I appreciate what I have, and so I use what I got.
I was looking on here to see where I thought I might want to dig into some more reading, and then I saw this category for "blogging" about our experiences. This had an immediate appeal to me, since it was something I was talking with greeneyes about last night. I think I would prefer to do this non-anonymously, but she is not ready for that, so I'm glad we have this place where I can do so in a more intimate, more anonymous environment (thus the posting title).
Forgive me if I don't start from the beginning, I really don't like to use that story-telling convention, anyway. I'll undoubtedly include stuff from the past, but I'm going to stay in the hear and now. Right now, I feel like I want to put something out there to the other minds of the "noosphere" or the global sapience, if you will. Thank you for letting me bounce my ideas off of you. I hope to treat your thoughts with respect and you with reverence, as I feel we all deserve =-)
This discussion my partner and I have begun which has brought us to a polyamory forum is uncovering issues that I don't believe were quite so visible before. I doubt that is a unique experience, heh. I appreciate the opportunity to learn and understand more about greeneyes, because she is the sun around which my solar system revolves =-x I hesitate to call where we are "polyamory" or even an "open relationship." As I mentioned in my intro, I am very committed to Ⓐnarchism ("non-rulership"), not merely as a "political" position, but as underlying structure to my philosophy on just about all things (striving for all things).
For myself, I leave open all possibilities including the idea that we never find people with whom to take action as it relates to (what I'll call) "sexual anarchism," but I also believe that our relationship has gotten better since the declaration that my sexuality will not be owned.
I look at an arrangement like "traditional marriage" as a kind of sexual capitalism, and popular references betray the widespread understanding people have of this (even if it is rare to be acknowledged openly). "Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?" is the first example that comes to mind. A cow and a wife (old form of "woman") are both bridal-ed/bridled to their respective husbands, and go on to provide milk for *his* family's nourishment. I never deny the "lifestyle choice" aspect of my Lesbianism. In my mind, it is a choice I have been very happy with, and I am always glad to see other formerly "straight" people choose to experiment with their own "Queer" nature. I put Queer in quotes there, because I don't really see anything strange about being Queer. To the contrary, I used to be an active member of the Republican Party :: pause for chuckle :: , and I can tell you that the phrase "methinks thou doth protest to much" could almost certainly NEVER be over-applied to the intersection of religious fundamentalism and human sexuality, LOLZ!
I'm realizing that the biggest change so far is an increased sense of forthrightness between greeneyes and myself. I have always endeveavored to deal with her in the most honest way, but there's just not time in the day for "the whole truth" of life, so by neccessity we pick and choose what to say and what doesn't need to be said.
I'm realizing that certain things that fell in the "doesn't need to be said" category were ending up there because I was just uncomfortable talking about them, and I think I was using "not enough time" as an excuse to avoid opening up about certain topics.
Last night I went out with friends while greeneyes wanted to stay home and spend some time with her art. I ran into a young lady (as in "too young for me") at the bar who I know. Although I have suspected at other times that she may have some attraction to me, I've never seen fit to mention it. Now that greeneyes and I have become open to discussing our sexuality in all senses, I was able to share my suspicions with greeneyes last night. I was glad to see that I could share it as a suspicion, she heard me, and then that was pretty much it. She didn't seem distraught or suspicious that there was something more to what I was saying than exactly that =-)
I know there have been some tears, but so far I think we're both happier =-)
So, three days ago, a friend of ours called up from out of the blue and eventually made his way around to asking about polyamory. He's younger and originally from Latin America, now living in the USA, so he was seeking some advice about making sense of this, particularly in a North American context.
Fast forward to last night, and while a friend was over, both greeneyes and myself ended up mentioning polyamory. Greeneyes does not even remember that she had mentioned it (I could have had a false memory), but it was definitely mentioned by at least me, and without looking to mention it.
On top of this, I went to look at a friend's FB thread where she was talking about looking for work, and the thread had already mentioned polyamory, so I took the opportunity to weigh in with some thoughts.
I don't know where this is going, and I'm trying my best to neither push, nor resist, only to let happen whatever will happen. I feel that the hive mind or community consciousness is pulling me toward something. What it is, I cannot say, but I'm oh so curious...
Actually... now that I think about it, I may have gotten a "clue" where it all heads... greeneyes has been relatively timid towards the idea in general, but last night I had mentioned something from my more sexually crazy 20's that struck a chord, and next thing you know we're discussing a "blackout warehouse party" for 4-5 friends.
