Lindy West, her husband, and the woman they both love
August 9, 2022 3:49 PM   Subscribe

Polyamory Is Not Too Good To Be True: Lindy, Roya, & Aham On The Best Relationship Of Their Lives Lindy West and her husband Aham, along with their other partner, Roya, discuss their unfolding relationship and how they all came to love one another, and how Lindy and Aham's relationship evolved from an open "don't ask, don't tell" one to one of full transparency and romantic love between three people.
posted by bearette (44 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite


 
I'm speechless.
posted by Czjewel at 4:18 PM on August 9


I really appreciated their honesty and fears and good friendships going on. I feel really happy for them.

Was it some kind of gag/schtick to make them all periodically take off an item of clothing?
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:33 PM on August 9


Was it some kind of gag/schtick to make them all periodically take off an item of clothing?

Yeah, the channel, "stylelikeu", interviews people about topics as they remove articles of accessories/clothing. I guess to give a visual to the increasing vulnerability?

There's also an interesting interview on the channel with Shane and Hannah, an interabled couple.
posted by bearette at 4:36 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


I have some complicated feelings about this. The discussion is interesting and thoughtful, and Lindy and Roya seem like awesome people that I would want to know (well, we already know how awesome Lindy is).

I really don't want to be judgmental when people have been so vulnerable and thoughtful, but I felt sad as Lindy recounted that she felt no one respected her enough in any of her previous relationships to be monogamous with her. I'm not really convinced that her marriage was open because that was what she desired. It seems like they do genuinely love each other, but not necessarily all romantically.
posted by bearette at 4:40 PM on August 9 [16 favorites]


Idk if it matters but we're distant friends and she was in my city once and we hung out for the weekend (this was when she was still not yet married), but fwiw they genuinely adore each other, Aham and Lindy, and it's been just as hurtful to her when people express concern that this current relationship is also out of some lack of desire. I mean, you can't help what you feel but I thought I'd just chip in with my personal impression.
posted by cendawanita at 4:57 PM on August 9 [23 favorites]


I love Lindy West. I want her to be happy. I'm happy if this makes her happy.

(Also, I want her earrings. I'm now obsessed with those earrings)
posted by thivaia at 4:57 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


I love Lindy West. I want her to be happy. I'm happy if this makes her happy.
(Also, I want her earrings. I'm now obsessed with those earrings)


Agreed!

Earrings are from When Odin Sleeps (Lindy's instagram followers asked!).
posted by annaramma at 5:26 PM on August 9 [9 favorites]


Age restricted video that using the inline player doesn't overcome the block against! That's something I haven't encountered before. This means I can't encounter this video. Sadness
posted by hippybear at 5:46 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


This is so wonderful. It makes me want to cry.....
posted by goalyeehah at 6:27 PM on August 9


I feel happy for them all, glad that they each have a voice that some people will listen to and learn from. I hope people will hear them, and trust what people are saying about their own experiences.

I think that part of accepting and embracing diversity is acknowledging the difference between discomfort and morality, as well as the difference between one's personal experience and the broader spectrum of humanity. And I think a lot of people get tripped up by those or have growing pains.

There are so many ways to live that are genuine and valid and right for those who embrace them, but not right for everyone.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 6:28 PM on August 9 [12 favorites]


I wanna watch this, but being in a past DADT relationship (because of terrible self-education) seems to have really impacted me negatively in accepting anything polyamory. If there's anything to read/consume on how to work through this, I'm willing to educate myself.
posted by alex_skazat at 8:44 PM on August 9


They talk about things where I have trauma and insecurity, so watching this was always going to make me feel discomfort. I do wish that they had switched seats when they took off pieces of clothing or something so that Aham wasn't always in the middle. It would have been nice to see Roya and Lindy hold hands too.
posted by Akhu at 8:53 PM on August 9 [13 favorites]


Age restricted video that using the inline player doesn't overcome the block against!

It let me watch this and I'm not signed in to anything, for whatever that is worth. Maybe try a different browser?
posted by Dip Flash at 9:05 PM on August 9


One partner is plenty of trouble.
posted by fairmettle at 11:51 PM on August 9 [11 favorites]


There is some kind of irony in the fact that this arrangement is absolutely not what most people mean when they talk about "polyamory" (which, incidentally, we all benefit from reading feminist critique of) but is exactly the what the term ménage à trois is meant to refer to, rather than a one-off indulgence in group sex.

But, of course, I wish everyone involved here nothing but happiness and, to West specifically, a long life of internet gremlins leaving her in peace because boy howdy were they obsessed with her for a good while there.
posted by seraphine at 12:26 AM on August 10 [9 favorites]


One partner is plenty of trouble.

