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125. Unpacking the Political Nature of Relationship Anarchy and Non-Monogamy with Michelle Hye

Nicole: Okay. Well then the first one I usually like to start out with is how would you introduce yourself to the listeners?

Michelle: I would just introduce myself as a, yeah, my name's Michelle. Hi. She, her pronouns. I, uh, run the page polyamorous while Asian talking about my experiences with non monogamy over the past decade.

Nicole: Yeah. And in terms of the conversation, that's exactly what I was thinking. I wanted to ask, you know, like, what has been your journey over the last decade? And, and I'd love if you could like, take up the space to really like tell that story for you.

Michelle: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I started Doing the non monogamy thing actively in 2012.

Okay. Um, I was about 18. Yeah, yeah, I mean, it's, it's, I don't know, it's a lot of, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of ups and downs. Um, so my introduction to the term polyamory was through the book Sex at Dawn. And yeah, it was my, my first boyfriend at the time, uh, he suggested that I read the book. And I had heard, I had heard of the book.

But yeah, once I started reading it. A lot of things just started clicking for me and I'm like, Oh, okay. Like this non monogamy thing. I had always wondered. If adults could do a sharing situation with regard to relationships, you know, watching movies and things, but they're always, there's always like a love triangle or some sort of conflict with other potential partners and lovers and whatnot.

I always had this, this question in my mind of like, can adults just share or something? Um, so, yeah, so when I read sex at dawn, you know, it's just the more that I read, the more it made sense and. Um, I haven't turned back since then. Yeah,

Nicole: yeah, yeah, yeah. I think I've had a very similar experience of, um, use the word clicking, right?

Like where it, at least for me, it just felt like, like, yes, like these ideas. Yes. Yes. Like this makes sense. And it just started, it's hard to describe. That, like, innate sense of calling to these ideas. I'm curious if you have more words for what that, like, clicking was when you were first reading Sex at Dawn and seeing this kind of, like, unfold, this possibility.

Michelle: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Sorry. I'm like trying to fight my cat.

Nicole: Cats are welcome. Cats are welcome.

Michelle: Um, but yeah, so I, I grew up in a broken household is such a, it's such a dramatic term, but yeah, my parents divorced when I was about six or seven. Um, and so I think early on. I saw how monogamy didn't work. Like, like it's not that monogamy doesn't work ever.

Um, but I saw an example up front of how monogamy didn't work in this case. So reading this book, I think it also appealed to me because they came from like a more like anthropological lens as well, as opposed to more of those, like how to books on polyamory. Um, so I think that resonated with me a bit more.

I'm trying to think of like, Oh. Humans have been doing all sorts of relationships since the beginning of, you know, I don't know, since forever, basically. And I'm like, this makes sense. This makes sense that there are a diversity of ways to do relationships. That isn't just this. Very typical, kind of, I don't know, almost like Christian y kind of, like, Dogma y, this Western, uh, conceptual.

Just, it was just like a whole new world. Um, that's, that's what I, uh, came away with when I finished reading Sex at Dawn, where it's just like, wow, there's this whole new world of stuff that I've been thinking about in the back of my mind since I was like an adolescent, and it just feels like something that.

I can, I can do, even though I tend to, I, especially as a teenager, like tended to be very shy and withdrawn, pretty private. Um, but even then, like, as. Like an extreme introvert. I felt like this, I think this will work for me.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. Feeling that calling. Yeah. Despite maybe being shy that like, this is something that could be a good fit.

And I think, yeah, like you had said, the word broken is, is an intense word, but. These moments where, you know, because monogamy does work for certain people and they thrive in that, but it's so much more so like the cultural scripts of our time being that this is the one way to do relationships. Right. And if you have that moment in our own lives where we see that not work out, you start to.

Ask deeper questions about like, maybe there's other ways of being. And I feel like that's something that's been like a repeat idea on the podcast. You know, if you're disabled or you have a different identity, like you start to question the system a little bit more and say, Hey, maybe there's other ways and then hence why something like, you know, sex at dawn would resonate so much, right?

Like here's this. piece that is telling us, yeah, throughout history, it hasn't always been this way, you know?

Michelle: Yeah. Yeah. And I, yeah, I like that you bring up that, like, you know, from, you know, when you have more intersections of, I think, more marginalized identities within society, there is more, uh, reason to question why things are the way they are.

Like if you fit completely within the status quo, like, uh, you may be completely oblivious. To the fact that there may be something wrong or just not completely right with how things work because things are working for you, right?

Nicole: Yes, that's perfectly put exactly like that, right? So I'm curious you were reading that book You said you had mentioned a boyfriend at the time like how did that unfold?

What was the next step of that process?

Michelle: Yeah, so it's, um, God and I, yeah, whenever I like retread this, it's always just like, Oh God, I know.

Nicole: I'm doing that every week. I'm like month old Nicole didn't know shit. Jesus.

Michelle: Exactly. Oh my goodness. But, um, yeah, so I was about 18. And so my first ever boyfriend, like we had only just met.

And it was like, uh, kind of a long distance thing for a bit. And so we were like emailing back and forth and texting back and forth for a while. And like, I had never been any, in any sort of relationship before that. And yeah, when he asked me to read Sex at Dawn, I think I'd already had this inkling, um, like why he wanted me to read it.

And it was like, Oh God, like all these red flags, you know, like looking, looking back hindsight is 2020 and whatever. But, He had only read the book maybe a couple months or a few months before I had. So it's not like he was this super, um, experienced nominatus person trying to, I don't know, teach me or whatever.

It was really like, um, I don't know, the blind leading the blind. Um, but Yeah. So I read that book. It made a lot of sense to me. And he had a girlfriend at the time. And that's when he like introduced the idea that like he had, he had like a girlfriend and all this stuff and like a lot of, a lot of really like red flag, non monogamy things.

But I was 18. Yeah. Freshman year in college, very excited to try things and was very excited about a lot of stuff and want to be open to a lot of things. So that's, that's basically how it all started. And just being. Yeah. Very curious and very nervous, but also very intrigued and excited by this non monogamy thing.

Um, and especially like God at 18, like he was 32 at the time. So I was like, Oh, there's older man that sort of mystique. Oh, it's so cringe to think about

Nicole: valuable lessons along the way.

Michelle: Mm. Lessons learned the hard way, but valuable lessons. Lessons that require a therapy, but learned a lot, learned a lot.


Nicole: A hundred percent. I'm still unpacking where those things are coming from. They're still showing up in my day to day about who I'm attracted to. And I'm like some deep shadow work. Every time I'm like, where, what, what is this?

Michelle: Like, Whoa.

Nicole: Yeah, exactly. I will probably get to be 90 years old one day.

Still being like, damn, like there's still more to uncover. Or at least I hope maybe there's something Oh my God.

Michelle: In that, you know, I think so. I, I really am a believer that like we keep learning about ourselves and about things until the day we die, like mm-hmm. . Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Death is really the actual end

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. When I first heard about. Non monogamy. Someone had introduced it to me too. He also was a little bit older. This like artist type that I was fantasizing about. Oh, those ones are so juicy. You know what I mean? Yeah, exactly. They play all the instruments. He has such a wide record collection.

Oh my God. You know?

Michelle: Oh, so worldly. So cultured.

Nicole: I know, right? And now he's talking to me about non monogamy like, whoa. But I mean, my first reaction was like, but you don't love me. Like I should be enough. If you don't love me, like I should be enough if you want anyone else. It's a sign that you don't love me.

