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  #11  
Old 04-08-2014, 03:48 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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You take care of the people in your life, and each of them need different things.

Blue needs insurance and you've been together a long time, know each other well, love each other deeply. It feels "right" to both of you to get married - so marry him!

Pink isn't ready for marriage, and yet worries about her place in your life if you marry Blue. Mostly, she needs reassurance.

To me, this looks like a time to do a little "relationship triage." Which one of your partners most needs you to make a choice right now? The way I see it, Blue's current needs (health insurance) are more urgent than Pink's (managing her insecurities and planning for a future, even though she's not ready). So take care of what needs attention first.

Personally, I think if you don't marry Blue in order to avoid upsetting Pink, you will be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. No one ever died from being upset. Keep talking and including her in your life as you have. Let your loving actions reassure her. Then everything else will fall into place.

You three can also look into forming an LLC or other type of partnership that will acknowledge her as a co-partner.
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Last edited by nycindie; 04-08-2014 at 03:51 AM.
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  #12  
Old 04-08-2014, 04:40 AM
stevie stevie is offline
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I guess what is different about marriage, and what I feel I am really not prepared for, is that historically for me taking a step forward in one relationship didn't have to mean anything for my other relationships. When I told Pink I loved her for the first time it didn't have to mean anything for me and Blue. And when Pink and I realized we wanted to live together, it didn't really mean anything for me and Blue - because they were already good friends, them discussing being roommates wasn't a big deal.

So, it feels like I should be able to take the marriage step between Blue and me without it meaning anything for Pink and me necessarily. It's hard to accept that in this case, it's different.

If this is 100% a marriage of convenience, for the sole purpose of obtaining health insurance benefits... what about Blue and Pink getting married?

I like the out of the box nature of this solution, but Pink's is employed by her family, so she'd end up having to explain why she was suddenly getting married when she was allegedly "single" just the other day! And of course, it's not 100% a marriage of convenience. Economics, etc. is the impetus for us considering marriage, but what makes that possible is the foundation of trust and love between Blue and myself. I do not think that Blue and Pink, even though they are friends, have that same level of trust and love.

There are also social conventions that go along with marriage that, while you can flout in some circumstances, might be difficult in others (work parties that allow only a single guest/spouse, for example, etc.)

We already run up against this problem, but seem to be handling it. For example, my thesis defense is tomorrow, and we are allowed/encouraged to have friends and family present. Of course, I can't invite Pink and Blue without having to come out as poly at school or pretending not to be dating one of them, so just Pink is coming along. Blue doesn't mind getting to skip the boring academic stuff for some reason? The way it seems to be working out is that Blue comes to my family stuff (my family has known him as my parter since long before I knew Pink) and Pink comes to my school/work stuff. Now that I think about it, I don't actually see why marrying Blue would force this arrangement to change.

I think if you don't marry Blue in order to avoid upsetting Pink, you will be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I think this expresses very well why I feel choosing just to never get married is not the solution. There's a lot of hard realities coming up against my ideologies in this situation...

"you can't have two completely equal partners if you're legally married to one of them."

This is looking more and more like the case. Polyamory is hard. :/
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  #13  
Old 04-08-2014, 05:12 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Holy crap. You're doing your thesis defence tomorrow, and you have energy to think about this stuff?! Kudos my friend.

And good luck on your defence!
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  #14  
Old 04-08-2014, 05:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevie View Post
This is looking more and more like the case. Polyamory is hard. :/
Relatioships are hard. Poly is only more hard because there are more relationships.

But... I think my point was basically that treating different people exactly the same isn't necessarily the same as equality. You can love two people equally and yet treat them different. Parents of special needs children do it all the time. Right now, Blue has an important need relating to basic survival: health coverage in a country that doesn't automatically provide it.

I guess y'all could also move to Canada... we have gay marriage AND public health care. Polygamy's still illegal, though.
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  #15  
Old 04-08-2014, 07:30 AM
Eponine Eponine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
But... I think my point was basically that treating different people exactly the same isn't necessarily the same as equality. You can love two people equally and yet treat them different. Parents of special needs children do it all the time.
I agree. When poly people talk about equality between partners, they often lump everything together: equal levels of love, equal considerations, equal amounts of time spent together, equal resources given to everyone...However, you can have some kinds of equality but not others, and marriage is more likely to affect some kinds of equality than others.

I believe you can still be non-hierarchical poly or relationship anarchist while being married to one of your partners. It depends on your mindset. My two non-primary SOs both know I got married primarily for the legal benefits and I don't put marriage on a pedestal. I may spend more time and share more resources with G, but emotionally all my three SOs are equal. G doesn't get to control what I can do with my other SOs just because he's my husband, and his needs aren't automatically prioritized over my other SOs'. A and L are both happy with this type of equality.

I remember reading another discussion here a while ago, about prioritizing based on needs vs. people. There's a big difference between "Blue's current need is more important so I'm taking care of his need first" and "Blue is my husband, so his needs always come first."
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Last edited by Eponine; 04-08-2014 at 07:35 AM.
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  #16  
Old 04-08-2014, 09:42 AM
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Personally I would not get married in your situation but encourage Blue to get another job and cover his own health insurance, but I am a hard case.

