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Old 10-08-2012, 01:55 PM
InquiringOne InquiringOne is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 20


First of all, thanks for all of the replies. I appreciate all of your thoughts, stories, and ideas.

One clarification on my part, and then I will respond to some of the individual points brought up. I did not mean to argue that poly people should just accept cheaters as friends or members of the forum without question or that they should accept cheating just because a lot of people do it. What I meant was that, every one has moral failings. Someone who cheats may be completely upstanding in every other relationship or way, and someone who is poly may be honest and respectful in love but a complete bastard in business, e.g. (I do think this is less likely though). Both of those people may have a lot to share and that can be learned from, except in the area of their moral failing, and even then they are examples of what not to do, right?

And I was trying to emphasize that the large number of cheaters shows that this is a very difficult path to take (choice A in my first post). I neglected a choice C which is to not cheat, and remain emotionally/sexually and otherwise unfulfilled. Many more people probably stick with this path for the same cultural reasons and pressures I mentioned about not taking path A. It is in ways dishonest to oneself instead of to others. That emphasizes even more how difficult it is for people to make the transition to choice A.

I'm sure the poly community is especially individualist, even within the Western world which is very individualist compared to other cultures. I tend to come at things from a structuralist perspective where yes individuals do make their own choices and of course are responsible for their actions, but larger things like culture, institutions, governmental policies, religious beliefs also tend to sway those decisions toward particular areas. Most of you have probably worked through much of that stuff on your own, I'm sure. Just giving you more of an idea where I was coming from.

Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe View Post

If you take the "hellfire" out of it (something that I can't speak to - I'm agnostic)...WHAT IF this is the only chance you get?, WHAT IF the span of your life on this earth is the sum total of your existence?, Is THIS how you wanted to have spent your only chance? I am not saying ("God forbid") to ignore your responsibilities or to break your promises - but would you rather be honest or spend your "one chance" living a lie...for years, and years, and years? I'd pick an honest separation/break-up over lies and deceit any day of the year....

I am an atheist myself so hellfire plays no role for me either, but it is the extreme example of a societal pressure to keep people in line on a particular behavior.

I also believe there is only one chance, and I tend to agree with the way you approach that JaneQ, which seems the healthiest way, but I don't think that's the way the majority of people do. In Thoreau's words, they often "lead lives of quiet desperation" unfortunately.

Originally Posted by Phy View Post
Hey there, welcome.

I always question someones motives and feelings when he/she is able to cheat on a partner, break the partner's trust and still claims to be so in love with him/her.
I won't judge them as far as they aren't involved with me and don't ask for my opinion. If that choice is valid for them, fine again. But I personally would never accept such behavior in my direct surrounding when I am involved.
Totally agree their motives, etc. should be questioned, and their behavior most likely discouraged, but I do think that these things are extremely complex and should be taken on a case-by-case basis, which is why I would also not judge them if I was not directly involved unless it's obvious that they are reckless with others' lives.

Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
But what value or enrichment could people who are lying bring to the community?

They can't help us figure out how to have respectful relationships with your metamours, because the metamours don't know about each other. They can't enter the conversation about how people deal with jealousy because they're attempting to skirt the issue of jealousy entirely. They can't speak to the process of coming out, or co-habiting with multiple partners, or when to introduce a new partner to the kids, or rules negotiations with your partners.

I would say that cheaters don't have a valuable role in the poly community because, aside from loving more than one person, which we already know how to do, they don't deal with any of the same issues, questions, or practicalities.
They are certainly not bringing value "as" cheaters. But that is only a piece of their identity and they may have other value to share. And I wouldn't really expect them to be accepted in unless they were transitioning to honesty and openness from cheating which maybe everyone already does and I'm just not aware of it.

Originally Posted by SkylerSquirrel View Post
Perhaps cheaters don't have anything of value to contribute to the poly community, but the poly community may have plenty of value to contribute to their lives. Especially, as InquiringOne described, those who would like to move from deceptive-cheater status to open-and-honest-poly status, but they are not sure how. If anyone has the resources to help them, we do.

