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Old 06-27-2012, 02:06 AM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Originally Posted by PhilosophicallyLost View Post
He's very much of the belief that my choice to do so is immoral and he seems to find it be a very unhealthy relationship structure devoid of proper commitment.
I'd say the burden is on him to offer a reasoned argument as to why it would be immoral. And if he posits that monogamy is moral, offer a reasoned argument as to why it is.

Nobody--meaning you--has any obligation to humor his supposition that monogamy is moral and polyamory is immoral by beginning from that position and trying to refute it. He can do some real philosophical work and begin from neutral ground or play by himself; no need for you to enable his bad philosophy!
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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Old 06-29-2012, 01:28 PM
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loveboston loveboston is offline
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Default an illegal act

Immoral in the civil sense is an illegal act.

Could you sue someone for being non monogamous?

In a marriage where one partner cheats it is grounds for a civil divorce action that could affect the courts judgment regarding child custody and distribution of assets.

If it could be proved that both parties agreed to non-monogamy I donít think a court would consider a legal argument that the party being sued committed an illegal act.

In spite of their best attempts the religious community does not write the laws. Unacceptable is a more appropriate term than immoral. There are many legal rights that the religious community considers unacceptable.

We all have the right to determine for ourselves what is and what isnít acceptable unless the law prohibits us.

What we donít have the right to do is adjudicate and impose our values on someone else. That is illegal and immoral.
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:58 PM
JynLove JynLove is offline
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Hmm, I haven't read everything yet, so sorry if I am repeating what someone else has said. This is how I feel about it however.

I'll start with how I have explained it to the friends that DO know about me. If any of you have more than one child, you can probably relate to how you felt during the second pregnancy (whether you were the mother, or fater). I wanted another child, but I felt I was betraying my first child. What if I didn't love our second child as much, or in the same way? Was that fair? I didn't think it was possible to love another little person the same way I loved my first child. I laid awake worrying about this.

The day she was born, however, it all changed. I loved her the moment she was in my arms. I would have cried, but there was too much going on to process. All I knew was that it felt right to have her in my arms, and I was excited to get her older sister in the room to meet her. At that moment I realized I was not dividing or subtracting love from anyone. My heart expanded exponentially. I do love them both, and I love very different things about them, but I love them equally.

The same applies to the adult people who I love. I love them in different ways, for different reasons. I love them for exactly what they are. When I fall in love, I am not dividing anything. Except now maybe time since I have a new love interest. Just as I spend time making sure each child knows they are loved equally (I have three now) I shall spend the same on each of my lovers.

As far as morality, I wrote off long ago that morality isn't what it used to be. It is an excuse, a weapon, to attack people of differing beliefs. True morality, will speak from your heart, not from you logical mind that can be trained and brainwashed by society.

As far as biblical defense, don't get me wrong. We own a Bible, we read it to our children, and Christianity is the core of our beliefs (which are ecclectic from many other religions). But we also realize that this book is written by man, who is numerous times stated to not be perfect. We use it as a guiding path, but don't take it word for word. It's been through many writings, translations and such. I always advise people to forge their OWN relationship with God, because he will speak to their heart and knows their desire.

When I listen to my heart, I feel very strongly that what I believe in is perfectly moral and just.

Something that occurred to me years ago when my husband was talking about his grandmother. Her first husband was killed at war. She was young, and remarried, and was widowed again at about 60 years of age. After that she formed a deep emotional bond with a man her age, who's wife was basically a vegetable.

Common belief is that you are rejoined with your loved ones in the afterlife. To whom will she be rejoined? What about the other men? Did she stop loving her first husband because he died? After all, in her eyes she will see him again.

I would advise your brother to set aside conventional morals. We live in a society controlled by media, and agressive religious figures who want to guilt you into their way of life. Break away and make your own decisions. This is your life, and it's limited. Don't spend it miserable conforming to someone elses social ideal, spend it pursiung what makes you happy. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is our constitutional right (ha, snuck that in there). No one but YOU gets to tell you what makes you happy.

I govern my life by this simple rule "And ye harm none, do as ye will." (yeah, did I mention ecclectic??)

*steps down from soapbox*
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:39 PM
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loveboston loveboston is offline
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:49 PM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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ďSin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense.Ē
― Robert A. Heinlein

Which of course begs the question of what is "unnecessarily" - you "hurt" your children by punishing them because you believe it is, ultimately, in their best interest...of course you could be wrong.

