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  #271  
Old 03-29-2013, 01:15 AM
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In polyamory, people tend to have a maximum limit of partners, or a point at which they'll say, "Whew! I can't spread my time and energy any thinner." We all agree that love is an unlimited resource, but we admit that time and energy have their limits.

Some may be willing to have as many as ten partners. Some, only five. Some, three, or two. It's not that they *couldn't* spread their resources thinner, it's that they don't *want* to. They want a certain quality of time and effort devoted to just a few relationships.

If someone says, "I want to devote my total amount of available time and energy to just one partner," then we could say that person is monogamous by definition. If their reason for being monogamous is that it's simply their preference not to divide their time and energy between more than one partner, then I find that acceptable as a reason for them to be monogamous. They're no different than a polyamorist who wouldn't want more than two or three partners, their preferred limit just happens to be a smaller number.

If, on the other hand, someone's reason for being monogamous is "because the Bible says so," or because "everyone else is doing it," or because "polyamory is unhealthy," then those are bad reasons for being monogamous. In theory, we should expect polyamory to describe the larger amount of the general population, as polyamory covers many "maximum numbers of partners," whereas monogamy only covers one maximum number. In practice, we observe that most people become and remain monogamous. This gives us a hint that there's something out-of-balance with tradition and popular culture.

So, for many monogamists, polyamory would be a better choice for them (a choice they probably don't even think about, or aren't aware of). But some monogamists would probably choose to remain monogamous even if tradition and popular culture were corrected -- simply because it's their personal preference (and represents the most partners they'd want to divide their time and energy between). Thus I don't have anything against monogamy in theory, but I'm also aware of a bias toward monogamy in mainstream society, and I take issue with that bias.

Just food for thought ...
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  #272  
Old 03-29-2013, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
If, on the other hand, someone's reason for being monogamous is "because the Bible says so," or because "everyone else is doing it," or because "polyamory is unhealthy," then those are bad reasons for being monogamous.
As with most stances people take in life, which relationship style people adopt has very little to do with conscious decision making. People in the US, for example, are mostly monogamous. It isn't speculation that there is a bias in favor of monogamy because it is the only form of partnering allowed by the state - there is clear and undeniable bias. For this reason we shouldn't be surprised that most people claim to be monogamous and they don't have any idea why.
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  #273  
Old 03-29-2013, 05:51 PM
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True enough: When something isn't even allowed by law, that indicates a pretty heavy bias. The struggle to get same-sex marriage accepted by the state is difficult enough (for now).
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  #274  
Old 03-29-2013, 10:58 PM
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It's a shame that this conversation always leads to this point.
Yes, it does seem like we keep going around in circles...

Let me sum up: I agree that "Rules = No Autonomy." I disagree that "Monogamy = Rules."

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I'm not sure I understand what is so controversial about saying that the structure of monogamy has one more rule about how partners are allowed to behave than polyamorous relationships.
Monogamy is not always determined by a rule.

It's the law that I can't kill people. But it's not the law that stops me from going out and killing people. I don't kill people because it's not in my nature to kill people.

If someone says, from the get-go, "You've got this trait that I can't tolerate, so it's just not going to work between us," how does that equate to a "rule" in any way?

Two people who are inherently monogamous, and get together without ever talking about exclusivity, are nonetheless monogamous, even though they have no "rule" about exclusivity. They simply happen to be it.

"Hi, I'm Jane, and I only date one person at a time."
"Hi, I'm Jim, hey me too!"
"Cool! Do you want to date?"
"Sure!"
Jim and Jane are now a monogamous couple. Nowhere in that conversation did either one say "You have to be monogamous or I'm going to leave you."

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I'm not sure why someone would need to force something for the statement that monogamy (sexual exclusivity as a dealbreaker) is more restrictive on a persons ability to live their life free of rule than polyamory (sexual and romantic exclusivity are not necessarily required).
Monogamy simply means exclusivity. "As a dealbreaker" is a rider and not inherent in the description. While I agree that it's associated with the vast majority of relationships, that does not make it inherent in the fundamental description of monogamy.

There is a fundamental difference between putting restrictions on others and making choices for yourself. I do not see how it is restrictive for me to choose only to date people with a certain inclination, specifically monogamy.

Suppose Dick wears cologne and it gives me a headache. I hope we can both agree, I can't be expected to just have headaches all the time as the price of dating Dick. Are you going to accuse me of "restricting" Dick if I tell him that I can't date someone whose cologne gives me headaches?

Perhaps you will, in which case we are at an impasse. I believe that I always have the right to remove myself from painful situations, and I refuse to be accused of "inhibiting someone's autonomy" for simply protecting myself from unnecessary pain. Indeed, pressuring me to stay in a painful situation inhibits my autonomy, be it cologne-induced headaches or pangs of jealousy from my partner being out with another person.