I think the real question is: Can we help cheaters become non-cheaters, and if so, how?
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post

Yes, I've seen it happen here on the board! How? Not, I would say, by de-emphasizing the central importance of honesty, or by letting cheaters rationalize their behavior as a form of poly. Rather, by holding to our principles, kindly but firmly explaining why their actions are problematic, and showing by example that it's not just possible but preferable to live a life based on truth, even if it's hard.
In combination these two responses are very helpful. Thank you Skyler for re-framing the question in a way which got to the heart of something I couldn't express, and to Annabel for a concise answer about how to address it. I think what you describe is entirely fair. I guess in a way I just wanted to hear that the community does work in that capacity and is not dismissive of people as long as they are amenable to changing their problematic behaviors, because I haven't been here long enough to see it in action.

I will respond to the rest of the comments later. Thanks again.
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:07 PM
InquiringOne InquiringOne is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 20


Thanks again to everyone for commenting

Originally Posted by idealist View Post
The Fairy tales, love songs and idealistic ideas of long term monogamy are just stories and lies for the most part. That can be difficult to admit at first,
Objectively, I think you are entirely correct, I just think it is far easier said than done for most people. do you have any concrete ways to help get them past those things? or what happens when one partner has let go of those fantasies but the other still has them. What advice do you give then?

Originally Posted by LovingRadiance View Post

Become authentic by being deeply open and honest. First with yourself, then with your nearest and dearest and finally with the world. There's always room for self-improvement.

But, those of us who have been there, done that and now found our way out-know that the consequences of living a lie are incalcuable.
As simple as it is, I like how you laid out the step-by-step approach:first you, then the significant other, then other people. And if you are not improving, you are stagnant. I agree.

I will definitely check out your blog for your story. Thanks for letting me know.

Originally Posted by LoveBomb View Post
I'll chime in on this one.

Knowing how affairs and lies and poor communication have negatively affected other members of my family, I wasn't going to have any of that.

So one night, a few weeks ago, my wife and I had a conversation about "Love" and what that word means to each of us. My definition of love hinges on "trust" and "freedom". To me, real love cannot exist without trust, and trust requires honesty, openness, and good communication.

I said more, but ultimately I laid it out rationally and logically and my wife agreed with everything I've said. It also helps that she's not hung up on sex like a lot of people are in society, so she's much more open to the idea of polyamory and open relationships.
I really appreciate the honest story, especially since it so recently happened and good luck with working it out, though it seems like you have already started out in a very good way.

I do think having had that previous bad experience with divorces/lying helped you and LR make the jump more easily because you could appreciate how bad it actually is. That probably cannot be emphasized enough, but it's probably also difficult for people who are cheating and don't have that experience to internalize. They know it would be bad, but they probably don't realize just how bad.

I especially appreciate the list of everything you tried to emphasize. Very practical and helpful. I will probably message you with some more specific questions if that's ok.

Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Fucking around is fucking around. It doesn't matter if everyone is doing it, it's still fucking around.... Convention doesn't justify anything.

But one thing most people don't do is the really hard work required to make relationships work. That really hard work includes learning to communicate honestly with your spouse. The fact that so many people chicken out doesn't let everyone else off the hook, they'll just go find someone else to fuck it up with.

Not true. I "invented" polyamory when I was 10. Only later did I learn that I was not the first inventor of polyamory. But I was never at risk of falling into monogamous marriage by default... I was just at risk of never getting married because I knew monogamy could never work for me.
I wasn't trying to say that convention justified it, I was trying to show how other conventions play a role in propagating the bad decisions, because the "rational" choice has been made to seem non-viable by them. Congratulations to you for having the gift/ability to invent it on your own. You deserve a lot of credit, but most people are not capable of that at such a young age, so i think there is some responsibility on the part of those who know the bigger, better truth to help them work toward it if possible.

I do agree as well that relationships are hard work and that cheating, especially for most men as I can't speak as much to why women do it, is probably a result of their unwillingness to put in such work. When a cheater leaves for the person they are cheating with, they are most likely falling for a delusion that the grass is greener on the other side. They just don't realize that the reason the affair works so well is that that hard work wasn't really required for the most part. And when they now have to put it in again, they are just as likely to fail as they did the first time around. So I agree with you there too.

I certainly don't want to put words in LR's mouth, but it's possible that in some cases the affair brings about realizations that act as a "bridge" from one side to the other: from having a bad or not completely honest relationship to either moving on or changing the current relationship so that people end up better off, as paradoxical as that may sound. I agree that the end does not necessarily justify the means, and I'm not saying that makes the affair "right." I don't really think that is possible. But I do think that maybe not all cheaters are equal in what they learn from the situation and how they apply that knowledge moving forward. So the crux of my initial question remains what do you say to them to help them in making that step?
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:24 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,144

Thanks for the compliment. That was kind.