Ultimately, as an agnostic, I have only myself to answer to - informed by the reactions/responses of people I care about and respect. Am I being the best person that I can be? Are my actions increasing the general level of happiness in the universe (including, but certainly not limited to, my own) or detracting from it? Is the short-term pain worth the long-term gain for everyone involved? Or is the short-term gain overshadowed by the long-term pain?

Three (or more) happier people working together to be open, honest, and caring vs. three (or more) people denying themselves to each other and making themselves miserable by suppressing themselves to fit some societal pseudo-moral ideal**? I know what seems the more moral option TO ME...


**I say pseudo-moral because I agree with Professor de La Paz in Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress":

"In terms of morals there is no such thing as 'state.' Just men. Individuals. Each responsible for his own acts."
Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" V-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (24+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (6+ yrs) and MrS's BFF
SLeW: platonic hetero girlfriend and BFF
MrClean: hetero mono male, almost lover-friend to me, FWBs to SLeW
+ "others" = FBs, FWBs, lover-friends, platonic G/BFs, boytoys, etc.

My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe
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Old 07-02-2012, 07:19 PM
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PhilosophicallyLost PhilosophicallyLost is offline
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I apologize for the delay in response...I am from the Colorado area where all those fires were and I was preoccupied with smoke inhalation and other concerns for a few days. I am very happy for all the responses and this is very helpful to me as I try to compose a letter to my brother stating why I stand by my decision and why I feel it can be moral.

The main thing my brother is saying is that my choice poses great harm to everyone involved. He said my choice already hurt him so much that he ended up in a mental hospital. He also said that it poses great harm to E's moral character, and that the circumstances have not provided for Y's full consent. Since Y hasn't emotionally given his full consent, anytime I am with E romantically my brother feels that I am cheating on Y.

I disagree with the first two statements, but unfortunately the circumstances have put Y and I in a poor foundation to start poly from. I have been wanting poly for a while, but based on various things my husband had said I felt he'd never would agree to it. However, I was so in love with E at some point I felt forced to have to leave Y because I didn't think he could accept a non-monogamous life. So I told my husband I didn't feel our marriage could work out because he's been unable to respond to my requests for more romance and other things. When Y told me vehemently he was confident that he could get better at meeting my needs, I felt unable to diffuse his willingness to work on things based on our marriage issues alone. So I brought up the fact that I felt I wanted to date more than one man at once. Y quickly figured out I was in love with E and I told him I didn't really want a divorce and that I wanted poly and I wanted all three of us to continue living together. We talked about opening the marriage. The way the conversation proceeded pretty much made it appear to Y that E was there to fill gaps of my marriage problems with Y instead of be his own contribution to my life. My husband blames his mistakes for contributing partly to me falling for E, and because of this has trouble wanting to go along with the poly thing. My husband would have felt better starting poly if our own relationship was steadier to begin with. I deeply regret the foundations that have been laid myself, but it is my sincere hope that my husband and I will rebuild the foundations and get it to a position where the poly isn't so threatening to our marriage. I have slowed things down with E so Y and I can get over the whole divorce conversation and get Y to meet my needs in his own way, so we can progress with the poly thing the right way. Y and I do agree that our marriage improvement seems to be going in the right direction now, though.

The other problem is that the divorce conversation made Y feel like he had no other choice but to accept poly if he wanted to keep me. My brother thinks this is very unfair and that there were better alternatives available. When I pretty much became petrified that I had fallen in love with E, I think the alternatives all became pretty harmful. I could continue to hold it in, which would harm me and do no one any favors, or I could leave Y for E, or remove myself from both of them altogether. All of these choices was going to cause harm, but my brother seems to think there were healthier alternatives available, such as continuing to give Y a monogamous chance. It's almost as if to him love is a choice, and to some extent I don't think it is. I felt at least with the poly it was a chance for all three of us to be mostly happy, so that's the choice I pushed for. I told Y I didn't feel I was cut out for marriage because I sincerely want to be able to pursue more than one man. My brother feels I am condemning Y as being unable to meet my needs by saying this, and that this was cruel and cold-hearted given Y's dedication and love for me. I just was going with the whole thing that marriage was supposed to be monogamous and since I can't be monogamous I can't be cut out for marriage. I do want marriage but in a poly light, but my brother feels that open marriages aren't really marriages at all... Unfortunately the way the whole conversation of poly came up with Y was less than ideal, and I understand that it trapped him initially. That was not my intent but I see that's what happened, so I'm trying to restructure things so we have a better foundation to go from.

