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  #11  
Old 07-18-2012, 02:40 PM
apophis apophis is offline
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Nycindie: The word possessive doesn't have inherent meaning, and just because you can frame things to sound bad doesn't mean that they are.

Many monogamous people might feel short-changed if their partner lavished attention on a platonic friend. This is for the simple reason that the choice to be monogamous is most often based on the choice to be in a partnership where you use your available resources (time, energy, attention, etc) mostly with one person. If that's your definition of possessive, that's fine, but it's pretty convenient to define something that you don't involve yourself in using a word that has culturally negative connotations in all relationships. There's nothing inherently negative about that.

A lover who needs his wife's attention is interfering with a sharing of resources considered appropriate in monogamous relationships. It's not that they're over-utilizing your property. The sharing of available resources is something that should be laid out and found agreeable at the beginning of any relationship, which it unfortunately does not seem to have been here. For a partner to join a group of friends that doesn't include you again would depend on the partnership you BOTH desire, not childish feelings of desperation.

Furthermore a lover without question demands more energy and attention than a friend. They also demand "time sharing" in a way that would not be considered appropriate to a monogamous friendship (because of the way most monogamous relationships lay out sharing of resources). It has nothing to do with maintaining your court and throne.

Quite frankly, I find it disgusting that someone who might be monogamous drifts onto a polyamorous forum struggling with something their wife wants, and you chastise them. Anyone in his position is in no position to argue what I'm arguing. They'd be most likely to feel bad about themselves for being immature and unenlightened rather than understanding that perhaps this simply isn't a style of relationship they personally want. You're setting him up to go back to being miserable by setting him up to see that his needs (which may be intrinsic to a style of relationship he needs but is not in) are inferior to his wife's more mature needs.

I hope you would find it appropriate if a potentially polyamorous person struggling in a monogamous relationship was asked on a relationship forum, "Are you unwilling to commit? Do you fear being with one person? Are you afraid of devoting most of your time and energy to a partner you cherish?" That's tantamount to what you just did.

Turtleheart: Unfortunately the issue of time/focus is what is the central change between different styles of relationships. As I noted above, the available resources to give in a relationship are time, energy, attention, etc. Monogamous partners are those who decide that they individually want to give most of those resources to one person and want to receive the same amount in return.

If what you want is the level of time/focus present in a monogamous relationship then there is no way to resolve the time/focus issue. If there's some level of time/focus in the present polyamorous setup that would work for you then it can be resolved. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, this is really a decision you need to make on your own. You deciding one thing is right for you doesn't mean it's what will end up being right for your wife or J.

You have to be willing to look at what's going to make you happy in a relationship while still respecting the views of others you may be involved with without adhering to them. You can only really figure that out for yourself as an individual, and time/focus is the central issue of that.
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  #12  
Old 07-18-2012, 05:00 PM
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RainyGrlJenny RainyGrlJenny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apophis View Post
Many monogamous people might feel short-changed if their partner lavished attention on a platonic friend. This is for the simple reason that the choice to be monogamous is most often based on the choice to be in a partnership where you use your available resources (time, energy, attention, etc) mostly with one person. .
That would be my definition of an abusive relationship. Someone who expects me to reserve the lion's share of my time and resources to the exclusion of other friends and family is someone I would absolutely consider possessive and, at best, in need of therapy and space to deal with their dependency issues.

I have been happily monogamous, and could do so again with no problems. However, anyone worthy of my love understands that I am a whole person, not their "other half," and that I have a full life that they are privileged to be included in, as I would be grateful and privileged if they should choose to include me in theirs. All the "you should spend the majority of your time, energy, and love on me" crap is ownership dressed up as romance, which is all too common in our culture.


turtleHeart, I think it's great that you're stretching your comfort level, and working to figure out how to fit everyone's needs and wants as best as possible. I especially think looking at being more comfortable in J's home/neighborhood is a really positive step.

