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  #41  
Old 06-04-2012, 06:24 PM
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Vixtoria Vixtoria is offline
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That is your situation. I find we all read threads by our own bias. Our own situation. This was a general question, and I was posting my views as such. Believe me, I understand not everyone falls into that general situation.

Just as I see posts that seem biased towards couples that become poly or move into poly. Stated as unicorn hunters, which DH and I have never been, or the rudeness of how dare married couples get involved with other people because there is a hierarchy already established. Just as I see people bash mono/poly relationships as unfair. It happens with everything. So perhaps the OP questions have different answers for you specifically. I've seen it go both ways, though typically more one way than another.

The situations don't follow my own either, but generally, that is what I see, on this forum, on other forums, on poly/mono lists, and in real life.
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  #42  
Old 06-04-2012, 06:38 PM
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A further attempt at clarification . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vixtoria View Post
So perhaps the OP questions have different answers for you specifically. I've seen it go both ways, though typically more one way than another.

The situations don't follow my own either, but generally, that is what I see, on this forum, on other forums, on poly/mono lists, and in real life.
Going back to the OP's clarification:

Quote:
Originally Posted by mostlyclueless View Post
Let me clarify -- I'm talking about the threads where people come here and say, "my spouse is adamantly opposed to open/poly relationships, how can I convince him/her to let me have one?"
Perhaps what I'm trying to emphasize is that we have some tools and ideas for helping people to think again about how they approach such situations . . . rather than just getting annoyed with those who come here for help.

We could advise them that, rather than 1) holding the marriage hostage until their demands are met or, 2) engaging in semantic tricks about whether an ironclad promise of monogamy is built in to the marriage "contract", they might do better (or do less harm) if they think of it as a renegotiating the terms of a partnership . . . and that only if the other partner is willing.

I mean, seriously, don't people read Fisher, Ury, et al. any more?

(Getting to Yes and Getting Past No, Harvard Negotiation Project - add them to your poly communication tool kit.)
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  #43  
Old 06-04-2012, 06:42 PM
northhome northhome 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.
In some cultures (the Anglo-Saxon ones in particular), that is true. I've yet to hear of a 'traditional' i.e. church / state ceremony that has an option for non-monogamous vows in western culture though. Or does one simply cross ones fingers while taking the vows....?

A thought, how many people would actually get married if non-monogamy was a legal option? And isn't the lack of such an option the reason so many people who might otherwise self-identify as poly decide to suppress that part of their being? In other words, it's not so much that poly people are liars, they simply don't have a lot of options in the current system if they do want to get married.

That doesn't excuse dishonesty in a relationship however, whether one is married or not.
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  #44  
Old 06-04-2012, 07:12 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KitWalker View Post
What? They EXPECT monogamy in France? When did that start?

(Just kidding. It's a funny stereotype. )
Actually, he was Canadian, I'm the French one, so maybe that's why :P

More seriously, I'm not saying the assumptions don't exist. I'm saying that in my opinion, it would be useful to question them and start from the ground up, making the rules for that specific relationship together. I remember telling couples, as an exercise I had tried, to say in a list what constituted cheating and what didn't, and whether they thought their partner felt differently. The lists never matched between partners, yet partners always said "he/she would have the exact same definitions, I mean, cheating is cheating, it's the same for everyone".
It was NEVER the same. For some cyber was fine but not kissing, for some it was the opposite, for some oral didn't count, for some being naked in the same room regardless of the circumstances did count, etc.

A friend of mine started a relationship with an ace. He told me he couldn't believe how much we assume. Due to the revelation that they had different sexualities, they started talking about pretty much everything, things that had nothing to do with sexuality. He said that things he took for granted she had never considered, and vice-versa.

It's not just the monogamy assumption that is (sometimes) made. Some people will assume that falling in love is fine if "nothing happens", yet their partner will feel betrayed. Some people will assume that sex without feeling is normal, and that everybody does it but pretends not to. I have known many men who said all men slept around, some were just lying about it more, and that it was part of the way things were that you hid it from your wife, and the wife turned a blind eye if you weren't obvious. The idea of actual monogamy to them was as realistic as a fairy tale you tell children.

