Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > General Poly Discussions

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #251  
Old 03-20-2013, 08:23 PM
ladyslipper ladyslipper is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 47
Default

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..
__________________
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
Reply With Quote
  #252  
Old 03-20-2013, 09:23 PM
nycindie's Avatar
nycindie nycindie is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Apple
Posts: 6,763
Default

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!
__________________
Hot chick in the city.

Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me. ~Bryan Ferry
"Love is that condition in which another person's happiness is essential to your own." ~Robert Heinlein

Last edited by nycindie; 03-20-2013 at 09:41 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #253  
Old 03-20-2013, 09:30 PM
ladyslipper ladyslipper is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 47
Default

Yeah, I guess I thought we were just fleshing out our ideas about things. Sorry you felt like I was picking a fight with you.
__________________
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
Reply With Quote
  #254  
Old 03-20-2013, 09:42 PM
ladyslipper ladyslipper is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 47
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
When I mentioned culture, 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. ... 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.
So maybe we have two things going on here, Marcus has brought in a hard-line approach that you're responding to, and I misinterpreted that as a response to the original question of the thread. Honestly, I thought you hit on something worth pointing out. Maybe you haven't struggled with cultural norms but I have and cultural conditioning exists in my view. No disrespect meant. Do you think I am a poly-hardliner? or someone who thinks less of monogamy-oriented couples?
__________________
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
Reply With Quote
  #255  
Old 03-20-2013, 10:15 PM
kdt26417's Avatar
kdt26417 kdt26417 is online now
Official Greeter
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Olympia, Washington
Posts: 3,617
Default

Suffice it to say mainstream society does have a bias in favor of monogamy, which can exert pressure on some of us to be monogamous. "Well, I don't like monogamy ... so there must be something wrong with me ... so I'll just try to learn to be monogamous and accept it." If a person is influenced by mainstream society in that way, then they have compromised a bit of their autonomy.

At the same time, it's a fallacy (I think) for a polyamorist to think, "I belong to a superior society (the 'polyamorous community'), and anyone who practices monogamy is a slave and/or a slave-owner." Some monogamists may have been pressured into monogamy which puts a ding in their autonomy, but other monogamists have chosen to be monogamous quite on their own free will, and thus their autonomy remains intact.

I guess the point is that mainstream society's bias affects the percentage of monogamists who have a ding in their autonomy, however it is not monogamy's fault per se that this ding occurs; rather it is the "fault" of the bias that mainstream society has. (That combined with the tendency some of us have to let mainstream society push us into things.)

Many polyamorists have also developed an "us versus them" mentality, and have reacted to the imbalance mainstream society contributed to by formulating their own "counter-imbalance" (namely, the idea that all monogamy is bad). "They say all polyamory is bad? Well, we say all monogamy is bad, so there!"

The solution, then, in my mind, is to try to practice more tolerance overall between the monogamous and polyamorous "groups." Just as we hope being "gay" or "straight" can be considered equally valid options, so it would be nice if everyone could think of "monogamous" and "polyamorous" as equally good options (assuming all else be equal).

Hope that wasn't too incoherent.
__________________
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"
Reply With Quote
  #256  
Old 03-20-2013, 10:41 PM
SchrodingersCat's Avatar
SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,044
Default

I also have to say that autonomy is not, in my opinion, the be-all-end-all goal it's being made out to be. I believe that certain social problems and societal needs outweigh the individual's so-called right to autonomy.

I personally like living in a taxed society. I like that I can get surgery without a huge hospital bill. I like that my roads are maintained, however poorly that may be at times. I like that if I lose my source of income, I won't be left out in the cold. All those things require that people give up some autonomy by paying taxes, thus removing their autonomy over the spending of every dollar they earn.

I like that I can walk in the streets with minimal worry that my head will be blown off, because the state has removed your autonomous right to kill me for looking at you funny.

I like that grown men can't autonomously choose to have sex with prepubescent girls.

