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  #61  
Old 04-20-2017, 08:57 PM
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Yes, I'd like to hear your thoughts later (and of anyone else in a fidelity agreement)

Related questions:

How would it play out if one member decided they did indeed want to pursue another relationship?

Would that process/discussion go any differently if you didn't have the agreement?

If the agreement isn't necessary to ensure fidelity (you all believe you would be that way naturally) does the agreement offer any other benefits you couldn't get without it? What are you getting from it that I don't see?
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  #62  
Old 04-20-2017, 09:31 PM
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Well yes, ahem. As it turns out, our fidelity agreement has some details and I think one of the reasons we have the agreement is so that we all know what details to expect.

So we have a three-person unit (a V), and we have formally agreed not to have sex outside of that unit. This means (we hope) that if one of us got swept up in a relationship with a new heartthrob, sex with that heartthrob wouldn't just happen, we are committed to exercising enough self-control to abide by our agreement.

But we also agree that our three-person unit could morph into a four-person unit. If it did, the new person would no longer be off-limits sexually. But there are more restrictions about how that would all come about. Seeing the new person in the first place couldn't happen in secret, on the contrary the progress of the new relationship would have to be shared with the rest of the V. The new person would have to make themselves available to meet the rest of the V rather soon. Before the new person could become part of our poly unit, the three of us would have to like the new person a lot, and the new person would have to like all three of us a lot. And (before becoming our "fourth person"), the new person would have to agree to the rules I've described in this post.

Sounds pretty stringent, I know. Just keep in mind that expanding our unit (with a fourth person) isn't high on our priority list. None of us are dating right now, and none of us are looking. And it seems unlikely that that state of affairs will change. It could change, hypothetically, but most likely, a three-person unit is what we'll continue to be, "til death do us part." Because we're not interested in seeking a fourth person, we don't mind the stringent agreements. And I think one of the reasons we have the agreements (formally) is so we have a solid amount of organization around how we'll do things. We could of course decide to change our agreements, but so far it doesn't look like we're interested in doing that either.

We could in theory become a five-person unit, a six-person unit, or what have you, but the basic rules/principles would remain the same. Each new person would have to jump through the same series of hoops. To us, I guess, our V is like a rather exclusive club. But I don't want to be misunderstood, we aren't snooty about it and don't look down on RA or poly in general. We just do what we do because it works for us. Though I guess I can see how it sounds snooty.

Anyway I'm an open book; if you have further questions just ask away.
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  #63  
Old 04-21-2017, 03:22 AM
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"I think newer poly people (who tend to be further on the left of the spectrum) benefit enormously from the perspectives of more experienced poly people (who tend to be further to the right on the spectrum)."

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post


I guess I'll probably outgrow polyfidelity once I become more experienced. Not sure long that'll take, I've been polyfidelitous for a little over twelve years so far. Maybe I'm a slow learner? [/sarcasm]
The author specifically said NEWER poly people--meaning those who haven't yet found what works for them. You've already found what works for you and have been doing it for 12 years. Of course you don't need to outgrow it!

The author has a valid point about poly newbies.
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  #64  
Old 04-21-2017, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Al99 View Post
Personally, I find the proposal to make a blanket statement that traditional monogamy is only one step removed from a master-slave model to be a simplistic, condescending judgmental stereotype, and insulting to all those monogamous couples who make the choice for monogamy and are together because of mutual love and respect. Control and jealousy are not necessarily implicit in monogamy. I personally know a number of couples in a healthy monogamous marriages where control and jealousy are not an issue on either side - fidelity is a mutual decision.

The rest of the spectrum - absent equating monogamy with the master/salve model - seems to make sense from my perspective.
The diagram is pretty stupid, I agree. The actual article/written post makes more sense--the author mentions that people on the RA end of the spectrum can be practicing monogamy--the issue is not how many partners you have, but how much autonomy each partner has.

I love the idea of a spectrum from control-based relationships to freedom-based relationships, but I would label it differently, with much less value judgment on the "control" side. While a control-based relationship might sound like slavery and oppression to me, that's only because my perspective is way out in RA-land.

Plenty of people thrive in rule-based, highly structured relationships. These relationships aren't necessarily oppressive or master/slave-like. Kevin's V has formal rules, but the three people in it are equal to each other in terms of making the agreements.

Some people thrive with formal structure and rules. For example, people who choose careers in the military. Other people need more autonomy and choose to freelance and be their own boss. Neither is inherently better. But someone who is trying to figure out what career to pursue would certainly benefit from hearing the perspectives of people all along the spectrum of structure / no structure, so they can figure out where they fit and what would work for them. Same with relationships, no?

A few years ago, I saw a lot of hostility toward a freedom-based approach to polyamory on forums. Now that RA has gained in popularity, I see (and probably engage in myself!) more hostility toward the rules-based approach. I think that's just the pendulum swinging.

I am immensely relieved, though, that I struggled through the hostility I experienced 6 years ago, the lack of perspectives relevant to me. Now I have 5+ years of practicing a happy & healthy RA-ish approach, an awesome autonomous partner of 5 years, and a lot more confidence in "the way I do things." It was a long journey, though.
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  #65  
Old 04-21-2017, 01:22 PM
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Thanks Kevin.

Being able to hear your arrangement and comparing it to mine helps me narrow down what exactly I'm uncomfortable with and why. I still have a hard time understanding why a person (especially a poly person) would want to restrict their partner, even if the restriction is easy to follow. Got a lot to think about over the weekend and might come back with more questions.
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  #66  
Old 04-21-2017, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
Sounds pretty stringent, I know. Just keep in mind that expanding our unit (with a fourth person) isn't high on our priority list.
Definitely sounds expansion prohibitive, but as you've described that's kind of the point.

