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Old 05-23-2012, 10:05 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Default "Dear Mr. and Mrs. UH, I'm not sure how to say this, but..."

Hey all. I thought about tacking this on to one of a couple of different related threads but decided it fit best as a stand alone.

I'm thinking about the way we as a community approach people who come to the boards seeking advice on a topic that we think is problematic. Particularly I'm thinking about the stereotypical "m/f couple seeking single f to join them in exclusive relationship" folks, though I imagine this question could apply to other issues.

I myself once held the unicorn-hunting dream close to my heart (from the unicorn's perspective). It took a long, slow period of reading, hearing other people's stories, and going through personal experiences to get to the point where I could say "gee, this concept has some issues with it and so I will let it go by the wayside as any sort of ideal." Now, when I see other people carrying around that same dream I try to take the time to say "hey, you may want to rethink this." As do many of us. Cuz we all want to help, yeah? Otherwise why would we be here.

But people don't like being told there's an issue with something close to their hearts... I probably wouldn't have liked it either back in the day. All too often they take it as a personal attack and/or they just don't seem to get what's being said.

On top of that, sometimes the people trying to give advice get really aggressive about the topic being discussed. I personally have read one too many upsetting accounts of third partners getting dumped in the midst of bad situations that could have been avoided with more knowledge and perspective, and so sometimes I get really heated, really upset, when I see the same old patterns repeating themselves in new posts. I have to remind myself that attacking people in no way whatsoever makes them more likely to hear you. And that situation X cannot necessarily be assumed to be a clone of situation Y just because they bear certain outward similarities.

In multiple instances, people have fled the boards because of feeling attacked. Were they being too sensitive? Or do we need to chill out about how we approach folks? If the goal is really to help anyone who comes here to be helped, how best can we do that? Is it even possible to help someone who's deadset on a narrow triadic vision of poly to understand why they might want to broaden their horizons, or is this something that generally people need to come to themselves, through experience? Is it mere hubris and projection to even think that we *should* be trying to "help" people in such a fashion, or should we just let them be?
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:09 PM
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Ah, thought of one. OPP is, of course, an example of another topic that causes strong reactions and that people can feel attacked about here from time to time.
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:16 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Yet another question is not just how, but *when* to give advice on these difficult topics. For example, in the Poly Relationships section, ok, the whole point of that board is to give advice! But if I'm reading someone's blog and I'm seeing things that I think are problematic...... do I mention it and risk starting a fraught discussion in what's supposed to be their safe space? Or do I just let it go until they explicitly ask for feedback? At what point am I being helpful and at what point am I just being a stalker-y zealot seeking a trace of transgression so that I can jump from behind the bushes and yell "You're doing it wrong!!!!!"

Ok, ok, gonna stop posting for a bit and see if anyone has any thoughts.
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:19 PM
mostlyclueless mostlyclueless is offline
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I wonder if it might not be helpful to separate the boards differently. In my limited experience here, it seems like there are many people coming in and asking the same questions and making the same mistakes that have been brought up time and time again. So the old-timers roll their eyes, tell them to search the tags, and often give a written slap on the wrist for the obvious mistakes made.

And of course they do. It's annoying to have to explain the same shit over and over.

So maybe it would make more sense to have, like, levels of experience boards, or something -- a judgment-free zone for new people to come, lay it out warts and all, and get some advice from the old-timers who can stand to go another round with them. And then a separate board for people who have more experience and know what's up.

Just a thought.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:55 PM
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BrigidsDaughter BrigidsDaughter is offline
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The Bird Cage (a NY state poly forum) has something similar to that. They have three separate threads "New to Poly", "Been there, done that", and "poly families". These are all under the relationships heading. Perhaps something similar could be done here. I don't know.
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:41 PM
PinkDragon PinkDragon is offline
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I have read enough on this forum to know that what we (me, Bear, and Lovely) are trying is fraught with issues. However, we set up a date to go out on before any of us ventured onto a poly site. And I'm the only one that ventured. Sure, I'm telling Bear about what I'm reading, and I told Lovely about the site, but I'm the only one that's gathering information about the poly lifestyle first hand.

What would you have me do? Tell Lovely, "Oh, I'm sorry, we're going to have to cancel our triad date and you're going to have to choose one of us to go out with because the folks over at polyamory.com say that a triad relationship isn't going to work. EVER."