However, I think you actually would like to be married, sometimes people just DO, so get married but I don't think there is anyway at all to prevent Pink from being marginalised because, well that is exactly what you are doing. Marriage is inherently hierarchal, there is no way to prevent this, just value what time you have left until the point she leaves to find someone else.
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  #17  
Old 04-08-2014, 12:12 PM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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Marriage is a societal construct that imparts legal and economic benefits. Why? Because the government thinks marriage is good for society.

I was the Pink to an already married couple. We lasted until our hinge died (our hinge was the male - but it makes no difference). They did all they could to care for me legally - when we bought property all were on the deed, I was given assets in the wills (and visa-versa of course). But the hardest thing I had to deal with is that I would not be recognized in society. The couple never marginalized me, but if I allowed it, my own thoughts about how I fit into the society at large could.

I finally made the decision that I would just suck it up. Seemed ridiculous to give up a very loving relationship just because I didn't fit the societal norm. Now, I had it easier than Pink, because my parents knew and were fine with it. Also, my personality type (INTJ) is such that I don't much care what people think once I've made up my mind. Having others approval doesn't mean much to me.

So my point is that yes, Pink won't have the legal benefits you and Blue will have through marriage. (However, you stated she would probably be seeking those with a partner who will fit her parents' expectations.) Any marginalization will occur only if you and Blue start seeing yourselves differently or Pink allows it in her mind. It doesn't have to be that way, but psychology is a tricky thing.
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Last edited by bookbug; 04-08-2014 at 12:14 PM. Reason: Typos
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  #18  
Old 04-08-2014, 02:05 PM
stevie stevie is offline
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And good luck on your defence!

Thanks! Unfortunately, nothing in life happens on my preferred schedule just because I want it to! But, I am feeling very confident.

Relatioships are hard. Poly is only more hard because there are more relationships.

I used to feel this way, but this situation is kind of unique to polyamory, no? I guess the above could still apply.

I don't put marriage on a pedestal... ...There's a big difference between "Blue's current need is more important so I'm taking care of his need first" and "Blue is my husband, so his needs always come first."

Yeah I definitely do not have marriage on a pedestal. I said for years that I'd probably never get married for lots of reasons. Those reasons are just no longer an issue. And yeah, because of that, just cause we were married doesn't mean Blue's needs would always come first, or that he would gain some kind of veto power or any of the other trappings associated with most of the hierarchal poly arrangements I've seen. I suppose I can continue to emphasize this to Pink.

The "to each according to his needs" vs "pure equality" dichotomy has come up before. I'm blunt to the point of, to outside appearances, meanness to Blue because that's just how we talk to each other. Bluntness helps us communicate honestly. Pink and I are not like that. If I was that blunt with her, I'd probably make her cry. If I was more diplomatic with Blue, he'd think something was Very Wrong!

Personally I would not get married in your situation but encourage Blue to get another job and cover his own health insurance, but I am a hard case.

Maybe you are not from the US, or come from a privileged background, or have just been very smart and very lucky, but just FYI, low-end jobs in the US typically neither provide good health insurance nor pay enough for you to afford good health insurance. As of this year, Obamacare helps, but it doesn't totally bridge the gap for many. I suppose it also depends on your risk tolerance. A low-end plan with an out-of-pocket maximum of 7k/year means that in 48 hours or less, if they are the wrong hours, you can accumulate 14k of medical debt even in a single hospital visit. On $10/hr that debt might cripple someone for a decade or longer, especially if you are needing to take a second job, thus preventing any attempts through school or other professional development to move up on the ladder.

Of course, the reason he will need health insurance is he is wanting to enter a demanding school program that will not allow him to work enough hours to qualify for work health insurance anymore, or even really enough to pay all his bills, but will virtually guarantee a job that pays enough to end this problem forever in a field that he is passionate about. If I can help support him, to some degree financially and with health insurance, for 2 years, then maybe we can break out of this cycle. If you had the opportunity to do that for your partner, wouldn't you want to?

As a note, Pink does not need my help financially. She's got herself covered.

Marriage is inherently hierarchal, there is no way to prevent this, just value what time you have left until the point she leaves to find someone else.

Yes, because in polyamory, you have to leave one partner to be with someone else, right? Damn, I really am Doing It Wrong. >.<

Are you trolling or is there something going on with this comment that I'm not getting?
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  #19  
Old 04-08-2014, 02:06 PM
stevie stevie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bookbug View Post
So my point is that yes, Pink won't have the legal benefits you and Blue will have through marriage. (However, you stated she would probably be seeking those with a partner who will fit her parents' expectations.) Any marginalization will occur only if you and Blue start seeing yourselves differently or Pink allows it in her mind. It doesn't have to be that way, but psychology is a tricky thing.
Missed this one. Thank you for sharing your story. I think I will share it with Pink and hopefully it will be helpful.
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  #20  
Old 04-08-2014, 03:13 PM
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Natja Natja is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevie View Post

Maybe you are not from the US,

You're right, I am not.
Quote:
Yes, because in polyamory, you have to leave one partner to be with someone else, right? Damn, I really am Doing It Wrong. >.<

Are you trolling or is there something going on with this comment that I'm not getting?
Of course you don't...however, often those sort of situations cause resentment and resentment leads to a break up. Being realistic does not equal trolling.
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