Today it is a year since my old love died. I have been thinking of him lots recently and missing his presence in my life. Losing both him and my dad in the same year was tough. But it has reminded me of what is important to me and has, I think, helped me see my life and loves with more clarity.
I spoke with my SO about my thoughts on the relationship anarchy article. He doesn't entirely agree with me - which is totally fine. We are very different people so it is to be expected.
He wondered if it might be slightly paternalistic for me to refuse to get into romantic relationships because I feel that I wasn't able to offer more than a limited relationship to somebody else. He feels that should be the decision of the other person. They may be okay with it or okay with dealing with the emotional issues that may arise.
I absolutely agree. It's totally up to anybody to decide what they want to do and how they want to live their life. That includes me.
My worries aren't really aimed at protecting anybody other than me. This year I have felt more and more that what is important is how I treat the people in my life. My behaviour toward them is what I can control and where I can make a difference. For me this means that I should not behave unethically toward people in my life. I think that we very much become what we practice and so I want to avoid behaving in ways that I see as unethical.
I know that there is nothing theoretically unethical about being openly and honestly non-monogamous but I think that in practice it can easily become unethical.
These boards have example after example. There are almost daily variations on folk who regularly have to talk themselves down from feeling very upset after their partner has cancelled on them again because their partner's other partner is struggling and wants them to stay home. The folk who can't spend the night with their partners regularly and who desperately want to. The folk who need to check in with their partner's other partner that it's okay to have sex with them. The folk who feel lonely but understanding because their partner can't be with them as much as they would like because of choosing to be with other partners. Then there are the ones left at home with small children while their partner goes out to play with new people without returning the favour - because they just don't have time. Or the ones who's partner can't pay any attention to them because of being obsessed with a new partner.
These people are all being treated unethically IMO. The thing is, the unethical behaviour is utterly understandable and reasonable. I would do the same I expect. Of course I would. I get why these things come up again and again and again. Theory and practice so often don't tie up - and for reasons not really within the control of individuals.
Anybody being non-monogamous in the UK at least is doing it within a society that is very strongly tilted toward monogamy and I think that this is what makes it likely that somebody along the line is being treated unethically.
I have no wish to be part of treating people unethically - because of the whole becoming what you practice thing - so for me if I'm in a relationship, it needs to be monogamous - for both of us. I have no wish to be with a partner who is likely to be treating people in their life unethically regularly (wouldn't be with a partner who trained dogs using electric shock collars either). If ever I find myself single again I might be interested in practicing non-monogamy in the ways described by solo poly folks on these boards. Less chance, I think, of being unethical if I was not one half of a couple.
How weird. I started reading these boards to try and give myself understanding because being in an open relationship was so important to my SO and I wanted to feel more safe with it. I seem to have come to the conclusion that my safety isn't important. That, of course, I would be safe with it. But that it still isn't something I want to be doing.