Because of my choice and the fact that my brother feels it is the beginning of the end for my relationship with Y, he wants to limit his contact with me from now on. This is someone I have considered my best friend all my life, and now he wants to cut away from me to an extent because of this. I am so angry at his lack of faith in my intentions with all of this. He told my husband that I am using poly as an excuse to cheat on him with E, which is not how I see it at all. Also, I've told Y that if he felt he didn't have a choice before he does now. I don't want Y sticking with me out of some desperate hope that I'll be monogamous again if our marriage gets better. I don't think the poly is something I can negotiate on with my own happiness, but I certainly don't want it to cause the misery my brother is convinced it will. Still, that is OUR decision to make, not my brother's. I am trusting Y to be man enough to tell me when it's compromising his own happiness too much to be with me, if the poly truly becomes too much for him to handle. My brother just thinks we all agreed to some sort of trap that can only be escaped by moral integrity and that we're all too blind to see the consequences. I think my brother is too blind to see there are other outcomes possible besides the dire one he sees.

I do hope at some point Y and I progress from the "trying this out" stage to actually being committed to making it work stage. I want Y's full consent. I can't progress in my relationship with E with my conscience intact unless Y becomes emotionally more okay with it. I want Y to be happy with me despite these changes in our lives.

Hyperskeptic, thank you for your post on the different types of morality. I was thinking of something along these lines, but you phrased it far better than I could have.

I do agree with what some of you all have said about this frankly not being my brother's beeswax. I'm more than ok with him disagreeing with my choice, but holding an ultimatum over my head that he wants our contact limited should my choice stand hurts me. I still feel people can have a huge difference of opinion and still enjoy each other's friendship....but apparently he does not feel that way. For all I care I could have sex with five people a week and it really should not be any of his concern. It's my sex life, he shouldn't have a say in it.

For clarification, my brother is agnostic but leans heavily right on the political scale. He heavily believes adopting solid morals is a solution to the world's problems and more people should be adopting good morals. He's right in some regards but wrong in others. I believe in the innate morals: respect, responsibility, kindness, those kinds of things. Those things would help make our world a better place. However, what one does with their sex lives, as long as they are again keeping respect, responsibility, and kindness in mind.....I frankly don't think the world will care what someone did with their sex life a millennia later. However, an act of kindness may have a more lasting impact. That's how I feel, anyway.

And GalaGirl, the way things are looking, I don't think I can invite E and my brother to the same social thing like Thanksgiving. I'll constantly be on the lookout on what I can't invite E to or my brother to to keep the peace. It's really irksome, honestly. My brother's unwillingness to "tolerate" our "immorality" makes it so he gets to miss out on the better parts of my life like birthdays, essentially. Or I'll just have to have a separate celebration with him, I guess. Whatever.

Nycindie, I to some extent agree with you, but my brother is very close to me. We used to think a lot alike, and we've been experiencing some distancing the last three years. I didn't tell him how I felt about our distancing for various reasons and I felt this has made things somewhat worse now that it's led up to this blow up point. I now find myself so thoroughly frustrated with him on various levels I wonder if anything can be reconciled someday, and this saddens me. I'd like to think my brother's capable of opening himself more to my choice and at least thinking I'm not some immoral disappointment. He essentially is the one who raised me and gave me many of the values I hold dear now, so to see that the open-minded brother I once knew doesn't exist in the form I thought he did is saddening. I may have to accept that he will be a much smaller part of my life, but it seems like an awfully unnecessary result. Still, you are right; it is my life. The one who should have control over that is me and not him.

I guess time will tell. It is my goal to lead an ethical life and I have made some mistakes in helping polyamory take an ethical role in Y's, E's, and my life. Still, I hope to go that direction now and make our relationship as ethical as it can be given the circumstances.

I do have my brother's letter to me downloaded. If it helps for perspective to read it, I'm more than happy to e-mail it (or PM it, if the forum allows uploading like that). I just don't feel comfortable posting it as it does contain everyone's names. It's hard to summarize his four-page argument on a post like this, but I think I at least covered the bigger points.
Me: K, female, 27. Married to Y for over 4 yrs (male, monogamous, 33). Opened relationship to E (male, monogamous, 27) in a relationship vee.
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Old 07-02-2012, 07:29 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I would suggest you make sure your brother would be fine with your sharing his letter at all before you do. He intended it for your eyes only, after all, and while letting other people who are actually involved in the situation read it (Y or E, for instance) seems reasonable to me, perfect strangers might be a bit too much.
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Old 07-02-2012, 07:58 PM
hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
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Originally Posted by PhilosophicallyLost View Post
The main thing my brother is saying is that my choice poses great harm to everyone involved. He said my choice already hurt him so much that he ended up in a mental hospital. He also said that it poses great harm to E's moral character, and that the circumstances have not provided for Y's full consent. Since Y hasn't emotionally given his full consent, anytime I am with E romantically my brother feels that I am cheating on Y.
Well, this is an odd tangle.

