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  #31  
Old 06-04-2012, 04:11 PM
mostlyclueless mostlyclueless is offline
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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
On this specific point... I'm thinking of someone who would want to change careers. Who has a revelation about what they want to do from now on. It would require adjustments from their partner, and it's not what they originally agreed on when they got married, and it could upset them if it requires a very different schedule, or a move, or causes a big change in income.
Yet most people, it seems to be, would agree that you need to support your spouse who has found their calling, possibly even be the only breadwinner while they get a new degree, etc. It doesn't seem that rare, I've heard many people mention that situation.

Never when I got married did any of the paperwork mention monogamy, except to say we couldn't marry another person while still being married. (What it did say, though, was that regular sex between the married couple was a duty. Thankfully few people demand that when their partner is not in the mood, or is sick, etc).
So to me the expectation was never something we signed on, just something he expected of me, just like we expected to keep the same careers and keep living in the same place.
But for most couples, sexual and romantic exclusivity is a condition of the relationship, whereas continuing to, say, be a math teacher isn't.

I am glad I posted this thread. I am realizing that my assumption was that most people's thought process before marriage including some kind of analysis like: I am promising lifelong exclusivity, and I know it will probably be hard at times, but we will just tough it out. And then when the hard part comes, they say, just kidding! Let's do this "polyamory" thing! But it sounds like more commonly, both partners were not that invested in exclusivity, or the alternative had really never even crossed their minds.

Thanks for sharing your stories with me.
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  #32  
Old 06-04-2012, 04:42 PM
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Personally, my problem is that there is a kind of attitude that the person who cheated is a 'poor poly'. Someone that had no idea they had options so HAD to cheat. Who is somehow the victim and society has done them a great disservice. They do not feel the need to be portrayed as a bad guy in any sense. They do not have to apologize or feel any guilt at all for breaking the trust of a relationship. They really just need to tell their partner (spouse) that poly is okay and show them articles on how to get over their jealousies and have compersion!
I totally agree with you on this point, in fact, you will quite often see places where I have made posts along the lines of "Well YOU are the one that is breaking the vows and promises that you made, so it's not really your spouse's fault that they can't just change their whole life at the drop of a hat".

There is not "HAD to cheat" that I will tolerate - it is always, always a choice, and people need to fess up to that. I really don't accept the poly victim thing which I see very often. I usually try to be polite and constructive about it, by changing the perspective, rather than hauling them over the coals, but the message is (hopefully) still clear.
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  #33  
Old 06-04-2012, 04:44 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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This reminds me of a study I saw: in 40% of the cases, one partner said they had agreed to be exclusive, the other partner said there was no such arrangement.
I think some people assume exclusivity is nothing is stated, some other assume that you need an agreement before you become exclusive (it does seem common to start by dating around and being non-exclusive, and then become exclusive).

Now, this isn't about married couple, but still, it's an example of how expectations can be sneaky and it's good to communicate and create your own rules for the relationship.

And you'd be surprised by how many people think it's "not fair" when they hear their partner, who had a "good job" and made a good living, want to switch careers for one that pays less, and they have to adjust their lifestyle accordingly. As I said, it's usually expected that you will support that choice from your partner, but it doesn't prevent people from resenting it or feeling betrayed.
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  #34  
Old 06-04-2012, 04:46 PM
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This talk of what gets written into the marriage contract is, to me, academic. The vows made during the ceremony ARE the verbal contract, which is why you have witnesses. THEY are the promises that should be kept if one is to be faithful and have integrity in the relationship.
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  #35  
Old 06-04-2012, 05:30 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Well, I have never heard of vows being used in ceremonies in France. The way my wedding happened, we showed up at city hall, signed the contract, the witnesses signed the contract, and then we went to celebrate. The only thing either of us said is "Oui", which is the French equivalent of "I do".

I don't know if vows are common in religious ceremonies, because I didn't have one and I've never been to one, but aside from that option, there just wasn't any room for us to make any vows. They did ask us before the ceremony started if we wanted to use rings, which we didn't, so maybe if we had they would have let us say something while giving each other our rings, but as it was we weren't supposed to speak at any other time, so I don't really understand that whole "keeping your vows" thing. The only thing we did is sign a contract and that's what I assume we should keep to.
We never promised each other monogamy either, although I guess he expected it.
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  #36  
Old 06-04-2012, 05:34 PM
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It is a mute argument, IMHO, of what is assumed or said in marriage vows. Whether we like it or not, marriage is assumed to be a mono relationship UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE. Just as it is assumed people are straight unless stated otherwise. Is it fair? Probably not, but there it is. So to say that you never actually SAID you were mono in vows is a ridiculous argument to me.

Even if we don't agree with the assumptions made if we KNOW they are made, and do nothing to correct them at the beginning, then those assumptions are thought to be valid.
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  #37  
Old 06-04-2012, 05:36 PM
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We never promised each other monogamy either, although I guess he expected it.
What? They EXPECT monogamy in France? When did that start?

