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Old 01-13-2010, 04:07 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Default Theoretical vs reality

I (we) are wondering how various people - primary pairs (or more) feel about including others in their lives when that other person has their own primary relationship in which they don't/can't share that fact.
In general this is considered "cheating" - the "dirty little secret" people often refer to etc.
In theory we'd consider this bad behavior but we don't live in a theoretical world. In reality things are seldom so cut & dry.
By example, over the years we have had several long term relationships with others (M or F) in which their SO had no knowledge of us. It was a warm, loving & genuine relationship and we all benefited from it, as it supplied things that were desirable to all of us that weren't available otherwise. Although sex played some role in this, it was really as much about shared interests & passions about the world around us that was a big part of the bond.
We've always struggled with this from an ethical perspective but yet there's pieces of all of us that acknowledge that these connections were real and important and that in reality (as long as it stayed under the radar) it was highly beneficial to everyone. The 3rd party was happier & more fulfilled and therefore their home life was actually better that it was prior, when there was stress from lack of fulfillment etc.
So it's a bit of a conundrum.
We acknowledge the risk and dig pretty deep first to learn the reality of the other person's situation, but in the end we fall back to the belief that all people (individuals) should have freedom in how they live their lives and where they source their happiness and fulfillment from.
Have others here experienced such relationships and how does it sit with you ?

GS

Last edited by River; 01-13-2010 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 01-13-2010, 05:42 PM
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I posted in the personal blog section a while ago that I was struggling with this dilemma. The guy I'm dating has also been seeing a guy long distance for the past year or so. When he and I hooked up, he didn't tell his guy about me.

I've never cheated on anyone, never lied about my activities outside a relationship, so it's hard for me to wrap my mind around dishonesty. But, as you say:

Quote:
In reality things are seldom so cut & dry.
No kidding.

So, I'm stretching myself to consider all the variables. I don't think they had an exclusivity agreement with each other. This might sound silly, but my date's facebook status was "single". So, it's sort of out of the realm of outright "cheating" and in the grey area of deception, not telling the whole truth.

He's lived as a gay man for 20 years and I can just imagine him telling a monogamous gay man that he's been sleeping with for a year, "By the way, I met a woman that I like and we kissed". Especially when his ex, who he was poly with, freaked out when he liked a woman.

So, it really depends, I guess. He explained how he was trying to be compassionate and I understand how he sees it this way.

Years ago, I met a guy at a bar and we hooked up. After we'd made out, I looked and saw a picture of a woman. I said something about his sister and he confirmed that the woman in the picture was his girlfriend.

I panicked and then hummed and hawed for a couple hours before choosing to fool around with him. We never had sex. His "cheatin' heart" drew the line at sex.

The next morning, she phoned and phoned and phoned about every 5 minutes. Now, I'm not that naive and I realize that there's a huge possibility that he'd cheated on her before and possibly regularly. But, the way he expressed it, she was clingy and he couldn't handle it. He'd tried to break up with her, etc, etc.

I learned something from that experience. If someone's cheating, there's something wrong. Whether it's because they're poly at heart and don't have the language for it, whether it's because they feel stuck in an unhappy relationship... whatever.

If you are the cheatee, I don't believe that you are the cause, but a symptom of a problem that has nothing to do with you.


Another thing I'm wrapping my mind around. We all have different needs. Some people really would rather not know the truth. As long as in their world, the sun shines, their partner comes home at night and they eat dinner, then all is well. Why scratch deeper?

Personally, I'm not like that. I like to peer in dark corners and honesty is very important to me. So, I request honesty from those close to me and I'm honest in return.

Because this is my need does not make it everyone else's.

Quote:
all people (individuals) should have freedom in how they live their lives and where they source their happiness and fulfillment from
I really like this. You are giving the power to others to choose for themselves. You are not withholding your affections based on a moralistic judgment. You are loving them, even though they're lying.

Phew, I have so much to learn.
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolypoly View Post
He's lived as a gay man for 20 years and I can just imagine him telling a monogamous gay man that he's been sleeping with for a year, "By the way, I met a woman that I like and we kissed". Especially when his ex, who he was poly with, freaked out when he liked a woman.
As a means of opening the topic, I recently asked my boyfriend / lifetime committed partner (we're both male), "Would you really freak out if I was dating a woman?".

Kevin & I already had established a polyamory agreement (we're both poly) years before, and Kevin knew I'm also attracted to women, but that was all rather "theoretical" up to the moment that I actually had a sort of date with a woman.

I mention this because it was frankly a little uncomfortable to be telling my bf I have a date with a woman! (This was the day before our lunch date. And I've had very damn few dates with guys during our 14 yrs, as well.)

This stuff is tricky! A man may unwarrantedly worry that, because he hasn't got a certain kind of "plumbing," he may not be "enough" for his male lover. A woman could worry in the same way. It's all the typical hetero- poly stuff layered with a lot of "stuff" about gender/sex! Not easy.

