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-   -   Mirror Mirror (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6578)

Fayerweather 02-10-2011 12:16 PM

Mirror Mirror
 
Feeling a little fed up with the judgement coming my way from friends and family about my Poly lifestyle. While I suppose it could be worse (my friends and family are generally accepting of the way I live my life), there is a semi-constant undercurrent of judgement and disapproval that runs through my interactions with them when I mention anything about my partners or partner's partner.

My mother often makes barely veiled suggestions that one of my boyfriends is better/more successful/nicer than the other and that I should break up with the one and stay with the other. My mother, sister and women friends often imply slyly that I'm more attractive/nicer/or better than my boyfriend's girlfriend. She and I are close and I love her very much, so these implications are hurtful and irritating to say the least.

What is even more frustrating is that I'm beginning to see Polyamory as a mirror that you hold up to people's fears and insecurities. Every time I come out to someone in my life, I'm instantly confronted with homophobia (I'm not gay/bi and neither are my partners or my partner's partner), or fierce disclaimers that they could NEVER do that sort of thing.

It seems as if the way I choose to love is a direct reminder to every mono person in my life of every tiny little insecurity or fear they might have. Fear of their own partner's possible infidelity, fear of change, fear of jealousy or fears about their sense of worth in their relationships. It's really a stunning example of psychological projection at work

I know it's up to me to just live my life the way that makes me happy, but reactions like this make me want to get the word out about Polyamory in a BIG WAY. It's just weighing on me a little extra this week I guess.

Well thank you for listening to my rant. Anyone else have ways of dealing with judgements or examples of things to do in these situations?

RfromRMC 02-10-2011 01:47 PM

Oh many of us here know exactly what you're talking about!

I've read some say that the Polyamory community is sorta where the gay rights movement was thirty or so years ago----you get some limited acceptance here and there from the more liberal-minded, and then everyone else acts like it's some gross oddity.

I don't think I've ever seen the word Polyphobia out there...but I am sure it exists. But I think it says more about those people than it says about you and how you live.

For instance, while most monogamous gays have been accepting of us, there's others that are giving us many of those snide remarks you've been getting. But get this...after some probing into their thoughts, I've come to realize that most of the guys who say these things are actually jealous of us!

And the more and more I look into it, the more I think polyphobia is built out of a jealousy. I can't count the number of times I've heard "I can't hardly get even one man and you got two!!". :rolleyes:

Society has forced the notion of monogamy, even though there's mounds of evidence out there that says it really isn't natural. So some folks who probably deep down inside, in the back of their minds, would love to have multiple partners....lash out that they feel they just can't!

So anyways...that's my theory. Best I can do is explain, that they've really nothing to be jealous of....having multiple partners is not easier than having one. But of course, they'll deny up and down any jealousy! ;)

Ithink 02-11-2011 05:40 AM

I agree with you and think there IS Polyphobia out there. Two things that burn my butt are:
1. People that automatically think Polygamous when you say Polyamory and IMMEDIATELY go down that path of "I think it's sick that a 65 year old man should have (insert number here) 14 year old girls as his wives." What has that got to do with Polyamory???
2. Who gave society the right to make any judgement at all about what consenting adults are doing in the privacy of their own homes??

Sorry, I'm getting worked up just typing this...I should probably avoid these topics. :)
IThink.

ImaginaryIllusion 02-11-2011 06:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fayerweather (Post 65735)

My mother often makes barely veiled suggestions that one of my boyfriends is better/more successful/nicer than the other and that I should break up with the one and stay with the other. My mother, sister and women friends often imply slyly that I'm more attractive/nicer/or better than my boyfriend's girlfriend. She and I are close and I love her very much, so these implications are hurtful and irritating to say the least.

Annoying though it may be, it's probably automatic...
They're most likely stuck in the script...the closest fit is the one that people use when they have to support their family/friend after a breakup...the one where they tear down and disparage the ex's new squeeze to help the friend feel better.
Understanding that might not make their comments any better, but knowing that it's a default behavior might open the possibility to try and reprogram it, or at least give them a different script to work on. Maybe one that doesn't have to involve them getting down on your meta's.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Fayerweather (Post 65735)

What is even more frustrating is that I'm beginning to see Polyamory as a mirror that you hold up to people's fears and insecurities. Every time I come out to someone in my life, I'm instantly confronted with homophobia (I'm not gay/bi and neither are my partners or my partner's partner), or fierce disclaimers that they could NEVER do that sort of thing.

I have no actual experience in dealing with this kind of reaction...although I'm sure it'll happen eventually.

I have this thing where if I'm talking about my favorite movie or something, and someone tells me very abruptly about how they didn't like that movie, my default response is to say, "well, that's your problem" and I carry on with whatever the point was.

So my first inclination as I read this thing about their disclaimers, would be to console them and tell them something to the effect of "That's ok, I'll still love you (as a friend) anyways" :p


Quote:

Originally Posted by Fayerweather (Post 65735)

It seems as if the way I choose to love is a direct reminder to every mono person in my life of every tiny little insecurity or fear they might have. Fear of their own partner's possible infidelity, fear of change, fear of jealousy or fears about their sense of worth in their relationships. It's really a stunning example of psychological projection at work

Yes, yes it is.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ithink (Post 65884)

2. Who gave society the right to make any judgement at all about what consenting adults are doing in the privacy of their own homes??

