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  #251  
Old 03-19-2013, 01:54 PM
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Malfunktions Malfunktions is offline
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Because I enjoy the different flavours
Because I enjoy the discovery of new partners.
Because I enjoy the bonds.

Most of all?
Because I am not a wh+door-do+e. I am simply mixing my own 57 ingredients.
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  #252  
Old 03-19-2013, 11:40 PM
MrsGoo MrsGoo is offline
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I've given the smart ass response "because that's how we roll" to people before. But usually I tailor my response to the person I'm explaining it to. I'll get into as much detail or explanation as people want. I found most people are just confused and unaware that polyamory can even work. I've recently been more "out" to coworkers and friends and they've got lots of questions.

"you're still with your husband?"
me: "yes"
"and you have a boyfriend?"
me: "yes"
"and they both know about each other?"
me: "yes"
"how does that work?"
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  #253  
Old 03-20-2013, 06:23 AM
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The answer depends on your own personal reasons. Some people are poly first, and find multiple relationships as a consequence. Others happen to find multiple relationships, and so realize they can be poly.

Me, I'm poly first. It took me years of not looking to actually find an additional relationship that was worth my time and effort.

So my answer is "Because I can't stand to cut off my options for no good reason."
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  #254  
Old 03-20-2013, 06:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
This discussion has been of particular interest to me of late.

As long as we are using monogamy to mean: romantic exclusivity (sexual and emotional), I disagree that monogamy does not preclude autonomy.

At the heart of this relationship structure is the prohibiting of freedom to act. "If you want to be in a relationship with me you may not have sex with or fall in love with anyone but me". This denies autonomy right out of the gate.
There's a difference between "you may not have sex with or fall in love with anyone but me" and "I choose to have relationships with only those people who have chosen monogamy." The latter in no way precludes autonomy. It's just a statement of the kind of relationships that person is willing to form. If two people are seeking monogamy, and both willingly, voluntarily, and wholeheartedly agree to be monogamous, in what way are they limiting one another's autonomy?

An agreement is a choice. You can choose not to agree. Autonomy is nothing but the ability to make a choice. If you go around telling people that they cannot choose monogamy, are you not denying their autonomy? And by extension, denying the autonomy of those who choose to have relationships with others who choose monogamy?

In essence, what you're saying is that no one may choose to have a monogamous relationship. So much for autonomy.
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The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."
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  #255  
Old 03-20-2013, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsGoo View Post
"how does that work?"
"Quite well. Thank you for asking."
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Gralson: my husband (works out of town).
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The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."
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  #256  
Old 03-20-2013, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
As long as we are using monogamy to mean: romantic exclusivity (sexual and emotional), I disagree that monogamy does not preclude autonomy.
I did not say that monogamy does not preclude autonomy. I said it does not necessarily preclude autonomy. Losing or giving up one's autonomy is not an across-the-board requirement of all monogamous relationships. How could it be? There are many flavors of monogamy, because individuals are involved - why do poly people think they are the only ones with variety?

Any relationship configuration is going to depend on the people involved. Yes, many people do make demands on their partner to be exclusive; and yet for others, both partners willingly and happily embrace, invite, and accept exclusivity. Still, exclusivity does not negate a person's autonomy. An individual can be autonomous, be their own person, have the freedom to express their individuality, live life in their own way AND YET happily choose to be monogamous. There is no rule that these things have to be abandoned to be monogamous.

Personally, I've had many monogamous relationships where I did not give up my autonomy, and I have observed the same in many other monogamous couples where they were loving, mutually supportive, and free to express who they were. It's a shame that so many poly people don't seem to have observed much of that, or do they just refuse to see it? ( <-- more likely) Monogamy and polyamory are just relationship structures, neither of which is the be-all-and-end-all key to happiness. Happiness and autonomy can be had in nearly any relationship configuration - it's the person who makes the difference, not how many people they love or have sex with that determines how much personal power they retain, own, express, etc.

Sure, a monogamous relationship can be fucked up and the people in it utterly co-dependent, but that can happen in polyamory, too. Polyamory does not necessarily encourage autonomy just as monogamy does not necessarily prevent it. Your relationships are what you make of them, not what the structure and dogma of a particular culture make of them.
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Last edited by nycindie; 03-20-2013 at 08:57 AM.
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  #257  
Old 03-20-2013, 02:08 PM
ladyslipper ladyslipper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Your relationships are what you make of them, not what the structure and dogma of a particular culture make of them.
I think you've hit the nail on the head here. When I talk to my confidante about my choices and my reasons she often makes the same argument as above - her marriage is a monogamous agreement that both partners made willingly and she does not feel limited in her freedom in any way.

