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Old 10-18-2009, 06:31 AM
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Default Freedom and commitment in Poly-fi relationships.

I used to enjoy a life where I had complete freedom to have many partners, now I have a committed Poly-fi relationship.

I was talking with my husband the other day about how at some point, hypothetically, I may find it a challenge to be committed to not having more men in my life. What do I do then?

He said that I can have it one way or another, and that Poly tends to be one way or the other....

Either I could have total freedom (experience anyone I want)
or
total commitment (with a select few in a family manner).

While I agree largely, I wonder if people can balance this? How can a balance be achieved under such circumstances? I just wonder if there is a possibility to continue to be comfortable with the freedom I have in my commitments for the long haul?
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Last edited by redpepper; 10-18-2009 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 10-18-2009, 01:33 PM
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In all relationships, the people in the relationships have the right to set and modify their own boundaries. If a person says I am comfortable with you dividing your attention between me and n other people, but I could never be comfortable with you dividing your attention between me and n+1 other people, then you can respect that boundary, look for any room to negotiate around that boundary, or, if you have a boundary that is completely incompatible with there being any set number then you can dig in your heals and see whether or not the relationship in question survives n+1.
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Old 10-18-2009, 02:34 PM
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I guess I see freedom and commitment as something that can happily coexist. For me, commitment is not about how much time I spend with my partner, but about how much I devote to meeting my my partner's needs. I think that can happen while still being open to the possibility of new partners. Of course, the decisions I make about involving a new partner would be balanced against whether or not I can meet the commitments I've already made and the potential commitment I make to my prospective partner. But I believe that freedom is about being trusted to make those decisions for myself without having to set an outside limit.

I see commitment as so much more than just deciding to be exclusive. I know many partners that have those limits and yet the level of commitment they have to each other is arguably low. I would hope that when I commit to a partner, they would trust me enough to know that I can have that freedom to be open to possibilities yet will be able to make all those decisions based on honoring the commitments that I already have. If I feel poly-saturated- that any new relationship would mean having to devote less to my current relationships- then I would probably not want to include anyone new. But I also recognize that those things can change. My commitment is about my devotion to that relationship, not in about promising not to have more relationships.
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Old 10-19-2009, 03:12 AM
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Fortunately Redpepper and me got to spend much of the weekend together with her son. We had lots of talks as per normal and the topic of this thread came up. I thought it was an important point to put out there to our friends and the community.

I was approaching it not so much as how you (the person seeking freedom as we are using the term here) are able to commit to all these people, but what type of dedication/commitment do you expect to get in return from each person or certain ones.

Again it all seems to come down to what your goals are. Do you want multiple people to not only be romantically involved with but also to be an integrated part of your family, sharing chores, family functions, contributing to child care etc? Or do you simply want to have a very fluid, completely open relationship?

Having multiple free flowing and fluid relationships is very possible, as we have seen with people at our poly meetings. These people do not seem to not have committed people with which they are building homes, raising children, planning a future or sharing the mundane responsibilities of life with. They tend to be single, young, or newly divorced from traditional marriages.

Having committed family integrated relationships are also possible as we ourselves are experiencing.

Having total "freedom" (as defined earlier in this thread) and total "commitment" (as defined earlier in this post) is not something we have seen working in person however.

I myself, although completely devoted to Redpepper within our dynamic and boundaries, know that I would inevitably succumb to the stresses of a 100% free flowing relationship. I am blessed to, without effort, look at her and her husband as one entity and therefore can honestly say I have experienced a zero jealousy poly situation. I do however have my boundaries with the introduction of new men.

So in affect, she knows I am hers as an integrated, dedicated family member. We have pushed this belief to near the breaking point in coming out to her family. She also knows I ask for certain boundaries for me to be healthy.

The Spectrum

I represent one end of the spectrum…total, lifelong, family integrated, goal and future orientated commitment in a poly dynamic with her husband, her tertiary and future women to love (not to share with me, I’m so not into two women LOL)

I could not co-exist with the other end of the spectrum…total freedom to explore any love interest that arises whether male or female. (The difference in why one is possible and the other not is another thread that I may someday tackle as it is very private to me and I have yet to be able to fully explain it to even Redpepper.)

Redpepper’s responsibility is in evaluating, and re-evaluating if the relationships she has and the contribution from each is worth the resultant “cost” of our boundaries.

I have to do this too. For me, although monogamous in nature, any “cost” I experience currently is outweighed by the “gifts” I receive which is sharing in her love and family.

While we spend a lot of time talking about mythical unicorns on here I sometimes feel that the idea of a utopian community of completely dedicated and completely free lovers is the true unicorn of poly. IMO getting everything is not a realistic or achievable goal in any area of life. I simply have to ask myself what I have right now, in this moment, as I am, to see the truth in that for me. That doesn’t make life any less amazing or rewarding.....for me it just makes it real.

