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  #31  
Old 11-27-2012, 04:48 AM
InquiringOne InquiringOne is offline
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Hyper,
I think others are able to practice the beautiful vision with consent and boundless love, even if it might be slightly more rare than not. And your single example, as unfortunate and sad as it is, does not define everyone's practice. You should know this too.

Best of luck to you.
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  #32  
Old 11-27-2012, 05:33 AM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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While this mood is on me, it seems to me poly could only have arisen in the late twentieth century, in a culture so fragmented, so commercialized, so decadent that only disconnected, rootless, aimless consumers remain, consumers who think their only responsibility is to satisfy their dear selves, to follow their...bliss.
Many wise thoughts and beautifully written, hyperskeptic, here and throughout your blog.
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  #33  
Old 11-27-2012, 05:45 AM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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I'm sorry you are hurting.

I'm sorry things have not worked out as you would have wanted.

I DO think that love is (or can be) boundless.

I DO think that, with the right people, at the right time, that boundless love can be realized.

Maybe not for you, now.

Maybe not for me, later.

Live your life, love it when you can, strive on.

JaneQ
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Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" Vee-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (together 21+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (together 3+ yrs) and MrS's best friend
Lotus: poly bi female, "it's complicated" relationships with Dude/JaneQ/MrS
TT: poly bi male, married to Lotus, FB with JaneQ
VV and MsJ: bi-women with male primaries, LTR LDR FWBs to JaneQ


My poly blogs on this site:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe
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  #34  
Old 11-28-2012, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
For some people. Not all. I see poly as something so much simpler than many others do. It seems many folks really complicate the shit out of having multiple love relationships, when it can be as easy, simple, and rewarding as having multiple friends.
If you think this can be simple, I can only assume you're not really paying attention.

There is a fatal flaw in poly ideology, one that can never be spoken aloud in these forums without eliciting either protest or condescension.

Polyamory is premised on the very noble and right-seeming notion that relationships should be based on consent, freely given. As there is, in principle, no limit to the number of times one can say "yes", there should be no reason for love to be bounded in anyway.

As I say, a very pretty notion.

The fatal flaw is that we humans are never wholly, perfectly free. As much as I think we are obligated to recognize and respect the autonomy of others, I also think autonomy is a very difficult thing to manage in practice. The human will is always limited, constrained, entangled in existing commitments, existing relationships, existing practical arrangements, existing institutions.

We are obligated to respect autonomy, yes, but we are also obligated to act so as to foster others' autonomy as well as our own, acknowledging all the ways in which we are constrained and vulnerable. This may require us to refrain from doing things we might otherwise be perfectly entitled to do.

Two examples, from my own experience of polyamory.

In my relationship with Nyx, I'd like to think we regarded one another as equals; we respected one another and were careful of one another. The unhappy truth is that we were in very different situations, subject to very different pressures and entanglements, and vulnerable in different ways. To be honest, I think Nyx had the worst of it: she always had much more to lose than I did.

Thinking of this in narrative terms, our relationship had a lovely and passionate beginning, but very few good endings were possible. In hindsight, I honestly think her decision to break off with me may have been the best possible ending, the one that most allowed her to keep her dignity intact.

I consider it an act of moral courage.

The other example is the crux of the matter: the current state of my relationship with my wife.

As already noted in this blog, I have decided that it would be irresponsible for me to continue trying to be polyamorous. As much as it tickles my fancy to imagine the beginnings of many lovely stories with many intriguing women - one or two in particular come to mind - I really cannot imagine any good endings to those stories, endings in which no one ends up neglected, or wronged, or feeling taken for granted.

In choosing monogamy, I am bowing to a necessity imposed by circumstance. I am a married father of two children, and I have responsibilities to my children, my wife, my profession, and my community that all serve to hold me in place. To do justice to a relationship with someone new would necessarily involve failing in one or more of those existing responsibilities, simply because of the limits of time, energy, and attention.

