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  #31  
Old 03-25-2013, 07:43 PM
CherryBlossomGirl CherryBlossomGirl is offline
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They do NOT deserve to be judged and alienated out of the community before they arrive by being labeled as pariahs with this kind of self-sucking lollipop "definition" by a bunch of people who've never actually walked the same path, and have no business judging them for it.
Good lord, Yes. A warning bell start going off when I hear people use terms like "poly-normativity" and "hierarchy". Everyone is finding their own path, and has the right to make mistakes, be human, find the path that works best for them, and work towards doing 'poly' with as much integrity, honesty and respect as possible. I have watched horrific behaviour coming from "single-ish" people, and it's downplayed in comparison to those operating within a couple or using any kind of model involving hierarchy. This strikes me as a double standard that makes zero sense to me - it's okay to make mistakes if you're on your own, but in a couple "doing hierarchy" all of sudden you're classified in a different way.
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  #32  
Old 03-28-2013, 03:43 AM
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Hierarchy does suggest that there are going to be some roles which are higher or lower in comparison to each other; unless I missed a meeting, that's what a hierarchy is. However, it doesn't make a statement about the decency, kindness, or mutual respect of the people involved in it. It's not a value judgment on how or why people might organize into a hierarchical arrangement. A hierarchy can come to be due to any number of measurements.

When I think of a relationship hierarchy I instantly think of some people being important and others being less important - while that makes me want to throw up in my mouth, "less than" isn't necessarily a requirement for someone lower on the hierarchy diagram. While I expect this is more true than people would feel comfortable admitting, I recognize that it isn't *necessarily* a "less than"/"greater than" setup with all hierarchical arrangements.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
Everyone is finding their own path, and has the right to make mistakes, be human, find the path that works best for them, and work towards doing 'poly' with as much integrity, honesty and respect as possible.
I don't have anything to add to this quote but I just wanted to say that I love the descriptions that came to your mind when describing the circumstances of a healthy relationship. That's a beautiful thing.
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  #33  
Old 03-29-2013, 09:05 PM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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unless I missed a meeting, that's what a hierarchy is.
You did miss a meeting, actually. The "we make up the rules for everyone" club meets every second week, at the Starbucks on 5th & 2nd. Fortunately, they have no power and we just ignore their desperate pleas.

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When I think of a relationship hierarchy I instantly think of some people being important and others being less important - while that makes me want to throw up in my mouth, "less than" isn't necessarily a requirement for someone lower on the hierarchy diagram. While I expect this is more true than people would feel comfortable admitting, I recognize that it isn't *necessarily* a "less than"/"greater than" setup with all hierarchical arrangements.
Important to whom? And why does the whom's opinion carry more absolute weight than the others'?

Everybody is more important to one person than they are to someone else. It might be that you're more important to you mom than you are to your aunt, or that you're more important to one partner than you are to another... But that's not hierarchy, it's just life.

There are some hierarchies that people have no control over. I cannot just up and choose to be in charge of the country. But I can choose whether or not to be involved in a hierarchical relationship. Having made the choice to do so, I may be giving up some autonomy within that relationship, but I always maintain my overall autonomy because I continually have the choice whether to continue being in that relationship.
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  #34  
Old 03-29-2013, 10:45 PM
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Everybody is more important to one person than they are to someone else. It might be that you're more important to you mom than you are to your aunt, or that you're more important to one partner than you are to another... But that's not hierarchy, it's just life.
That's a fair clarification SC.

The distinction I would make is when a hierarchy would seem to exist simply because of competing needs which are being met by the people with relevant tendencies/skills and when one exists because it is designed that way.

What you described is simply life, I agree. It is the way people interact with each other without necessarily deciding to do so. IV depends on CV for things that she wouldn't generally come to me for. It's not because she loves him more or he has some kind of status that I lack, but simply because he freely offers some advantages that I don't. This situation exists in the reverse order as well.

The hierarchy I was speaking of is the one that exists because it is designed that way. Most workplaces have a hierarchy, not because of the abilities of the people but because that's just the way that it is. If we are lucky the people in positions of authority over a certain set of tasks actually have some expertise in the field and are competent leaders. I work for a troupe of moderately well trained monkeys who I answer to because that's what it says on the organization chart, not because they actually have something to offer (other than authority).

I equate relationships with primary and secondary type titles to this kind of of stifling system. This is more pronounced when the titles given to partners come with a list of socially imposed assumptions; Husband and Wife are at the front of this list. No matter how enlightened a poly group may try to be, they are swimming against the current if they use these titles and expect to not live within what I would call a hierarchy. Titles are shorthand for descriptions of authority and responsibility, that's why they are convenient. I can say I'm someone's manager and pretty much stop there - they get what the dynamic is. With husband or wife I would argue that it is similarly stifling.
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  #35  
Old 03-29-2013, 10:55 PM
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I equate relationships with primary and secondary type titles to this kind of of stifling system. This is more pronounced when the titles given to partners come with a list of socially imposed assumptions; Husband and Wife are at the front of this list. No matter how enlightened a poly group may try to be, they are swimming against the current if they use these titles and expect to not live within what I would call a hierarchy. Titles are shorthand for descriptions of authority and responsibility, that's why they are convenient. I can say I'm someone's manager and pretty much stop there - they get what the dynamic is. With husband or wife I would argue that it is similarly stifling.
And this is where it comes in. No matter how open minded anyone tries to be, there is inherent prejudice. On poly groups there is a lot towards married couples. What I find exhausting, personally, is it comes from those NOT in a similar situation. To me, it's like me making assumptions about how 'stifling' and incorrect all the single people are. Watch the reversal. Have poly configurations that include marriage post something about the assumptions of single poly folk that live unattached. They would get lambasted.

