I agree with Ceoli that the words do not mean different things between the mono and poly "worlds." Not if we're going by dictionary definitions (People switch back and forth as it suits them usually.) The way that the concepts behind these words manifest themselves in monogamous and polyamorous people's lives is what differs. The shape the relationship takes in monogamy and in polyamory is the difference here.
Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG
I've come to a very recent acceptance that there are two languages at play all around me. I see this here and at the monthly Poly meetings I attend and even in my discussions with Redpepper. There is essentially two languages being spoken when the mono world meets the poly world. Words that have immediate and understandable meanings to one world are different for the other.
This is an interesting dilemma as we attempt to move poly into the mainstream so that it in effect becomes mainstream.
There will inevitably be long drawn out debates about what a single word means. People will be passionate on both sides. Reclamation will face off against tradition. Societal norms will be questioned and challenged while others will be judged and marginalized.
This is a fascinating time to be a part of the expanding poly world as it spreads in openness and understanding. Hopefully both sides will be able to communicate to the point where there is no longer the presence of "both sides" and all is left is acceptance.
There are already warriors in play on both sides in the media, in public forums and in person. And me?...Talk about a torn soldier!
This is why there are arguments around the words love, commitment and fidelity. The argument is not about definition here. What is being debated is whether it is possible to have these within a polyamorous relationship. Ideas of dilution of love as well as commitment and fidelity are always brought up. The poly rationale is rightly that these are as possible within poly relationships as they are within mono relationships.
Language differs where concepts have been created solely for the non-monogamous experience. NRE could be applied to monogamy but it is a non-mono concept. So are terms like metamour, grok, compersion, etc.
It should be encouraged that those who lie at the center of privilege and normativity step out of their comfort zones to understand that which is different from them. It is a regular occurrence for those who on the margins, for those at the periphery, to make the trek from their comfort zones the majority of the way in order to be accepted. "I'm different, let me learn the normative language and mannerisms you know and teach you to accept me." This is not acceptable. At the very least there needs to be a meeting in the middle now.
It is a positive act to expand one's knowledge outside of oneself, one's comfort zone. If I do not understand something I seek to find the meaning behind it as it stands for various peoples, cultures and perspectives. This opens my mind to the multifaceted nature of the world.
Unfortunately what is encouraged is that no effort be made to broaden horizons if an individual doesn't understand something. In fact fear is reinforced and not explored as the covering emotion it is. An effort to make whatever is unknown conform to what is known is often pushed.
Seeking to be one with the mainstream causes fractures within alternative communities along lines of morality. This is why we have some within the LGBTQ community seeking to distance themselves from polyamorists (and even step on poly people) using the same arguments that were used against them by the mainstream.
Polyamory: The Next Sexual Revolution?
A Simple Point on Polygamy
A disheartening quote from Andrew Sullivan, a well-known gay political blogger, yet it is indicative of the mindset that develops when trying to prove worthiness to be apart of the mainstream. "We're just like you and have the same values you, even the same prejudices":
I think legalizing such arrangements is a bad idea for a society in general for all the usual reasons (abuse of women, the dangers of leaving a pool of unmarried straight men in the population at large, etc.). I also think it's reasonable for society to say to a heterosexual polygamist: we won't let you legally marry more than one person, but we encourage you to marry one. Now, look at it from the gay point of view. We tell the gay polyandrist: we won't let you marry more than one person, but we won't let you marry one person either. In fact, we will give you no legal outlet for your relationship, and no social support, and do all we can to stigmatize and marginalize it. Is the difference not obvious?
Below is the lovely article by Charles Krauthammer which Sullivan was responding to.
Pandora and Polygamy
The solution is to think of new ways of existing where everyone has the rights they should have.
An example is to question why privilege is granted to those who get married and seek to have those privileges made available outside of that institution. This rather than seek to have our relationships validated by the mainstream by being given the right to marry and still marginalizing others by not giving them the privileges because they have been left.
It is a negative cycle.
I know of Heinlein but I haven't read Heinlein. There are racist connections to the author and his novels. I'd be more likely to borrow a book to see for myself before I'd buy it. Someone has already recommended one I may like. "Friday."
However the point is that I'm poly and wouldn't quote or understand a quote from Heinlein beyond the single word 'grok' which I think is cute. Poly people come from broad backgrounds and experiences. I'd venture that there are as many differences as similarities.
I lean towards the progressive and radical. I do not see the merit in seeking to conform or create a new version of the normative or orthodox way for polyamory. I do see great possibilities in different ways of living being accepted and not persecuted.
A beautiful concept which was quoted on another poly group is this:
"Acceptance is not approval, consent, permission, authorization, sanction, concurrence, agreement, compliance, sympathy, endorsement, confirmation, support, ratification, assistance, advocating, backing, maintaining, authenticating, reinforcing, cultivating, encouraging, furthering, promoting, aiding, abetting or even LIKING what is.
"Acceptance is saying, 'It is what it is, and what is is what is.'
Something perhaps that would help people live better together instead of struggling against each other because of difference.
Are you a polyamorist or non-monogamous individual between the ages 18-35? Are you located in New York State or the Northeast?
Join us at The Network, a social and socially aware network which connects young polys and progressive polys of all ages.
~Open up your mind and let me step inside.
Rest your weary head and let your heart decide. It's so easy.
When you know the rules.
It's so easy. All you have to do is fall in love.
Play the game.
Everybody play the game of love. Yeah...~
Last edited by Ravenesque; 12-30-2009 at 08:42 AM.