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  #11  
Old 11-19-2009, 08:23 PM
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Default Sharing our story

This was previously posted on our local group and I do have everyones permission to share it here. Constlady is on the board and may add a bit more - or not since her orginal thoughts are here as well.

We just passed a mile marker in celebration of a one year anniversary for my partner and his girlfriend(Constlady). As we progressed through each relationship and it seemed fitting ya know like folks getting engaged yada yada we have exchanged rings, pleasantries and usually a mini vaca..

When Martin and I were solid we exchanged rings and then the solidification between the three of us(R, M & myself) became obvious and we selected a style that represented US. The guys have two bands intertwined and I have three.

So move forward to adding Constlady, celebration of what seems like a forever bond and forward movement of our relationships...so gifts are always expected at celebrations...RIGHT...and great minds thinking alike..we did RINGS again. Constlady was the mind behind the rings this time, as I mentioned they all have 'meaning' and these ones that we all wear do as well. In her words (with her permission) she’ll explain at the end as I did not want to blunder through the exact thought.

So what do you DO when you exchange rings, have a weddings or get engagement OH YA have a Ceremony.

They somehow think I am the creative one and asked me to come up with something. So I put my thinking cap on, since I had only mere hours and came up with a wonderful plan, texted it over with Constlady and she was in full agreement. Unfortunately it took more effort then the few hours we had between work schedules, family obligation and life in general.

So we spread it out a little bit before Constlady and Richard took off for their little mini-vaca we exchanged the rings and I gave everyone an assignment to find small things in nature that represent or have meaning in our lives/relationships.

Martin & I hauled children off to the Salvation Army, as we were the designated childcare providers for the weekend, to find an appropriate book to destroy. I found one with a title only on the spine, an older look to it and thick. I hollowed the book, like you see in the movies to hide things and gave it our own title ‘Life’s Guidelines to Relationships & Love’ By: Society Rules.

Our ceremony was impromptu on Constlady & Richards return, adding to the book Nuts, Seeds, Eggshells, Mum Flowers, silk flowers, evergreen needles, a rock, stones, a remembrance from the recent trip oh ya did I mention NUTS. We closed the book, I recited the title and reminded everyone that the items we added to the story and that the EMPTY book represented society standards that we found empty and that we filled the book with our own rules and guidelines via the symbols we each put into the ‘book’. Then to their surprise I tossed the contents of the book into the air, this to me represented our connections to going with the flow and allowing things to fall as they will.

In the words of Constlady ~
She IS the creative one, don't let her fool ya

When we initially talked about the book idea, filling it with flower petals was the first thing to come to mind, but we soon realized that relationships ain't all rose petals, sometimes there are thorns too. So with that in mind, the symbolism of the various items (ok, the nuts in particular!) included growth and strength and rough patches and fragility and shared memories and....you get the picture.

As for the rings - we actually had them custom made based loosely on a style I found that had been discontinued in mass production. In the center two copper wires are twined together, to represent the intertwining of each individual relation. The braid rests on and is protected on 3 sides by a titanium band, to represent the foundation and protection that being a part of this family provides for each dyad in it. Titanium is pretty strong stuff while copper is much more maleable.

Martin – who is very much our mono in the relationship put the event into perspective with this wrap up.
It was the perfect end to an awesome weekend.
i liked the idea of the ceremony Rosevett came up with. i'm not overly dramatic (well, maybe sometimes) but it was enjoyable figuring out significance and gathering each object we would use to symbolize our (the four of us) relationship...wonder what the expression on my face was when Rosevett threw the book's contents into the air. but, she always does seem to do the unexpected...

and as much as the ceremony was heartfelt and sincere, it is still just a symbol of something real that has been happening for the four of us for more than a year now.
to me, the real proof that our relationship works is the fact that Rosevett and i watched Constlady's four grandchildren while Constlady and richard were able to enjoy their anniversary celebration weekend. did Rosevett mention adventures in babysitting?
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  #12  
Old 04-20-2010, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
what is it that worries you?
I'm worried about disapointing and hurting you through my inability to understand things.

