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Old 04-17-2011, 05:08 PM
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Default party poly talk

I went to two parties this week where Poly came up. Everyone was super interested in the lifestyle I have made home, but that also came with concern for me and my partners. Questions were raised about how I could possibly have time, how I could possibly be showing my loves that I care and love them, how I could spend that much energy on my relationships when I could be spending it elsewhere.

Some people I met had been to different poly events and don't go any more. Their reason? They are back on the mono train, because it is easier. Poly is hard work and really they were only in it because they hadn't found "the one," and were dating and playing the field until they did. Now they either have found "the one" or have given up and found seeking out poly relationships has just kept them from the task of finding "the one."

What was interesting was that they were sceptical and in disbelief of my success so far on this journey. I find it hard to respond in such conversations. Its almost as if they are looking to me to pull something out of no where that will give them an answer as to how to proceed and how to be successful in poly. There is no one answer, and it inevitably comes from the individuals involved. This does not seem to compute somehow, or is fraught with disbelieve and doubt.

People seem to want to make a cult out of poly as if their are rules to follow, procedure to be aware of. Really, for me, poly success comes down to two things; time management, and being independently aware of every single thing that comes up for me. At least this is the simple party version anyway.

What's your party version on your poly? What have you encountered when talking about poly in such situations?
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Old 04-17-2011, 11:49 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
What was interesting was that they were sceptical and in disbelief of my success so far on this journey. I find it hard to respond in such conversations.
I'm thinking a response of "I seem to be able to do relationships well" is an appropriate response.
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Old 04-18-2011, 12:43 AM
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I wasn't at a party, but I recently went to hear some live music at my local pub and got into a conversation about poly with someone I'd just met there. Man, was it tedious to try and explain it to someone so close-minded!

He kept on saying, "But don't you want commitment?" And I kept on saying, "Polyamory is about commitment, it's just being committed to more than one person." And he actually had the nerve to counter with, "But what are you committing to? Nothing." Ugh, I think we went over it and said these same lines at least five times.

Then he kept talking about communes and a "whole bunch of people living and screwing around together," and was visibly shocked when I told him I am straight. He was like, "How does that work??!!" Even though I told him that at this point I don't have my ideal situation in place yet, when I said I wanted to be with more than one guy that got him so twisted, never mind when I told him it wasn't only about sex but about LOVING more than one guy. I could tell he was thinking that was whorish. He was so disgusted, I saw it on his face (but I am sure that if I had said I was bi, he'd have thought that was totally hot. A straight woman fucking and loving more than one man = whore). His reactions actually made me get up and leave to go home!

Blargh!!!

I usually don't have that much of a hard time talking about it to people, since NYC is a pretty liberal place and I know mostly creative types who embrace alternatives more than most. One friend of mine dislikes the idea completely but is at least accepting of it. But that exchange was uber frustrating! If it had been genuine curiosity instead of such disdain, I would have stayed to keep on talking about it with him.
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Last edited by nycindie; 04-18-2011 at 05:55 AM.
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:46 AM
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Ah yes the "whore" thing.... sigh... I totally get that look. The blank stare turned horror turned disrespect look. Yup. It's just way too hard for some to look past what is right in front of them to be able to see more than what they already know.

I remember talking to Mono about what poly was when we first met. He was one of the only men I had a date with that looked interested and concerned for me rather than saw an opportunity or thought I was a fool.

Generally people seem to want to hear that I must of failed in some way to HAVE to have this. One person the other night said that they had tried that "lifesytle" out and it just doesn't work. I told them that it is a whole mind change really and not for the faint of heart. You have to be talented I reminded them that it HAS worked and that I am an example of that. She turned to her boyfriend and said that she thought they were just fine together and it was working so even though they tried it it wasn't for them... funny, because there was an awkward silence afterwards that gave me the distinct impression that he had been TOLD that they were fine and they didn't "need" poly.... hmmmmm

I have to remember to stop talking after I have said my bit though... I always keep rambling on to fill in the awkward silences as if I have to in some way confince... saying it over and over that I'm kind of whatever about it all cause I am good and they are good so who cares, just doesn't really avoid the awkwardness. Ya know?
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Old 04-18-2011, 07:38 AM
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The oddest response I've gotten so far was when I said that I don't do poly-fi. 'Well then, I guess you are not as committed to your couple as they would want to be to you'. Woot?! I think FMF-triads are still sort of understandable and maybe awe-inspiring to some people, provided OPP is firmly in place. But one woman with two or more guys? Now that's just greedy .

