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  #1  
Old 12-04-2012, 12:49 AM
AggieSez AggieSez is offline
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Default Input needed on crowdsourced article about couple privilege & polyamory

Hi folks

A while back several people in this forum offered their ideas and tips on how to treat non-primary partners well in poly/open relationships. That led to my recent crowdsourced article on my blog SoloPoly, which has been attracting a fair amount of discussion in the poly/open community:

Non-primary partners tell: how to treat us well

I'm working on another crowdsourced article and would appreciate input from people in this community.

This time I want to tackle the phenomenon of couple privilege -- what it is, how it affects the poly/open community, whether it's a problem, how people are dealing with it, and how we could deal with it.

See: Couple privilege: Your thoughts?

I realize this is a touchy topic, since poly/open people hold a wide range of divergent and strong views on this topic. So I won't try to digest it into a tip list (as with my previous article), but rather present one or more articles that describe what's going on with couple privilege in polyamory.

In that initial call for input I laid out my thinking so far -- how I'm defining couple privilege, and some core issues and challenges it entails in poly/open relationships. I then raise several questions I'd like feedback on. These are:
  1. Do you believe couple privilege exists? How would you define it? (Or how would you adjust my proposed definition?)
  2. How have you seen couple privilege manifest in poly/open relationships? (Examples)
  3. Is couple privilege harmful, neutral or beneficial in poly/open relationships, or in the poly/open community? Why or why not?
  4. How has couple privilege affected your personal experience of poly/open relationships? Specific examples or personal stories are welcome.
  5. How would you like to see couple privilege addressed in the poly/open community at large?
  6. If you are part of a primary couple that chooses to handle relationships with additional intimate partners in hierarchical ways that may seem to reinforce couple privilege, what is your rationale or intent for those choices?
  7. If you eschew hierarchy and/or labels in your poly/open relationships, how do you “walk that talk” regarding couple privilege?
  8. If you are a non-primary partner or solo poly/open person, how have you adapted to couple privilege in terms of how you handle relationships and what you’re willing to accommodate?

To respond, please feel free to comment here, or on my blog post, or in a post of your own (send me the link), or e-mail me (aggiesez@hotmail.com)

As with my previous crowdsourcing project, I'm open to input from anyone on this -- but I'm particularly keen on hearing from people who are non-primary partners in ongoing poly/open relationships, since our perspective usually isn't very prominent in discourse about polyamory.

If your respond, I'd appreciate if you’d clarify whether you identify as poly/open (or not), and whether you currently have a primary partner, and whether you currently are in a non-primary relationship. I’m happy to consider input from anyone, but that it crucial context for understanding your perspective.

Once again, I will not identify specific contributors — but as in my prior crowdsourced post on treating non-primary partners well, I will quote from selected responses.

Please feel free to share this request with your networks!

Thanks :-)
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  #2  
Old 12-04-2012, 01:51 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Quote:
Do you believe couple privilege exists?
Absolutely and without question.

Quote:
How would you define it? (Or how would you adjust my proposed definition?)
Prioritizing the needs/desires/preferences of the couple over any other partners.

Quote:
How have you seen couple privilege manifest in poly/open relationships? (Examples)
Creation of boundary agreements that largely impact the ability of other partners to ever have similar depth/privilege/rights in relationship with either partner in the couple. Property ownership, decision making regarding vacations, weekends, finances, etc.

Quote:
Is couple privilege harmful, neutral or beneficial in poly/open relationships, or in the poly/open community? Why or why not?
I think it's unrealistic to expect people to negate it without time to move towards the negation of it-
but I think overall it is harmful.

I think that it's MUCH MORE functional to prioritize privilege earned in terms of responsibility put in; not in terms of who came first.

For example: we (husband and I) have an agreement that specifies the amount of responsibility and privilege we expect from a person who is in any given role in our lives. We created the agreement so that we could communicate with one another more simply in terms of what we can expect from metamours regarding responsibility to the FAMILY SITUATION and to our partner as well as what privileges we agree go along with those levels of responsibility.

