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  #21  
Old 01-14-2010, 03:14 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Thanks for everyone who's weighed in so far. I was glad to see support both from the "moderators" and many others of the applicability of the topic here because I can't see many other topics that really are 'more' applicable.
The reason I say this is because it reflects the reality - and difficulty - of living in a primarily 'mono' culture. Living poly has sometimes reminded me of concepts expressed in a book called "Tipping Point" - an analysis of how certain trends begin & grow, spidering out in many directions until for whatever reason they hit a critical mass - a 'tipping point' - when in a short period of time there's suddenly as mass shift.
I intend to quote & address some specific points many of you have posted as I think they deserve discussion. In another post.
If it can help clarify the topic any I'd lay it out here in another fashion.
As we've encountered these situations in real life there has always been the question of dealing with theoretical absolutes vs stark reality. In other words, which is the 'better' road to take in a particular situation. If we have the chance to enhance someone else's life & happiness albeit with some (potential) risk of damaging some other unknown persons situation or belief system. And that's really at the core of it. Picture the worst case scenerio....... a case where the person we choose to embrace was in a classic, monogamous and conservative relationship (or marriage)- let's say with all the trimmings- i.e. family, property etc etc and had no desire to end that out of what might be considered selfish motivation. If there is love (to whatever degree possible on whatever level) there and love for children and acceptance of responsibility etc and eventually their indiscretion was discovered, a hard conversation is going to be evoked within that relationship. A conversation that SHOULD have been had long before this. One of the results of that conversation will be that someone is going to become suddenly enlightened of the fact that love, affection and relationships can occur and prosper outside the bounds of the "accepted model". At that point the new direction the established relationship takes is going to be largely in THEIR (newly enlightened person) hands. They can hold firm to their old worldview and belief systems and refuse to even investigate what this might all mean - or they can take some time to look deeper - and research and make a more informed decision.
Now for those of you that would choose to call this a "cop out" or "justification" I ask...........
Where do we find substantiation of the concept that WE are 'responsible' for the thoughts & actions of others ?

When thinking this through I might suggest starting with examples of the "don't ask - don't tell" relationships that have & do exist, quite successfully, for eons and still do. For a reason. But there's a myriad of variations on that model spanning both extremes.
We may get into that separately in another thread.

Is the right direction to take a "hands off" / "don't go there" approach solely because the current model is dominant ? When do we cease to empower it ?

Interesting question.............?

Good stuff.......

GS

Last edited by GroundedSpirit; 01-14-2010 at 03:22 PM.
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  #22  
Old 01-14-2010, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
The reason I say this is because it reflects the reality - and difficulty - of living in a primarily 'mono' culture.
Agreed, and we have a choice how many of the "monogamous culture"'s mores and ethics we take on board in our chosen lovestyle.

Quote:
Living poly has sometimes reminded me of concepts expressed in a book called "Tipping Point" - an analysis of how certain trends begin & grow, spidering out in many directions until for whatever reason they hit a critical mass - a 'tipping point' - when in a short period of time there's suddenly as mass shift.
I agree strongly with you there - I think that acceptance of poly could just as easily come from an evolution (leading to a Tipping Point) as a revolution. Trying to find others who may be struggling (and potentially turning their backs on poly because they feel so alone) and helping them feel part of something, answering their questions and supporting them is part of my goals in the poly community - the more people we have, the closer we are to the Tipping Point.


Quote:
If we have the chance to enhance someone else's life & happiness albeit with some (potential) risk of damaging some other unknown persons situation or belief system. And that's really at the core of it.
See, for me, that's not the core of it.

The core problem for me is that lying and cheating seem to be becoming more and more accepted in society. That people making promises, whether wedding vows or legal contracts, do it with their fingers crossed behind their backs. Promises become less meaningful and trust gets eroded as a consequence.

When I lived in Germany I seemed to be with a crowd that all cheated on their spouses. What was interesting what that they all thought they were doing it, and their spouses weren't, but I knew the spouses were (and thought they were the only one). The level of trust between these people was horrendously low, but it felt so much like the norm. That's not a world that I want to live in, thank you.

