April 2021 and May 2021
8515 Penfield Ave
Winnetka, CA 91306
Founded in 1987 by Terry Brussel and Brian Gitt
Based on the philosophy of Family Synergy,
Founded 1971 by Hy Levy and Pat LaFollette
LIVE THE DREAM FOUNDED 1987
Saturday, April 17, 2021
11 AM to 4 PM LIVE (11 AM-12:30 PM on Zoom) Etiquette of Alternative Relationships
Saturday, May 15, 2021
11 AM to 4 PM LIVE (11 AM-12:30 PM on Zoom) Burning Man & Poly Paradise led by Harold Goldstein
Meeting ID: 317 597 1626 Passcode: Heinlein
We are back to in-person meetings on April 17th!… BUT NOW, we are also Always Zooming here on the 3rd Saturday from 11 AM-12:30 PM Pacific Time … This will be our Zoom ID from now on.
Please visit the Live the Dream website at www.livethedream.org to view current events, past articles, etc. Terry Brussel-Rogers is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Life Coach, & a 4th generation Matchmaker. We provide poly relationship counseling, hypnotic jealousy release, success coaching, and other services. See www.acesuccess.com or call (800) LIFE MATES (543-3628)
Live the Dream is an education and support group for those who, originally inspired by the writings of Robert Heinlein, Robert Rimmer, and Marion Zimmer Bradley, are now ready to LIVE such alternative lifestyles as cooperative living, open relationships, and group marriage. Many of our concepts on multiply committed relationships come from Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land and Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Live the Dream also sponsors a nest of Church of All Worlds, the real-life, over fifty-year-old spiritual movement inspired by Stranger in a Strange Land.
All Live the Dream LIVE events are 11 am-4 pm on 3rd Saturdays at 8515 Penfield Ave in Winnetka, Ca. 91306 (unless otherwise specified)
For all events: RSVP/more info call the LTD Hotline (818) 886-0069
The silver lining of the Safer at Home experience: From now on, all our meetings will be available on Zoom for those who can’t get to us in person. Some will be hosted by speakers in other areas, too. We will be doing both Zoom and Live starting in APRIL!
11 AM-12:30 PM on Zoom… 11 AM to 4 PM LIVE
April 17, 11 am to 4 pm Etiquette of Alternative Relationships
We are planning to have this one live and in person as well as on Zoom for the first time in over a year! Limited attendance for social distancing & masks required. Please RSVP for in person attendance. It will be in our house with all the windows open…Craig and Terry are both fully vaccinated. We prefer you be also, but will not require that.
What do you do when your wife brings her lover home for dinner? Who sleeps where if he offers (or is invited) to stay overnight? If your wife has had a depressing day on a night, you’ve got a date, should you cancel and stay home with her? Should your girlfriend keep you company if you do stay home? Is it proper poly behavior to bring a lady home for dinner with your wife before
taking her to bed or only if considering a serious long-term relationship with her? Should a residential triad (one woman & two men for example) sleep all together or alternate between joining the lady in her bed? Emily Post did not cover this stuff, but we will!
Note: the real answer to all these questions is that they involve agreements between those involved in a couple, triad or larger group marriage. All of this is negotiable– preferably before the situation arises… Printed examples of such agreements will be available at this meeting.
1 pm lunch. Please bring your own food and drink. Hopefully, the COVID situation will have relaxed enough that we’ll be able to have a potluck in May!
2-3 pm Get to know each other through a poly type ungame featuring questions designed for quick and deep connection…
3-4 pm socialize in the hot tub.
SATURDAY, May 15 11 AM TO 4 PM
BURNINGMAN: POLYPARADISE’S 20 YEARS IN THE DESERT
The Village of PolyParadise has been influencing the Hearts & Minds and Washing the Bodies of Playa Citizens from ‘2:00 – 10:00’ since 1999 celebrating 20 years in BRC in 2018. Come sit & talk with 14-time Burner, Harold about Poly Paradise, the many other poly/poly friendly camps that have been at Burning Man since 2000. We will also discuss the difference between a Camp and a Village… and what it means to grow from 20 people to 300 including people from over 12(probable many more now!) other countries! And most of all, how YOU can be a part of this yourself!
