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Old 10-08-2012, 01:55 PM
InquiringOne InquiringOne is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 20


First of all, thanks for all of the replies. I appreciate all of your thoughts, stories, and ideas.

One clarification on my part, and then I will respond to some of the individual points brought up. I did not mean to argue that poly people should just accept cheaters as friends or members of the forum without question or that they should accept cheating just because a lot of people do it. What I meant was that, every one has moral failings. Someone who cheats may be completely upstanding in every other relationship or way, and someone who is poly may be honest and respectful in love but a complete bastard in business, e.g. (I do think this is less likely though). Both of those people may have a lot to share and that can be learned from, except in the area of their moral failing, and even then they are examples of what not to do, right?

And I was trying to emphasize that the large number of cheaters shows that this is a very difficult path to take (choice A in my first post). I neglected a choice C which is to not cheat, and remain emotionally/sexually and otherwise unfulfilled. Many more people probably stick with this path for the same cultural reasons and pressures I mentioned about not taking path A. It is in ways dishonest to oneself instead of to others. That emphasizes even more how difficult it is for people to make the transition to choice A.

I'm sure the poly community is especially individualist, even within the Western world which is very individualist compared to other cultures. I tend to come at things from a structuralist perspective where yes individuals do make their own choices and of course are responsible for their actions, but larger things like culture, institutions, governmental policies, religious beliefs also tend to sway those decisions toward particular areas. Most of you have probably worked through much of that stuff on your own, I'm sure. Just giving you more of an idea where I was coming from.

Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe View Post

If you take the "hellfire" out of it (something that I can't speak to - I'm agnostic)...WHAT IF this is the only chance you get?, WHAT IF the span of your life on this earth is the sum total of your existence?, Is THIS how you wanted to have spent your only chance? I am not saying ("God forbid") to ignore your responsibilities or to break your promises - but would you rather be honest or spend your "one chance" living a lie...for years, and years, and years? I'd pick an honest separation/break-up over lies and deceit any day of the year....

I am an atheist myself so hellfire plays no role for me either, but it is the extreme example of a societal pressure to keep people in line on a particular behavior.

I also believe there is only one chance, and I tend to agree with the way you approach that JaneQ, which seems the healthiest way, but I don't think that's the way the majority of people do. In Thoreau's words, they often "lead lives of quiet desperation" unfortunately.

Originally Posted by Phy View Post
Hey there, welcome.

I always question someones motives and feelings when he/she is able to cheat on a partner, break the partner's trust and still claims to be so in love with him/her.
I won't judge them as far as they aren't involved with me and don't ask for my opinion. If that choice is valid for them, fine again. But I personally would never accept such behavior in my direct surrounding when I am involved.
Totally agree their motives, etc. should be questioned, and their behavior most likely discouraged, but I do think that these things are extremely complex and should be taken on a case-by-case basis, which is why I would also not judge them if I was not directly involved unless it's obvious that they are reckless with others' lives.

Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
But what value or enrichment could people who are lying bring to the community?

They can't help us figure out how to have respectful relationships with your metamours, because the metamours don't know about each other. They can't enter the conversation about how people deal with jealousy because they're attempting to skirt the issue of jealousy entirely. They can't speak to the process of coming out, or co-habiting with multiple partners, or when to introduce a new partner to the kids, or rules negotiations with your partners.

I would say that cheaters don't have a valuable role in the poly community because, aside from loving more than one person, which we already know how to do, they don't deal with any of the same issues, questions, or practicalities.
They are certainly not bringing value "as" cheaters. But that is only a piece of their identity and they may have other value to share. And I wouldn't really expect them to be accepted in unless they were transitioning to honesty and openness from cheating which maybe everyone already does and I'm just not aware of it.

Originally Posted by SkylerSquirrel View Post
Perhaps cheaters don't have anything of value to contribute to the poly community, but the poly community may have plenty of value to contribute to their lives. Especially, as InquiringOne described, those who would like to move from deceptive-cheater status to open-and-honest-poly status, but they are not sure how. If anyone has the resources to help them, we do.

I think the real question is: Can we help cheaters become non-cheaters, and if so, how?
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post

Yes, I've seen it happen here on the board! How? Not, I would say, by de-emphasizing the central importance of honesty, or by letting cheaters rationalize their behavior as a form of poly. Rather, by holding to our principles, kindly but firmly explaining why their actions are problematic, and showing by example that it's not just possible but preferable to live a life based on truth, even if it's hard.
In combination these two responses are very helpful. Thank you Skyler for re-framing the question in a way which got to the heart of something I couldn't express, and to Annabel for a concise answer about how to address it. I think what you describe is entirely fair. I guess in a way I just wanted to hear that the community does work in that capacity and is not dismissive of people as long as they are amenable to changing their problematic behaviors, because I haven't been here long enough to see it in action.

I will respond to the rest of the comments later. Thanks again.
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