That would be rather cruel. She is looking forward to going on a date with US, not just one of us. Maybe it totally won't work. But I really don't see why. There are people that engage in polygamy where the wives are involved with each other as well as with the husband. There are group marriages. I would think that if there's anything that's not going to work that it's a group marriage. At some point isn't someone going to wonder who fathered what child?

So, while I really appreciate that you guys are trying to keep newbies like myself from making a horrible, heart-breaking mistake, I'm afraid that it's a mistake I'm just going to have to make. (Not saying that this post was aimed at me, but I wanted to weigh in on it).

And, I realize that for people like me the thought is that I shouldn't limit myself to just one situation or just one gender. If I was a lesbian would you tell me that I need to be open to a relationship with a man? Probably not. I really, truly do not want to have a relationship with any man other than my husband. I guess I just don't like guys that much. Honestly, if something were to happen to my Bear, I'd never get involved with another man. He's one of a kind.

Before you decide that I feel like I'm being attacked, I don't. But this is my opinion. Maybe we'll all go out and she won't like either of us. Maybe we'll try swinging instead, seems there are less rules for that.
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Old 05-24-2012, 12:23 AM
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SNeacail SNeacail is offline
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PinkDragon, this post wasn't aimed at you. I believe it was more aimed at getting people to tone down some of their responses, so posters, especially newbies, don't feel like they are under attack. Of course you shouldn't NOT go out on your date. Date, have fun, have hot threesome sex, but don't dismiss the warnings and advice of others, just because they might come across TOO aggressive in their opinion.

In my observations, what tends to set people off the most is when there seems to be cheating and/or an unfair balance of power. It is usually centered around demanding exclusivity from the newest addition or an existing unit(couple) making all the ground rules, etc. Talk of "Moving in" at the beginning of a relationship, is like sending up emergency caution flares that brings people running to try and stop a disaster in the making.
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Old 05-24-2012, 01:27 AM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkDragon View Post
... the folks over at polyamory.com say that a triad relationship isn't going to work. EVER."
Well, that would be a gross misrepresentation. There are folks here involved in triads and I doubt you'd find anybody who seriously thinks triads never work.

*Unicorn hunting* is usually a bad thing, for lots of reasons. There is a major difference between unicorn hunting and having a triad emerge naturally, though. You'll also find experienced folks railing against unicorn hunting in other places (the Fet Life poly groups, for example).

So be careful when trying to generalize what is said here.
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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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Old 05-24-2012, 02:48 AM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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I've been mulling over starting a Unicorn Hunters stereotype thread where everyone could pitch in their thoughts on what is in that stereotype. (I would start with expects exclusivity quickly and go from there.) Then we could point to the thread as the collective wisdom on what to avoid while searching for a third.
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Old 05-24-2012, 03:00 AM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
But if I'm reading someone's blog and I'm seeing things that I think are problematic...... do I mention it and risk starting a fraught discussion in what's supposed to be their safe space? Or do I just let it go until they explicitly ask for feedback? At what point am I being helpful and at what point am I just being a stalker-y zealot seeking a trace of transgression so that I can jump from behind the bushes and yell "You're doing it wrong!!!!!"
My thought on this bit specifically: Why not send a PM? A thoughtful message that says, "I found myself concerned about some things I read in your blog, here they are and my reasons why," will probably at least get read. The poster then has the option to ignore the PM or respond as they choose, and are less likely to be put on the defensive. A post on their public blog is more likely to make someone feel the need to support or defend whatever they originally posted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mostlyclueless View Post
In my limited experience here, it seems like there are many people coming in and asking the same questions and making the same mistakes that have been brought up time and time again. So the old-timers roll their eyes, tell them to search the tags, and often give a written slap on the wrist for the obvious mistakes made.

And of course they do. It's annoying to have to explain the same shit over and over.
How about if those old-timers just take a break, then, instead of lashing out or being so obviously annoyed with people who are honestly trying to figure out something really off their beaten path? No one's required to respond to any of the Poly Relationship Corner threads.

I can see in some cases where a suggestion to do a tag search really is helpful, but the other side of that coin is that people don't come here JUST to read about other people's situations. They come here (generally) to talk out their own problems and to get advice that is more specific to them. It's human nature. Again, if people don't want to participate that's fine, they aren't required to respond. But talking down to the OP isn't the solution.

(Annabel, thanks for starting this thread)

(AT, it may be a gross misrepresentation for the forums in general, but for the threads specific to unicorn-hunting/forming a triad from a 2+1 situation? Not that far off the mark, at least in the last few months. And taking into account PinkDragon's obvious sarcasm for dramatic effect!)
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