So while I personally figure what works for you works for you, I don't get the same attitudes back. For the record you can argue about things being stifling but argue that you imagine it is stifling TO YOU. Let's stop making assumptions on other people's relationship configurations just because they wouldn't work for you huh?
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  #36  
Old 03-29-2013, 11:53 PM
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So while I personally figure what works for you works for you, I don't get the same attitudes back. For the record you can argue about things being stifling but argue that you imagine it is stifling TO YOU. Let's stop making assumptions on other people's relationship configurations just because they wouldn't work for you huh?
So you would make the point that titles do not come with assumptions of responsibility or authority? Do you think that there are no responsibilities or authority associated with the titles Husband and Wife? Do you claim that those titles are incapable of stifling someone from functioning in a way that doesn't agree with those assumptions?

By all means, make your case. I'm curious to hear your argument.

You sound like you think I'm attacking your way of life and that you have wounds associated with this topic. I am having a very civil conversation about hierarchy, and will continue to do so until I decide I won't anymore. I encourage you to join in the conversation (constructively).
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  #37  
Old 03-30-2013, 12:21 AM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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In my opinion the problem is when people within the situation are unhappy. Not necessarily all of them but at least one of them. If everyone is happy, I see no reason to comment on how they decide to lead their life and relationships.

When people are unhappy, and they say the rules make them unhappy, though, it's good to think of ways to change that. Yes, leaving is always an option, but I would hope that it would be a last resort after everyone in the relationship at least gives it a fair try to make things better.
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  #38  
Old 03-30-2013, 12:54 AM
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If everyone is happy, I see no reason to comment on how they decide to lead their life and relationships
I think we can state that some ways of living demonstrably foster the well-being of everyone involved, at least when compared to others of a less than desirable nature. Living on a farm in an area safe from most wars or dangerous animals would probably foster greater well-being than living in... say... a POW camp. Someone would surely play devils advocate and say that isn't true, we'd haggle back and forth about it and likely come to discover that living on a safe farm is, in fact, more conducive to happiness and health than being tortured daily in a POW camp, at least in a number of ways.

(Note: I used extreme examples to illustrate the discussion of comparing lifestyles, not as a value statement of monogamy or polyamory)

As reasonable people we can have similar discussions about living arrangements and determine the objective qualities of these different arrangements. Monogamy and polyamory are two such states in which we can attempt to come to objective understandings of how these two arrangements can work. We don't necessarily need to make judgment calls about them, but if discussed rationally and thoroughly enough surely there can be some aspects which we deem more likely to promote well-being than others.

For this reason I say there does not need to be unhappiness in a relationship in order to discuss it. Happiness is a difficult state to quantify so we break it down into discussing respect, independence, gratitude, jealousy, coercion, etc. As we trudge through these conversations we might discover objective truths which we were previously unaware of.
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  #39  
Old 03-30-2013, 01:28 AM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Basic needs for food, shelter and so on, we can draw some generalizations on. We can say "humans being need to eat" or "it's best to have a roof over your head" and safely assume that most people feel the same way.
Happiness however, especially happiness in a relationship, that's another story altogether. I'm sorry but sometimes, the generalizations some people draw are like saying fish should live up trees because birds can fly.

Yes, respect is important. But people will have different definitions of it. Some people will be completely shocked at the lack of respect that must be involved in a poly relationship for instance. Or a BDSM one. Because it would be a lack of respect towards them to treat them like that, because of their personal preferences.

So there definitely isn't a mold that everyone fits in nicely. Because I can't be everyone and know how everyone feels by myself, what I can do is trust that if people are happy, they're in the situation that works best for them. When you start deciding for people that they can't really be happy, they must be wrong, and you have to save them from themselves, you are just taking away their right to make their own decisions and have control over their own lives.
You might not understand why or how people can be happy in some situations, but if they are, they are, and there is no reason to change everything to fit your own personal criteria. Rather than assume that they're not really happy because you think they're not treated with respect, you might go the other way, see that they're happy, and conclude that therefore, they are treated with respect, even if their personal situation would not work for you.
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  #40  
Old 03-30-2013, 05:35 AM
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You might not understand why or how people can be happy in some situations, but if they are, they are, and there is no reason to change everything to fit your own personal criteria
We could disagree on some of the finer points of what you've said but honestly it doesn't change much. The fact still remains that having reasonable discourse between people with an interest to learn and an open mind can only be a positive thing. We can all learn from each other but that is only if we are not afraid to have conversations which some people would try to convince us are not our business.
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