Please, if you have ever been to or camped with PolyParadise, we welcome your participation in this conversation, so Zoom on in and let us hear from you too!
For more updates as to virtual or LIVE event for 2021 please check https://www.instagram.com/p/CNLPGM2MqVS/ or burningman.org
Harold’s birthday is May 16th!
Let us know if yours is in the month of May so we can include you on the cake!
1PM pot luck lunch…Bring something healthy and delicious to share
2-3PM Continued discussion/ Planning YOUR trip to the Playa.
3-4PM Socialize in the hot tub
HAS COVID-19 ADDED A CHAPTER TO POLY ETIQUETTE??? (UPDATED 4-5-21)
Yes. In many ways.
It used to be that the only serious illnesses you were likely to catch from being poly were diseases which could only be passed by intimate contact. Your lover was not going to pass such a thing to the elderly parent he cares for, friends or non-sexual housemates. Covid 19 changed all of that. This can be passed by breathing and anyone you are within six feet of can get it if you sneeze or even breath heavy. Vaccines have helped A LOT, but have not gotten us entirely free of pandemic protocols such as wearing masks and social distancing. They have also added something new-asking anyone you spend time with regularly whether they have been vaccinated—possibly even requiring proof of it like in the early days of HIV.
If your lover has a spouse, primary partner or parents he is care-giving more at risk for Covid-19 than he/she is or if one of you are at such risk, you may not have had an in-person date in over a year. Perhaps you are now all vaccinated, but can you pick up where you left off? Some lovers are doing just that, particularly those whose relationship is long standing and those who have kept in touch by phone and zoom during the separation. If the relationship was a long distance one to begin with, this may just have been a longer than usual separation from which they are used to rapidly recovering intimacy.
Others whose relationships were less long standing or who allowed themselves to fall out of touch during the lock down may find themselves feeling awkward with each other when they do meet while others have fallen so far out of touch that they can’t seem to reconnect even if one of them now makes the effort to do so. The awkwardness can be handled in a number of ways. One of them is each of you sharing how you feel about the time apart, airing any resentments if this was a unilateral decision by one of you, and being clear as to what you want from this relationship in the future. Do this gently and with plenty of chance for the other to have his say after you have finished or even to call time out during if there is a feeling of being misunderstood.
A very important communication rule for keeping a relationship together (whether with a poly lover or your adult children) is to allow the other person to own his/her words and have final say on the meaning of his/her actions. All you can do is say how it felt to you and request a change in the future if appropriate. Lack of phone contact could be anything from simple negligence to lack of valuing the relationship to being too busy to scratch while working and taking care of parents who were too at risk to do their own shopping. If you trust this person enough to be in relationship with them at all, give them the final word on what it did mean.
If no resentment is involved and you are just glad to be together again, overcoming awkwardness caused by a long separation could be done through anything from a long walk in a beautiful place allowing plenty of time to talk to intimacy building exercises generally done in sensitivity groups.
If you are uncertain as to whether to restart a relationship too long ignored, it may be time to list the pros and cons of continuing the relationship. As a 4th generation matchmaker, I have written a book on such things. Matchmaker’s Corner: Choosing, Finding and Attracting Your Life Mate has ways to do that—see Scoring Your Partner. Available at acesuccess.com or Call 800-LifeMate (800-543-3628) to get the Poly Supplement as a gift.
As for picking up relationship (sexual love or friendship) pieces as the Lockdown recedes, do find out what your lover and his/her lovers and household members are comfortable with. Know who is vaccinated and whether you are expected to be vaccinated before coming in the house etc. Decide where you stand on vaccinations and other related issues, where your love stands and whether you can reach a compromise if necessary.
Alternative Dating & Relationship Etiquette
by Terry Brussel-Rogers CCHt Originally published April of 2017 818-886-0069 livethedream.org
Beyond Covid-19 or Back to Poly Dating Basics
If you are a couple meeting another couple, dinner at one of your homes is generally best. Again, as a couple, inviting a single male to your home for dinner is appropriate for a first meeting. If you are a couple meeting a single lady, the best way we’ve found to handle it is to court her together. Take her out and treat her nicely–let her know that dating a couple doesn’t mean giving up the joys of romantic single dating, but doubles them instead! The husband is taking both of the ladies out–he should pick up the check without a fuss. The single lady can reciprocate later with dinner at her place if things work out. If the single is male and you go out together, he and the husband should split the check–you are both taking her out. None of this on who pays applies to feminist ladies who wouldn’t think of allowing a man to buy her dinner–but we’ve run into amazingly few of those in this movement.