This came up last night after discussing my inability to understand that not obtaining an official divorce from my ex after two years was holding me back from committing to Redpepper.

Ultimately I continue to have a hard time comprehending a ceremony recognizing an intimately open relationship. Traditional monogamous marriages are simple in the core of the vows. I am giving myself to you; you are giving yourself to me. It's not about possession, but about willingly offering yourself to someone with intimate physical exclusivity as one of the critically understood and accepted gifts to exchange.

So when I see people having hand fasting ceremonies or marriages with the idea of being open to more partners I can't understand the true nature of the message they are sending to those in attendance or the weight of the words they speak. I essentially see the ceremony as non binding and can't seam to get over my sense that there is no great proclamation being said that adds to the simple fact that I am already committed and to her and her family regardless of our dynamic.
It actually makes more sense to me to have a ceremony recognizing our commitment as a family as opposed to a commitment as couple.

We have friends who are renewing their vows and have invited us to the ceremony this summer. I'm even having problems with that because their relationship is open and again I don't grasp what they are saying to each other and us. I already know they love each other.

Obviously a lot of this struggle is due to traditional conditioning and less related to the fact that I am monogamously wired. I see partner unions as very sacred but I also see them as very traditional which undoubtedly is confusing my view of alternate arrangements.

I'm not looking for another traditional marriage but I am a natural coupler in that, if I fall in love, I give myself to that person. I feel as though I have already given myself to Redpepper..mind, body and soul. If we were both single and mono, I have no doubt that I would have proposed to Redpepper months ago.

I also feel that as far as monogamous marriage partners go, my ex wife was the one I was supposed to share that with. That belongs to her. That does not make my commitment to Redpepper less, it makes it completely unique and separate from that other world.

Because I felt I had disappointed Redpepper during our conversation last night, this affected my sense of being worthy of her affection. I actually felt undeserving to see her naked this morning before we left my place...let's hope I never really screw up bad.

I just want her to be happy and know that I am committed to her.
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:37 PM
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Oh Dear.

FIRST of all Mon-

If you weren't worthy-you wouldn't be together. You are well aware that this thought process is a self-inflicted lie. It's not easy to fight them, but you are a strong man, you can-so please do!

SECOND- while I am sure there are times that you do disappoint RP (I know that the guys disappoint me at times) the truth is that we ALL do that at times, we simply aren't able to avoid it completely. That's part of learning, growing, bettering ourselves and our relationships.

Now to your topic-

We've talked on this before. I THINK I do get what you are saying (God knows I've been wrong so no guarantees). Mostly what I hear is that you simply don't understand what it means to do the step.

I read your post here today-and my heart did a little flip and I felt like I HAD to write. Please bare with me;

17 years ago GG fell in love with me.
15 years ago I took his virginity.

I knew I loved him too.

At first-he was too young, immature and inexperienced in adult responsibilities for me to consider dating. But that changed. What didn't change was his willingness to do the following:

1.ASK me to be his g/f or wife or whatever.
2. ACKNOWLEDGE our relationship and love for one another.

I don't think we're (as a family) anywhere ready for a commitment ceremony-but someday that would mean a lot to me.

Why isn't that I doubt either men's love for me or commitment to me, not at all.

It's more of a special memory to associate with that commitment.

Like the collaring ceremony Mon-it's certainly not "traditional" like a wedding. You keep comparing the commitment ceremony to a wedding.
But really I think it would make more sense to compare it to a collaring ceremony.
There are similarities between all 3, but two are NOT traditional in nature-and one very much is.
Do you know what I mean?

Anyway-the collaring ceremony for Maca and I, it's not about MAKING our commitment. We've already done that. It's not really about ACKNOWLEDGING our commitment-obviously if you, RP, Midnightsun, GG etc know about it, then it's been acknowledged.
It's more about taking action to show each other in a physical way the significance of our commitment.

