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  #11  
Old 06-23-2011, 11:48 PM
serialmonogamist serialmonogamist is offline
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Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post
There was nothing obvious about the histories of these two people, either. I imagine you've met folks who are strictly monogamous and simply have no idea as to whether they are or not. Just because you can't conceive of it doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
I can conceive of it, but I want to understand it on a deeper level. I think I can safely assume that all human bodies work in the same basic ways. So if someone is not attractive to anyone besides their partner, the question is what do they do with the information about another person that is potentially appealing to them.
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  #12  
Old 06-25-2011, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
I think that we are taught at a very young age to go underground to get our needs met. We want a cookie from the cookie jar, so we sneak one. If parents don't teach children to communicate and ask for what they require; give them the language, then they will learn skills to steel what they need. Its a survival mechanism I think.
It was interesting to read this! I was a really good liar as a kid. I had a very controlling mother, and couldn't do much without lying. It was definitely a survival mechanism. What's interesting is that now that I'm an adult I no longer see any reason to lie. There is no reason to lie in an adult relationship where the other person doesn't (or shouldn't) have such a power on you. I feel that by lying I would actually give somebody power over me.
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Old 06-25-2011, 03:27 PM
TruckerPete TruckerPete is offline
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I feel that by lying I would actually give somebody power over me.
Oh wow. That rang true. Thank you for this! (Also had a controlling mother.)
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  #14  
Old 06-25-2011, 07:26 PM
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^You're welcome. I've thought about this a lot, it is also connected to why I react strongly against being in the closet about anything in my life.
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  #15  
Old 06-26-2011, 01:34 AM
serialmonogamist serialmonogamist is offline
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Originally Posted by rory View Post
It was interesting to read this! I was a really good liar as a kid. I had a very controlling mother, and couldn't do much without lying. It was definitely a survival mechanism. What's interesting is that now that I'm an adult I no longer see any reason to lie. There is no reason to lie in an adult relationship where the other person doesn't (or shouldn't) have such a power on you. I feel that by lying I would actually give somebody power over me.
That's such a good observation. It was hard for me to come to that realization about lying in my life. I assumed that all the power was in lying and getting away with it. There may be power in that but it's funny the way lying or hiding things causes you to have to tiptoe in someone else's shadow, isn't it? It's so liberating to stand up for your truth, isn't it?
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  #16  
Old 06-26-2011, 01:51 AM
Abstract Abstract is offline
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This is a great conversation : )

I find all of this so interesting to read.

I have a very similar conversation with my friends and my family quite frequently. I don't know anyone who has been in a long term mono relationship which I am defining as (10+ years) that hasn't cheated, or been cheated on. I am sure there are so many reasons why this happens. Most of the time I don't think that it's because the "cheater" is not in love with the other person. I personally just don't think mono is a realistic expectation, and when expectations are unrealistic someone is bound to disapoint. It's sad to me. I have seen a lot of things end based on this and have always wondered what really made it end, the sleeping with and or loving someone else, or the fact that there was dishonesty, could be both to I guess.

The weird thing in all this though is that I would define myself as mono, and define my partner as poly. Intellectually I understand her, I understand how she can love and be intimate with multiple partners, that to me intellectually seems more natural than mono. Her ability to love like that is actually one of the things that I love so much about her.

Except for me I just can't, it doesn't happen like that for me. I try and come up with reasons why, but there are no logical ones. I wasn't raised to believe that you can only be in love with one person at one time. I don't know if unconciously I turn off feelings or emotions. I have friends who I connect with emotionally, but I have no feelings of intamacy for. Maybe its genetic, maybe its conditioning, maybe it's just me, but despite all that intellect would tell me I am just mono : ) . Much like I am gay, I have tried to fight that, I have tried to pretend that wasn't how I was feeling, but at the end of the day it is what it is, and I am happy with it.
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  #17  
Old 06-26-2011, 02:51 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Originally Posted by serialmonogamist View Post
I can conceive of it, but I want to understand it on a deeper level. I think I can safely assume that all human bodies work in the same basic ways. So if someone is not attractive to anyone besides their partner, the question is what do they do with the information about another person that is potentially appealing to them.
I think there is more variety in people than you think. Some people are straight, some people are gay. Then, you might say, the two are still the same in that they're attracted to one sex and not the other. Oh, yes, but there is also bisexuality and pansexuality.

But all these people are attracted to something, right? Well, there is asexuality. But asexuals are still romantically attracted to people, right? Well, not aromantic ones (not that you need to be asexual to be aromantic, either, by the way. There are even cases of people whose sexual attraction and romantic attraction are opposite, for instance only attracted to males but only fall in love with females).

