What is Polyamory?
Polyamory, translated, means "many loves." Briefly, a polyamorous person
is one who prefers to have (romantically) loving relationships (including but not limited to sexual relationships) with more
than just one person at a time. A polyamorous person may have more than one person that the polyamorous person
considers to be a "spouse," for example. Polyamory is about love, without constraint by the dictates of society,
defined only by the parameters that we, as individuals, impose upon it. This definition is partially taken from
In general, the polyamorous
relationships supported by this list involve living up to agreements between all persons involved in the relationships;
this is sometimes defined as "responsible non-monogamy" or
"responsible multi-partnering." A 2005 article on what polyamory is and isn't can be found at
What is the UUPoly list?
The UUPoly list was originally formed by individuals and managed by volunteers. The list was originally hosted as a public service by
Loving More, an international organization dedicated to new models
for relationships. Over time, the list has migrated twice to a new host. UUPoly
is currently hosted by UUPA and managed by UUPA trustees.
UUPoly is open to all who engage in respectful conversation, without regard to
relationship status or membership in UUPA.
The UUPoly list was created out of a discussion on another list originally hosted
by Loving More, the Polyactive list. Polyactive is a forum for polyamory activists to
A polyactive thread in July of 1999, prompted by the publication of several pro-poly letters in the
UUA's World magazine, led to the realization that there were a significant
number of UUs among the polyactivists. The ensuing discussion in turn led to the creation of UUPoly. The legacy of this activist
origin remains - there is a strong activist presence on the UUPoly list. Indeed, many of the founders believe that the
if it is true to its history and the
of its bylaws, will be one of the first
mainstream organizations to embrace freedom of choice in relationship styles.
- specific threats to the personal and civil liberties of polyamorous people; and
- strategies both for dealing with specific threats and for increasing public awareness and
acceptance of relationship models beyond the monogamous dyad.
In addition, Unitarian Universalists maintain a strong recognition that it is impossible
(indeed, undesirable) to separate
issues of personal spiritual or loving/romantic practice from issues of advocacy
for the continued right to express those practices.
Discussion of polyamory as an element of one's personal
spiritual path is also a part of the charter of UUPoly.
One of the topics under discussion on and off the list was
the formation of a Unitarian Universalist polyamory organization. That organization
did in fact form
and is now known as UUPA. The organization and the mailing list are separate entities
and likely will stay that way, although they support one another
and have a significant degree of membership crossover. UUPolyamory serves as a
communication avenue for UUPA to its members, who are encouraged to subscribe to
Neither UUPA nor its
Board of Trustees managed the UUPoly email list during its first fourteen years.
UUPA trustees accepted list management upon migration of the list to a new host
To subscribe to the UUPoly email list, visit
- Take flames off-list.
- Put compliments on-list.
- Before posting, think about whether the post meets the list
guidelines below; for instance, for off-topic email, the following questions may be helpful:
- "Am I contributing anything to the UUPoly community with this post?"
- "Is this post relevant to the UUPoly community as a whole, or to a large portion thereof?"
- "If this post is only relevant to a portion (even if a large portion) of the UUPoly community, can people to whom it isn't relevant recognize it by the subject line (please change the subject line if necessary to make this the case) or delete it?"
If the answer to any of these questions is "no", please don't post.
- Let other members know (off-list, but preferably with a
cc: to the list admins) if they believe another member is violating these guidelines.
However, if list self-governance fails, the admins may step in.
In the event of guideline violations, list admins will take one or more of the
- a private polite suggestion from the list administrators;
- a public caution from the admins;
- moderation of messages;
- removal from the list.
Bear in mind that the list administrators are volunteers
and also active contributors to the list.
- UUPoly takes matters of privacy seriously. In order to provide a safer environment
where list members will feel more comfortable posting their personal thoughts and experiences, we must insist that no one
forward mail posted to the list to someone who is not a subscriber to it for any reason, any time, without the express
permission of the poster. This includes informing anyone that someone posts to UUPoly.
There are two exceptions to the preceding rule:
- We recognize that this list will deal with topics that involve relationships and a variety
of ways of handling them. To better support our members as they work through issues, sharing of postings with members'
significant others is allowed.
- If the email in question did not originate with the poster (was forwarded to the list),
and any information personally identifying the poster in the email in question is removed, then it may be forwarded further.
Please do not forward chain letters or other spam, however.
Keep in mind that we cannot constrain anyone from signing onto the list and reposting
messages seen on it; subscriptions are not closed. List archives were available to the public,
including search engines, for the first fourteen years. With the latest
migration of the list, archives are closed. It is possible for list admins to
delete individual messages from the archive, but it is not currently possible to automatically
exclude mail from specific people from the archive.