(Just kidding. It's a funny stereotype. )
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  #38  
Old 06-04-2012, 05:42 PM
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hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
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Originally Posted by Vixtoria View Post
Whether we like it or not, marriage is assumed to be a mono relationship UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE. Just as it is assumed people are straight unless stated otherwise. Is it fair? Probably not, but there it is. So to say that you never actually SAID you were mono in vows is a ridiculous argument to me.

Even if we don't agree with the assumptions made if we KNOW they are made, and do nothing to correct them at the beginning, then those assumptions are thought to be valid.
"Marriage is assumed" . . . by whom? The passive voice blurs the issue here.

As far as I'm concerned, marriage is an agreement between two people to become life partners. Whatever understanding the two have going in, the terms of that partnership will have to be clarified, amended, and modified all along the way, in response to increased understanding and changing circumstances, if the partnership is to last.

All contracts can be renegotiated with the mutual consent of the contracting parties.

The failure of public institutions or popular imagination to compass the possibility of an open marriage, or a marriage in which one or both partners is polyamorous, or even (gasp!) a marriage of more than two people, doesn't have a whole lot of bearing on the way in which my wife and I set, or re-set, or re-re-set the terms of our life together.
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  #39  
Old 06-04-2012, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
"Marriage is assumed" . . . by whom? The passive voice blurs the issue here.
My society. Sorry if I wasn't clear enough. Also, all those couples that did NOT define their marriage for themselves. Let's be honest, the majority of people that get married do not define it before hand. They propose, they accept, they plan a wedding, and they get married. The marriage itself isn't defined or discussed because it is assumed.

Quote:

As far as I'm concerned, marriage is an agreement between two people to become life partners. Whatever understanding the two have going in, the terms of that partnership will have to be clarified, amended, and modified all along the way, in response to increased understanding and changing circumstances, if the partnership is to last.

All contracts can be renegotiated with the mutual consent of the contracting parties.
That is great, FOR YOU. That is your assumption, it is neither the popular one or the majority. That was to what I was referring. Not my personal beliefs. I saw Whoopi Goldberg discussing relationships once and I whole heartedly agreed with her idea that marriage has a shelf life. Like a contract, you sign up for a few years, then can renegotiated at the end of that term to either stay married or move on. Things in life change, people change, so why wouldn't a marriage? Great that you understood that before saying your vows. A vast majority do not. Marriage, relationships, it's not taught. There are plenty of classes and reality shows that will show you how to get married, not how to have a real or healthy relationship.

Quote:
The failure of public institutions or popular imagination to compass the possibility of an open marriage, or a marriage in which one or both partners is polyamorous, or even (gasp!) a marriage of more than two people, doesn't have a whole lot of bearing on the way in which my wife and I set, or re-set, or re-re-set the terms of our life together.


Again, great, it has no bearing on your relationship. Obviously it doesnt' have a lot of bearing on most relationships around here. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here. However, my point stands. The 'assumption' of a marriage being monogamous is valid. Unless stated otherwise. You and your wife stated otherwise, at least to each other. So that works for you.

I don't believe it works to get married, never discuss the possibility of anything other then monogamy, and then years later state, "Hey! I never assumed Monogamy neither should you!" It's assumed, you knew it was assumed. Saying after the fact that it shouldn't be is much like a child saying, 'Hey you never said that I COULDN"T do it! So I did!' When you know what the assumptions are, it is your responsibility to say otherwise. Not leave it as a loop hole for years down the line.

If this doesn't include you and your relationship, bully for you. It's still a valid point for many, many, many other relationships.
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  #40  
Old 06-04-2012, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Vixtoria View Post
The 'assumption' of a marriage being monogamous is valid. Unless stated otherwise. You and your wife stated otherwise, at least to each other. So that works for you.

I don't believe it works to get married, never discuss the possibility of anything other then monogamy, and then years later state, "Hey! I never assumed Monogamy neither should you!" It's assumed, you knew it was assumed. Saying after the fact that it shouldn't be is much like a child saying, 'Hey you never said that I COULDN"T do it! So I did!' When you know what the assumptions are, it is your responsibility to say otherwise. Not leave it as a loop hole for years down the line.

If this doesn't include you and your relationship, bully for you. It's still a valid point for many, many, many other relationships.
To be clear, when we married, my wife and I both assumed monogamy, simply by default. We maintained and lived by that assumption - at some personal cost for each of us - for nearly 18 years.

Then she asked, in effect: Could we reconsider this?

After some worrying and some research, I thought: Why not?

And on we went with the re-negotiation.

What you describe is much more like a semantic trick/power play - "I never assumed monogamy!" -which is simply lousy strategy for effectively or fairly re-negotiating an agreement.

The starting point is much the same, however.
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