We now know of all these variations. Why not others? Monogamy vs non-monogamy, and within each, subcategories. In monogamy, lifelong monogamy, either romantic (one love ever) or sexual (one sexual attraction ever) or serial monogamy (one person at a time, but more than one over a lifetime, after one another).
Within non-monogamy, you have sexual non-monogamies, romantic non-monogamies, and some that are both.

People obviously do NOT all work the same way. Emotionally we're different from one another. Hormonally we're different from one another. The more you try to find something common to everyone, the more you find exceptions to that.

Lifelong monogamy is certainly not the rule. Even when divorce didn't happen, for instance, people would remarry after the death of a spouse and it was perfectly accepted that they might love the new person.
Although some people do struggle with the concept that it's alright to be in love again when the person you love died, as opposed to the relationship ending in a different one. I don't mean that these people are lifelong monoamorous, I mean that they fall in love again, and feel that it's "wrong" because if their spouse hadn't died, they'd still be there.

Anyway, I'm starting to go off on a rant. My point is that it's often easy to think that everyone works the way you do. I've seen people who claim that everyone is bisexual, just to various degrees, but some people are actually completely one way or the other (and of course asexuals aren't bisexual either). Similarly, some poly people like to claim that poly is the natural state and conventions are the only reason some people are mono.
It's tempting to think that because you had such a revelation (OMG! Poly exists! It all makes so much sense now!) you should share it with everyone because surely it will change their lives too. But no, some people ARE monogamous, lifelong or not. When something seems so obvious about yourself, it's tempting to think it's the way everyone works, but you need to really trust others who tell you they're different, and not assume they're lying or mistaken.

There is a lot of variety in this world, even just about romantic and sexual relations to others.
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  #18  
Old 06-26-2011, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by serialmonogamist View Post
Or do most people just learn to control themselves and get used to monogamy?
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Originally Posted by serialmonogamist View Post
I have a hard time believing anyone is 100% monogamous. If they were, how could they break up from one person and start a relationship with someone new? I have heard many people say that when they are in a relationship they're just not interested in anyone else, which I can understand, but that doesn't mean the potential for attraction isn't there. Certainly you can love your partner so much that you wouldn't want to risk losing them by falling for someone else, but that doesn't mean that you're not susceptible to temptation (hence the prayer, "lead us not into temptation"). I think some people are just in denial that they're susceptible to temptation, since everyone is ultimately. What you do with the feelings is another story.
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Originally Posted by Abstract View Post
I don't know anyone who has been in a long term mono relationship which I am defining as (10+ years) that hasn't cheated, or been cheated on.
I was married for 11+ years before my husband asked to separate. There was no cheating ever, by either of us, in all that time. This I know without a doubt. When he first told me he wanted a divorce, I'll admit, I was floored and searched for some excuse. I asked him if he had ever cheated, and cited numerous trips he had taken for work as potential situations for him to do that. He said to me, "What about you? When you went to Europe with your school? Did you cheat on me?" I said, "No!" He asked me, "Why not?" And I told him, "It just never occurred to me to do that." And he said, "Well, it's the same for me. It never occurred to me. I'm married to you."

We have both had friendships with people of the opposite sex (we're both straight), and acknowledged attractions, but these were not attractions we'd ever want to act on -- they were more like, "Oh, wow, that waitress is gorgeous" or my undying crush on Kevin Sorbo. But honestly and truly, we didn't have to fight anything to be faithful. We made room for naturally finding other people attractive physically/intellectually, etc., but just knew that those attractive people were simply friends or acquaintances, not a possible reason to cheat (I can't even wrap my head around this type of thinking!!!). We did not struggle with this. I trusted him; he trusted me. I would never have done anything to violate that trust. I made a promise and it was easy to keep because I loved him. If we knew that someone was angling for one of us, we automatically distanced ourselves from that person. That didn't mean I couldn't look at a hot guy or enjoy someone's sexual energy. Human beings naturally feel attractions for many reasons -- we don't automatically equate an attraction with jumping their bones. Sometimes, I walk down the street and feel a pull toward someone, and just get a sense we could be friends. That's an attraction.

I can appreciate someone's beauty and enjoy a sexual charge without feeling the need for something to happen between us. Sexual energy is like electricity. It's there in all of us, and palpably obvious sometimes -- big deal. We're sexual animals. It doesn't mean, for me, that I need an awful lot of willpower to avoid it. I was committed to the man I loved - end of story. Being loyal was never a challenge for me. Attractions and sexual tension ebbs and flows in normal human beings, and when you are monogamous and believe in your commitment and the vows you made, all that doesn't get denied, but rather, becomes like the wallpaper. Just there and a part of life. The attractions my husband and I felt for anyone, and any person we felt close to or drawn to, were not temptations to avoid. They were people we liked - that is all. We simply felt that we loved each other and that was that, there was no danger of falling for anyone else. That possibility was never even remotely a part of our realities.