That was my first reaction to it. While mixed also with like some level of like, this is resonating with me at the same time. Like I want this for you, but like the reverse of having my partner have, it was like wild to try and integrate. Mm hmm.

Michelle: Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. I'm like trying to remember, uh, I think because I was so new to relationships in general, I didn't.

Already have like a personal script, like for relationships or monogamy. Um, so I think that like for better and worse, you know, I was like naive and inexperienced, so I didn't have a lot of knowledge of myself in a way, but on the other hand, it helps me to be a bit more open and I didn't feel like a lot of like that, uh, those initial like jealousy kind of feelings.

Which also, I mean, with the openness thing and the inexperience thing that also made me a prime target for molding and some, some grooming. Yeah. Yeah.

Nicole: Would you feel comfortable sharing that in the space? Cause I, I wonder how many other people kind of like are coming into it very new to these ideas and have no idea and like are stepping into that same process.

Michelle: Yeah, totally. Totally. I mean, I, I have no problem talking about it because unfortunately, like over the years I've learned that it's pretty common. Um, like, like, yeah, in monogamy, it's, you know, grooming and, and that kind of thing is very common, but like also in, um, non monogamy, like where people can like collect people, it's very rampant and also with like polyamory and overlap with like King community and stuff.

Also something that is, Unfortunately too common and people have to be vigilant about, but yeah, like, uh, like with my experience, yeah, there's like this older guy introducing all these things to me and it was very exciting and it was giving me a lot of attention and he was throwing a lot of things of like, more or less of like, you're very smart for your age and that, that kind of stuff, you know, like this, this stuff that feels very complimentary, but is actually, yeah.

Uh, right. These like early signs of like intentions to groom, even, even if like in his mind, like, I don't think in his mind, he's like, I'm going to groom this young person. But in his mind, he gravitated toward younger women because yeah, they have less experience. Yeah. Um, they have less like, quote unquote, baggage and really they have lower standards.

Um, like I definitely had lower standards. I didn't really know what boundaries were, um, because growing up, I, I think I had this idea that boundaries were, yeah, were bad or were like kind of confrontational or, um, it was kind of disobedient to have boundaries, maybe that conflicted with what. Parental or authority of figures had, so that's what I was going into this relationship with, you know, all of these really open targets.

Um, and so, and then it just so happened that a guy came along and saw those targets and. That was, that relationship lasted, um, over the course of about five years, um, I think because a lot of it was like long distance, so there was a lot of like slow developments in the first couple of years. Um, but we even, uh, like lived together for about two years before I realized like, Whoa, this is really bad.

And I say this a lot, but like, um. When I described this time in my life that it's no coincidence that I finally got out of that relationship after I finally finished college after I got my first full time job. Um, so like some more financial security. And in that time, I had found a couple other partners who.

We're much more stable and a lot more sustainable and healthier. And so, yeah, it's, it's really no coincidence that in that year where all that happened, that I realized and also felt comfortable enough to be like, Oh, we need to stop seeing each other.

Nicole: Yes, yeah, which makes me like, just hold space for all the people that like, I mean, one, the financial piece, right? Like, that's huge. It's huge. It's huge. How many people will stay in relationships because of that? And, you know, the systems were under and then that creates a, yeah, 100 percent situations that happen like this.

And then the other half of it, I was thinking about, like, as you were saying, you know, learning boundaries, I'm over there in that camp to like, didn't know those, right? Like, learning that process, like from like a psychology lens, like how do we learn that? Right? At least like my theoretical background would say that we grow in relationships.

So you need other relationships to show that to you. Maybe a therapy relationship, maybe good partners, maybe good friends, other people. But otherwise we're just kind of like sitting in the dark with the patterns that we learned from childhood. of how to interact. So it's like, I want to ask, like, how do we help people get there?

But then it's like, y'all need relationships, right? Like, and that's kind of what you're hitting on is how these like other partners really like change the game.

Michelle: Mm hmm. Yeah, absolutely. Like, um, so when I first started dating, started dating this guy, um, there was like an explosive thing, um, when I told my mother about it.

And like, at the time, like, Even at the time, I understood why she had such a strong reaction. Um, but of course, it's a lot more clear, um, now. And like a lot of the things that went down in that conversation, it was just, it was just so intense. Mm. And, uh, there, there was a lot of, uh, like I, I push back. A lot, because even though ultimately they were right in that this guy was not good for me, the reasons that they were listing just didn't resonate at all.

And there were very kind of extreme reactions, emotional reactions of like, if you drop out of school and you get on drugs or you get pregnant or whatever, like, like you are not allowed in this house anymore. Um, so from that, I got this idea that like, I can't tell. My parents, and I can't turn to them for guidance.

Um, and so I have to do this alone and I have to do this on my own. And then it also, because, because I have this like stubborn streak in my head, um, that, uh, especially like at 18, 19, and then into the early 20s, this sort of pride of like. Okay. I got into my first relationship and that first relationship needs to last or else I'm just one of those naive little, little teenagers that, you know, got in way over her head and failed that relationship at her first go.

And so I also had that in my head. Yeah. Um, which. Encouraged me to stay for longer than I should have, you know,

Nicole: that reminds me of like that investment. Do they call it an investment fallacy? I don't know. The return.

Michelle: Yes, exactly. Yes, yes, yes. I think about that all the time. Yeah.

Nicole: We've put so many resources into this and I'm not going to walk away.

Right. So hence that. Yeah. I'm also thinking like how painful to get that message from your parents, right. That you'd be like cast out. That's like one of the scariest things we can have as social creatures is that we're like. Being taken away from the herd and from the community. So that's so hard that you had to do that on your own.

And it makes me wonder, like, how do you meet people in that space? Like, you know, I guess that's my job, but I'm asking you to like, how, how do you meet people in that space? Do you have any advice that you think when you look back on that time in your life, that would have resonated with you or kind of got some sort of movement?

Michelle: Oh, gosh. Um, I think. Growing up for myself. So for myself growing up, there was a lot of like. Having to raise myself a little bit, and I'm also like an older sister and so having to be like a little mother oftentimes. So in my circumstances, I think I had already from a young age stopped reaching out to my mom for a lot of emotional support or for guidance or anything like I never asked for help with homework and whatnot, because I found it just easier to try to figure it out myself, especially past a certain stage where it's like.

Thank you. I know my mom won't be able to help me with this, um, anyway, um, so yeah, for myself, a lot of it was from an upbringing of thinking that I had to do a lot of things by myself and that it would just be too much work or just that I couldn't, I wouldn't be able to explain it well enough for other people to help.

So a lot of it is rooted in that. And then in general, like the past 10 years have has definitely changed with regard to access to resources. Um, because like back then. I feel like the only books that were out were like The Ethical Slut and More Than Two. Right. Those are the main two in the polycanon, like that, that was basically it.

And now these days we have like people on social media, we have people talking about it in more, um, you know, mainstream articles and news and whatever. And there are so many more books and podcasts, um, more people talking about it. So there are more resources to direct people to, which I think is, is great.

Like there could always be more, but yeah, yeah, yeah. That's definitely a difference in the past 10 years.

Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. Because when we're having conversations like this, right, when people are talking about it, Yeah. Especially you had talked about kink, right? Like there's a whole shift even in that community from before the internet to having space to have conversations about what was going on in the community on the internet and people becoming more aware and having more access to ideas and stuff like that.

Right. So like there is this huge cultural shift that is happening as we're getting more access to stuff like this, that I think is, is helping us to kind of recognize these red flags much sooner. But. Then we're still walking in the blind, right? Like, what are the ones we don't even see right now, you know, you and I sitting here that we just don't even know yet, or at least that's been my process.