When there's three of you it's easier to team up and cause more hijinks. That's not a bug, it's a feature.
posted by Braeburn at 5:46 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Age restricted video that using the inline player doesn't overcome the block against! That's something I haven't encountered before. This means I can't encounter this video. Sadness

Pasting

magnet:?xt=urn:btih:e21d4b07e5db357be19290943fccb2903d37a6b5

into the Upload URL box of a reliable BitTorrent client should get you that encounter.
posted by flabdablet at 6:29 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


When there's three of you it's easier to team up and cause more hijinks.
Now I'm really wondering about non-marital triads in everyday life and their dynamics. Lazy googling reveals few uses of the term outside of polyamory.
posted by mecran01 at 7:09 AM on August 10


I am not making any statement on polyamory, however in this specific case, I don't have any doubt in my mind that from watching this, there's a whole bunch of rationalization going on covering up lots of insecurity and trauma and perhaps trying to "fix" a troubled relationship by expanding it to include another person.
posted by milnak at 9:02 AM on August 10 [7 favorites]


I find it interesting how the Youtube commenters were critical of the arrangement and it sounded like a lot of them are part of the poly community themselves.
posted by greatalleycat at 9:10 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


mecran01 > I'm really wondering about non-marital triads in everyday life and their dynamics

I can tell you one thing from my experience: it's a lot easier to get by when you have three incomes in a household. I used to be in a triad and I really miss that part of it.
posted by egypturnash at 10:53 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


@alex_skazat I like Polysecure, by Jessica Fern, because it presents a coherent framework for thinking about the wide range of healthy and unhealthy approaches and practices that people talk about when they talk about polyamory (and consensual non-monogamy more broadly). It can give some vocabulary for sorting out what's different about negative experiences and positive experiences.
posted by dreamyshade at 10:55 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


I am part of a four person polyamorous household (plus kids). We rock! And I get sick of people telling us why our relationships aren't going to or don't work (it's worked for a decade now, so I'd say it's a success).

Yet I'm not totally comfortable with the relationship as they describe it here. (Though I don't doubt that they all love one another.) "Don't ask don't tell" makes for a bad start, IMO. Lindy expresses so much insecurity and history of not being valued and doesn't really seem to express her own genuine desire to be in a poly relationship. It feels like these issues are deep and not just little relationship kinks to work through.

I also really hate how the man is, as usual, centered in this public story about a poly relationship, both literally in the video and in how they speak. Lots of us aren't in two-women-and-a-man dynamics, but this is what is shown to the world pretty much always.
posted by quiet wanderer at 1:42 PM on August 10 [22 favorites]


Lindy West did an AMA in her substack comments back when this video came out. The framing sentence above the comments is "Is the Big Trash Woman Sad to Share a Male with the Smaller Asian One? And Other Burning Questions from My YouTube Comments", which gives you a pretty good idea of her POV on what the dominant reaction to the video has been.

https://buttnews.substack.com/p/ama-nonmonogamy-edition/comments
posted by rachelv at 1:58 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Lindy West did an AMA

I read this and it was interesting.

I was bothered however by one person's question- they said they had been having an affair and wanted to know if they could tell their partner about it, introduce non-monogamy, and have their partner accept that so they could keep the relationship with the person they were cheating with.

Lindy replied with some advice from Aham about just communicating the situation to the partner and going from there- there was nothing in her answer or his to indicate that this situation was problematic, which bothered me, as it seems like that situation was just about gaslighting a partner into accepting cheating. This doesn't mean Lindy's and Aham's situation was the same, but given that they didn't seem to think anything wrong with it, it made me wonder (to be clear, I don't find fault with Lindy for any of this. Or necessarily anyone. It just bothered me).
posted by bearette at 2:30 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


I also really hate how the man is, as usual, centered in this

yeah I agree. Photos I see on social media mostly all have him at the center too
posted by bearette at 2:32 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


I was also very, VERY conscious of how Aham was visually in the center.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 2:34 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Lindy West did an AMA

I actually have a much more positive response after reading this. It seems a lot was cut from the video in order to play up Lindy's issues.

Still don't like the focus on Aham though.
posted by quiet wanderer at 2:40 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


Bloke sports an undercut and ponyfail. Of course he's in the centre.
posted by flabdablet at 4:25 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


@alex_skazat I like Polysecure, by Jessica Fern

Thanks @dreamyshade, it's on my desk. I got it for my (now ex) partner and I read together as I was not happy with our very much not ENM relationship, but we never were able to get together to read it, couples therapy wasn't working, and eventually the relationship fizzled out. It wasn't that long that I admitted that they actually caused me trauma through this whole relationship (while talking, as friends) and that caused the person much anguish, and they're currently not able to talk to me so I don't know what I'm going to do except maybe step back myself from all relationship types and work on my own shit.

