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  #1  
Old 05-23-2012, 10:05 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Default "Dear Mr. and Mrs. UH, I'm not sure how to say this, but..."

Hey all. I thought about tacking this on to one of a couple of different related threads but decided it fit best as a stand alone.

I'm thinking about the way we as a community approach people who come to the boards seeking advice on a topic that we think is problematic. Particularly I'm thinking about the stereotypical "m/f couple seeking single f to join them in exclusive relationship" folks, though I imagine this question could apply to other issues.

I myself once held the unicorn-hunting dream close to my heart (from the unicorn's perspective). It took a long, slow period of reading, hearing other people's stories, and going through personal experiences to get to the point where I could say "gee, this concept has some issues with it and so I will let it go by the wayside as any sort of ideal." Now, when I see other people carrying around that same dream I try to take the time to say "hey, you may want to rethink this." As do many of us. Cuz we all want to help, yeah? Otherwise why would we be here.

But people don't like being told there's an issue with something close to their hearts... I probably wouldn't have liked it either back in the day. All too often they take it as a personal attack and/or they just don't seem to get what's being said.

On top of that, sometimes the people trying to give advice get really aggressive about the topic being discussed. I personally have read one too many upsetting accounts of third partners getting dumped in the midst of bad situations that could have been avoided with more knowledge and perspective, and so sometimes I get really heated, really upset, when I see the same old patterns repeating themselves in new posts. I have to remind myself that attacking people in no way whatsoever makes them more likely to hear you. And that situation X cannot necessarily be assumed to be a clone of situation Y just because they bear certain outward similarities.

In multiple instances, people have fled the boards because of feeling attacked. Were they being too sensitive? Or do we need to chill out about how we approach folks? If the goal is really to help anyone who comes here to be helped, how best can we do that? Is it even possible to help someone who's deadset on a narrow triadic vision of poly to understand why they might want to broaden their horizons, or is this something that generally people need to come to themselves, through experience? Is it mere hubris and projection to even think that we *should* be trying to "help" people in such a fashion, or should we just let them be?
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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  #2  
Old 05-23-2012, 10:09 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Ah, thought of one. OPP is, of course, an example of another topic that causes strong reactions and that people can feel attacked about here from time to time.
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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  #3  
Old 05-23-2012, 10:16 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Yet another question is not just how, but *when* to give advice on these difficult topics. For example, in the Poly Relationships section, ok, the whole point of that board is to give advice! But if I'm reading someone's blog and I'm seeing things that I think are problematic...... do I mention it and risk starting a fraught discussion in what's supposed to be their safe space? Or do I just let it go until they explicitly ask for feedback? At what point am I being helpful and at what point am I just being a stalker-y zealot seeking a trace of transgression so that I can jump from behind the bushes and yell "You're doing it wrong!!!!!"

Ok, ok, gonna stop posting for a bit and see if anyone has any thoughts.
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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  #4  
Old 06-03-2012, 09:10 AM
feelyunicorn feelyunicorn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Yet another question is not just how, but *when* to give advice on these difficult topics.
IMO, when you`re asked.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
For example, in the Poly Relationships section, ok, the whole point of that board is to give advice!
Really? I thought it was to share different experiences.
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  #5  
Old 06-03-2012, 11:13 AM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feelyunicorn View Post
IMO, when you`re asked. Really? I thought it was to share different experiences.
I assume sharing your experience would be more appropriate for the journal section.
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Old 06-03-2012, 12:37 PM
feelyunicorn feelyunicorn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
I assume sharing your experience would be more appropriate for the journal section.
I meant specific experiences and feelings related to the thread topic. Not in journal form.
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  #7  
Old 06-03-2012, 02:54 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feelyunicorn View Post
IMO, when you`re asked.
Makes sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by feelyunicorn View Post
Really? I thought it was to share different experiences.
From the line above the link to the Poly Relationships board on the main forum page:
"Help Sharing & Advice for real life Polyamorous relationships, new or otherwise." So, it does say sharing, but it also stays with help and had advice in it. Seems pretty clear to me.
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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  #8  
Old 06-03-2012, 03:10 PM
feelyunicorn feelyunicorn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
From the line above the link to the Poly Relationships board on the main forum page:
"Help Sharing & Advice for real life Polyamorous relationships, new or otherwise." So, it does say sharing, but it also stays with help and had advice in it. Seems pretty clear to me.
Sure.

Personally, I try to give advice only when asked. Sometimes, I`d rather keep my feelings to myself even if asked. That is my attempted MO beyond board statements of purpose. I guess, were I to post in it, I would specifically ask what I was looking for. As I did in the one thread I posted here. I`m not in great danger of posting there!

On the other hand, I have come across posters who specifically ask for advice and then, either ignore it, take offense to it, or make the thread an unending list of rebuttals.

If those are the posters you`re concerned about, I feel your pain.
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Last edited by feelyunicorn; 06-03-2012 at 03:14 PM.
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  #9  
Old 07-11-2012, 03:29 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Yet another question is not just how, but *when* to give advice on these difficult topics. For example, in the Poly Relationships section, ok, the whole point of that board is to give advice! But if I'm reading someone's blog and I'm seeing things that I think are problematic...... do I mention it and risk starting a fraught discussion in what's supposed to be their safe space?
If you see something in a blog that you think is worth critical discussion, feel free to start a discussion on that topic on this board. A person's blog is protected from unwanted criticism; any particular scenario they blog about is not off-limits for discussion, provided it takes place elsewhere and doesn't invoke their specific tale.

So, no quoting of a blog post to illustrate a situation and no writing up a situation and referring to the blog post or using the names of that specific situation. File the serial numbers off, so to speak, and you can discuss it in general without tying any particular individuals to it.
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When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.

While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.
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  #10  
Old 05-23-2012, 10:19 PM
mostlyclueless mostlyclueless is offline
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I wonder if it might not be helpful to separate the boards differently. In my limited experience here, it seems like there are many people coming in and asking the same questions and making the same mistakes that have been brought up time and time again. So the old-timers roll their eyes, tell them to search the tags, and often give a written slap on the wrist for the obvious mistakes made.

And of course they do. It's annoying to have to explain the same shit over and over.

So maybe it would make more sense to have, like, levels of experience boards, or something -- a judgment-free zone for new people to come, lay it out warts and all, and get some advice from the old-timers who can stand to go another round with them. And then a separate board for people who have more experience and know what's up.

Just a thought.
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