I feel like every time it's like I uncover a new one where I'm like, whoop, messed up there. That's, that's great. Let's keep, let's keep going on the mountain.

Michelle: Let's keep going, you know, I mean, I mean that, I mean, I feel like that's just like a very human experience, right? Like to be human is to you. Is really to make all sorts of mistakes all the time again, like, until we die,

Nicole: but it's interesting.

This conversation was happening. I was at least thinking about it in the last couple of days of like, this idea of not to put any sort of like monogamy versus Uh, non monogamy stance on anything, but it's interesting that sometimes in a monogamous framework, because that's your one partner that you're not all people do monogamy this way.

Right. But like some people put all of their emotional focus into that one partnership and sometimes they don't realize that they're not being treated the way that maybe they could be treated. I think that non monogamy, not to like re emphasize the like malleability of like collecting partners and or shifting through people, but like, Also at the same time, like there is this space where like, at least in my lived experience, when you're connecting with multiple people, you might notice that someone starts to treat you a little bit better.

And then you might look at that other relationship and go like, well, hold, hold on. Why aren't you, you know, and like that sort of like evolution process that we have as we like step into better and better relationships with people.

Michelle: Yeah, totally. Totally. Like, um, it really made a huge difference having a couple other partners like while I was seeing my first partner, like it took me a few years to like, get into the groove of it.

Cause I was like, cause yeah, I tend to be not like super social, tend to be fairly shy. Also, he was like the first person I'd ever had sex with. So it's like, yeah. So I just didn't have a lot of experience and didn't have my groove or anything, but yeah, finally with one partner, I've told him like, Oh, I appreciate that.

Like you do this and this and this. And he's like, but that's, that's just basic. I'm not even doing anything. Yeah. like kind of courteous things. And he's just like, no, no, no, no, no, no. Don't compliment me for that. Yeah. Because yeah, like there were things that were even below the bare minimum. Um, the, the bar was on the floor and yet my first partner, like.

Had had a shovel and was almost determined to dig under that bar. Um, so yeah, finding even like, like common, I don't know, I, I, I don't like to use the word like common sense or common courtesy necessarily, but something that for someone else just feels so basic where it's like, Oh, I'm just not even doing anything intentionally.

I'm just not being an asshole. Yes.

Nicole: Yes. And I, I see that in my work. I think that's, what's interesting, right. It's like, Someone will be talking about something and, you know, I might just gently say, yeah, you can, we can have compassion for ourselves for like those moments when we mess up and they're like, oh, that's so kind of you to say like, wow.

And I'm like, oh, you know, those. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Data. You know what I mean? So then you're just like, interesting. So I think that like, I don't know, the, yeah. The theory says, you know, we grow in relationships and we need good relationships to leave the bad. Sometimes I like that. It's so simple like that. I like there's in, in psychology, there's like Freud and you can get into the deep side of the dynamic.

They start using terms. Yeah. Yeah. And then like the feminist movement of psychology, like really like simplified, it's like, you need good relationships to leave bad. I'm like that. That hits. That makes sense.

Michelle: Yeah. I can follow that math. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. The math adds up.

Nicole: Right.

Michelle: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Like a, um, a big part of my personal work is really being able to reach out and to accept help from other people and the co regulation piece because I, like growing up, um, have been so good at managing myself and feeling like I was the only one who could fully manage myself.

And so like. It was either unwise, or it's just like, ah, you know, I don't want to burden other people by putting this on other people, but it's really been a game changer. Like, oh, I can rely on people and then these feelings don't feel bad as long. Weird, but I can actually work through these feelings.

Rather than have them faster? And then pop up later? Weird.

Nicole: And if you're anything like me though, like that still feels uncomfortable at times for me. Like sometimes I'll like Push back on someone when they've said something and like, say, Hey, that, that bothered me or that offended me in that way. And like, and then I have this internal reaction of like, Oh no, did I hurt their feelings?

Did I blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And it's like such an act of discomfort, even though I would say it's the accurate thing to gently tell someone like, Hey, that. Crossed a boundary or hey, this, but like, at least for me, I've just noticed how significant the discomfort is of that growing process. I'm curious if that resonates with you at all.

Michelle: Oh yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, I think there's a lot of like, uh, there's, there's a lot of this idea of like not taking up too much space, you know, as women or people like race and a more like feminized experience of just like, yeah, you don't take up too much space. Face, you do take up more of the emotional labor.

And then there's a lot of this kind of gaslighting of like, Oh, am I being reasonable or unreasonable? Like, like someone was telling me recently with like an experience they had with someone where she was asking him like, Oh, I, uh, I just want to make sure you feel heard. And then I want to be heard. This guy was like, what the heck are you talking about?

What, who talks like that? And when I heard that, I'm like, Oh my God. So, um, but I think many of us. Are taught not to take up space. And so we feel like we're made to be the bad guy. If we do take up any space, if we do demand any sort of, it's like, it's not even like that much emotional labor. It's really like this opening this invitation to do emotional work together.

Yeah. But I think like all these gendered roles and whatnot. And also. This focus on hyper individualization where it's like, yeah, everyone's got to take care of themselves and you're a burden that you're looking for a handout, kind of that, that mentality, if you need other people's help or you're like lesser than, and like all, all of these, all of these narratives that come together that make it so difficult.

To be in relationship, but yeah, that's why I don't even, I don't put down monogamy at all or anything. And like, especially in this environment that we live in, um, it does feel, uh, sometimes that it's like, Oh, we're, it's lucky. We're lucky, um, to find one person that like really clicks with us and resonates with us in a healthy way.

How could we possibly ask for more? Um, so yeah, this a little rambly, but like, yeah, I still find it very difficult to. Approach or address conflict, because I was always told or shown that conflict is always bad. Yeah, that means there is a bad guy, um, that, yeah, something did something wrong and it has to be chastised.

And so I, yeah, I tend to be a gestator. And so whenever even like something feels wrong to me, I feel like I have to go away and think about it by myself for a little bit. And then I'll come back or maybe I'll. Do it over text to be like, Hey, can we talk about a thing? I've been thinking about something.

Nicole: Sure. Which is probably the reasonable space to do. Right. To like, cause it's like, we can't, this is where like TikTok psychology gets really complicated, right? Where they're like, just say everything that you need to say in the relationship. Don't hold back. And it's like, and you know, it's like, Whoa, like big asterisks to all of that.

You know what I mean? If, if, if something happens and there's some sort of conflict, like the answer is not to be like, Well, you're a horrible person. Like, I can't believe you said this and like unleash all of that. The other thing is like, the answer is also not to not say anything and to like completely turn inside and allow the behavior and not say anything about it.

Right. Like there's some nuanced space of like, Hey, like. Something happened. Maybe I need to take a moment to step and be alone with myself to regulate for a moment, take a deep breath or ask that person like, Hey, before we talk about this, I'm noticing in my body something is happening. So can we take a deep breath together before we talk about it?

You know, like there's just like so much nuance here that I get, I get worried about these TikTok videos and they're just like, just say it, just say what you need to say in the relationship. I'm like. Ooh, maybe take a breath first, maybe.

Michelle: Right. I mean, there's, I feel like we've definitely seen a rise of people who, because these terms are more widespread, which can be good. Like the flip side is that people can then start to dilute them or start to like. Twist them or weaponize them like this whole thing with like, um, oftentimes I see people like using boundaries, you know, like twisting them in a way.

