New Class: Off-the-Escalator Transitions

You’re probably familiar with the “escalator” model of relationships, in which you are either moving “up” (from casual dating, to exclusive dating, to committed and cohabiting) or “down” (from conflict and counseling, to taking a break, to permanently separating). But this model tends not to work well for folks in open relationships – or anyone with a more DIY approach. What if you want to move from being nesting partners to being in a long-distance open relationship? What if you want to move from being lovers to being platonic roommates? What if you’re going from being part of a throuple to being part of a quad? There are many relationship transitions that don’t happen on the escalator, and it’s important to know what you can reasonably expect to happen when you make these kinds of changes.

If you are interested in learning about off-the-escalator ways to move through relationship design space, this class is for you. We will talk about some of the more common transitions encountered in open relationships. We’ll discuss ways to deepen or lighten, broaden or narrow, lean in or lean out – and, in the process, how to gracefully sidestep conventional expectations about the way relationship transitions are “supposed” to go.



Parenting in Open Relationships

Parents in open relationships face some unique challenges, not the least of which is lack of social support. If you are a sex-positive parent hoping to connect with like-minded parents, or a couple wondering how to add adult members to your family without causing problems for your kid(s), or a non-monogamous non-parent who wants to support your partner(s) in their parenting, this class is for you! We’ll talk about how to model sex-positivity in developmentally appropriate ways; how to tell if it’s time to tell your kids about your non-traditional relationship structure; how to deal with judgment from friends, extended family, and community; and when & how to introduce your kids to new partners. We will also talk a little bit about co-parenting in triads, quads, and larger groups.



Coming Out as Polyamorous

Although it’s wise to keep the details of your private life under wraps in certain situations, it can be tough to feel like you have to keep secrets from important people in your life – especially when those secrets are other important people in your life!

If your closet has become more claustrophobic than comfortable, this class is for you. When do you tell someone about your unconventional approach to relationships, your other partner(s), or your scandalous lifestyle? How do you tell them? Are there people you shouldn’t tell? What do you do if your parents/kids/neighbors/colleagues/friends freak out? How dangerous is social stigma to you, in your specific circumstances, anyway? Do the benefits of being open – about being open – outweigh the risks? We’ll address these questions, and more, as part of our exploration of what it means to be authentic and transparent in a particularly challenging relationship: our relationship with mainstream society, which still disapproves of any deviation from the monogamous norm.


Destigmatizing “Alternative” Relationships

Although 4-5% of US adults are currently in a Consensually Non-Monogamous relationship, CNM remains highly stigmatized as a relationship choice. In this workshop, we’ll examine the unconscious biases that inform the popular wisdom on so-called “alternative” relationships, and learn more about the similarities and differences between different forms of CNM, including “monogamish” marriage, swinging, open relationships, polyamory, and Relationship Anarchy.