Third party advice
I have noticed throughout the years that many men have a hard time with communication. I on the other hand find it quite useful to join online forums and discuss my issues and life with complete strangers. For me posting here can be therapeutic. I am in an anonymous space where I can take it or leave it as it comes to me. Where no can say it's black or white. It is what it is. And no one but me has an emotional vested interest in the situation so no one has any reason to blow smoke up my ass. So this works for me.
Have you run into anyone else who feels relationships should be closed door all the time? How have you explained your need to talk to other people to them? Do you also find posting on public forums such as this to be therapeutic? Why or why not?
PS- Do you feel that having a safe place to discuss things in your private life can be particularly helpful when in a poly lifestyle? Sometimes it seems that having a sounding board can help line it all up in your head and heart. This proves especially true I think when juggling very full lives. How is this different than in a monogamous relationship? Or is it? Just some things to think about. :-)
I read here to learn from others' mistakes, that way i can make new mistakes instead of repeating them. One thing in that regard that is major for me is examples of how NOT to treat people. In my specific situation, it's about how to support my partners' other relationships, especially my spouse's other partner, who struggles the most with non-monogamy than the rest of us do. I have a strong reaction when i see stories about "poly couples" taking each other for granted, describing dynamics of "entitlement" (especially when someone sounds whiny because they figured out what they want and act like the universe is depriving them of it even though they are doing everything that the instruction manual says), and in general an attitude of other people like consumer goods. I like reading posts from people involved with one member of an established/married dyad, and/or from those in a self-described "secondary" relationship. Although i don't post questions about my own relationships, i do occasionally find a motif in someone else's thread that moves me to start a discussion thread (such as the "saying things you don't really mean" thread). I also like to add to threads that i have something to say about even if it doesn't affect my day to day life.
I think many people go on forums such as this because they ONLY want to be told, "you're not alone, you're not a freak, you're fine", but more often than not, they are NOT "fine" yet don't appreciate being told so.
Hello world. If the above doesn't describe you, then i'm not referring to you. If it DOES, i AM. Goodbye world.
I completely agree with you. I have long been a lurker in this forum and others. I find it easier to comment in a conversation when I feel that my particular view point and/or experience to helpful in any given situation. I find it hard at first to start the conversation. :-) But once I do I find the replies often insightful and helpful.
I think there is an inherent difference on the most basic level between the lurker and active participant in public forums like these. For months I have lurked here greedily soaking up every bit of wisdom and anecdotes I could until my information circuit boards were well past the point of overload. I tend to come at new concepts and ideas from a highly academic and analytical stand at first, only investing emotionally after I feel more at ease with the subject. And I think in that way slot of lurkers are generally alike.
Active posters however tend to have a more vested interest in the tone of the conversation and the community as part of a larger social awakening. We try to give those examples of how and why so that past mistakes can be learned from and moved past. And we hope that in the process of knowledge exchange we may learn and grow ourselves. This I feel is one of they greatest gifts of mass communication at the societal level. And one of it's biggest flaws.
Because as so succinctly pointed out Boring Guy so many people come to this site and others like it looking for what seems like a magic solutions or a hang in there platitudes. They have numbed themselves to anyone but themselves to the point that they can't see what is right in front of their faces. That there can be no blame or shame or guilt in the rebuilding process and moving forward after. And just wanting to see the rain bows and stick your head in the sand when things get rough doesn't work for Jr.
doesn't work for me....
God I hate smart phones at times. Anyways, I also feel part of actively working on a relationship is being willing to at least listen to advice. Take it or leave it but don't stare at it and whine because it's not a pony. :-P
Boring Guy I often enjoy reading you posts and comments. I find your slightly deadpan and often sarcastic humor to be quite enjoyable and often catch myself laughing. It's nice to see some people really do still give it to you straight. I don't want hot air blown up my ass. I want straight forward honest truth as you see it. Then let me hold the bag and make my decisions with all the info I have whether you agree with my choices or not.