I think it's a very toxic idea to think your partner will have the same ideas that you do and not ask them about it. Only recently I had a talk with my boyfriend about warning me about what he's doing, where he's going, etc, and he never realised how much I worried when I don't know, and that I don't even care where he's going or what he's doing provided he sends me a text saying "I'll be late tonight" or something.
To me, learning I'll be late and not telling my boyfriend immediately would mean I don't care about him. To him, well, he just didn't even think to do it, it's not that he didn't want to. I had always assumed people were the same as me, that the first thing you'd do, say, in a traffic jam, is let your loved one know you're in a traffic jam. It turns out most people figure they can talk about that once they get home.

These are a few examples but there are many. We're different people and trying to use a set of rules and apply it to everyone doesn't work. I wish they taught you in school that you need to discuss things with partners, and that you can't just assume they feel the same way you do, even when it seems so obvious to you.
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  #45  
Old 06-04-2012, 08:55 PM
PinkDragon PinkDragon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
Going back to the OP's clarification:
I mean, seriously, don't people read Fisher, Ury, et al. any more?
Ya know, I'm a very well read person. I read all kinds of stuff and I read all the time. That said.... that doesn't mean that I (or other people new to poly) know who Fisher and Ury are.

::shrug::

I've never read one book about polyamorous relationships. Of course, it's not like I have a huge library or any kind of bookstore here in the back of beyond. Yes, I have a computer, yes, I have an account on Amazon. That doesn't mean that I have copious amounts of spare change to spend on random books.
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  #46  
Old 06-04-2012, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkDragon View Post
Ya know, I'm a very well read person. I read all kinds of stuff and I read all the time. That said.... that doesn't mean that I (or other people new to poly) know who Fisher and Ury are.
Sorry, I tried to explain this otherwise obscure reference in the comment that followed: the books to which I referred were not about poly at all, but about successful negotiation: Getting to Yes and Getting Past No.

They were all the rage a decade and more ago in various domains, including conflict resolution. They include lots of stuff that can be as useful in personal relationships as in business dealings, right down to the language to use when expressing dissatisfaction with the status quo (e.g., focus on the problem, not the person).
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  #47  
Old 06-05-2012, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
Sorry, I tried to explain this otherwise obscure reference in the comment that followed: the books to which I referred were not about poly at all, but about successful negotiation: Getting to Yes and Getting Past No.

They were all the rage a decade and more ago in various domains, including conflict resolution. They include lots of stuff that can be as useful in personal relationships as in business dealings, right down to the language to use when expressing dissatisfaction with the status quo (e.g., focus on the problem, not the person).
We read it for conflict negotiation in college.
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  #48  
Old 06-05-2012, 02:43 AM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Re (from mostlyclueless, Post #1):
Quote:
"Are these people really blindsided by their desire not to be monogamous? It never occurred to them before they got married?"
Whew, that's a loaded (rhetorical?) question ... I can't speak for "these people," I can only speak for myself. I was in a traditional monogamous marriage for almost twenty years before I realized I wanted a polyamorous arrangement. Believe me, I wasn't presumptuous about how I brought it up. Actually (over the course of many years) I went through a great deal of change in my whole philosophy about life and all that, and apologized to my wife for the change, as I knew she had never signed up for that.

What does a person do, if they realize things about life that they never thought they'd realize? One could always pretend, I suppose, that nothing had changed. But that's not a very good solution.

On the other hand, if someone knew they were polyamorous/non-monogamous from the very beginning, and pretended that they were monogamous, in order to get together with another monogamous person, then, that's a pretty crappy thing to do. I suppose you'd just have to know what was in a person's mind, which, you could only ask them, and take their word on it, unless you don't trust them for some reason. What more can you do? None of us have E.S.P., so you just have to make the call on whether you can trust the other person's word.

