Big + for the Star Trek references.
Now, is having relationships a privilege? Sure is. Is being in a situation when you can afford to open yourself to romance rather than work on day to day survival? Sure is. But having TV or a car are privileges too (for the record, I don't have access to either). So is having a computer or the Internet (I have access to both).
In the Western world, many things we take for granted are privileges, from being able to eat every day to owning more than one outfit. Very few people have all the privileges, very few have none.
Some is down to luck, some is down to choice.
When living on little money (I've been on welfare for a while), you learn very fast about choices. I haven't bought clothes in years, so my current (and unique) pair of pants has 3 buttonholes next to one another, as I create a new one every time I lose enough weight that my jeans get loose.
But being unemployed and on welfare also means I would have time to have many relationships, if I wanted to. And it seems to me live-in polyamory is a better economic model, since you pull in the resources of more people together in a single household.
Otherwise, I do agree my experience has mostly been with white polys. I think it's easier to be out if you're not already discriminated against for other stuff, though.
Ultimately, because I see polyamory as an orientation, I don't see it as a privilege. Being able to practice it, yes, that's a privilege. Being polyamorous? Not really. In many places over the world, it might mean that you'll need to keep that shut and stick to the one spouse you're allowed to have while being miserable for not being able to be with the other person(s) you love. Which, you know, is better than nothing for sure, but sucks as far as "privileges" go.
EDIT: finished reading the post, so below are my comments on the other points:
- About the abuse:
I would have thought that more people meant more potential for someone to notice the abuse, and therefore that the abusers would avoid that kind of arrangement (after all one important part of abuse is isolating your victim, and if they're polyamorous, they have many other people to run to if you hurt them, and many people to confirm to them that it's wrong, people to be witness and prevent gaslighting, etc).
However I do see the point that was made about peer pressure. If the other partners are fine, then I should suck it up. I guess it can happen. I can't say I've noticed that people say things about letting your partner treat others unfairly because it's not your relationship, though. What your partner does with others (partners, friends, family) is going to affect how you view them and as a result whether you want to stay with them. I don't see why it should be different for polyamory.
As for vetoes, I've always seen them as a "no reason asked, no reason given" kind of thing, when you just say no. I assume that when you have legitimate concerns about a person and brings them up to your partner, it hardly counts as a veto.
- About poly as an orientation:
Funny that I talked about it earlier in my post. I think it being an orientation is no excuse for bad conduct, but I do certainly believe it's an orientation. But just like being a gay man and being forced into straight relationships doesn't exclude molesting other men, being polyamorous never has and never will excuse cheating. Hell, I can't go to a poly forum or other place of discussion without constantly hearing "cheating isn't poly" or "he's cheating, so he's not poly".
Personally, I think you can be poly AND a cheater. I think using poly as an excuse to cheat is wrong, but I also think that dismissing anyone who cheats as "not poly" so that the poly label stays "pure" is wrong too. Whether the person is poly or not is independent from whether or not they're an asshole. I might have more sympathy for them is they are polyamorous and never realised they had the option to be true to themselves, but I'll also remember that when I was placed in that situation, I talked to my husband about it, I didn't cheat behind his back, and I knew there was a chance he would leave him, or tell me he wasn't okay with it, in which case I would have left.
(Sadly he told me he was fine with it even though it wasn't, which was probably the worse response possible. Would have saved us a few years if he had been honest about it, but hindsight is 20/20 I guess).
So yeah, if you're in a relationship and you fall in love with someone else, the moral options are repressing it or talking with your partner (at the end of which discussion you can open your relationship or end it, or I guess go the repressing route but with your spouse aware of it). Cheating and lying isn't going to be ethical. Hell I came clean to my husband to make sure I wouldn't cheat, because the idea I might do that someday along the line was killing me.
You can cheat and then come back from it and become a decent person, but you have to take responsibility for the cheating first.
Last edited by Tonberry; 09-15-2012 at 04:58 AM.