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Old 04-03-2014, 09:58 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Right on, guys. And RedPanda: Love the airplane analogy.

Re (from copperhead):
Quote:
"If the beginning is struggle (and I'm sure there are lots of people to whom it is and has been), then how to work through the difficulties without anyone getting hurt?"
A hurt-free intro to poly living would be quit a feat to accomplish. I know my early years in a poly unit were rife with pain (in spite of the good times which did exist), and just about every poly story I've heard so far also starts out that way. Since most people are programmed to think exclusively in monogamous terms, since even monogamous relationships tend to be challenging at first, and since polyamory makes the situation more complex by adding more people, a hefty learning curve with many growing pains is rather to be expected. It tends to take years for people to learn how to practice polyamory relatively (and completely? forget about it) smoothly and pain-free.

Okay, so let's say your question is: "Look, I know all that. What I want to know is how to work through the difficulties without anyone getting hurt in spite of all that. And why isn't that information already easy to find on a forum like this?"

Then, my answer is this: "As far as I can tell, that information is unknown. In fact, we don't even know if such information can exist (in this world). How do I expose myself to the Sun without heating up? How do I visit a neighboring star after lunch and still get back in time for dinner? These are questions that may not have answers, and if they do have answers, I don't know of anyone who has discovered those answers yet. Nay, not even on a forum like this."

I suppose it would help if humans had telepathy. Most polyamorists have observed that plentiful, expert communication seems to hold the key to avoiding quite a bit of unnecessary pain and drama. Who knows how good one can become at communication? It seems reasonable to assume that the better the communication, the smaller the amount of pain one will have to endure. This is probably even true to a large extent just if one knows how to communicate effectively with oneself.

As for communication, it is a very complex process that the whole human race is trying to understand better. Many books have been written about it and yet no one seems to know "The" secret to how it should be done. It often depends on which people are trying to communicate, since every person is so unique. So this is probably one reason why "pain-free poly" is such a hard (or impossible) luxury to enjoy, especially in the early years of any poly relationship.

Re:
Quote:
"Who decides how difficult it can be before it's time to take a step back? and why?"
Anyone involved in the situation could potentially decide. Why? because every person in every (poly) situation is affected differently, and the specifics have to be taken into account.

Re:
Quote:
"Can the reason be fear, respect, love, prior agreements, jealousy, something else?"
Yes.

Re:
Quote:
"What are good reasons to take a step back and what are the bad ones?"
Good reasons are those reasons which respect everyone's autonomy while having compassion for those who struggle. It is a fine line to walk; sometimes as fine as a tightrope. Bad reasons tip and fall on one side of that line or the other.

Re:
Quote:
"How do you know if you are making the right call pursuing poly or taking that step back to monogamy (even if just for now)?"
You don't know. You can only make a (hopefully educated) guess.

Oh and by the way, did I mention that some poly arrangements *can't* work, no matter how hard (and well) the people involved try? There are a number of possible reasons why it might just not be doable.

And how does one identify which poly arrangements are certain to fail? Here's how: With some difficulty. There are "red flags" as we like to call them, but no such flag can tell you for sure whether you should proceed with caution or run for the hills.

"Please list all possible red flags?" Oh honey, that would take hundreds of posts at least. I think a good deal of time would have to be spent reading (and posting) on the Poly Relationships Corner to even accumulate a rudimentary list. In broad terms, dishonesty and inconsiderateness are the two main types of red flag that seem to appear the most often and need the most watching.

Re:
Quote:
"I still don't know if we (I) handled the situation in the best possible way."
You probably didn't. Who would? "Best" seems to me to be a rather infinite concept. One approaches "the best" as one gets older and more experienced, but one never quite arrives. And that's to say nothing of how short our mortal lives are. Few if any of us get anywhere near "the best." Most of us learn how to do "a little better" as the years go by, and that's about it.

Re:
Quote:
"Is there something I could learn from it and bring with me to another relationship?"
I hope so. What do you think you'd do different the next time around?

Re:
Quote:
"What are the guidelines to deciding?"
Personally I recommend continued participation on this forum, both posting and reading. The more input you get from the more people, the better your chances are of developing an improved model for approaching polyamory.

Re:
Quote:
"I feel like I can only talk for myself and watch for my own boundaries in the end."
Agreed.

Re:
Quote:
"But where do you (yes you) draw the line between respecting your own boundaries and other people's rights?"
Honestly, I try not to draw any lines. I try to weigh each situation as it comes up and make an intuitive call.

There was a time (one time) when I said, "I give this relationship a year to show enough improvement that I can readily perceive it. If that doesn't happen (by such-and-such a date), then I will call it quits." Fortunately for me, the relationship improved noticeably long before that deadline.

And that's the only time I can think of where I really drew a line.

Re:
Quote:
"How do you react if someone asks/tells you to stop, because what you are doing is hurting them?"
Ahem. Depends on if I'm having a meltdown. But, even barring that, it really depends on the details of each particular situation. Because there are a *lot* of possible details in any given situation.

I presume you would much prefer information that is universal and concrete. Like the laws of physics. Sorry to say that relationships (especially poly relationships, but any relationship really) tend to defy attempts to pin them down. The more universal the relationship law, the squishier the law. The more concrete the law, the more it depends on specifics. And though I'm a hard-core atheist who sees us all (and all our brains) as so many particles that follow precise physical laws, I think each person is a tangle so complex that people can only be understood in abstract terms.

Someday -- maybe millions of years from now -- humans will obtain the concrete, universal information they desire about what makes them tick. But my guess is that this generation will remain sadly limited to estimates and truisms. Sorry to have to be the bearer of bad news. Let's just make the best of it. Life is too short to be tormenting ourselves by second-guessing ourselves. Just invest a reasonable amount of time into learning how to do better, and spend the balance of your time enjoying the little things. Such is my advice, anyway.
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