Primary Prospect Dating (or Marrying) Someone in a Committed Long Standing Secondary Relationship
If your partner or prospective partner comes to you with one or more long term secondary partners, you are likely to not only meet these people, but also to form your own relationship with them—anything from casual friendship expressed by a cordial “Have a good evening (or weekend) together,” to becoming an ardent lover of that person if you are bi and the relationship grows. This dynamic can be even more confusing when the secondary has turned down your prospective partner’s offer to be primary (or vice versa), but both have chosen to continue the relationship as it is valuable and satisfying despite that.
There are many in between possibilities. Perhaps your prospective primary’s secondary has veto power over his or her primary relationship. This is particularly common in BDSM master slave relationships—though the Master or Mistress may be a long-married man or woman. More commonly, meeting and getting the approval of this long-term secondary will be similar to getting the approval of a parent, big brother/sister or best friend of your prospective primary partner. Perhaps you passed the inspection and this secondary is now family by choice, joining you for Thanksgiving and Winter Holiday celebrations. Where this person sleeps and whether your partner will sleep with both of you or that person alone during such a visit is one thing you will need to negotiate for the comfort of all concerned. Perhaps you will all sleep and make love in one bed, or perhaps your partner will spend part of the night with one or the other of you.
The secondary may be long distance, taking your partner away for a weekend a few times a year, or you may be sharing the bed with them twice a week if that secondary is local and available for such things—some call this a semi residential triad such as the one which originally founded Live the Dream. It is wise to find out what the current situation is before getting into such a relationship. You may be able to negotiate changes which would make you more comfortable either to start with or ongoing. While it is not a given that you will take the time commitments in that relationship as is, you will most likely be expected to accept the relationship itself which may have been going on for decades.
The honest and ethical thing for you as someone forming a primary relationship with a person in such a relationship is to be clear on what you can handle and what you can’t, so your prospective primary partner can make an informed choice about what he or she is committing to. Changing the rules after the wedding, handfasting or decision to live together is something which would have to be done by mutual consent—perhaps including the consent and input of the secondary partner. Arbitrary vetoes or changes at this point have been known to end in a breakup of the new primary relationship, so think carefully about it and be fair to yourself as well your partner and the person who may have seen him or her through 3 marriages, perhaps helping to raise kids involved…
Three in the Car
If you all go out together as three, the wife and single lady should alternate sitting in the front seat if your car has bucket seats. In the case of a couple dating a single man, the gentleman whose car is being driven will usually drive with the lady beside him. Three in front is much better if you have a vehicle which can do it—rare as of 2015.
Three at a Restaurant
If you are going to a restaurant, plan things so that round booth seating (preferable) or
individual chairs avoid the couple sitting on one side and the single on the other. Whether that single is male or female, avoid anything with a two against one feel to it. Call ahead to check exactly what kind of seating the place has if you have not been there before.
Couples Together and Apart
Be sure you not only do the obvious of sitting in cars or restaurants with the opposite sex member of the other couple, but spend time with the same sex one, too. This goes for separate meetings, too. The gentlemen can go to a computer fair together while the ladies go for a drive or whatever. You are all in a relationship together if this works out. During 50 years of living this life style, I have found that the relationship between same sex members of a triad, quad or bigger group is at least as important as that between opposite sex members especially if the same sex members are hetero.
I will never forget the man whose “share” at a Loving More conference was that “This woman is the lady I love, ardently desire, and want to spend the rest of my life with. This is the man I want to repair roofs and remodel kitchens with for the rest of my life. I love them both equally in different ways…” I hear also in my mind Marcus saying to Paul and me early in our relationship, when we were just beginning to relate as a triad, “I’ve got to tell you, I love you both!” in joy and surprise. His first triad was with his best friend from high school—he expected to love both his bride and the man he asked to join them in their marriage. Paul (in 2000, several months before our braiding ceremony in June 2001) was a much newer friend, in time to become even closer to him than that high school buddy.