I love Gala Girl's way of putting it. Play like honorable Jedi not like Muppet backstage chaos. I aspire to this in every aspect of my life be it the RW or online. :-) As my dad put it best I leave it with you...... Shit in one hand and whine in the other.... See which one fills up faster. :-)
For me, this forum and a couple of mailing lists started off as my "safe places" to talk about the things I struggle with.
I don't tend to talk about my problems in real life, anyway... it's pretty much just the way I've been. However, when I was going through some pretty big struggles in my relationship (mono/poly), some friends reacted as though I was the victim and my partner and his OSO were horrible, disrespectful people. Ugh. I have been told that I deserve better, that I'm not being treated right, and asked if he's THAT good in bed to put up with this.
With other friends, I feel a bit of the "ooo, let's watch the freak show" - one of my friends jokingly told me that she always loves hearing my stories, because my life is sooooooo interesting.
And honestly, the only poly folks I know are my partner and his OSO, so when I'm struggling with something and NOT ready to talk it through with them yet (in "processing" mode), then I'm kinda stuck there until I do process it. Talking over half-formed ideas with them tends to be less than helpful.
Now, in practice, I tend to not bring up many of my own issues, although I've been close a couple times (I usually end up working it out soon thereafter, so it becomes a moot point). It does help, though, to read what other folks are going through. Like BoringGuy, I like to see what the pitfalls are, so I can try to avoid them before we encounter them.
I've tossed around the idea of a blog thread, just to toss out the issues we deal with and how we deal with them, if it'd help anyone, but then I get distracted.
When I am in a situation, I can only see it from a couple of perspectives outside of my own, and I miss points that others can see. I appreciate objective advice and POVs. I am surrounded by mono people who never understood my desire to be in more than one relationship. They respected it and tried to give advice to the best of their abilities, but 95% of the time, it did not help. It was always one-sided and would have caused more damage and trouble. The last time I sought advice from people in my inner circle, it was what drove me to finally seek a forum with like minded individuals. That was how I ended up here.
I generally avoid giving advice, but when I do get the chance to read (like now), I learn something new all the time and learn from the mistakes made by others. I make plenty on my own, so I do not need to add to the list. I will happily post what NOT to do or how to conduct one's self in my blog, but offering up advice? I am the wrong one for that. I will take advice and put it to good use.
Forums are great for some situations
Especially when the forum topic is a hobby, or passion that doesn't have many similar minds to meet up with available locally. If the one thing you love doing more than anything else is building one tenth scale doll houses, but you have to drive half a day to hang out with others who share your passion, forums can be the best thing that ever happened. They allow you to communicate and interact with people daily when to meet any interact in real life is only realistically possible once in very long whiles.
It's great for subjects that are not socially acceptable, especially when Identifying yourself as an enthusiast for subject-X (whatever topic that may be) is one where not only will you become an outcast but also experience many forms of abuse. Society is like that when they feel inferior or fearful for any reason about a person a little bit different, they'll go out of their way to make sure life is hard for you or unpleasant in any way they can. Whether it's attempts to humiliate you, constantly belittling or constantly being the butt of a joke, they find create ways to persecute you for your beliefs and behaviors. Such situations are typically when anonymity can allow for more freedom to be the people they don't get a chance to be in real life but wish they could.
Anonymity is only a problem when it is used becuase someone likes being an asshole but doesn't want to be known as an asshole, some people refer to them as trolls, people who post with the intention of making people upset. Anonymity can also be a problem when sites have a primary or secondary purpose of meeting people or finding those you want to meet in real life. People posing as someone they are not is extremely disrespectful others who are interacting with you because they want to meet in real life.
