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  #11  
Old 03-30-2013, 04:21 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Gala Girl, I like the six maturities. Thanks.

I agree, he doesn't need to do anything. I call my kids out all the time on the difference between need and want (and now I'm getting it back from them, lol) so I of all people should have been more careful about using that word.

However, I do believe that when someone is that threatened and upset by what I thought was a simple, innocent question; when they can't answer it without getting agitated, upset, and going on the offensive--they ought to stop and ask themselves why they can't just answer, and what's going on 'behind the scenes' of their own mind and emotions. And I'd say he's one who usually is introspective and lives life thoughtfully.

Regardless, my main question was for input and perspective on the concept of outside relationships 'enhancing' a primary relationship. I've seen the idea in OKCupid profiles, articles, plenty of places, over the 18 months I've been reading. And I never got the impression they were saying 'Our marriage sucks, we're trying to enhance it,' but more like: 'Our marriage is wonderful, we're deliriously happy, and we want to add you/outside relationships to enhance it even more.'
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  #12  
Old 03-30-2013, 05:35 PM
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Mohegan Mohegan is offline
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To answer your question, I see other relationships enhancing our marriage just as friendships do. Having people in your life that you care about and care about you will enhance your life and therefor your other relationships.

I also wanted to bring up the idea that maybe he is struggling because of how you ask the questions. Maybe not, but I know that a few weeks ago I was trying to understand somethings and when asking Karma he took it as me attacking him or blaming him when all I was trying to do was understand. It was the way I was asking.
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  #13  
Old 03-30-2013, 06:58 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
Regardless, my main question was for input and perspective on the concept of outside relationships 'enhancing' a primary relationship. I've seen the idea in OKCupid profiles, articles, plenty of places, over the 18 months I've been reading. And I never got the impression they were saying 'Our marriage sucks, we're trying to enhance it,' but more like: 'Our marriage is wonderful, we're deliriously happy, and we want to add you/outside relationships to enhance it even more.'
Yes, I am sure we've all seen those ads and profiles that say that. And I would run for the hills if that is what someone in a couple wanted from me! I see what you're talking about when these people want a specific type of relationship, dynamic, or end result, and then they search for someone to fit into that role they have in mind. "We want to enhance our marriage with extra sex and lovin' from you. Please step in and do me so my partner reaps the rewards." Blecchh. It is exactly what you talked about, being a toy, bauble, or "marital aid." No, thank you!

It's an entirely different thing when someone who is part of a committed couple says, "I am open to having more than one relationship, and we have an agreement that that's okay. Here's this second person I really like. I am drawn to him/her because we really work well together/laugh at the same things/seem to hit it off, etc. Let's see where it goes" The PERSON is the important part, not a role they are expected to play. And then AFTERWARDS, they realize, "Wow! I never expected my second relationship to affect my first relationship so positively. It's really enhanced my marriage/partnership to be involved with him/her."

When someone is good for you, and a relationship with them is healthy, fun, loving, satisfying, and whatever other positive feelings and benefits we get from being with them - those positive effects are felt EXPONENTIALLY. It enhances one's LIFE, not just their established relationship, because no part of our lives is conducted in a vacuum. We are whole human beings, and when we are touched and effected by one person, we are changed forever. And so we walk into another sphere with another person and there's a subtle or not-so-subtle shift in who we are, and in our dynamic with that person. Those feel-good vibes reverberate and are felt exponentially, including in any and all other relationships.

The difference, as I see it, is whether one makes it goal to get from someone, essentially to use them for their own purpose, or it's a discovery made from simply being present and noticing how wonderful life has been in all areas since getting involved with a particular person.

Hope that made sense.
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Last edited by nycindie; 03-30-2013 at 07:05 PM.
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  #14  
Old 03-30-2013, 07:15 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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If you were in a "single" relationship - not necessarily "mono" (but could be) - but happen to go from zero relationships to one relationship - would it be bad/wrong/offensive/creepy to say that THAT RELATIONSHIP has "enhanced" your life? Same shit, different day.