Enter "culture". Yes, a pair of people can make a choice to be monogamous and this can be done with out feeling like it is a restriction to their freedom BUT renegotiating that agreement can be a sticky, tricky endeavor in the context of our culture. Asking for more freedom at a later date is often seen as bad form. You made a "promise", we "agreed". Monogamous marriage is seen by many as a worthy goal and deviating from that norm is not easy in a culture that regards the couple so highly. So I think the most important ideal to remember is choice - and negotiations need to be made in the context of the present moment, not the context of some historical moment in time that no longer exists. Does the monogamous agreement made allow for that or not?
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  #258  
Old 03-20-2013, 08:08 PM
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When I mentioned culture, I wasn't thinking of the larger Western culture where monogamy is expected and the norm. A culture is any group that has certain requirements or expectations to meet in order to fit in, and anyone who wants to fit into that culture must agree to those requirements or be considered an outsider or oddball. I was actually thinking of the culture that many polyfolk have created, where there is a often a lot of dogma about how to properly be poly, and which teaches that monogamy is automatically less evolved, a prison, lacking in autonomy, etc. Any culture can oppress us with demands to fit in, even a poly culture (which is mostly why I tend to avoid people who are part of the poly community and prefer to just meet people and see where they stand on exclusivity) but we have to find our own paths to creating what we want and how to be happy in life. I have nothing against monogamy per se. While I want to and prefer to practice polyamory, I don't feel a need to see people who embrace monogamy as weaker, stupid, or unenlightened, as so many poly hardliners do. With the right person and circumstance, I could easily and happily agree to a monogamous relationship again. My self-fulfillment is not dependent upon a relationship structure; it depends on me, how I choose to engage with my life, and what I bring to relationships.
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Last edited by nycindie; 03-20-2013 at 08:11 PM.
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  #259  
Old 03-20-2013, 08:23 PM
ladyslipper ladyslipper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleo View Post
So, I'm pretty open about my life. Lately I've found myself among inquisitive and sceptical people a lot, and the question that keeps popping up is

"Why?"

Why do I want to live my life this way?

With my friends I have long and thoughtful discussions about how it all came to this point and what I feel about the pros and cons etc. To annoying guys in bars I simply say " because I can" and start a conversation with someone else. But I guess I'm looking for a simple one-or-two sentence answer that is not too flippant and yet not too complicated ... and I haven't come up with it yet.

What would you say if you had to answer the 'poly? why?' question?
That's great nycindie, but this is a thread about responding to the larger "western culture"'s skepticism toward a different way of relating. Or maybe I'm mistaken. I think it's worth pointing out how the context of our culture plays into our ability to practice autonomous living. You sound like you've found a way around that - good for you. I aspire to the same. I respect my confidant in a monogamous relationship for her choices and she respects me for mine and I never forget that my perceptions are based largely on my own (relatively) narrow experiences. "Never say 'never'" as they say..
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  #260  
Old 03-20-2013, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyslipper View Post
That's great nycindie, but this is a thread about responding to the larger "western culture"'s skepticism toward a different way of relating. Or maybe I'm mistaken.
I don't know why, but it seems you are arguing with me. Are you telling me I am going off-topic? You needn't remind me what this thread is about. I read it, too, and tangents are allowed on these forums. This thread was simply started to ask how people reply to the question "Why poly?" and I chose to respond to specific posts that made blanket statements about monogamy and I am simply saying that you can't make those blanket statements that monogamous relationships automatically equal possessiveness and having no autonomy. The idea that monogamy precludes autonomy is not a given, it's just an opinion. And polyamory doesn't automatically equal progressive and enlightened. People are people and you get whatever you get in relationships depending on the people involved, not necessarily the structure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyslipper View Post
I think it's worth pointing out how the context of our culture plays into our ability to practice autonomous living.
What is worth it? What's your point?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyslipper View Post
You sound like you've found a way around that - good for you. I aspire to the same. I respect my confidant in a monogamous relationship for her choices and she respects me for mine and I never forget that my perceptions are based largely on my own (relatively) narrow experiences. "Never say 'never'" as they say..
I haven't found a way around anything. That implies some kind of struggle. I have mostly been monogamous in my whole relationship life, and except for a period when I was young and still figuring out who I was, I never felt a lack of autonomy. If I lost myself, it was due to choices I made; it wasn't forced onme because I was monogamous. And perhaps because I spent a good number of years hanging out with people who were into self-awareness and inquiry, I have been fortunate to know many folks who were monogamous and did not give up autonomy to be so. We all make choices and when we accept responsibility for our own actions, we are expressing our autonomy.

I just don't understand why some people get so up in arms about blaming either monogamy or polyamory for whether or not a person has, nurtures, or achieves autonomy in their personal relationships. There are some pretty fucked-up, oppressive, codependent polyamorists out there and some very cool, nurturing, and enlightened monogamists. Autonomy, independence, and fulfillment are things a person creates and cultivates for themselves in relationships. Why associate whether a person experiences personal autonomy on their relationship configuration?

The word autonomy means "one who gives oneself their own law." That can happen within monogamous relationships, of course!
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Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me. ~Bryan Ferry
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Last edited by nycindie; 03-20-2013 at 09:41 PM.
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