All sorts of people come to forums for many different reasons, a common reason is, as you said, you find it hard to speak with people you are close to in regards to certain subjects, but are able to to talk to complete strangers. Any topic where you fear your relationship could change or your point of view may not be shared tends to be hard to talk about with those you are close to. It isn't hard to understand, especially when you are worried it may affect how they see you. It doesn't really matter what someone thinks of them if they never have to interact with them at a later date, so of course it seems better to bounce ideas off them. When it comes to relationships in your life, it can be great to get other peoples' opinions, however in such circumstances nothing can really substitute for talking with the people your are in the relationship with. That is when others advice can be harmful (when you make decisions based on what others think who are not friends that know the jist of your situation) While gathering of others opinions is in general always helpful to assess your personal situation, if you don't talk to those who are in the relationship you are gathering opinions about, it is virtually impossible to get good advice. There are often small details which can change everything, using polyamory as an example, I believe when people are a good fit in monogamous relationships, there is no reason they cannot make the transition to polyamorous relationships. The problems arise from not being able to communicate the finer details of exactly what would make their situations alright/acceptable. In many cases it's because they honestly don't know how they will react or what would make poly relationships work for them, however if you cannot talk about poly with your partner, that will be an insurmountable problem. My first two experiences with polyamory were such that I didn't even know the woman I was "seeing" was "seeing" others as more than what non-poly people would understand when their partner talks about other "friends".
When I read the boards here, I often feel there would be easy solutions to the poly problems they are having, but a lot of it might have do with the fact that for years I found ways to walk through a life of polyamory completely in the dark, so when they lights are turned on, it's easy for me. But then again a lot has to do with the people involved, I tend to avoid those who made my life harder when walking in the dark, banging my shins on obstacles set in front me when it is pitch black is one thing, but when there is light I just stay clear of them because I don't like people who act differently anonymous than they do in real life
Forums are also great in order to get many different perspectives, usually perspectives you may not have otherwise been made aware (people from other cultures, countries, or different socio/economic class)
That is exactly why I feel safe.....
Because in forums like this I can be me. There are no real world consequences for being me here. If I don't like what is being said I can simply close the window or turn off the puter. I can figure out my own internal dialogue before I talk it thru with Sith. This has the added bonus of allowing cool down time to think and process when I am mad or hurt. And I think when your words have the potential to destroy those you love on a grand scale of 3 or 4 relationships at once with many people you should proceed cautiously so as to minimize the damage possible should fallout happen. And I admit to gaining a bit of a voyeuristic pleasure from being able to peek into the lives of others however briefly, and say "Compared to that, my life isn't all that bad". :-) But Sith doesn't even begin to understand my need to find third party views. He feels our relationship should only be discussed among us. But sometimes talking to him can feel like avoiding mines. He is an introvert and doesn't understand my need for other people at all.
I wonder if he could be taught to at least understand this method of communication or if it will always be strange for him.
I hear what your saying
and attempting to isolate another person from having contact with other friends is abusive and there aren't very many if any circumstances at all where enforced isolation is not abusive. I can understand a person who doesn't like their boyfriend sharing private information with people they don't know or don't have a close relationship with.
So I can see both sides of the fence
and the most important facet of it all is being able to separate out what makes a behavior always wrong and never not abusive. A person needs to recognize the points or aspects that divide the spaces of abuse from that which is healthy.
If you were about to exit a stairwell but the hold the door open because you heard your spouse's voice speaking as she entered the stairwell ten stories below and continuing to listen to what she is saying is not the same thing as tapping her phone without consent. Her lending her computer without turning it off and instead suspending it so that when you turn it on you are forced to see the last page she viewed is not abusive while hacking into her computer's microphone and listening to her without her knowledge or consent is abusive. Using information in manipulative ways is not only abusive, but it is a psychological disease, a frame of mind of those unfit for a life that includes interacting with others.
People who have trouble understanding how, why, and where the lines are that divide healthy behaviors for those of abuse, will likely bring trouble with them wherever they go
Again our thoughts coincide....
Abuse in any form should be stamped out with a vengeance whenever and wherever it's found. For me in the context of posting like this in forums such as this, the line would be in giving out identifying information about a non consenting or uninformed third party. I find an act of this nature to be abusive as well as criminal and would handle it as such. I think that actively throwing him under the bus regardless of truth would be abusive as well.
In full disclosure I tell him whenever I do post about us. He has an acct here and is more than welcome to read and join the convo at any time. As far as I am concerned this fulfills my end of the baggage handling. Anything leftover is his. I just wish I could explain it in such a way as to put him at ease with my use of these forums.
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