Again, though…everything comes down to goals

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Last edited by MonoVCPHG; 10-20-2009 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:57 AM
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What a very interesting question RP. I'm not even sure that I know that there is an answer. Very thought provoking.

Obviously as you all know Maca and I are in the process of defining our poly-relationship having been in what should have been a mono relationship -but I f'd that up very well.

In defining that-we haven't really addressed the "terms" for the future as of yet-though I'm sure we both have thoughts in mind.

For me-I do not want another man in the picture-(thankfully neither of them are bi) and would be rather offended at the suggestion.
As for women-I reserve the thought that someday I may be interested in pursuing a woman again-but at this time in my life I am not even remotely interested in touching on that aspect of my nature. Too much baggage.

BUT I don't care if either of the guys has a girlfriend, even two.. I think that there is a significant limit to how well they can do their jobs in our family if they were to get into serious relationships with more then two women beyond me because time is already a strain with 3 kids left to raise. However-if they found a way to do it-whatever.

As for living in our home-I think I would have to set a limit on how many extra women were moving into our home as "partners" to our family for a variety of reasons some selfish-some not so much. Unselfishly-there is a space issue. But selfishly-all of the kids in our home are mine-and I flat refuse to defer to ANY other woman but my sister on raising them. I WILL be the final decision maker in regards to their well-being and that is not optional, so a woman moving in would need to be comfortable with that.... limitation on her role in our family...

.....

I'm not interested in just having a flat open relationship. I don't feel I need it nor do I feel it would benefit me. I am not sure how I would feel if one of the guys wanted to be able to "partner hop" at will either... Honestly-I haven't much considered it beyond them having a girlfriend.....

Again-interesting topic RP!!!
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:27 PM
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There is freedom in commitment as Rarechild has mentioned in another thread untitled "ORE." I'm hoping she will write about that here *entice entice*
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Old 10-21-2009, 01:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
I was approaching it not so much as how you (the person seeking freedom as we are using the term here) are able to commit to all these people, but what type of dedication/commitment do you expect to get in return from each person or certain ones.
I'm not sure I'm understanding this definition of commitment. This sounds more like expectations than commitment to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
Again it all seems to come down to what your goals are. Do you want multiple people to not only be romantically involved with but also to be an integrated part of your family, sharing chores, family functions, contributing to child care etc? Or do you simply want to have a very fluid, completely open relationship?
Putting it that way seems to negate all of the relationship possibilities that exist between both of those. There are so many ways partners can have an integrated family unit with multiple partners while still remaining open to possibilities of other people or partners.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
multiple free flowing and fluid relationships is very possible, as we have seen with people at our poly meetings. These people do not seem to not have committed people with which they are building homes, raising children, planning a future or sharing the mundane responsibilities of life with. They tend to be single, young, or newly divorced from traditional marriages.

Having committed family integrated relationships are also possible as we ourselves are experiencing.

Having total "freedom" (as defined earlier in this thread) and total "commitment" (as defined earlier in this post) is not something we have seen working in person however.
I still feel like there's an artificial binary in this equation. Having freedom in your relationships to be open to additional partners doesn't have to mean that there's a revolving door of relationships. Having the freedom to have additional partners doesn't necessitate continually adding partners or not being able to form deep life building commitments in the process. And for some, not all partnerships have to be about raising a family together. That's the beauty of it, there is room for connections to exist on the level that's right for them to exist on. When they can just live in their natural levels, one connection doesn't have to take away or limit another connection.

For me, the freedom lies in who's choice it is. I've known people who have built multiple long term life building partnerships while still being open to additional partnerships. They do so knowing how to make their choices in ways that allow their other partnerships to remain balanced. They do so with intentionality and responsibility to the commitments they already have. But they still have the freedom to make those choices for themselves.

For me, being poly is about the freedom to make spaces for the people in my life, not to find people for the spaces in my life.
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Old 10-21-2009, 01:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
For me, the freedom lies in who's choice it is. I've known people who have built multiple long term life building partnerships while still being open to additional partnerships. They do so knowing how to make their choices in ways that allow their other partnerships to remain balanced. They do so with intentionality and responsibility to the commitments they already have. But they still have the freedom to make those choices for themselves.

For me, being poly is about the freedom to make spaces for the people in my life, not to find people for the spaces in my life.
I understand what you are saying, Ceoli, and respect your opinion and ideal of what you see as possible for yourself......I'm just a person who wants to see a working example, not just hear ot theorize about it. I just don't see it working around me and am fully aware that it is not for me.

I'm not poly...I've merely found something that against all odds works for me. I'm not asking anyone to change, but I am not wanting to change either. As long as people are happy and healthy I will be fullfilled. I would never say you can't do anything, I'm just saying I won't do it with you.
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
For me, being poly is about the freedom to make spaces for the people in my life, not to find people for the spaces in my life.
I totally agree Ceoli, well put... my spaces are filled quite nicely thank you very much. Because I made them first, tried some people on and found who I needed...
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