I agree with nycindie that a person's attitude and motivation (or a "couple's" attitude & motivation, for all those unicorn-hunting "poly-couples" who come on here and declare that they are "one person romantically" and want to "add a third to their relationship" - "a" third???? SERIOUSLY??? and you wonder why people mock you?), is very relevant when it comes to the quality/type of "enhancement" that an additional relationship can provide to oneself.
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  #15  
Old 03-31-2013, 05:02 AM
turtleHeart turtleHeart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
Can those members who are in primary relationships, especially those whose OSOs are single, tell me their response to this comment on OSOs enhancing your primary relationship, and how that balances with seeing your secondary/OSO as a person in their own right?
If it makes you feel better, I don't see OSOs as automatically enhancing primary relationships at all, rather that if there is another relationship the couple within the primary relationship had better be putting a lot of work into their own relationship if they want things to last between each other. The initial emotional upheaval is similar to what I imagine cheating would entail, and quite a few seemingly happy couples don't make it through the transition of opening up.

I wouldn't recommend anyone add a relationship just to improve the one they already have. I'd only recommend the new relationship if they want a new relationship so much that they're ok with the possibility that it will mean the end of their current relationship, as it very well may, no matter how close the couple felt going in.

My wife and I are doing what we can to make things work, and we each get along with each other's partners, but I'm pretty sure that if we knew what it'd all entail going in we'd have remained monogamous. At this point it just doesn't seem like there's any going back, we can only move forward.

My OSO is single with two kids, and my wife Ginko's OSO is newly single as polyamory unintentionally brought his marriage to a close. I feel lucky to have the metamour that I do. He's done his best to make sure Ginko and I continue to relate well to each other, and he with me.

At this point we've made it through what seems like a lot of the initial growing pains of opening up, and the most prominent challenges are more due to work and class schedules than anything else, which should ease up in the next year or so.
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  #16  
Old 03-31-2013, 10:36 AM
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Sekhmet Sekhmet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
It's an entirely different thing when someone who is part of a committed couple says, "I am open to having more than one relationship, and we have an agreement that that's okay. Here's this second person I really like. I am drawn to him/her because we really work well together/laugh at the same things/seem to hit it off, etc. Let's see where it goes" The PERSON is the important part, not a role they are expected to play. And then AFTERWARDS, they realize, "Wow! I never expected my second relationship to affect my first relationship so positively. It's really enhanced my marriage/partnership to be involved with him/her."
I'm brand new to all this, but this is how I think it's happening with us.

I just told Q today that I've heard that opening up a relationship can improve it, but who knew it could do that before anything had actually happened?! This isn't to say that he's dating Miss M in order to improve our marriage, but it's one hell of an amazing side effect!
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  #17  
Old 03-31-2013, 12:45 PM
Cleo Cleo is offline
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I have to admit that when husband and I first started out on the poly path (and I am deliberately frasing it like that: it felt like something we were doing 'together') I have probably said this, to friends etc: it enhances our marriage.

I would no longer say that now, because the 4 years of poly have made me realize that this is so much more about me, than it is about us.
(I actually started a thread about that here.

I would now say that it enhances ME, to have more than one loving relationship. What I do say sometimes to people who are new to the concept of poly, when I tell them I have a BF, 'oh but please know that Ren and I are also still very happy together', because I've noticed that people tend to think that we have other loves because we no longer love each other.
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I agree that the level of discomfort your BF feels when you bring this up, is interesting. Because I am married with a (until recently single) BF, I tried to put myself in your husbands shoes and thought what I would say if my BF had asked me this question.

