More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory was one of the foundation books that I have built a lot of my beliefs on. It has become one of the reference books in my library, and one of my most recommended reads for friends and partners. When I discovered Franklin Veaux, one of the writers of More Than Two, was writing a memoir it was immediately on my reading list.
Franklin wrote about his experiences and journey in polyamory in the most honest, and painful way. He bared all of his mistakes, and it wasn’t for nothing. Coming from the next generation of polyamorous people, I can see all of the growing pains the community went through and I am so grateful that I skipped some of those painful lessons. I also identified deeply with his struggles in relating to people, as I went through a similar journey through high school and college. For me the book spoke to me beyond just a story of polyamory.
When I turned 17 I found myself with a copy of The Ethical Slut. I can’t for the life of me remember who gave it to me or why, but in that book I realized that I wasn’t alone in the way I thought about relationships. I realized that it was possible for me to be in loving relationships with more than one person. Now that I have a few years between the 17 year old me and now, I don’t agree with all of the principles in The Ethical Slut, but it laid the groundwork. I think that More Than Two and The Game Changer are the next step in my poly evolution, and hopefully the poly community as a whole.
From The Next Generation
Dear Franklin, from the next generation of polyamorous people. Thank you for sharing your mistakes with us. Thank you for showing even the gritty parts of exploring open relationships, and the parts where you were wrong and hurt your partners. Your disruptive love gave way to so much more. I feel like everything you write leaves little gems of ‘aha’ moments for me. When I first read More Than Two I found myself dog-earing the pages and bookmarking sections to go back to. I never though I would be doing the same thing in a memoir.
I think that one of the most valuable lessons that I gleaned from your memoir, is that game changers will happen. Sometimes people will come into your life and shake everything you value loose. While all the pieces are tumbling away, you realize that your foundation had been crumbling for years anyways. Then, you realize that rebuilding isn’t so bad after all. You might not know what things are going to look like next, but you don’t get to know. That is just how life is.
I think that the younger generation of polyamorous people are incredibly lucky to have a wealth of writing and information out there for us to reference and build our futures on. I think that some mistakes are inevitable when you are exploring relationships, but I certainly identified how to make my relationships better by having some examples of how people have done it before me.
While I do recommend that everyone pick up a copy of The Game Changer immediately, I did want to pull out a few parts of the memoir that spoke to me and talk about them. If you hate spoilers of any kind, this is your chance to turn back!
Maybe Insecurity was soluble in a solution a solution of love and intimacy -Franklin Veaux
Such beautiful writing. Poetry aside, Franklin makes this musing early in his story when hoping that his future wife will understand him better when she pursues another partner. I don’t think insecurity is soluble in a solution of love and intimacy. I think that in an environment of love and intimacy there is less room for insecurity, but the chemical reaction to destroy insecurity lives within the person who holds that insecurity. Yes I said it. We all own our own shit. Insecurity is your problem. A good partner can help you by showing you love and intimacy, but all the love in the world can’t convince you to love yourself if you don’t want to.
There’s a terrible thing about insecurity: it makes us the lowest versions of ourselves. It turns us into the meanest, cruelest caricatures of our better natures. It chokes out compassion. It makes us forget that the reason we form connections with one another is love. -Franklin Veaux
I often see the joke that the more you understand about psychology, the harder it is for you to blame people for their actions. When I went through my first trauma of being a secondary in a polyamorous relationship, I went along with the rules at first because they didn’t seem like a threat to me. The more I fell in love with my partner, the more I felt like a third party was crushing down onto that love and making it impossible. Now I understand that for me, the unfairness of a hierarchical relationship doesn’t fit within my flavor of polyamory.
I also can see that when I start to act out or have negative feelings about a partner’s actions, it is often because of some insecurity I tucked away in myself. The more secure I am in myself and my relationships, the easier it is for me to negotiate for my needs. I think that beyond different relationship styles, one of the biggest steps to making any relationship work, polyamorous or not, is to be secure in yourself. Polyamory just takes away your hiding places for insecurity.