My boyfriend (who has lived with us for 10 years) has equal privilege regarding financial decisions (we are actually in process of purchasing an additional property in his name so that we can improve his credit-as he's never had a mortgage, major cc or loan).
He has equal say so in terms of safety boundaries (safer sex for example) that pertain to any "new" partners (of which he is not).
He has equal say in regards to where family vacations are planned and when and daily schedules, kids schedules, activities, chores etc.

By our boundary definitions he is in fact an "OSO" and has all the same privileges as a full member of our family.

There has still been "couple-centric issues" in terms of equality because of the fact that we got to poly via he and I cheating (3 years poly now). That has meant he and I regaining trust. One of the steps in that has been prioritizing Dh's need for date time with me as a first. That need gets met prior to scheduling date time with my bf.
However-this is a concession bf and I discussed and agreed to on account of our breach of trust.

On the other hand-if someone new comes into the picture as a potential-the amount of one-on-one time they get is significantly less than either my DH or bf gets with me-based upon our ability to "sneak in private moments" since we live together (we still only reserve one date night a week due to having kid/work/school obligations).
They are limited to one date a week one-on-one-which is the same as we get, but because they don't live with us-they miss the sneak-peak moments.

Once a relationship is established they earn more opportunity to spend time joining in family/social activities in addition to the date time.

As time passes, they can become more integrated and involved in the family and to the extent that they put in-they can "get out" of it.



Quote:
How has couple privilege affected your personal experience of poly/open relationships? Specific examples or personal stories are welcome.
see above


Quote:
How would you like to see couple privilege addressed in the poly/open community at large?
I don't know.


Quote:
If you are part of a primary couple that chooses to handle relationships with additional intimate partners in hierarchical ways that may seem to reinforce couple privilege, what is your rationale or intent for those choices?

If you eschew hierarchy and/or labels in your poly/open relationships, how do you “walk that talk” regarding couple privilege?
It's a work in progress. We started with a disaster. I can't say it was even hierarchical-it was just a big clusterfuck.

But-our goal is to address issues as they arise individually and to respect each person in our family as an individual with rights and needs and preferences to be considered by all.
We work (not as a couple-but as a family unit with four parental like people) to prioritize each persons needs without exclusion of anothers. When it becomes impossible due to complete contradictions-we prioritize the kids needs first, then brainstorm the most equitable possible options.
We haven't gotten it fully on board with what we want yet-but we've come a HELL of a long way from where we started.
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  #3  
Old 12-08-2012, 12:37 AM
AggieSez AggieSez is offline
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Originally Posted by LovingRadiance View Post
I think that it's MUCH MORE functional to prioritize privilege earned in terms of responsibility put in; not in terms of who came first.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. One of my closest friends (married and poly) also takes the view that privilege/prioritization can be earned over time by any partner in a poly network of relationships.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:17 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AggieSez View Post
Do you believe couple privilege exists? How would you define it? (Or how would you adjust my proposed definition?)
Yes. I'd define it as putting the preservation of the couple first and foremost.


Quote:
How have you seen couple privilege manifest in poly/open relationships?
In my situation, as a single woman seeing a married poly man, I see it mainly in the fact that our dates tend to revolve around his wife's plans. I see a lot of ways in which he has put my feelings and what matters to me on an equal or even higher level, which I suspect, reading here, is a little atypical.

However, there's that one major 'couple privilege' of the assumption that the couple will remain together, which tells the secondary from the start that this relationship can only go so far. Yes, a few do eventually move in and become co-primaries, but there are so many reasons why that wouldn't work for most people, that those numbers are very, very small and don't change the likely outcome of this secondary relationship can only go so far.

I have been told repeatedly that "I can't offer you more." (No, I wasn't asking, he says it in apology and in reference to other things.) So right from the start there is the mixed message of, "I really, really like you, I can't wait to see you again, I'd do anything for you...except that...and I can't see you tonight." In short, it can feel like, you're not really all that.

Quote:
Is couple privilege harmful, neutral or beneficial in poly/open relationships, or in the poly/open community? Why or why not?
It's beneficial to the couple for obvious reasons. It's what allows them to believe they have enough security in the marriage to venture out.

For the secondary, it depends on many things: the situation and desires of the particular (secondary) person, and just how much couple privilege we're talking about (only the one rule that they won't break up, or an extensive list of rules and regulations?)

