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  #21  
Old 12-10-2012, 01:23 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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Ok.
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  #22  
Old 12-10-2012, 05:41 PM
Vinccenzo Vinccenzo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleo View Post
English is not my first language, so please forgive any misuse of words. However, my dictionary says
an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person's life
My husband had just found out his GF was cheating on him and was trying to decide wether to break up with her or to forgive her and move on. Sounds like a crisis to me.
I agree. That does sound like a crisis, but not what I was getting at. It isn't anything but selfish to serve only you when people you claim to care about ask for.you to be there for them. It's not enlightened. It's not evolved. It's being a fair weather lover. It would be different if both of your partners we're going through a crisis, wanting your time and one expected you to choose them over the other. But that wasn't the case. You had plans with one and felt it wasn't serving YOU to be there for the one in need. Sure one option sounds more fun but life isn't always going to be fun. If you can't be there when someone needs you, what kind if a partner are you to either?
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  #23  
Old 12-10-2012, 08:28 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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That's what i meant too.
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  #24  
Old 12-10-2012, 09:15 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinccenzo View Post
I agree. That does sound like a crisis, but not what I was getting at. It isn't anything but selfish to serve only you when people you claim to care about ask for.you to be there for them. It's not enlightened. It's not evolved. It's being a fair weather lover. It would be different if both of your partners we're going through a crisis, wanting your time and one expected you to choose them over the other. But that wasn't the case. You had plans with one and felt it wasn't serving YOU to be there for the one in need. Sure one option sounds more fun but life isn't always going to be fun. If you can't be there when someone needs you, what kind if a partner are you to either?
Vinccenzo, have you read Cleo's story for the full context of the event she is describing? I don't think you're giving her a fair interpretation.

Cleo had been struggling for months to accept her husband's relationship with a girlfriend she didn't like. The girlfriend was dishonest with her other boyfriend (cheating on him with Cleo's husband) and Cleo had a lot of misgivings about that. Her husband was pressuring her to be more accepting of his girlfriend as their relationship grew more serious, while he also seemed to be struggling with the drama of his relationship with the girlfriend herself.

From what I read, it sounded like Cleo did a lot of personal emotional work to distance herself from the situation and allow her husband the freedom to conduct his relationships in whatever way seemed right to him. That (in part) led her to a more individualized approach to poly, rather than a couple-centric approach.

Then the girlfriend did in fact cheat on Cleo's husband with someone else, and Cleo made a huge effort to be supportive of her husband, including (I think?) breaking plans with her boyfriend to stay home with her husband, even though he kept changing his mind about whether or not to break up with the girlfriend.

For even more context, I think Cleo's boyfriend lives far away so that plans with him cannot easily be rescheduled.

I don't think it's fair that you assume Cleo was choosing "fun" over someone who "needed her." Her husband has the freedom to conduct his relationships the way he wanted; that also means he has the freedom to deal with his relationship drama in a way that does not impinge on Cleo's other plans.

I'm sure Cleo would break a date to be with her husband if he actually needed her, as in a true emergency or a problem that needed immediate, urgent attention. But is "I feel sad tonight" enough of a reason to ask to your spouse to stay home with you?

What if Cleo's other plans had not been visiting her boyfriend? What if she'd had a conference, class, or business trip to go? Or a trip to visit friends or family scheduled? Would her husband have expected her to cancel those plans to stay home with him?

And from the point of view of Cleo's boyfriend--I can certainly imagine that he might have felt Cleo was being very selfish to break her plans with him just because her husband was having his own relationship drama.

It is way too simplistic to claim that someone is "selfish" if they don't automatically stay home with the "one in need."
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  #25  
Old 12-11-2012, 01:05 PM
Vinccenzo Vinccenzo is offline
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I know people are not perfect. I know they make mistakes in all ways including with their judgement. I know that even before they make whatever mistakes they are bound to make. I don't only care for the people in my life when they take my advise and take that care away when they don't. If I can no longer be there for them when they say they need me, I perceive that as the end of the relationship. I don't continue on acting as though I still have a loving relationship with them out of respect for myself, them and for the relationship we had.

I feel we are never an "I" when speaking of our relationships no matter how many relationships are going on. Its not even just a poly thing. Its a life thing. I've never had only one relationship even before poly.

Consider: the relationship of me as a mother with my son. I guarantee he is going to make mistakes. Even ones I warn him will end up being mistakes. In this context, does it make what I'm saying a little clearer?
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  #26  
Old 12-11-2012, 01:52 PM
Cleo Cleo is offline
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Great recap, MeeraReed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinccenzo View Post
I know people are not perfect. I know they make mistakes in all ways including with their judgement. I know that even before they make whatever mistakes they are bound to make. I don't only care for the people in my life when they take my advise and take that care away when they don't. If I can no longer be there for them when they say they need me, I perceive that as the end of the relationship. I don't continue on acting as though I still have a loving relationship with them out of respect for myself, them and for the relationship we had.