I need to sleep, from time to time, after all.

My wife's situation is different. She has fewer entanglements because of the past history of our relationship. She has had a hard road, following me around through the various stages of my career, and now putting up with the bad health that comes with breathing the air in the place in which we are currently stuck.

I owe it to her to let her be more free, to travel, to explore. So, she's leaving again for Europe very soon, to spend a few weeks with her boyfriend there. She spent some time on Monday with another guy who had "expressed interest", and went away on a weekend trip last week with yet another guy who had "expressed interest".

When she's away on her longer jaunts, I feel the full weight of being a part-time single dad, and the isolation and exhaustion that comes with it. As she is constantly distracted by various other relationships and possible relationships, our household slips ever further into chaos . . . abetted by my own infernal busy-ness, my own distraction and, increasingly, my growing despair.

Here's the crux of the matter. I have chosen to be monogamous. My wife has chosen otherwise and, where her other relationships and her adventures in Europe and at home are concerned, my consent is irrelevant.

Let me state this clearly: I do not freely consent to my wife pursuing intimate relationships with other people.

I am, however, constrained from enforcing my objections.

I see no happy ending to this part of our story.

Separating is not a live option: we do care for one another, and we have standing obligations to one another and to our children; we are tangled together in all sorts of ways, including in the practical arrangements of our household. Were we to break up our household would do untold harm and untold wrong to one another, to our children, and even to the communities of which we are a part.

That's not a way I am willing to go.

Demanding that my wife practice monogamy is also not a live option. I don't pretend to have that kind of authority over another person's conscience, and there are other, more particular reasons, rooted in our history together. It would both harm and wrong her to demand a narrow kind of fidelity from her.

So, all I can do is bow to the necessity bred by circumstance. I withhold my objections, and groan under the weight of them.

I am trying to learn to live without hope.

There are also some palliative measures to be taken. One is a strict DADT policy regarding her other relationships: I really just don't want to hear about them. Another is an agreement on her part to limit the number of strays she takes in.

(Sorry, but that's my own derogatory term for it. She does seem drawn to guys who are odd and who seem slightly lost. But then, I may just be the stray who stuck around the longest.)

But, really, palliative measures are all I have to go on.

The core of the problem remains, and it is a problem with no solution.
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  #35  
Old 11-28-2012, 05:33 PM
InquiringOne InquiringOne is offline
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Hyper,

You are a very smart individual.

I am not practicing poly (yet), have two children, and a wife, and understand what you are saying about struggling with how much time could be taken away from those obligations by the introduction of possible other love interests. I love to play basketball, but if i play basketball five nights a week it's going to have an effect on my family. It seems reasonable for my family to allow for me to play one or two nights a week, because after all I am not ONLY here to take care of their needs. I have needs of my own that must be taken care of in order to be strong enough to help them in their down times.

Every relationship already struggles with those issues of time and care whether in the form of work, other relatives, school, play activities etc. If a person can successfully manage those, then they are capable of time management with other types of relationships.

It is admirable that you do not force your monogamy on your wife. However, you are an important part of that relationship and you have the right to stand up for yourself when you are being taken advantage of. Going off to Europe or other trips and leaving you as a single parent (if it's fairly regular and constant) is shirking her duties as a mother and a spouse. you are allowed to address that without saying we have to blow the whole thing up. While you say divorce is not a live option (and I feel strongly in my life that it's not either), I think you have to recognize that your relationship with your wife will have to change somehow. It is utterly unfair for you to "have no hope" while she is off with multiple lovers. It's not a matter of her problem being that she is poly, her problem is that she is being neglectful and uncaring which would be unacceptable in any type of relationship. If you really need a scapegoat and you want to make "poly" that, you may never get to the core of the problem so that you can have hope.