The lack of focus and lack of planning would bother me a lot. With work and my family, I have to be able to plan in advance and I don't like it when plans change, because I don't have the ability to be as flexible as I did when I was younger. Punk does this a lot, and I find it upsetting because it feels like he's disrespectful of my life and obligations. The attention thing, as well. He's frequently texting with his wife on our dates, and it really bothers me. If I've set aside time specifically to be with him, I want the fullness of his attention. It's ridiculously frustrating, and I sympathize with you in those ways.
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  #13  
Old 07-18-2012, 05:35 PM
apophis apophis is offline
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RainyGrlJenny: Your post at best barely addresses mine. Of course someone who expects you to reserve the lion's share of your time and resources for them at the expense of anyone else you would want to spend time with is abusive, but that's not what I said. I said a monogamous relationship is two people mutually deciding that what they desire is to devote the majority of their resources to their relationship with each other. There's no reason they wouldn't consider themselves whole people or would need to be dependently searching for their "other half" to want to do that.

I'm glad you've been happily monogamous, but that does not mean I respect you as any kind of authority on the subject. I, again, agree that two people in a monogamous relationship would want to be apart of each other's "full" lives, however any relationship makes an impact on your time and resources. The choice of monogamy is to make a single relationship the large relationship portion of that full life in whatever way both people mutually see fit. The fact that you desire to divide more of your resources amongst other relationships than monogamous people do is not significant.

In the future I would appreciate it if you provided your definitions for the terms you use (abusive, lion's share, exclusion, possessive, dependency, whole person, other half, full life, ownership, and romance). Also, you don't bother to provide premises for your conclusions, and I'm left to seek out the myriad implicit premises you're using. You could also more clearly define your conclusions. Most of your two paragraph response was nothing more than emotional appeal and argument by authority using the authority as yourself. I'm glad you're self-confident and see certain things as "worthy" of you and other things as "crap," but all of that is meaningless in an intellectual discussion.
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  #14  
Old 07-19-2012, 08:22 AM
turtleHeart turtleHeart is offline
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Originally Posted by apophis View Post
You have to be willing to look at what's going to make you happy in a relationship while still respecting the views of others you may be involved with without adhering to them. You can only really figure that out for yourself as an individual, and time/focus is the central issue of that.
Thank you, I agree. Right now I'm looking at new ways in which I can be happier with the current situation, or ways in which the current situation could be improved while Ginko and J remain together. She's noticed that when J is around she still treats him as a guest (despite having his own key and being around more than a guest), which demands more of her attention, while if he were more simply part of the household the hope is that he could be around without it meaning that so much of her attention would automatically go to him.

Discontent with the current situation is pushing us to see how we can improve things in a variety of ways. While the issue of time/focus may not be able to be fully returned to how it was when we were monogamous, improved communication and use of what time we have should at least help.

This weekend Ginko and I will be camping at a regional burning man festival for our anniversary, just the two of us and a couple thousand people ;-) It should be good quality time, but we won't be near a computer much to check things here from Friday until early next week.
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  #15  
Old 07-19-2012, 06:25 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Nycindie: The word possessive doesn't have inherent meaning, and just because you can frame things to sound bad doesn't mean that they are . . .
Who framed anything to "sound bad?" I certainly did not. Apparently, you viewed what I wrote as something bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by apophis View Post
Quite frankly, I find it disgusting that someone who might be monogamous drifts onto a polyamorous forum struggling with something their wife wants, and you chastise them.
CHASTISE???? What the fuck have you been smoking? I in no way chastised anyone. I asked questions to promote some thinking in different directions. Your opinion doesn't really mean anything to me, but you're way, way off in your crazy assumptions. As I stated:
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
No judgments from me, but here are some questions to get you thinking... Does any of what I wrote ring true for you?
There was no chastising going on. You misread and misinterpreted my words.

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Originally Posted by apophis View Post
I hope you would find it appropriate if a potentially polyamorous person struggling in a monogamous relationship was asked on a relationship forum, "Are you unwilling to commit? Do you fear being with one person? Are you afraid of devoting most of your time and energy to a partner you cherish?" That's tantamount to what you just did.
Those all sound like valid questions and I would appreciate anyone pointing them out to me so I could ask myself the hard stuff and understand myself better. Don't know what your problem is, but wow.
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  #16  
Old 07-19-2012, 06:51 PM
apophis apophis is offline
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I disagree that it's not framing the discussion. In my questions to the hypothetical polyamorous person, I'm deliberating looking to exacerbate an emotional response. Through the use of words like "devotion" and "cherish," I'm underhandedly implying that there would be a lack of devotion in polyamory. This uses a word which has an emotional connotation in our culture against someone who might be struggling with an idea. So rather than asking the realistic question of whether or not the person would want to spend most of their time with a single person rather than more than one, I've asked them if they fear devoting their time to a person they cherish (thus framing the question into an emotional negative).