As for the imaginary married couple in question? Let's call them Jane and John Doe. Jane asks me for advice.
  • What do I say about her logic and thinking process?
  • What practical advice would I give her to help her pick A -- the ethical path?

I would say this below to Jane. Enjoy the read.



Jane? Relax. You have not done anything yet. You are safe inside your own brain. Mere thinking about things does foment them into being.

I am bothered that you seem to have this core belief. Excessive worry about the future stops you from being present enough in the here and now. It's like worrying about the tiger that might be up ahead in the journey and neglecting to see that you are going to walk off the cliff if you do not follow the bend in the road at your feet right now.

If I were you, Jane? How I would tackle thinking this out for myself? Strip it down to essentials.

You talk about community opinion. I want to lift this up -- you and John could agree to be in polyship and not be "Out" to a single person other than your poly peeps. So dealing with general community reaction can be postponed until you are stronger in your polyshipping confidence with John, right? Right. Leave the tiger alone for now. It muddies your thinking process. It is a valid concern, but bringing it on board right now is premature and prevents you from getting a handle to begin with. So pause it, please.

So this is not really the crossroads that you are at in your polyshipping journey just yet:
A) being open and honest, but possibly destroying all of these layers of relationships that you have developed for years or decades with friends and family and so on.

B) having secret relationships whether sexual, romantic, or both (with the hidden potential to destroy those same long-developed relationships with friends and family and so on.).

If you set aside the "community factor" it becomes this:
A) My being open and honest with John about what I want. But accepting this would possibly destroy my relationship with John.

B) My having secret relationships whether sexual, romantic, or both behind John's back. (with the hidden potential to destroy my relationship with John.)

If your want is open and honest communication, and open and honest polyship with John? Just throw choice B away then. Do not engage in behavior that does not support your desire to be open and honest. Cheating on John behind his back is not open and honest. That's why I colored it gray. Having that on the table of choices just muddies your thinking process. There. Mental trash basket! That was easy.

Now we are here then in the thinking process then.
A) My being open and honest with John about what I want. But accepting this would possibly destroy my relationship with John.
Focus on what you want. Not what you do not want.

Here you are focusing on what you do not want -- destruction of the relationship. You state you want open honest polyship with John.

(I am baffled why your thinking process leaps to negative conclusions and uses words like "destroy." I shan't argue that word choice but encourage you think think about why you use words like that in describing your role in the relationship. Why lean towards destruction rather than construction? Is your thinking pattern habit destructive rather than constructive?)

So rewrite it to focus on what you want.
A) My being open and honest in communication with John about what I want. I want an open honest polyship with John.
This thinking is getting clearer but still not organized in terms of stating your needs, wants, and limits. I like to organize my thinking that way. Perhaps rewrite that in your head to have wants, needs, and limits on there. That can help suggest the course of action -- the HOW. Clues to your next behavior to achieve the goal.

So really you could be looking at this on the table, Jane:

What I Need:
  • I need to be open and honest communication with John.
    • I go to him with my stuff. He listens to me talk.
    • He comes to me with his stuff. I listen him talk.
  • I need to understand that I cannot control him and his behavior. I can control only what I do -- my own behavior. .

What I Want :
  • I want to be in an open, honest polyship with John.
  • I want to know if he would be open to that or not.

Limit to my ability:
  • I am not a mind reader.

Conclusion for my behavior to help achieve my want:
  • I could ask him how he feels on this and if he's willing to entertain the idea at an appointment time later.
  • If willing to set a time aside to talk to me, I could ask him what I could bring to the Big Conversation table to aid us. (Poly links? Open relationship models to look at?)

Possible Method:
  • I could ask him for a moment of his time to engage in Big Conversation via oral communication? Written communication?

Reasonableness testing:
  • Yes. Asking my husband how he feels is reasonable in the context of a marriage. Married people ask each other things.
  • Yes. Asking my husband for a Big Conversation appointment time so we're not distracted or rushy with other things is reasonable.

Conclusion to reasonableness testing:
  • It's good. All reasonable so far.

