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-   -   Having your cake and eating it, too (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=56160)

PolyinPractice 09-23-2013 02:41 AM

Having your cake and eating it, too
 
I noticed quite a few people, most susceptibly newbies to poly, who feel that being poly (usually in context of having a secure relationship and a new one), means "having your cake and eating it, too."

Now, I may be alone here, but I don't believe I am at all.

"Having your cake and eating it," as I understand it, means wanting to have it both ways. You can't complain about being out of shape, but never exercise. You can't say you hate your spouse traveling, but then insist he take jobs that make him travel.

So, in context of poly, might mean a relationship where you wanted to date others, but then prevented your partner from dating anyone (this does happen, not saying it happens to everyone, or if your partner chooses not to have other partners or to be mono, that makes you a bad person). In other words, wanting to be both mono and poly at the same time. That might happen within a poly relationship, but I don't believe it's necessarily a "poly" problem (an example of such, to me, would be reassuring a partner that you love them just as much as ever, while falling in love with another as well).

Simply engaging in multiple relationships doesn't really have anything to do with wanting it both ways. Or perhaps I'm wrong?

PolyinPractice 09-23-2013 02:45 AM

Wrong section
 
Oops, meant this to be in "General Poly Discussions." Move, please? :)

LovingRadiance 09-23-2013 03:42 AM

Not sure how to move them-but if you send a pm to nycindie-I am pretty sure she knows how.

As for your topic-I agree.

kdt26417 09-23-2013 11:10 PM

I always heard it was "having your Kate and Edith, too." ;)

I'm not sure exactly how people came to associate poly with the cake-and-eat idea. Maybe something along the lines of, if you're only allowed to be in love with one person, you can't "waffle" between two people? or the fact that it's only legal to marry one person, so you can't be married to one person and wish you were married to another person at the same time.

Whatever the "reasoning" is, I certainly think you can "have it both ways" (meaning, "have both people"). Marrying two people remains illegal though, unfortunately, so I guess in that sense the cake-and-eat notion is true. You do have to choose one and only one of your partners to marry (or marry none of them).

I think my favorite poly movie is "December Bride" (came out in 1991). In it, a woman is in love with two brothers and lives with them as if they were both husbands to her, but technically marries neither. She gives birth to a daughter, and neither she nor the brothers are worried about who the "real" father is. (Spoiler alert ...) At the end of the show, the daughter is going to get married and "insists" that she have *one* father to give her away to the groom. So Mom finally relents, and chooses one of the brothers to marry. She finally "had" to give in to the idea that she "couldn't have her cake and eat it too," but it was clear that in her eyes, both brothers were still husbands to her. Anyway, the fact that she married so late in life is probably why the show is called "December Bride."

Some people find the saying itself annoying and silly. What's the point of having a cake if you can't eat it? Possible responses: Well once you eat your cake, then you don't "have" it anymore (except in your tummy). Or: Maybe it's a corrupted saying? Maybe the original was, "You can't have your *gingerbread house* and eat it too." That's true ... :)

london 09-24-2013 09:34 AM

I think it can be relevant when people want to form multiple relationships and then not bother to maintain any of them.

Emm 09-24-2013 09:54 AM

The saying has always made more sense to me as a contradiction if it's reversed; "To eat your cake and (still) have it too".

PolyinPractice 09-24-2013 12:46 PM

Additionally
 
I believe part of what bothers me about people that say that is the assumption that there is something greedy or hypocritical about being poly. It's not as if I'm saying I want multiple partners, then constantly complain about how much work it is to maintain those relationships. Or that I want poly for myself, but deny my partner the right to love others.

Yes, I do have bad days, and sometimes I complain about the problems of poly. But I've never gone to sleep at the end of the day not feeling grateful to be where I am.

PolyinPractice 09-24-2013 12:49 PM

Yes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by london (Post 233049)
I think it can be relevant when people want to form multiple relationships and then not bother to maintain any of them.

True. But even then, the saying doesn't quite apply does it? That's more of an issue of handling poly poorly, not wanting it both ways, UNLESS the person doesn't maintain and THEN wonders why their partner(s) "just doesn't/don't understand that he can love more than one person."

Marcus 09-24-2013 01:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PolyinPractice (Post 233064)
I believe part of what bothers me about people that say that is the assumption that there is something greedy or hypocritical about being poly.

As far as I can tell, an explicitly mono society (like the US) is going to find an idea like poly to be both greedy and hypocritical. Through strictly monogamous eyes, that's exactly how it looks.

If this is the case, then it also shouldn't surprise us that new poly folk fall victim to this kind of self-guilting mechanism. "I love both of them but I feel so greedy, and like I shouldn't be allowed to have all of this" or whatever. It is just values of a traditional monogamous society being grandfathered in to a relationship style in which they are not applicable. It can take some time to reset values which many of us have lived with out entire lives, and which continue to be reenforced by our environment.

There's no reason for me to assume that a traditional mono person (or poly person who still carries around those values) should understand and embrace a poly style of relating to people. It takes a particularly empathetic person to be able to look past their own values to try to understand someone elses.

YouAreHere 09-24-2013 02:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcus (Post 233068)
As far as I can tell, an explicitly mono society (like the US) is going to find an idea like poly to be both greedy and hypocritical. Through strictly monogamous eyes, that's exactly how it looks.

[...]

There's no reason for me to assume that a traditional mono person (or poly person who still carries around those values) should understand and embrace a poly style of relating to people. It takes a particularly empathetic person to be able to look past their own values to try to understand someone elses.

This.

Having been cast in the "victim" role, I believe some of this is also the belief that I'm getting shortchanged in my relationship - that I'm only getting P half-time, while P is getting a full-time relationship by virtue of having two halves - P is getting what he wants at everyone else's expense, basically. As one of my good friends said, "the math doesn't work!"

I still get the hesitant "okay" when I say that I'm good with what we have. My kids don't need P around 24/7, they DON'T need another parent, the alone time is GOOD for me (someone who's never lived alone before and could use the experience), and ferchrissakes, I need time to clean the house at SOME point. :p

I get half his TIME, but my relationship is still full. My friends who feel he's being greedy don't understand that.


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