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-   -   poly fidelity... what is it? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3746)

redpepper 09-19-2010 06:30 PM

poly fidelity... what is it?
 
I just realized something. My idea about poly fidelity is on the extreme end of what it means. I think that it is like some monogamous relationships whereby the two involved donít have much going on outside of their partnership. They donít have friends of their own and donít do anything without the other. Not only that there is a notion that if they did then they would somehow be coerced into leaving the other because of a perceived deeper connection being developed.

I have been seeing poly fidelity in the same light as some monogamous co-dependant relationships. Sure there are some like that and that is fine, but there are not allÖ itís a continuum (much like many thingsÖ poly/swinging, straight/gay, deep connection/acquaintance). I havenít embraced poly-fi as a possible description for myself because I have several relationships going on at once and intend to have others. I am deeply connected to some people and have a lovely warm connection that makes my heart happy with others.

It comes down to sex really. Is Poly-fi is about sex? Sex with only a select few and is that group closed? Is there other options outside of that or is that not an option because you chose it or because it means losing someone you love?

Why does this come down to sex? I have sex with a select few and have deep relationships with many that I wonít be having sex with. Why is this a description at all? Why do I feel as if I am forced to use the term poly-fi as a description of my relationship dynamics when it doesnít fit somehow? Is it because I see sex as a means to deep connection yet can have that connection otherwise? Does it somehow make light of my connections that arenít sexual? I find this annoying for some reasonÖ and am looking to get at the bottom of itÖ.

MindfulAgony 09-19-2010 06:41 PM

My guess? Because sex is a more discrete boundary. Emotional fidelity is much harder to break out - what's the difference between close friends and something else all together.

I have a very close friend that's close enough to threaten other women when I was "pretending" to be mono (that's how I'm currently describing my pre-poly world). We have never had sex, never kissed, and never had a girlfriend/boyfriend type relationship. But, it is still hard not to describe our dynamic as less than romantic, deep loving connection. If you took a film of us at a restaurant, you would believe we were sleeping together. But, it's still hard to assess when a relationship passes from friendly to an emotional entanglement that violates the typical restraints in a mono or poly-fidelity arrangement.

Sex is a big bright line that is much easier to describe the boundaries.

My 2 cents.

redpepper 09-20-2010 05:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MindfulAgony (Post 44848)
it's still hard to assess when a relationship passes from friendly to an emotional entanglement that violates the typical restraints in a mono or poly-fidelity arrangement.

thanks... i'm not sure I get this bit, explain more please? thanks... :)

MindfulAgony 09-20-2010 02:32 PM

I'm saying that emotional entanglement (or romantic love) is harder to gauge when it begins; there's no bright line. So, I can be in a fedility situation (mono or poly) and develop a non-sexual relationship with someone that becomes very close. And, let's say at some point I fall in love with this new person. No sex takes place. However, the emotional connection is viewed as a violation of the commitments I've made to my partner(s). There's no easy gauge as to when that relationship crossed the line.


There's often an expectation that there's both sexual and emotional fidelity with these kinds of commitments. Emotional fidelity is often implied because it's too hard to figure out violations of the rule. So, sexual fidelity is the rule that carries the hammer and tries to do the work on providing limits
on both kinds of entanglements.

I'm not sure that's clarifying, but I tried.

Lemondrop 09-20-2010 03:10 PM

I like what Mindful Agony said.

For us, poly-fidelity is pretty much about sex. We have all agreed to only have sex within the quad. For my peace of mind, it's been agreed that anything else will be negotiated in advance.

I find it interesting to note, Asha doesn't feel threatened by sex, but sometimes she feels threatened by emotional involvement with someone else.

ETA: I meant to say, of course we all allow friends outside of the relationship, and of course we can have friends that aren't friends with the others. But, at least for me, because I love my partners and want them to be a big part of my life, I usually try to introduce them all. To make this example easier, when Easy and I were monogamous, he had lots of friends that weren't all that familiar with me, and I had a smaller group who weren't all that familiar with him. But because we have limited time together, and we attend some things together, we usually introduce the spouse who isn't involved in the social group at some point.

