cowboys and cowgirls in poly relationship tribes.
I have recently come across the term "cowboys/girls." Having done a bit of research, I didn't find much. My poly friend who is also in a long term family type tribe, here in the city I live in, suggested this was the terms meaning,
"The idea of there being people who are cowboys or cowgirls or poachers. People who ride into a herd of poly people and lasso one and try to pull them away from their poly tribe."
She went on to say that it was this such of woman, in her case, that she believes contributed to the break up of her and her LDR in another city. Apparently she came into the group and through lack of communication she managed to cause a rift between members of the tribe and issues arouse that made it difficult for her boyfriend to continue dating my friend so it ended in heartbreak.
When I made my own search I found on www.aphroweb.net a definition that says,
"Somebody who figures that these alternative relationships are unstable, and consciously or unconsciously tries to pull one of the partners off into a monogamous relationship with themselves. References "cutting a filly out of the herd."
I suppose that there are similarities in definition in that someone comes into a tribe and disrupts its harmony by trying to pull a member towards them. If there is no veto being laid down then I suppose if there is NRE, and lack of concern for harmony then this could easily happen. The thing is, how does one know and what can one do about it, if anything before it becomes too late? I fear this for our wonderful budding family tribe (which is doing well by the way, don't read into anything here folks! :)).
Does anyone have any thoughts, opinions, experiences?
"people not dropping their ego and saying that it's someone else's problem... I wonder if cowboys/girls have this attitude to." I wrote this elsewhere, but it made me wonder if people who come into a poly relationship have this attitude.
Wow I'm feeling very naive all of a sudden.... I am so fortunate that this has not been my experience thus far. I pick people to be in my life that are not ego centric or prone to think its someone else's problem when feelings come up. Actually I did date a guy at the time I met Mono who's girlfriend was dating Nerdist and that was their attitude. It lasted a few days longer and then I ended it when I found his attitude to be as such. I guess I have experienced it at some level.
I guess people actually "tolerate" people in a poly constellation. I guess sometimes there is no choice but to "tolerate" if a person comes in who is invited by someone other than me and I am not the one making the choices to have them there. How does one deal with that?
Our community here is so small that I think we all "tolerate" each other to a certain extent. I was told that on the topic of age just recently. I put it out there that in other cities younger people, or those on a certain point of the spectrum of poly sometimes stick together and have a lack of patience for older poly people or those at another point in the spectrum (or visa versa) and was told that people in my community don't have anyone else but us and so we "tolerate" each other.
I guess that means that a cowboy/girl could also enter a community as well as a tribe. Or be that person that blasts the whole thing to shit by being the one who is ego centric and telling others that it's their problem if they don't agree. It makes me think of my own actions and where they have lead me in the past. How much I tolerate of those around me on a daily basis in life and for what reason.
It seems cowboys/girls can be anywhere or walk among us at anytime in life. I'm reminded of so many occasions of this in my life...Geez, I think I better go to bed and think about this more. :) Besides, sometimes people think I am talking about them when I'm not.... my mind just leads me places and I am constantly thinking thinking thinking..... :confused:
Problem people of all kinds
RP, in my head I actually have the big idea I think you're getting at sorted into a few different categories. The cowherd (regardless of gender) is someone who is vying hard to tear up a poly relationship, consciously or not, and make off with one partner into a mono setting. Then there's people who have trouble acknowledging that their actions impact others, with cowherds perhaps being a subset of that larger group. Then there's the people you wish you weren't in a constellation with, but you're not the boss...
I spent the first month or two doing my best to be happy about it for her sake, after I frankly told him why I was concerned the weekend they started dating. Then I realized that:
A) I'm certain he doesn't respect my relationship with her, which is admittedly semi-understandable because it's complicated. (We've taken to calling ourselves 'girlfriends from the waist up', and like to debate about whether either of us is actually bisexual. :rolleyes:)
B) I've seen evidence that leads me to believe he doesn't respect her, primarily from how immaturely he's handled their disagreements. (I'm talking blowing off phone dates in a long distance situation, severely passive aggressive text messages, not talking for a week and then apologizing only for the text and not the avoidance, and not wanting to talk about what to do next time they disagree, all while she's finishing her last semester of college and under enough stress... Red flags are waving in the breeze.)