I do think your questions chastise on an emotional level whether or not you intended them that way.

"Would you also feel so short-changed if Ginko spent lots of time with a platonic friend and focused lots of attention on him or her?"

The use of "feeling short-changed" implies ownership of a product, that he's not getting his money's worth. Reframing the relationship question in terms of a platonic friend also implies that the situations are similar without demonstrating that they are.

You then frame the entire issue in terms of possession without noting any sort of reality to what would constitute possessiveness versus what wouldn't. You go on to demonstrate how friends might not be inclusive, how he might claim ownership then as well, and how his problem could concern power status.

The problem is you don't really demonstrate any reality for these questions. Your questions and usage of terms are so vague and appeal so much to the emotional responses of a concerned partner that he could easily feel that he was doing those things and just hiding them from himself even if he wasn't.

By not demonstrating a practical reality for what would be a possessive polyamorous person versus a healthy monogamous person in the wrong kind of relationship, you end up showing him a series of emotional negatives that he could identify with without providing viable alternatives.

Additionally, my argument is that the usage of the emotional negatives (particularly with someone in a currently emotionally vulnerable state) do, in fact, frame the discussion. I think the issues and situation could be addressed via the reality of available choices itself without the usage of vague emotional terms (possession, ownership) and slippery slope arguments (framed as questions) utilizing them. That's why I refer to it as chastising. I think the usage (whether deliberate or not) of strong emotional questions with unstated implicit premises clouds the issue rather than helping it.
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  #17  
Old 07-19-2012, 07:02 PM
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BrigidsDaughter BrigidsDaughter is offline
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Originally Posted by apophis View Post
This is for the simple reason that the choice to be monogamous is most often based on the choice to be in a partnership where you use your available resources (time, energy, attention, etc) mostly with one person.

Monogamous partners are those who decide that they individually want to give most of those resources to one person and want to receive the same amount in return.
I find your definition of monogamy interesting and a bit misguided because that is not what most monogamous relationships, in my experience, are. In my experience, people do not decide individually that they want to give most of their resources to one person, nor do they discuss what monogamy means to them. Most people enter relationships with the cultural background of monogamy. They learn their role from how their parents, friends, and other family members do relationships. They assume that their partner understand what they mean when they want to form a relationship. When I met Runic Wolf, he was my night in shining armor, literally because he stood up to my abusive step father and wouldn't take anyone abusing me. I fell in lust and then love with him. I knew that I didn't want to lose him, ever and he didn't want to lose me either. Which meant that we should get married, because that was the logical conclusion to draw. . . if you love someone and you want to spend the rest of your life with them, you get married? Right? But did we talk about wanting to be devote almost all of our time to each other? No. We talked about having kids some day, sharing finances, our values, religion, gaming, and how much it sucked to not see each other when he was in basic training. We never said it would be exclusive, but we never said it wouldn't either, at least not before we got married. And to be honest, the large majority of the population doesn't talk about it either. They either don't know that their are other options or assume that their partner knows and shares their views.
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  #18  
Old 07-19-2012, 07:23 PM
apophis apophis is offline
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Hi BrigidsDaughter,

I completely agree with you, though not that my definition of monogamy is misguided. I do, however, agree that most people in monogamous relationships have not decided that it's what they want or bothered to figure out exactly how a monogamous relationship would play out.

I think that polyamory has advanced the situation in demonstrating what a relationship is, but unfortunately much of it is still handled childishly by those who advocate it as the evolution of relationships.

Relationships in our culture are, for the most part, still handled like children. We look to the adults around us to figure out what to do and then copy their mannerisms. We become confused when the copying of the mannerisms does not result in the happiness demonstrated in fairy tales, advertisements, and select couples.

One of the major problems in my view is that relationships are still considered primarily from the view of emotions. Polyamory is often referred to as the ability to love more than one person, an ability which I think is not an ability at all but simply part of the human condition. Polyamory instead, I think, ought to be framed as the desire to have relationships with more than one person thus creating an entirely different understanding.

