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-   -   In one paragraph or less, what have you learned that's of great significance? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17748)

Sociopath 11-25-2011 01:18 PM

In one paragraph or less, what have you learned that's of great significance?
Hello. I am new here. Well, I've been reading a few posts here and there for the past year and a half or so.

Could you volunteer a little bit of your background, and a short paragraph of something you've learned, of great importance to you personally, since venturing out to learn more about what's collectively referred to by many as polyamory?

I grew up in a Western culture and amongst a Christian society. Needless to say, monogamy was the absolute, one and only acceptable standard.

From adolescence on out, I've learned through experience and observation that humans are NOT a monogamous species. The most important thing I've learned throughout all of this is that mental stamina is more usefully spent on understanding our sexual behavior, rather than to be recklessly squandered on kicking and screaming "because it hurts." Of course, studying the sexual behavior of humans has opened up, for me, a Pandora's box that made a mess I'm still cleaning up.

kamala 11-25-2011 01:42 PM

Somebody told me once when I was a lot younger that as you mature you go from looking for meaning in life to finding ways to create it. I'm beginning, I think, to see what he meant.

Polyamory has been one example of that: using my dissatisfaction with the standard relationship model to really ask myself - so what is a good relationship for me? What does it mean to love someone? How best can I conduct myself? What is important and what isn't?

I have often found that moments of "great significance" are ones I specifically engineer myself :)

InfinitePossibility 11-25-2011 01:48 PM

Hmm - interesting question. Not sure right now.

I do wonder about the idea of being able to learn through experience and observation that humans aren't monogamous. The difficulty with learning through our own experience and observation is that humans are very good at fooling themselves.

If we are looking for an objective truth such as 'humans are NOT a monogamous species' then we can't trust our own observations and experiences - no matter how much we might feel as if we can.

Ben Goldacre talks at length in various blogs, books and newspapers about the need for well constructed and statistically analysed studies.

Malcolm Gladwell discusses this sort of thing too in his book blink (possibly in others).

And Bruce Lipton talks in his book The Biology of Belief about how modern research into genetics has revealed that things which we might have seen as being determined by the genetics of the species we belong to in fact aren't.

This blog by Ben Goldacre on the subject of scientific trials is really fascinating: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...entific-trials

Sorry to be a total geek about it but I'm always wary of taking experience and observation as truth! I see it as truth for me but not necessarily truth for anybody else.


Sociopath 11-25-2011 01:56 PM


Duly noted, but monogamy is a black-and-white thing. We either are, as a species, or we aren't. Until we break apart into different species down the line, we are all still part of the same species.

There's clearly non-monogamy practiced by a significant portion of the members of this species. Therefore, we are not a monogamous species.

InfinitePossibility 11-25-2011 02:25 PM

Oh - I could talk about this for hours and hours. :)

I think nothing in the natural world is binary in that way.

Even truly binary systems (computers are binary things), very quickly become so complicated that our minds can't experience them in that way.

It might all be 1s and 0s to the computer but it's not to the human - that's why computer programmers all approach the same problem differently even if they have similar levels of expertise in the system in question.

Sorry sorry sorry to hijack - you have just written so many things that fascinate me utterly.

AnnabelMore 11-25-2011 04:21 PM

I've had both monogamous and non-monogamous relationships encompassing a range of configurations over the years. I believe that there's a spectrum of mono and poly tendencies, just like with the Kinsey scale, and that for the folks in the middle portions of the range it's all about choice -- what's right for you and your partner(s). See my signature line for my current situation. :)

Something valuable I've learned?

Time creates change. If something isn't right for you now, that doesn't mean it won't ever be. If there's something you can't say or something you can't do now, that doesn't mean it'll always be that way. Some things are stable enough so as to be functionally immutable, yes, but most aren't. And active stretching and flexing and *trying* to change when you want to make change is very important, no doubt. But, but. Sometimes patience and time are what's really needed. Sometimes you just need to sit with a concept and see where you end up. Time creates change, on every level, in all of us, and we would all do well to be aware and respectful of that fact, to allow space for it, and to not feel betrayed by it but rather work with it and embrace it.

opalescent 11-25-2011 04:39 PM

There is no one way.

Life is unfair. We are here on earth partly to make that statement a bit less true.

That's the sum total of my wisdom so far.

StumblingAlong 11-25-2011 09:22 PM

Honesty is always best or you will have problems. Don't communicate just for the sake of communicating. You have to listen in communication just as much as you talk if not more. Never give up on what you want or the ones you love because if you give up you will never know what could have been. Never play the what if game. It will drive you and those you love absolutely batty and create problems where there were none.

Arrowbound 11-25-2011 10:57 PM

There really is life to be lived after a loss. I'm reminded of this everyday when I look at my family.

Derbylicious 11-25-2011 11:29 PM

As silly as it sounds I've learned that I am a strong and independent human being. Although I enjoy the company of others and like to be in relationships I don't *need* anyone else. Relationships mean more to me now that they are chosen from day to day rather than just being in them by default.

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