So... making a justification (as I have heard many do) that it makes the person happy, and their spouse is some stranger and I'm not responsible for that would be a cop-out to me. Like disapproving of smoking but buying someone cigarettes as a present - how does that stop them smoking, and how does me having an affair with them stop them from cheating with their supposed loved-one?

Quote:
Where do we find substantiation of the concept that WE are 'responsible' for the thoughts & actions of others ?
We're not - we're responsible for our own actions and I choose not to buy that person cigarettes - they can get them elsewhere. I am not going to help support them do what I believe is damaging, no matter how they choose to justify it. If others do, that's their choice.

Quote:
Is the right direction to take a "hands off" / "don't go there" approach solely because the current model is dominant ? When do we cease to empower it ?
We cease to empower it when we choose not to make cheating on a loved one more acceptable than being honest with the people that we supposedly care about.

If having open and honest relationships is a fundamental value we have in common, I don't believe that "becoming the enemy" and supporting and nurturing dishonest relationships is going to move us towards that Tipping Point in any way.
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Last edited by CielDuMatin; 01-14-2010 at 03:54 PM.
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  #23  
Old 01-14-2010, 03:56 PM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
As we've encountered these situations in real life there has always been the question of dealing with theoretical absolutes vs stark reality.
As I've encountered these situations in real life there has always been the question of my values. I don't see any "theoretical absolutes" in conflict with the reality of the situation at all.


Quote:
Picture the worst case scenerio....... a case where the person we choose to embrace was in a classic, monogamous and conservative relationship (or marriage)- let's say with all the trimmings- i.e. family, property etc etc and had no desire to end that out of what might be considered selfish motivation. If there is love (to whatever degree possible on whatever level) there and love for children and acceptance of responsibility etc and eventually their indiscretion was discovered, a hard conversation is going to be evoked within that relationship. A conversation that SHOULD have been had long before this. One of the results of that conversation will be that someone is going to become suddenly enlightened of the fact that love, affection and relationships can occur and prosper outside the bounds of the "accepted model". At that point the new direction the established relationship takes is going to be largely in THEIR (newly enlightened person) hands. They can hold firm to their old worldview and belief systems and refuse to even investigate what this might all mean - or they can take some time to look deeper - and research and make a more informed decision.
For a worst case scenario, you seem to be laying out quite an idealistic view of the outcome. While that enlightenment may be the outcome for some people, I've seen the wreckage of the other outcome first hand. It involves lives and families being destroyed. And kids being hurt.


Quote:
Now for those of you that would choose to call this a "cop out" or "justification" I ask...........
Where do we find substantiation of the concept that WE are 'responsible' for the thoughts & actions of others ?
In terms of romantic relationships, we are responsible for our own thoughts and actions. To think that my getting into a relationship with someone who is cheating on their SO has the chance to somehow "move" their relationship to a more healthy state and that is a good reason to move forward with them sidesteps the actual values in question. I simply think that if their relationship needs to move to a healthier place, it's going to be *them* that move it to what's right for *them*. I don't think of it as my place to decide where the health of their relationship should lie and then choose my actions based on moving along their relationship. I can only make choices for *my* relationships.

But all of that seems to sidestep the actual values involved. Either you feel it's ok to be involved with someone who isn't being honest or you feel it's not ok. If you feel it's ok, then fine. If you feel it's not ok but choose to set aside those values with an "ends justify the means" mentality, that's completely your right and your choice to do that. Of course when you fall hard for someone and those feelings become so strong that the choice feels almost impossible to make, it could feel like theory is bumping into reality. But those values don't go away. Our strong feelings may push us to go one way or the other, but that doesn't change the reality and consequences of the choices we make.

However, that is not a situation of stark reality affecting your choices and negating some theoretical absolute. It's simply a matter of what values you hold in the relationships you seek and whether or not you choose to follow them.

Last edited by Ceoli; 01-14-2010 at 03:59 PM.
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  #24  
Old 01-14-2010, 04:27 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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I'd like to comment on a bunch of very good responses at once. I think this thread has the potential to really splinter so if any of these comments seem to want to take off on their own I encourage anyone to take them and run with them. Otherwise this could get long & convoluted.

So................


