New Blog from Deborah Anapol

There is a new blog about polyamory starting up, from a high profile author. Debora Anapol is credited with writing one of the two earliest books on modern poly, Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits. She is now a new regular blogger on Psychology Today’s website. She also has a new book coming out, mentioned in the blog.

I considered reading her previous book, opened it up to a random page and found that single page dripping with anti-mono bias. She is very New Agey, and polyamory is literally her definition of being enlightened. Soon the whole human race will be enlightened enough to be poly just like her; won’t that be great? So I set the book back down.

I can’t say I’m impressed with her first column either; while she gives polite lip service to intentional mono living, her philosophy is still “polyamory is enlightenment” with a thin veneer over it. Let’s take a look at the following, with an eye toward what her words reveal about her systematic counseling assumptions (this is in the context of defining precisely what polyamory is):

To me polyamory is a philosophy of loving that asks us to surrender to love. Polyamory leads us to ask, “What is the most loving and authentic way I can be present with these people and with myself at this time?”

While there’s nothing inherently untrue about these sentences, they (along with several badly worded references to mono throughout her first column) reveal to me an ignorance that Anapol is still apparently carrying around. Saying “polyamory is one way of living out a philosophy of loving…” will fundamentally change her starting point in relating to non-poly people. But that, I strongly suspect, would be a fundamental shift away from a major bias she has. Without that phrase, the author is making invisible anyone who does not identify as poly and has done the work to commit themselves to the transformative power of love. Since she’s writing this blog to a mainstream audience who will represent many relational orientations and be overwhelmingly mono, this will be a liability to her communicating effectively.

And while the second sentence is certainly true for many people, it’s also unnecessarily narrow. There are all kinds of life experiences that get people asking that question, and a poly nature is not required to do that work. The sentence structure still reveals that Anapol is not expanding past her own specific truths to find out how non-poly people love… that’s a shitty place to start a philosophy that’s supposed to apply to everyone, and it’s a dangerous blindness for a woman who markets herself as a relationship coach.

Still, a blog devoted to polyamory on a mainstream health website is pretty cool. I suppose.

Here’s the link: New Blog: Love Without Limits

One Response to “New Blog from Deborah Anapol”

  1. Callaigh Says:
    May 8th, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    I tripped over that same sentence, like, “So, what keeps a mono-oriented person from asking that same question?” And the “There are definitely some people who are far better off taking it one at a time” sentence in the first paragraph was frustrating as well, as though it were a maturity or capacity issue (meaning that mono-oriented people are by definition less mature or have less capacity than poly ones, which is bullshit.)

    I am put in mind somewhat of Irigaray’s exhortation to women to form women-only communities and shut men out (mind you, I may have misread her) and the widespread “go eat a sandwich”/”If I wanted bones I’d’ve been born a dog” phenomenon among those just beginning to find their voice in appreciating women of size.

    It can be challenging as a human to be able to say to oneself (and believe) “I’m awesome” without having to argue “All the rest of you guys are less-than.” Truth is, awesomeness is not in limited supply, and isn’t on a comparative scale. There is plenty of room for awesome. Unfortunately, our brains are wired for scarcity, not abundance, I think, and it takes a lot of repeated demonstrations of that abundance for us to begin to believe it.

    You are making a good dent as far as those repeated demonstrations are concerned, and I appreciate that. 🙂

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