If the secondary has no desire to have this person full time, it's beneficial to know she's 'safe' from this guy suddenly wanting to move in with her.

In most cases, I'd say it's neutral at best, and usually harmful, to the secondary person. I think the reasons are obvious. You've got a third person dictating the terms of your so-called relationship.


Quote:
How has couple privilege affected your personal experience of poly/open relationships? Specific examples or personal stories are welcome.
  • Being told we can't get together because he's going out with her.
  • Knowing, always, at the back of my mind, that she does ultimately have veto power. In their case, it's more veto over being open at all than over a particular person. But that doesn't change the outcome for me, should she suddenly decide she doesn't want an open marriage any more.
  • Knowing from the start that I must keep my feelings in check because this relationship (mine and his) has an end point because he's married and intends to stay that way. I have no problem with this and in fact don't want to be the cause of breaking up a marriage, but I also have no intention of falling desperately in love with someone who will ultimately choose to be with me only on his terms.
  • Keeping my feelings in check means our relationship will never be all it could be.


Quote:
How would you like to see couple privilege addressed in the poly/open community at large?
I don't feel I'm deep enough into the poly/open community to really know how it's viewed over all, or what needs addressing. But perhaps among other things what is needed is the honesty you mention. Honesty requires, in part, admitting that the egalitarian ideal works better as a theory than as a reality.

People need to believe that they can rely on their spouse. I won't even say know because I've seen too many examples, even here, of primary couples breaking up and one person re-marrying their secondary. But in relationships, any relationship, we have a need to believe we can count on someone else to continue being there and playing their role in our lives. We are not islands. We weren't made to be islands.

But it is this very promise to continue being there for one person that limits and often ultimately harms the second person who becomes very emotionally involved.

This is one of the fatal, inherent flaws I see in polyamory.


Quote:
If you are part of a primary couple[/B] that chooses to handle relationships with additional intimate partners in hierarchical ways that may seem to reinforce couple privilege, what is your rationale or intent for those choices?
I'm not part of a primary couple, but my guess is that the ultimate reason is security: feeling they can each trust that the other will ultimately come back home to them.

Quote:
If you are a non-primary partner or solo poly/open person, how have you adapted to couple privilege in terms of how you handle relationships and what you’re willing to accommodate?
I am less emotionally invested in the relationship than my BF is, for my own emotional protection. I enjoy his company very much, but I remind myself not to 'take it too seriously,' not to let myself become emotionally dependent on him, not to start expecting anything from him.

The longer into it I go, however, I find I'm less willing to accept, "Oh, sorry, Baby, I'm married" as an excuse for anything that would smack of telling me her wants and needs would always come ahead of mine.

I have reminded myself often enough that I can walk away from this anytime I don't feel I'm being treated with respect and concern, and I'm quite willing to.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:48 PM
AggieSez AggieSez is offline
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Thanks so much for this thoughtful response!
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:52 AM
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rory rory is offline
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Despite this being a thread intended for thoughts and experiences more than a discussion, I'd like to address this

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
Honesty requires, in part, admitting that the egalitarian ideal works better as a theory than as a reality.
the reason I disagree with this is not because there aren't people who claim to live by that ideal and fail to do so (whether intentionally or not). The reason is that this line of thought lets them off the hook way too easy. It is not the ideal that is at fault, it is the person who isn't able/willing to put the work into what they say they will. I.e. being honest about hierarchy doesn't mean saying "it's probably impossible to reach an egalitarian situation", it means saying "I am not willing/able to prioritise my relationship with you, or your feelings, to have those difficult talks with my other partner, or to go through the challenges of making changes that would make things more fair towards you". It's not because the ideal can't work, it's because making it work requires hard work.

----

Do you believe couple privilege exists? How would you define it? (Or how would you adjust my proposed definition?)

I do think couple privilege exists. However, I am unsure how much to include within the concept. I definitely see it encompassing societal and cultural support, recognition, and financial benefits to individuals in a specific kind of relationship. I am more on the fence about specific activities those individuals choose in relating to other people.