Our marriage fell apart for other reasons, which I won't go into. It was only after I looked around and realized I was now alone and could create a life the way I alone wanted it, that I started exploring polyamory. I had heard of it from an acquaintance and it was interesting to me, but not something I'd ever wanted to pursue while married. Now that I am single again, sexual attractions are a whole different ballgame than they were when I was married, because now I have the option to pursue.

Personally, I don't think of monogamy or polyamory as something that a person is, like a sexual orientation. To me, it's nothing more than a system of relating. I don't think people are mono or poly, I just think people are people who make choices about how they want to live based on their experiences and/or belief systems. For now, I want polyamorous relationships in my life. I can foresee living polyamorously for approximately the next five years or so. After that, I don't know what I'll want. I could definitely get on board with monogamy again -- but I'm not choosing to do that yet. As far as cheating goes, I choose not to, so it's a no-brainer; I just don't, and it's not a temptation.
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Last edited by nycindie; 06-27-2011 at 02:32 AM.
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  #19  
Old 06-27-2011, 03:31 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post

Personally, I don't think of monogamy or polyamory as something that a person is, like a sexual orientation. To me, it's nothing more than a system of relating. I don't think people are mono or poly, I just think people are people who make choices about how they want to live based on their experiences and/or belief systems. For now, I want polyamorous relationships in my life. I can foresee living polyamorously for approximately the next five years or so. After that, I don't know what I'll want. I could definitely get on board with monogamy again -- but I'm not choosing to do that yet. As far as cheating goes, I choose not to, so it's a no-brainer; I just don't, and it's not a temptation.
This is why I think the assertion above by serialmonogamiest that we're all human and our bodies work the same is just not true (including all the resaons already listed by Tonberry). As a species, we aren't slaves to instinct. For me, polyamory is more like my sexual orientation -- both are systems of relating/desiring. For me living monogamously would have to be a choice, just as some gay folks choose to live straight lives--both would be tough. For that reason, I also truly believe some folks are truly monogamous and although their actions might be different (as in the scenarios above), it's not what they really desire. My ex finally decided being mono was what made her happy and I believe her when she says that.

For me, lying and cheating are related, but separate things. Cheating involves a betrayal or violation of trust. If it happens once and is discussed, that doesn't make it okay, but it's not as bad as if it's an ongoing process coupled with lying. That takes what might be a "mistake" and moves it to the realm of calculating behavior and screwed up power relations. I'm sure many folks feel differently about these things, but I guess that's how I've always seen it. I've made mistakes, but have never lied about them. I couldn't live like that.
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  #20  
Old 06-29-2011, 05:00 PM
serialmonogamist serialmonogamist is offline
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Personally, I don't think of monogamy or polyamory as something that a person is, like a sexual orientation. To me, it's nothing more than a system of relating. I don't think people are mono or poly, I just think people are people who make choices about how they want to live based on their experiences and/or belief systems. For now, I want polyamorous relationships in my life. I can foresee living polyamorously for approximately the next five years or so. After that, I don't know what I'll want. I could definitely get on board with monogamy again -- but I'm not choosing to do that yet. As far as cheating goes, I choose not to, so it's a no-brainer; I just don't, and it's not a temptation.
Well put. Labels that essentialize people are misleading.

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Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
This is why I think the assertion above by serialmonogamiest that we're all human and our bodies work the same is just not true (including all the resaons already listed by Tonberry). As a species, we aren't slaves to instinct.
You say you disagree with me but you're saying what I'm saying when you describe humans in terms of species behavior. The point is that we all have basically the same instincts and we all have the ability to resist them to varying degrees. We also have the ability to deny feelings and thoughts but that doesn't make them go away. I think when people deny that they have the capacity to love multiple people or that they experience lust beyond their monogamous partner, it is to provide emotional security to that partner. Somehow it is hurtful to saddle your (monogamous) partner with the information that you felt attracted to someone else or that you could have a relationship with someone else and still love them.

It would get very confusing for many monogamous people, I think, if they had to think about what it means to love someone enough to allow them to love other people as well. Doesn't it also confuse polyamorous people to know how to balance loving someone with making them share you? I would feel guilty being in a relationship with a devoted monogamous partner and having them tell me they love me enough to let me see other people while waiting patiently and not seeing anyone else themselves. Nevertheless I don't think anyone is truly incapable of polyamory. I just think they avoid acting on it because they figure the benefits of it wouldn't be worth the costs. But how can you accept the gift of monogamous devotion from someone else without loving them enough to want to return it? (sorry if that question sounds emotionally blackmailing. it's not meant that way - just something I've thought about)
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