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Old 12-14-2012, 09:29 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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Do you believe couple privilege exists? How would you define it? (Or how would you adjust my proposed definition?)

Definition: "Couple privilege" would be the "couple" in question inside a polyship having "special rights" or "special immunity" granted to it by all players in the group.

If all the people are cool with granting that, who am I to argue? It's their polyship to run.

Problems could arise when SOME of the polyship people EXPECT without stating it to all. Or even if all initially agreed, but the people do not make room for adjsuting it when this limitation no longer fits/works for all. Time changes wants, needs, and limits.

I would not want this for myself in polyshipping as a HARD LIMIT. I prefer a co-primary model. My spouse is further along in relationship with me. Cannot expect a person I just start to date to be on the same footing as a 19 year old relationship! He's on my will! But it would be on the understanding that "some things are earned" with due passage of time and it would be working toward a "co-primary polyship."

I could see "couple privilege" as a soft limit thing in certain situations.

How have you seen couple privilege manifest in poly/open relationships? (Examples)

Sure. "You can have sex but don't have feelings" is a classic common expectation designed to honor "couple privilege." There the couple has dibs on feelings. (And it frequently falls apart for not being realistic/reasonable!)

It pops up in time management -- deal with couple/family things first, everyone else second on the calendar. If the others are fine with that, it could work out.

Ex: One of my friends is divorced, coparenting, and a secondary for several years. He maintains his flat, GF lives with her spouse and her meta in their home. They both deal in raising their children so I get the impression that it is "arrange the kid stuff first then deal with the rest" over there.

The polyshippers understand that children's needs are what they are so they roll with it. Sometimes the "couple" is not adults, but "parent-child" couplings that need that "couple privilege" in place for a time. The kids won't be kids forever, and then we don't have to deal with kiddie bedtimes and babysitting and custody visitations times and whatnot.

I could see it in pregnancy -- metas understanding that baby could choose to be born whenever or pregnancy problems could arise and that could mean BAM! Everyone to hospital STAT! There's another place for reasonable "couple privilege" and the couple in question is the "mother and pending baby." Everyone (including the father!) has to orbit around that couple's needs first for a time.

Maybe the couple wants "couple privilege" to be able to present to society as the known couple because the polyship is not out because of risk to career, where they live and hate crime, who knows.

Again, it depends on what the polyshipping people want for their polyship and what rights/immunity they want to grant each other when.

Is couple privilege harmful, neutral or beneficial in poly/open relationships, or in the poly/open community? Why or why not?

If all parties agree to it, great. It could help them navigate life transitions (ex: new baby coming!) better because everyone understands that for this bracket of time, roles are THIS right now.

If all parties in the polyship do NOT agree to granting that couple privilege for the reasons requested, best not to polyship together if the terms are not agreeable (start of polyship) or cannot be renegotiated (established polyship.)

INSISTING on couple privilege is harmful because it's not taking other people's wants, needs, and limits into consideration. It is selfish to impose your own way on others who are not willing. Best to break up. Then nobody is being selfish and all are free to pursue their next happiness.

How has couple privilege affected your personal experience of poly/open relationships? Specific examples or personal stories are welcome.

I'm supporting a friend in divorce hell right now. They Opened with the classic "sex but no deeper feelings than friends" and it blew up when love began. The husband has just gone plain beserk with jealous rage. 'Nuff said. Ugh.

People sometimes forget "couple privilege" is not just the "original couple" but all couples in the larger polyship.

Once I was a hinge. BF2 had a wigginz and demanded to know how soon after I was with him was I with BF1. I sternly called him into account to explain himself because that encroached on the agreement for TMI details.

Turns out he was feeling insecure because he was afraid I was comparing their bedroom skills.

I wasn't, and seeing me rear up to defend the right of THAT couple (BF1 + me) to have privacy in its tier reassured him. Because he knew if BF1 was being nosy in the other direction I'd rear up just the same to defend (BF2 + me) and that tier's right to privacy too!

I told him was willing to ask all to get together to renegotiate TMI wall agreement if all parties felt more comfortable sharing intimiate details now and the line had to change. But until such time I was going to stick with current agreement!

He said he felt a lot better and no, he was fine with agreement with how it stood. He was just having a jealousy flare up but got the reassurance he needed from me to be able to put it down.

In hindsight I marvel jealousy management in that grouping went along so well. Nobody had a problem stating "I am jealous right now! I need____" once they realized that is what they were feeling.

I suspect sometimes "couple privilege" is invoked to avoid having to process and deal with jealousy management issues. The people want to not to have to feel jealous at all.

Which is odd to me. It seems more effective to me to grow jealousy management skills strong, so when some flare up happens it can firmly be put out. To me jealousy is a "flag" emotion that isn't anything more than "a need is not being met. Look deeper here." Why ignore warning flags and let things fester under the surface? Be all "Nooo! I don't want to see flags!" That is not healthy seeming to me.

How would you like to see couple privilege addressed in the poly/open community at large?

What community? Polyships are DIY. The polyship people write their own story for their polyship.

Ideally? Each group addresses the reality of relationship management in healthy and appropriate ways because the people in question who want to try being together are realistic, reasonable and have good communication skills and conflict resolution skills. They want to be in a harmonious realtionship together where everyone's reasonable and realistic needs are mostly met so they can all thrive.

Everyone knows and states their wants, needs, and limits. Everyone takes the other people's wants, needs, and limits into consideration. They agree on the relationship model they want to pursue together -- whatever type it is.

They figure out how they want to be in right relationship to each other as a group -- what rights will be granted to whom, what responsibilities are assigned to whom, what expectations will be met by whom. And all the people are happy with the terms they create for themselves and have a plan in place for coping with the passage of time and fluctuations in wants, needs, and limits of the participants. People are not static objects.

It boils down to -- Make your initial agreements. Fly together for a time, making agreement adjustments as needed. Fly some more. When it's time to end it? End it well.

All relationships come with a clock attached. Even "til death to us part" is an ending. Plan to end well, when the ending time comes.

If you are part of a primary couple that chooses to handle relationships with additional intimate partners in hierarchical ways that may seem to reinforce couple privilege, what is your rationale or intent for those choices?

I already touched on that a bit above. Again, the "couple" in questions doesn't have to be the "original couple." It could other groupings. The polyship can agree to give these "couples" extra rights or immunity for a time for whatever reason the polyship finds acceptable.

If you eschew hierarchy and/or labels in your poly/open relationships, how do you “walk that talk” regarding couple privilege?

There's the banner I fly under with DH. Rights, responsibilities, and limits.

New potential partners are invited to look it over, negotiate to add their things that is not covered already, and if all can accept and adopt this new flag to fly under? Well, that's the flag the new polyship flies under then! All present and accountable.

I'm not going to just put a potential on my will or my house deed immediately like DH is! He's clocked 19 years here! But it is understood to be working toward co-primaryship and things like that could be on the table in due course of time. We have to let it unfold as it does and arrive there when it arrives.

If you are a non-primary partner or solo poly/open person, how have you adapted to couple privilege in terms of how you handle relationships and what you’re willing to accommodate?

Show me the money. What's the offer here?

I don't mind dating a married/partnered person but I want to know what kind of relationship you would be offering to ME. What are the terms? I'm willing to accommodate realistic, reasonable requests for things I'd put in the "couple privilege" bucket. But I have to feel my own voice is heard in that potential polyship too or else the offer just doesn't interest me.

I have my own wants, needs, and limits. *shrug*


Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-14-2012 at 09:32 PM.
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