An example from mainstream culture: a married woman cheats on her husband with a friend. Circle of friends find out, and the affair ends. The husband forgives the wife, and both stop talking with the lover, as do all the people of the friend circle. I would say the reason why the lover is ostracised and the wife is not, is definitely couple priviledge. However, I am unsure about the other aspects, the choices made by the people in the original couple. They do exist within a context of couple privilege, which also influences the likelihood of certain decisions over others. However, I am not sure if the definition of privilege allows defining individual's decisions as privilege, isn't it more that individual decisions are made in the context of privilege..?

That is, I am not sure the word can bend to all uses without the concept loosing its usefulness/clarity. I am not familiar with the concept of "invoking privilege", is that used by writing that has to do with privilege in other context (gender, race, etc.)?

Is couple privilege harmful, neutral or beneficial in poly/open relationships, or in the poly/open community? Why or why not?

I think it is useful to approach privilege as something that simply is. Pretty much everybody has some kind of privilege, and mostly you can't really get rid of it even if you wanted to. I, for example, cannot wish myself to be non-white. I guess I could end my marriage in order to no longer have couple privilege, but don't really see that as a valid reason... I do consider it an ethical responsibility to be aware of privilege so that one doesn't harm others. Privilege is not always necessary for causing harm, rather, it makes specific kind of harm hard to notice because it's culturally sanctioned.

To use a poly example, a married man starts dating a woman. His wife is initially fine with this, and the V is in existence for some time. However, at some point the wife starts to feel threatened and demands the husband breaks up with his girlfriend. The shared partner chooses to preserve his marriage by dumping the gf. Now, he might do it for whatever reasons, but couple privilege affects the situation in many ways. Firstly, the choise of divorce is less likely than breaking up with the new partner, since the former carries more social consequences. Secondly, in the ultimatum situation there's this narrative which makes that "the right thing to do". He can feel like he has to do it. Even the girlfriend may support it, because she doesn't want to "break up the marriage". This is the way in which the harm done to the non-primary partner becomes invisible. The whole belief system rests on couple privilege: the issuing of ultimatums to prove own position as most important, the obscuring of the husband's responsibility in the choices he makes and shifting it onto the "third" who came to disrupt the couple, the preservance of marriage at all costs, the perception of "the third" as less important...

(Btw, sorry about the hereronormative examples, it's just that I didn't wish to make things more complicated with straight privilege and using same gender for all makes it confusing which he/she I'm talking about )

How would you like to see couple privilege addressed in the poly/open community at large?

I would say there is a need for a deeper challenging of couple-based assumptions and practices. More awareness of couple privilege as it is in poly, and even more as a cultural phenomenon. And avoiding support for couple privilege in our own personal life as well as privileging couples over solos in poly spaces. Not imposing couple-centric or hierarchical relationship models on other people's relationships.

If you eschew hierarchy and/or labels in your poly/open relationships, how do you “walk that talk” regarding couple privilege?

This is an incredibly broad question. I will share some of my experience. I met Mya about 1,5 years ago. Both of us had a long-term partner, both original couples were open but not poly. With the consent of all, Mya and I started a relationship, and so we became an N. Later, the situation evolved into a V with me in the middle (non-poly-related reasons). Throughout the poly relationship, I have lived with Alec. Mya and I were first in an LDR, and she lived with her partner. She now lives alone, and the three of us live in the same city.

Being in two relationships, I started with the aim of equality, which I largely (subconsciously) equated with sameness. Not maybe as "everything has to be the same right now" but as "the eventual aim is symmetry". I think this was valuable at the beginning of poly in terms of being open to changes. However, at some point it started to become increasingly clear that the aim of symmetry was not always something that aligned with what the people involved actually wanted. Also, it seemed that the aversion towards hierarchy (plus some internalised relationship-escalator-as-measure-of-serious-relationship assumptions) was something that caused pressure towards equality. So, the aim of equality as symmetry moved aside, and was replaced by more flexible decision making based on what all want.

I think there are some aspects that have been incredibly helpful. Firstly, I don't view my poly life as something separate from other aspects of my life. Secondly, I used to have an autonomous relationship when monogamous, and I have not changed this since becoming poly. These tie in together, and I will try to illustrate.