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fidelia;
The arrangement described is not polyamorous,
As we (hopefully) have discovered the umbrella term "polyamorous" covers as wide a range of possibilities as there are people.
I might just ask that you just climb down off the high horse and not bother with the personal attacks (count the number of 'you's and 'yours') as they won't contribute much to digging deep into the real topic. Or provoke a reaction

Quote:
Originally Posted by rolypoly;
If you are the cheatee, I don't believe that you are the cause, but a symptom of a problem that has nothing to do with you.
It seems there's obvious wisdom in this that deserves acknowledgement but unfortunately it doesn't let us off the hook because of possible repercussions. Therefore the quandary. Back to the question of the "greater good".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mono;
No matter how trapped a person feels in a relationship there is always an option.
Exactly Mono - and indeed they are excercising one of them by maybe trying to do what's best for all involved including themselves. The best way they know how. In situations we've been personally involed in, after we get through the "poly" lecture, we try to explore & encourage that they open that topic at home if possible. But at times it seems simply impossible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciel;
If they can't be completely honest with their partner, someone that they supposedly have a committed relationship with, then how can I expect them to be honest with me about issues vital to me.........
Yea, the theory of absolutes. I have yet to meet a person who 'never' lies. Nor have I met a person who has lied to me who 'never' tells the truth. I think we have to live with that aspect of being human and keep our lie detection equipment tuned and oiled. The reason people lie (barring pathological liars) is generally in an attempt to have the best outcome from an unfavorable situation by shielding people from a truth that could be more destructive to them. We've all seen cases where that was wrong-headed but also cases where it (unfortunately) was the correct choice. Not B/W.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crisare;
"in reality (as long as it stayed under the radar) it was highly beneficial to everyone."
That's completely and totally justification. How is it beneficial to everyone to hide and lie and cheat someone you love?"

and

"Hm. I'm not *entirely* sure I agree with this. I would not have cheated on my husband if the person I had the affair with didn't encourage our relationship to continue and become a party to my lies. He was complicit - he called me when I told him he could, sent me things to my office, not my house .. etc. Was he involved in the problems in my marriage? No. But I wouldn't have cheated (with him) if he hadn't made himself available and been very clear that he didn't care that I was married and that we were going to lie to my spouse.

Now, would I have cheated with someone else later .. I honestly don't know. I know that there's every possibility that my husband and I would be divorced right now ... because it was cheating that led me to realizing I could love two people at once, an therefore led me to learning about poly. It was cheating that made me realize that there *could* be an ethical way to be with my husband and led me to open a discussion with him on the subject - as well as to ask him back into our home to try to work this out. If it wasn't for that, I probably would have left him and pursued another monogamous relationship."
It seems you have answered your own question to a small degree here. But in another example I've seen where the indicted 'cheater's home life and relationship actually improved because of decreased tension and pent up anger/frustration of being locked into an unfulfilled life.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jools;
The situation was not black and white. He was in a relationship that had no affection, physical, emtional, sexual. I would say infact that he was being constantly verbally abused and so worn down by this that he didn't believe he could leave,
Yea Jools, in these cases it seems your involvement only accelerated a course that was probably eventual. We've seen that too, albeit from a distance, and didn't condemn the person in your role for the participation in what was an obvious direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikki;
Like it or not, there are a lot of people who have discovered that they were poly because of an affair, and realized that while their behavior was wrong and then made right of the situation. Should we be discounting their experience that brought them where they are today? I don't think so.
Nikki, I think this speaks well to the possible outcomes which I hinted at in a follow up post. The potential IS there for all involved parties to turn this into a positive life change. It's up to the parties involved. It kinds of leans to the statement that "guns don't kill people - PEOPLE do". You kind of find yourself in the role of the 'gun'. The fact that you are a gun - and not a hammer or an iron lawn ornament (iron) is just what 'is'.


Thanks everyone for their insights !