Separate Dating–couple with a Single
Depending on the couple’s comfort level with it, after getting to know them both on two or three joint meetings, you as a single male could offer to take the lady alone out for lunch, dinner or even a play. This works particularly well if her husband gets to go to some meeting or activity, he is really interested in but she is not while you entertain her. You, as the male member of a couple, can also ask the single lady out, assuming this is ok with your wife–best to have your wife assure her that it is especially if your previous meetings have been as three.
What Do We Do When… 2011 Quadradic Complications
You are in a quadrad. You and your husband have a date for an intimate evening with a couple with whom you are already in a relationship. The other man in your quadrad comes in after a sweaty job for a shower. He takes the shower, comes out and gets eye contact with your husband’s date (with whom he has had ample previous contact) and joins them in bed. They have a lovely time, but when wife #2 gets back from her date with another member of your household, she is angry at not to have been consulted about her exclusion from this date with the couple. This is discovered when the visiting couple go home and husband #2 attempts to come to bed. He finds his clothes, etc., tossed outside the door of the bedroom of wife #2, with a Do Not Disturb sign on her door. He sleeps with his other wife and husband while she sleeps alone.
Whether wife #2 (who has joined the triad after they had been together five years) has reason to be disturbed depends on several factors: How well does she know the visiting couple? Would they have been comfortable with her being added into the mix? Was she told previously that this would be a private date between the original couple and their guests? Would it have been reasonable for Husband #2 to have disturbed her during her date to ask if it was ok for him to join the other couples in bed? Is she comfortable being by herself upon occasion–or not? Some things are a bit spontaneous at the time and the only way to avoid upset is to discuss a lot of hypotheticals in advance, realizing that you can’t cover them all. Write down what you will do about the hypotheticals. When one comes up which has not been previously discussed, give your partners the benefit of the doubt and decide among you how this could best be handled in the future to create a win-win for all involved rather than getting upset that the situation wasn’t handled properly this time.
The above situation could have occurred in a triad without the fourth partner. In our case, husband #2 was frequently not included in our dates with other couples or singles for a number of reasons, ranging from their comfort level with his extra weight to whether the dynamics of that particular situation made it best for him to be included at that time. He was not interested in being included when the single was male, for example. In other cases where he might have wanted to be included, he accepted that it just wasn’t going to happen with this person or couple or on this occasion. We worked all this out long before we became a quad. Some of our standing rules probably needed to be renegotiated or at least clarified with a fourth person in the mix.
Much of what affects the above scenario comes down to whether separate dating is ok at all or if all must be included every time. I am not comfortable with an all or nothing rule. It is too limiting for me, particularly when I had relationships predating any of those I had with my quad. Others accept all or nothing as the price of having committed relationships or a marriage. Some even accept monogamy as the price of such a relationship.
A Poly Prince 3-13-17
In 1977, I joined Family Synergy an education and support group for those interested in “multiply committed relationships, group marriage and group living” (the word polyamory did not exist at that time). I went out with another Bill for dinner, had a delightful evening with him, ending in a stop off at his apartment where I spoke with his roommate -a wild eyed Scientologist who was sure I was aligned with the Forces of Darkness because I was agin’ Scientology. If you were to ask me at the time, I would have told you the one person in Family Synergy who I would never date was Paul Gibbons. Never say Never.
Over the years that followed, we gradually got to know each other better, became friends, then lovers while both of us were in other primary committed relationships. We finally moved in together in October of 1991, were handfasted 3-13-93 and married 3-13-94. The marriage lasted fifteen years, five of which (2001 to 2006) were a triad with my now primary partner Marcus. We were legally separated in 2008. We have been through many relationship transitions since then including a period of being somewhat wary “just friends” (though always waterkin) for a couple of years. While we are still legally married, we have become lovers who are truly comfortable with each other and have been blessed with partners who support and respect our relationship. Paul’s primary partner is Athena, a dear lady who shared water with me when they first visited together Thanksgiving weekend of 2010. Paul spends most of his time in Phoenix with her though he still maintains his residence as our home in California for various reasons of health care, etc.
