Poly Standards, Theory, and Practice
It seems to me that there are not only different ways of having poly relationships, but also different standards for those relationships.
To me it is very important to be respectful, compassionate, and meet people where they are at as much as I can, yet push them a bit to see alternative ways of being. I find that manners go a long way. I find that expressing when I think someone has done a good job goes a long way to them feeling that they are on a positive track. I find that when I express what I feel either "good" feelings or "bad" also goes along way in helping others get to the bottom of their issues.
I have notice with others that facts, prescribed working examples to Poly and "keeping to the program" is far more important than feelings, good manners, and mutual respect and compassion.
I find this on here, and in the community I am in. I realize that this is the same in any relationship really. Poly, mono or any friendship dynamic also.
Anyone else find this? and how can we deal with these differences?
I'm struggling with what I need to say here....I think really its about a good balance between theory minded and emotionally minded and then perhaps how much of both, if that makes sense?
I have a friend that I once thought I could pursue as a relationship that was more than friendship. She has all the traits I like in a woman except she is very guarded with her emotions and never talks about poly dynamics and theory.
While I think that over talking about theory is not so helpful, and being overly emotional is also not helpful, SOME is and I got to the point where I was just not attracted any more. I needed a balance. I needed more and we stopped hanging out, it just drifted.
How do we handle differences?
Acceptance....pure, non-judgemental, non-confrontational acceptance that my poly is not your poly, to quote a friend of mine.
Where we run into problems seems to lie in the inability to remove ourselves personally from the stories of others and the approach they have towards relationships. Yes, it is true that what works for some will not work for others but there is no guide book, no set of principles to enforce, no right or wrong way to engage in a poly relationship as long as the people within those relationships are happy, healthy and fulfilled.
If someone prefers to simply let relationships form naturally then that is fine for them.
If someone approaches relationships very methodically with a screening process and network of potentials, then that is fine.
If the relationships is mutually based on fluid boundaries than that is fine.
If the relationship is mutually based on black and white strict rules than that is fine.
There is no right or wrong. Where people get passionate and defensive is when someone looks at their story and instead of asking how it works simply states that that would not work for them and then goes into endless debates with the intent to convince.
Simply accept that not all poly people follow the same approach.
Simply accept that not all people have compatible approaches and boundaries.
Simply accept that having different views does not make one right or wrong.
Offer opinions, not judgements.
Be compassionate when the need is clear.
Most importantly simply accept that everyone seeks something to fulfill himself or herself and that is an individual thing, not a group thing. It does not take the approval of a community or "subject matter expert" (of which there are none in matters of love, there are only people that claim to be). Each person is their own subject matter expert because only they know what is truly happening inside their heart and mind.
Peace and Love
I get the sense that a lot of this is being directed at me and Joreth. If that's the case, I see a lot of assumptions and tacit judgments being made in this post, which I would have a lot to say about. But since it's written very generally, I'm not going to assume that this was the intent of your post. I wouldn't mind seeing more specific examples of what you're talking about. But now I have to head to work.
Red - that's just awesome !
It's such a simple truth really and simple truths are generally the best.
Life is so complex for everyone these days and there seems to be such a ....push...out there in society for people to find & latch onto some "truth" and turn it into a cause or campaign. There's this whole concept circulating that we have to fulfill our "human potential" - some grand reason we're here - or we're a failure. People don't want to feel or be labeled "failures" !
And all to often, in this quest to fulfill our "human potential" - we can lose sight of our "humanity". I think this is what you're saying ?
So thank you - because it's a wonderful reminder to the world :)
Everyone is doing the best they know how and it's easy to become sidetracked. As I know I must have said before somewhere - passion is a double edged blade. We have to be wary of it and not cut off our humanity.
I am certainly one who has gotten sidetracked by reading too much into threads or making assumptions; this lead to a lot of negative energy for me.
