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Old 02-09-2011, 01:13 AM
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SNeacail SNeacail is offline
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Default Plowing on ahead or slowing down ...

I have seen alot of discussion lately on either forging ahead vs keeping pace with the slowest partner. I hear people struggling with moving too fast and in turn stall all progress. I also hear people struggling with moving too slow and wanting to plow ahead and let the other person catch up later.

When I hear about moving forward and waiting for others to catch up, I immediately think of an incident my husband and son ran into while on a backpacking trip.

A Boy Scout troop decided that a bunch of their first year scouts needed to go on a 20 mile hike. They started this hike after breakfast and had each boy pack a lunch, with the expectation that they would be done before dark and would eat once they got on the road home. By late afternoon, the group was still 4 miles from the end of the trail, it was getting cold and the sun was setting. The leader realized that he needed to get these boys off the trail fast, he told the other adults that he would take some of the boys and then return with flashlights. The slower boys and a few adults were to keep walking toward the end of the trail.

Well, the trail was unfamiliar and they thought they got lost, so they turned around. It was now about 8 or 9pm and full dark. The poor boys started to cry and scream out to see if anyone would hear them. My son and his troop were less than a mile away and they heard the boys crying and they went looking for them.

They found these boys out of water, out of food, no flashlights, no warm clothes and they were all in shorts. The tempature had droped into the high 50's. Our troop brought them back to their campsite, vacated a tent for them to sleep in and in the morning shared their breakfast with them (they were too tired to eat the night before). They then walked these boys and the adults to the end of the trail to saftey.

These boys should never have been on this hike in the first place. They were ill prepared, they did not have their 10 essentials (those in scouts know this is a big deal) and the hike was above their physical ability to complete in the time allowed. The leader forged ahead at a pace that the slower group, no matter how hard they pushed themselves, just couldn't keep up. In turn he put these boys in an extremely dangerous situation.

Standing still can be just as dangerous as leaving people behind, but is the goal appropriate for the situation? If the goal is changed, altered or scaled back, is the slowest person now capable/willing to move forward and make the effort?


I attempted to post this on the facebook site, but ran into some user originated technical difficulties, so I thought I would post it here also and add a few thoughts.
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Old 02-09-2011, 01:23 AM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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The problem in using your example is this: in the scenario described, the slower scouts were at least attempting to complete the hike. The slowest person in a poly tangle is not always attempting to complete the hike--sometimes they're simply engaging in a bit of denial and hoping the whole thing will go away.

The trick lies in figuring out if they're attempting to work through the process or simply dragging ass while hoping it all goes away.
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:10 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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I think it's very important to make the goal reasonable for all participants.
BUT-as Autumn noted, the participants have to be reasonably motivated to actually do the "training" required for the trip.

Example:

My 17 year old sister is signed up to do a week long trek through Denali State Park (Park where Mt. McKinley is located). There is 4 months of classwork and training to do before the hike.

Each student is expected to do this classwork and training on their own before the hike. The coordinators of the hike make the information available to the student, but they can't enforce the learning.

SO-if the student shows up unprepared, where's the breakdown?

In our relationships, if we have allowed significant time, found the resources to read, study and meet other poly-people, followed agreed upon "temporary boundaries, etc.....
at what point is the "slower person" held accountable for not choosing to make use of these things in order to work on their own insecurities, communication failures etc.... ?
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:33 AM
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I agree, in this case, the leader was completely at fault for not making sure his boys were prepared both with proper gear and physically. The 20 mile goal was unrealistic and unreasonable for many of the boys, it was their first hike.

This is just where my head goes when I hear of people plowing ahead and leaving others to catch up later, it scares me. This says to me that MAYBE the goal is not reasonable at that point in time. Not saying that the one diggin in their heals refusing to move forward isn't just been a 3 year old thowing a temper tantrum on the floor.
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:47 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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I wonder, though...