GS
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  #25  
Old 01-14-2010, 04:49 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Ceoli,

Nice insights and comments. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
As I've encountered these situations in real life there has always been the question of my values.
Question...when you/we talk about "values" are we speaking of "belief systems" ? (probably separate thread)
I'm assuming as it relates to this topic that - for example - one belief system might entail holding to a 'don't touch' policy of anyone in an existing relationship without full disclosure to all because of the risk of danger ? That I understand - the 'classic' view.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceoli
For a worst case scenario, you seem to be laying out quite an idealistic view of the outcome.
Only ONE possible outcome. I do/did acknowledge all the less favorable ones. But the question remains - do we never 'risk' moving forward in the fear of moving backwards. My theory is that each case (risks) has to be evaluated individually. I just can't connect with B/W in this regard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ceoli;
To think that my getting into a relationship with someone who is cheating on their SO has the chance to somehow "move" their relationship to a more healthy state and that is a good reason to move forward with them sidesteps the actual values in question. I simply think that if their relationship needs to move to a healthier place, it's going to be *them* that move it to what's right for *them*.
And isn't it in fact 'them' that is trying to 'move'? And how do we respond ? Assist - or stand idly by and wish them luck ? Either of which, by the way, I feel are appropriate choices depending on the situation.
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:10 PM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
I'm assuming as it relates to this topic that - for example - one belief system might entail holding to a 'don't touch' policy of anyone in an existing relationship without full disclosure to all because of the risk of danger ? That I understand - the 'classic' view.
No, it entails valuing relationships where there can be full honesty. There's a bit of a difference in that. And I'm not sure what you mean by calling it the "classic" view. Is that to say that it is an old view that is due for some evolving. I'm not sure, but there seems to be that implication, so I'll just ask if that's the case.



Quote:
Only ONE possible outcome. I do/did acknowledge all the less favorable ones. But the question remains - do we never 'risk' moving forward in the fear of moving backwards. My theory is that each case (risks) has to be evaluated individually. I just can't connect with B/W in this regard.
I never said that it had to be black and white. But evaluating the risks doesn't change the basic choice at hand. The risk assessment just lends weight to choose in a particular direction. So if one sees a benefit worth all the risks in moving forward with a relationship with someone who is cheating on there SO, one is still making the choice that is either aligned with values that say it's ok to have such a relationship or they are choosing to move forward despite values that say it's not ok.

Quote:
And isn't it in fact 'them' that is trying to 'move'? And how do we respond ? Assist - or stand idly by and wish them luck ? Either of which, by the way, I feel are appropriate choices depending on the situation.
A person choosing to cheat on their SO isn't "them". It's that individual person. I don't think that person has the right to do things on the other person's behalf such as "move their relationship forward" in such a dishonest and one-sided way. I've been faced with the situation of falling for a person who was cheating. We didn't have a romantic relationship because I wouldn't allow it. So we became friends. We talked a lot about her issues with her girlfriend and I offered what perspective I could.

But I don't see how enabling the behavior which is problematic helps. If you consider that being dishonest and cheating is sometimes appropriate, that's one thing. While I understand that there are some very powerful reasons people cheat and that people who do cheat aren't necessarily horrible people or dishonest people in their nature, they are still making a choice to do something that is dishonest and potentially hurtful. I choose to not contribute to that method of "moving someone else's relationship forward".
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:32 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Ciel,

Nice post and good points !