When monogamous, I would make decisions concerning the ways in which I spend my time autonomously. Obviously, I want to spend some time with my partner, so that fact will be factored into the decision-making, along with any preferences he has expressed in the past. But if I want to see a friend, I will make plans with my friend and let my partner know about it. If he has any wishes, he is free to express them - e.g. "I have Sundays off and would like to see you then" - and I am happy to consider them in the future, but I will not cancel plans with other people once I've made them. When opening up, there is no reason to change this method - i.e. when making plans with another partner, I will not start asking for his permission, or even checking with him in advance, any more than I do when I'm making plans with a friend. He is as free to express his wishes as he's always been, and I am happy to take them into account in the future.

Poly is not separate from life. Romantic relationships are relationships. I will make my own decisions autonomously as I've always done. If my partner expresses wishes, I will consider them based on their reasonability, validity, and my own judgement; not based on some hierarchical status. I would not cancel plans with a friend simply because my partner asked me to, and I will not cancel plans with a newer partner because older partner asked me to. I would not give up a friendship simply because my partner wants me to or doesn't like my friend, nor would I break up with a person for those kind of reasons. You get the picture. None of these situations have ever happened. I doubt any of them will ever happen, because there is a mutual respect for each other's autonomy, which recognises that unreasonable demands don't become any more reasonable in romantic relationships. That is not to say that we are above that - more that we all know ultimatums etc. would not be met with compliance, because, eventually, none of us want the kinds of relationships where they are used.

Egalitarian relationships are a process. We have established a relationship life and routines that work for us. However, there is a need to remain open to change in order to take into consideration potentially changing wishes. That is the key; consideration. Doesn't mean you need to change everything, or accommodate everything your partners want, or compromise everything. It means to take seriously the wants and wishes of all people involved, whatever they are and become.
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:29 AM
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Interesting discussion. Thanks to AggieSez for starting it. I learned more about peoples’ attitudes to married people getting into polyamory than from any other source I have seen.

Still, I have questions and comments about some concepts raised:
The concept of harm, as in:
Quote:
Originally Posted by LovingRadiance View Post
Is couple privilege harmful, neutral or beneficial in poly/open relationships, or in the poly/open community? Why or why not?

I think it's unrealistic to expect people to negate it without time to move towards the negation of it - but I think overall it is harmful.
Harmful to whom? How do you define harm?

Arguably, an extramarital relationship is ipso facto harmful, possibly to all three of the people involved, and should never have been entered. Your grandmother could have told you that.

Times have changed, however, and polyamory assumes that such relationships may work out to the benefit of everyone concerned. If this was not thought to be likely (or even possible), relationships involving married people would have been specifically excluded from the writings of the people advocating polyamory, and this is not the case.

I therefore question the use of the word “harmful”. If you enter an informal relationship of any kind, there is always the danger that the other party may wish to end it one day. This may well be hurtful, but it should not be damaging. If you are healthy in spirit, you will get over it. How else do you propose dealing with relationships that have run their course? It really does not matter why the other person has ended it – it could be because of “couple privilege”, but it could also be because (s)he has become bored with you, or feels that you have not lived up to some image (s)he has of a long-term partner, or because you said something that you shouldn’t have, or did not do something that (s)he expected of you (without ever saying so). None of this matters much – no-one can be expected to live up to imagined commitments (s)he has not formally made or to qualities that (s)he does not have.

(I am clearly not talking of psychotic behaviour. If I abuse someone physically or psychologically, or burn her house down Alan Harper-style, she is not going to break up with me because of couple privilege, but because I committed a deep wrong towards her.)

The concept of a happy marriage, or “Holy Dyad”, as in:
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I personally call this attitude "revering The Holy Dyad," and I do find it distasteful. I would not get involved with anyone who operates that way, as I do not recognize the idea that there is any sort of privilege a couple should have. I feel that if people in a couple want additional relationships, they just need to embrace and accept the idea that everything is going to change, and holding onto this kernel of having the couple at the center of their poly universe makes absolutely no sense.
Oh, so you find distasteful relationships such as mine or that of any number of couples I know, married for 30 or 40 years or even longer?

If it’s not that, what you find distasteful is the fact that a participant in such a Holy Dyad would try to enter other relationships? How is that different from mainstream attitudes? Oh you cheating bastard, how could you do this to your darling spouse, or to the innocent third party who has no idea what (s)he is getting into?