Especially in a world that takes marriage for granted, which seems one of the most "ultimate" commitments available, we don't want each other to feel as though this commitment is in ANY WAY "minor".

I personally would prefer to have a family commitment ceremony where each of the couples (not SEXUAL couples, just couples) promised to one each other and the family as a whole their commitments.

Have you talked about the options?
Even in weddings things like that are done you know?

Maca and I exchanged vows with one another AND with each others children during our wedding ceremony. It was a FULL formal church ceremony and we exchanged rings with the kids and the whole works....
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:47 PM
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ok, one more-I was talking to GG (VERY briefly) as this is "our time" and he was curious as to what triggered me jumping into the board this morning.

I gave him an (admittedly) VERY truncated explanation.
He smiled in that "wow I f'd up, funny it's coming around" look and said, "because she wants it and you love her".

Now-I don't agree with that NECESSARILY-
BUT-I guess the question REALLY that I have-after hearing him say it is this Mono,

Do you have something AGAINST it?
If so-what? (if it's not too personal to share)

Because I think that if you love someone and they feel a need for something that you can give without personally damaging yourself, it's worth giving it to them even if it's not personally meaningful to you IN AND OF ITSELF; because THEY are meaningful to you and what they want/need is meaningful to you.

BUT it's IMPERATIVE that it not be something that would be personally damaging to you....

Ok-food for thought. This topic REALLY interests me, not only because it's you guys, but because it really relates to us as well.

The key reason I never dated GG before-is because he didn't ask. I really needed/wanted a man to want/need me enough to step up and ask for my hand.

Also-it's something that someday I really want to do, but I believe that it's important for me to consider the details VERY carefully about what I want/need because it's also important to me that any request I make doesn't leave Maca feeling like my commitment with his is insignificant-because it's SO NOT insignificant to me-AT ALL.
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:48 PM
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I didn't realize the ceremonies were for anyone but the people performing the union. The people are there to witness it but the ceremony is for those involved.

My marriage was for my wife and I. If I was actually concerned with what the people in the crowd considered I likely wouldn't have done it.

Take that with a grain of salt. I am agnostic and really don't do anything to appease my spiritual side. The wedding was a formal commitment to my wife, but we also worded it so that is applied to OUR relationship (there was no commitment of fidelity for example)
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Old 04-20-2010, 07:38 PM
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I'd need more time to process the responses here but in a nut shell; I need to have confidence and genuine understanding of what meaning/message a ceremony would have. What would it achieve beyond the words I have said? I had a natural sense of what that meant in a traditional union, it was just an awareness.

This is not something I would do just for her..this has to come from my heart. I won't let something like this be a mere act on my behalf as that would dis-honor her. The words I say to her everyday are full of truth and confidence..I need to have the same truth and confidence in any ceremony or declaration of that.


It comes right down to a very basic fundamental belief (conditioning alert) that marraiges are meant to be between two people who are monogamous and commitment means sexual exclusivity. That is not what I want or expect in my relationship with Redpepper...so I will continue my journey of just loving her for now and building our family and moving into together when the opportunity is there.

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Last edited by MonoVCPHG; 04-20-2010 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 04-20-2010, 08:36 PM
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I thought, after reading this thread, that this would be a good place for our example. I identify as Athiest type 2. I don't really care whether there is a god or not, but I don't go out of my way to offend any deity either. I don't consider this agnostic as agnostic implies that you wonder about it and it still effects your life. To me, it doesn't. I used to say, "if there is a god, so be it. If there isn't, so be it. Doesn't effect me one way or the other."

So when Cajun and I got married, we knew that we could not and would not have or use traditional wedding vows. In fact, taking from different sources I found online, I wrote out 90% of our ceremony giving our pastor friend the other 10% with the knowledge that we don't want a lot of "god talk". We were vowing to each other, not to any deity. We also did not like the implications of ownership. So this is what we said...at least the vows anyway.

