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Welcome to #AskCam, a column where sex and intersectionality are not divided but welcomed together.

Dear Cam, I'm not quite sure how to navigate this. I have a white partner (we're polyam) and I feel like he gives his white partners more space, patience, and consideration to feel insecure or needing validation to feel safe in a polyamorous relationship than he gives me. Am I imagining how big of a problem this is? Why is empathy something that's used so often against Black folks in relationships? How do I talk about this?   -Deserving of Empathy
Deserving, Whew, this question has been on my mind for a while and I'm glad that you brought it up. By no means is this a unique problem to your relationship. In fact, I've heard this question raised over and over by the BIPOC in my life, no matter what kind of romantic relationship they have. I believe that in every relationship — romantic or not — everyone involved has to commit to performing labor for the betterment of the relationship. But when it's done evenly (i.e., both parties commit to doing labor for each other and themselves), the relationship itself is healthy and balanced. It's when this labor falls unfairly on one party that this balance is thrown out of whack. And because nothing exists in a vacuum, we can't separate the fact that this imbalance of labor almost always falls on the shoulders of marginalized people. There's a rising interest in non-monogamy, which is great, but I think a lot of people who are first learning about or are new to non-monogamy often forget that there's work that goes into these relationship structures as well. We're still interacting with other people, and that means that we still have to take care in treating them with respect, love, and understanding and not just project our own assertions and demand they fulfill our needs without considering what effect that will have on them. So much of this creates violence and unnecessary hardship — especially when we take identities like race into account. There's also an assumption here, it seems, that your partner thinks that there is an equal dividing of care he gives to you and his other partners. Care and work that goes into a relationship doesn't come with an on/off switch; it isn't neatly divided between "yes" or "no", "all" or "nothing". It's highly unfair of him to assume — not even ask — that you would need "less" support in the relationship with no evidence other than the assumptions he's making on your identity as a POC.
RELATED: #ASKCAM: CELIBACY IS A VALID CHOICE

Welcome to #AskCam, a column where sex and intersectionality are not divided but welcomed together.

Dear Cam, I'm seeing polyamory and non-monogamy hyped up a lot in media, and it seems awesome, but how do I know it's for me? Growing up, I only ever saw relationships being between two people, but I've never felt ~quite~ right about that fitting my life, especially as a POC. Help? -So Many Options So Many Options, Non-monogamy is having a moment here, it seems like media has finally caught wind that heterosexual, monogamous relationships aren't the only valuable ways to create relationships and show love with other people. But if you're new to non-monogamy, it can definitely be overwhelming to figure out where you lie. To do this topic justice, this is going to be the first of a mini-series on non-monogamy. Here I'm just going to break down the basics of what exactly non-monogamy is and how you know if it's right for you. Non-monogamy, as I'm using it here, is referring to a variety of relationship structures. Many of us grew up only knowing about one relationship style, monogamy, and seeing that as the ideal. In traditional monogamy, we're presented with a two-person relationship style (usually these people are heterosexual, able-bodied, neurotypical) where the goal is to be married, have children, and raise a family together. There's nothing at all wrong with this structure, but it's presented as a one-size-fits-all model that everyone should fit into, and that simply isn't reasonable.
Related: #ASKCAM: DECOLONIZING DESIRE AND DESIRABILITY

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