Polyamory.com Forum

Polyamory.com Forum (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/index.php)
-   General Poly Discussions (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=2)
-   -   Quoting Nyx to expand on a thought (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1239)

LovingRadiance 11-23-2009 02:48 AM

Quoting Nyx to expand on a thought

What I am seeing in some poly relationship descriptions are these exact same things. But I think it is called Polyfidelity - which is confusing to me....I thought a major point of poly was to give your partner(s) the freedom to explore any/all relationships? But some people have these 'closed' poly groups.....which I don't understand. Is it possible some poly's are monogamous poly's? (Or am I opening a GIGANTIC can of worms on that?)
I found it interesting, earlier she (you if you read this Nyx) explained what "significant other" explained to her/you.

At that point I really started actively paying attention-because I found I disagreed for me. I have two significant others. I'm not "officially" in a polyfidelity relationship. I don't know what we are in officially-as we are right in the beginning process of identifying that ourselves... but I suspect it will go that direction at least in part.

I know for me personally-I feel as though I have "all I need" in my partners. So being with anyone else isn't something I need or want. Therefore having the freedom to explore any/all relationships doesn't mean I am going to "hook up with another partner" and fidelity isn't something that stops me from having that freedom.

Somewhere I seem to recall (not sure where right now) that Ceoli was laying out for Mono HER idea of what Fidelity was... I can't recall what she said exactly-but I remember thinking at the time "WOW that is so me!"

This post by Nyx really got me thinking and so I looked up Fidelity in the dictionary-because I fear I don't agree with the common understanding of what Fidelity means.
This is what Dictionary.com says:

fi⋅del⋅i⋅ty  /fɪˈdɛlɪti, faɪ-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [fi-del-i-tee, fahy-]
noun, plural -ties.
1. strict observance of promises, duties, etc.: a servant's fidelity.
2. loyalty: fidelity to one's country.
3. conjugal faithfulness.
4. adherence to fact or detail.
5. accuracy; exactness: The speech was transcribed with great fidelity.
6. Audio, Video. the degree of accuracy with which sound or images are recorded or reproduced.

1375–1425; late ME fidelite (< MF) < L fidēlitās, equiv. to fidēli- (s. of fidēlis loyal, equiv. to fidē(s) faith + -lis adj. suffix) + -tās -ty 2

2. See loyalty. 5. precision, faithfulness, rigor, meticulousness.

2. disloyalty.

Faithfulness to obligations, duties, or observances.

Exact correspondence with fact or with a given quality, condition, or event; accuracy.

The degree to which an electronic system accurately reproduces the sound or image of its input signal.

[Middle English fidelite, from Old French, from Latin fidēlitās, from fidēlis, faithful, from fidēs, faith; see bheidh- in Indo-European roots.]

Synonyms: These nouns denote faithfulness. Fidelity implies the unfailing fulfillment of one's duties and obligations and strict adherence to vows or promises: fidelity to one's spouse.
Allegiance is faithfulness considered as a duty: "I know no South, no North, no East, no West, to which I owe any allegiance.... The Union, Sir, is my country" (Henry Clay).
Fealty, once applied to the obligation of a tenant or vassal to a feudal lord, now suggests faithfulness that one has pledged to uphold: swore fealty to the laws of that country.
Loyalty implies a steadfast and devoted attachment that is not easily turned aside: loyalty to an oath; loyalty to one's family.
Word Origin & History


1494, from M.Fr. fidélité, from L. fidelitatem (nom. fidelitas) "faithfulness, adherence," from fidelis "faithful," from fides "faith" (see faith).

Legal Dictionary

Main Entry: fi·del·i·ty

: the quality or state of being faithful or loyal; especially : loyalty to one's spouse in refraining from adultery and sometimes in submitting to a spouse's reasonable sexual desires

Ultimately what I decided is that I believe that Fidelity really has nothing to do with "having sex" or "how many partners" my significant others have.

It has to do with how they honor their commitments to me. As I'm not asking them to commit to a lifetime of being sexual only with me-then it's not breaking of a commitment or promise if they do.

On the other hand, as I have asked them to commit to friendship with one another AND to not have other partners under ANY circumstances that can't be friends with us also-then if they chose to have sex with someone who didn't get along with the other two (at this time) of us-THAT would be breaking their fidelity.

Love to hear others thoughts!!

LovingRadiance 11-23-2009 03:12 AM

For Nyx
Also-please let me clarify:

Nyx-I am NOT calling you on anything you said AT ALL. I was intrigued by your perspective and it got me to thinking. I'm just interested in exploring it more. However-didn't want to take over someone else's thread in order to do so.


Ceoli 11-23-2009 03:14 AM

Really interesting. As I said in Mono's post about self-discovery, I've been thinking about fidelity a lot and don't think it's synonymous with exclusive, even in a mono context.