Reality testing:
  • I DO NOT WANT to do oral communication or written communication with John to ask him this. That is why I had that old cheating choice B on there in the first place.
  • This is in conflict with my WANT of "I want to be in open, honest polyship with John."

Conclusion to reality testing:
  • My reality is in harmony or conflict? Conflict. My reality is in conflict with what? My other reality. This is a problem on the "me to myself" tier at this point then.
  • I could do inner conflict resolution with myself first to reconcile my feelings. WHY is it hard for me to articulate to John? I could identify things that give me trouble. What is my unwillingness speaking to?
That is how I would think it out if I were you, Jane. Clear the muddy factors away to help reduce and simplify it down to something I can understand to myself and see what tier in relationship the wrinkle(s) are at. Clear it down to something that could help point to my next course of action -- what could be my next behavior?


I cannot give you practical advice for how to surmount your obstacles. You have not identified them, Jane. I do not know what they might be.

Please elaborate on WHAT makes open and honest communication with John hard. Then people can try help you by giving constructive feedback on how to overcome these things to help you move closer to your goal of "open and honest communication with John."

Eventually you will actually have to ask John his feelings – does he want to be in open honest polyship with you?

But don't jump ahead there to the
Jane <--> John tier
of your polymath yet. You are not all clear on the
Jane <--> Jane tier
to do the level up.

Before you practice being open and honest with John? You could practice being open and honest with yourself and do a self-assessment first. Could consider what is stopping you from being open and honest in your communications with John? Could consider what skills do you need to build up in you? Could look within. Shine the light in dark inner places.

Whether alone, in a monoship, or in a polyship, the first tier of interpersonal relationship skills is always the first tier of how YOU relate to YOURSELF.

If you cannot think clearly in your mind, you cannot sort your wants, needs, and limits in your mind into clear form.

If you cannot do that, you cannot take it out of your mind and articulate your clear wants, needs, and limits to another person.

Thinking and articulating in clear fashion is hard. But like any skill -- it can be learned. You can do it, Jane!

Did you need people to guess what might be your obstacles? To help you articulate them to yourself?


Last edited by GalaGirl; 10-09-2012 at 03:16 AM.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:45 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Originally Posted by InquiringOne View Post
I'm sure the poly community is . . .
What poly community? This one or another online message board? An organized group local to you? There really is no one overall galvanized poly community. It isn't like joining a swingers' club or coffee hour at church.
The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia

Click here for a Solo Poly view on hierarchical relationships
Click here to find out why the Polyamorous Misanthrope is feeling disgusted.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:23 PM
InquiringOne InquiringOne is offline
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Default nycindie

I did hesitate to use the term "community" because I realize that there are wide variations everywhere, but it's a quicker construction to say "poly community" than saying "all of the people who identify themselves as being poly." Sorry if I threw you off there
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:15 PM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Op- It is hard I transitioned as a cheater. When I joined the board I was 'the cheater' and my current boyfriend is the man I cheated on my current husband with.
Typing in my phone does force me to 'keep it short and simple'. But, the truth is-IT IS that simple. Getting honest with ourselves is HARD WORK. But, the steps ARE simple.
As a society, we make it complicated with excuses for why we 'can't'.

That said; no, it isn't EASY. Yes it is VERY scary.
But- the truth is always going to have less consequences in the LONG RUN. Like most things in life, the 'quick fix' (lying to protect in this case) is consistently detrimental in the long run.

As a society-we need to stop trying to find and stop accepting the quick fix responses that are literally destroying us. Lying/cheating destroys our relationships. Quick fix foods, meds, diets etc destroy our bodies. Quick fix lessons destroy our learning process, quick fix discipline destroys our parenting.

As this board is for relationship/polydynamics, I won't rant. I will just re-iterate; being real and true and authentic to ourselves is a critical component of being happy, healthy and whole.
"Love As Thou Wilt"
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:19 AM
LoveBomb LoveBomb is offline
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Originally Posted by InquiringOne View Post
I especially appreciate the list of everything you tried to emphasize. Very practical and helpful. I will probably message you with some more specific questions if that's ok.
Sure thing. I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. Just be aware that polyamory is still pretty new to me. I haven't actually been involved in a successful poly relationship yet, but I do believe I have successfully broached the subject with my wife and the other girl and I think we're all on the same page about love and the prospect of future poly relationships.
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