The Many Faces of Polyamory : Longing and Belonging in Concurrent Relationships book cover
1st Edition

The Many Faces of Polyamory
Longing and Belonging in Concurrent Relationships

ISBN 9781138504301
Published May 24, 2021 by Routledge
220 Pages

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Book Description

The Many Faces of Polyamory: Longing and Belonging in Concurrent Relationships provides new perspectives on polyamory and the longing to belong in the relatively uncharted territory of nonnormative relationships.

This volume offers a valuable and compelling account on how to approach polyamorous relationships from the clinical perspective. While there is no uniform answer, Dr. Fosse’s compassionate and discerning approach that combines relative neutrality, an open-minded embrace of nontraditional lifestyle choices, and skilful attention to countertransference dynamics is likely to be inspiring. Dr. Fosse exposes the dynamics of love, sex, jealousy, and compersion as they play out in lives of those interested in polyamory, and more broadly, consensual nonmonogamy. Her focus is on relationships worth having.

With its nuanced clinical focus, The Many Faces of Polyamory will be an essential resource for psychotherapists, educators, students, and anyone inside and outside of the mental health field drawn to the intricacies of sexuality, intimacy, and how they are intertwined with relational satisfaction

Table of Contents

Introduction- In the Beginning there was Chaos  Part I: Charting the Map of Polyamory  1. Polyamory: Bewildering and Evolving  2.Paving the Road to Polyamory: From Free Love to Multiple Loves  3.Relational Dreams and Fantasy Bonds: Commitment, Belonging, and Fitting In in Poly Relationships  Part II: Poly Dynamics of Love  4.In Love Versus in Life: Has Marriage for Love Failed?  5.Maps of the Heart: Capacity for Love  6.From Passion to Compassion: Different Shades of Love  7.Falling in Love in Polyamory: New Relationship Energy  8.Polyromanticism: Polyamory’s Love with Itself  Part III: Sexuality in Polyamory  9.Love and Sex: Separate and Intertwined  10.Sexual Scripts: Who, What, Where, and How  11.The New Place of Belonging: Polyamory and Bisexuality  Part IV: Jealousy in Transparent Love  12.No Size Fits All: Jealousy Is a Complex Relational Experience  13.Jealousy: Learned Pathology or Universal Affliction?  14.Attempts to Sublimate: Compersion  Part V: Relational Psychodynamics and Attachment Perspectives  15.Tantalizing Objects and Identity Formation: Conscious Choices and Unconscious Motivations  16.Through a Glass Darkly: Polyamory Through the Lens of Defensive Processes  17.The Ways We Love: Attachment-Based Perspectives  18.Fight, Flight, or Freeze: The Neuropsychology of Attachment Psychodynamics  19.Self-Expansion Model: Is Polyamory Expanding the Potential?  20.Relationship Escalator Versus Stages of Couple Development  21.Examining Countertransference: Polyamory in the Heteronormative and Mononormative World  22.Clinical Considerations: Ethical Issues and Therapy Tasks  Part VI: Love Insists the Loved Loves Back  23.Polycurious: In Search of Greener Grass  24.Frozen Love: Polyamory as a Catalyst  25.Soft Divorce: A Marital Dissolution Through Polyamory  26.Poly Repair: The Marriage Saved by Opening Up  27.Polyfurious: From Dreams to Despair  28.Aspirational Poly: Absence of Jealousy  29.Gender and Sex: Bisexual Feelings in Polyamory  30.The Tale of the Rings: Renewing Monogamy Vows  31.Veteran Poly: Old Pains, New Tribulations  32.Looking for a Family: The Appeal of Multiple Attachments

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Dr. Magdalena J. Fosse is a licensed clinical psychologist and AASECT certified sex therapist in private practice in Cambridge, MA. She works extensively with individuals and couples who identify as polyamorous or consensually nonmonogamous. Dr. Fosse is on the faculty of Psychodynamic Couples and Families Institute of New England (PCFINE), which provides advanced training in couples’ therapy to licensed clinicians.


"This beautifully written book is filled with theoretical richness and clinical wisdom. It is a page-turner, replete with vivid case illustrations — many of which have unexpected outcomes — and Dr. Fosse’s insights as to what polyamory itself reveals about the longing for intimacy."

—Peggy J. Kleinplatz, Ph.D., Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 

"The Many Faces of Polyamory takes the little known and sometimes controversial topic of polyamory and makes it a poignantly powerful story of people’s yearnings and bravery, vulnerability and love, fulfillment and heartbreak. Dr. Fosse presents a thorough history of this emerging form of multiple intimate relationships and addresses the emotional, psychological, and cultural issues that have given rise to it.

Most importantly, Dr. Fosse reveals herself to be a superb and compassionate therapist who truly accepts and honors those who bring their pain and conflicts, hopes and fears into her office."

—Dr. David Treadway, Author of Treating Couples Well: A Practical Guide to Collaborative Couple Therapy

"The idea of being polyamorous is enticing, but few if any clinicians have the in-depth knowledge of its joys and challenges to responsibly work with these clients. We need a brilliant teacher. Now we have one. Dr. Magdalena J. Fosse’s book The Many Faces of Polyamory: Longing and Belonging in Concurrent Relationships is a thoughtful and deep exploration of the many faces of polyamory. It is a treasure trove for psychotherapists who are interested in becoming more competent in treating non-monogamous patients. Her advice to therapists about dealing with ethical issues and other themes common to working with non-monogamous couples is thorough and its tone is reassuring. Dr. Fosse’s writing is a pleasure to read, and with its vivid case studies and the inclusion of a glossary of terms, it makes a fascinating read for the lay public as well." 

—Aline P. Zoldbrod, Ph.D., Author of SexSmart: How Your Childhood Shaped Your Sexual Life and What to Do About It