DharmaBum23 09-20-2010 06:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpepper (Post 44933)
thanks... i'm not sure I get this bit, explain more please? thanks... :)

Let's say that you wanted to bust someone on emotional infidelity. What proof would you use? How would you distinguish that from someone who was just a close friend? How would you make a strong case as opposed to, "Well I just know" ? How would you establish the line in such a way as the emotional infidelity was still wrong but expected social connections were ethical(such as one's family)?

Sexual infidelity, on the other hand, is much easier to define and prove. Lipstick on collar, unaccounted for time, shirt on backwards, whatever.

Ariakas 09-20-2010 07:00 PM

poly fi is as unique to each group as monogamy is to each couple.

redpepper 09-20-2010 07:17 PM

hm, interesting. So there is a connection yet a difference between sexual and emotional fidelity? Where does poly-fi fit then?

For me it's about sex, not both. I relate emotions to sex, but can be emotionally connected without it. I am connected when I have sex. I am connected in other ways too.

Does that make sense?

I find it interesting because some people in my community call me poly-fi, yet I wonder if sex for them is based on the same things I experience. There seems, from the outside, that they have sex for recreation as well as to connect... yet I wonder if they have the capacity to do so without the sex?

I wonder this because I have known people who, when they here that I am not available for sex, they don't know how to act around me, don't know how to relate to me and aren't used to being friends or close to someone that is not sexually available. I have known this in my mono life for sure. It's like, "she is not available so I won't bother getting to know her."

It makes me feel that I am not worth anything to them and it makes me feel in turn that the term poly-fi is in someway less than or not valid and that the people who decide on this kind of poly, what ever it means to them, are secluded and in their own world that is a part from the rest of the poly world. They have in some way sold out... or are on a different path that is far from poly that is more open sexually.

Really, who cares... I am confident in what I do and how I engage in my relationships with others. It's ashame that there is a rift that is caused sometimes, but I at least do my best to build bridges. I keep at it for that reason.

sorry, I feel like I am not being clear as this is all emerging for me.. thanks for baring with me. I appreciate all the insight.

DharmaBum23 09-20-2010 07:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpepper (Post 45005)

I wonder this because I have known people who, when they here that I am not available for sex, they don't know how to act around me, don't know how to relate to me and aren't used to being friends or close to someone that is not sexually available. I have known this in my mono life for sure. It's like, "she is not available so I won't bother getting to know her."

It makes me feel that I am not worth anything to them and it makes me feel in turn that the term poly-fi is in someway less than or not valid and that the people who decide on this kind of poly, what ever it means to them, are secluded and in their own world that is a part from the rest of the poly world. They have in some way sold out... or are on a different path that is far from poly that is more open sexually.

Hrm. That's a tough one and it is understandable that you would feel put out by this.

I think at least a small part of it might be(and I can't say for certain as I don't know the people or community in question) part of the purpose of the larger poly community.

From what I've noticed, people seem to get involved in the larger community for four reasons. Either to date, to get their "Poly 101" info, because something has gone horribly wrong, or they want a social circle.

The people that are there for 101 tend to fall out pretty quickly(and are easy to spot). The people for whom things have gone horribly wrong also tend to fall out fairly quickly(and are even easier to spot). That leaves the social circle people and the daters.

The thing is that nobody wants to admit that they are a dater(it's like The Game. If you admit you are a dater, you lose.) and(as they don't have a something wrong story and have gotten the basics) tend to pass themselves off as social circle people(in some cases even to themselves).

I would imagine you have(unfortunately) stumbled across a great way to find out if someone is a social circle person or a dater. If someone is in it just for the friends, they don't care what you do in your sex life. A dater on the other hand would find out you are unavailable, tick you off their "girls what I can have sex with" list and move on.

redpepper 09-20-2010 07:55 PM

yes, D that is exactly it.

I guess I should move on an hide in my poly-fi house with only those I fuck, cause there is no room for us poly-fiers in the outside poly world... too bad that those who are looking for what I have don't have any outside evidence of this working or existing ... I guess they will have to suffice with the poly daters... :p :D

sarcastic, but frustrated. It extends to everywhere really... not just in the poly world. There seems to be a struggle to have depth with most people.


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