Fortunately for me, I don’t have to get the approval or understanding of most people. I am extremely open about my circumstances in life, and if someone doesn’t like Holy Dyads, go and take up with someone not in one. And, fortunately for the naive young innocents out there, I am not so hot and sexy (or young, more is the pity) that someone would take up with me in a moment of passion, to be let down later by the need for submission to a Holy Dyad.

Sorry to be sarcastic, but really! Intelligent people know how to evaluate social possibilities, and know what to expect from specific kinds of situations. One of my first romantic interests, whom I pursued with extreme ardour, turned to me with some exasperation at one point, and asked me: “You know that I have a boyfriend, don’t you?”. The subtext being: “You know how far this can go, don’t you?”. My excuse was my youth and inexperience.

Finally, the concepts of “off the hook” and “hard work” (in the context of relationships), as in:
Quote:
Originally Posted by rory View Post
Originally Posted by WhatHappened
Honesty requires, in part, admitting that the egalitarian ideal works better as a theory than as a reality.


The reason I disagree with this is not because there aren't people who claim to live by that ideal and fail to do so (whether intentionally or not). The reason is that this line of thought lets them off the hook way too easy. It is not the ideal that is at fault, it is the person who isn't able/willing to put the work into what they say they will. I.e. being honest about hierarchy doesn't mean saying "it's probably impossible to reach an egalitarian situation", it means saying "I am not willing/able to prioritise my relationship with you, or your feelings, to have those difficult talks with my other partner, or to go through the challenges of making changes that would make things more fair towards you". It's not because the ideal can't work, it's because making it work requires hard work.
What is the hook one should not be left off? Who is the hooker and the hooked (and I mean no puns) here? In my view, it is the person who has more to gain is the one who should do more work.

I am trying to envision the situation. V is at the centre of a vee (very suitably named), he is married to A and has girlfriend B. (V could also be a woman, with A and B men, or they could all be gay – I am simply using this configuration for simplicity).

V’s relationship to A could be almost anything, as long as A and V run a common home together. Talk of hard work – this is hard work. B may not get as much out of the relationship as A does, but then she does not have to invest the same amount of resources (time, money, effort) in it either.

Anyway, when B and V are together, they are having a great time. If they don’t, why are they together at all? If it’s not enjoyable for B, she can just say goodbye.

OK, so it’s enjoyable. But, after a while, she wants some certainty, some stability, some sense that she matters to V. Unfortunately, our V is a bit dense, for he does not realize that B needs reassurance and act on this realization. Alternatively, V does not care that much for B as a person, but he likes the good times. Who doesn’t like good times? He is a bastard in this case.

Now, B doesn’t know whether V is just dense or is being a bastard. She can test the waters. Ask for some sign of commitment, for example. If V is dense, he may now do something to reassure B, or he may give up and crawl back to A, who has known for a long time how dense her husband is, but what the hell, at least he is good in the sack or with power tools (or both). If V is a bastard, why, he will continue being a bastard, for example promise to talk to A and ask for more time off, then not even do this.

It’s not clear to me why B wants to be someone who is either dense or a bastard, but there is no accounting for tastes.

But what I don’t get above all is what this has to do with being off (or not off) the hook, or hard work? What’s so hard about talking over time- and money-management issues with intelligent people? Or about being honest – from the very beginning – about what you are prepared and what you are not prepared to do? What happens at Christmas, who pays for holidays, I feel lonely at times, can you do something about this? Simple issues, possible solutions. And yes, sometimes we all feel alone and neglected, deal with it. What did you do when you were unattached?
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolyLinguist View Post
Oh, so you find distasteful relationships such as mine or that of any number of couples I know, married for 30 or 40 years or even longer?

If it’s not that, what you find distasteful is the fact that a participant in such a Holy Dyad would try to enter other relationships? How is that different from mainstream attitudes? Oh you cheating bastard, how could you do this to your darling spouse, or to the innocent third party who has no idea what (s)he is getting into?