As March 13 came around this year (2017), I really wanted to celebrate being in a good place with each other on the 23rd anniversary of our marriage. Paul kept saying he would get here sometime in March but could not name a date yet—and was still saying it a few days before the anniversary. Sigh… Athena is in college studying to become an aerospace engineer and it keeps her so busy that Paul frequently comes out to spend time with me on his own. While I enjoy the alone time together, I miss Athena! On this occasion he meant to bring her with him, but homework and other issues kept getting in the way. Finally, when I call him on a business matter (he is still the audio engineer for my hypnotherapy business) he tells me he is on the road to see me now. Surprise!
Lovely. Except that I now have made weekend plans with Craig—the poly prince of this piece, who is my boyfriend. We met originally in 1987 at Los Con, the science fiction convention my family always spends Thanksgiving week end at. Over the years, we run into each other occasionally at the conventions. We notice each other—I find him interesting, though he is unavailable for one reason or another. This time (2016) I see him again behind the Space Society table and we really connect…dance together at Regency Dancing and sit together at the Filk. He shows up for my December Live the Dream meeting and we start seeing each other most weekends. Craig takes me to meet his family New Year’s Eve and introduces me as his Girl Friend which really makes me feel honored and important to him. Some men are embarrassed to be dating a lady with a primary partner—Craig makes no secret of it. Though he is quite new to the Poly life style, he is one of those people (like Paul and Marcus) born without the jealousy gene. I am blessed with some good men in my life.
Back to our weekend dilemma. Should I cancel with Craig, apologizing profusely for doing it so late? I would certainly not like it if he did that to me. Should I ask him if it is ok to change plans rather than just tell him I am changing them? Not honest—I know I am not going to tell Paul to turn around and go back to Phoenix! Also, I did want Craig to meet Paul who will always be an important person in my life. What I finally did in this less-than-optimal situation is tell Craig what the situation was and see what he was comfortable doing. We agree to keep our date to share Shabbat dinner and go to temple for Purim Friday night. He will go home afterward, returning Saturday around noon to meet Paul and Athena. Friday night Craig shows up with gifts—a box of candy I can actually eat (no chocolate for me) and a new SF book I really want to read. We go to Purim services at a nearby temple, take a walk together afterwards and he drops me at home. No jealousy or anger here—thank goodness!
Paul and Athena will not be here until late evening due to traffic issues. Marcus and I wait for them. We all hug each other and enjoy the hot tub together. That night, I “float” — sleeping in my bed with Paul and Athena getting up to cuddle with Marcus a couple of times in the night. A bigger bed would make this unnecessary—highly recommended for Poly families.
Next day, Saturday, we all have lunch together—everyone connects well having many interests in common (thanks to my partnering patterns). Paul has an event to attend—kind of a tribute to his best friend who passed on a couple of years ago. Athena has to study for exams. Craig takes me for the hike we originally planned for today. It is a beautiful one in a local regional park and I hike further than I have in a long time—Craig pushes me physically in a way which is great for my health! Craig and I come back and take Athena to dinner to meet Paul—way south in Long Beach for a musical performance by a friend of Craig’s (Craig’s a good musician of many instruments). It’s excellent blue grass music, but is in a bar and not the kind of quiet, romantic evening I would have preferred. My turn to compromise since this is important to Craig and is Paul’s kind of music also. Craig takes Athena home so they have a chance to discuss their mutual interest in aerospace and flying. I get a chance for some alone time with Paul on the ride home.
This time Craig stays over to go to a music rehearsal in the valley (he lives in Culver City). More floating. Oh, for a B-I-G bed. [Note 4-4-21: We got that big, adjustable double queen bed shortly after this. And have been sleeping and cuddle comfortably as foursome ever since.]
On Sunday, Craig, Paul and I go for a walk around Lake Balboa next to the Japanese Gardens where Paul and I were married. Craig hugs both of us good by so he can get to the rehearsal. Paul and I take pictures together in front of the Japanese Gardens. It is a loving, caring, Poly anniversary…
Paul and Athena married May 16, 2020 after nearly a decade of living together. Paul popped the question at our New Year’s Eve dinner at Tam O’Shanter with Craig, myself and many of our water brothers present. Craig and I were married April 28th 2018. As of this writing April 4, 2021, we are still a very happily married couple who become a semi residential quad when Paul and Athena visit for birthdays, holidays, special occasions like weddings and funerals+ Science Fiction Conventions. Right now, they are here in California for Paul’s second vaccination. Athena as a Veteran has gotten her first one in Phoenix. Craig and I share time with Family by blood and by Water (see Stranger in a Strange Land). His very close family relationships have taught him to put Family first for which I have been very grateful on the occasions that time with what is now OUR Family conflicted with alone time and other plans.