It's like, that's not actually bad. That's like, just more kind of the sneaky way to try to. Control or manipulate other people. Yeah. This isn't really about you actually. Yeah, it's right. Like the, you know, social media to talk and all that. Like it's a great way to spread information like wildfire sometimes, but.

When there isn't enough nuance or there isn't enough like, um, research, you know, outside of that, if people just take things at face value, rather than like, Oh, being like, Oh, this was interesting. I'll go Google something and learn more about it. Right. Yeah, it's, yeah, pros and cons, like everything else.

Nicole: Totally. Absolutely. Like I'm, I'm all here for free access to education on content. I think we're going to go in a joyfully optimistic. That like all of it, regardless of the milieu of the messiness of it is going to bring us to a better like collective consciousness because we're kind of hearing kind of like we started, right?

Like these red flags now that we would know in the community because of this and how that can kind of like raise us to like a different level of understanding, catching things much faster, you know, like all those memes about, um, the relationship anarchist. I'm doing my dissertation on. Relationship anarchy.

Uh, so like all the relationship anarchy memes of like, well, you know, like this is my experience and I don't, you know, that's why I do relationship anarchy so that you can't have commitments and expectations with like, I know. Right. It's like first relationship, libertarianism. Let's talk about that. You know what I mean?

Like, hold on, but like beyond that, it's like then using these pieces, right. As like, sort of like pawns to like get out of. You know, the basic expectations of a healthy relationship and commitments to one another.

Michelle: Yeah, absolutely. I think almost since the beginning, um, when I've, uh, got, got into non monogamy and whatnot, relationship anarchy was always, always had like this bad kind of a haze around it because like, It's one of those things that is a really great idea.

And then people almost immediately started doing bad things very quickly. Yeah. Doing like all the things you said, where it's like, Oh, just it's all no strings attached. There's no accountability. There's no responsibility. It's just casual. And I'm just going to flip around and nobody can tie me down, blah, blah, blah.

And so. I think that was one of the reasons that I was hesitant to like, fully embrace the term anarchy. Like, it always resonated, like, if I read, you know, like the Andy Norgren's like that manifesto, right. It all resonates. Right. And like, I had always, um, for a while and I still call myself this, where it's like, I call myself solo polyamorous with like relationship anarchy leanings.

Um, I feel like it's similar to how I describe my, describe myself politically, where it's just kind of like leftist. And, but also maybe, maybe communist, but also like, I think I would be a communist, but I haven't done enough reading. Um, and so like with relationship anarchy, the political aspect of it, I think is very important.

And I think there are a lot of people who use the term without taking into account the political aspect of it. Thank you for mentioning relationship, like libertarianism, where it's like, that is, that is really what a lot of people who use R. A. Like that is what it is that looks like a lot more and so I think when people try to take the politics out of it, it kind of defeats the purpose of relationship.

Anarchy. Like, I, I, I, I like, I love thinking about this where it's like, the personal is political and like, no relationships exist in a vacuum, right? So all relationships are political, even if they don't feel like it. Yep. So it's like, yeah, with relationship anarchy. I really love that people are identifying it with it more and more.

I just, um, I just hope that people are still keeping it within its political context as well. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. ,

Nicole: which has been an interesting thing to like unfold in my interviews with people who practice. Mm-hmm. , like to ask what is that political context? And like, see the different range of how people like, see that, you know, from, you know, decentralizing.

You know, sex and romantic, uh, romantic connections is the way that we connect, right? Because I think what I've liked about relationship and this is so fun. I hope this is fun for you. Like I get to talk about my date. This is fun. Okay. Um, the ways that like monogamy versus non monogamy, like that framework puts it into a sort of like bifurcation, right?

You're either this kind of connection or this kind of connection, which means we're placing the ways that we look at relationships as what, like, sexual versus non sexual, romantic versus non romantic, I mean, obviously that's not taking into context asexual folks and all the other ways to connect, right?

So it's like, even that, like, Dichotomy is like really based in that sort of way of looking at connections. So like, if we step outside of that lens to a whole new world that maybe doesn't even put it into that, like you're either this or that, like then we're creating space to connect on all the different ways that intimacy can be right.

It's like one piece of the political to like the full other side of the political, which is like, this is going to deconstruct the ways that we've built the families and everything into like. This is where I'm like, I'm not, not to talk poorly about the practice of monogamy because there's nothing wrong with the practice of monogamy, but the way that we have structured the, uh, means of resources and connection into dyads is kind of scary because we need community structures and that has nothing to do with monogamy and the practice of sexual fidelity.

It has to do with this practice of like, are you connected to a community or not? And because of the way that like, Our systems, you know, private property, et cetera, et cetera, have built us into these like private, you own your home, you have your lawn, you have your own whatever, you know, and it's just the two of you and your little family, it's like broken apart, like the community connections and like getting back to that, like anarchy of the community piece.

Which I still feel like I don't know enough about that's still part of my, I'm doing the results right now and I'm like, I got to look up more anarchy theory because I don't even know, you know what I mean?

Michelle: Like, yeah, no, like every, like, like, yeah, everything that you said, like, oh, I love, yeah, I love that.

And I, and like, you've probably noticed this, uh, I feel like in the past few years where, um, there are some people who aren't even identifying necessarily as polyamorous anymore. They're identifying as like relationship anarchists. Yeah. And like that term resonates with them more than like. Polyamorous or that, like, there's this, this.

Well, stichotomy of like monogamy, non monogamy as if they're like these two black and white, um, sort of pieces where. Relationship anarchy can still fit with like a more romantic or sexual like exclusivity in a way like it doesn't have to be like polyamorous like monogamous people can practice relationships in a much more like moving away from more like toxic monogamy and modern normativity.

Yeah. Uh, really expand the idea of relationships even within monogamy. Yeah. Yeah. That's why like so many best practices within non monogamy like apply to monogamy as well, because it's just like good relationship practice is good relationship practice. And yeah, like, yeah, like you were saying, like with the nuclear family and people living in the suburbs, um, and people being so spread out and.

We can only rely on our little family unit or we have to find community and things like church or whatnot, which can be a bit problematic sometimes, you know, so yeah, so then we become desperate to find community and all these places where this community might not actually be ultimately healthy, but it's better than not.

Having community at all, like, it's better to be in a monogamous relationship in the suburbs than to be alone or something. Um, yeah, yeah. And it's like, I don't fault people for feeling or thinking that way because. That means capitalism is working. That means a lot of, uh, social systems are working. These are, these are all by design.

This isn't, this isn't all just like a happy byproduct. This is all by design. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. And so then maybe the labels to talk about that is like toxic monogamy. I just, I want better labels to talk about these ideas because it's like, because I think within our community space, like the ways that we are conscious to not attack or critique monogamy.

You know, because it's a beautiful practice that people thrive in and enjoy when there's community connection, right? The person who practices sexual fidelity and has that whole community of people around them and like thrives and that's great. It's like, I don't know what word we need to describe for the suburb, right?

Like the suburb monogamy of this sort of like. It's just you and that one person and your dog or your kiddos out there and like that's it. Like that's, I think that's the scarier piece that needs like more critique of if we could get a better word for what that is. Cause when we say monogamy, then every monogamous person goes, Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God.

It's like, we're not talking about that practice. We're talking about the, like the, like black hole that kind of happens, which I would say is like against our social nature of, of the reality that like. regardless of what you're practicing sexually or, you know, any romantic, if you're not, you know, uh, if you're asexual, like you need other people, one person will not meet all of your needs, just hands down, confident to declare that.