The question that lingers is in which friends to approach how. Hmmm.....
timidness, trepidation, etc...
I have noted that on this forum, and on other poly sites, an emphasis on "not dragging one's feet," and this seems to relate to how long you drag out "the inevitable"- that is to say, the facing of one's fears- before confronting those fears head-on.
Angeleyes and I have had different ways of dealing with fear throughout our lives- or maybe it's better said that we have had different ways of prioritizing the fears that we choose to confront, if that makes sense.
We talked this morning about my "blackout warehouse party" thoughts and I was a bit defensive, because I felt like she was already in the planning stages and I was still at the "this is a sorta cool fantasy" stage. We figured out how to dissolve the defensiveness if this kind of thing happens in the future- it's more about reassurance than anything, I think.
But I wonder how many poly people feel that they are being "held back" by monogamy, and end up pushing their partners (mono or not) to go forward with experiences that the partners may not feel secure in doing? It seems like this is approached in this community with a bit of an "it's-for-your-own-good" mentality, which seems a tad patronizing and coercive.
I guess that I feel like real consent means that both parties need to show enthusiasm for what's about to happen. If that enthusiasm doesn't emerge organically at the outset, that doesn't mean that the person who's hesitant is somehow flawed or wrong about having misgivings. Loving and caring discussion about difficult boundaries is one thing, and it's another to take on the responsibility of pushing another person's limits "for their own good." Hmmm.
One thing that I do fear is that moment when I know that I'll have to swim or sink. I have a very profound love for Angeleyes, and my first instinct with her a lot of the time is to just do what she desires, even when it conflicts with my own needs. I believe a lot of the time our less pleasant conversations arise when I am trying to balance my love for her and wish to demonstrate that love with a need to stand up for myself and have my boundaries respected. I get overly emotional and sometimes end up saying the wrong things or being very defensive and guarded.
I will say that this non-monogamy discussion has led us to have much better understanding of each other.
On this particular forum there is a big push (having been on here for over a year) to "go as slow as the slowest person in the relationship is comfortable".
I wonder-are you refering to a poly-community when you say that there seems to be a push?
In my experience (which has been a nightmare in many ways so please take this with a grain of salt)
the biggest issue is each party understanding that first and foremost they ARE individuals. I'll try to explain what I mean.
It is PERFECTLY ok to not do something that you are not comfortable with. It's not perfectly ok to tell someone else to not do something that they are comfortable doing.
SO-if I want to have two lovers-that should be my right.
IF on the other hand my lovers do not wish to have more than one lover, that should be their right.
ALSO it should be their right not to participate in 3somes (or more) with me if they do not wish to.
In fact it should be their right not to participate in sex with ME if they aren't comfortable doing that.
But it's not reasonable when a person takes their own "limitations" and attempts to press them upon someone else's actions/behaviors.
Now where this gets complicated with Poly-is that it's COMMON for people to think, well, if he dates another person TOO-then I should have a say-so in it. That's fine if BOTH of you agree to that limitation-but if one of you doesn't, the basic rule that you can only control yourself comes back into play.
For me, I see this when Maca shows an interest in being with me and another woman-it's not my place to tell him he CAN'T be with another woman, but I can say I AM NOT GOING TO BE.
I can also say that if HE isn't agreeable to safer sex practices I am not willing to have sex with him, but I can't tell him that he HAS to follow those practices just because it's my preference.
Too often the "slower one" in the relationship isn't trying to limit their own behavior/actions-they are trying to control/limit the OTHER person's behavior/actions.
Ok, that's getting long. I apologize if it's off track or confusing....
I apologize-I really ought to have said first,
welcome to the forum!
That was very rude of me.
I'm usually more gracious-I'm having a rough day, but that is NO excuse for being insensitive!
I hope that you find yourself feeling welcome and learning much. There are many people on here with great personalities, lots of friendly "faces".
... Hello, Loving Radiance :-)
I think that in my post the nebulous "poly stuff" I had in my mind were some things I had remembered reading about jealousy, etc. on Franklin Leveaux's site, which I've seen mirrored on this forum to a certain degree and which have also been reflected in the thoughts of one of our close friends who is also poly, and has been a member of the community for quite some time.