Pseudonymous mail to the list is acceptable so long as replies
may be done and a person's pseudonym is consistent. In other words, a one-way remailer is not acceptable; neither
is one from which all email looks the same regardless of the original sender.
- Announcement about UUPoly-related events are invited. Information about UUPoly-related
businesses, products, or services (i.e., ones particularly useful to UUPoly people or to promotion of the list's purposes) may be
considered on-topic if presented in a non-pushy way. Advertisements or solicitations of non-related business is not appropriate.
To be related, something needs to be related to both Unitarian Universalism and Polyamory, not just one or the other.
- Personal Ads
- Please do not post personal ads to UUPoly.
This list guideline does not mean that you can't mention in a message to the list that you and/or your
partner(s) are looking for (more) partners, as long as such a mention is on-topic for the message in question;
however, this information cannot be the focus of a message. There are a number of other places for personal
ads directed to polyamorous individuals.
- If someone tells you they don't want mail from you, don't send it!
If someone doesn't
feel comfortable with making such a request, or feels that the mail - such as flames - would be inappropriately sent to the main
list, we suggest the use of email filtering (aka killfiles).) If you meet someone on the list and you bother them after they have
requested you stop, you will be removed from the list upon their request.
- Be Nice
- Play Nice, we're all in this together. People are expected to be polite and tolerant of others'
diverging views. If you disagree, (politely) attack the idea; don't attack the person.
- Remember that it is easy to overstate or misinterpret in a written forum, and try to give the
other person the benefit of the doubt. This applies both in writing a post and reading -- if someone offends you, deleting is often better
than flaming back. It is never good to respond to a post to the list while you are angry. Your tone will almost always be less inflammatory
if you wait to respond until you are calmer.
- No one needs to be a great writer to post here; just do your best to write clearly so that your meaning comes through. Likewise, please give a list member the benefit of the doubt if it seems at all possible that their meaning could be misconstrued; this is frequently the case with what appears to be a flame or dishonest behavior. The experts claim that in our daily interactions we only get 40% of the message from words. The other 60% comes from tone of voice, facial
expression, body language, etc., and none of the factors are present in e-mail (except for emoticons, which help a little).
- You are certainly welcome to write as much as you like. That being said, considering how little
time many people have in their day-to-day lives, your posts are much more likely to be read in their entirety if you keep them fairly brief and
to the point.
Moreover, please try to read all of the postings in your mailbox (that have the same
subject header as what you're responding to) before responding for at least two reasons:
- Someone else may have already properly responded to a
post. This situation is particularly likely in matters involving factual information (such as requests for information or corrections of postings involving incorrect information).
- A series of single posts from one person responding to a series of single posts - especially from
one other person - can be quite frustrating.
Please consider combining responses into a single post, especially to multiple postings with the
same subject header. If responding to two or more different subject headers, alter the subject header to broadcast the contents.
Responses like, "Yeah, me too" do not need to go to the group; send them back
to the person privately. We do not wish to discourage people from expressing their on-topic views and support; however, we encourage
concise language and/or the introduction of new content in such posts.
Delete unnecessary quoted material (including list information headers and footers).
However, do be sure that you don't delete so much material that somebody who comes in in the middle can't tell what
you're talking about!
- Keep the Conversation on Topic
- This discussion group is for matters Unitarian Universalist and polyamorous. Of course
this touches many aspects of life and philosophy which, when they come up in context, are fine. If such a sideline takes on a life of
its own, we may ask that it be taken off-list.
- Respond to Individuals Privately
- Please post messages of a private or individual nature to the individual and not the group.
Do not post private messages to the list without the express permission of all correspondents.
The default for
replying to messages is to the list, so please check the "To" field before you
- Chain Letters and other Spam
- We appreciate forwarding of relevant material (so long as you aren't going to get the list
in trouble with
copyright concerns)... but please don't send chain letters (see the
National Science Foundation
report) or other types of spam to the list. For instance, a political/action message (such as a petition) that asks to be forwarded should
not be sent to the list unless:
- It has an end date clearly stated after which the actions requested are no longer useful and the message
should be killed; and
- It gives a webpage or phone number for verifying that the information is current and accurate and
getting more details - and the person sending the message on has followed up on them.
- Please Do...
- introduce yourself to the list after lurking (or reading the list archives) for long enough to get
a feel for the list.
- share your UUPoly experiences, ask questions, seek answers, and share resources that
pertain to the UUPoly lifestyle with others on the list.
- have fun!