Could it be he feels guilty that you are his only partner and he is happily married? Does it make him uncomfortable, that he feels he needs to 'everything' for you while he has several partners? This could be major projection on my part - but it's what my possible reaction might have been.
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  #18  
Old 03-31-2013, 03:01 PM
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hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleo View Post
I would no longer say that now, because the 4 years of poly have made me realize that this is so much more about me, than it is about us.
. . . .
I would now say that it enhances ME, to have more than one loving relationship.
I might be more likely to think of it this way, myself . . . except I keep getting caught up on the means-ends thing.

Yes, I do want my life to be richer and happier, more full of possibilities; yes, having relationships with others is an indispensable means to that end. My life would be poorer and drearier without my wife, my children, my friends, my (would-be someday) loves, my community.

But it's worth coming back around to what others have pointed out on this thread, that each of these others is a person, with goals and ideas and projects of her or his own.

I doubt anyone here would really say otherwise. I just worry that the usual language of "enhancing" a relationship or a life or a self necessarily tends to reduce those other persons to mere enhancements, pleasing accessories, new experiences, new kicks for the dear self (or the dear het dyad).

I'd like to turn the idea upside down, though. This is a notion that has been growing in me, lately, as a result of recent developments in my own life (reported elsewhere).

For me, the practice of polyamory is enhancing my capacity for relationships with others as whole persons. This is a kind of ethical capacity, an ability to see others as whole and independent selves, to offer respect, to trust and to be trustworthy, and to let affection and care grow from those roots.

Put another way, the practice of polyamory has led me to approach relationships intentionally, rather than conventionally.

(My wife and I talked about something like this when we were first considering polyamory, two years ago. She was concerned that, within the "safe" confines of a conventionally monogamous marriage, my capacity to form meaningful relationships with other people would remain underdeveloped.)

At this moment, I have no idea whether I'll be able to make a go of polyamory in the long run. That's not the main point, though. Intentional relationships are the main point.

This "enhanced" capacity for relationships may have benefits, for me, for my wife, for my children, for the others in my life, but those benefits aren't really the main point. The point is that it makes me a better person, a person who is more worthy of happiness.

Or so I hope.
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  #19  
Old 03-31-2013, 03:14 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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Omg omg people are human beings and not mindless sex toys! Hooda-thunket. Sheesh. It's really pathetic that people think this way. I can't believe some folks need to explain this or have it explained to them. Were we born and did we grow up, or did we develop in a pod or husk and suddenly arrive on the planet fully grown with no clue where we are or what is going on or that we aren't the only one here. Good thing we have the internet or nobody would know the difference between right and wrong.
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  #20  
Old 03-31-2013, 03:51 PM
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hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoringGuy View Post
Omg omg people are human beings and not mindless sex toys! Hooda-thunket. Sheesh. It's really pathetic that people think this way. I can't believe some folks need to explain this or have it explained to them. Were we born and did we grow up, or did we develop in a pod or husk and suddenly arrive on the planet fully grown with no clue where we are or what is going on or that we aren't the only one here. Good thing we have the internet or nobody would know the difference between right and wrong.
Well, yeah, if you press them on it, most people might come around to the notion that they really should not use others for their own satisfaction. To paraphrase one of my favorite quotations, people can be counted on to do the right thing . . . after they've tried everything else, first.

It does seem to me, though, that we live in a culture that puts a lot of emphasis on seeking one's own private satisfaction, whatever that satisfaction may be - from wallowing in physical pleasure to following one's spiritual bliss.

More than this, many of us have grown up in a culture that does not do a very good job of giving us the language and the habits of mind to think very clearly about values and obligations.

In such circumstances, it's easy to get tripped up by language. So, even someone who can be counted on to do the right thing - eventually - might end up using a phrase like "it will enhance our marriage" to justify an unconventional course of action, without an inkling that the phrase is at all problematic.

It's only when that someone is offered an outside perspective, even just a mild protest - "I'm not an enhancement! I am a human being!" - that they might pause to think about their use of language and what it implies.

For good and for ill, the internet is one of the few places people who are quite radically unconventional can go to find those outside perspectives on themselves, their assumptions, their use of terms.
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