I, "Cajun"
take you, "Vandalin"
to be no other than yourself
loving what I know of you
trusting what I do not yet know
with respect for your integrity
and faith in your love for me
through all our years
and in all that life may bring us.

Followed by the "pronouncement"
As "Cajun" and "Vandalin" have grown in knowledge and love of one another, and because they have agreed in their desire to go forward in life together, seeking an ever richer, deepening relationship, and because they have pledged to meet sorrow and joy as one family, we rejoice to recognize them as husband and wife.

Of course "husband and wife" can be replace with "as such" or other familial terms.

I imagine that if we were to ever find a third and form the kind of bond where we would want an "official" commitment ceremony, we would use a very similar wording but expand it to include all of our new family. Sorry if I got a little rambley...our anniversary is this week and I'm feeling just a little nostalgic I guess.
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Old 04-20-2010, 10:12 PM
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That's beautiful Vandalin! thank you for sharing that.

Thanks for all the sharing so far.

Just so you know, we aren't planning any kind of ceremony but this comes up over and over again when we talk about Mono's wife. It came up first of all about a year ago when he told me that if I were single he would ask me to marry him.... I was half elated and ready to say yes and half feeling disrespected and not valued enough....

I guess it is high time to air it out as we just seem to go around in circles.

It starts with my wondering when Mono plans to get a divorce. I don't believe that people fully heal from the break up of marriages until they are officially divorced. I feel uncomfortable with the fact that it hasn't been brought up between him and his wife and to me she will always be his wife until there are signatures on the divorce papers. I struggle with that bond and see it as a continued commitment beyond health care benefits and a child support payment.

If he were to die she would be the first person they call, she would be the one who has to deal with his estate, she would be the one who would be seen as his primary, she would be the one.... full stop, I can't explain it...

I would be (and am to most people in his life) the one who is the new fling, the unimportant girlfriend, the one that nursed his heart in the wake of their break up. If that is how he feels about me then fine, I just want to know. I want to know what my position is. To me, as long as he is still married then I am not a vital and valid part of his life. I am just what all his friends and family see me as... I am just the poly girlfriend that he gets to drag along until he is ready to find a mono woman to marry.... then it will be time to divorce, because that is a good enough reason to them and to Mono (in my eyes).

Part of the problem is that she doesn't talk to him. We had some head way last month when I went out to get his stuff from his house; excuse me, her house as he signed everything over to her... and I met her. We shared a strained moment but it felt good to finally meet her and we went away feeling like he might be able to talk freely about his emotions with her as a result... especially about his estranged daughter who has not spoken to him since he left.

Mono sent a heart felt email afterwards asking if it was okay to tell her how he feels and asking her how she feels and got no response. It went from her sending a few lines every now and then of small talk when prompted by Mono, to nothing.

Okay, so, I get this was the woman he loved, I get that she has been hurt, I get that they had their own way of dealing with things, I get that he feels responsible for the ending of their relationship, I get that he still feels guilty, but it's been 18 months now. I worry that this is going to become entrenched behavior. With no end in sight. When will there be a push to move on from it all???? when?! I have seen nothing in the future and have seen little so far.

So last night I had a new understanding of this all. It turns out that when Mono's daughter turns 19 his support of her will be over financially (legally). They gain some benefit in staying married until then. Will that be the time to divorce? two years from now?

I feel better about the possibility of an end date. At least now I understand the wait a bit better. I can be patient with all that until then....

I know what some might think. "you are already married, what do you need to be married again for and to another additional person?!" To that I have no answer other than it feels right... I haven't talked to Nerdist about any of this, but to me, if someone is going to be, and already is a part of my family in such a huge way as Mono is then I have a need to celebrate that and formally commit to them in every way. For whatever reason Mono sees that as marriage in a traditional Catholic way, as he has been raised. We are not virgins. There is no way that would be so anyway...