If I were dating him, he'd be history. Thing is, I'm not dating him. She is, and I care about her deeply and usually respect her opinions. I'm honestly not sure what to do about him; he and his boyfriend are the only long-distance people who are significantly tangled into our constellation, so I almost never see him, and when I interact with him it's almost exclusively through her on the telephone. Without time to actually go face to face, I can't figure out how to start caring about this bastard. I can't even tell him I think he's behaving poorly, because we don't have a way to talk other than facebook.
The best I've been able to do is tell her I can either play fair and unbiased and keep my opinions out when he comes up in conversation, or I can tell her exactly where I wish she'd shove it on him. She gets to pick which one, and then I either play the role politely or I mouth off-- and either way I do my best to calmly tell her what I would and wouldnt' stand for if I were in her shoes, and that she can do whatever she likes with that knowledge.
As for cowherds... No clue. Haven't met one, would kick 'em to the curb if I did and had the luxury. (Again, metamours make everything complicated.)
Well - although I've also never seen references - or labels - to such people/behavior, I'm certainly not surprised.
I know I for one - and maybe others (?) have written in the past of the dangers of such people with their agendas trying to 'infiltrate' ANY group (culture) that seems to have something going for them and skim the cream off the top with total disregard for the damage they leave behind.
Have witnessed/experienced this personally in the past. I've also seen ample evidence of this behavior in the poly community.
It's sad - but predictable. And I know this would not be my first warning to be on guard and look out for such individuals and behavior. This is one of the biggest downsides I've raved about regarding the whole concept of poly 'activisim', media attention etc. If you have discovered a secret formula and the word gets out you have no choice but to go into defensive mode. The vultures always will exist.
As someone who rides horses,..
and is poly,...I must say, I really hate this terminology. lol
As for the actual 'threat' of such things. I am very much a fence
-sitter on this one. I have been in a situation where my then-secondary eventually tried to extract me from my relationship with my primary.
There was no doubt about it. This is not some debatable he-said, she-said type of thing. It is something that became very obvious to all involved as time went on.
However, there was ZERO doubt in my mind, about the outcome, of trying such nonsense. I cared about my secondary very, very much, but no one, can convince me to walk away from my Primary.
This all boils down to communication. As everything does in poly.
The only way I can see someone being able to 'extract' a person, is if said person is not being totally forthright about things said and done, between all involved.
It may be as simple a thought process, as thinking that they wont tell others in their life, certain aspects (of things said and done by the 'puller')because they don`t want to cause a 'rift' or argument between their loved ones.
As soon as they start to 'protect' the person causing doubt, then things can snowball.
In the end, we all reap what we sow. If someone or a group gets 'left', then the person doing the leaving wasn`t willing to be objective for whatever reasons.
I don`t believe regular people with common sense, will leave if it truly feels right. Some people are easily manipulated,...but someone who is easily manipulated will always cause those that care about them, insecurities anyhow,....
People leave relationships for others, because they believe they have found something better, period.
Inside, or outside of poly, thats the cold truth.
All I can say really is that the whole thought on this for me, makes me feel incredably fortunate. I am not the sort of person that just tolerates. Life is too short and I have to say that I would end everything and find something that works if it came to just tolerating someone else.
On the other hand, if I was the one being lassoed I would find it very difficult. I would hope someone would smack me up side the head with a dose of reality if I were in that much NRE. Or maybe my primary relationship needs ot end and they are justified in pressuring me to end it.... ?
The person who comes into a group and acts badly enough that they start disrupting other peoples' relationships is typically just someone with, well, bad behaviour and relationship skills. People shouldn't date this person! Ideally, we don't want to date people who aren't savvy enough to spot this for what it is, either.
The cowboy/girl thing is something different, though. I don't think that there are very many people out there who have consciously decided to adopt it as a dating strategy (that would be pretty weird). But it is not that uncommon for someone with a preference for monogamy to meet someone who is in a poly- relationship, come to the conclusion that this person is "available", get emotionally entangled, and then start working to create the relationship that they want (a mono- one).
This isn't going to work if the poly- person is actually committed to, or really only ever wants to do, poly-relationships. But that's not true of every person in a poly- relationship, and there's a lot of cultural baggage that encourages people to pair off exclusively with someone when things get serious.
Obviously, either kind of person can create a lot of drama and unpleasantness. But the cowboy/girl thing is about someone trying to get the relationship that they want, not just about behaving badly.
From our old friend Legion
"COWBOY: Colloquial A monogamous man who engages in a relationship with a polyamorous woman with the intention of separating her from any other partners and bringing her into a monogamous relationship."
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