But honesty is honesty is honesty -- and polyamory is all about honesty.

And my man loves me. A lot. And I love him.

And I'm probably going to have date # 2 with this gal "J", tomorrow!
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:41 PM
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*sigh* This is so hard.

Thanks for your perspective River.
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Old 01-14-2010, 04:27 PM
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I'd like to comment on a bunch of very good responses at once. I think this thread has the potential to really splinter so if any of these comments seem to want to take off on their own I encourage anyone to take them and run with them. Otherwise this could get long & convoluted.

So................


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fidelia;
The arrangement described is not polyamorous,
As we (hopefully) have discovered the umbrella term "polyamorous" covers as wide a range of possibilities as there are people.
I might just ask that you just climb down off the high horse and not bother with the personal attacks (count the number of 'you's and 'yours') as they won't contribute much to digging deep into the real topic. Or provoke a reaction

Quote:
Originally Posted by rolypoly;
If you are the cheatee, I don't believe that you are the cause, but a symptom of a problem that has nothing to do with you.
It seems there's obvious wisdom in this that deserves acknowledgement but unfortunately it doesn't let us off the hook because of possible repercussions. Therefore the quandary. Back to the question of the "greater good".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mono;
No matter how trapped a person feels in a relationship there is always an option.
Exactly Mono - and indeed they are excercising one of them by maybe trying to do what's best for all involved including themselves. The best way they know how. In situations we've been personally involed in, after we get through the "poly" lecture, we try to explore & encourage that they open that topic at home if possible. But at times it seems simply impossible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciel;
If they can't be completely honest with their partner, someone that they supposedly have a committed relationship with, then how can I expect them to be honest with me about issues vital to me.........
Yea, the theory of absolutes. I have yet to meet a person who 'never' lies. Nor have I met a person who has lied to me who 'never' tells the truth. I think we have to live with that aspect of being human and keep our lie detection equipment tuned and oiled. The reason people lie (barring pathological liars) is generally in an attempt to have the best outcome from an unfavorable situation by shielding people from a truth that could be more destructive to them. We've all seen cases where that was wrong-headed but also cases where it (unfortunately) was the correct choice. Not B/W.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crisare;
"in reality (as long as it stayed under the radar) it was highly beneficial to everyone."
That's completely and totally justification. How is it beneficial to everyone to hide and lie and cheat someone you love?"

and

"Hm. I'm not *entirely* sure I agree with this. I would not have cheated on my husband if the person I had the affair with didn't encourage our relationship to continue and become a party to my lies. He was complicit - he called me when I told him he could, sent me things to my office, not my house .. etc. Was he involved in the problems in my marriage? No. But I wouldn't have cheated (with him) if he hadn't made himself available and been very clear that he didn't care that I was married and that we were going to lie to my spouse.

Now, would I have cheated with someone else later .. I honestly don't know. I know that there's every possibility that my husband and I would be divorced right now ... because it was cheating that led me to realizing I could love two people at once, an therefore led me to learning about poly. It was cheating that made me realize that there *could* be an ethical way to be with my husband and led me to open a discussion with him on the subject - as well as to ask him back into our home to try to work this out. If it wasn't for that, I probably would have left him and pursued another monogamous relationship."
It seems you have answered your own question to a small degree here. But in another example I've seen where the indicted 'cheater's home life and relationship actually improved because of decreased tension and pent up anger/frustration of being locked into an unfulfilled life.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jools;
The situation was not black and white. He was in a relationship that had no affection, physical, emtional, sexual. I would say infact that he was being constantly verbally abused and so worn down by this that he didn't believe he could leave,
Yea Jools, in these cases it seems your involvement only accelerated a course that was probably eventual. We've seen that too, albeit from a distance, and didn't condemn the person in your role for the participation in what was an obvious direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikki;
Like it or not, there are a lot of people who have discovered that they were poly because of an affair, and realized that while their behavior was wrong and then made right of the situation. Should we be discounting their experience that brought them where they are today? I don't think so.
Nikki, I think this speaks well to the possible outcomes which I hinted at in a follow up post. The potential IS there for all involved parties to turn this into a positive life change. It's up to the parties involved. It kinds of leans to the statement that "guns don't kill people - PEOPLE do". You kind of find yourself in the role of the 'gun'. The fact that you are a gun - and not a hammer or an iron lawn ornament (iron) is just what 'is'.


Thanks everyone for their insights !

GS
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
Yea, the theory of absolutes. I have yet to meet a person who 'never' lies. Nor have I met a person who has lied to me who 'never' tells the truth. I think we have to live with that aspect of being human and keep our lie detection equipment tuned and oiled. The reason people lie (barring pathological liars) is generally in an attempt to have the best outcome from an unfavorable situation by shielding people from a truth that could be more destructive to them. We've all seen cases where that was wrong-headed but also cases where it (unfortunately) was the correct choice. Not B/W.
No, not the theory of absolutes at all. It's about gathering data points on people's activities and extrapolating from them.