How often is this the problem: Someone signs up for a 2 mile walk. They show up with a bottle of water and pair of comfortable walking shoes, well-prepared for a casual stroll in the park. Then they're blind-folded, thrown in the back of a van, hauled out to Denali State Park, given some books on how to collect rain water and which mushrooms are safe to eat, and then the other hikers start down the trail.

They're told that they don't have to go on the hike, but the van's going to meet everyone at the end of the trail, so if they want to get home, they better start walking.

So they try to keep up, but it's really hard to learn about edible mushrooms and safe water collecting when you're unprepared in the forest, starving and thirsty, and the rest of your group is 3 miles ahead with CamelBaks and energy bars.

Most often, when it's just one person is struggling, it's because they never really signed up for this whole poly thing in the first place.

So quite honestly, whether your mono partner is dragging their heals or not, remember that you're the one who changed the sport midway through the game. You owe it to your relationship and partner to be as patient as they require.

If you believe that they are showing no signs of effort, then it's because they don't want to play a different sport. In that case, you need to suck it up and end the relationship so you can go do your poly thing, or else you need to give up the poly thing.

But stop complaining that your mono partner isn't making enough effort to be poly. Because they're not poly, you are.

If poly is something you need in your life more than you need that person, then you and that person are not compatible to be in a relationship.
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Last edited by SchrodingersCat; 02-09-2011 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:27 AM
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SchrodingersCat, you speak wisdom.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:42 AM
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@ SchrodingersCat- WORD. Thanks for sayin' that.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNeacail View Post
I agree, in this case, the leader was completely at fault for not making sure his boys were prepared both with proper gear and physically. The 20 mile goal was unrealistic and unreasonable for many of the boys, it was their first hike.

This is just where my head goes when I hear of people plowing ahead and leaving others to catch up later, it scares me. This says to me that MAYBE the goal is not reasonable at that point in time. Not saying that the one diggin in their heals refusing to move forward isn't just been a 3 year old thowing a temper tantrum on the floor.
So ultimately... some poly partners misgauge the ability of their mono partner to adapt. Some fail to listen, some fail to understand. Some are just too selfish. (i.e. "you're holding me back, because I want what I want...") There are other reasons too...

We've focused on the slower people... maybe a bit of examination of the leader is needed.

The leader failed to listen, failed to accurately assess the situation, and failed to re-evaluate goals... when it was obvious that the goals were too high. Why is the push so important? How long has this been discussed? Are they willing to abandon their former partner.. if that partner can't keep up?

How much is that partner worth?

I think some polys have emotionally worked through poly before they mention it to their partner... then the partner is expected to just accept it (and sometimes they do, initially). However, time takes time...
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Old 02-09-2011, 12:17 PM
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I must agree with Schrodingerscat.....again.


My wife and I have been in this situation. I sometimes feel that she is not moving forward, or at times, even trying to move forward. Then, when it all breaks down and disolves, she tells me that she was just on the edge of the precipice. I roll my eyes, and try to forget the whole previous relationship as it is painful, sometimes, to remember. The problem, is that in trying to forget, I also forget my mistakes. So.....Thank you for re-opening my eyes.
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:20 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
They're told that they don't have to go on the hike, but the van's going to meet everyone at the end of the trail, so if they want to get home, they better start walking.
That's not the case, though. To be accurate, it's a situation where everybody arrives at the beginning of the trail and then somebody says "I want to hike the 20-mile route, instead--do you want to come with me?"

Then the others get to decide if they want to take the other route or continue on without their companions on the 2-mile trail.

Quote:
If poly is something you need in your life more than you need that person, then you and that person are not compatible to be in a relationship.
And if monogamy is something you need in your life more than you need that person then the two of you are not compatible.

Seriously, it is a matter of guaging compatibility. *Nobody* is forced to do poly nor forced to remain in a relationship as a mono with a poly partner.

It's a tough decision to make, certainly. Neither position (poly or mono) is any more noble than the other, though.
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When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.

While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.
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