More Than Two is, as its subtitle says, “a practical guide”: there’s a lot in this book about navigating particular kinds of relationship circumstances/scenarios/difficulties specific to polyamorous relationships, a lot of which didn’t feel super-applicable to me (like: being polyamorous and having kids, or coming out to your family as non-monogamous when you’ve historically been in a monogamous relationship, or being in a couple in the midst of opening up a formerly monogamous relationship, or being in a relationship where one person self-identifies as monogamous and the other person doesn’t). And Veaux and Rickert seem pretty judgmental about some things in ways that don’t really make sense to me. (The main instance of this: I understand their point that a couple looking for someone to be involved with both of them can end up being coercive, if the price for continued involvement with one of the members of the couple is continued involvement with the other, even when that isn’t what the third person ends up really wanting. But to me that doesn’t translate to it being a bad idea for a couple to look for someone to be involved with both of them, and it seems like for them, it might. I feel like the answer can be “don’t do it badly,” rather than just “don’t do it.”)

But these are pretty minor quibbles, and I appreciated a lot of the main themes of the book, which I think are applicable to building good relationships of any type. The idea, for example, that “happiness is something we re-create every day” seems like a good thing to remember about life in general: you have to show up and you have to keep showing up, and if things aren’t working you have to figure out what changes you can make to bring you towards the kind of life you want. I also liked the themes/values/ideas that Veaux and Rickert list near the start of the book, which, again, seem really broadly applicable/useful things to think about in a whole lot of contexts: trust, courage, abundance (as opposed to scarcity), ethics, and empowerment. Another highlight for me was the reminder of the concept of the “relationship escalator,” i.e. the way that society tends to assume that a successful relationship is a series of increasing predefined commitments – dating, then living together and/or marriage and maybe children – and that it can take work to not buy into this, and to get other people to recognize the worth of relationships that don’t fit this pattern—and also the related idea that there’s a continuum of relationship styles from “solo” to “entwined,” and the reminder that different relationship styles will lead to relationships that may look different, but that may still be serious, committed, etc. Also, the concept of “self-efficacy”—believing you can handle something even if something you’ve never dealt with before—seems like a good thing to think about/strive for in general, as do a lot of the principles/ideas/techniques related to boundaries, communication, and knowing your needs/working with your partner(s) to figure out how those needs can be met.

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