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-   -   what does this mean to you? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14946)

redpepper 09-25-2011 06:15 AM

what does this mean to you?
 
If poly is "responsible or ethical non-mongamy," as quite often it is described as, what does that mean? Responsible to who? What is "ethical?"

BlackUnicorn 09-25-2011 11:31 AM

My working definition of responsibility: the ability and desire to take ownership of your actions and their consequences, including the ability and desire to refrain, temporarily or indefinitely, from doing something that will bring about negative consequences to others, including yourself

Responsibility in non-monogamy means taking the necessary precautions to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of disease, and willingness to deal with the aftermath of any such occurring. It also means openly discussing these things with all partners and refraining from sexual activities until such agreements are made that everyone can be comfortable with, and refraining from using alcohol and drugs that can impede judgment, especially with new partners.

The physical stuff is easy compared with the emotional stuff. To me, responsibility in non-monogamy is the opposite of "I will do what I want to do, and you need to deal with it or get going", or "I can't take responsibility for your feelings". It involves taking ownership of one's needs, not disguising them as lacks of another, as in "If only you would..." or "Since you are not willing to give this to me, I need to go outside of our relationship to seek it". It also involves the courage to end or alter relationships that bring more pain than joy, even if it means being alone for a while.

The ethical aspect of non-monogamy for me involves honesty and bravery in feeling and communication; loyalty to existing partners and commitments; respecting others as adults with feelings, thoughts and powers of their own; keeping onto one's word and agreements; the desire to bring joy to others, not only to oneself; and the ability and desire to hold onto these values even when they are inconvenient or hard to follow through.

schtuff 09-25-2011 03:34 PM

well spoken blackunicorn.

River 09-25-2011 04:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpepper (Post 103578)
If poly is "responsible or ethical non-mongamy," as quite often it is described as, what does that mean? Responsible to who? What is "ethical?"

Responsible to who?

Responsible toward all parties involved, directly and indirectly--including one's self.

What is "ethical?"

To live ethically is to endeavor to live and behave in such a way as to (a) harm less* (cause less harm) and (b) create beauty, goodness and wellness.

===

*Anyone can harm less. But no one can be harmless -- not 100%. Most human activities (especially in an industrial capitalist civilization) is harm full. We do what we can. Our burden is great.

Hardison 09-25-2011 04:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn (Post 103599)
Responsibility in non-monogamy means taking the necessary precautions to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of disease, and willingness to deal with the aftermath of any such occurring. It also means openly discussing these things with all partners and refraining from sexual activities until such agreements are made that everyone can be comfortable with, and refraining from using alcohol and drugs that can impede judgment, especially with new partners.

This attitude is how I've always tried to live my life with respect to sexual partners. Whether it is monogamous or not should not matter. If you are not willing to discuss, and take responsibility for these issues then you are not really ready for sex at all, IMHO.

redpepper 09-26-2011 08:48 PM

Thanks! :) much appreciated. I find it confusing when some people don't live the way that poly is described in terms of being responsible and ethical non-monogamy. What can one do, if anything, to help them understand how what they do is harmful, neglectful; essentially irresponsible and unethical? Is it a communities responsibility to rally around and pass on information about its members that are not so on the band wagon or clueless or neglectful with their responsibility and ethics?

Thanks in advance as I am rather stuck on this in general in life and have run across some painful experiences where my thinking it is my responsibility to flush out information so everyone can learn and grow has not been welcomed. It was seen as gossip as opposed to educating from peoples experiences that didn't work. I don't want to get stuck in that again without meaning to.

Magdlyn 09-26-2011 09:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpepper (Post 103846)
Is it a communities responsibility to rally around and pass on information about its members that are not so on the band wagon or clueless or neglectful with their responsibility and ethics?

Thanks in advance as I am rather stuck on this in general in life and have run across some painful experiences where my thinking it is my responsibility to flush out information so everyone can learn and grow has not been welcomed. It was seen as gossip as opposed to educating from peoples experiences that didn't work. I don't want to get stuck in that again without meaning to.

It sounds like gossip to me. Do you mean you'd tell someone in your local poly community, an acquaintance, not a good friend, that their spouse was breaking their boundaries? Like, "I saw your h having dinner with this blonde bimbo last night, out of town"?

Flushing out info? Sounds like shit-stirring to me. Sorry.

INo 09-26-2011 11:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpepper (Post 103578)
If poly is "responsible or ethical non-mongamy," as quite often it is described as, what does that mean? Responsible to who? What is "ethical?"

The word "ethical" is subjective to me.

Somegeezer 09-26-2011 11:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Magdlyn (Post 103851)
It sounds like gossip to me. Do you mean you'd tell someone in your local poly community, an acquaintance, not a good friend, that their spouse was breaking their boundaries? Like, "I saw your h having dinner with this blonde bimbo last night, out of town"?

Flushing out info? Sounds like shit-stirring to me. Sorry.

Redpepper never mentioned saying anything like that. I think that certainly is stepping over the line though. Getting involved in peoples' personal lives. But I think using your own experiences to educate people is fine. Say it was your spouse who was breaking these boundaries. Then it's no longer gossip, it's your own life.

I think as long as your friends and whoever else is ok with it, you could also use those examples, but let them talk about it. What information you give would be different to someone who actually experienced it.

nycindie 09-27-2011 02:46 AM

RP, do you mean that there is someone in your local poly community who is behaving unethically, as you see it, and you want to know if it would be cool for you to let other people know about it? I sort of recall reading about something similar from you before. Have you tried to intervene in other situations and this is why you've been called a gossip?

When you say, "What can one do, if anything, to help them understand how what they do is harmful, neglectful; essentially irresponsible and unethical? Is it a communities responsibility to rally around and pass on information about its members..." it sounds like you have a certain standard that others are not living up to and you feel you should inform them about it so that they stop doing what you think they shouldn't be doing. It does come across as a bit judgmental and meddling, I have to say. But without knowing exactly what you're talking about, I'm only guessing here.

Plus, I don't think that, just because there is a community of polyamorous people that get together and know each other where you live, that they all must have the same standards and ethical guidelines among their own poly families and tangles. I mean, what are you going to uphold this person by? Your ethics?

What if they don't stop? Would you keep harping on them about it? Shame them with public exposure? Everyone has free will and no amount of counseling (which could be seen by them as a reprimand) will necessarily prevent anyone from continuing to do what they want to do. If you want to expose this person because people he or she is involved with are getting hurt, then I would think a private talk with the person they are hurting would be better. Who knows - you might find out that what this person is doing is consensual and agreed upon/approved by others. Or that everyone knows about it already and no one really cares.


Quote:

Originally Posted by INo (Post 103867)
The word "ethical" is subjective to me.

Yes, this is true. It all depends on the set of standards (ethics) in place within a specific culture or community. Everyone has their own unique sense of ethics.


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