I will say. Yeah.

Michelle: As humans, we're, we're so social. Yeah. Like, and, um, Even though, according to the news and everything with climate change or whatever, we're very good at destroying ourselves. But like, part of the reason why we've lasted this long is because of collaboration. And because humans are very good at working together.

I, I believe that human nature. It's not inherently bad. Um, we are driven to do quote unquote, bad things in certain situations, because that's what we are led to believe. Like, this is the way, and this is what we have to do in order to survive being basically brainwashed under like a scarcity mentality while also manufacturing scarcity and fighting where it's like, Oh, poor people fight poor people.

And, and like, you know, yeah. Marginalized groups fighting amongst marginalized groups while like rich assholes. Are like just sitting on their mounds and mounds of cash that they can never put never in a lifetime spend. Yes, but we all we're all squabbling over scraps. And so we're too busy to think of a better world.

We're too tired. To imagine a better world. Yes, we are. And also the social pressures was like, well, if everyone around me is in like a, like a, they live in a suburb, they have a house, they got married, they did the thing. And what am what am I doing when am I a loser for not doing all this stuff. So yeah, there's the social pressures on top of that where it's like they don't like.

Uh, work doesn't even have to be done anymore. It just, the, the gears are turning and it's just happening. And so, yeah, yeah. Oh God. It's like, it's, it's all, it's all so, there's so many huge topics to think about with regard to relationships. And it's like, it doesn't even have to do with non monogamy necessarily.

It's just, yeah, it could be. Any sort of relationship are like coworkers, friends, family, our neighbors, people that we maybe just meet once in the street or whatever, like even those connections, like even that matters. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, I'm resonating with so much of what you said. And I, I could pick apart probably all of them and talk to you for hours about it.

I'm sure. And I, I, I love to. Put my faith into the hope and belief that humans are good, right? Like that inherently humans, like we were kind of saying, we want to work together. We want to be in the state of, of pleasurable connection with one another, which I would say is not fighting in that like stressed out, uh, nervous system response, but the reality of living in a society where there's a scarcity mindset.

Maybe a more accurate way to say that would be not even mindset, but forced scarcity based on the systems, right? Like, of course, this is how we get into a space where this is how we're reacting and fighting and all this sort of stuff, because that's what, that's what the system thrives on. I saw that, um, that video, I wonder if you saw this, um, about like the, uh, Titanic submersible and the tragedy that that is, of course.

But like, but like the, the reality of the, I think it was 200 and. 250, 000 for the ticket, right? And for it, I think it was for a billionaire. If you put that into what they get paid compared to someone who makes 40, 000 a year, and you try and compare those up to see like, what's the cost of that 250, 000 ticket for the billionaire compared to the person who makes 40, 000.

And for them, that's a cup of coffee.

Michelle: Right. Yeah. Drop in the bucket. Mm

hmm. Yeah. Are you kidding me? Mm hmm. Yeah. Like I can't even imagine like right now, like making 250, 000 in a year. Wow.

Nicole: That's a cup of coffee. I just spent that over the, I guess. And I get angry too, because I'm therapists do like sliding scale stuff where we're like, we need to give access to all people so that they have services.

They have services, which I a hundred percent agree. And then it's at the other end. Like. Why are therapists the ones sitting in the middle though of that and the reality that like we should also have sliding scale up because if someone can do that for a cup of coffee on their costs and like those people should be paying accurately for the cost of that's even for what we're doing for the sliding scale down like it's just like so many people who are trying to do this like I want to help I want to help I want to help get in this space where then they're the ones suffering with the You Pain of that reality to do that while other people are just like on their yachts, having a good life.

And I'm like, damn.

Michelle: Right. And there's all this, this mentality that like, Oh, these people deserve to be able to not have to worry about that. Cause they worked really hard for that. Right. Like it's like to make money is a moral good. It means that you're like really smart. It means you're really savvy. It means like, I mean, there's all this like that, that like bullshit social Darwinism kind of stuff, um, built into it.

And so, you know, Yeah. Yeah. And so, I mean, this is, this is the stuff I really like to talk about with regard to polyamory and non monogamy and stuff. It's like, it's like, I, um, I feel like there are enough people talking about the jealousy aspects and like, how do we deal with metamors and, and all that.

And it's, it, that stuff, um, still needs to be talked, talked about, um, don't get me wrong. Like a lot of the, the, the nitty gritty of like polyamory logistics, um, is still very important to talk about from a wide variety of perspectives. mm-hmm. . But yeah. This is the stuff I really like to chew on. .

Nicole: Yeah.

Mm-hmm. , right? Because it's what maybe we need to do if we wanna create that new future, right? Like, I don't know what that new future is. I was just straight up walking into Target earlier this day and I was like, Hmm, how are we gonna do this? Like, how are we gonna, how are we gonna take these down? I'm like, build this.

Mm-hmm. like just walking through the aisles by myself and I'm like, I don't know. Right? And so it's like, mm-hmm. . I think it's conversations like this and like the collective, like. Vibrations of people realizing more and more of these systems becoming aware because of the internet, right? Dark light gives us all the good and the bad, but like people are waking up.

Michelle: Yes. I mean, I think especially within the past few years, I think you saw a lot of people having like a bit of a rise in class consciousness a little bit. There's definitely a difference. Between how people think like now versus like 2019, um, the awareness that a lot of people have now versus 2019. Like there are definitely people who are still, uh, who's definitely still buy into everything, but like a lot of people woke up and were made to confront a lot of things and were made to see like the vast, vast inequality that isn't just like, Oh, this is the natural order of things.

Like, no, no, no, no. There's something wrong going on here. So yeah, I. Hold on to hope because I feel like it's better than the alternative. But yeah, yeah. Like conversations like this and helping people, uh, realize that there are options, like it doesn't make, it doesn't mean that you have to choose a specific option, but there are more options than this.

There are more options than like the relationship escalator. And you know, that's just steeped in like heteronormativity and mono normativity and maor, nativity, all the, all the norm activities. Yeah. Um, there's more. Mm-hmm. There's more. And it's a lot of it is easier said than done. And a lot of it is, there are a lot of privileges that go into being able to explore alternative relationships.

Styles also. Yeah. But there are options. Mm-hmm. , yeah.

Nicole: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Yeah. That's why I feel like I always. Try to take the lens of informed consent, and I think that comes from my research experience, right, where it was like, when I'd be consenting people to research studies, I would have to give them the full, you know, here's the risk, the benefits, the yada yada, you get to make this choice, informed consent, voluntary, right, like, I think the nuanced conversation is that because of mononormativity, we have not been given the informed consent that there are other options available and both have risks and benefits and at the end of the day, you can get to choose, right?

And so like, at times I, I proclaim so loudly, the like, no monogamy piece because we didn't have that informed consent, but then the more nuanced of that is like, people get to choose, right? And like my second piece of this that I've. been thinking about is like pleasure. Like what is the model that brings you the most pleasure and how can you tune into your own body, your own wisdom, your own intuition to follow that thing that spoke to you when you first had those click moments.

When I first had those clicking moments after I got over the fact that like someone could love me and someone else equally and there's nothing wrong with that. Um, like it was such a, like an authentic calling that I started going and like, man. I love my life. Like I swear to God, like I love how I'm building my relationships and the freedom that I have.

And like, it feels so good. And I, one of my close friends is like thriving in monogamy and loving it and having such a good time. And I'm like, yes, like both of us, like, this is what we need to do is like, follow whatever that is to you and like, keep going down it. Oh. Yeah.