It does look like a good book, though! It's been recommended by me by many, many people, including therapists.
posted by alex_skazat at 4:44 PM on August 10


I know this is perhaps unfair to say but, yet again, I see two super awesome women sharing a totally mediocre dude. I am pro-polyamory but I am not a fan of their dynamic, like many others have said. Then again, maybe I'm projecting because, as a bisexual woman who's isn't monogamous, I am constantly being invited into this scenario. It's always the guy and it's always presented as some great prize when it's really such a big insult (in every one of the many offers thus far, when there's already a couple.) Being non-monogamous for me is about staying true to my wants and desires while seeking people who share my vision. Technically, this should be easier but it really has only proved to be much harder. Love can be complicated but it need not be overly so. I hate being part of this kind of drama because it detracts from the deeper connections.

Their version of polyamory feels like Lindy is having to make her own needs and wants made smaller to fit into Aham's vision. That's the thing, so often it feels like modern polyamory is old male chauvinism in new packaging. I don't quite understand Roya's motivations for it all. In any case, I do wish them all the best and I hope they continue to grow and find peace and joy.
posted by smorgasbord at 8:23 PM on August 10 [7 favorites]


I guess it doesn't help that metafilter is aware of Lindy West, but not Ahamefule Oluo, who certainly isn't namechecked in full in the FPP? Certainly he doesn't seem to go around doing mediocre stuff. And here's he speaking with his sister Ijeoma.

Anyway now I'm feeling too self-conscious being involved in this thread, so I'll take it off of my notifications.
posted by cendawanita at 9:14 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


I am fully aware of who Aham is, as are most of us participating in this thread, and I'm still not impressed by any of this. I have no doubt that he was and is a lovely person in many ways. I'm happy for him, happy for them, but I still consider him mediocre in this situation. I'm welcome to feel that way just as well as others are welcome to feel differently.
posted by smorgasbord at 10:00 PM on August 10 [5 favorites]


I want to hear about legal aspects also. If all three are purportedly equals, but only two are married, how is the third protected?
posted by anshuman at 5:13 AM on August 11


anshuman, answering from a US-centric viewpoint, the non-married "connections" here (which is 2/3 of the connections in this case) have much less or no legal protection. Remember those lists of all the rights that straight people could enjoy under state & federal laws simply by marrying, from back when we were first campaigning for "gay marriage"? That's just not available for these three except for one "connection", the legal marriage between Lindy and Aham. It sucks and it's unjust to the people involved when they don't fit this one style of relationship recognized under the law. To ensure legal protection for all people in all their relationships we badly need further changes in law and society, including recognizing that entering a monogamous marriage is NOT the end goal of all relationships or all individuals.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 6:24 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


anshuman, echoing the antecedent, in most western jurisdictions there is typically no legal protection for the non-married partner(s). Where there is property people can draw up co-operative style agreements, or arrange themselves as a company to protect their shared assets (as same-sex couples used to do).
posted by Braeburn at 6:47 AM on August 11


I also thought that the constant centering of the man was unfortunate, given that they are saying that their relationship is not a "V" with the two women only connected through the man. It would have been nice to see the dynamics shift as people moved around and seems like it would be more reflective of what they are saying their relationship is like.

I can tell you one thing from my experience: it's a lot easier to get by when you have three incomes in a household. I used to be in a triad and I really miss that part of it.

The process of actually finding a third person seems like it would be daunting (since finding even one person you are compatible with can be incredibly hard) but I won't lie that I haven't considered how there are potentially a lot of financial benefits. But also, it would take a lot of care for it to be equitable (since, for example, you can typically add a spouse to your insurance, but you can't add a third person) and as noted just above, there's currently no way to give all three people equal standing in what the law offers for marriage.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:53 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


I want to hear about legal aspects also. If all three are purportedly equals, but only two are married, how is the third protected?

It seems worth noting that Roya doesn't live with them, or share finances, and it isn't clear that they are planning to do so at any immediate future time. She is no more or less protected financially/legally than I am as my boyfriend's non-cohabitating girlfriend, a situation that exactly zero people find problematic.

Of course I feel that if they wanted to officially marry Roya, they should be permitted, and that should bring with it the full slate of legal protections. But they are not positioning this as a three-person marriage; it's a three-person relationship, in which two people are married. Emotional priorities can be equal outside of legal status.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:46 AM on August 11


In terms of legal aspects, I too wish that all members of a polyamorous relationship could be given equal legal status in a marriage should they wish for that option. I think non-hierarchical relationships are a lovely thing in theory but impossible in the incredibly hierarchical world we live in. Living together, sharing finances, and the like is HUGE if simply for the logistics. Emotions can be equal but emotional energy and labor. Again, I'm not criticizing them as individuals in this relationship as much as an example of a polyamorous relationship that is often presented as fresh but really feels a bit tired.