The short answer...our great great grandparents by policy, and ourselves by submission or apathy. We'll have to see if the Charter and Trudeau's thoughts about the bedrooms of the nation will hold. I still have hopes for the Reference Case...it's just too bad it won't do much for our southern neighbors. :(

Fidelia 02-13-2011 02:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fayerweather (Post 65735)
Anyone else have ways of dealing with judgements or examples of things to do in these situations?

I deal with these situations by not creating them. I have never made any big "coming out" announcements. Nor do I make any effort to conceal my polyamory. I simply live my life, and do my best to walk my own authentic path.

When someone asks me a question about my personal romantic life, I decide whether to answer it using the same criteria as if they had asked any other very personal question. (i.e. What do you weigh? Why don't you have children? Who did you vote for?) If I think the motivation behind the question is harmless, I answer it simply and directly, and am prepared to have a frank and open discussion about it. If I think the asker is less benignly motivated (by say, nosiness or malice) I deflect the question using Miss Manners' techniques. (Simply responding "Why do you ask?" is enough flummox many or most nosy nellies, especially when delivered with just the right lift of the eyebrows. Pressed further, I might say something along the lines of "I don't discuss such personal topics with just anyone.")

But I don't generally make my romantic life a topic of conversation.

Fayerweather 02-15-2011 02:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fidelia (Post 66189)
I deal with these situations by not creating them. I have never made any big "coming out" announcements. Nor do I make any effort to conceal my polyamory. I simply live my life, and do my best to walk my own authentic path.

When someone asks me a question about my personal romantic life, I decide whether to answer it using the same criteria as if they had asked any other very personal question. (i.e. What do you weigh? Why don't you have children? Who did you vote for?) If I think the motivation behind the question is harmless, I answer it simply and directly, and am prepared to have a frank and open discussion about it. If I think the asker is less benignly motivated (by say, nosiness or malice) I deflect the question using Miss Manners' techniques. (Simply responding "Why do you ask?" is enough flummox many or most nosy nellies, especially when delivered with just the right lift of the eyebrows. Pressed further, I might say something along the lines of "I don't discuss such personal topics with just anyone.")

But I don't generally make my romantic life a topic of conversation.

Good ideas! I'm trying to come to terms with not being out at my job. Although it's not exactly the best place to start talking about my sex/love life, I've worked there for over a decade and spend most of my time with these people. My co-workers know about boyfriend#1, but not about his other gf or about boyfriend #2. I hide a big part of my life partly by omission and partly out of fear that I'll be judged or people will pry cruelly into my private life with pushy questions and shocked expressions. If that does happen to go down, I plan on using your suggestions to stave them off. Thanks :D

Fidelia 02-15-2011 05:41 AM

You're very welcome! Glad to be of service.

If I may offer one more observation:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fayerweather (Post 65735)
. . . there is a semi-constant undercurrent of judgement and disapproval that runs through my interactions with them when I mention anything about my partners or partner's partner.

Can you see that you are creating these situations? If you know that the outcome is going to be undesirable (judgement and disapproval) why are you continuing to bring it up? If you want to change the outcome, change your approach.

Fayerweather 02-15-2011 02:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fidelia (Post 66475)
You're very welcome! Glad to be of service.

If I may offer one more observation:



Can you see that you are creating these situations? If you know that the outcome is going to be undesirable (judgement and disapproval) why are you continuing to bring it up? If you want to change the outcome, change your approach.

I get what you're saying, but I keep bringing it up because I want the right to talk about the people in my life that mean a lot to me. Why is it alright for my friend to gush about her valentines day presents from her husband, but I have to keep my mouth shut about the nice thing my bf's gf did for him for V-Day? I don't want to shove polyamory in the faces of those I care about, but this doesn't really have to do with polyamory, it has to do with my freedom to talk about what goes on in inter-personal relationships that affect me and my life.

I [I]have[I] noticed that if I leave my partner's partner out of the equation and just talk about one boyfriend at a time, it gets a better response, but boy am I sick of censoring myself!

River 02-15-2011 02:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fayerweather (Post 65735)
What is even more frustrating is that I'm beginning to see Polyamory as a mirror that you hold up to people's fears and insecurities.

This is a powerful insight. Use it toward your freedom -- including your emotional freedom. You need not be bothered by the foolishness and ignorance of fools and ....

Edit (adding): This is why we need an International Polyamory Coming Out Day! We're socially and politically invisible, which means the general public is plain ignorant about us. Their ignorance allows them to paint us in the worst imagined light.

River 02-15-2011 02:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fidelia (Post 66475)

Can you see that you are creating these situations? If you know that the outcome is going to be undesirable (judgement and disapproval) why are you continuing to bring it up? If you want to change the outcome, change your approach.

Fidelia,

Actually, this is a hurtful suggestion, though I'm certain you didn't intend to be hurtful. I know it well because I used to live in the gay/bi closet, and know how damaging that has been to my psyche and development -- but it was essentially forced upon me by the heterosexist and homophobic culture I lived in at the time. (There were zero out gay/bi men/people in my neighborhoods growing up.)

What you have done here, Fidelia, is suggested that Fayerweather remain in the closet (or, if out already, at least shut up about her life and loves). But that's actually the harder and more painful path than the truth and vulnerability.


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