I wish you the best man. I wouldn't want to be in your situation for anything. But if your telling is accurate, you need to stand up and set some limits so you are not being trampled on. That's not right no matter what the relationship configuration is. If she doesn't understand that there is no such thing as total freedom when obligations have already been made, then she is not acting like an adult.

Is it so outrageous to her for you to ask her to slow down a little bit, or to put a limit on how many days a month/year she can leave you alone with the kids? You can't keep yourself in a situation where you allow her to ruin your life. Eventually that will not be helpful to your kids to have seen her do that to you. Take care of yourself so you can take care of them.

Good luck.
IO
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  #36  
Old 11-28-2012, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
If you think this can be simple, I can only assume you're not really paying attention.
Don't assume anything about me. It is simple: we have choices to make, and we choose. We can choose or not to accept others' terms, we can choose or not to look inward and question our reactions to things, we can choose or not to continue in relationships where we are unhappy.

No, poly is not always easy, but I see it as simple. All it is, is managing multiple relationships and treating others the way we want to be treated. That you do not see it as simple does not invalidate my viewpoint or prove that I am not "paying attention." I am introspective and analytical to a fault. I constantly look around me and assess what's going on all the time. I have worked hard on my changing my perspective, and my expectations, and to see others' perspectives as equally valid, and most especially, to love unconditionally and without attachment to an outcome. This is what I do to practice polyamory. Yes, I say the choices are simple, but the work is sometimes hard and challenging. If it does not satisfy me to practice poly, with my "simple" approach, I won't. I won't complicate my life and muck things up with other people to prove anything or just to "be poly." It isn't worth it if it brings only pain. Yes, that is simple, to me.
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Last edited by nycindie; 11-28-2012 at 07:58 PM.
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  #37  
Old 11-28-2012, 10:26 PM
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hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
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Originally Posted by InquiringOne View Post
I am not practicing poly (yet)
I was in the same situation for about a year. How clear and simple everything seemed then!

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Originally Posted by InquiringOne View Post
I love to play basketball, but if i play basketball five nights a week it's going to have an effect on my family. It seems reasonable for my family to allow for me to play one or two nights a week, because after all I am not ONLY here to take care of their needs..
Oh, wow.

Do you really want to go there? There are, um, important disanalogies between having an intimate relationship with someone and playing basketball. You enjoy basketball, but that isn't the same thing as loving and being responsible toward another person.

You can always just walk away from basketball, and it will not be harmed in any way that really matters.

If I were to have a relationship with another person, it wouldn't just be "playing one or two nights a week." The other person would become a part of my life and, by extension, a part of my family's life; she would not be just a little something I enjoy on the side.

Your basketball analogy comes perilously close to the "slippery slope" argument offered by some conservative idiot a year or so ago, to the effect that legalizing gay marriage would lead eventually to people marrying inanimate objects. After all, people love milkshakes, so, if you can marry solely on the basis of love, why not let people marry milkshakes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by InquiringOne View Post
Going off to Europe or other trips and leaving you as a single parent (if it's fairly regular and constant) is shirking her duties as a mother and a spouse. you are allowed to address that without saying we have to blow the whole thing up. While you say divorce is not a live option (and I feel strongly in my life that it's not either), I think you have to recognize that your relationship with your wife will have to change somehow. It is utterly unfair for you to "have no hope" while she is off with multiple lovers. It's not a matter of her problem being that she is poly, her problem is that she is being neglectful and uncaring which would be unacceptable in any type of relationship. If you really need a scapegoat and you want to make "poly" that, you may never get to the core of the problem so that you can have hope.

I wish you the best man. I wouldn't want to be in your situation for anything. But if your telling is accurate, you need to stand up and set some limits so you are not being trampled on. That's not right no matter what the relationship configuration is. If she doesn't understand that there is no such thing as total freedom when obligations have already been made, then she is not acting like an adult.
How simple you make it seem! It's ALL HER FAULT,the naughty girl!