It's a very different scenario due to the Mormon fundamentalist roots but a polyamorous one at that: I have watched Sister Wives on and off since its start and it's interesting to see the wives and husband reflect after decades together. They seem like truly decent and likeable people, quite open-minded, and great co-parents. However, the sacrifices and occasional suffering by wives Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn was apparent; they're finally discussing that pain, and shifting to what they want. The husband, Kody, has more recently spoken of how he realizes their plural marriage was beneficial to him but ultimately completely unfair to his wives and even the kids, too, since he was spread so thin.

No relationship style or status is perfect but I'm glad we are shifting into a time where we can be more supportive -- and also critical -- of polyamory as much as monogamy. I am passionate about this topic, this interview, and this thread because it's something that I am trying to figure out for myself. Reflecting on my own feelings after reading everyone's comments here has been so helpful, and I am extra grateful for this discussion.
posted by smorgasbord at 9:49 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Living together, sharing finances, and the like is HUGE if simply for the logistics. Emotions can be equal but emotional energy and labor.

I suppose what rubs me the wrong way is the automatic presumption that just because cohabitation and legal/financial entanglement can solve some problems, anyone who doesn't have them in their romantic relationship is automatically lesser and of course the other party(ies) would, at least on some level, view them as such. This is just as much of a problem even in a more traditional monogamous structure--a couple who chooses not to cohabitate or marry is seen as fine for a while but then presumed eventually to be less than, or a raw deal for at least one party.

I don't mean to argue that this specific relationship is like, revolutionary. I just also don't know that there's any actual evidence from the participants that somehow both Roya and Lindy are definitely being shorted.

(In my dream society individuals would be well-enough supported, housed, healthcared, and protected under the law that marriage would cease to have any legal meaning whatsoever, frankly, and would just become a contract among consenting adult individuals.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:35 AM on August 11 [3 favorites]


>smorgasbord wrote: I think non-hierarchical relationships are a lovely thing in theory but impossible in the incredibly hierarchical world we live in. Living together, sharing finances, and the like is HUGE if simply for the logistics.

epi... nym... dang, what's that word?
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:57 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


This is just as much of a problem even in a more traditional monogamous structure--a couple who chooses not to cohabitate or marry is seen as fine for a while but then presumed eventually to be less than, or a raw deal for at least one party.

Actually I'd say that not living together is the better situation but that's my personal preference! I think heterosexual marriage is a raw deal for most people so, again, we are all coming to this from different perspectives and backgrounds. I absolutely get what you're saying and agree that people shouldn't necessarily assume that a couple -- or throuple or beyond -- who doesn't live together is any less valid or worthy of respect. But it does mean that there is a different and arguably easier process for dissolving the relationship when living apart and a more demanding process of simply coordinating the runnings of day-to-day.

I just also don't know that there's any actual evidence from the participants that somehow both Roya and Lindy are definitely being shorted.

This is absolutely true. We just don't know, and just all hope everything is good for them! I certainly appreciate that they are sharing it to encourage dialogue. Of course, this also means being open to criticism as much as praise. I think the big thing for me is the video's title feels like overpromising something amazing and unrealistic in the name of clickbait. Simply calling it "Lindy, Roya, & Aham on the Best Relationship of their Lives [that isn't perfect but working well for them after some bumps along the way]" would be more accurate and positive. But, again, I feel the three of them are presenting it with vulnerability while the StyleLikeU is trying to monetize their want or at least willingness to be open. So is YouTube in 2022, eh?
posted by smorgasbord at 1:04 PM on August 11


I think heterosexual marriage is a raw deal for most people

For women, on average, heterosexual monogamous marriage shortens life expectancy, makes them less happy, increases their risk of abuse, anxiety, depression, and trauma, and lowers their earning power. The reverse is generally true for men. The only argument in favor of it (for women) is that it arguably provides some legal protections over heterosexual monogamous cohabitation without marriage.
posted by joannemerriam at 1:56 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


Oh yeah man I personally find cohabitation and marriage to be super Not For Me; I just figure my partner and I have about 2 more years before people start feeling bad for one of us because obviously if he actually loved me he’d trap me in a legal web where we could destroy each other’s finances the minute we got sick. It will be presumed that one of us, and probably me because female, is settling for something vaguely awful because I can’t do better. And I feel like a little bit that’s how people (not here necessarily but on YouTube) are thinking about both Lindy and Roya.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:58 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


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