Living in a society fundamentally requires giving up all kinds of autonomy. Likewise, having a harmonious relationship often requires voluntarily giving up certain kinds of autonomy that single people retain. No one forces you to get into a relationship or stay there, so even when you make an agreement that you're not entirely thrilled with, you have to admit that it's still an autonomous choice to make that agreement.
__________________
Gralson: my husband. Auto: my girlfriend.
Zoffee: Auto's husband. Cue: Zoffee's boyfriend. Bookie: Cue's wife.

"Crowns do queer things to the heads beneath them."

Last edited by SchrodingersCat; 03-21-2013 at 12:28 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #257  
Old 03-20-2013, 10:46 PM
kdt26417's Avatar
kdt26417 kdt26417 is online now
Official Greeter
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Olympia, Washington
Posts: 3,617
Default

Yes, technically we are all autonomous, even when we let ourselves get pressured into things. I guess you're a little less autonomous if you get hit in the head from behind and then lashed to a chair while you're unconscious. In just about every other kind of situation, though, there are always choices to be made.
__________________
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"
Reply With Quote
  #258  
Old 03-21-2013, 07:51 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 309
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyslipper View Post
Maybe you haven't struggled with cultural norms but I have and cultural conditioning exists in my view.
Of course cultural conditioning exists. The evidence seems to be that for social creatures like human beings, pressure to conform and be part of the group makes it hard for us. Have a read of Stanley Milgram's obedience to authority experiments and Phillip Zimbardo's Stanford prison experiment. People can be convinced - with very little prompting - to do things that they would normally find troubling.

Given that, it makes absolute sense that there is pressure to live the life that most people see as the 'correct' one in whatever society you live in. In the UK, this seems to be: Grow up, marry a single opposite sex partner, have kids and spend your life buying lots of stuff.

If you choose to any of that differently, then there is a ton of questioning from lots of people about why you would choose to do so.

I have found that the best answer is to say that the lifestyle I choose suits me, that I've thought about it and the possible long term consequences and that I still choose it because I believe that it allows me the most happiness and allows me to be better to be around for the people and animals close to me. Also - that I'm open to possibility that I may feel differently one day depending on what happens in my life. And to the possibility of feeling regret one day about the choices I make. I also tend to acknowledge that my life is not perfect - I don't think that anybody's is - but the lack of perfection in my life isn't a reason to think that I'm doing it wrong.

Quote:
I believe that certain social problems and societal needs outweigh the individual's so-called right to autonomy.
I absolutely agree. Human beings are social creatures and that means that we need each other. In spite of what modern governments, mainstream psychology, the media and big business might have us believe, we should not aim to go around in a little self interested bubble.

Just because I choose not to have children doesn't mean that I should go around moaning about people who do having time off work for maternity leave or to care for sick kids. Instead, I should do what I can to help and support my colleagues in their life choices - and I do.

IP
Reply With Quote
  #259  
Old 03-23-2013, 11:27 AM
JustUs JustUs is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 71
Default

While walking through a store one day, my wife's mother told her she had to choose between me and her bf...
My wife looked at her and simply said, J is happy, I'm happy, and S is happy, it works for us and no reason to choose one....
Made me proud of her saying that!
Reply With Quote
  #260  
Old 03-23-2013, 06:45 PM
SchrodingersCat's Avatar
SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,044
Default

Gotta love that. "You need to choose." "Nope. No, actually I don't."
__________________
Gralson: my husband. Auto: my girlfriend.
Zoffee: Auto's husband. Cue: Zoffee's boyfriend. Bookie: Cue's wife.

"Crowns do queer things to the heads beneath them."
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
coming out poly, commitment, defintion, description, descriptions, discovery, dissatisfaction, first time, happiness, history, introduction to poly, learning, mono poly, mono/poly, new to polyamory, opening a relationship, poly, relationship issues, scale

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 05:25 PM.