As I see it, my only other option is to stop seeing him without discussing the matter. I personally think that would be silly, because maybe wearing cologne (or having sex with other people) is something Dick thinks is kinda nice but doesn't really care about. Maybe Dick will be more than happy to choose not to wear cologne (or have sex with other people) because he does not want to cause me pain. Not offering him that choice is not only stupid, but it actually removes his autonomy by making the choice for him.
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  #275  
Old 03-29-2013, 11:42 PM
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Yes, it does seem like we keep going around in circles...
We aren't having the same conversation.
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  #276  
Old 04-03-2013, 05:08 AM
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Because I fell in love

Not ensured that this solves the confusion (far from it mostly), but that usually is my answer.
An early response in this thread, and I agree 100%. None of us could stand the idea that there's someone else out there we really love and can't be with. We're together because we want to be with everyone we love...and we want the same FOR the ones we love.
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:58 AM
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An early response in this thread, and I agree 100%. None of us could stand the idea that there's someone else out there we really love and can't be with. We're together because we want to be with everyone we love...and we want the same FOR the ones we love.
But that doesn't necessarily answer the question "why poly?" Some people are poly and still can't date everyone they love, because there are only so many hours in the day and they don't want to do injustice to any of their relationships by half-assing it.

I have an acquaintance who pretty much dates everyone who catches her eye. She does live with one of her partners, but I can't imagine she's keeping the home fires burning too brightly when she's out so much.
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  #278  
Old 04-04-2013, 12:10 PM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phy View Post
Because I fell in love

Not ensured that this solves the confusion (far from it mostly), but that usually is my answer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by animo View Post
An early response in this thread, and I agree 100%. None of us could stand the idea that there's someone else out there we really love and can't be with. We're together because we want to be with everyone we love...and we want the same FOR the ones we love.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
But that doesn't necessarily answer the question "why poly?" Some people are poly and still can't date everyone they love, because there are only so many hours in the day and they don't want to do injustice to any of their relationships by half-assing it.

I have an acquaintance who pretty much dates everyone who catches her eye. She does live with one of her partners, but I can't imagine she's keeping the home fires burning too brightly when she's out so much.
"Because I fell in love." could answer the "Why poly?" question for some of us - and doesn't apply to others (like your friend who dates everyone who "catches her eye" - attraction =/= love).

Some of this relates to how we view "love" and what that means to us - which we have discussed in other threads. For me, "love" is elusive enough that I can in fact be with everyone that I love. (I've never "dated" so I don't really know how that part works.) 20 years ago I fell in love, 19 years later it happened again, who knows if lightening will strike a third time? Not looking for it, but it could happen (I wasn't looking for the first two either).

I don't think there is going to be one answer to the "Why poly?" question that applies universally - each person will have their own (short and long) answers to that - our priorities, values, enjoyments, personalities, etc. are so different. Some people like meeting and exploring new people - I don't. So that is part of the "Why poly?" answer for those people but not for me.

So there are really two questions - "Why poly?" in general (what do people get out of having poly relationships - the abstract) and "Why poly?" on the personal level (why does a particular individual travel the poly road - the concrete).

I love reading everyone's responses here as to what their short personal answer is - some really resonate with me ("Oh, I could use that!"), others highlight how different we all are.

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  #279  
Old 04-04-2013, 09:19 PM
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A more generalized answer ...

"Why Poly?"

"Because some people get more joy from polyamory than from monogamy."
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  #280  
Old 04-23-2013, 05:19 PM
Nadya Nadya is offline
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I was raised very conservative Christian, to the extreme of being a fundamentalist. I found the theory of polyamory at the time when I got into conflict with my religious background: my church and my family. Long story short: I found that the most important thing to me was to be totally honest and true to myself, and I stopped living and believing as the church and my parents told me to do - and was open and honest about my life and my thoughts. It was a rough time in my life as I ended up being excluded from both the church and my family. As I see it now, they could not take my honesty and wanted to have nothing to do with me.

Because of being honest I have lost a lot in my life, but they were people who did not love me for who I am - the sad part is that they are my biological family and all of the important people from my childhood. For the very same reason I have gained a circle of true friends; people who truly love me and cherish my attempts to grow as a human being. Some of them actually are biologically related to me; other members of the family who have been excluded as well.

So for me, the theory came first. I saw poly as a possibility to greater honesty in relationships. To me it was clear that all my relationships would be open in the sense of all communication being open as well as sexual encounters not limited to that relationship only. This I have stuck to in practice as well, and yes, have been pretty demanding a partner what comes to honest communication, freedom of thought and freedom to express my sexuality to the fullest. We are not owned by our partners.

Now not-so-many months into being a hinge of a vee I could say that this was a good way up. There has been no big drama at all in my practical poly life. My partners were both introduced to poly by me, so they would have totally different stories to tell
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