Originally Posted by MMMark
I thought it was possible for the hinge's relationship with one arm to affect (her) relationship with the other arm, because people naturally perform comparisons and (re)evaluations. My friend asserted that this would never happen with HER, and any change in her feelings toward a lover would be dependent ONLY on that lover.
I kind of see that both can be true.
Originally Posted by MMMark
How could we not notice differences (and, for that matter, similarities)? And is it reasonable to expect that such knowledge would have no effect whatsoever on us? . . . Because YOU are affected, anything connected with you is ALSO affected. This seems logical and inescapable to me.
It seems inescapable to me, too. I do think people naturally have a tendency to, if not compare, to categorize their relationships. We form opinions about people and how we relate to them and it seems impossible, to me anyway, to relate to one intimate relationship as if in a vacuum without any influence or, at the very least, any thought of another.
I was recently out socializing with a poly guy who is involved with a number of sweeties, and he brought up a few conversations or characteristics of those relationships while we were discussing something that was going on with me. If we were intimate, I am sure it would aso have happened in the bedroom or in non-sexual interactions that other people in our lives could and would naturally pop into our heads and impact our relationship in some way.
Perhaps "impact" is a better word than "influence?"
Even in my platonic friendships, when I converse with one friend I am often reminded of a conversation I had with another. When I get together with friends, we will reference other friends and discussions with those other friends, when a topic comes up that brings such to mind. We are usually influenced by the most recent interactions we've had, but lots of times I will be reminded of stuff that happened when I was a young kid.
So how could I not also be impacted or reminded (and indeed influenced on occasion), of one lover, when I am with another lover?
However, I do see that what your friend stated is also true. I think it's important to acknowledge the comparisons that can happen and might even be unavoidable, but not necessarily to let the comparisons dictate how I conduct each relationship, because they are all unique and deserve evaluation on their own merit. Comparisons can lead to questioning behaviors but I always think comparison can be dangerous. I call it the "compare game," and I think it's important to know when it's appropriate and when it's not to let comparisons affect us. I think it's still possible, even if I'm comparing two intimate relationships, for an introspective or more objective inquiry into the nature of one of them. And perhaps comparing even demands that we separate ourselves, to some degree, from those comparisons -- in other words, try to step back and see the differences or similarities as tools for understanding and not weapons, which is also a way comparison can be used. I would always hope to assess a relationship in a fair manner that considers all the pros and cons, and allowing comparisons to just be a jumping-off point, and not always a standard for judgment. Does that make sense?
[I will clarify here that I am just starting out with my journey into polyamory, so I'm not experienced by any means, but am sharing my responses to the points you made, based on how my logic works and what I've observed thus far]