What ethical issues arise in your nonprimary relationships? (You know, the ones that don't involve or aren't heading toward sharing a household or finances, strong public presentation as a "couple" or larger unit which "always comes first" or other explicit or implicit hierarchy, etc.)
At Rocky Mountain Poly Living
in the Denver area later this month, I'm leading a session on ethics in nonprimary poly relationships. And I'd like input about which issues to address.
So: which issues in your own nonprimary relationships (whether you're a partner or a metamour) have called upon or challenged your personal ethics? How did you and the others involved in that situation handle it? What did you do, or wish you'd done, and why?
My session synopsis:
How “ethical” is your ethical non monogamy, really? In polyamory, non-primary relationships tend to be where some of the most challenging ethical issues play out. Typically, primary-style relationships include hallmarks such as substantial pooling of resources and/or assumptions that this relationship should “always come first” — while non-primary-style relationships typically comprise everything else. Which values do you believe should guide your life overall? How well do the decisions and actions you make in your non-primary relationships match up with your values? If you believe every person deserves full respect and consideration in their intimate relationships, are you really treating all of your partners that way — and are you being treated that way in your non-primary relationships? How do you balance autonomy and dependence in relationships? Can hierarchy or couple privilege be ethical? What if you’re solo poly, and the only relationships you have (or perhaps want) are non-primary? How well does the culture of your poly community reflect your personal values and ethics?