I agree with what your saying, about nobody having any right to mandate what another person does. I wanted to comment on this particular part:
"But it's not reasonable when a person takes their own "limitations" and attempts to press them upon someone else's actions/behaviors. "
My question here is, who or what is the ultimate arbiter of what is reasonable, or unreasonable, and is that reasonable-ness applied equally on both sides of the debate?
It seems to be a widely accepted theory that love-styles happen to a person, there is a lot of talk of "hard-wiring." I don't necessarily believe that the precise ways that a person expresses love or the need for love are programmed into DNA. Human brains are much more adaptable than that, from what I can tell. Sometimes I read what people are saying here about both monogamy and polyamory and it sounds like they are describing "afflictions" because they "have no control" or they "have no choice" in how they love other people.
Every case is different, and in any event that a person is threatened with harm or mental abuse, that is a very oppressive form of control. It's incredibly harmful. However, folks seem to be pretty naturally inclined to try and manipulate (in the mechanical sense of the word) stuff so that their basic survival needs can be met. In some folks this - instinct?- manifests itself in really wretched ways. In other folks it expresses itself in fairly productive ways. (I mean, if you are riding a bicycle you want to maintain some kind of control if you don't want road-rash.)
When 2 folks (or more!) get together, they cohabitate or just maintain relationships between one another, some kind of manipulation (again in the purely mechanical sense) is always going on. In my mind, a poly person's reasoning of "I just can't help it" isn't any more valid than a mono person's "I just can't help it," and vice versa. The science doesn't seem to be there to uphold one over the other as some kind of genetic condition- these are very abstract concepts, human creations. I have a lot of respect for the folks on here with mono/poly relationships that seem to be working out well... it shows some very deep commitment to people in a general sense. But I tend to think that choice is there for the poly as much as it is for the mono...
I mean on Franklin's page he talks about monogamy being primarily based on fear and the need for control. I could just as easily see polyamory being based on fear and a need for control as well, just different kinds of fear and different kinds of control, if that makes sense.
Sorry to ramble. But it's very thought-provoking, this discussion :-D
It's too late for me to give an in depth response. I'll aim to tomorrow.
But short reply-I don't believe that we "can't help it". ANYONE.
I believe that EVERYONE can help how they choose to behave-if they choose to.
I acknowledge that this isn't COMMON. Most people REACT instead of choosing to ACT.
I also do believe that it is unreasonable for a Poly person to demand anyone to behave specific ways for them, and just as unreasonable for a Mono person to demand another person behave specific ways for them.
We all can control only ourself. We can choose to stay with or leave a person-but when we try to change or control them-we are beating our head against a wall we weren't meant to beat our head against.
Better off allowing people to learn their lessons on their clock and focus our attention on learning the lessons we need to learn.
Easier said than done-don't look at me for a perfect example. I'm "getting the picture" and in seeing it-seeing that I've sucked at it.
I'm striving to improve.
I think there is a fundamental question as to mindset. North American culture is very entrenched in codification, hierarchy, taxonomy, the "machine metaphor", and contract language. I think attempting to deal with organic issues in a way which reflects (simple, artificial) machine theory quickly leads to problematic models and thinking.
I was just commenting on another thread saying that having a "right" is very different than something actually being a good idea. I have a right to myself, my body, my sexuality. No one may "own" these things, no one may claim an exclusive right to the use of some part of me.
But let's take this out of the sexual realm... greeneyes has no "right" to tell me what I can or can't say behind her back. Still, would I go making up hurtful things to say about her? Of course not! Similarly, while I may have a "right" to go do with whomever, whatever I want, I'm a fool if I act as though my actions (even "well within my rights") have no effect on the world around me (including my partner), and that these effects never come back on me.
As I look at it, even if the issue here is the fear within the more jealous partner, the less jealous partner is not going to help matters with "shock therapy." To the extent that the issue really is jealousy, or fear, or whatever, then talk about *that*, show compassion for *those* things, and leave the sex talk to the side.
I mean come on, you know you're gonna get back to the sex talk at some point :: raised eyebrow ::
I agree with most of what you're saying here, if not all of it. The observation I was making was not in order to justify controlling the actions of another, in an authoritarian sense, but to point out that humans do spend a good deal of energy attempting to control their own environments, any person, whether they are poly or mono or absolutely celibate and asexual with no interest in any kind of romance. I did not mean to assume that you, loving radiance, held any particular belief, but that it seems to be a popularly represented one here and with other poly resources I have looked at.
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