Posted on February 19, 2009
This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series How to Start a Polyamory Group
By Sanja Gjenero @ stock.XCHNG

By Sanja Gjenero @ stock.XCHNG

In high school and college, students have the ability to join clubs that focus on a hobby (i.e. debate or chess, etc.) or a niche in which they belong or hold an interest (i.e. cultural, GLBT, environmentalist, etc.).  In the “grown up” world, it’s no different.  We desire to find and connect with others that hold similar views and beliefs, and established groups give us the opportunity to do that.

If you are in a town that does not have a polyamory-focused group, this series of articles will guide you through the process of creating one.

Don’t think that this series is just for those that don’t have a group available to them.  If you have a local organization available, or are a part of one, I encourage you to read this series and to comment.  The second reason I am writing these articles is to show you how organizations are structured.  Different group dynamics are more helpful than others based upon the needs of individual members and how the group wants to interact with society. 

Here is an outline of the articles in this series:

  • Finding Others: From Individual to Group
  • Creating Vision: What Do You (As A Group) Want to Accomplish?
  • Building the Framework, Part 1: Determining Your Organizational Structure
  • Building the Framework, Part 2: Creating the Group Bylaws and Constitution
  • Communication: The Group Email List and/or Forum
  • Location, Location, Location: Establishing Social Events and Venues
  • Finding Others, Revisited:  Planning for New Members
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Posted on February 25, 2009
This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series How to Start a Polyamory Group

It may sound obvious, but one of the main things that is required in order to form a group is people.  This leads us to the first hurdle – finding others who are either polyamorous already or interested in exploring the relationship dynamic.

Unless you plan on outing yourself to your family, friends and co-workers, you will probably need to start off by looking outside of your immediate circle of influence.   Fortunately, this process is made simpler through modern technology. There are several social networking sites that you can utilize to find other polyfolk in your area:

 

  • Facebook – A quick word of caution- make sure you double and triple check your security settings, especially if you don’t want to be “outed” just yet.   The downside is that there’s no simple way of indicating that you are “poly”.  The closest things they have are if you’re in an “open relationship” or “it’s complicated” with one person.
  • Tribe.net- some of my friends call this the “grown up” version of Facebook. I haven’t fully leveraged this site yet. It does have a lot of features and customization options, in contrast to the previously mentioned site.
  • Polymatchmaker.com – This is a very simple, free, minimal advertising/spam site. Plus, you’re coming into this knowing that everyone else that uses this site is poly (or claiming to be…). 
  • OkCupid.com – Yes, there are quite a few poly people that use this site :-)

 

Tips and tricks on using social networking sites

Determine how “naked” you want to be with the world.  The Internet does provide us with a certain level of anonymity, if we want it.   Any information that we disclose also runs the risk of falling into the “wrong hands”.  There are those that believe that openly declaring themselves poly would ruin their professional careers or cause social services to take away their kids.  I can’t comment on whether those fears are justified. However, from personal experience, I can attest to the risk of /drama should the wrong people in your life find out about your poly’ness before they’re ready to accept it.   Therefore, you will want to make sure that you have the right precautions in place before you provide information online that can be linked to your identity offline.

Time boundaries are good too.Give yourself a limit of how much time you will spend checking your messages or digging around through the social network site. It may be fun to spend hours looking at profiles of other polyamorists in your area, but remember you have other obligations too ;)

I’m poly, you’re poly, we should date – not!  We typically want to engage in relationships with people that share similar values and ideals.  It may feel exhilarating to find out that you’re not the only polyamorous person in your area, but try to hold back on the temptation of starting a dating relationship right away.  If they’re friend material, start there, and build a relationship based on emotional support and camaraderie rather than romance. It will save you from /drama later.

Posted on February 26, 2009
This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series How to Start a Polyamory Group
Original photo by Zvon @ stock.XCHNG

Original photo by Zvon @ stock.XCHNG

In our previous article, we discussed different methods of seeking out other like-minded individuals with whom to form a polyamory group. 

The next step is to establish the purpose for the group and the direction that it wants to take to achieve its vision.  The process of creating a group’s collective vision is important because it will determine how decisions are made for the organization in the future.

 

(more…)

Posted on March 11, 2009
This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series How to Start a Polyamory Group
Original photo by Zvon @ stock.XCHNG

Original photo by Zvon @ stock.XCHNG

Your group is ready to set forth on your journey. By now, you should have your compass (vision) and map (mission).  At this point, you hit a major stumbling block – which route do you take? One member mentions taking the paved road, another wants the group to cross the river, and the third wants to travel through the woods.  Between those options and the mountain path you are aware of, there’s at least four options that you can take. 

In addition to figuring out how to get to your destination, you realize there are other important decisions to be made: 

(more…)

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Posted on March 12, 2009
This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series How to Start a Polyamory Group
Photo by Sanja Gjenero on stock.XCHNG

Photo by Sanja Gjenero on stock.XCHNG

By this point of the group creation process, you should have decided upon your:

  • Vision – What you want to achieve
  • Mission – How you plan to achieve it
  • Method of decisionmaking

 

The next step is to create formal documents that will act as instructions for how the group will operate going forward. These documents are known as the constitution and bylaws. (more…)

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