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-   -   Spoon Theory and Polyamory (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=29767)

CattivaGattina 09-28-2012 04:21 PM

Spoon Theory and Polyamory
So this is something that popped into my head just reading little things on here.

First off spoon theory for those who don't know what it is.

This was designed by a person who has fibromiylga (sic I know) in talking about invisible diseases. Basically each day you are given a set number of spoons. Throughout the day things that you do use up your spoons and when you are out of them you are unable to pretty much do anything else that day. Some days getting out of bed won't take any spoons but other days you are in such a place that just getting out of bed takes up over half your spoons. But people supporting you (emotionally and physically by doing things for you) can help keep your spoons and replenish them at times.

So thinking about it with polyamory. Sometimes we get really worked up with things our paramours or metamours are doing. I wonder if a spoon discussion would help everyone know how various things affect them and how things work with them. That way we can try and let people in our lives know "hey my spoon count is getting really low" and hopefully that in it's own can be a stop-gap for having them think about what you may need from them or others in your/their life.

BoringGuy 09-28-2012 04:32 PM

I'm afraid I don't understand. What is the significance of spoons when it comes to invisible diseases and why would a polyamorous person describe polyamory as a disease?

MusicalRose 09-28-2012 05:02 PM

I've heard of the spoon thing before, and it will probably pop up with a quick Google search if you are looking for more detail.

Here, polyamory isn't really being described as a disease. Essentially, the spoons represent what GalaGirl might call one's buckets. If they are empty (or you run out of spoons) then you don't have the energy or ability to deal with life's difficulties as well.

I think that what Cattiva is trying to say is that ones spoons (buckets) need to be properly tended in anyone's life and more particularly so when one faces a challenge or difficulty that could tend to strain them, such as a disease OR juggling multiple relationships.

Tonberry 09-28-2012 05:08 PM

Why spoons? You can just use the same spoon over and over again, so you don't need more than one. Why did they pick that as the metaphor? I find it confusing. Using gas in a tank, for instance, would be an easy concept to understand for most people. A bunch of spoons just seems very random.

BoringGuy 09-28-2012 05:30 PM


Originally Posted by Tonberry (Post 157367)
Why spoons? You can just use the same spoon over and over again, so you don't need more than one. Why did they pick that as the metaphor? I find it confusing. Using gas in a tank, for instance, would be an easy concept to understand for most people. A bunch of spoons just seems very random.

That is what i was thinking, precisely. in order for an analogy to make sense, it should you know, make sense. I mean, I don't give my silverware to other people to hold on to for when i need it, so I don't see how a metaphor (it's a metaphor, not a "theory") about handing out spoons to other people is going to help when it comes to relationships.

Regular words work just fine.

nycindie 09-28-2012 09:11 PM

I don't need spoons nor buckets, thank you very much. I can simply make an effort to examine my inner life, understand myself, and treat the people I care about with loving kindness. Why "tend to" spoons, buckets, or any other inanimate object when I can just tend to myself, what is present in my life, and my loved ones? No silly symbolism for me.

NovemberRain 09-29-2012 06:31 AM

Actually, CattivaGattina, the gal who wrote it has lupus; but I found it when my diagnosis was fibromyalgia, and it was very popular in fibro circles. My base dx is Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, hypermobility type. The pain is very similar to fibro, and I have the added joys of dislocating joints.

All y'all, I really recommend reading Spoon Theory, which you can find, here:

You very likely know someone with some sort of invisible illness or invisible disability. This is a very useful tool for understanding them, or even the young person you see driving a car with a handicapped plate, or healthy-appearing person who's sitting at the front of the bus.

It's hard to explain the beauty and usefulness of spoon theory; it's much simpler to read the original. It moved me to tears when I read, because it was created by a young woman who just wanted to have a normal life. She was having a girl's-night-out with her bestie, and her bestie inquired about her condition. She spontaneously came up with spoon theory to explain it.

After all that, I will add that I don't see it very applicable to poly. Though I'm glad you've found a way to explain things that works for you.

I do think lots of people need encouragement, and tips, and ideas, (and maybe some need symbolism), on how to begin and continue communicating effectively. Lots and lots of us didn't have even remotely close to good modeling for how to do this.

Tonberry 09-29-2012 08:51 AM

Thanks for the link! It makes much more sense. Spoons seem random because they ARE random: she was at a diner and wanted a physical object there could be a bunch of. Could have been salt shakers or forks but it ended up being spoons.

I'm a bit confused by the fact that she seemed to have stolen one of the spoons from the diner in her story ("I gave her a hug when we walked out of the diner. I had the one spoon in my hand") but maybe she meant "right before we walked out" and she gave the spoon back first?
I feel silly for getting hung on small details like that, but that popped out to me.

Anyways, I think as a gamer I would understand the concept of hearts or hit points better, but spoons work. It's just unfortunate that it makes it harder to talk about it with people not familiar with the whole story.

This talk about spoons reminds me of Friends. There is an episode in which Ross, who has just divorced, talks about dating again with Chandler and Joey. They compare women to ice-cream, and urge him to "grab a spoon".

CielDuMatin 09-30-2012 10:09 PM

For me it doesn't matter what analogy is used, I have my own that I use - the concept of a "battery", or "spiritual battery" - I have activities that charge my battery and activities that drain them. That doesn't make them good or bad, they are what they are.

But the general concept, whether in poly or life in general is that we only have so many things that we can "cope" with before we become unable to give any more. For some folks, this is a daily thing, for others, like me, it can go over weeks.

If spoons or buckets work for you, then that's just fine by me - I won't mock you for using them. The concepts behind are what is important, and I can relate.

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