Re:
Quote:
"It seems more likely to me they always had a hunch, and didn't bring it up until all the contract signing was done so their spouse was more likely to try to put up with it."
In some cases that may be true, and it would be pretty crappy if someone did that. But be careful about coming to any blanket conclusion about a whole category of people. One could say that I had a "hunch," in that I was never comfortable "thinking inside the mainstream box," but I had learned to force my thinking into that box, and believed I was okay with it. It's a question of social conditioning. There's so much pressure to "be monogamous" that for most people, contemplating polyamory/non-monogamy is just an unthinkable thing to do.

It would be as if, if I had thought of myself as being polyamorous, that would have made me a "slut" or a "whore" (the male version of it). Who wants to think of themselves as a slut or a whore? So I tried my damnedest never to question the social/sexual norms, and to conform my mind/body to what the church/society wanted/expected. And for almost twenty years, I succeeded. So I wouldn't say it was like I hatched some kind of plot to make my (future) wife believe I was monogamous when I suspected I was polyamorous. I was pretty darn well convinced (at the time I got married) that I was monogamous.

As I said, some people may have a hunch about being polyamorous, and "hide" that part of themselves from their (future) spouse. But I'd caution against any blanket assumptions about that, as it's a serious accusation. Make sure you know all the relevent details about a situation, before coming to any harsh conclusions about it. (That's my advice anyway.)

Re (from rory, Post #4):
Quote:
"People change, and relationships need to be adjusted or they will break."
Yes, I think that's a true principle (one that applies both to polyamory and to many other things).

Re (from mostlyclueless, Post #5):
Quote:
"Let me clarify -- I'm talking about the threads where people come here and say, 'My spouse is adamantly opposed to open/poly relationships, how can I convince him/her to let me have one?'"
Well, that's a somewhat different issue. That's like any time one person wants to "convince" another person of something (whether it's a spouse wanting to convince their spouse to open the relationship, or a salesman wanting to sell someone a new car). The word "convince" is somewhat of a fallacy, especially in a close relationship like a marriage, where you're supposed to respect each other's views and opinions, not try to change the other person all the time.

In threads like the one you described above, my general answer would be, "Don't try to convince your spouse to think like you do. Just explain to them how *you* came to think differently about things, offer to answer any questions they may have, and/or direct them to websites and further information if they want it, and express that you hope they'll be able to accept this about you, but that you understand if they can't, and you're willing to renegotiate the relationship, and apologize that things didn't turn out as you thought they would be." That's about the best anyone can do in such a situation. Maybe it's time to dissolve the marriage. Sometimes marriages dissolve, even if polyamory isn't the reason. Like rory said, people do change, and you can't always predict these changes.
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  #49  
Old 06-06-2012, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post


"Don't try to convince your spouse to think like you do. Just explain to them how *you* came to think differently about things, offer to answer any questions they may have, and/or direct them to websites and further information if they want it, and express that you hope they'll be able to accept this about you, but that you understand if they can't, and you're willing to renegotiate the relationship, and apologize that things didn't turn out as you thought they would be." That's about the best anyone can do in such a situation.
You hit the nail on the head, I think. I don't think it's "fair" for people to realize their polyamorous leanings several years into marriage (as I did) and I don't think it's "fair" for poly people to have to try to squish into a mono box, and I don't think it's "fair" for mono spouses to have to put up with poly partners, and it's certainly not "fair" to go half our lifetimes without even realizing such a thing as polyamory is an option, but if we're talking about human behavior and emotions and personal growth and change and so forth, all it comes down to is taking the situation you've got and making an honest attempt at finding the best path.

My husband and I have uncovered all sorts of mismatched assumptions we each had about what marriage meant, in our journey. Too late to quibble over differences now. We are married, and it is only from the present forward that we can define what that means to us, and whether we can agree on a definition that works for both of us. (So far so good, with compromises on both our parts.)
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  #50  
Old 06-06-2012, 08:54 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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I understand where the original poster is coming from. I too feel somewhat confused and dismayed when I see so many posts from people along the lines of, "I've been married for 10 years and I've finally learned about polyamory, now how do I tell my spouse?"

It always make me think, yipes, thank heavens I figured this out before I accidentally got married for 10 years.

But that's really an oversimplification of many people's very complex, very moving life stories.
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