I've always been curious about your situation and I enjoy when you share a bit of what's going on with your group.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
To us, I guess, our V is like a rather exclusive club. But I don't want to be misunderstood, we aren't snooty about it and don't look down on RA or poly in general. We just do what we do because it works for us. Though I guess I can see how it sounds snooty.
I don't know what would sound snooty about it, nor does it sound like you're taking some kind of stance against Poly or RA.

I'm WAY out on the independent/RA end of the spectrum, but I'm not sensitive about it. I don't feel the need to defend myself when people don't understand how I don't treasure traditional concepts like "commitment", "compromise", "fidelity", etc, they are just coming from a different world. I don't think poli-fi folk should feel the need to defend themselves when people like me don't get their interest in an exclusivity agreement (which, I totally don't get).

In a perfect world, we can discuss and really get in to the differences in how we do things, admit that there are advantages and disadvantages to any approach, and forgive one another for our perspective bias.
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  #67  
Old 04-21-2017, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtemisHunt View Post
Thanks Kevin.

Being able to hear your arrangement and comparing it to mine helps me narrow down what exactly I'm uncomfortable with and why. I still have a hard time understanding why a person (especially a poly person) would want to restrict their partner, even if the restriction is easy to follow. Got a lot to think about over the weekend and might come back with more questions.
But is it really a restriction if the other person is of like mind?
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  #68  
Old 04-21-2017, 05:40 PM
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What vinsanity0 said +1 (more on that below).

Re (from ArtemisHunt):
Quote:
"I still have a hard time understanding why a person would want to restrict their partner ..."
Well I don't think of it as "restricting their partner," that is, not in my case, where it's more like each of the three people restricts themselves. We ask each other to meet certain conditions, and each of us agrees to do so. There's no force involved, it's all voluntary.

Re (from Marcus):
Quote:
"Definitely sounds expansion prohibitive, but as you've described that's kind of the point."
Exactly.

Re:
Quote:
"I've always been curious about your situation and I enjoy when you share a bit of what's going on with your group."
Thanks.

Re:
Quote:
"I don't know what would sound snooty about it, nor does it sound like you're taking some kind of stance against Poly or RA."
Thanks; I certainly don't mean to take such a stance.
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Last edited by kdt26417; 04-21-2017 at 05:45 PM.
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  #69  
Old 04-21-2017, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinsanity0 View Post
But is it really a restriction if the other person is of like mind?
An association could tell me "If you ever watch Sharknado 3, I'm leaving. It's a hard line for me". Now, I have no interest in watching Sharknado 3, not that it's impossible that I ever would but the odds are strikingly low that this would be a conflict for me. Is it still a restriction?
One, good on them for knowing what they don't want in their life.

Two - Oh. Hell. No. Proposing a restriction about what I can and can't do with my life is a sign that someone has issues they need to deal with. It has nothing to do with me, it's their own stuff. I don't have any problem with people having stuff to deal with, the problem is even though it's their stuff, the restriction is on ME and MY behavior.
So when you say "of like mind" the only way that makes sense to me is in whether or not the person finds being restricted to be against their value system, not whether they are of like mind about what the restriction is. For happily monogamous or poly-fi people I have to presume that being restricted is not something that bugs them. For people like me, I find restriction to be a red flag that requires immediate attention (not from me, but from the person proposing the restriction).
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  #70  
Old 04-21-2017, 06:44 PM
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How about, "Why would a person even ask their partner to restrict themselves?" That makes for a harder question, for sure. Part of the answer, for my V, is that we want to feel free to fluid bond with each other. When you're not using a condom, you have to find some other way to practice safer sex. Unless you're willing to settle for less-safe sex obviously. I'm not a fan of condoms. So there's that. I trade off some of my freedom (and my partner's freedom) so that I don't have to use a condom.

Still, that's only one point, and perhaps not a strong point at that. Another (weaker?) point is that we limit ourselves and each other in order to minimize the amount of drama in our lives. We think it's hard to detect high levels of drama in individuals ahead of time, so we put a lot of controls on how a new relationship would develop. Controls on ourselves, and, voluntarily, controls on each other. Again trading off some of our freedom to get (what we believe is) more safety (more tranquility).

At best though, that's only two minor examples of trading off freedom to get a (perceived) benefit. I would certainly have to think about it to come up with more examples, much less better examples. Like Marcus said hopefully we're just discussing differences in how we all live our lives, without getting defensive or anything like that. I'll give it some more thought and might come up with more/better material later. All I can say for sure at this moment is that what my V does *feels* safer, and I don't miss the particular freedoms we sacrifice.

I don't know if this helps, but I think that Snowbunny (our female hinge) has some trust issues. She finds Brother-Husband (her legal husband and original partner) to be deficient in the self-control area. Maybe she finds me to be deficient as well. So we have rules to mitigate that problem. Snowbunny largely decides the rules, or largely has the final say after discussing it with us two guys. Keeping Snowbunny happy is something we want to do, so we don't mind conforming to some rules to help accomplish that end. We could push for Snowbunny to "get over it," but that doesn't seem to us to be worth the trouble. Another trade-off of freedom for some alternative convenience. It's easier to go along.

I suppose that's not what you'd call an argument in my favor, but I'd rather admit it than I would sweep it under the rug. The other points (in this post) are still true as well. And I'll keep thinking about it.
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