I feel we are never an "I" when speaking of our relationships no matter how many relationships are going on. Its not even just a poly thing. Its a life thing. I've never had only one relationship even before poly.

Consider: the relationship of me as a mother with my son. I guarantee he is going to make mistakes. Even ones I warn him will end up being mistakes. In this context, does it make what I'm saying a little clearer?
Not really. I don't understand what 'mistakes' have to do with it? I never said that I don't love people anymore when they make mistakes. I don't do a lot of judging. I did not judge my friend with the affair, but I did have to think about my own behavior, and I did not want to be a liar for her. (not sure if you were referring to this situation, but that's what I'm guessing)

And: I don't only care for people when they take my advice. Frankly, I give very little advice. I only said that I no longer believe in 'my marriage will always come first because my husband is the most important person in my life'.
This means that decisions about how to spend my time, love and energy become more difficult. It means I have to weigh my husbands sadness versus my BF's sadness. Who are you to say which partner needs me the most? Wjo am I to say who does? At that specific point in time I felt my husband needed me most. I cancelled my plans and spent time with him. But my BF at the time was far form stable, emotionally, and going through stuff that made him feel lonely. And that is why I said 'if my husband had kept on asking me to not spend time with the BF, we would have had a problem': meaning I would have had a problem, in my new situation where I no longer felt my husband had first dibs so to speak.

I find it very interesting, this discussion. There are so many threads on this forum about hierarchy, primaries and secondaries, veto and OPP's. Not everyone agrees about these issues, but after reading here for almost a year, I get the feeling that more often than not, hierarchical relationships, veto's etc are seen as undesirable.

It intrigues me that when I started thinking about this topic, and started a thread about how for me after my couple of years of doing my version of poly, I feel a shift from ' we' to 'I', away from the hierarchy, in the direction of equal relationships with all my loves, I'm being called 'selfish', 'unenlightened', 'a fair weather lover who only wants to have fun' and 'unevolved'.

I guess I do feel, more and more, in the context of all my relationships, that I am an "I" instead of half of a "We". And to me, this is the biggest adventure of my life so far, and one can call it selfish, but the funny thing is, the more I feel secure, confident, autonomous and alone, the more love seems to come my way, and the more love is shared.

Anyway, I feel this thread is now getting stuck on this particular incident. Would love to hear some more input from people who have, at some point, experienced the same shift in the hierarchical nature of their relationships.
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  #27  
Old 12-12-2012, 01:19 PM
Vinccenzo Vinccenzo is offline
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I was speaking of what MeeraReed posted. Your husband has GF issues and you don't like her. He waffles over what to do about his relationship with her.

Perhaps you've gotten to a point on that subject where you don't respect his choices? Maybe you've spoken your mind about it and he chose to not listen to your input and now struggle to respect him over the choices he did make?

You just sound shut down to him. I'm not saying anyone HAS to do the primary/secondary thing. I'm suggesting that each person you have a relationship with (intimate, platonic, familial) and feel a connection to is a we type association or its not a relationship with love in it. Yes, it can lessen when they behave in a way that hurts you or causes you to disrespect them. I'm suggesting you've hit that point with your husband to where "oh you need me? Meh, okay just this once but never again!" is an indication that this has happened for you with him. Your wants now supersede his feelings.
Yeah, I feel that way about some people too where my wants supersede theirs. I call them associations not relationships. I don't care enough about them to place their wants/needs on the same level I place my own or higher.
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  #28  
Old 12-12-2012, 01:53 PM
Cleo Cleo is offline
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well, again, I'm sorry that this thread has turned from what I thought could be a somewhat philosophical discussion about couple-centrism and shifts in perceptions, to a discussion of my marriage with lots of assumptions about how I'm treating my husband.

Back to leading my selfish little life
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  #29  
Old 12-12-2012, 05:25 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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I haven't participated in this thread because I'm a solo, but I do appreciate what you've said about moving away from couple-centrism. Autonomy is healthy and necessary in all love relationships, whether married and cohabiting, not married, poly, mono, or whatever. Certainly those who cling tightly to making their spouse or primary partner more important than anyone else they are involved with, will be shaken, critical, or a bit defensive about a much braver and independent stance that says it isn't necessary - and I applaud you, Cleo, because as a solo, I avoid getting involved with anyone who doesn't see all their relationships as equally important. I would hope that a partnered poly person who wants to date me will not make decisions about his relationship with me based on fears or demands of his partner.