Michelle: Right. Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes.

Exactly. Like I love, I love my life. Yeah. Like when I, when I think about my life, even just like two years ago or five years ago or 10 years ago, or it's like, wow, all these things that like at 10 years ago, I couldn't even have imagined for myself and now I'm doing it and it feels great. It's not without obstacles and, you know, working through stuff, of course, but like, wow, I am just so excited to see what, like this trajectory where, where it takes me.

Um, cause if like, I'm doing this now, uh, you know, what, what, what, what levels can I unlock, you know, even in one year from now, like it's, it's, there's so much potential there's really, I feel like that's like the, the best part is like how freeing and how liberating thinking about all the options are, um, and it's also the, like the scariest part, I think for a lot of people where it's like, Oh, I don't have just the one script to follow anymore.

And I have to make, All these very intentional decisions at all of these choice points, like, Holy crap.

Nicole: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think my partner and I spent like, Jesus, like three, four hours, like talking about the dynamics of our relationship. Cause I'm embarking upon like another connection with someone and like, just the differences between like, you know, when you have a Dom sub dynamic and embarking upon that sort of dynamic with maybe someone else and having multiple.

There's just so much to talk about as you're stepping into all of this, right? So it's like, yeah, there's so much, I would say like, I don't want to use the word work. There's so much like exploration and all of it that we do when we're talking with partners of like constructing these worlds and being conscious of how they affect other people and all of that.

And like, yeah, I don't know. Give another year like what exactly my relationship structure will look like. I at these points now and how I'm trying to construct relationships. I just hope that whoever I am connecting with. I am making intentional relationships that will last a lifetime regardless of what shape they're in.

Or type of connection it is if we go away from a sexual connection or shift from a platonic to a sexual or romantic or what, whatever those labels mean, because like, who's going to define all of that, by the way, just to be clear, but for language sake, you know what I mean? Like, I just hope that whoever I'm building with.

We're going to last, like we're going to last through it and figure out some way for us to all be in connection with one another.

Michelle: Absolutely. Absolutely. I feel like over the years, you have the, the lines between like, what is a partner? What is a friend? What is this and that has just become blurred and it has become less and less important to me.

What's more important is just like, okay, well, what do we want to do with each other? Like that's, that's it. Like, I don't necessarily care. What a person calls me or because I use like partner as a blanket term sure is that sometimes I'll be like a partner friend a friend partner a sexy friend

Nicole: Yeah,

Michelle: yeah because like the specific labels are not important to me and they do not necessarily help me Situate myself with this person, it's more just like, oh, well, what do we do?

You know, do we share more emotional vulnerability with each other? Are we more sexual with each other? More romantic? Do we just like to go to movies together? Like, do we maybe talk to each other once, maybe twice a year, but like the connection keeps going. Yeah. It's just all the different possibilities and all the potential.

Like, I, I love just letting. Relationships be whatever they're going to be. Um, and again, like, you know, some people think that like, Oh, that means you don't communicate or whatever you like, go with the flow. It's like, no, like we go with the flow, but we talk about the flow, a big conversation about the flow, multiple hours.

And like, uh, over time too, it's like, don't just have like one big conversation. You're just like, no, we're talking about it all the time. And I'm one of those people who like, loves that. I love talking about relationships with the people I'm in relationship with. Yeah. Like. It's it's so fun

Nicole: and personally, nothing makes my pussy wetter than that, honestly, like, Oh, my God, really get connected and close and feel seen and know that we're kind of like going on the same trajectory, which is change, by the way, like, get comfortable with like, we're on this trajectory of change that's going to evolve over time, like Man, I've never felt more seen.

I've never felt more close. And I'm like, yes, please come get this. Like it gets wet.

Michelle: Exactly. Like, oh my God, we're on the same page on everything. Like, let me jump your bones now.

Nicole: Exactly, exactly. And like, yeah, I was just journaling that the other day, kind of what you were saying a few like moments back in the conversation too, of like, I don't know where I'm going. You know what I mean? Like I, I know, we know, we know we're building our intentional little world of people. Right. But like, I don't know where that's going to go in the most beautiful and exciting way.

Because like, if there's been this trajectory, at least for, for me of like a, a evolution in terms of like my ability to be in connection with one another in terms of intimacy and boundaries and communication, like if this is going on this like upward trend, like Yeah, take me to the moon. Let's go. Like, this is, this is very exciting.

I don't know how we're going to get there, but like, I, I love that. Like, we're growing in relationships.

Michelle: Exactly. And it's like last month, like someone like deescalated a relationship with me and like, but to still be like, Oh, friends and. The conversation was so good. We'd like talk on the phone for like an hour and it was like, there was still laughs and everything.

And going away from it, I had to sit because I'm like, am I actually feeling okay, or am I doing my avoidant thing? Shelving it, but it's been a while. It's been long enough. And I've talked to my therapist too, where it's like, no, I feel very okay with it. Where it's like, um, even in the conversation, I was like, okay, like, uh, we aren't like romantic partners or sexual partners anymore, but like.

We can still go to karaoke together, right? We can still banter and laugh and get dinner together every once in a while or get boba or whatever. Like, that sounds fine to me. Like, I, it's not like I have to, you know, in your presence, stop myself from trying to jump your bones and it's going to be a problem.

It's like, no, I'm still going to enjoy doing all these other activities with you because that's just what the relationship is. And I'm totally fine with that. And it was mind blowing to think about that. This can be what life is. It's like these shifts in relationships can happen and they don't have to be end of the world.

They don't have to trigger a movie montage of like crumpled tissues and, you know, watching, watching trash TV, trying to stay on my, on my couch. Like, it doesn't have to be that way. And it's, Yeah. It's, it's so freeing. It's, it's really incredible,

Nicole: but that doesn't sell as a movie. You know what I


Michelle: Me and my partner clearly and calmly talking for multiple hours, right. Or that like de escalating into like, yeah, we're going to karaoke together. It's like, ah, how, how boring. But like at the, like the reality is what you're feeling. What I'm feeling is like. How amazing, like these are relational skills, like, and if man, if relational cultural theory says anything, it's that like relationships form your quality of life.

And like, if we continue to get better relational skills, like at least personally, my quality of life is really good. Like, I really love the beautiful people that I have in my life that I can go to and talk to and have intimacy and connect with in all the different ways. Like, that's the Hallmark movie I want.

Mm hmm. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think this is why I like to reiterate the point of like, you know, going back to politics of like, I think this is why it's very important to talk about politics with relationships because like politics is basically the discussion about like who gets what, like how we distribute resources.

Yeah. Um, and like influence. Yeah, who gets to decide that and then who gets what that's what relationships are. Relationships are kind of a microcosm of just like the larger political sphere. And so in order to have better relationships, like we have to acknowledge like the larger systems at play, the larger pressures at play, um, and then vice versa too.

It's like, if we look at the larger systems at play. We, um, are better able to interrogate how we, uh, approach and move through relationships and yeah, it makes our relationships better. It helps us, you know, hopefully, uh, with those relationships organized together in order to affect the change and trying to make the world a little bit of a better place.

Nicole: Yeah. Hell yeah. Hell yeah. Absolutely. I think, do you know about Dr. Ruth? Yes. Okay. I watched the documentary about her and I remember at different times, you know, everyone's on their own things, but she had talked about how like, Oh yeah, I do sex. Like I don't get political. I do not get political. And I'm like,

personal is political.

It is right there.