I was some one who looked at different ways of approaching poly on here and in my extensive "real life" poly community for lack of a better word. I was judgemental and still at times have to fight back being confrontational. But I do, I recognized the futility of directing so much energy at trying to convince rather than accept.
Most of the observations I make come from my interaction with people locally, which is where the bulk of examples come from for me although they are obvious throughout these forum threads as well.
I think the real focus of this thread is about recognizing that there are differences, those differences are healthy and normal and should not divide people. They can inform people and perhaps increase the most important key to enjoying life and loving others…acceptance.
Peace and love
I find that the path to being more human is to embrace other humans for what they are and where they are at. Nothing more, nothing less. It's about really loving the other for where they are at. Much of what I think is in what Mono says... I'm not saying that I'm perfect at it but I have learned some lessons in the last couple of years that have lead me to really strive to be completely open to who people are. I doubt I would of been able to allow the people that are in my life now in if I hadn't of been through that.
What made me learn this?
Well, I was charged, through Canadian human rights, by a Chinese Canadian woman I worked with with racism and sexism. For two years she battled me in court to get money out of me and blacken my name because she took something I said out of context and decided that I was racist and sexist.
Eventually she was paid off. She had no case, but instead decided that she was going to make it all last as long as possible by getting doctors notes so she wouldn't have to go to court. The letters were legit in that she was very ill.
I was devestated. She was a good friend of mine... hung out with me on my maternity leave with my child, sought my opinion as I sought hers. We were good friends.... and close co-workers.
During that time I became a shell of myself and it effected my family greatly. I lost a child in my second trimester because of the stress. It's in my nature and because of how I was raised that I take these things on more than perhaps I should, she saw that in me and prayed upon that.
Well. Now I consider what happened a huge gift. I am actually grateful to her for forcing me to face up to big issues I had, that of feeling like everything is my fault and that if I don't give EVERYTHING of myself that I am not doing enough.... it's because of her that I was able to face up to my parents this fall and stop taking their shit. It's because of her that I know how real racism affects peoples judgment of others to the point where they can't have a real friend for fear that they are judging them.
I guess my point is, and the lesson I learned was that everyone has stuff they work on, sometimes they are all knowing and self righteous and unwilling to realize that sometimes things are not what they seem and are in fact nothing to do with them. My experience has lead me to believe that everyone is deserving of love, but not at the jeopardy of "me." I also realize that regardless of what I think is wrong, there should always be room for me to say I'm sorry that you feel that way, I didn't mean to insult you... or whatever.
My story about the friend I thought I could be more intimate with was that I seem to be unable to settle for anything less than a balance in people and a degree of depth and passion. I have lived the life of an activist, and completely immersed in the "theory" of things and have had it thrown in my face because I thought I knew something. I have tons of experience in diverse communities of many kinds and pride myself in taking on my own inner racism etc and turning it out so I can make myself vulnerable enough to move forward and learn from others and my own culture, yet was STILL told I was racist.... simply by telling someone who is Chinese Canadian that I thought they looked good in yellow.
There is no where to turn where we will be safe from ourselves and others harm, no where, we are all equally dangerous as we are equally accepting, loving, respectful and compassionate. It's a choice that we all make..... I for one chose to be what I said in my first post as much as I can....
"To me it is very important to be respectful, compassionate, and meet people where they are at as much as I can, yet push them a bit to see alternative ways of being. I find that manners go a long way. I find that expressing when I think someone has done a good job goes a long way to them feeling that they are on a positive track. I find that when I express what I feel either "good" feelings or "bad" also goes along way in helping others get to the bottom of their issues."
I learned this from my friend. I have learned even more from listening to stories and responding on this forum.
Just an addition... I have also learned this from the team I work on... I work with some very strong minded women that are all very different. We tolerate one another on a daily basis and, in time, have grown to love each other. One of my co-worker never talks about her feelings but only facts and details. I can't keep that all straight in my head and she gets frustrated with me when I ask for the third time what is happening when. I, on the other hand, am able to strategize about how to handle situations and can easily empathize with what might be going on for someone and be able to offer suggestions that we quite often go with. Together we make a good team.