I hope SchrodingersCat won't mind my quoting her. She calls her approach "Relationship Triage" and I love how she talked about it in another thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Yes, I'm married. Yes, we share finances and a household. Yes, that means I have obligations and commitments to him. I also have obligations and commitments to school, to my parents, to my best friend and her son... And if I get into a serious relationship with someone else, I will have obligations and commitments to them. And triage will go thusly: who's having the bigger crisis right now and needs my time and attention most, at this moment?

It does not mean that I have already decided, a priori, that all my future relationships will be "less important." It does not mean that anyone will ever be considered disposable, simply by virtue of not being my spouse. I didn't roll that way when I was single, why would that change now?
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
I never claimed that primary and secondary relationships were not different. They are very much different. I have explicitly chosen to reject the implications of those differences by deliberately avoiding the labels of primary and secondary.

For example, suppose my "secondary" is having a major crisis like her mom just died, and my "primary" needs to talk about a bad day at work. The "primary/secondary" model implies that my primary's needs come before my secondary's needs, regardless of the severity or immediacy of those needs.

I prefer relationship triage. So: if you come into my hospital, I really don't give a hoot if you've sprained your ankle, Mr. President, I'm going to treat the homeless guy bleeding profusely from his 3" stab wound first.

. . . Life is dramatic. Shiiiit, my husband and I have had more than our share of drama, completely unrelated to polyamory or our relationship or anything at all within either of our controls. You just deal with it. That's what makes you grow as a person. Ejecting everything in your life that causes drama is classic avoidance and gets you stuck in life, usually miserable because guess what... everywhere you turn, there's more drama.

. . . Sharing my finances and housing with a person does not, to me, constitute "my whole life." I still have my career, my friends, my alone-time, my hobbies, not to mention my other romances. These are all parts of "my whole life" and none of them include my husband.
I think, in your case, Cleo, that your husband was just wrapped up in a mix of uncomfortable feelings, and was indecisive, and he wanted you to steady him, though what he probably really needed was to step up, make a choice, and move on. Because by not making a choice himself, he forced you to choose him over your bf, when you had already chosen to see bf. Reminds me of a sci-fi novel I recently read where the biggest crime in this one society was if someone took away another's choice.
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Last edited by nycindie; 12-12-2012 at 09:46 PM.
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  #30  
Old 12-12-2012, 09:32 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinccenzo View Post

I feel we are never an "I" when speaking of our relationships no matter how many relationships are going on. Its not even just a poly thing. Its a life thing. I've never had only one relationship even before poly.
I disagree with this. Being an autonomous "I" is a life thing for me. Not just for poly. It applies to my relationships with my parents, my brother, my extended family, my friends, etc. I am a much healthier person, with MUCH healthier relationships, because of it.

I didn't start out this way. I spent most of my life as the kind of person who put others first. I went to college close to home because I knew my family would miss me otherwise. I was always sending cards and gifts to friends who were out of touch with me. I was there for lots of friends in need even when they weren't there for me. That sort of thing.

It took me YEARS of dealing with depression, dropping out of college, surviving two awful & unhealthy relationships, before I figured myself out and arrived at a place where I could be ME. That meant being more autonomous, putting myself first, standing up for myself more, and eventually developing a solo approach to dating (among other things).

Various therapists over the years have been consistent in encouraging this approach. "Where are YOU in all this?" one therapist used to ask me when I talked about issues with my family, my jobs, my friends, etc. "Are you attending to YOUR needs?"

I have multiple commitments that require me to help others and be there for others. Helping out my parents, elder care/relief care for my grandmother, friends who struggle with mental & physical health issues, etc. Not to mention my own responsibilities that aren't pure fun: grad school, two jobs, a high-energy dog (well, she's fun, but a big commitment), etc.

I have to figure out how to divide myself between all these commitments. That means I sometimes have to put boundaries on my friends and tell them I am just too busy to help them on a particular day. I have a set scheduled time to care for my grandmother, which is very important and I am happy to do it, and I would never shirk on that, but I do sometimes have to say no when my aunt asks me for extra help with grandma. (When that happens, I have guilt that I have to talk to my therapist about...but it seems clear that I have to be able to live my own life as much as possible.)

(Meanwhile, my brother lives such a couple-centric life with his wife that he is not even remotely available to help with my grandmother. Nor would my aunt dream of asking him. He's so busy with his wife! But that's a different story. Which I also talk to my therapist about! )

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is, I was a miserable and unappreciated person with unhealthy friendships until I realized that I had lost myself completely, and had to rediscover my own autonomy.

A totally autonomous approach to dating would not be right for everyone. Maybe only for very few people. And for some people, a couple-centric approach to poly works very well, especially in cases where one partner is mono and struggling, or when there are young children to think of, etc. There's nothing wrong with that (as long as any secondaries know what they are getting into).

Meanwhile, the most self-centered people I know are not autonomous about dating. They demand complete devotion from their partner (no poly for the people I am thinking of).

Now I've lost the thread of my point, so I'll stop.
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