First, have you harmed your brother? In ethical terms, harm is usually connected with thwarting or denying some basic or vital interest of another person (or other being) . . . usually understood in any case to be a legitimate interest of that person (or being).

What legitimate interest of his are you thwarting or denying? Having you always agree with him? Never having his view of the world challenged? Never seeing or hearing of anything that offends him or shocks him?

Those are hardly the kinds of interests that create a moral claim on you! He is hurt, maybe. He is offended. But he has not really been harmed by the mere fact of your interest in or pursuit of polyamory.

I can't speak to the point about the mental hospital, but I would say that is a matter between him and his doctors. Your revelations may have been the occasion for mental illness or other psychological or neurological problem to express itself, but that's hardly your responsibility.

Or, at least, that does not in itself constitute an argument against polyamory.

Second, your brother should distinguish between the ethics of poly as such and the ethical qualities of your own, individual actions. I don't know enough about the situation to say, one way or the other, but it's entirely possible you have acted wrongly in relation to Y, with consent being the key issue.

The point is, it's always possible for you to divide the question. You might, in some circumstance, say: I acted wrongly in this instance, and I'll try to do better in the future . . . for example, with regard to respecting the autonomy of others in making sure consent is freely given, without undue pressure. You can say that, and still say that polyamory in general is still morally defensible.
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:56 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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There's an expression that goes "There's too much mother in that marriage."


"There's too much brother in that poly!"

If he chooses to cut himself away from you over your not allowing him to butt into your personal romantic relationships, that is his decision.
I may have to accept that he will be a much smaller part of my life, but it seems like an awfully unnecessary result. Still, you are right; it is my life. The one who should have control over that is me and not him.
Yep. Your life yours. His life his.

You will deal with the disappointment of it. But you cannot make him play, and you cannot make him grow. You can tell him this disappoints you, and the door is open should he ever want to try again on the SIBLING rship.

But he has no business in your ROMANCES, he's playing outside his box there.

My brother's unwillingness to "tolerate" our "immorality" makes it so he gets to miss out on the better parts of my life like birthdays, essentially.
Correct. This is his choice to miss out.

If you choose to accommodate his weird with a separate celebration, that is up to you.

But I would not do it because it keeps on feeding his idea/expectation that you DO accommodate to his song, you SHOULD accommodate to his song, deep down you DO think it is "wrong", ramp up the "convincing" of you etc. Basically you stay in this spinning your wheels place.

I'd suggest you take the "Thanks for your input. We have to agree to disagree there. Pass the bean dip." approach instead.

So he feels uncomfortable. And? He's uncomfortable. World keeps on spinning.

It's on him to deal. He is not in these romances. You are no less the person you were before the knowledge.

Live it like it's not a THING, like it's just ordinary life. Because it is. And the only people with a vote are you and your partners. Not anyone in the peanut gallery.

And bro sits in the peanut gallery. He is not your partner. He is your sibling. Thanks for sharing! Pass the bean dip.


I know it is hard, but let it be what it is. He will either get over himself or not. And that outcome is not in your control and not up to you. Only time will tell, and in the meanwhile? BREATHE. Care for yourself.


Last edited by GalaGirl; 07-03-2012 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:49 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Originally Posted by PhilosophicallyLost View Post
He essentially is the one who raised me and gave me many of the values I hold dear now, so to see that the open-minded brother I once knew doesn't exist in the form I thought he did is saddening.
I wonder, then, if we should be thinking about this as more of a "coming out to parents" rather than "coming out to sibling" situation. It doesn't change some of the bottom lines, like this being your life and your choice, but it may put his side into clearer perspective. I wonder if he's got some, "Where did I go wrong? Did I do something (or not do something) that led her to this?" going on, like other parents have had when their offspring come out to them. So he could see it as more his responsibility to fix than the average sibling. He's still incorrect that it's his business or his responsibility, but it could affect your response to him.

I'm surprised, though, that if he feels that protective of and responsible for you that he would want you to give Y ANOTHER chance when in another thread you've made it quite clear how many times Y has started to work on issues and then just gone back into old habits. If you have a chance to be happier this way (regardless of the end outcome of the various relationships) why would he want you to continue being unhappy? You'd think, even if he wasn't thrilled about the way you went about it, his biggest concern would be for you and whether or not you were going to get hurt, not Y.
Pan Female, Hinge in a V between my mono (straight) husband, Monochrome and my poly (pan) partner, ThatGuyInBlack
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