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Originally Posted by CielDuMatin View Post
The core problem for me is that lying and cheating seem to be becoming more and more accepted in society. That people making promises, whether wedding vows or legal contracts, do it with their fingers crossed behind their backs. Promises become less meaningful and trust gets eroded as a consequence.
I couldn't possibly agree more ! And I think there's a general shift happening there in the way of a desire to live more genuinely and transparently. But we're not there yet.
As an individual I'm also especially sensitive to any 'extremist' viewpoints. Call me a 'relativist' (but that's extreme too). The danger of extremist viewpoints is evident all around us from politics to religion. The reality is that the world is simply not B/W and therefore can't be navigated successfully in that manner. Even a plant - given the correct environment - will grow straight toward the light. Lacking that environment it WILL however bend & twist itself as necessary to get there. Such is the 'nature' of things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ciel;
When I lived in Germany I seemed to be with a crowd that all cheated on their spouses. ......... but I knew the spouses were (and thought they were the only one). The level of trust between these people was horrendously low,
Not to sidetrack the topic but having a few European friends also (Austria/Belgium) I really wonder whether what you witnessed (and how it was expressed to you) was down deep just an extension of their culture - basically a "don't ask-don't tell" which is VERY prevalent there, kind of painted over with a coating that was acceptable to the casual observer. Down deep it may have been more of a general acceptance of "I'm 'cheating on her' but I assume she's 'cheating' on me too so......hell - it's ONLY sex !" Not the way it should be but yet a step forward in some regards. Banishment of jealousy (as much as possible).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciel;
Like disapproving of smoking but buying someone cigarettes as a present - how does that stop them smoking,
Yea - I see what you are saying. But I fall back here too to my avoidance of extremism in any form. For example, I see smoking banned on whole properties even in the great outdoors. In places where it would be entirely possible for a person to smoke far away from any other person. Rules based on (supposedly) high ideals (good intentions) and freedom squashed. Dangerous ground to tread !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciel;
We cease to empower it when we choose not to make cheating on a loved one more acceptable than being honest with the people that we supposedly care about.
And don't you find it interesting that the hidden underlying piece of this is solely (or primarily) 'sex' ? Were the mentioned persons only connecting outside the relationship on a shared passion for say.....music....wouldn't the whole dynamic be so entirely different ! No need (usually) to lie or hide it.
So HMMMMMMM - what REALLY is at the root of this whole discussion indeed

Last edited by GroundedSpirit; 01-14-2010 at 05:34 PM.
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  #28  
Old 01-14-2010, 05:51 PM
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Ceoli's experience -- that is, of affairs being damaging to all involved -- is mine too. Though my family did not come apart at the seams, I still wonder whenever my father ventures out with someone not my mother, and so does she. Something fundamental between us got broken when I was twelve. I think it's called "trust".

Short of being so screwed mentally that you don't know what you're doing, I don't think there is an excuse for keeping a secret like that. Married and unhappy? Try solving the problem with your partner, and if that doesn't work, get a divorce before you look elsewhere. Think you're poly? Bring it up with the one you're with first, and then go forward weighing whether poly overrides the existing relationship.

Yes, even if you're gay and frustrated, there is no reason you can't tell your partner "It's not you, it's your plumbing, and I just don't feel for you what you want me to feel." I respected someone who failed completely on that count. He's still my friend, but I've gone through hell reconciling what he did with my own pain from years ago.

And if I found out a lover of mine was using me to cause hir partner pain? Gone. That's my dealbreaker. I am nobody's dirty little secret. I deserve to be counted. I deserve legitimacy. No sex, no love, is worth the betrayed party's pain. Period.
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:12 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Though my family did not come apart at the seams, I still wonder whenever my father ventures out with someone not my mother, and so does she. Something fundamental between us got broken when I was twelve. I think it's called "trust".
Lovefrom,

This was an important point.
Trust, once violated, is not easy to get back. But WOW when it does ! Dealing with THAT issue absolutely will force people to dig deep into their souls and behaviors and bring understanding that might have never been possible in any other way. It's like taking 12 years of psychology courses in 3 months !
We've experienced that awakening in our own relationship (although not around love/sex etc) and can only tell you that it truly did move our whole relationship to another level. Understanding that things we do that impact us both have to be 100% accessible - if not in advance - an minimum on request just emphasizes how closely we're connected.
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
Where do we find substantiation of the concept that WE are 'responsible' for the thoughts & actions of others
You're not. You're responsible for your own actions. And when you PARTICIPATE in a relationship that is a betrayal of another person's promises, trust, honesty, and openness, then you are equally a liar, a betrayer, and a cheater. Those are your actions and you *are* responsible for your thoughts and actions.

I'm sorry if that seems harsh to you, but it's how I feel.

The whole "he'd have cheated anyway, so it might as well be with me and that doesn't make me responsible" is a cop-out.

If you knew a man was going to kill someone and you provided him with a gun knowing that he would use it to kill with, aren't you responsible in some way? Or would you say "well, he'd have gotten a gun somewhere anyway, or he'd have used a knife - so I might as well have given him mine"?

I'm sorry, I don't see the "gray" area that you want everyone else to see here. I really don't. As I said, I've done it and I tried all those justifications to make myself feel better. But the truth is that this is pretty black and white, IMO.
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