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-   -   Discussion: Who is expected to change in a mono+poly relationship (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2465)

SimpleSimian 04-07-2010 08:13 PM

Discussion: Who is expected to change in a mono+poly relationship
 
So I have a question. It's a painful one, and I know it will enrage many people, but remember that while that feeling is valid, it really only comes from the feeling of me threatening your core ideals.

THE BIG QUESTION(S):

Why, in a mono/poly relationship, does the monogamous person have to be the one who changes? Why can't the polyamorous person be the one to confront polyamory within themselves and teach themselves to be happy with the idea of spending their life with only one partner, circular logic included?

???

Just because I ask this question does not mean I'm supportive of the view, I'm just curious. I haven't seen any literature or any discussion anywhere about poly people learning to be monogamous; solely the converse. I see so much self-help literature and so many guides and instructions and stories about mono people learning to either accept poly and be okay with it, or become poly themselves...but I see nothing describing how to help a poly person become monogamous. Other than, you know, the usual brainwashing crap spread about by religious-right people and other crazies.

Does this stuff exist? Am I just missing it? Also, why does it not seem like anyone who's poly is willing to make the change? Why does it seem like everyone expects the mono people to change or gtfo? Why don't mono people get to feel insulted or attacked or have a support group to come to their rescue?

I just find that kind of unfair that there aren't two balanced sides to this coin. Or at least I can't find the other side.

Please satisfy my curiosity. I'm not trying to start a flame war, and I am, in fact, mono trying to adjust to poly, for the sake of enjoying my future with my intended. I don't actually think it's unfair that I have to change and my intended does not, though the idea does come up when I'm in my lower spots during this paradigm-shift. Instead, I *chose* to make the change, because it's easier for me to learn to at least be happy in a poly relationship, even while still being mono, than it is for my wife to learn to be happy without being free to express her love however she wants to whomever she loves.

Yes, I realise that I answered my own question, but I still want the community's views and ideas.

Thank you.

MonoVCPHG 04-07-2010 08:34 PM

Thought provoking
 
First - I am mono (surprise surprise :rolleyes:)

I think this is a very valid question and don't see a reason to get flamed for it.
I do believe that your point is valid. I also believe that a lot of people have struggled with non-monogamy before seeing it as a valid option and there is health and freedom in that...live and let live.

I do see your point however in that we often talk about "ultimatums" in the sense of if the mono partner says no to opening up the relationship or they will leave. That is an ultimatum or a consequence. BUT looking at your partner and saying "I need to open up our relationship and want you included but if you can't follow I will have to move on to pursue this" is also an ultimatum or consequence.

I think there is already a lot of support for people trying to remain monogamous. Most marriage counselling/couples counselling is focussed on that in relation to affairs or lack of connection.

The question I have is "when someone is miserable or constantly struggling to survive in a mono/poly configuration, why do they hold on so long or so hard?" Is it the kids, the houses, the cars, the retirement plan, the public scrutiny at failing? I believe people can love someone so much they can get to a healthy place of compromise…but it has to be healthy. I see co-dependence where some people, whether mono or poly stay in relationships that cause them excessive grief, distraction, inability to focus and some to the point of needing drugs to control anxiety. That is not love…that is a lack of self esteem, self confidence, self respect and personal strength.

Some relationships were meant to be and are worth working through…others are simply based on the fear of being alone.

Ariakas 04-07-2010 08:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SimpleSimian (Post 25830)
THE BIG QUESTION(S):
Why, in a mono/poly relationship, does the monogamous person have to be the one who changes? Why can't the polyamorous person be the one to confront polyamory within themselves and teach themselves to be happy with the idea of spending their life with only one partner, circular logic included?

Not to split hairs, but you can still be monogamous to your partner while your partner is poly. I understand what you are asking. And I don't have an answer. I would be willing to bet lots of people that are poly due quell those feelings. More so than accept them.