Of course, as you accurately noted in your example with Runic Wolf, most of monogamy is also still based on fairy tale ideals of love preyed on by our culture. This creates problems even for those who would choose monogamy. Couples end up in relationships and wonder why love doesn't do it all for them. They also become concerned if there are feelings and desires for others which I think it's impossible that there wouldn't be.

Monogamy thereby is the choice of two people to share a large amount of their resources with one another. This demands a great deal of effort, though hopefully effort that is mostly enjoyed. The point of a monogamous relationship is arguably the opportunity to fully explore another person which means active effort must be put in to do so.

A monogamous couple would have to actively endeavor to share new experiences, go new places, have new conversations, etc. The sheer volume of self-help books on reinvigorating relationships I believe is because of the idea that love carries a relationship. Couples put effort into dating and then sit back and wait for the rest of their relationship to happen. Of course this would result in the stagnation of anything, but the reliance on emotions in understanding relationships clouds the issue.

Additionally, implicit in monogamy is the understanding that you both will have feelings and desires for other people but are choosing to commit whatever amount of resources you choose to each other. Neither romantic feelings nor sexual desires for other people are in any way threats to monogamy.

Ideally I think young teenagers would be taught the entire range of relationship styles in completely practical terms. This would include the realities of the various kinds of relationships, how the day to day life lays out, what's demanded in each of them, and the realities of romantic and sexual emotional responses as well. Unfortunately we're still struggling with even allowing the teaching of sexuality so this would seem a long way off.
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  #19  
Old 07-19-2012, 07:59 PM
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BrigidsDaughter BrigidsDaughter is offline
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I agree that teenagers should be taught all the options, realities, and responsibilities as well. I learned early on that love wasn't enough, but was also taught that once you have children with someone, you've committed to staying with them through the children's entire childhood, in spite of abuse because it is better for your children to have both parents than only one, no matter how bad the relationship between the parents is. I personally never prescribed to that belief, but it is what was modeled for me.

Runic Wolf figured out that I was bi-sexual before I did and our initial talks about opening up our marriage were because he felt that I deserved the chance to be true to myself. (I love him for that.) For me, being polyamarous means that I have the ability and desire to love multiple people at the same time, but living polyamarously means that I have the desire to have multiple loving relationships. The same is true for Runic Wolf.

I will have to disagree with you on your statement that "implicit in monogamy is the understanding that you both will have feelings and desires for other people but are choosing to commit whatever amount of resources you choose to each other. Neither romantic feelings nor sexual desires for other people are in any way threats to monogamy." Not on the part about committment, but on the understanding that you will both have feelings and desires for other people. Most people are raised with the belief that when you find the "ONE" you will not have any feelings or desires for anyone else. So they are hurt when their partner expresses that they do have those biologically natural attractions. Some couples handle this better than others. But I would say that most monogamous people do feel that romantic and sexual desires for other people are a threat to monogamy and specifically to their relationship. Whether or not that is true, that is their perception.
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  #20  
Old 07-19-2012, 08:14 PM
apophis apophis is offline
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Yes, the views on child-rearing are particularly unfortunate especially as we now understand that a child would benefit more from a non-abusive environment than from having both parents around.

I think the distinction you make in living polyamorously is crucial. I don't think everyone is the same, but I do think that the capacities for love of a polyamorous person are not so different from that of one who is monogamous. I think most people can, and often do, love multiple people. The real choice is how you actually want to live, and that's what the different styles of relationships represent (ways of living).

I should have clarified. I did not mean inherent in the perception of monogamy. I meant inherent in the reality of monogamy. I think it's impossible to have a monogamous relationship where there will not be feelings or desires for others thus it's inherent in the reality of monogamy regardless of the common perception (which I agree with you on).

The study of love and sexuality as humans experience it is fascinating of course, but it's a question best left for science. I think of crucial concern to the larger public is what choices we have the ability to make and what the results of those choices are. It's an arena with precious little literature or study. Books on polyamory with any degree of intellectual rigor are staggeringly rare, and books on the entire spectrum of relationship choices/lifestyles as a whole and the realities of them without an agenda are nearly, if not entirely, non-existent.

I have no proof, but based on my reading I would estimate that the vast majority of relationship counselors of any kind still advocate that there's only one correct type of relationship. Of course it's a different type or version for all of them. Being that these are the people most often looked to for guidance, we've got a long way to go.
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