Fortunately for me, I don’t have to get the approval or understanding of most people. I am extremely open about my circumstances in life, and if someone doesn’t like Holy Dyads, go and take up with someone not in one.
Wow, you really misinterpreted what I wrote!

First of all, I never said I find long-term relationships distasteful. That makes no sense. Why would I? You only quoted the part where I said I find the revering of a Holy Dyad (my own term for it) distasteful, but you didn't quote what I was referring to, which is this:
If couples act in a way that indicates a they have a certain privilege over individuals, it is basically because they think that's what they should do, and for whatever reason, they feel it is necessary for their "survival" as a couple. Or it is based on a misguided arrogance which leads them to think that anyone else they get involved with is only there to supplant and enhance what they have, while the individuals' needs are far less important. But the carrying out of such a privilege only happens if the individuals they get involved with also go along with it.

I personally call this attitude "revering The Holy Dyad," and I do find it distasteful.
I don't find it distasteful that a married or long-term partnered couple practices polyamory. What I find distasteful is when they lord their status as a committed couple over the other people they are involved with and supposedly love. That they cling on and attempt to protect the dynamic of their relationship so that it will never change, and treat additional love partners as threats and expendable. I know lots of swingerish couples do this, and it has carried over into poly, with all sorts of clingy and possessive rules and behaviors. People can do whatever they want, but I don't have to like it or agree, and I actively choose not to get involved with couple-centric people like that. This is not to say I wouldn't respect a previously established relationship of a lover of mine, but I would not stand for not having the respect I deserve as well. I'm just sharing my viewpoint, not asking others to join me in seeing it that way,so you don't have to get so huffy.
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An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/
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  #9  
Old 12-13-2012, 05:29 AM
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PolyLinguist PolyLinguist is offline
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Wow, you really misinterpreted what I wrote!

First of all, I never said I find long-term relationships distasteful. That makes no sense. Why would I? You only quoted the part where I said I find the revering of a Holy Dyad (my own term for it) distasteful, but you didn't quote what I was referring to, which is this:
If couples act in a way that indicates a they have a certain privilege over individuals, it is basically because they think that's what they should do, and for whatever reason, they feel it is necessary for their "survival" as a couple. Or it is based on a misguided arrogance which leads them to think that anyone else they get involved with is only there to supplant and enhance what they have, while the individuals' needs are far less important. But the carrying out of such a privilege only happens if the individuals they get involved with also go along with it.

I personally call this attitude "revering The Holy Dyad," and I do find it distasteful.
I don't find it distasteful that a married or long-term partnered couple practices polyamory. What I find distasteful is when they lord their status as a committed couple over the other people they are involved with and supposedly love. That they cling on and attempt to protect the dynamic of their relationship so that it will never change, and treat additional love partners as threats and expendable. I know lots of swingerish couples do this, and it has carried over into poly, with all sorts of clingy and possessive rules and behaviors. People can do whatever they want, but I don't have to like it or agree, and I actively choose not to get involved with couple-centric people like that. This is not to say I wouldn't respect a previously established relationship of a lover of mine, but I would not stand for not having the respect I deserve as well. I'm just sharing my viewpoint, not asking others to join me in seeing it that way,so you don't have to get so huffy.
Thank you, nycindie, and I am sorry if I misinterpreted you. It can happen to the best of us... (Not that I am among the best, I am sure).

In fact, I can see another aspect of why this attitude can be irritating. Suppose I was interested in someone (in the poly world, obviously), and that person went on and on about her wonderful husband/lover/whatever. It just wouldn't be all that sexy, would it now?

And I'll have to find just the right tone to express my attitude to my wife, not too little, not too much (the Goldilocks Zone, so to speak), otherwise I'll just turn everyone off.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by PolyLinguist View Post
What is the hook one should not be left off?
I am not sure how what you wrote relates to what I had written, but I am happy to explain what I meant by that. I referred to a hierarchical situation, where the person who has two partners treats one (non-primary) with less consideration than the other (primary). If this person then tried to justify this by arguing that s/he has to do so because egalitarian/equal poly relationship is simply impossible, and we all believed them, I think this would let them off the hook too easy. Does that make sense? What I am trying to say is that it is one thing to practice hierarchy, and another to justify it by claiming hierarchy is inevitable.
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