Quote:

Just because I ask this question does not mean I'm supportive of the view, I'm just curious. I haven't seen any literature or any discussion anywhere about poly people learning to be monogamous; solely the converse. I see so much self-help literature and so many guides and instructions and stories about mono people learning to either accept poly and be okay with it, or become poly themselves...but I see nothing describing how to help a poly person become monogamous. Other than, you know, the usual brainwashing crap spread about by religious-right people and other crazies.
Go through the forums, find poly people who have had failed relationships and see how many say poly wasn't worth it, or they can't do it again (I know on another site I can go through the archives and find a lot)

Quote:

Does this stuff exist? Am I just missing it? Also, why does it not seem like anyone who's poly is willing to make the change? Why does it seem like everyone expects the mono people to change or gtfo? Why don't mono people get to feel insulted or attacked or have a support group to come to their rescue?

I just find that kind of unfair that there aren't two balanced sides to this coin. Or at least I can't find the other side.

Please satisfy my curiosity. I'm not trying to start a flame war, and I am, in fact, mono trying to adjust to poly, for the sake of enjoying my future with my intended. I don't actually think it's unfair that I have to change and my intended does not, though the idea does come up when I'm in my lower spots during this paradigm-shift.

Thank you.
ummm...I am not sure if I will go against the grain here, but I don't have an answer. You are correct.

However, if you consider the source of your information, everyone here is poly...most are currently in poly relationships...they see it work and try to help others so THEIR point of view is that of poly...

Take your EXACT problem to a monoscentric love site, I would bet you would get the other coin. People telling you to get her to change, people saying get divorced etc.

SimpleSimian 04-07-2010 08:45 PM

Yeah, I didn't actually think of trying to find a traditional love forum. I had no idea there was even a need for them. So just like a general relationship advice forum? I bet I'd find a lot of poly people there, too, though, trying to help people realise that what they're feeling is ok, and it's perfectly possible and healthy to love more than one person at a time.

I bet the reason is because the mono people are quicker to get fed up and often are the ones who leave, thus getting themselves out of the situation, and not making the poly person change. Just generalising, not saying EVERYONE who is mono is like this. I certainly am not. Hell, I'm so mono, that I'm willing to devote myself to my partner through the most tumultuous inner upheaval I could imagine short of discovering that I should be breathing water and air is slowly killing me. :P

redpepper 04-07-2010 09:42 PM

Wow, good question. I see no need to flame throw. I see it as I did when I came out as a lesbian. I needed a swing in the other direction from hetrosexual mainstream society as I do now with poly. I have swung the other way from mono mainstream society. I think that just like when I realized that perhaps I'm not as big of a lesbian as I thought (after 10 years), and maybe be bisexual, (now I identify as pansexual), that there is a chance that I at least will swing to my balancing point and gather my family around me slowly and stay with who I am with for years. I started out in a much different place as a swinger after cheating on my mono boyfriends for years.

I guess what I am saying is that all these steps are towards who i really am.

Someone who is gay could not go back in the closet for instance, another way of looking at it.

I can understand the way you feel though. It would be very frustrating to try and understand why someone could not just suck it up and be mono. After all, it would be easier. When I think of the richness in my life and losing that though, a part of me would die. What is the point of living if I can't live to my fullest? *weep* :(

ladyjools 04-07-2010 09:54 PM

i will answer this from my personnal situation,
i asked him to open up and be poly because i realised that i could not imagine spending my life monogomous, i was not willing to sacrafice that part of myself and i was willing to give up a romantic relationship with him if it meant i had to do this,
i was prepared for him to leave me,
i loved him and i would have hoped to keep him as a close friend but i was very prepared for him to want to stay mono and then deal with the end of our romantic relationship,

it turned out he wanted to be poly too so it worked out well for us,
but i would not, and never will become monogomous for someone elses benifit and if they really did not wish to be poly i would never expect or force them into this situation for my benifit,

Jools

LovingRadiance 04-07-2010 09:58 PM

I haven't read the whole thread yet-just the first post.

My first thought is this:

It is ok to be Mono OR Poly in any relationship.

I did not ask Maca to adjust to BEING Poly, in fact I didn't ask him to adjust at all.

I simply let him know that I was poly and could not continue pretending to be Mono.

In fact what I asked for from him was acceptance for who I am.

I also offered him the acceptance I have for who he is.

"fair" in my mind is structuring any relationship (of any type) so that both parties may be who they are naturally without having to be something they are not.

