One of the bigger challenges in polyamory (and that’s saying something) is the new(er) and growing phenomenon of solo-polyamory (or singleish as coined by blogger Polly Singleish). And yet in this stunningly undiscovered book published in 2010 by polyamorous authors Leonie Linssen & Stephan Wik the first chapter opens like this –
You’re young, single, and have a number of boyfriends and it seems like you just can’t decide to settle down and form a long-term relationship with any of them. The thought of “marriage, two children and a house in the suburbs” is simply not something you contemplate without feeling a bit queasy.
One of these days maybe, or then again, maybe not. Anyway, for the moment you’re enjoying a life of freedom. You’re concentrating on your successful career, you feel good about yourself and you have an active social and love life. As time goes by, however, you notice that more and more of your friends are deciding to form committed relationships, or are starting families. At parties, you’re often the only single person, and when the holiday season comes around it’s difficult to find other people who share the same lifestyle. The pressure from others to settle down or start a family is increasing.
Thus kicks off the case study of Evelyn, the girl who loves four men in totally unique ways …and also loves maintaining her single lifestyle. Practising polyamorists know that relationships come in all configurations. And yet there isn’t a lot of literature which covers such a broad range of them as systematically as this one does.
Leonie, the author and a relationship coach, takes 12 case by case examples amalgamated from her real-life clients to provide an overview of various relationship configurations and their issues together with individual-appropriate solutions (note that solutions and outcomes are as unique as the clients backgrounds, needs and above all choices).
Those who have consciously chosen and worked on their relationship will recognise many of the truisms examined in Love Unlimited like –
‘Negative feelings [are] as messengers from our needs’
‘Remember that we have feelings, but we are not our feelings.’
A truly comprehensive coverage of various relationship issues are examined in a therapeutic setting – death of sex in a relationship, cheating and broken trust, development of a workable triad, first time swinging and my personal favourite, the polyamorous-monogamous configuration. It’s not my configuration and yet the emotions described by those involved resonate deeply within my psyche… and my heart. Why? Because this one in particular will ring true for any couple who has moved at different speeds through their issues from monogamy to polyamory.
Love unlimited is also one of the first books I’ve read (or written by therapists I’ve encountered) to recognise the real fluidity of sexuality over the years and the legitimacy of the new(er) partner in open configurations. And whilst it’s true that couple privilege creeps into a few of the cases this seems to stem from the ‘protagonists’ point of view as opposed to the author.
Verdict: Highly Recommended. A useful addition to the polyamorist’s library.