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Old 11-13-2012, 05:29 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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Default Observation - Imposing Perspectives (reinstated thread)

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Rory originally posted:

Quote:
Note - this is a post not inspired by any specific person or place.

I feel sometimes certain perspectives or ways to understand the world are imposed on other people's experiences. Nothing poly-specific of course: this kind of thing happens all the time. In part I think it's a human thing - we tend to imagine others experience things as we do. And it's often something we are blind to until somebody with a different perspective points it out.

Despite being human and understandable, it's also related to power; often it is individuals in dominant groups that get to speak for everybody. I mean, that's probably one reason many of us are here on the forum: because here it is not the monogamous perspective that prevails.

I am sure I have so many blind spots myself. Everybody can only write and speak from their own perspective. All I can do is try to be considerate that there are other points of view, try to look at my own biases when they are pointed out to me, and not attempt to speak for others.

Anyway, I'd like to open up discussion about how inclusive people feel poly spaces (such as, but not limited to, this forum) are. Do you feel you are sometimes speaking from some kind of minority position? Do you feel some commonplace understandings don't have much to do with your life? Are there perspectives that you feel are imposed on your life, that don't fit?
Quote:
I'll start by listing a few perspectives I feel are sometimes imposed on my relationships.

One way is using the term swinging as synonymous for sexually open relationship. I feel swinging is something quite geographically specific to US (and maybe other countries?), it's a culture in itself, and I, coming from elsewhere, don't relate. Therefore somebody describing me as, e.g., "swinger in addition to poly", feels as imposing a foreign (hetero- and ethnocentric) concept on how I see my relationships and activities.

There is also another thing, which comes more from (Western) cultural assumptions (which I have also grown up among in Europe) and is simply carried onto poly. That is (married-) couplecentrism. I also see the whole hierarchy-debate linked to this. I don't doubt other people (e.g. solo polys) will have things to say about couplecentrism from their perspectives, but I want to write from mine. I'm offended by being defined in terms of my relationships, or in terms of my marriage. I feel there's something gendered in this, too, with the culture seeing men as persons and women as defined by their relationships.

Anyway, I don't appreciate being seen as half-of-couple(s) [haha, if I'm half of two couples, does that total a whole person?]. I find it slightly harder to come up with concrete examples of situations where this happens, but I'll get back to you when I do.

Still, couplecentric ways of approaching poly feel foreign to me. One example is the whole framework that insists of seeing romantic relationships in a hierarchy. I don't much care what people do in their own relationships, but I don't appreciate people using hierarchical perspectives to define my relationship life. I don't see my romantic relationships in a hierarchy any more than I see my friendships in one. Besides, I feel there's something ugly in the view of relationships as competition in the cultural assumptions from which I see this coming from. There is something very narrow in a perspective that cannot accept that other people don't necessarily have any common ground with that understanding. I also feel that the prevalence of the hierarchy-model and -debate is something that forces everybody to relate to that framework if only by rejecting it. I feel being forced to continuously position myself with regards to the hierarchy framework has harmful influence on the way I would otherwise view the world.
Then Boring Guy posted:

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rory
Still, couplecentric ways of approaching poly feel foreign to me. One example is the whole framework that insists of seeing romantic relationships in a hierarchy. I don't much care what people do in their own relationships, but I don't appreciate people using hierarchical perspectives to define my relationship life. I don't see my romantic relationships in a hierarchy any more than I see my friendships in one. Besides, I feel there's something ugly in the view of relationships as competition in the cultural assumptions from which I see this coming from. There is something very narrow in a perspective that cannot accept that other people don't necessarily have any common ground with that understanding. I also feel that the prevalence of the hierarchy-model and -debate is something that forces everybody to relate to that framework if only by rejecting it. I feel being forced to continuously position myself with regards to the hierarchy framework has harmful influence on the way I would otherwise view the world.

This is why I think the term "poly couple" does not make sense. Yes, people who are dabbling in or thinking about opening their monogamous relationships are going to use that term because it invokes the paradigm they are already used to. But I think it's an oxymoron.

I find it amusing when a relationship that has been part of a non-monogamous "network" (hate the n-word applied to relationships but it is convenient and conveys the idea satisfactorily) fails or ends and monogamous people (friends, acquaintances, and spectators) act all smug and superior and say things like, "That's why *I* would never try that" - as if a break-up between non-monogamous people somehow "proves" that non-monogamy "doesn't work".

Most people seeking anecdotal evidence that their own choices are the "right" ones - if someone else does something differently and it works for them, that's like saying the first person is "doing it wrong". If someone else does something differently and it fails (or ends), then that provides the first person with the perceived assurance that they are "doing it right".
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