Twice ~ A Film by Sarah Arlen

‘We’d made love two days before and planned to spend my birthday together the following weekend. But late that night my lover sent me an email. It said

“I’m ending our relationship”

‘It felt like a suicide note,’ Sarah told me. ‘He removed himself completely from my life and my heart shattered. With his letter, I was destroyed and as a writer my creativity dried up. I had learned to fear words.’

Sarah Arlen – a polyamorous writer and filmmaker – and I talked about her story and with it I felt her pain, even over the very poor Skype connection from Paris. Words had become her enemy, and compounded the pain from losing her bipolar father to suicide as a teenager. Words were dangerous even as they had once been her lifeline and she lost not only her relationship, but her self-expression.

Yet like many artists her pain drove her to further heights of creativity. She started to wonder about the two sides to the story. What motivated people to break up, how are their acts and the consequences of them borne out in the ripple effect that is not unique to polyamorous relationships, but is certainly more obviously present due to multiple partners.

What do you do, how do you feel when your partner has been cruelly dumped by another?

‘Impotent,’ said Sarah with a laugh. ‘At least in the metaphorical sense, and part of that’s what we’re exploring in the movie ‘Twice’. We also examine society attitudes, for example one character suggests that my character’s monogamous lover must be relieved that now there was one less lover to compete with. But nothing could be further from the truth. Our vision of polyamory is that lovers, all lovers, want each others’ mutual happiness which can only be assured if each one is being true to him or herself.’

‘Twice’ is a feature length film currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter from Sarah’s company Polyamorous Productions (a name which bodes well for poly-friendly media).

It’s a story about alternative love and heartbreak from the point of view of a polyamorous woman and also from the point of view of a monogamous man who falls in love with her. Though obviously cathartic for Sarah and born out of her personal heartbreak, the film’s premise examines an increasingly relevant standpoint. Those of us who are polyamorous know full well the struggle with jealousy, privilege and expectation but we accept it and work with it, because we are or we believe in, polyamory. But for those who are monogamous – especially as explored in Twice – the paradigm of a monogamous male with a polyamorous female – the struggle is wholly different. Society emasculates their stance as they struggle with opinions which may define them as cuckolds, whilst shame and guilt compound the difficulties.

Twice may be ground-breaking in many ways. Although fictional, it features Sarah as ‘the woman’ and her real-life son. ‘The Woman’ although polyamorous, is in the closet and ‘The Man’ starts off as a monogamish womanizer, a serial cheater, who habitually lies to his endless ‘conquests’. Through their love they learn to tell the truth to each other and to the world.

There are few poly-friendly movies out there as yet which is why I find it important to support those few which are helping us break the mould. The ability to create relationships between consenting adults should not be restricted to those who like to define themselves as polyamorous, but should be a choice available to all whatever label they care to use. Twice seeks to promote relationship diversity on the big screen and answer those questions we all ask,

  • What if True Love means loving while being true to yourself and honest with others?
  • What happens if you choose to be with everyone you love instead of breaking hearts when you find someone new?
  • How does living in a closet effect you & the world around you?
  • What happens if you act on the love you feel?
  • How can broken hearts be mended?
  • What can you do with a second chance?

You can support ‘Twice’ until March 17th 2015 at the following link: Twice, A Polyamorous Love Story

PS. I’ve also supported it.

Update, this film was successfully crowdfunded!!! Review to come 2016.

Click to see more about the poly Book & Film project & the goals!!


This text is also available in: Swedish

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About the Author

Louisa is the author of the popular blog Postmodern Woman and freelance writer for Huffington Post, Jezebel, Salon and Nerve. She identifies as a cross between non-hierarchical polyamorous person and relationship anarchist even whilst living with her partner and father of her two children in Branno, Gothenburg. She has been in a quad, open relationship and now an open triad and has practised ethical non-monogamy for 10 years. Her book The Husband Swap has gained her international recognition. She gives workshops and counselling to those who are considering open relationships.

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