A common misunderstanding is that my partners don't know about my other partners and that everyone of them thinks they are the only ones. I sure hope not!
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Old 04-18-2011, 02:33 PM
TruckerPete TruckerPete is offline
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I openly state on my POF profile that I'm happily married and have a boyfriend. One guy messaged me and said, "So are you insatiable, or just greedy?" I told him I am neither, I'm poly. He countered back with, "If that's what you want to call it."

He left me alone after I commented that he must have a winning strategy for picking up women, if he has nothing better to do than troll a slut's profile.
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Old 04-18-2011, 02:38 PM
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I'm not open enough (yet?) to discuss poly at parties, but thanks to Sister Wives, on tv, we can kind of dance around the idea, right?

I'm frustrated -- lots of narrow-mindedness around here (Midwest). They seem to think things have to stay the same as they've always been. No one questions the mono status quo, the fairy-tale model we were all given. I've read tons since coming here, but I'm not so sure I want to be the big advocate for poly quite yet. (Especially at times when things are going rocky for us, personally!) But the fairy tale ending sure didn't happen, for me or for hardly anybody I know. Cheating and/or divorcing is the norm, or miserable "faithful" marriages with the occasional rare happy one.

In my experience, people find it much more acceptable to hate a cheating s.o.b. than to consider the idea that maybe there was another way things could have been handled. Daggers are thrown at people who have feelings for anyone besides their spouse (Guess none of these super "Christians" really took to heart that part in the bible about not stoning the adultress...)

I have told some of my friends about our arrangement, and the biggest concern they have expressed is that there is no way to overcome the JEALOUSY. They say there's just no way a man can accept another man being with his wife.

I tell them about "compersion" and I say, "Well, believe it or not, there ARE people out there, making it work. I didn't just dream this lifestyle up all on my own!"

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Old 04-18-2011, 04:43 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
He kept on saying, "But don't you want commitment?" And I kept on saying, "Polyamory is about commitment, it's just being committed to more than one person." And he actually had the nerve to counter with, "But what are you committing to? Nothing." Ugh, I think we went over it and said these same lines at least five times.
You should have just told him the facts straight up: you have commitment in spades. If anybody has a problem, it's him, as he can't bring himself to commit to more than one person at a time!

Sheesh!
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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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Old 04-18-2011, 08:03 PM
Ready2Fly Ready2Fly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post

People seem to want to make a cult out of poly as if their are rules to follow, procedure to be aware of.
That's because monogamy--- or, rather, not monogamy itself, but the pervasive culture of monogamy--- is a cult with rules to follow and procedures to be aware of.

If regular, everyday, customary dating is easier than poly (I don't necessarily think it is), then one reason for that is that the rules are known and exist independently of the dating pair. Each of them knows more or less what is expected, without it having to be negotiated, because dating is a system with rules to follow and procedures to be aware of.

Polyamory and other preversions are different, in that the rules are what the people in the relationship say they are, and there are no set procedures, except those you negotiate. So it's hard for the uninitiated to understand--- they play by a rulebook, so they assume you do too, just that it's a different rulebook from theirs. There really is some truth to that... but this concept of negotiating the rules is alien.

That's part of the problem with acceptance of poly in the mainstream. In the mainstream narrative, multiple partners automatically means irresponsibility and lack of commitment, because those concepts are so strongly associated in that narrative with sexual monogamy. Telling someone you're committed to Bob, but having sex with Jill, simply does not compute. It is a contradiction in terms, to someone whose language is that of the monogamy narrative.

There is no way to explain these things to someone you just met at a bar, or at a party, because you're not even speaking the same language they are. Words like "commitment," "fidelity," even "love," carry sometimes wildly different meanings to your interlocutor from those they carry for you. The only way to get your point across is to spend months in front of them being an example. To demonstrate over time that love and commitment to multiple partners really is possible, fulfilling, and desirable. (Or, maybe, to point them to some movie, play, or artwork that demonstrates it for you.)
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Old 04-19-2011, 01:33 PM
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BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
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Agreed! It seems many people start with a lot of protocols that are gradually discarded when they are no longer needed. Some people benefit a lot from those when trying to figure out for example how to date a couple or as a couple. That's why it's so intriguing for me to hear how others go about achieving the same and how does that make them feel.
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