I just want to know how people promote/embrace differences in their poly relationships and how they are able to deal with different minded people? Poly theory people and more emotional... if in fact they do? Are they really so different that it is impossible? Of course there is a mix in all of us I realize..
I am hopeful that there can be a balance but at the same time have not heard of any groups in a poly family or poly situation where their is such a diverse group... it seems that like minded people group together.
I hope that gives enough example as to where I am coming from.
Wow that was long, sorry folks :)
I had a good talk with Redpepper about this thread until a light bulb switched on when I could relate it to my own experience with people of our physically local poly community.
We were discussing how people with differences could find common ground to relate and build connections on. I was having a problem with this idea because her and I have different thoughts on the need to connect with everyone we are around despite possible large differences in thought processes. Factor in the added frustration that some people are so hung up on the topics you donít agree on that they arenít willing to even let you find a common ground. How do you overcome these differences? How do you work through to the other side of disconnect to achieve connection?
Here is the major difference in her thought pattern and mineÖhopefully she will correct me gently if I am wrong.:o
She wants to find a common ground to have some form of connection to all around us. She finds frustration in trying to get through to people and work past their differences even though she faces severe resistance at times.
I do not.
When I meet someone I feel something that internally gauges whether I want to connect. I donít need to just because they are close to me. The person could be two feet from me all the time and if the energy isnít there I donít care. There are so many more people who have that something in them that I wonder why I would waste my time or energy trying to break down a brick wall. I look past it, walk around it and put it out of my mind.
This is the case with one gentleman in our poly community. He is anti religion, anti government and anti mono. I donít mind that he feels this way, but he constantly wants to engage me in topics to debate and convert my opinions. I am very honest with him and last time I simply stated that I would not engage him in these topics because it bread negativity. It created negativity because he is so determined to question relentlessly. I do not tolerate some one essentially hounding me. Because we could not get passed our different views and even explore common ground, which I'm sure we have, we simply donít engage each other anymore even though we are around each other often. No harm, no foul. I accept that we are not compatible so I donít channel any energy in trying to create some form of connection. We occupy the same space, nothing more.
There are many others in our community that have different views than me and share this gentlemanís own views. We acknowledge and respect each otherís opinions. I see something in them that makes me want to find common ground though. One person in particular is pretty much the exact opposite of me but I am drawn to him in a friendly way. We ended up talking about lucid dreaming, which fascinates both of us and was a shared experience. Who cares about our politics, our approach to love, our wiringÖwe have a connection that makes us compatible and injects value into our relationship. We can discuss and debate these topics in healthy ways when we mutually chose; not when one of us demands.
I feel connection first and then look for common ground. I donít seek out common ground to form that connection.
How do I deal with someone who has very different views than my own?
I accept their opinions and if I feel connection I look for that common ground like a pig looking for trufflesÖ. Redpepper is a major case in point. WOW are we different, but wow are we connected!! There is something in her that is worth all the energy I have to find that common ground. Luckily our energies seem synced even when our opinions often don't :) The biggest part of that common ground is our energy...our love.
If I donít feel that connection or sense they intend on persisting on moot points of differenceÖ..I just donítÖ.I move on. There are way too many people in this world for me to get caught up on trying to connect with one of them unless there is that something about them. I donít feel the need.
Peace and Love
That's a sad story Red and it exposes all KINDS of issues about being human and trying to navigate our current western culture.
That could take off in several directions !
All I have to toss in is that all we can do is try to live our own lives with integrity and keep an eye on our back. As as you illustrated, even that is not always enough. But I think we can only lead/teach by example.
Most everyone is caught up some way in a struggle of ego and self definition. In heavy pursuit of this people will trample others - even if it's in ignorance. So, I don't feel it's possible to connect on any meaningful level with all people. And when we're forced into situations of having to deal with them we can only offer our views - and/or leave. But not without making it clear why.
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