Talk to her. Damn it. You know? So like, as someone stepping into like the same sort of like field, I'm like, The personal is political and like, there's no way to like, extricate that from everything that we're doing from this conversation from the larger systems we're dreaming about. And I think, at least for me, there's reasons why, like, you know, even though I call myself a relationship anarchist, I put, you know, in the description, like, I'm non monogamous, right?

Like. Getting people to like come in and understand the conversation and join and start to think about these ideas. Like there's political pieces like that. Right. Like, what does it mean when I'm saying that, like, in this podcast, we're exploring sex, relationships and liberation. Like, what is relationships?

I think when you say that word, a lot of people are like, Oh, your romantic partner, your romantic partner. And I'm like, No, like, what is your relationship to other humans? What is your relationship to nature, ecology? Like, maybe one day I'll cover climate change. I don't want to get dark in here, you know?

You know, you know what I mean? Like, that's an important piece of it too. Like, what's your relationship? It's all connected. Yeah.

Michelle: It's all connected.

Nicole: Yeah. Your relationship to spirituality, to God, that shit starts to play into your sex life real fast because am I having sex to create from the Heavenly Father who has ordained our connection and our marriage and to do this?

Um, am I channeling things? Am I doing sex magic? Right? Like there's like all this sort of stuff, like you, I just, I don't think you can like, not to hit on Dr. Ruth a little hard, but like, I just don't think you can do sex without getting political and looking at the relationships to these larger structures, you know?

Michelle: Absolutely. And it's, it's very interesting. Um, because like Dr. Ruth, like the, one of the reasons why she's an icon. It is because like the political reasons, like it's. So it's shocking for like, um, someone to speak so openly about sex, a woman to speak so openly about sex, an older woman who like the conception, she just, I don't know, there's, there's a lot of like prudishness attached to this image, but like, she's just talking very openly about it and it's, you know, in today's political sphere where it's like a lot of education is being attacked of like, Oh, are we, where are they grooming our children in schools?

Um, I mean the state of sex ed. In in schools has been terrible for forever, and that's they're very, very political reasons behind that. Um, like all all the things around. Relationships and sex, like, yeah, we cannot, we just can't separate that from, from politics because, uh, you know, with, with regard to like healthcare and everything like those are very political things and it's all related.

Nicole: Yeah. Oh, totally. And when we come into the field of psychology, who's going to be like, Hey, you have the issue. Something's wrong with you and your libido. And I'm like, Well, maybe climate change is stressing you out. Maybe the fact that you're stressed about affording your meal is stressing you out because of these systems.

We can go back to, you know, the, the billionaire part of this conversation, you know, like maybe the system isn't made for your pleasure. Let's be honest about that one. You know what I mean? Like I, I just get angry when we put the blame onto the people, right, rather than the larger systems. And so I think like, like you said, like it has to be.

Grounded in this level of conversation, otherwise, or placing blame on the individual and like not really hitting like, you know, like sexual assault prevention work starts with education, it starts with education. And then my whole thing has been like the whole healing continuum of even that process is to enjoy pleasure and to be thriving.

And so for me, that means kink, you know what I mean? And when I get those one star reviews on this podcast.

I respect people if they think this podcast is trash. I get it. You have your own opinion, but like one star feels aggressive. You know what I mean? Like, like, like you're putting out quality, like some sort of level of quality content, maybe three, you know what I mean? Like maybe two, but like one I'm like.

Ooh, you feel scared, you feel challenged, I don't know, I don't know, maybe I am one star quality content, I don't know, you know, I don't want to toot my horn, Jesus.

Michelle: Mm hmm, mm hmm, oh man, but yeah, like it's, ugh, like, yeah, with, with therapy, like what if we're having a reasonable reaction? To a lot of like the messed up shit that's happening, you know, what if we're having a very reasonable reaction to like being forced to spend 40 plus hours a week, having to create value for someone else to make like a bunch of money, um, off of us and then we get the scraps and then we've got a.

Bootstrap our way through life through relationships, you know, trying to thrive instead of survive crossing that threshold from survival to like thriving. That's like, that's huge. And, um, and yeah, like, what if, yeah, depression or anxiety and all these other things. It's like. What if that is you're just human, natural reaction to being surrounded by fucked up shit.

Nicole: Totally. And the relationships, right? Like when we go back to like the relationships we grew up with yours, mine, ours, like all those created that wasn't us. It's not like we like grew up with that, you know, DNA there. I mean, the epigenetic research is pretty fascinating. Oh man. There was like one study where they had, uh, conditioned.

I think it was mice or rats, one of the rodents to, um, be afraid of cherry blossoms, uh, for the first generation and then didn't do that conditioning for the rest, but then bred them out and it was either three or four generations. Later, they were still afraid of the cherry blossom smells like, I do think there's some like nuance to the reality that like, it might also even be your genetics.

Right. But like, at the end of the day, it's like, it's not you. And I think that comes back to that faith in the, that humans are inherently good. Like, inherently, we want to work together. Inherently, we want to be in good relationships. So

Michelle: Oh. Mm hmm. Yeah. I mean, oh God, I feel, I feel like it's, it feels like a triumph whenever like even one good connection is made.

Um, cause it's like, oh, it just, it opens up the possibility for like more good connections to be made. I think, yeah, with like connections with real depth and commitment to, you know, uh, support. We aren't taught to do that because it's not, we're not incentivized to do that. It's a lot of, we're incentivized to like, take care of ourselves and you know, like screw other people.

Um, so it's, uh, yeah, it almost feels like a miracle when it does work out well sometimes, but, um,

Nicole: But yeah, I gotta, I gotta, you know, stay hopeful because it's happening. Like, look at you and I having this conversation right now. Like, I don't know, I'm going to make the assumption that you have a community of people that love you that are having the same value systems that are growing.

And I frequently look at my friends. I'm like, yeah, what a privilege we have that like, this is our community where we recognize and have. Nonviolent communication and other sorts of things, you know, about this, like there's ripples every single time that we have these conversations. Every time that you have that conversation with someone on the street, the friend that you call in for closer intimacy, even when that means boundaries, right?

Like those have ripples. And I like, I do believe that like the same ways that like we're growing into this and learning, like. Other people are learning and like collectively when we do that as a whole, there's so many more of us than there is at the top.

Michelle: Mm hmm. Oh, absolutely.

Nicole: Oof. Revolution gets me turned on.

Fuck. I'm like, Jesus. There's so much more of us.

Michelle: There's so much more. And it's like, of course, if we try to like tackle these on our own or in small groups, like, it's not going to work, but like, it's really like the, the messages from like a mugs life, you know, it's like, there are like so many of us and we're very strong together.

Um, if we can figure out to like work together toward like a common goal or a common enough goal, common enough direction. Um, like we can really achieve so much, but there are so many systemically made obstacles that prevent us. From doing this. So yeah, it's an uphill battle, but, um, I don't know, like you definitely see pockets of people doing a lot of good work and, you know, that, uh, helps me remain hopeful.

It's happening.

Nicole: It's happening. I want to hold space too because I know that you also wanted to talk a little bit about what it means to be Asian and polyamorous. And if that feels like maybe like a side, it's obviously not a sidetrack because it's all connected to the intersectionality of all this, but I wanted to hold space too, since you had messaged that that was something you wanted to talk about.

Michelle: Yeah. I mean, it, it really like intertwines. With a lot of what we've been talking about with like relationships and politics and, um, how different marginalized identities, like how that affects how we can approach and be in relationship. It's like, I mean, I think, you know, anything that I want to talk about with regarding to be like Asian and polyamorous, we've kind of talked about in like the broad strokes already.