Here's what I said:


I've been thinking about the word fidelity a lot recently. For myself (and again, I stress that this if for myself), fidelity is not synonymous with exclusive. I know that some people may consider this semantics, but I think there's something behind using a word that means faithfulness and loyalty and then saying that that word cannot apply to non-exclusive relationships. For me, it's a mono-centric view of the word. But thinking that way has made me have to unpack exactly what what fidelity is in a relationship if it does not mean exclusivity to me. This is what I've come up with so far, and it's still a work in progress.

With fidelity, I know that my partner loves me holds my needs to be important.
With fidelity, I know that my partner will consider my feelings before he or she acts.
With fidelity, I know that my partner is committed to a long term sustainable partnership with me.
With fidelity, I know that my partner will make choices that keep us and our partnership healthy.

These are just my own thoughts and feelings on the idea of fidelity.
In fact, I'm growing to dislike the term polyfidelity for that reason. I don't think the word or the idea should only be owned by those who keep their relationships exclusive. You can have fidelity with an open relationship just as you can have commitment.

LovingRadiance 11-23-2009 04:03 AM

That's sort of my pondering Ceoli-I think we've changed the word fidelity to mean ONLY one thing within the context of a relationship. But was that really it's TRUE meaning?

I don't think so.

And more importantly-that's not what it means to me. I don't think that fidelity and exclusivity are the same AT ALL. In fact I ALWAYS need fidelity from my partners, ALL of my partners. But I don't always need exclusivity...

MonoVCPHG 11-23-2009 04:13 AM

This is going to be another case of one word meaning different things to different people. Anyone in a traditional monogamous relationship certainly will view sexual exclusivity as one of the biggest factors in determining if you are a) Committed b) having fidelity


In modern human relationships, the term can refer to sexual monogamy. In western culture this often means adherence to marriage vows, or of promises of exclusivity or monogamy, and an absence of adultery. However, some people do not equate fidelity in personal relationships with sexual or emotional monogamy. (For example, see polyamory and Open marriage.)

Again...people have different views. Each group/individual is allowed to use the words however they chose...they're just words.

Ceoli 11-23-2009 04:18 AM


Originally Posted by LovingRadiance (Post 12666)
That's sort of my pondering Ceoli-I think we've changed the word fidelity to mean ONLY one thing within the context of a relationship. But was that really it's TRUE meaning?

I don't think so.

Actually I think it is. The root of the word is faith. The original meaning of faith had more to do with an adherence to a covenant. In religious terms that adherence eventually meant exclusive because in the Judeo-Christian history, the covenant the people made with god included not worshiping other gods.

In terms of marriage, it meant adherence to the promises made, which for a time (and it should be noted that it wasn't always) required exclusivity as well.

So if a partner is adhering to their covenant with their partner or partners and that covenant includes being open, then the word applies. I personally would like to take that word back.

LovingRadiance 11-23-2009 04:20 AM

I know Mono-that's why I copy/pasted the dictionary.com definition. It does include the fidelity definition. I just wanted to know what the fuller meaning of the word was when NOT in relationship context to see if that was even close to what I understood it to be (which it was).

I guess the whole concept for me is in question-because I TOTALLY respect people who ARE monogomous.

I just know that for me-that in't something I need from someone.

All of the 10 years we've been married this has been an ongoing topic (and often contention). People say things like "if my_____ ever slept with another person I'd..... " and they are always dumbfounded because I shrug. They usually ask me what that means and I elaborate-EVEN if Maca had cheated on me-I wouldn't have left. It would hurt. I know that well-been cheated on, and I've cheated, but I just don't prioritize who my partner has sex with above the rest of our lives.

I know OTHER people do-and that's ok. I just don't, never did. I used to tell Maca,if you f*** someone else just use protection, don't bring home unwanted "presents" and don't make babies unnecessarily because you have a family to care for already. He would gawk at me dumbfounded and defensive before flying through the "I would NEVER..." list. Well it's ok if he doesn't, but I would never leave him anyway. I love HIM-not his penis (ok I do love that too, but that's a whole other topic) :p

MonoVCPHG 11-23-2009 04:21 AM

Very cool!
This thread is a good example of just how in depth communication needs to be in relationships. Not only might you need to establish boundaries on things such as commitment and fidelity, but you actually have to define what those words mean to you so you are both on the same page!!

For example..Ceoli and me could never see those two words as the same thing. We would need a lot of communication just to define the language we are using..hope you don't mind being my example Ceoli :o

LovingRadiance 11-23-2009 04:23 AM

That's VERY true Mono. Maca and I learned that the hard way. When we finally realized we don't even define LOVE the same way-we REALLY knew we had issues that needed addressed. Fortunately we both did care enough to address them and the "ride" has been amazing. Absolutely amazing.

Ceoli 11-23-2009 04:25 AM


Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG (Post 12672)
For example..Ceoli and me could never see those two words as the same thing. We would need a lot of communication just to define the language we are using..hope you don't mind being my example Ceoli :o

Nope, feel free to! But know that I'm really resisting taking your previous post to task!

All times are GMT. The time now is 05:39 PM.