUST read for anybody practicing or considering practicing ethical-non-monogamy, maybe even for anybody to be honest. This is a wonderful book that really forces you to take a look at your safety blankets and insecure attachment styles. I really loved this book pointing out monogamy is less of a default and more of a safety blanket for most people that can not place their own sense of safety outside of a concept of exclusivity.
I recommend printing the pdf figures that this book comes with to
Keaton Green
Mar 02, 2022 rated it really liked it
4.5 I’m not polyamorous but this was really good! The book looks at attachment theory from a non-mono normative perspective. A lot of stuff that was very resonant for me and my relationship. I read this after seeing Thomas stellar review and would recommend for anyone.
Eduardo Santiago
Aug 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Much has changed in the understanding of attachment since I first read Siegel many years ago; much has also changed in the acceptance and understanding of ethical nonmonogamy in the last few decades. This book starts off strong by assuming an informed reader, giving brief background while focusing more on new perspectives. It remains strong all the way through, offering respectful and insightful takes on presence, communication, relationship safety -- what we all work on every day -- and providi ...more
Rachel Y
Aug 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5. Loved the concept behind this (combining attachment theory with nonmonogamy) and thought it was quite well executed. It's the first book I've read on the topic since practicing non-monogamy myself and it felt like a useful primer /practicum on what the effort / work / vision really is here. I realized how moving the journey to find secure attachment in this world really is - whether you're solo, monogamous, or non-monogamous - and reframing the DTR question as 'do you want to be an attachme ...more
Jan 21, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, adult
TFW you go to read a book about polyamory only to get personally attacked by your childhood trauma?

As the title suggests, I read this book because I've been curious about non-monagamy and saw that Polysecure is meant to be relevant for all romantic / sexual relationships. And it is! In many ways it’s an advice and self-help type of book, but given from the experience of a practicing polyamorous therapist.

The book begins by discussing the 3 insecure attachment styles, which most often are determ

Truly well written and a great book to honestly and thoroughly work through. I appreciate the fact that Fern highlights the fact that polyamory is about getting your own shit in order and working towards creating healthy relationships with all. I tried the hierarchical polyamory - as that was the only way I had seen it in action - and always felt that there was something inherently flawed in that system. I felt like I was grinding against an ideology that felt way to much like it was trying to
Jul 02, 2022 rated it it was amazing
The intent of this book was to cover the intersection of ethical/consensual non-monogamy (ENM/CNM) and adult attachment theory, something which has not appeared in the popular press to date. In reality it does much more than that - it is a far more comprehensive discussion of adult attachment theory than other popular press treatments (e.g., "Attached"). Whereas earlier books pathologized all attachment styles other than secure attachment, this book provides a much more empathetic treatment, tra ...more
May 15, 2022 rated it really liked it
I am my own secure base AND safe haven🌅💅🏼✨🐡
Ginger Banks
Jul 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is definitely at the forefront of consensual nonmonogamy education. I’ve read “The Ethical Slut” and “More Than Two” and while those books are both GREAT intros into the world of polyamory, I think Polysecure does an amazing job of using research to connect trauma, attachment, and CNM into one easy to read book. This is now the book I will be recommending to my poly friends going forward. So glad I was suggested this book by my amazing friend! Just like trauma can cause extra growth in ...more
Apr 24, 2021 rated it really liked it

This is one of the better books I’ve read on polyamory and it is one of the better popular books I’ve read on applied attachment theory. It is also well and thoughtfully written. The author engages, at least in passing, with a lot of topics within polyamory that have sometimes been left out of previous books - especially with regards to identifying the relationship between consensual non monogamies and other systems of power (like racism) or between nonmonogamies and other forms of bonding,
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic resource for more than just people practicing consensual nonmonogamy (CNM). I was enamored by the structure of the book. Starting with a glossary, the author then gives you a brief outline of what you will read, starting with foundational principles (in this case attachment theory), then how they relate to CNM, finally moving to strategies on how to apply those to your interpersonal relationships. The author will then make references to previous sections or inform you when this particu ...more
Zsuzsi Ament
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Learning about attachment theory was interesting and new for me. It also articulated a clear distinction between being attached safely vs. being attached safely&securely, which I find very useful. What I appreciated most is the expansion of attachment theory toward places, the environment, to self. It's a great reframe, and a lot of food for thought in how I create my home, look after the environment, self etc... This book is not for nonmonogamous folks, it's for everyone. 
However, if you're loo
Mar 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've only barely dipped my toes into attachment theory things, and this book helped explain a lot more of them to me. I really think this book was a brilliant and necessary addition to the literature in the non-monogamous world. Many of us are working through many kinds of traumas (attachment traumas included) while navigating multiple relationships and things get messy sometimes.

This book explains kindly and compassionately how you can approach and address varying attachment styles within relat
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is an instant classic for the polyamorous community, but is also one I'd recommend for monogamous readers as well. It's a brilliant and thoughtful dissection of relationship dynamics we've likely all run in to, as well as the path toward identifying those patterns and moving toward more secure functioning. I've read a lot of the classics on attachment theory, but this book has given me language to talk about things that happen in messy, real-life relationships in a way few other books ...more
Oct 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
The book to gift your monogamous therapist, if you're practicing CNM and find yourself in that situation. Or just a book to use on your own because how many therapists are taking new clients and accept your insurance anyhow?
The prose is on the duller side; I would have happily accepted a little more humor. But there's no doubt this is a useful, practical book. And as with most writings on polyamory, I think there's as much here for monogamous folks trying to navigate attachment insecurities in t
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Jessica Fern is a psychotherapist, public speaker, and trauma and relationship expert. In her international private practice, Jessica works with individuals, couples and people in multiple-partner relationships who no longer want to be limited by their reactive patterns, cultural conditioning, insecure attachment styles, and past traumas, helping them to embody new possibilities in life and love.

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“We can make our partners into the source of our hope, love, strength, ability to feel or regulate our own emotions, as well as the source of our meaning and purpose in life. Our partners can be the inspiration for these things, as well as the objects or focus of our love, but they should not be the source of it. You are the source of your happiness, love, courage, emotional regulation and purpose, and the sooner that you can release your partner from being the source of these experiences the better for everyone involved” 10 likes
“Being present is not just putting your phone down for a few minutes. It is a way of being, from interaction to interaction, where you consciously inhabit your own body and show up with the best of your attention, offering your presence as a gift.” 10 likes
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