Of course, it's more complicated than this, and I won't play the usual poly game of dumping on the spouse. My wife does recognize the pain I'm experiencing. She is doing her best to be responsible toward me and the girls, trying to make life as easy as possible when she's away.

Also, there's history here. It's hard for me to say she's ruining my life when, from another point of view, I could just as easily be said to have ruined hers over the previous 16 years of our marriage. We both had a hand in creating our current situation, we have both done damage to one another along the way, as any two people inevitably will.

I have to acknowledge that giving her some freedom to travel, at least, serves both to improve her health and to give her a chance to live and explore a kind of life that had been denied her. I actually do want her to have some degree of freedom, even though it comes at a heavy cost to me.

That's all part of the bind I'm in, the constraints that drain away my autonomy.

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Originally Posted by InquiringOne View Post
Is it so outrageous to her for you to ask her to slow down a little bit, or to put a limit on how many days a month/year she can leave you alone with the kids? You can't keep yourself in a situation where you allow her to ruin your life. Eventually that will not be helpful to your kids to have seen her do that to you. Take care of yourself so you can take care of them.
This has already been covered under "palliative measures" in my long note from earlier today. She is willing to reign it in, at least in that she will stop taking in strays.

But she will remain poly, and she already has an ongoing relationship with her boyfriend in Europe. She can't just drop him like a basketball and walk off the court.

Some of the pain can be eased, perhaps, but the fundamental issue - the asymmetry in our relationship - remains and will remain for as far down the road as I can foresee.

Last edited by hyperskeptic; 11-28-2012 at 10:41 PM.
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  #38  
Old 11-28-2012, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
No, poly is not always easy, but I see it as simple. All it is, is managing multiple relationships and treating others the way we want to be treated. That you do not see it as simple does not invalidate my viewpoint or prove that I am not "paying attention." I am introspective and analytical to a fault. I constantly look around me and assess what's going on all the time. I have worked hard on my changing my perspective, and my expectations, and to see others' perspectives as equally valid, and most especially, to love unconditionally and without attachment to an outcome. This is what I do to practice polyamory. Yes, I say the choices are simple, but the work is sometimes hard and challenging. If it does not satisfy me to practice poly, with my "simple" approach, I won't. I won't complicate my life and muck things up with other people to prove anything or just to "be poly." It isn't worth it if it brings only pain. Yes, that is simple, to me.
Well, as long as it's really just about "managing . . . relationships" in a way that will "satisfy" you and help you avoid causing pain [to yourself?], I suppose it really would be simple.
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  #39  
Old 11-29-2012, 01:36 AM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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Well, as long as it's really just about "managing . . . relationships" in a way that will "satisfy" you and help you avoid causing pain [to yourself?], I suppose it really would be simple.


In my best relationships, i am my own worst enemy. The other people, i am just lucky i found them and that they continue to put up with me.
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  #40  
Old 11-29-2012, 02:45 AM
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Well, as long as it's really just about "managing . . . relationships" in a way that will "satisfy" you and help you avoid causing pain [to yourself?], I suppose it really would be simple.
I never said that I manage my relationships in a way that will help me to avoid pain. I don't avoid pain. I know it helps us grow, but I don't seek it out if there are other ways to personal growth. If living my life polyamorously only brings pain and not much fulfillment, it isn't worth pursuing. Why be steeped in something that makes us miserable?

You can remain dissatisfied, seeing yourself as a martyr in your marriage, and viewing polyamory as a "snare and a delusion, a reckless indulgence that upends households, drains resources and lays waste to souls," if that is what you think is necessary to get through your misery. But many of us have found joy and challenges that have given us a way to fully express who we are through loving more than one.

Sheesh, couldn't you see I was only trying to offer a different perspective on things, as a way to be helpful? But since all your responses to me are nasty, smart-ass, nay-saying put-downs, I'm done. Go pick on someone else. Good luck.
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Last edited by nycindie; 11-29-2012 at 02:48 AM.
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