That means (I will use RP and Mono as an example because it's so perfect),

That because RP is poly-she has more than one lover.
Because Mono is mono-he has only one lover.

Each of them is free to BE mono/poly without pretending to be something different at the demand of the other.


I think that where it feels unfair is a mono person expects that they can ask for the other person to behave the way they feel most comfortable behaving:
but really none of us have the right to do this to another person.
We DO have the right to choose friends/lovers who have the same ideals as us, but people learn about themselves as they live and so they also change and they may no longer have those same ideals as us as time goes on.

I would NEVER ask someone to have more than one lover-I only ask that they understand that I have more than one lover.

Does this make any sense to anyone but me? :confused:

Quote:

Originally Posted by SimpleSimian (Post 25836)
Yeah, I didn't actually think of trying to find a traditional love forum. I had no idea there was even a need for them. So just like a general relationship advice forum? I bet I'd find a lot of poly people there, too, though, trying to help people realise that what they're feeling is ok, and it's perfectly possible and healthy to love more than one person at a time.

I bet the reason is because the mono people are quicker to get fed up and often are the ones who leave, thus getting themselves out of the situation, and not making the poly person change. Just generalising, not saying EVERYONE who is mono is like this. I certainly am not. Hell, I'm so mono, that I'm willing to devote myself to my partner through the most tumultuous inner upheaval I could imagine short of discovering that I should be breathing water and air is slowly killing me. :P

I used to talk a lot on the relationship forum on msn. There was one man in an open marriage but they didn't either one have other lovers and one woman in a poly relationship and everyone on the board hated her...

http://lifestyle.msn.com/messageboards/default.aspx

From this link-click on "family relationships" or "marriage & couplehood links".
You'll find lots of people there with strong opinions that if your spouse wants to have sex with any other person for any reason-divorce them.

vandalin 04-07-2010 11:35 PM

This is a good question and I have to agree with some of the answers given already, mainly those regarding being true to who we are and that well, this is a poly forum. ;)

I don't know who, if anyone, has noticed that when I refer to myself as poly, I say that I have poly tendencies. Maybe this is because the only poly relationship that I have had never progressed to a fully sexual relationship. I would probably fall into the category of a poly person who could stay mono and be happy. Does that mean that I may never want to go down that road ever again, no. It just means that I do not have to be in more than one relationship to be happy. Hence, poly tendencies.

I suppose it could be equated to someone who has homosexual tendencies but doesn't feel they are either gay or bi. They could be with someone of the same gender but they don't have to to be true to themselves. I hope that makes sense and is not offending to anyone as I am neither gay or bi myself.

Ariakas 04-07-2010 11:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LovingRadiance (Post 25844)
Does this make any sense to anyone but me? :confused:

Nope I am confused :p :D

Ilove2men 04-08-2010 12:53 AM

I agree with LR (happening alot these days.) My fiance is Completely mono. When I came out I told him MY truth and hoped that he could love and accept me as such. I didn't ask him to find a girlfriend or to try to be poly. I asked him to love me for me. It's a huge thing to ask of him, but I wasn't asking him to change who he is deep down inside. I asked him to accept who I am deep down inside. But, this is my story not a generalization.

I think with any partnership in life, someone has to make a sacrifice sometimes to keep the partnership in tact. It's up to the people in each individual relationship who is capable of making what sacrifices. Be it, my favorite play and his favorite game playing same night same time. Who will sacrifice if we want to spend the night together? To, I'm poly, you're mono, who makes the sacrifice so we can be together? I don't think the sacrifices matter much as long as the person making them is truly capable and willing to make it and still be healthy and happy for the long haul. I know in my relationship I have sacrificed my "fair share" of things. Some at the time I was more than willing to make and others I really was upset about, but we survived and we are both happy with the outcome.

I'm sure there are poly people out there who have stuffed it away. I don't think you'll find them on this msg board.

And Also, I think a monos who love polys support group would be grand. Like minded people giving advice on pros and cons of this relationship. A true understanding of what you're going through. It sounds way better than, myeah of course you'd say that, you're poly. LOL In all seriousness though, it warms my heart to think of my fiance having s group of people that get what he's feeling. But thats not really the support group you were talking of. Sorry for getting off topic.


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