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  #51  
Old 07-16-2010, 12:11 PM
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Wow! See what i miss when i don't check in daily. Interesting thread...some real stuff on the table here. Immaterial, Mono, Redpepper et al great posts. RP just checked that link! Great stuff! Will spur lots of conversation on my end. Thanks for POVs
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  #52  
Old 07-16-2010, 07:45 PM
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Wow, fascinating article.

The "new monogamy" sounds suspiciously similar to forms of polyamory. haha.

"Within the new notion of monogamy, each partner assumes that the other is, and will remain, the main attachment, but that outside attachments of one kind or another are allowed--as long as they don’t threaten the primary connection.

The key to these arrangements, and what makes them meaningful within the framework of emotional commitment, is that there can be no secrecy between partners about the arrangements."

The author touches on the sometimes vast gaps between *explicit* monogamous agreements and *implicit* ones. It's the unspoken plans and designs I have withheld from my monogamous SOs that have ended up sinking the (relation)ship every time. Especially because my unspoken plan was always to be involved with other people. Not a working arrangement!

Much of the dysfunctional drama of the pair bondings described in the article has that junior high school ring to it. "he said, she said, and then he said and you know what she said?" etc. Or my two favorites: "You never" and "You always." These dynamics seem to have nothing to do with monogamy at all, but rather just immaturity. It sometimes amazes me how emotionally stunted I am regarding relationships. I can so suddenly regress to being basically on the level of a 15 year old, very quickly. I think I am finally developing some resiliency and maturity, as I head toward 50.

The paragraphs where the therapist admits to her traditional relationship views are revealing. For example:

"couples have come into my office and it’s been hard for me to keep my jaw from dropping open as I listened to their stories. Sometimes I ask couples to recount how they manage their relationships, not so much out of voyeuristic curiosity about the details of their sex lives as out of a fascination with how they balance the multiple levels of commitment with their various partners. I often wonder aloud to client couples, “How do you keep it all straight?” Sometimes they’ll indulge me. For instance, they’ll explain that on those nights that they have outside partners, they’ll agree that one will stay home with the kids, while the other meets the lover. Or they’ll take turns having that lover at home for the night. Or sometimes they each have a lover at home on the same night, waking up in the morning to all have breakfast together. Sometimes they might have a boyfriend or girlfriend or another couple come home to bed with them. They come to therapy, not to get permission to do what they’re doing, but to get their communication clear. The relationships that are working smoothly don’t come into my office and I can only assume that they have found a way to balance the transparency and communication necessary to keep it all straight."

Can you imagine going to therapy to *get permission* to do what you're doing? Talk about being juvenile. Anyway, this therapist needs to visit here and read up on poly, I'd say. She isn't really dealing with something that ought to be called "new monogamy," but just polyamory and good old, ancient, non-monogamy, which have been around for aeons.

And then poor Tammy (the therapist who wrote the article) lets her true colors show:

"Monogamy is a conscious choice made by human beings, and perhaps the best choice for our species. A long-term, connected, monogamous relationship makes for better parenting and encourages emotional creativity among humans: to get along with someone for many years, you have to learn certain relational skills, including self-control, psychological acuity, patience, conscious empathy, and simple kindness. If monogamy is not natural to humans but a choice that we make and negotiate every day, then it becomes an opportunity to protect our most intimate bonds while continuing to grow as individuals."

Yadda, yadda, yadda. More of the myth. How sad. She stands at a real turning point. She is unable to make any sort of leap due to the blindness created by the dominant cultural paradigm. And she is on the front lines, trying to "help" couples! No wonder she clings to the word "monogamy" when so many of her clients are re-creating loving, caring, working relationships that are quite clearly *non-monogamous*.

Immaterial

PS- It turns out this therapist holds forth as a "relationship, love and sex expert" and has written a book called "Getting the Sex You Want." Unwittingly, I'd be willing to bet her work completely reinforces the cultural paradigm, further confusing and potentially harming polys.

Last edited by immaterial; 07-16-2010 at 07:49 PM. Reason: added PS
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  #53  
Old 07-16-2010, 07:58 PM
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"Monogamy is a conscious choice made by human beings, .
This article fails to recognize the monogamous "nature" of some individuals by describing it as a choice. I personnaly do not chose to love only one intimate partner. I simply do.
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  #54  
Old 07-16-2010, 08:05 PM
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Mono, my sense is she includes that sentiment because her values are that, even if one's impulses are non-monogamous or poly, one should still consciously choose monogamy. Because she clearly states she believes monogamy is "the better choice" for our species.

I posted a comment on her blog:

http://www.drtammynelson.com/blog/

It's not up yet because she has comment moderation.

She seems to want to go to ridiculous lengths to rescue the word "monogamy," as her "new monogamy" is not monogamy at all.