If you are a business owner and you know that someone habitually shoplifts from all the stores around you, would you tend to believe that they would shoplift from you, or not? Wouldn't it at least make you cautious?

If someone has made vows to another person to love, honor and be together till death us do part, and then wants to have a fling with me and not tell their spouse - what are the odds (not black and white - odds) that they might not tell me the complete truth about something important to do with the relationship? You build trust with people by observing how the deal with other people and how they deal with you - you try to build a picture of that person given the data. The fact that they can lie to their back teeth to someone they made that sort of level of commitment to paints a pretty darned significant red flag into my picture of them.

Is it possible that they may tell you the truth? Of course it is. It's also possible that their spouse might come after you with an Axe when they find out. That's not "healthy".
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:03 AM
Fidelia Fidelia is offline
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Originally Posted by Fidelia;
The arrangement described is not polyamorous,
Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post

I might just ask that you just climb down off the high horse and not bother with the personal attacks
GS
I have not attacked you personally, Mr. Spirit. I have disagreed (adamantly, wholeheartedly, and with every fiber of my being) with your position and with the actions you have self-reported to have taken in the past. I continue to do so, and will continue to do so. As one of the many of people who have been seriously harmed by the arrangement you've described, I can do no less. If you find offense where none was offered or intended, so be it.

There are many areas of human life which are subject to discussion, negotiation and debate among reasonable persons. There are, however, some areas where issues are very clear and may be concisely expressed. Such as:
Lying is wrong.
Cheating is wrong.

Just as
Stealing is wrong, and
Murder is wrong.
In general, and with no particular persons in mind specifically, I may unequivocally state that people who lie are liars. People who cheat are cheaters. People who steal are thieves and murderers are people who commit murder. And people who make room for such activities in thier lives, or who aid and abet such activity, will face the consequences of thier actions, as all people do.

And again I state that the arrangement you describe is not polyamory, if polyamory is defined as multiple loving relationships between consenting adults.

And since you brought it up, yes, my horse is high, thank you, and from the saddle I can see far and ride fast.

Last edited by Fidelia; 01-15-2010 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 01-23-2010, 03:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fidelia View Post
Originally Posted by Fidelia;
There are some areas where issues are very clear and may be concisely expressed. Such as:
Lying is wrong.
Cheating is wrong.

Just as
Stealing is wrong
I may unequivocally state that people who lie are liars. People who cheat are cheaters. People who steal are thieves. And people who make room for such activities in thier lives, or who aid and abet such activity, will face the consequences of thier actions, as all people do.
This absolutism really causes me problems and leaves me upset because I am a liar and have stolen.

I will explain I have lied to people quite frequently in the past in my old job I purposely and with intent told suicidal people that their knives had gone missing from their kitchen - having pocketed them all and handed them on to authorities - stole shotgun shells off the shelf of a suicidal man that intended to kill himself with his shot gun. Told people I had no idea where their tablets were when I pocketed them. I guess you can get me on a kind of cheating too on this basis. This list isn't exhaustive and I will hang my head in shame at your external judgement.

I thankfully add that I haven't murdered anyone.

I could add that in regard to having stolen - a large number of transported 'criminals' that stole bread to survive make up a fair proportion of the ancestors of Australians.

Last edited by mez; 01-23-2010 at 03:09 AM. Reason: change spelling
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Old 01-23-2010, 07:37 AM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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I will explain I have lied to people quite frequently in the past in my old job I purposely and with intent told suicidal people that their knives had gone missing from their kitchen - having pocketed them all and handed them on to authorities - stole shotgun shells off the shelf of a suicidal man that intended to kill himself with his shot gun. Told people I had no idea where their tablets were when I pocketed them. I guess you can get me on a kind of cheating too on this basis. This list isn't exhaustive and I will hang my head in shame at your external judgement.
This is why I prefer to talk about making choices that honor your values rather than absolutes of "right" and "wrong". Sometimes we do things that line up with our values, other times we don't. Ideally, we lean more towards our values rather than away. Ideally, those values would involve respect and care for the people and life around them, but this can't always be the case, alas.
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Old 01-13-2010, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
I (we) are wondering how various people - primary pairs (or more) feel about including others in their lives when that other person has their own primary relationship in which they don't/can't share that fact.

GS
Affairs are affairs. I would find it very difficult for those who have participated in them (such as myself) and those that have been hurt by them (such as my ex wife) to think anyone could be be happy or healthy in this. No matter how trapped a person feels in a relationship there is always an option. If someone did engage a partner under these conditions I fail to see it being sustainable or rewarding. Affairs scar everyone in my opinion.
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