And also, yeah, I like that you brought up like epigenetics, like epigenetics is so wild. Within our lifetimes, like The rise of epigenetic science, I, I, yeah, I feel like that's been happening like within our lifetime where before it's thought that like, oh, no, no, no, no, like there is no leftover thing that's transferred from the parent to the child aside from just like.

genes, but you don't, you can't transfer like feelings or whatever in genes. Yeah. And like evolutionary science and whatnot, but yeah, like, I mean, just speaking of the United States, like, you know, people of color here and like all the racial trauma that's passed down, um, and class trauma that's passed down that just surrounds us.

And I think a lot of us are very hesitant to embrace that idea that a lot of it is already just. ingrained in our genes. Um, because it takes, it seems to take away a lot of agency. Yes, exactly. Um, and that can be very scary. And I, and I can see why people like push back against that. And of course, like, we don't know the exact ratio of like the whole nature and nurture thing, like, Oh, what, how much of it is in the genes?

How much of it do we have control over? But within the nominogamy space, even though there are more resources these days, you can definitely see that certain perspectives and certain people are still favored When it comes to like who we listen to or who we, um, make viral or who we, um, you know, support.

Yeah, when it comes to sharing resources, a lot of them are white, a lot of them are, uh, cishet. There are a lot of triads as well, and I don't have anything against triads specifically, but they're definitely an over representation of triads and throuples in like mainstream representation of polyamory.

It's like, God, I like triads. There's really, there's a lot more that we can do than that. Also triads are very difficult. Um, so it can be kind of misleading that they're fairly common on like the social media space. Because like, that's like a high level relationship thing. Totally, totally. That's not like a beginner relationship thing.

Monogamous or non monogamous, like whoever you are, like that's not a beginner relationship. No,

Nicole: lots of intersections going on there. Yeah.

Michelle: So yeah, all, all these intersections and, uh, different marginalizations, like earlier you were talking about, like, you know, disability and. How like, again, with the political stuff where it's like, you know, in, what was it?

2014, 2015, we had quote unquote marriage equality, but like, that was only with regard to like same sex, uh, marriage basically. And people with disabilities still have to struggle with the marriage thing because like, Oh, if you get married and you suddenly both have too much money, you lose disability benefits.

And like all these, these benefits just seems like such a euphemistic term. Um, yeah, for like, yeah, for resources that you need to survive. Yeah. Um, so yeah, just, I, I don't, I don't know. I feel like my brain is just like trying to go through all these different things. Like instead of just talking about being Asian, there's like, there's just so many different intersections.

And again, just harping on this, like the political aspect of relationships. Desirability politics, like who, who gets to have dates, who gets to be seen as conventionally attractive, you know? Um. There's just so many topics. I mean, like you said, like these things we could probably talk about for hours and hours and still find other threads and whatnot, because, because this really does encompass so much of life in general.

Um, so it's like, you can really tackle this from a billion different ways, but, but yeah, like I always encourage people. To try to seek out a greater diversity of, of voices like we're out here and diversity of thought and of of perspectives. It just enriches the experience. It's, I don't know, I feel like it, it helps foster, uh, further connection and summation.

Just there are a lot of different voices out there and I think people could work a little harder to try to find more of those perspectives that aren't upheld as much.

Nicole: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that's how we thrive, right? Like it, I was thinking of the metaphors of ecology, right? The more we take away, like all of the diversity of our species and our biodiversity, like our planet is falling apart.

Right. And so it's just like, it's like we need that diversity of thought of ideas of perspective of lenses to be able to like truly thrive.

Michelle: Right. Like seeking out this diversity while also focusing on like common threads.

Nicole: And like you said, I, I mean, I, I hope this space where I come in and meet with other.

Amazing, beautiful people who can have these conversations. Like, I hope, sometimes I get worried. I'm like, am I going to have enough content to run this for like a lifetime? For my lifetime? But then something like this, I'm like, yeah, I think so. I think there'll be enough to talk about throughout the journey.

Michelle: Yeah. And so like. Go ahead. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. And, and yeah, like things keep progressing. I mean like the, the world around us keeps changing, so there's always going to be something new to talk about. Yeah.

Nicole: Mm hmm. Exactly. That's what I've been telling my guests. Like maybe I need y'all to come back at a later date.

We'll check back in and see where we're at. What are we chewing on now these days?

Michelle: Oh man. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Nicole: Well, I want to hold a little bit of space as we come towards the end of our time. I always check in just to make sure there wasn't anything on your heart that maybe we didn't hit to. You didn't get the space to say in the conversation.

So otherwise, I have a closing question. I ask all my guests that I could bring us towards.

Michelle: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we covered a lot. And so I, I feel like we covered a lot of what I wanted to talk about. I mean, really the emphasis of like the personal is political and all that. I feel like that is like a main takeaway that I want people to have like all the time.

Nicole: Beautiful. And I really enjoyed getting to connect with you and feel very seen in your understanding of. What I'd shared and I just, I always appreciate those moments when I find like fellow souls who kind of like, just, just get it, you know?

Michelle: Yeah, absolutely. Likewise. Likewise.

Nicole: Yeah. Well, then the question I will ask you as I ask every guest is what is one thing that you wish other people knew was more normal?

Um. And I'll do that. Go ahead. Oh yeah. No, go ahead. I'll say I'll date myself by saying that this was like my thought around like the Yahoo answers question I was typing in and my little phone as a kid going like, this is normal.

Michelle: Yeah. Um. Well, I think we should embrace the fact that humans are very weird, very weird, kinky animal, like, um, not necessarily an animal that's more special, but like, I think all animals are a bit weird.

Humans are very weird. Yeah. I like to push back against this, like more quote unquote, civilized, uh, conceptualization of what humans have to be or should be. Yes. Humans are really kinky. Humans are really weird. Like, and not just in like a sexual and romantic space, but. There are more weirdos out there than there are like, I don't know, quote unquote normies because I don't even really think that normies exist.

I think there are a lot of people who have convinced themselves to become normies because that's what's incentivized. But. The brain is an incredible engine and comes up with a lot of weird shit. And so like, if you're thinking of some weird stuff, or if you have a different perception of what the world is like, what life is like, it's likely that other people at least have a similar.

Deal like there are 8 billion people in the world now, like, we're all really, really weird. And it's very unlikely that, like, you're alone. So, yeah, I just, I think, I think it would be helpful for more people to embrace the fact that humans are. Just weird as shit.

Nicole: Yes. Yes. It's almost become like, I think a little running joke on the podcast.

Like whenever someone like pushes back on the normalized question to say like, we're not normal, we are weird. I'm like, you are an anarchist.

Michelle: Question everything, dismantle all hierarchies, build community.

Nicole: Yes, pass, pass, pass.

Where would you want to plug so people can find your content and connect with you?

Michelle: Yeah. So I primarily live on Instagram. So at polyamorous while Asian, and then I also, uh, if I ever post. Something to the feed. I'll also put it on my website, polyamorous while asian. com so that you don't have to just live on Instagram, but yeah, that's where you can find me.

Nicole: Great. I'll have all that linked below in the show notes. And it was such a pleasure to connect with you today.

Michelle: Yeah, it was great. Really, really enjoyed connecting with you and talking with you about a lot of, a lot of different stuff. Yeah.

Nicole: So juicy. So juicy.

If you enjoyed today's episode, then leave us a five star review wherever you listen to your podcast and head on over to modernanarchypodcast. com to get resources and learn more about all the things we talked about on today's episode. I want to thank you for tuning

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