I can wait... I can wait until forever, but at some point without that kind of public commitment of my intentions I know about myself enough that I will become complacent. My marriage to Nerdist has kept me going through tough times together. It has been a symbol to me and to those who came to the ceremony that we are committed until such time as we see no mutual path together of any kind. It was our own ceremony for us, not for those who were there, they witnessed what we had created together and what we promised to up hold in the future.

When I got married it was in a camp ground by the ocean. We had signed official documents a few months earlier and under the guise of the law had been married already. For us the ceremony was about recognizing our link to everything in nature and the universe. No legal document could recognize our love. We are two souls that have found each other and are part of everything that is love in the universe. Everything that binds us together. We were already non-monogamous, we met that way. We included that in what we said and all the other idiosyncrasies that made us unique.. there was no reason to advertise it or make it known... we just did our thing and those who came were there to support us for who we are because they loved us... If they didn't agree then they didn't come or if we thought they would come and be disruptive to the purpose we didn't invite them.

Part of this is that Mono (and correct me if I am wrong my love) doesn't think that his family will approve. He also thinks that this is in some way taking away from the marriage he had with his wife. He is so very mono after all. One cannot have more than one ceremony in a life time or it will take away from the other. There has been no thought that this is different... one can never have that first marriage again. It's just not possible when we know so much about what marriage is really about through living it. Every second marriage is different if you ask me. mono or not.

Really this is all mute at the moment as it isn't going to happen as far as I am concerned until he gets a divorce. He talks about a private ceremony in the woods with just him and I, Nerdist and my boy, but that isn't going to happen until I can see that he is ready, willing and understands what he is doing and what it means to me. I won't even engage in the topic until he is divorced because to me marriage
9in terms of commitment) is sacred and it really would take away from what they had if it were any other way....

end of story... off to other things.
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Old 04-20-2010, 10:42 PM
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Beautiful post Lilo, thank you for taking the time to put it so clearly on here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post

Part of this is that Mono (and correct me if I am wrong my love) doesn't think that his family will approve. He also thinks that this is in some way taking away from the marriage he had with his wife. He is so very mono after all. One cannot have more than one ceremony in a life time or it will take away from the other. .
This is not about approval, but understanding. I cannot expect my family/friends to understand something that I need more time to understand myself. I need to come to my own understanding of what we would be saying to those around us. I need to feel the value for myself in order to want to share that message. I can't form a solid picture of what non-monogamous ceremonial commitment means. No matter how many times I hear it explained it always comes down to the same thing for me..... I don't understand it. That is where I am experiencing a block. Commitment in a marraige sense comes with a very clear definition to me...not a higher purpose or a greater commitment, but a specific condition of exclusivity. I need to redefine what my understaning of a marraige could be about.

Our union will not take anything away from the meaning of my previous relationship. We have a much different type of connection, a different dynamic in many ways....it is unique and beautiful and will be celebrated as such when the time is right
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Old 04-20-2010, 10:47 PM
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Mon-
shouldn't all people who make ANY commitment be fully certain of what they are commiting to?
I think that is a good thing. I just happen to also think that it might help if you considered what a commitment is.

I think you are caught in what a "marriage" is. A marriage IS a TYPE of commitment, but commitment isn't necessarily a marriage.

You know?

The pastor has been preaching on covenants the last month or so. Same basic concept-covenant and commitment are closely related.

He pointed out that (bear with me all you who aren't christian-it's only an example) the examples in the Bible of commitment between Jesus and the church, which are also equated to what a marriage should be, are also representative of what ALL of our relationships should be like.
That we should commit to love all people "as christ loves the church" not JUST our spouses....

So I wonder if maybe you aren't seeing the forest for the trees to a small degree?

(I do however find it VERY interesting, thought provoking and helpful to hear you talk about it)
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