"Dear Mr. and Mrs. UH, I'm not sure how to say this, but..."
Hey all. I thought about tacking this on to one of a couple of different related threads but decided it fit best as a stand alone.
I'm thinking about the way we as a community approach people who come to the boards seeking advice on a topic that we think is problematic. Particularly I'm thinking about the stereotypical "m/f couple seeking single f to join them in exclusive relationship" folks, though I imagine this question could apply to other issues.
I myself once held the unicorn-hunting dream close to my heart (from the unicorn's perspective). It took a long, slow period of reading, hearing other people's stories, and going through personal experiences to get to the point where I could say "gee, this concept has some issues with it and so I will let it go by the wayside as any sort of ideal." Now, when I see other people carrying around that same dream I try to take the time to say "hey, you may want to rethink this." As do many of us. Cuz we all want to help, yeah? Otherwise why would we be here.
But people don't like being told there's an issue with something close to their hearts... I probably wouldn't have liked it either back in the day. All too often they take it as a personal attack and/or they just don't seem to get what's being said.
On top of that, sometimes the people trying to give advice get really aggressive about the topic being discussed. I personally have read one too many upsetting accounts of third partners getting dumped in the midst of bad situations that could have been avoided with more knowledge and perspective, and so sometimes I get really heated, really upset, when I see the same old patterns repeating themselves in new posts. I have to remind myself that attacking people in no way whatsoever makes them more likely to hear you. And that situation X cannot necessarily be assumed to be a clone of situation Y just because they bear certain outward similarities.
In multiple instances, people have fled the boards because of feeling attacked. Were they being too sensitive? Or do we need to chill out about how we approach folks? If the goal is really to help anyone who comes here to be helped, how best can we do that? Is it even possible to help someone who's deadset on a narrow triadic vision of poly to understand why they might want to broaden their horizons, or is this something that generally people need to come to themselves, through experience? Is it mere hubris and projection to even think that we *should* be trying to "help" people in such a fashion, or should we just let them be?
The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.