For me personally, the pressure to "choose monogamy" has been very great. It is similar to the efforts of evangelical Christians to exhort gay people to "choose heterosexuality." I appreciate that you are wired for monogamy and it is not a choice.

Immaterial
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  #55  
Old 07-16-2010, 09:40 PM
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even if one's impulses are non-monogamous or poly, one should still consciously choose monogamy.
Denial of our natures had lead to many disastrous relationship and statistics. Hopefully we will eventually get to a place where we are free and un-judged in choosing to follow who we really are...regardless of what that is as long as we do not cause harm to anyone else that is.
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  #56  
Old 07-17-2010, 03:53 AM
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I have in essence been fighting a battle on two fronts: The poly front where I have struggled to gain acceptance that people can actually be monogamous and that the majority of monogamous people are not possessive control freaks, and the Mono front where I have been trying to convince my mono friends that polyamory is not full of non-commital slutty women and weak men. If I chose to turn my back on one culture, which is partly defined by monogamy, then perhaps I could just turn away completely and not care. But because that is where a lot of people I care about reside I cannot do that. I can't live in a poly bubble.

Take care
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I have your back Mono. I have no problem telling people that no one can possibly really be mono to go shove it . I think a lot of it comes from not understanding (really) that someone can think and fundementally function differently from themselves. I think you have gained a lot of acceptance in our group.

-Derby
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  #57  
Old 07-17-2010, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by immaterial View Post


And then poor Tammy (the therapist who wrote the article) lets her true colors show:

"Monogamy is a conscious choice made by human beings, and perhaps the best choice for our species. A long-term, connected, monogamous relationship makes for better parenting and encourages emotional creativity among humans: to get along with someone for many years, you have to learn certain relational skills, including self-control, psychological acuity, patience, conscious empathy, and simple kindness. If monogamy is not natural to humans but a choice that we make and negotiate every day, then it becomes an opportunity to protect our most intimate bonds while continuing to grow as individuals."
My turn to say crap! How does monogamy encourage better parenting??? Having more adults in a child's life is a good thing. It gives the child a lot of different role models to learn about how to be a grown up from plus it allows more breaks for the parents so that they don't burn out and are better parents when they are interacting with their children. That's just my take though!
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  #58  
Old 07-17-2010, 10:32 AM
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I think having a longterm good relationship between the parents of the child (that hopefully lasts for life) is of course a good thing.
I also think having different people appearing and disappearing in a child's life is bad. That doesn't mean that what you do in private would have any effect of them at all.
I am really starting to believe that that long term relationship is more possible if we're not just hoping it will somehow work out, but really talking and being willing to explore other ways of making it work than the norm.

I think if you simply take the word monogamous out of that last quote though that it makes much more sense.

Quote:
A long-term, connected relationship makes for better parenting and encourages emotional creativity among humans: to get along with someone for many years, you have to learn certain relational skills, including self-control, psychological acuity, patience, conscious empathy, and simple kindness.

Last edited by Confused; 07-17-2010 at 02:00 PM.
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  #59  
Old 07-17-2010, 01:39 PM
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If you have people just coming in and out of a child's life that's not ideal. I was talking about an extended poly family where there are more than just the 2 biological parents to care for the children. Sorry I should have been more clear in my original statement!
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  #60  
Old 07-17-2010, 08:10 PM
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The finest human beings I personally know were raised by community parenting situations, not the traditional nuclear family. I have seen a very strong monogamous relationship with a wide network of additional "parents," similar to the extended family idea where grandparents, old siblings, uncles, aunts, friends and neighbors all share several children in a big web of unconditional love and mentoring. But there is no necessity for the monogamous pair bond at the middle of this web, in my experience. Children raised in a web like this are wonderfully wise, creative, resilient, loving, kind and seem to me to be less self-centered than some of their peers raised in a nuclear family. These two child rearing styles are not pertinent to monogamy versus poly.

Another red flag for me in Tammy's formula is her "crap" about emotional creativity. I think this is also irrelevant to mono versus poly. I think one either learns these skills as one has more relationship experience or one doesn't. Clearly, a rich monogamous adventure and a rich polyamorous or non-monogamous adventure could both offer awesome learning opportunities. Also, I know several older monogamous couples, including my own parents, who barely tolerate each other and have lived in comfortable, mutual contempt for many years. This is sad. Not an essential part of monogamy by any means, but clearly monogamy is not some sort of golden guarantee that people will learn relationship creativity.

Immaterial

PS- Dr. Nelson and I are in email correspondence, and I've invited her to visit this forum. It should be an interesting conversation. It would be cool if she would post here but I doubt she will.

Last edited by immaterial; 07-17-2010 at 10:34 PM.
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