Craig and I flew to Cleveland, Ohio in 2020 despite Covid concerns to support Paul and to say good bye to his Mother (who I had called Mom since our marriage in 1993) before she passed. We also came out to Phoenix for their wedding and helped them put together that Zoom and in person event. When I had lung cancer surgery in March of 2021, they came out to California to support Craig and be there for me while I recovered. I am recovering amazingly well thanks to the loving, healing energy (& prayers) of those close to me, using my own hypnotic techniques including a healing meditation specifically for the surgery (played on a loop the whole 3 hours) and after it, which Paul helped me put together as my audio engineer and Craig loaded into a very small playback devise. The surgeon said they got it all, no chemotherapy or radiation required. Blessed Be!
It IS possible to enjoy lovemaking during such a recovery. The gentle loving of my Poly Prince, Paul and Athena in her own way have certainly helped the Healing. I am a very lucky 67-year-old lady!
(Back to Poly Dating) Know Where You Stand
There are many ins and outs to the etiquette of poly dating. Much of it depends on the
agreements a couple (or triad or quad) has with each other before another person enters the picture. Contrary to popular beliefs, having an open relationship often does not mean “Anything goes.” Some couples date only together, while others have a limit of one evening and/or night out a month or a week separately. Some require a week’s warning about a whole night out while others just need a call that same night letting the spouse know they’ll be out until morning. Couples (and triads and quads), be sure you are clear on such agreements between yourselves and that you make them clear to prospective intimate friends before someone gets hurt feelings through not knowing the rules.
If you have a “What do you do when?” question for us,
or any Poly related article for publication WHAT EXPERIENCES/BOOK REVIEWS, ETC. CAN YOU SHARE RELATING TO THE POLY LIFE STYLE? We’d like to run it here.
Please E-Mail to: email@example.com
Or mail it to 8515 Penfield Ave. Winnetka, Ca. 91306.
We will take any question with your solution or brain storm and give it one or more of our own. Let’s have fun with this and learn from each other.
Meet Ups & Other Group Events
NONE OF THIS IS COVID 19 UPDATED. GO TO THEIR WEBSITES TO SEE HOW EACH GROUP IS HANDLING IT.
Check out www.meetup.com/Loveopen & www.meetup.com/loving-more
and other SoCal poly groups (40+ groups in the Greater LA Area!)
The Southern California Naturist Association Meetup http://www.meetup.com/nature-519
This is the largest non-landed clothing optional club in California
Other Poly info:
Other groups friendly to Polyamory
KARL HESS CLUB www.karlhessclub.org
meets on the 3rd Monday at Dinah’s Family Restaurant, 6521 Sepulveda Blvd. (at Centinela), Culver City. Phone: (310) 645-0456 West L.A.
Burning Man Festival virtual or in person? For details www.burningman.com!
LTD DUES ARE $25.00 PER YEAR FOR ONE PERSON, $40 FOR A COUPLE, $10 EACH FOR ADDITIONAL PERSON(S) IN THE SAME HOUSE. DOUBLE THAT FOR FREE ATTENDANCE AT ALL REGULAR DAY TIME 3RD SATURDAY MEETINGS. TO BECOME A MEMBER OR TO RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP, PLEASE COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING FORM AND EITHER E-MAIL OR SNAIL MAIL IT TO THE ADDRESS LISTED BELOW. An E-Mail NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION ONLY IS AVAILABLE FOR FREE. JUST BE SURE TO PROVIDE US WITH YOUR E-Mail ADDRESS. REGULAR MEETINGS ARE $5.00 WITH YOUR CURRENTLY PAID MEMBERSHIP CARD (FAMILY SYNERGY OR LIVE THE DREAM) WITHOUT MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS ARE $10.00.